Then I became pregnant with my first son, and felt confident I was beyond prepared. The plan was to name him Nolan, after the great baseball player Nolan Ryan. But our Nolan had a curveball for us. He entered this world with 47 chromosomes and 6 holes in his heart. He spent most of his first five months of life at Riley Children’s Hospital, before undergoing open-heart surgery. Assuming that I was prepared for parenthood before actually meeting Nolan was absurd. Never before had I talked with doctors about tests and diagnoses for my own child, advocated for services in the schools with teachers and administrators, or carried the weight of the resulting stress on my own family and relationships. Now I’m able look at each child, parent and family through a lens of mutual understanding , as the mother of a child who doesn’t follow any sort of playbook and as an experienced professional helping families harness developmental, emotional and behavioral approaches to feel more in control and connected to one another.
During Nolan’s time at Riley, I delved back in to my education with new perspective. I completed my fellowship at Indiana University in Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental & Related Disabilities (LEND). I became the Founding President of the Indianapolis location of GiGi’s Playhouse Down Syndrome Achievement Center, where I assembled and led a team of 15 people from idea to inception to grand opening.
When I created Mini Minds, I wanted ALL families to have a place to engage in a transformative relationship to discover deep insights about their child’s brain, what it needs to be successful, and how best to foster development to reach full potential, with the help of leading brain experts and therapists. I believe in empowering parents, as our voices become our children’s inner talk-tapes. I am a big proponent of skill building and providing a foundation for basic social, emotional and executive functioning skills – what EVERY child needs and will use from now, through adulthood. At Mini Minds, we emphasize a growth mindset and work on critical thinking and problem solving. We utilize yoga and other kinesthetic learning to provide more feedback to the brain and create more neuropathways for better retention. We teach emotional and behavioral regulation so that our families can live happier, healthier lives.
Raising a child, or “mini mind,” to be responsible, respectful and resilient is hard work. The kind of love and support that nourishes your child is different from any other parents’ set of tools, strategies or practices for their children. I now have three children, each of whom is a mysterious miracle. For my own children, and every child I meet, my hope is that they will continually grow and learn in all aspects of their being, and always, always live mindful and meaningful lives.
*Bachelor of Arts in Psychology
University of Massachusetts ’03
*Master of Early Childhood Special and General Education
Bank Street College ’08
*Master of Clinical Social Work with Children, Youth & Families
Columbia University ’08
*Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental & Related Disabilities (LEND) Fellow
Indiana University ’16
*Hamilton County Leadership Academy, Class of ’20