Dr. Christine Powell: Interview w/ Canvas Rebel Magazine
STORIES & INSIGHTS
Meet Dr. Christine Powell, Founder and lead Education Therapist at LearningByConnecting Education Therapy
STORIES & INSIGHTS
We were lucky to catch up with Christine Powell recently and have shared our conversation below.
Hi Christine, thanks for joining us today. It’s always helpful to hear about times when someone’s had to take a risk – how did they think through the decision, why did they take the risk, and what ended up happening. We’d love to hear about a risk you’ve taken.
As a special educator for over 17 years, working in public schools and for a private college, I took a leap of faith and stepped outside the classroom, and started my private practice. My company, LearningByConnecting Education Therapy, coaches students with diagnosed and undiagnosed learning challenges.
It all started with one student I worked with during COVID. They struggled with focus, organization, and completing homework on time. Our weekly one-on-one sessions allowed me to understand their learning challenges fully, and I was able to apply learning strategies to bolster their skills in a meaningful and rewarding way. The student’s success was measurable, which is what we look for in educational data.
This risk proved to be a phenomenal experience as concerned parents now reach out to me when schools can not support their child’s learning differences. Many of my students experience learning barriers due to a diagnosis of ADHD, dyslexia, autism, and test anxiety, among learning issues. Now I get to connect with students and provide individualized learning plans with the ultimate goal of learning success.
Christine, before we move on to more of these sorts of questions, can you take some time to bring our readers up to speed on you and what you do?
I’m a mother of two children. At age 7, my son was diagnosed with ADHD, and soon after, my daughter with a speech delay. My undergrad was in Sports Medicine, so I knew very little about learning barriers but knew about brain science. I went back to school and earned a Master’s degree in Special Education, specializing in emotional and behavioral disorders to find out more about working with children with ADHD. A few years later, my son was identified as gifted, and I wanted to understand it, so I earned endorsements in gifted and talented education. I earned a Doctorate in Education. As my passion grew, I published my research, which gave me credibility, and became a Fulbright Scholar and did research in Singapore, making me an expert in this field.
I have worked in special education classrooms in five states, and two counties as my husband’s military orders as a Navy SEAL took our family across the globe. Moving to new schools enabled me to learn strategies and techniques from talented professionals in the field all over the world.
As my children moved through the school system and into college, I realized that a child’s success in school is not by chance; but by design. My perspective, backed by education and experience, sets my professional practice apart. I am working to educate parents about education therapy as a treatment for ADHD if they are concerned about medication as a prescription for attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder.
How’d you build such a strong reputation within your market?
Personal recommendations have filled my practice. Satisfied parents, teachers, students, and colleagues are the foundation of my success as a woman entrepreneur. Building relationships with school psychologists and physicians has been a key element in building a strong reputation as a trusted education professional in special education. My reputation is built on applying learning strategies before prescribing medication for students with ADHD and other learning issues. Helping students gain agency over their learning can be measured, but not overnight – students need the opportunity and space to learn and apply strategies for time management, test-taking skills, organization, following directions, and focus. Connecting with students in a learning space outside the classroom allows time to understand their unique learning profiles.
We often hear about learning lessons, but unlearning lessons are just as important. Have you ever had to unlearn a lesson?
While in my doctoral program, I was interviewed for a research study on ‘imposter syndrome. Until then, I had never heard of imposter syndrome, which I now know to be a psychological pattern that causes high-performing individuals to doubt their successes and perceive themselves as underachievers.
This experience made me reflect on my journey as a special education teacher and educational researcher. Despite my accomplishments in and outside the classroom, I often felt like an underachiever.
I had to unlearn my self-limiting beliefs and fully embrace my expertise. This allowed me to gain the confidence to move into my areas of strength. Ironically, this is what I do for my students.