In addition to both of my young adult children having ADHD/ADD (one with combined type and one with inattentive type), I have attended many workshops and training on ADHD/ADD, learning disabilities, and autism and have trained and worked as a behavior therapist. In the classroom, I have taught many students with ADHD/ADD and am patient and supportive but firm when needed. I understand both the temperament and the emotional needs of students with ADHD/ADD, in addition to the educational supports that are needed in order for the student t be successful in both school and life.
My experience with autism is both personal and professional. I am a parent of a son with high functioning autism who is 22 years old and attends Santa Monica College. Assisting my son throughout his life, I have attended trainings, classes and numerous conferences in order to better understand and address the needs of my son. In addition, I have trained and worked as a Behavior Therapist for children with autism and have taught academic subjects to students with autism as a tutor and substitute teacher. I currently work with special needs students privately in the areas of academics, art and behavior modification.
I am a visual artist with a Master of Fine Arts Degree from Claremont Graduate University. I have been drawing and doing various other forms of 2D and 3D artwork for 20+ years and have been teaching for 20+ years as well. I have exhibited my sculpture and drawing in museums and art gallery shows professionally for 10 years. In addition, I have developed standards based art curriculum which I have used in the classroom with students K-12, and have also used this curriculum to teach professional development workshops for K-6 teachers, showing them how to use the lessons and standards based learning in their classrooms.
In particular, I have developed a drawing curriculum that teaches the student how to "see as the artist sees" using right brain learning research based techniques developed by Betty Edwards along with my own method of teaching drawing through observation and what I call "Learning Drawing Through The Elements of Design". I emphasize drawing as a "learned skill" that can be developed by all students with care and practice. Along the way, I bring in the student's interests, memories, dreams, fantasies and desires, then combine these with study of art history and cultural influences to create a course of learning that is both enjoyable and rewarding. The drawing skills that are attained can then be used to create other works of personal art such as artist's books, mixed media paintings, and collage and printmaking projects.
My goal is not necessarily to make the student a visual artist, although if that is the desire, we can work to this goal, but rather to help the individual students to explore their own goals in learning to draw and to enhance the student's skill in visual observation and creative problem solving, while learning to express their ideas and thoughts visually. I strive to reduce the normal anxiety of learning to draw and to create a positive learning experience that the student can use throughout his/her lifetime to be creative and expressive in whatever they choose to pursue.
My expertise in helping students with learning disabilities, such as dyslexia, goes beyond an intellectual understanding of the disorder. My son, now 21, is diagnosed with Dysgraphia, the written form of dyslexia. Along with his diagnoses of High Functioning Autism and ADHD, he has a written language processing disorder. I have worked with him continually to expose and teach him in social, artistic and academic areas. The work we have done together has been remarkable and rewarding. He currently is an “A” student in Jr. College and plans to transfer to UCLA to study Neuroscience.
I am very aware of the social and emotional impact that learning disabilities have on an individual and also the difficulties parents and family members experience due to a sense of helplessness in making the situation better. I bring this understanding to the work I do with students, along with the many years of creating curriculum, teaching students of all abilities and ages, and my intuitive nature as a visual artist and arts educator. These elements have enabled me to address the needs of students with learning differences in an individualized, structured and fluid approach. I first acquaint myself with the student, their interests, their social functioning in the family, school and community, their academic strengths and weaknesses and what motivates them behaviorally in order to assess the individual needs, deficits, and most importantly the strengths of the student. This information is applied to the educational needs of the student in the school environment so that I can break down the tasks and information into smaller "pieces" in a way that the student can comprehend and retain.
The result is a systematic, organic plan which builds in difficulty and complexity as the student progresses. By incorporating the personal strengths and interests of the student into the learning plan, my goal is to make the process both fun and stimulating so that the student internalizes that learning is desirable and enjoyable. I do this with patience and sensitivity so that not only do I build relationship and trust with the student, but my hope is to help them realize a love of learning with confidence and awareness of their new strengths and abilities.
I hold a Substitute Teaching Credential from the State of California and have worked as a substitute teacher for elementary school grades in the Los Angeles Unified School district. In addition, I have taught art through several Los Angeles area non profit organizations in which I have conducted workshops and extended teaching residencies to elementary school age students in several local school districts. I have a passion for teaching and love working with K-6 aged students because they are energetic and eager to learn. There is such a joy and sense of fulfillment, I find, in helping a child to grasp a new idea or learn a new concept. In working with children, I am patient and understanding yet focused and firm.
I am a visual artist with expertise in drawing and painting in oil, acrylic, watercolor and mixed media. I have worked in small and large format from 5" x 7" small panels to 15' x 30' paintings used for theatrical backdrops. I can teach in all of these areas as well as portfolio preparation for entering college or art school.
I have been sewing since the age of nine. During high school I made most of my own clothes and made all types of items using various types of fabrics in various styles and designs from swimwear to evening dresses. I can teach hand and sewing machine stitching, alteration, embroidery and craft sewing.
My experience and training in the areas of teaching and working with students with special needs, autism, ADHD and learning disabilities is both personal and professional. My son who is now 18, has high functioning autism, ADHD Combined Type (with hyperactivity), dysgraphia(the written form of dyslexia), written language processing problems, anxiety disorder, disthymic disorder and obsessive compulsive disorder. I have worked with my son and his sister, now 20, who also has ADHD, Type 1 Diabetes and Bipolar Disorder. Both children now attend Santa Monica College and are doing very well.
In addition, I have been trained and have worked as a behavior therapist for children with developmental disabilities and autism. I have assisted students both behaviorally and academically as a therapist both at home and in their schools. Other training consists of numerous professional development courses and seminars such as Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD): Across the Lifespan, Brain Works: An Overview of Learning Difficulties and How Children Learn, Social and Emotional Needs of Gifted Children (being gifted is actually an area of special needs and often is identified along with learning disabilities and other diagnoses), Diagnosing and Understanding Autism Spectrum Disorder, Transition and Section 504, and Differentiated Instruction in the K-12 Classroom, to name a few.
As a substitute teacher for Los Angeles Unified School District, I have taught in Special Education classes quite often in addition to teaching all levels of elementary school subjects. I have also taught art in high school and college. I have a tremendous amount of patience and love for students. I have a fantastic report with both children and teens and my experience is that they really like me. I am very nurturing and empathetic and yet good with setting limits when needed.
My creative and intuitive nature has proven to be an asset for my work with students needing help with study skills. I am able to effectively break down both information and tasks in a way that makes sense to the student. First I work with the student to assess and explore their individual learning style and then develop the strategies that are needed to help them learn to work and study more efficiently and effectively. As the student becomes more confident and comfortable with their new study habits, I encourage them to apply them to future assignments. The goal is that the student will become more self sufficient in their study skills so that they become strong and confident learners.
As an artist and educator, I am experienced in writing for various applications and have successfully written many grant proposals, project reports, reviews and descriptions of artwork and exhibitions, as well as creative writing. I have a firm understanding of the writing process and am able to teach this process effectively to students by helping them to identify and organize their thoughts and ideas and then to apply writing strategies to fit the needs of the assignment in a way that makes sense to the student. Proper grammar and sentence structure, effective communication and keeping the reader's interest are addressed as well as rough drafts and editing.