After working several years within the school system as a School Psychologist, Leslie realized that it was difficult and unlikely to advocate appropriately for the students she served without endangering her job as an employee of the school district.
Leslie witnessed first-hand the intimidations and helplessness of parents and their willingness to agree to whatever the director of special education recommended was in the best interest of their child. At school meeting, parents often sat with mixed emotions consisting of concerns, anger, fear and rage at a table filled with highly degreed professionals who were documenting the numerous problems of their child, while carelessly spitting out sophisticated educational terms and acronyms that parents were too ashamed to ask the meaning of.
As a former employee of a school district, Leslie was forced to sit back and watch the special education chairperson manipulate parents into giving full consent over to the school district for important decisions about their child's future and all too often without them fully understanding what they were signing. She noticed that the special education chairperson often put forth little or no effort toward addressing the needs of the students when the parent was known for not showing up or showing up late to scheduled school district meetings. Sometimes the school district chairperson would make significant mistakes that went un-noticed by the parent because they had no parent advocate at the meeting representing them.
Knowing that parents depended on her expertise, professionalism, intuitiveness, and knowledge, to make sure that the needs of their children were met, Leslie could no longer allow parents to be taken advantage of due to their lack of understanding of special education law. Leslie a special education administrator and school psychologist founded Kids First Evaluation & Advocacy Center, a special education preschool and school age related services agency with programs for special needs children. Kids First contracted with the State Education Department, Department of Health's Early Intervention Program, and Children and Family Services to help address issues that children with developmental needs were facing. Leslie left from Kids First in 1997 to take care of her aging parents and pursue her private practice.
Leslie specializes in parenting issues, child advocacy at CSE/CPSE and 504 meetings, early childhood disorders, and school related problems. As a member of the Sandwich Generation, Leslie also specializes in working with seniors and primary caregivers of aging parents. Leslie provides parenting workshops and counseling with children, adolescents, families and the gay community.
As a cognitive behavioral therapist, Leslie's therapeutic approach is to provide support and practical feedback to help clients effectively address personal life challenges. She integrates complimentary methodologies and techniques to offer a highly personalized approach tailored to each client. With compassion and understanding, she works with each individual to help them build on their strengths and attain the personal growth they are striving for.
In addition, Leslie has been the keynote speaker at local conferences and seminars, speaking on Child and Elder Care Abuse, The Sandwich Generation, Long-Term Care, The Emotional Turmoil of Divorce, Estate Planning in the GLBT Community, Parenting Issues, ADHD/ADD, Autism, Behavioral Intervention Strategies, CPSE/CSE and 504 Planning and Learning Disabilities.
Leslie has been an adjunct assistant professor at Farmingdale State Collge and Nassau Community College. She holds Graduate Degrees from Saint John's University, and Certificates of Advanced Studies from Hofstra University and the American Collge. Her Bachelor of Science Degree is from New York Institute of Technology, and Associate Degree from State College at Farmingdale.
Master of Science in School Psychology
Professional Diploma in School Psychology
Certificate of Advanced Studies in Education Administration
Advanced Institute for Analytic Psychotherapy
Licenses & Certifications:
New York State School Psychologist
New York City Supervising School Psychologist
New York State School District Supervisor
New York State School District Administrator
Licensed Life and Health Agent
Life Underwriting Training Certified Fellow
Professional Activities and Memberships:
President, IBO Special Needs Group
National Association of School Psychologist
Long Island Special Education Administrators
Long Island Speech and Hearing Association
Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development
National Association of Insurance Financial Advisors
National Aging In Place Council
Senior Networking Umbrella