How Does Reading Develop? Can Reading Problems be Treated? | An Interview with Anne Perry from Lindamood-Bell

Geeky magpie

In this week's interview, I had the privilege of interviewing Anne Perry, Center Director of Lindamood-Bell's (LMB) Pasadena learning center. A self-proclaimed lifelong educator and geeky magpie, Anne sees her role as making complicated things simple. She fulfills her promise as she spends time helping me better understand how reading develops, which I learned, is a complicated process. 

How does reading develop?

It turns out that our reading skills start with hearing sounds in utero. These sounds, which are further explored through singing, talking, and playing with infants, set the foundation for our overall language acquisition. Sounds are the first component of reading. 

Enter school. Now, sounds are paired with symbols (letters) and an old part of the brain that was once used primarily for survival is tasked with a new job...to read. Symbol imagery (holding an image in your mind) is paired with sounds with added rules (phonemic awareness)....

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What is CBT and is it Effective for Individuals with Neurodiversities? An Interview with Dr. Nicole Pickering

Hello, Dr. Nicole Pickering

It's wonderful to be surrounded by wonderful colleagues who like to geek out with me. I've known Dr. Nicole Pickering, Director of the CBT Treatment Center, in the Los Angeles area for many years and she's always generous with her time and talent. I've been hearing lots of chatter in my sphere about whether Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is an effective treatment modality for individuals with neurodiversities, so I asked Nicole if she'd come on my YouTube channel to chat about it. Lucky me. She did. 

The nuts and bolts

Let's start with what CBT is. CBT is an evidence-based approach that has been scientifically proven to relieve anxiety-based (and other) disorders. Anxiety-based disorders include Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD), Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD), Panic Disorder, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), phobias, tic disorder, and body-focused repetitive disorders (Trichotillomania, skin picking). 

CBT focuses on...

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Squashing Fear and Reclaiming Life for Neurodivergent Individuals | An Interview with Arolyn Burns

Whiteout

What is trauma? In my line of work, I've run across this repeatedly and see the paralysis it delivers to my clients. It seriously breaks my heart. So, with the desire to improve my own skills, I reached out to one of our local experts and a wonderful colleague of mine to talk about trauma.

Arolyn Burns is a Licensed Therapist and the Director of The "A" Treatment Center. She specializes in the treatment of trauma, anxiety, fears, and phobias. Arolyn's bag of therapeutic tricks reminds me of Mary Poppins' carpetbag, unbounded, and without limits. From hypnotherapy to EMDR to using rocks for grounding, Arolyn is a creative and masterful therapist, individualizing treatment to help her clients face their fears. 

Arolyn uses the term "whiteout" to describe what fear feels like when traumatized. When triggered by fear at this level, it's like snowfall is blocking a person's entire vision, the person can't think, and then shuts down. Trauma is an event that...

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When do I Need a Neuropsychological Assessment? How Can the Results be Used to Change my Life?

Special Ops

I hit the lottery when Dr. Karen Wilson, a Pediatric Clinical Neuropsychologist from West LA Neuropsychology, agreed to spend time with me for this episode. I think I have a thing for Neuropsychologists. Even though I've interviewed another Neuropsychologist on my channel, I'm always drawn to the way Neuropsychologists think, analyze, and evaluate. They expand my thinking and mesmerize me with their skills. They're like the special ops of psychologists (oh wow, I just made psychologists sound so cool...nice move, me!). 

In this episode, Karen helps me split hairs. We talk about how Neuropsychologists are different than Clinical Psychologists and School Psychologists. It comes down to 1) having a doctoral degree and clinical training as a psychologist and then 2) going the extra distance with 2-3 years of laser-focused training in neuropsychology, which (over)simply put, is how the brain develops at different times and what can happen functionally when development is...

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What is a Daily Money Manager and When do you Need One? An Interview with Sheri Samotin

What is a Daily Money Manager?

One of the perks of my job is to be able to learn from people like Sheri Samotin. Sheri, the President of LifeBridge Solutions and author of Facing the Finish: A Roadmap for Aging Parents and Adult Children, specializes in transition planning and is an expert at supporting individuals and families in the area of personal finances, asset management, and coordinating care.

Since I mostly work with disabled adults, I became fascinated with two professional hats that Sheri wears (and Sheri has more). Sheri is a professional Certified Daily Money Manager. A Daily Money Manager helps people with their day-to-day personal finances. In this role, Sheri helps individuals make and stick to budgets. Sheri's over 10-year experience supporting individuals with Intellectual Disabilities, Developmental Disabilities, substance use, and mental health disorders is evident as she confidently understands how to most effectively support her clients with...

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Helping Gifted Adults with Autism Find Meaningful Jobs | An Interview with Jessica Lee

The missing lego brick...found

Calling all Lego builders...have you ever been in that situation when you are on the brink of putting together your masterpiece and you can't find that one brick that you need? Well, finding Jessica Lee from The Spectrum Works is like finding that Lego brick that you need to put it all together. 

The Spectrum Works is a non-profit organization that connects gifted adults with autism with corporations that need talent. This isn't as simple as it sounds and Jessica and I get into the process of how this is done.

Prepare the fleet

Yeah, there are a lot of boats. Let's start with corporations. Corporations, specifically ones who are committed to neurodiversity and inclusion, need to be prepared and understand what cultural competency of neurodiversity looks like. This preparation looks like increasing awareness of autism and the laws and regulations (Section 503 of the Rehabilitation Act) that may apply to them. Then, it's promoting inclusive...

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What is Inclusion, Why it's Important, and How to Achieve it? An Interview with Danielle Christy

What is Inclusion?

I had the distinct pleasure of spending some quality time with Danielle Christy, a Licensed Educational Psychologist (LEP) with over 15 years in the public, non-public, charter, and contained school settings. Her specialty? Inclusion.

Across the many years of my practice as a Clinical Psychologist with a niche in neurodevelopmental disabilities, I hear the word "inclusion" tossed about. Even though I've spent a lot of my professional career in a classroom, I'm not an educator, so spending time with Danielle, who is an expert on inclusion, was enlightening and it was high time that I did a deeper dive. 

According to Danielle, Inclusion is made up of some key components. First and foremost, presume competence. No matter the disability, socio-economic status, or race, believe in the potential of every child, every student...and well, every person. Second, all students should have equal access to the curriculum and supports to access curriculums. Third, equip...

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