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Penn State University (Journalism)
School success depends upon a number of factors...your child's age/grade, his/her individual needs, evaluating existing supports, effective educational plans and strategies, and if college is the goal, understanding the planning and preparation process and the steps involved for students and their parents. My key areas of focus include:
Writing -- one of the most important school and life skills, yet many students struggle with the process. Whether a research paper or a college application essay, being able to express thoughts and ideas clearly, creatively, and logically will be our focus. Showing a child or teen that writing can be fun as well as having a function often kick-starts a reluctant writer to strengthen their abilities.
College preparation and transition -- admissions, financial aid, college search and selection (finding the right "fit"), college applications and portfolios, and the ever-important college essay...we'll focus on the areas of the process needing support and guidance. The planning process also requires parents to handle a number of things before, during, and after college begins and we'll address these as well. And if college accommodations, self-advocacy, and securing additional supports may be areas of need, we'll also cover these aspects of the transition process.
Organizational skills -- often referred to as "executive function" skills -- are often a huge stumbling block to school success. Lost papers, homework and reports never submitted, assignments and projects completed hours before they're due -- sound familiar? From organizing subjects to learning how to plan for long-term assignments, there are strategies and tools to help with organizing and planning, two key areas where many students struggle.
Special needs -- many bright and capable students learn differently. If your child or teen has been diagnosed with Asperger's Syndrome, ADHD, learning differences, or mental health issues and has been struggling in school, understanding the basis for their needs, whether their educational plan is appropriately addressing these needs, and developing new ways to support them in school and at home can help capitalize on their strengths. For parents whose children/teens fall into this area, reviewing key educational documents and partnering with you to evaluate gaps and develop school strategies is an essential aspect of the broad coaching process.
My role is to partner with you and your child to develop a fluid coaching relationship so that your child/teen can build skills and increase their confidence and competence. School is their job and we know what happens when you're unable to deliver the expected results. We can change that. School success depends upon a number of factors...your child's age/grade, his/her individual needs, evaluating existing supports, effective educational plans and strategies, and if college is the goal, understanding the planning and preparation process and the steps involved for students and their parents. My key areas of focus include:
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Debra has demonstrated invaluable knowledge of the IEP process and suggestions about how we ought to proceed which we wouldn't have known otherwise.
Debra was very effective working with my daughter helping with her college admission essays. She was easy to reach, punctual and well organized. She worked very closely with my daughter understanding her college essay requirements and providing feedback to my daughter's writing to ensure her thoughts were effectively reflected in the essays. Debra is an excellent tutor and enjoyed working with her.
In most cases, tutors gain approval in a subject by passing a proficiency exam. For some subject areas, like music and art, tutors submit written requests to demonstrate their proficiency to potential students. If a tutor is interested but not yet approved in a subject, the subject will appear in non-bold font. Tutors need to be approved in a subject prior to beginning lessons.
My work with children and teens with ADD/ADHD and their parents includes reviewing IEPs and 504s, ensuring school accommodations are in place, and working on organizational and study strategies, key areas for school success. Executive function skills are critical for work completion, meeting deadlines, breaking assignments into manageable sections, and time management.
I have worked with children/teens with Asperger's Syndrome, ADD, and learning differences and their parents for over 15 years including IEP and 504 development, assistance with classroom accommodations, accessing services (speech, OT, social skills), monitoring progress, and providing 1:1 assistance with executive functioning (e.g. organization, planning). This includes supporting students transitioning to college with the college application process and securing accommodations through the offices of disability services. Advanced training from Yale School of Medicine, the U.S. Department of Education, and Penn State University add to my experience.
Along with expertise in Asperger's Syndrome, my broader expertise is autism spectrum disorders under which Asperger's Syndrome falls. I have supported students and their parents from an educational perspective, collaborated with educators, clinicians, and therapists, and helped to develop educational plans to meet the unique learning needs of these students. Advanced training in diverse learning styles, IEPs, evaluations, behavior, social skills, and executive functioning is part of my background.
Working with high school students includes conducting individualized interest inventories, assessing areas of strength and interest, and working to develop skills geared toward employment (e.g. resume preparation, interviewing skills). This also includes assisting with the college preparation process and working with college students as an adjunct to their career services department so that post-secondary education choices help to meet each student's anticipated career goals.
I work with high school students on preparing for the transition to college, including college selection, evaluation, applications, and writing essays. I co-developed and facilitated a "Life After High School" program for 9th-12th grade students that focused on these areas as well as resume preparation and interviewing skills. Additionally, I work with students and their parents as they make decisions and choices regarding the college transition process including if the student has received special education services in school.
Prior to my transition into education, my professional work focused on marketing communications. This included developing strategic marketing plans, creating marketing programs including collaborating with advertising agencies, handling marketing outreach including public relations, and spearheading the external marketing efforts for businesses ranging from Fortune 50 companies to small businesses.
My familiarity with social media and related current marketing approaches and strategies is strong as are my writing and overall business skills.
As a former human resources director and consultant, I have conducted corporate workshops and seminars and designed training programs which have been delivered (by me) to groups ranging from 15 people to 200. Within the educational arena, I have developed curricula and conducted workshops and training programs for educators and parents on a host of special education topics. My platform skills are superior and teaching students how to access their "inner voice" and tackle the barriers that come with speaking in front of a group (regardless of the size) is an area of expertise.
For the past 10+ years, my private practice has focused exclusively on working with parents and students with special learning needs. This includes autism spectrum disorders, ADD/ADHD, learning disabilities, and behavioral/emotional issues. I have advanced training in these areas as well as areas including IEPs, 504s, behavioral interventions, inclusion, and transition planning.
My work has included developing strategies and tools to help students from elementary school through college with study skills. Whether using a computer program such as "Inspiration" to help with brainstorming, creating visual models to assist with the writing process, or helping students purchase and utilize organizational tools that help them tackle studying, understanding what part/s of the studying process (e.g. memorization) is creating the greatest difficulty is essential to building competence in this/these areas.
Few skills are as important as writing. Whether a high school research paper or a college admissions essay, being able to convey information, ideas, opinions, and thoughts using solid grammar, strong vocabulary, and sentences and paragraphs that flow from beginning to end are core elements of the writing process.
Developing writing skills takes practice and making writing less of a chore and more enjoyable is possible. While texting and Facebook may be today's norm, students need to truly know how to write in order to be successful in school, college, and employment. Together we'll work on writing, whether creative or otherwise, to strengthen skills in this area.
Whether in a journal or blog, start to write. You'll be amazed by what you have to say.
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