When our oldest son was ten years old, I struck up a conversation with a woman at a homeschool convention that changed his life, and mine, too. Paul had been struggling in our home school for a couple of years already and I was at a loss to know how to help him. He could read, but it was slow and difficult. Math facts would not stick in his head. Without a classroom full of kids it was difficult for me to know just how his struggles compared to others. Some friends and relatives agreed there was probably an issue. Others said things like, “He’s a boy. Don’t worry about it yet,” or, “Some kids just develop slower than others.”
My heart said what we were experiencing was not normal, but after a couple of years of searching, I still didn’t know how to help Paul. Then, I met Marcia Blackwood (our wonderful neurodevelopmentalist, now retired), spent 2 hours in her convention booth, and left with a sense of hope. She understood! She knew how to help! Paul was on a neurodevelopmental program for 3 years. He had a number of smaller issues, but the biggest things we fixed were his central detail vision (which was the biggest problem with his reading) and his lateral dominance (which made it difficult to memorize things). Paul is grown now, has an associate’s degree in welding, a bachelor’s degree in theatre performance, is married, and has a job he loves (well, most days).
I am a Hoosier by birth, but a Boilermaker by choice! I come from a long line of educators, but always said I would never be a teacher and went to school to become an Industrial Engineer. After college, I worked as an engineer for 10 years and loved it. My best friend started home schooling her oldest a year before Paul was ready to start school and it looked really fun. We registered Paul for Kindergarten, but when I left Kindergarten roundup at the second largest elementary school in the state in tears and overwhelmed, our homeschool journey started.
We always home schooled one year at a time, but 16 years later our youngest graduated from our home school – and so did I. I had made a list of 5 options I wanted to check out after we were done homeschooling and becoming a neurodevelopmentalist was on the list. Three weeks later, a friend offered me a job and since the economy wasn’t great, I jumped at it. I loved the people and the work, yet the appeal of being a neurodevelopmentalist stuck with me. I liked helping the company make a profit, but I really wanted to be helping other families change their child’s life like Marcia changed ours. About a year later, the phone rang and someone asked if I was interested in being the branch manager of Cyndi’s Dayton branch.
I mentioned that I was still considering being trained as a neurodevelopmentalist and discovered that being a branch manager was part of the training. I took this as a hit over the head from God and started training (with the incredibly gifted and amazingly talented neurodevelopmentalist guru, Cyndi Darling). My training has taken much longer than it should have due to two weddings in the family, parents moving from the house they lived in for 46 years, and just my tendency to be easily distracted, but I have loved the opportunity to work with a great variety of families even during my training and am so excited to work with even more as an Associate Level Neurodevelopmentalist while I continue training for higher levels of neurodevelopment.
You may think it odd that an Industrial Engineer became a neurodevelopmentalist, but the two things I love about neurodevelopment made it my perfect fit. I love that neurodevelopmentalists don’t care about labels. Regardless of the label or whether there is no label at all, the process is the same – evaluate the current level of neurodevelopment and recommend a series of activities and exercises designed to move to the next level or complete levels that have only been partially completed. I also love that neurodevelopmentalists work to actually resolve the underlying issues so the problems go away. They don’t change the environment to fit the child or teach the child to cope. They work to solve the problem.