I thought I was going to live in Israel and work as an attorney. I graduated from the law school (University of Pennsylvania), passed the PA bar, moved to Israel, passed the Israel bar, and directed a domestic violence clinic, the Legal Aid for the Elderly, lobbied the Knesset to change a law, represented clients before the Rabbinical Court, and worked in internal investigations at the police headquarters.
In the past 25 years, my life has evolved in a direction that I never could have anticipated. I moved back to the U.S because a family member required medical treatment. I passed the Massachusetts bar exam, completed a master’s degree in child development, and worked at Children’s Hospital Boston and at Dimock Center as an early intervention provider. I identified infants and toddlers who had early signs of Autism and mental illness. worked side by side with ABA (Applied Behavioral Health) providers and with social workers, treating children and families. Some of my clients had significant Autism, others had what was referred to as ‘Asperger’s’. Many of my clients had experienced significant trauma, including witnessing violence, drug abuse, homelessness, or extreme premature birth. I became interested in the relationship between trauma and mental illness in very young children.
I became interested in the field of special education advocacy when one of my early intervention clients was having difficulty obtaining services from the local school district. I offered to attend the meeting on the family’s behalf and they obtained the placement that they requested. I participated in several opportunities to learn special education advocacy and law, including the Parent Consultant Training at the Federation for Children with Special Needs, at the Mass Continuing Legal Education, Wrightslaw Training, and at Framingham State University.
I augmented my training by honing my conflict-resolution skills. I am an experienced divorce and small claims court mediator and I use these skills when I represent families at school meetings.
My in-depth knowledge of Autism Spectrum Disorder and mental illness is from classes, extensive reading. I completed training to lead parent groups for NAMI, the National Alliance on Mental Illness. As a LifeMAP Coach at the Asperger/Autism Network (AANE), I coach adults in interpersonal and vocational skills.