I spent my undergraduate years learning about the world of finance. And when I graduated, I worked as a corporate banker. Although it was satisfying to make a living in my field, there was something missing. I had a vague sense I had more to contribute. But I wasn’t quite sure yet what it was.
Along the way, I became a parent of two beautiful children, whose ongoing learning, growth and development were fascinating to me. In addition, my volunteer work as a child advocate in juvenile court piqued my interest in child welfare issues.
As a volunteer, I found myself drawn to children whose own struggles, and troublesome stories, landed them in court and foster care. I could see that these kids often had learning problems, emotional issues, and other needs that weren’t being addressed.
What I saw there was eye opening. So I read, I researched, and I learned what I could about child development, and the environmental factors that support the best outcomes for children.
In a way, my next decision was made before I consciously made it. I wasn’t going to continue with a career in finance. I was going to find a way to channel my interests and make a difference for kids.
I began my graduate studies at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, where I spent days and nights immersed in neuroscience and child development, gaining insights about how children learn, and what keeps them from learning.
Missing the South, I came back to Atlanta to complete my doctorate in School Psychology at Georgia State University. That education and clinical training prepared me to become a lead psychologist with a K-12 special education program serving public school students.
There, I was able to make some degree of difference, especially for kids with severe learning, emotional, and behavioral disorders. But somehow, I felt I could do more.
I finally felt I had enough training and experience in both child education and child psychology to put all the pieces together. I saw things, I knew things, I understood things that would allow me to address multiple issues that were making life difficult for children and their families.
The next step in my personal evolution was to leave the school system, as I gathered the courage to start my own business as a child therapist, behavior specialist and learning disorder specialist in Alpharetta.
Fortunately, it has been a successful, growing endeavor. With one foot in psychology and the other in education, I’ve had the privilege to offer the insight, guidance and support that children and their families need to successfully address complex and troublesome issues.
Sometimes, I think back to those children and families in juvenile court that opened my eyes and taught me so much. And I realize I am finally in the right position to help make a difference.