Over the last 15 years, I have had the wonderful opportunity of working with behaviorally and socially challenged children. At first, I worked with children with Autism while getting four years of intense supervision from Marilyn Nehls, an educational/behavioral specialist. Marilyn taught me about Red and Green behaviors and how to teach visually and concretely, at a time when such strategies were not so well-known yet. Over time, though, I discovered that the same strategies that worked so well with children on the Autistic Spectrum, when slightly modified, worked wonders with a very wide range of challenged children including students in regular education schools.
In 1999, I graduated from the College of Staten Island with a Masters Degree in Special Education. In my undergraduate program, also at the College of Staten Island, my dual majors were in psychology and education. I discovered that the same educational theories and teaching strategies that enabled academic success in students with learning disabilities, when correctly applied to teaching social skills and behavioral concepts, also led to social and behavioral success.
In 2005, I founded The Social Learning Institute to meet the needs of children with social and behavioral difficulties whose challenges needed creative ways to be addressed. The Institute trains professionals, educators, and parents to use the Red and Green Learning System, an innovative and highly effective social skills training program. The Institute sends trained individuals into homes and schools to work with the school and family systems.
Since 2003, my colleague Devora Esther Levovitz from Lakewood, NJ and I, have created various courses and workshops on The Red and Green Learning System, teaching social skills, using effective behavior management, autism spectrum disorders, self-esteem development, and related topics. The positive feedback from our workshop participants has encouraged us to continue creating as well as teaching new and practical workshops.
In our private practice, we use a team approach to effect change quickly and efficiently by training all team members to use the same methodology. By going into schools, classrooms and homes, it becomes apparent very quickly what modifications are necessary. Additionally, we can model strategies, observe the implementation of them, and provide immediate feedback to the team members so that learning takes place right away.
Most importantly, by continuing to work with children, teenagers, and young adults, we remain a student in the lifelong process of learning and discovering new and better ways to teach.