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Community Highlights: Meet Nicole Kaplan of empowerED Learning

Today we’d like to introduce you to Nicole Kaplan.

Hi Nicole, we’re thrilled to have a chance to learn your story today. So, before we get into specifics, maybe you can briefly walk us through how you got to where you are today?
I have been an educational therapist for 20+ years. The story of how I became an educational therapist is long but to sum it up it had everything to do with my own struggles in school despite having the cognitive ability to succeed.

Over the years, I noticed a need for parents, one I wanted to fill. On a consistent basis parents were seeking guidance on what to do, who to see, and frankly, just getting started on this new journey with their child. I remember being in this exact position trying to find the right type of help for each of my own kids. Despite the knowledge I have on these topics, I needed help when it was my children and I wished there was one place I could have gone to have all my questions answered and needs to be met…from parental guidance to student support. empowerED Learning was born out of a personal need.

Alright, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
Is there ever a smooth road? I have experienced bumps, turns, pot-holes, and road closures along my journey. The most significant roadblock I faced was me, and it all boiled down to one thing, self-confidence. One day, it just clicked, and I started practicing what I preached to all the families I worked with

Like my clients, I initially found myself using every excuse in the book prohibiting me from my own success. Once I started to walk the walk I set forth on my journey creating and fulfilling a much-needed service. I no longer used money, time, resources, and fear to paralyze me, causing me to be unable to move forward.

Great, so let’s talk business. Can you tell our readers more about what you do and what you think sets you apart from others?
I slowly, then rapidly grew empowerED from essentially a one-service business to a company offering many different but related types of services. Our services help students and parents bridge gaps between schools and students’ academic needs. The skills we provide not only apply to academics but also apply to life beyond school. My goal is for each student to be prepared to live an independent, confident, and happy life by obtaining the skills they need to function as young adults in this big world.

empowerED specializes in providing customized tools and strategies for students + guidance for parents to help students confidently perform up to their ability and achieve their optimal learning potential. We do this using a holistic multisensory approach, ensuring each client’s specific needs are met and collaborating with the crucial players in each unique case.

Our number one priority is to help students, families, schools, and various parent groups navigate the world of education specific to their individual needs.

empowerED is unlike any other educational company out there. When our clients first contact us, they often feel lost, confused, and overwhelmed with what is going on concerning their child’s academic and social-emotional well-being. Our goal is to help parents/guardians navigate these situations. empowerED’s carefully vetted staff and qualified professionals can help with most inquiries that come our way.

As a parent, I understand the feeling of being completely overwhelmed, trying to navigate finding the best professionals possible to help my child. On top of it all, trying to coordinate all professionals involved such as teachers, therapists, psychiatrists, speech therapists for collaboration. The job can feel endless. My goal has always been to build a trusted place for families to receive those services under one roof, allowing communication and collaboration to exist flawlessly. We partner with our families on their journey, helping students grow confidence and integrate new strategies into their academic and social lives. It does take a village.

I am most proud of where empowerED has grown. We are now a full-service place where parents can go and get the answers they are seeking and appropriate services for their children. There is now no more need for parents to get on the phone with a zillion different professionals and piecemeal a plan together on their own. We partner and guide parents through this process and provide the services your child needs and if your needs are out of our wheelhouse we will help clients find the right professionals. It makes me feel great knowing I can bring a sense of relief to parents + students.

We offer a multitude of services. empowerED began offering new services out of demand. I started as an educational therapist working by myself and for myself. There was such high demand I hired learning specialists to work for me. When parents began asking for tutors to help supplement their child’s work, I hired tutors. The story continues. Today empowerED offers not only educational therapy, learning specialists, and tutoring services, we provide services for those needing help with executive functioning, autism spectrum disorder, pre + post-academic assessments, 504 + IEP advocacy, financial intelligence training for students, essay writing, ACT + SAT prep, a multitude of workshops, a unique homeschool experience, and consultations. Be on the lookout for empowerED’s
masterclasses and YouTube channel as well.

Is there any advice you’d like to share with our readers who might just be starting?
To parents starting on their journey to getting help for themselves and their children…I recommend speaking to your friends. Work of mouth connections is better than what any yelp review may say. I would also speak with your school administration as they should have qualified professional contacts. Do your homework and ask all questions. I also highly recommend not having too many cooks in the kitchen. That will be confusing. Hire someone you trust and put faith in what they do. Understand the process and be a part of the process with your child/children and of course, reach out to us as we will happily speak with you.

To professionals just starting out as an educational therapist…I highly recommend working for someone for a few years before jumping off on your own. The one thing they did not teach me in graduate school is the business aspect of having a private practice and the learning curve was significantly bigger than I imagined. Not only that, it was a financial commitment. Learning from a veteran is one of the best things I ever did.

It is also crucial for therapists to work hard not to take home the angst of their clients. We are a catalyst to the clients’ success, but we cannot make it happen. Even though we see a student’s potential, it does not mean the student sees it.

So many factors go into a client reaching their full potential. There will be times when a student is not ready to take the necessary risks to make the needed changes. Do not waste the parent’s money or your time. They will come back when the student is ready, and it is best to always set the student (and yourself) up for success.

Someone once said to me… you can take all the ingredients of a cake (flour, sugar, eggs, butter, etc.) and mix them in a bowl to make your cake, but it is the energy of the oven that makes the cake. We do not make it. We just put the ingredients together. The energy makes it happen.

I am always up for speaking with aspiring Educational Therapists.

Contact Info:

Image Credits:

Crystian Montfort: @montfortphoto

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