If you’ve landed on my website, you’ve probably had some experience with neurodivergent children. Quirky children with brains that seem to work differently from the norm. Children who need an unusual amount of scaffolding to accomplish simple looking tasks yet inspire us with boundary pushing insights and creations.
At best, you may have heard them described as gifted or as twice-exceptional.
At worst, as weird or as trouble makers.
Neurodiversity is the understanding that diverse neurological conditions (such as giftedness, autism, and dyslexia) appear as a result of normal variations in the human genome.
For nearly ten years I’ve made reaching these children my mission. I draw on my compassion as well as my personal and professional experience to help them understand who they are and how they learn. Then I translate that to the parents and professionals that care for them.
How people work and live is evolving rapidly. Many of the jobs people are doing today didn’t exist fifty years ago. We don’t know what the future will look like, but we know it belongs to the most innovative and critically-thinking children of today.
I work with parents, educators, and other professionals to answer one question:
How can we best prepare children for an unpredictable future?
My work with children is inspired by the experiences of the students and families with whom I work and by my own life experiences. I remember being very young and looking up at leafless branches against a cold autumn sky and wondering why they looked like the arteries I’d seen laced around the outside of the heart diagram we’d labeled in Biology class. I thought there must be a connection.
I also remember the sinking feeling in my own heart that something was wrong with me. I absolutely could not focus singularly on whatever subject was in front of me. I was constantly making connections and inferences inspired by whatever information was being presented to me. I was told over and over again that this compulsive thought process, as well as the need to share it, would be my downfall… and for a long time, I believed it.
I was well into adulthood when another educator pointed it out to me:
I’m a divergent thinker.
For several years, I led a micro-school in Oakland, CA, where I provided a unique and engaging learning environment that quirky children adored. My book, Micro-Schools: Creating Personalized Learning on a Budget, shares my heart as well as the philosophies and practices I developed while building these programs.
And Here’s the Professional Bio:
Jade’s training in Nonviolent Communication and her Montessori credential inspire her educational philosophies and practices. She graduated with a degree in Chemistry in 2002 from The Evergreen State College. Shortly after, she was awarded the renowned Fulbright Scholarship for study in Thailand. After a brief, successful yet unfulfilling career as a chemist, she made a switch to alternative education. Jade is a proud Gifted Homeschoolers Forum Ambassador and chemistry teacher for GHFO. She teaches STEAM classes for Vista Oaks Charter School and works individually with students and their families. Jade also consults through speaking and workshops to discuss the characteristics of neurodivergent children and how to develop strategies that best serve their education and social-emotional development. Recently she was honored by the California Association for the Gifted for distinguished service.
Jade’s educational coaching has made a huge difference in my son’s life. She has created an environment where he has thrived from the very first day. He’s engaged, productive, and creative. He’s enjoying subjects that before didn’t interest him. And he’s happy!Mother of a 10 year old boy
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