Sue Garber, M.A.

My passion for working with children goes back to high school, when I volunteered to work with an 8-year-old boy who had been recently diagnosed with ADHD. That experience led to many more opportunities to learn about and spend time with children with learning, behavioral and emotional challenges.

As an undergraduate student at Kent State University, I had the opportunity to work with pre-school age children in Head Start, all the way up through students in middle school. I was the president of the Council for Exceptional Children and have continued to read and keep up with current research related to learning differences, teaching social skills, ADHD, autism, anxiety, depression, and the use of medication in treating children and adolescents. Throughout college, I spent summers working in a residential treatment center for emotionally disturbed children.

I earned an Master’s degree in Special Education and a K-12 teacher’s license at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. My student teaching was in a state psychiatric hospital, with inpatient children. This experience gave me so much insight into how children express their emotions through behavior, as well as ways to help them increase their ability to identify and label their feelings. It was during this time that I became interested in brain research and have continued to study the connection between physiological responses and emotions/behavior. I am fascinated with learning about how our brains function and how to apply this knowledge to helping children learn strategies for managing strong emotions. A part of my graduate education included research on social skills development in elementary school children. It was fun, as my position included walking around school playgrounds at recess, with a clipboard, observing how children engaged with each other and the types of conflicts that arose.

After graduate school, my family moved across the country from the Midwest to California. Having experienced winters in Iowa, then in Canada when my parents moved there for a few years, then back to Ohio and Wisconsin for college, it was an easy decision to follow my family after they relocated to warm, sunny California. I love being able to be outside almost any time, walking to many places, hiking in the redwoods, and being surrounded by natural beauty.

I completed graduate level training at the Parent Coaching Institute® in Seattle and am a PCI® Certified parent coach. I have received training in Positive Discipline (Jane Nelson) and have led PD parent groups. I am a huge fan of Michelle Garcia Winner, our local, yet internationally known Social Thinking Guru. I enjoyed learning about Social Thinking when I did clinical training with Michelle, at her clinic in San Jose.

I have three sons who have taught me about the joys and challenges of making and keeping friends, navigating playground dynamics, and many of the difficult situations that children encounter such as exclusion, teasing, bossiness, and betrayal by friends.

I am the Director of Social Skills Groups and Parent Education at Morrissey-Compton Educational Center, Inc., in Redwood City. As I have planned curriculum for many groups, I have become increasingly interested in helping kids read non-verbal cues and see situations from the perspective of other people. I love working with kids to help them figure out how they are feeling and to be able to label their emotions. It’s so exciting and empowering for kids when they learn about themselves and how to regulate their emotions, so that they make the impression on others that they want to make.

In addition to hiking, going to plays and festivals (pre-Covid), spending time with friends and family, I like to bake, play with my two cats, and ride my skateboard around town (usually to a destination like Starbucks)!

I’m very excited and feel so fortunate to join the talented and dedicated staff at ConnectEd! It is an honor and a joy for me to work with the children and families who I am looking forward to meeting soon!