About Sarah Wayland
Sarah Wayland PhD.
I received my Ph.D. in 1990 from Brandeis University in Cognitive Psychology; I have worked at Northeastern University, University of Maryland School of Medicine, and University of Maryland’s Center for Advanced Study of Language. More recently, I’ve earned my certification as an RDI Consultant.
I have been deeply involved with local organizations in both a professional capacity and as a parent. I have met countless providers, educators, and parents. My contacts can help you too. I am an active member of the Special Education Citizens’ Advisory Committee of Prince George’s County, Maryland having served on their board from 2007-2018, and I served on the executive committees of the Individual Differences in Learning Association and the Parents’ Place of Maryland. I was also a Board Member for The Arc of Prince George’s County for 4 years. I was appointed by the Maryland State Superintendent of Schools to serve on the Special Education State Advisory Committee from 2012 – 2015. I co-moderate an international listserv for parents of twice exceptional children (children who are both gifted and learning disabled), GT-Special (click on the GT-Special link in the sidebar), and I am a member of the GT/LD Network. I am also a Parents’ Place of Maryland Special Education LEADer of Prince George’s County.
I have helped organize numerous conferences designed to help parents and professionals learn more about ways to help their children, and, with Dr. Katharina Boser, have given presentations on the use of technology in supporting children with disabilities. Based in part on this work, Dr. Boser and I co-edited a book with Matthew Goodwin called “Technology Tools for Students With Autism: Innovations that Enhance Independence and Learning”. More recently I co-hosted the Parenting Autism Summit with Penny Williams. We interviewed 32 experts on parenting and autism and posted our interviews online so you can better understand and guide your child with autism.
I have taken many trainings that inform my approach to helping families. Those that have the biggest impact on my work include:
- RDI® (Relationship Development Intervention) – a developmentally sequenced family-focused program that helps children with autism and other social communication challenges learn the skills fundamental to making and maintaining meaningful relationships with their parents, other adults, and their peers – RDI ProgramCertified Consultant since 2013.
- Parent Child Journey – Developmental Pediatrician Dr. Dan Shapiro developed this parent education program to help parents identify the source of their child’s challenging behavior and learn what they can do about it – Parent Trainer since 2013.
- Collaborative & Proactive Solutions – Ross Greene’s non-punitive, non-adversarial, trauma-informed model based on the premise that challenging behavior occurs when the expectations being placed on a kid exceed the kid’s capacity to respond adaptively, and that some kids are lacking the skills to handle certain demands and expectations – 1-day workshop (2007) and 3-day Advanced Training (2015) in Collaborative & Proactive Solutions.
- PEERS® – a manualized social skills training intervention for kids and young adults with social challenges. I am certified as both a Young Adult Provider (2017) and a School Based Professional Provider (2018).
As the parent of two wonderfully exceptional children, I’ve learned a lot about how to get what my children need, and how to make sure my time and money are well spent. I want to make sure that no parent ever feels as lost and confused as my husband and I did when we embarked on our journey as parents. To that end, I have been working with Dr. Dan Shapiro to educate parents about effective strategies for raising their challenging children, while also learning about themselves.
While on our journey to help our children, my husband and I learned of a program, RDI, run by some very dedicated service providers in our local public school system. RDI was life-changing for our whole family; we are now able to teach our children the skills they need, within the rhythm of a normal daily life. This was especially profound for us, as we felt our lives had become anything but normal. Our experience with RDI drove me to become an RDI Consultant. I want to share what we have learned with other families, so I can give them what RDI gave us: Hope.
Watch this interview I did with Dr. Rachelle Sheely of the RDI Connections Center in March of 2014, where I talk about my background, my journey with autism and how I came to RDI. I also talk about the book I co-edited, Technology Tools for Students With Autism.