What is an Educational Therapist? An Interview with Melody Valenzuela

Kids are underdogs

So thrilled to welcome Melody Valenzuela to the disABLED+Empowered family. Melody is a savvy educational therapist with the sharpness, wit, passion, and humor that is on fire . If you watch the interview, it won't take long to see why her clients and her professional colleagues adore her. 

We get into what an Educational Therapist (ET) is. Given the relative newness of this profession, spending some time here drove insight, highlighting the difference between an ET and a tutor (hint: ETs are like special ops on missions to uncover the "whys" vs. the "whats"). We also explore when seeking an ET is right and who's a good candidate for ET. 

Melody's view of kids as underdogs really helps to put the responsibility of teaching on the teacher vs. the learner. While this might sound like a massive, "duh," it's common for therapists, teachers, and tutors to become frustrated with kids who aren't learning "fast" enough. Melody's argument is that kids don't have...

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What is Fusion Academy? An Interview with Danielle Ryckman

interview schools youtube Jul 22, 2020

Keep 'em comin'

So thrilled to be bringing another video to disABLED+Empowered with the incomparable...Danielle (Dani) Ryckman from Fusion Academy. In our interview, Dani talks about Fusion's customized relationship-based 1:1 learning model and her passion for creating lifelong learners. We explore the importance of embracing the whole student, spotlighting the importance of psychological safety in the risky business of learning, and the symbiotic and dynamic relationship between their teachers/mentors and students. This collaborative culture serves as a petri dish for self-efficacy, growth, and empowerment. 

"There is a place for you in the world and where maybe there's not a clear door, through advocacy, you can create one" --Dani Ryckman

Dani's message is clear, she cares about her students...deeply. She believes that they are the change we need in this world. If they can all learn the power of advocacy, they will be able to do anything they put...

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What is the College to Career Program? An Interview with Kelly Privitt

interviews programs youtube Jul 15, 2020

Yeah, this is gonna work

Well, this YouTube experiment is turning out to be a total win. I'm so grateful that the colleagues in my life are equally as (or maybe even more) adventurous as me. Enter Kelly Privitt, Director of AbilityFirst's College to Career (C2C) program, who graciously agreed to do one of these interviews. She knocks it out of the park by talking about empowering students with choice and allowing her students the dignity of risk. She gets personal, sharing her own learning profile and how her daughter, who allowed her mother to disclose that she has a disability on YouTube, is a total bada$$ at her job and shattering distribution records in corporate America. 

My intention with these YouTube videos has always been to provide high-quality information for free to the disabled community. I wanted everyone to have access to the amazing professionals and programs that I get to work with on a regular basis. It turns out that I'm also benefitting personally and...

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What is Nebraska Transition College? An Interview with Dr. Stuart Stofferahn & Jessi Sandberg

interviews programs youtube Jul 07, 2020

Oh, it's something shiny! 

You know when there is something that just makes you all giddy inside? Well, this is one of those times! I'm launching a YouTube channel called, disABLED+Empowered, which is laser-focused on empowering disabled individuals (and their families and support systems) with information that can lead to meaningful action. 

Over the past 20 years, I've met the most incredible people who have taught me, shaped me, and well, have collectively molded me into the professional that I am today. Actually, it's this cumulative knowledge and expertise that people seek when they reach out to me for help. Unfortunately, I'm just a single person with so many hours in the day. So, I've been playing around with the idea of sharing my knowledge and the process by which I obtain information and integrate it into my thinking on a larger platform (enter, YouTube). It is my hope that giving you a voyeuristic peek into these...

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Let's do this!