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Conversations with Dr. Sarah Allen

Today we’d like to introduce you to Dr. Sarah Allen.

Hi Dr. Sarah, thanks for sharing your story with us. To start, maybe you can tell our readers some of your backstory.
When I was younger, I would tell my dad that I dreamed of becoming a street sweeper (I really found the cleaning machines fascinating) or a hairdresser. Turns out, I would have been terrible at both. I can’t clean to save my life and I am the opposite of the type of creative and visual person you need to be to become a hairdresser. What I do, however, was follow my dreams.

I’ve always been an outside of the box kind of person. When I was studying psychology and corporate communications, I wanted to learn more about human behavior and the brain. When I was studying the human behavior and the brain, I wanted to learn about what happens when the brain gets damaged. Once I learned that, I wanted to how to optimize brain health. I never stayed in my lane. I wanted to learn more and do more.

When I became a neurosychologist in a medical setting, I felt limited. I was helping people identify brain-behavior relationships, assessing for diagnoses, and walking people through cognitive rehabilitation. Although it was rewarding, I still felt like I was in a box. When I had the opportunity to transition to working with kids in schools, I had to take it. I got to see first hand what worked to help kids’ brains grow and what didn’t. It was incredible to watch the growth in my students, and even more fun to watch my teacher’s grow in their ability to help their students when we added a brain science based approach.

I fell in love with applying brain science to raising kids. As my career matured, I had the opportunity to teach doctoral classes to help others learn these techniques, and I started my own practice called Brain Behavior Bridge. Our goal is to bridge the gap between behavioral and neuropsychological sciences, but I always call myself a “Brain Gal” who helps people raise happy, successful, connected kids. In my own practice, I can meet the needs of my individual clients and change my approach depending on their need instead of a pre-determined method. It’s this outside of the box approach that works so well.

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?
I’ve been through some things: I lost my first three children who only lived an hour, my mother battled cancer twice, my 29-year-old sister died of breast cancer. Then I got a divorce and moved right when the world shut down.

That shut down, gave me all this time with my own thoughts and time with my kids. I realized that we had been running so fast that we never slowed down to process everything that had happened. Not just that, but I realized that I had lost myself and lost my children. My kids needed their mom to up her game.

I learned that processing is a process and that we need to learn these skills. Without a plan to teach kids how to cope and adapt, they become adults who don’t know how to manage tough situations. Or, like me, they run so fast until something stops them in their tracks and they’re forced to confront things head on.

This is why I’m so passionate about raising happy, connected “little brains,” aka kids. As a pediatric neuropsychologist who’s studied the brain for over 15 years, I know the importance of connection for brain development. And not just connection to others, but connection to ourselves. After going through my personal struggles. I realized that the brain science I had studied paved the way for the development of a coping and adaptive process.

Now, my kids have their mom back, I can raise their little brains right, and the parents and teachers I work with have a plan to use with their little brains too. I always say that conflict breeds change. The pandemic was the conflict for me that helped me dig into the neuroscience research to find a method for gaining insight into who we are, why we struggle, how we think, and how to improve our function and performance.

I’ve been lucky enough to combine my personal experiences and professional background to write an international best selling book, Raising Brains, and to help so many moms mindfully raise healthy, happy, emotionally intelligent kids. It’s a gift to be able to do what I’m passionate about.

Alright, so let’s switch gears a bit and talk business. What should we know about your work?
Successfully and mindfully raising healthy, happy, emotionally intelligent kids is my passion.

As a mother and a pediatric neuropsychologist with over 15 years experience studying the brain, I’m interested both in helping kids as well as supporting the people who raise and educate them.

Whether it’s through neuropsychological assessments, program reviews, forensic testimony, or parent coaching, my role is to support, guide, and work as a team creating a community around kids! I serve children, parents, schools and teachers, to provide two main categories of services, consultations and trainings for school districts and as a parent coach.

I’m most proud of the course that I created to help moms raise their little brains. The BadAss Mom Academy helps moms create their own parent manual and learn the tools and techniques they’ve been looking for. We specialize in helping moms who’ve “tried everything,” “read all the books,” and feel like they need to find that thing that finally works. I’ve found that the brain science based approach is just that thing!

Is there any advice you’d like to share with our readers who might just be starting out?
Don’t be afraid to go outside the box. Follow your interests and your passions. I wish I knew that not everything has to be done the way it’s always been done.

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Image Credits
Dana Romano & Alyssa Timoteo

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