What is Human Development & Family Studies (HDFS)? HDFS is the study of how individuals develop across the lifespan in the contexts of relationships, families, schools, and communities. Although my specialty lies in Child Development, I have expertise in various ages and stages of the lifespan.
How do you work with clients?I work one-on-one with families during parent coaching and as an educator, facilitator, and trainer in my group and workshop work. Any important person in the child’s life can be a part of this process. My focus is always on relationships, perspectives in context, social and emotional wellbeing, and your overall needs. I tailor the work to the specific expectations and goals we set together. Contact me to discuss how we can work together.
Do you work with parents or children?I work with both. Parents and children give their own perspectives on what the current challenge is and we work as a team to problem-solve together. We tweak as we go, depending on how things are going. In addition to one-on-one coaching, you can join one of the parenting & support groups and/or the Food as Medicine & cooking groups. Email or call me if you have questions.
How do you work with educators, schools, programs, and other professionals who work with children and families?I provide workshops on a topic of interest, usually focusing on social and emotional development. My most exciting recent addition is exploring the connection between the brain and gut and how food and stress mediates that connection to affect mental health. I’m also hired to observe in schools, problem-solve in staff meetings, present to or facilitate parent groups, and make recommendations. Contact me to talk about your needs.
What ages do you work with?Though my focus is on the earlier part of the lifespan, I work with all ages. My work has ranged from working with new parents of days-old infants to individuals in their 60s and beyond who want to support their gut, immune, and mental health through learning about the science behind the brain-gut-stress axis and the Mediterranean diet and lifestyle. Contact me so we can discuss how I can help you, your family, your group, or team.
What makes you qualified to help me? What is your training and professional work background?I hold a Ph.D. in Human Development & Family Studies from the Pennsylvania State University, one of the top HDFS programs in the US, and completed a minor in developmental psychopathology. My graduate program was multi-disciplinary and afforded me the opportunity to be taught by not only psychologists but also anthropologists, sociologists, demographers, behavioral geneticists, and statisticians. This varied experience helped me to develop a perspective that is unique in helping parents and children and any professional who serves families. While I was a professor, I helped to prepare new and experienced educators, as well as social workers and Child Life Specialists. More recently, I have done deep research into the stress-brain-gut axis and its connection to mental health and am writing a book about it.
Though I do not conduct therapy and do not dispense medication, our work together is therapeutic. Adults who work with me walk away empowered, more confident in their parenting or professional role, more capable, less stressed, happier, and healthier and they spread that knowledge and mindset to those around them. Children who work with me feel less anxious, more in control, more focused and successful at learning, and report stronger relationships with their families, friends, and teachers. If you’re interested in learning more about how we can work together, please contact me.
Who have you worked with in the past?Some past and present affiliations include Wheelock College, the Freedman Center as well as Continuing Education at William James College, MAAEYC, Compass for Kids, Families First, Maryland Family Network, FUSE, Fusion Academy, Montclare Children’s School NYC, Boston College Children’s Center, Little Halos Day School, Children’s Connection, Parent-Child Home Program and many groups and individual local families.
Do you take insurance and how much will working with you cost me?I do not take insurance as there is no insurance affiliation for parent coaches and developmental consultants. My primary goal is to be of service to you where finances are not an obstacle. There is a sliding scale and we can always work out a fee that is feasible for you or your group. Please call or email me for a conversation.
Why is focus on the gut so crucial for mental and overall health?We often think of mental health as starting as a chemical imbalance in the brain. Latest research shows that the gut is the source of many chronic illnesses, as well as emotional, neurodevelopmental, and neurodegenerative disorders, such as anxiety and depression, autism, ADHD, and even Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s. This means that we have an important role to play and quite a bit of control over our and our family’s overall health and wellbeing. If you are curious about how I can help you, your family, or your group, contact me for a conversation.
What can you help me with? What topics or issues do you address?You have come to the right place if you are looking for ways to help your child(ren) become healthier, happier, more capable and more resilient human beings. Do you want to decrease your stress, clarify your role and gain back your power? I can help you connect to the child’s/student’s perspective, understand the function of their behavior and develop strategies for building stronger relationships that are the key to any work we do as parents or educators. Please contact me for more specifics and for a conversation about whether working with me would be a good fit for your needs.