My name is Downie, and I am a Professional Educational Therapist and Learning Specialist. As an undergraduate, I knew I wanted to take a career path in the field of education. I completed the Integrated Teacher Education Program (ITEP) and simultaneously earned a Bachelor of Arts in Liberal Studies with a specialization in Mathematics and Preliminary Multiple Subject Teaching Credential at the California State University, Northridge. My experiences in general education school settings made me realize how much I enjoyed helping students who were experiencing difficulties on their educational journeys. I then went on to earn a Master of Arts in Special Education with an option in Educational Therapy which prepared me to provide an individualized approach with a variety of strategies and tools when working with students. I have experience working with students with different learning profiles, including those with learning disabilities, suspected learning disabilities, Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), and challenges in executive functioning. Further, my specialization in Mathematics has allowed me to understand how to effectively teach math skills to learners of all abilities and to those with dyscalculia. Knowing that math is an area of stretch for many students, I love helping to break down concepts into manageable parts in order to relay the reasoning and processes behind math instruction.
As a lifelong learner, I continue to be committed to adding to my repertoire to best meet the needs of my students. Recently, I became trained as an Academic Life Coach through Coach Training EDU, an International Coaching Federation accredited program. One of my areas of specialization is working with students who are bridging from high school to college. As a Learning Specialist on a college campus, I work closely with college students to help them manage their courses, to develop higher-level studentship skills, and to be successful in their demanding university classes. I also have extensive experience working with at-risk Division I college athletes from diverse academic, socioeconomic, cultural, and ethnic backgrounds in the areas of reading, writing, study-skills, note-taking, test-taking, and goal-setting. These studentship strategies are also applicable and transferable to when a student graduates from a formal education, enters the workforce, and needs intact “life skills.”
What I enjoy the most about my role as an Educational Therapist is helping students become independent and successful learners. I believe in a holistic and strengths-based approach when working with students to develop academic skills and solid executive functioning skills. I love helping students identify their strengths and learning styles, while also helping to demystify their learning challenges. Working holistically with students, I also love helping students overcome other barriers that may be impeding learning such as motivation, lack of confidence, and a fixed-mindset. I look forward to continuing to build positive relationships with my students while guiding them to fulfill their goals. Seeing them grow and be successful in many aspects of their lives is always quite exciting and rewarding for both myself and my students.