Having suffered in school throughout childhood with dyslexia, attention and self-esteem problems, I have been blessed with the passion to help other children and adults to learn successfully, and develop and maintain positive confidence. My difficulties were in learning to read, write, pay attention, be organized in school, social problems of loneliness, and conduct problems at home, school, and in the community.
Throughout these troubled times my parents were my main support. They kept being optimistic that I was going to turn out okay. Even when I was asked to leave kindergarten (“we think Buck would do better at home”), suspended from eighth grade (for competing with another “bad boy” for how many detentions we could get, without serving any), and spending long hours at the police station.
My experiences and the support I received contributed to my life’s goal, which has now been attained through Weaver Center, formerly Weaver Clinic. I received psychological (therapy), medical (stimulant medication) and educational (daily individual tutoring five days a week, twelve months a year) support.
With all this help and support, which I generally hated, I graduated from high school in the bottom 5th of my class of 1969, with SAT scores (untimed) in the low 600’s (combined). But my parents, tutors and teachers made it possible to graduate with reasonable self-esteem. I did wonder, no – I had strong ambivalence about -- why would I be volunteering for another four years of what I hated for college. “Just try it,” my parents said. And I did.
College was much better for me, though I had a very depressed beginning. I attended a small college in Switzerland. I could not succeed in class without individualized tutorial class accommodations. Bowdoin College, a competitive small college in Maine, where I was accepted in a disability pool by a wonderful director of admissions (who has written books about my, and others', story since), and I graduated cum laude.
I received my M.S. from Memorial University of Newfoundland and wrote a master’s thesis with Dr. Charles Drake, founder of the Landmark schools, for children with dyslexia in New England. The topic was about written language processing in the acquisition of phonemic associations. I completed my Ph.D. at the California School of Professional Psychology, Berkley, CA. My dissertation was on the effects of parent training and discussion on the self-esteem of their children.
Since this time I have received a Neuropsychological fellowship at Harvard Medical School at Children’s Hospital Medical Center-Boston, provided eight years of support to children, teachers and families at Carroll School in Lincoln, MA, another school for students with dyslexia, and developed the most satisfying clinical work environment for children, adolescents, adults, parents, teachers, and other professionals. I love my work!
I have selected staff primarily for their passion. This has proven to be one of the most important characteristics of achieving success with people who come to our home-like clinic. We are small, we are intimate, and we do deeply care about our work and the success of our clients. We are family, office staff, clinicians, kids, and families. We will stay this way always.
No one is successful based on his or her disability. No one knows the potential of any child (my high school teachers were completely unsuspecting of my ultimate academic and professional accomplishments). We have learned that success comes with knowing and using your strengths to compensate for any difficulties, which is a new model in practice. Children must be completely knowledgeable of their strengths and differences. They must be able to manage their learning, behavior and emotions themselves efficiently; they must be able to advocate for themselves effectively. This is what creates confidence and success. We are blessed and proud to be able to create success and satisfaction for those who are confused, frustrated, and not able to produce to the level of performance that is obvious from what their minds can do.
I hope you and yours will have the opportunity to share in our excitement.
Anecdote: I gave a speech to a group of about 100 people this last week. A man, who I later learned was a professor at a local competitive university, came up to me at the end of the talk and told me that he did not want me to leave that night without my knowing that, as he stated, “I have read every book and article I can find, attended numerous conferences and never have I heard of the kind of work and treatment that you're doing with children and adults.” Self-knowledge, self-strategies, independence and success of our clients drive us to learn and contribute to the lives of all we are able to help.