Focused Learners was founded by therapist and learning specialist Stephanie Weldon. The genesis of Focused Learners can be traced to Stephanie’s own childhood. As a young student, Stephanie suffered from ADHD and dyslexia. She had to develop systems to compensate for her slower processing speed. Looking back Stephanie recognizes that some of her greatest strengths actually came out of that extra work and the adaptability that she fostered from an early age. Focused learners are active learners.
As an undergraduate student at Syracuse University, Stephanie founded a nonprofit theater company for kids with developmental disabilities. She received the Chancellor’s Award for Individual Service for her work. Young Actors Workshop is still active today. People Like Me, a documentary tracking the theater company, was released in 2010 in celebration of IDEA’s 35th anniversary.
Stephanie began her clinical training in the trauma division of the Karen Horney Clinic. She also worked with GO Project as the director of GO Families, where she facilitated weekly support groups for parents of children with learning disabilities, Executive Function difficulties, as well as children with special needs. She worked with GO Project to earn a Robin Hood Grant to develop their after-school tutoring and mentoring program. Before entering private practice, Stephanie served as the learning specialist at The Chapin School.
Every successful student needs a plan, repeated modeling of the plan, and empathy. Successful intervention has to be rooted in empathy.Stephanie Weldon
After tutoring and mentoring students with learning disabilities for over 20 years and consulting for public and independent schools for over 10 years, Stephanie was fed up with the institutional and diagnostic focus on deficits rather than strengths. She wanted to help more children and their families in a more effective and enduring way. True to form, when Stephanie saw a need, she set herself to creating a solution. Focused Learners is the result of a career’s worth of her experience and years of planning. Goal achieved!
Several years ago, ABC News wanted to interview Stephanie as part of a story on adults with ADHD. After shadowing Stephanie in her daily life and observing her habits, it was determined that she was not a good fit for the piece. Why? Because the producers could not find enough evidence of a struggle with ADHD. Stephanie is a licensed therapist with several degrees. She owns her own private practice and sits on the board of several organizations. She has found her passion and has pursued it successfully. This is what Focused Learners is all about.
The program combines skills coaching with a therapeutic element. Our goal is to help children become fully integrated human beings who feel validated and confident in their own ability. How are we doing this? With empathy and a plan. We’ll equip your student with the skills to hone in on their true passions and to succeed both in the classroom and in the very competitive world beyond.