Dr. Kristen Eccleston: Empowering Through Gifted Learning

Dr. Kristen Eccleston: Empowering Through Gifted Learning

With a myriad of options available out there when it comes to schools and universities, students are often confused about making the right choices. This is where education consultants or academic advisors emerge as supporters to those aspirants who are seeking the best approach and opportunity to reach their education goals. Starting from finding educational institutions to applying and completing all necessary formalities, these experts can assist you throughout the process. Besides, these consultants can also help in guiding and supporting special students and taking care of their mental health needs. Dr. Kristen Eccleston, a neurodiverse teacher, Education Consultant, and Mental Health Advocate, works towards improving the mental health of those whose brains function differently in response to the educational setup.  

Early Life  

Dr. Kristen Eccleston has more than 15 years of experience working with adolescents in education. She is a National Board-Certified Teacher and an Exceptional Needs Specialist. Kristen has a Doctor of Education in Mind, Brain, and Teaching from Johns Hopkins University, a Master of Science in Special Education from Johns Hopkins University, and a Certificate in Educational Leadership and Administration from Hood College. Kristen was the creator and former Director of the Enhanced- Social-Emotional Special Education Services (E-SESES) Program for Montgomery County Public Schools and was a Montgomery County Special Education teacher for more than 15 years. She is currently an Adjunct Professor at Towson University , where she serves in Secondary and Special Education Graduate Programs. Kristen’s professional expertise also includes teaching at the secondary levels and designing and directing a specialized program for those with mental health needs.   

Being Neurodivergent  

Being ‘different’ can often be scary in our society, and youths mostly try to fit in with their peers for fear of rejection or getting chastised for their creativity, free spirit, or knowledge. Kristen understands that well as she was diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) at the age of 30 after she had been a Special Education Teacher for almost a decade. That is when her childhood and struggles with school started to make a lot more sense to her. Most of her educational career was traumatic and left her feeling inadequate when she compared herself to her neurotypical peers. She then decided to be a voice of encouragement and understanding for special students with whom she could relate and became, as she likes to call herself, a Neurodiverse Teacher. In 2021, she founded Eccleston Education Consulting, LLC to further her cause.   

Kristen’s area of research focuses on examining adolescent mental health impairments in the education environment, and her key differentiator is her first-hand knowledge and demonstrated competence grounded in real-life professional experience. Kristen is well-versed with neurodiverse needs and advocates for special needs students, which includes mental disorders such as autism, dyslexia, Down syndrome, etc. Her mission is to show everyone how amazing they are and what they have to offer this world, no matter what type of student or school experience they have had in the past. She uses her background in applying learning theory to break down the optimal way for the brain to absorb and translate information.   

Powerful Voices  

Kristen has extensive experience in creating and reviewing Individual Education Plans (IEPs). Her work as a Special Educator has equipped her with expertise in administering educational testing and creating individualized learning plans tailored to student success. She now serves as a director of Social-Emotional Services and Educational Consultant for Weinfeld Education Group, a company that works with special education experts to design and review individualized plans.  

Kristen showcases two kinds of podcasts on her website to provide motivation to the ones who need it the most. The first is “The Neurodiverse Teacher” podcast which explores something that is close to Kristen’s heart - neurodivergence.  Each episode showcases inspiring interviews from successful neurodivergent individuals who pushed past the fear of being different and offers listeners messages of hope and encouragement. Through this initiative, Kristen wants to encourage everyone with special needs to embrace their neurodiversity and break free from the shackles of being one in the crowd.  

Kristen’s second podcast – The Growth Perspective – which she co-hosts with Christopher King, explores the concept of creating a growth mindset and breaking free from a fixed way of thinking that allows a person to transform the way he/she sees or experiences the world. It sheds light on the constraints of personal bias and uses the stories of others to gain a deeper understanding of things.   

Breaking Away  

Leaving the classroom and starting a business was not easy for Kristen. She felt overwhelmed, both personally and professionally, and it took her two years and therapy to work around the challenges and feel herself again. She spent time talking to people with different life experiences and opinions, which helped her grow as an individual, and now she has better conversations with her inner self rather than feeling overwhelmed by self-defeat. Capitalizing on her knowledge, Kristen aims to make people feel good about who they are, no matter what their past looks like or whether they are smart or not. Having been the person who has herself faced the adversities of being different, she wants others to believe that their dreams are attainable and get past the fact that something is holding them back.   

As a word of advice to women entrepreneurs out there, Kristen only has one thing to say – always follow your dreams. “If you have a goal, go for it. Many people will say a lot of things; you will also feel discouraged along the way and might want to give up. Regret is a much harder sting than failure. Dive into what you want to do, and even if you fail, there will be lessons to learn. Do not let anybody stop you from making your dream a reality,” Kristen said, while speaking with WomLEAD Magazine.   

The Editorial Team

The Editorial Team

Hi there, we're the editorial team at WomELLE. We offer resources for business and career success, promote early education and development, and create a supportive environment for women. Our magazine, "WomLEAD," is here to help you thrive both professionally and personally.

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