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Early intervention refers to services that help kids from birth to age three with developmental delays. But what services are available after kids turn 3? The answer: preschool services. 

In this episode, we welcome Elisa Lundy. Elisa is a special education teacher who works in preschool classrooms in the New York City area. Listen as she:

  • Explains the similarities between preschool services and early intervention 

  • Shares how preschool services can help a childs social, emotional, and physical development

  • And tells us how families can access these services in their school 

Episode transcript

Julian: Early intervention typically refers to services aimed to address developmental delays or disabilities early on, to minimize their impact on a child's development. These services are provided to children, usually from birth to age 3. But what happens after kids turn 3? The answer is preschool services.

Today's guest is here to explain more about those services to us. So, OG family, we are back. Welcome to another episode of "The Opportunity Gap." On today's show, we're talking about preschool services. We have a special guest joining us, Elisa Lundy. Elisa is a special education itinerant teacher. She works in preschool classrooms in Brooklyn and Manhattan. Welcome to the show, Elisa.

Elisa: Hi.

Julian: Hey, hey, hey. So, thinking about, we're recording right now, and summer break is on the way for those of us that work in schools. Summer break is right there. What are you looking forward to for your summer?

Elisa: Well, I'm actually retiring at the end of June. So...

Julian: Woohoo! Congratulations.

Elisa: Thank you. This summer is a little unpredictable, but...

Julian: Wow.

Elisa: We'll see.

Julian: Retire, wow. So, what are your plans for retirement? You don't know yet?

Elisa: I don't know, I didn't want to, I've always been busy and worked my whole life. I didn't want to immediately fill the space with other stuff. So, I'm just gonna kind of attempt to chill for a bit and see what rises as a priority. And I'm still going to be working in the school that I'm in now, but on a consulting basis. So, that's something.

Julian: Got it, got it. Maybe some podcasting in your future?

Elisa: Oh well. OK.

Julian: All right. So, Elisa, I'm just interested to hear, again, retirement is amazing. I mean that's an accomplishment in and of itself. So thank you for all the service you've put in for the teaching that you've done. But just wondering, can you tell the listeners about your teaching journey and how did you get to this point?

Elisa: Yeah, I, well I guess I should say that I first got interested in special education back when I was in junior high school. And, they had teams of people working with this sibling of one of the students in my class, and I joined that team. Because he had to have certain therapies periodically throughout the day. And then when I went to college I majored in education, but mostly psychology.

And then I didn't, I wanted to work with parents and families, but I thought I needed a little more child experience under my belt. So, I wanted to teach first and get to know children. So I did my master's in early childhood special education, and I became a classroom teacher and then a director of a preschool program.

And then after my own children, I started, I was a SEIT, which stands for Special Education Itinerant Teacher, where you work with an individual child in a given classroom, could be anywhere. When I started teaching, I went from the Upper West Side to East New York.

Julian: Wow.

Elisa: It was quite a commute there. Yeah, I did a lot of reading. And then I've been a SEIT for the bulk of my career. And then I, and the now the assistant director of Rivendell School, and my responsibilities are mostly for the supervision of SEITs and our evaluation team.

Julian: Got it, got it. So, it seems like from early on, like you had some foundational experiences that kind of pushed you into building this entire career around special education and specifically like early education.

Elisa: Right. It's always been in early childhood. Yeah.

Julian: So, thinking about, you know, all the things that you've done in your career, what's the most rewarding part of your job?

Elisa: Oh, that's a tough call because I want to say, right, first of all, that it's when you see the progress that a child makes, it's just so fulfilling. But even when it's not just that, because even when a child's progress is very incremental, there's still that privilege of being that close to someone and to knowing them that intimately. And for families to allow that.

And every child being so different. I love the beginning of the school year where it's a mystery. You want to figure out "Who is this child and what are we doing here?" That's my favorite part. So.

Julian: I know, right? And I'm an administrator in high school, so I don't get to work with the babies, even though they call them babies still, but they're babies and big bodies. But, you know, you get to work with the younger ones, and I'm sure it must be so cool to just see how they develop so quickly, right? When they're little, it just seems like they go, they just get so big, so fast. And that must be such an amazing experience.

Elisa: It's very fun.

Julian: So, really, let's get into the crux of having you on because your expertise is so vast. But I think in this specific area, this is something that a lot of our listeners have been asking for, just more information. So, you know, I was doing some preparation for today's episode, and I started reading up a lot more on early childhood services, and I found a lot of similarities between these types of services, and some would call preschool, as you said in New York, that they're called preschool.

In Pennsylvania, we call them early childhood services or early learning. But just thinking about the similarities between these services and early intervention. So, for our listeners, can you differentiate between the two, like what is the difference between preschool services or early learning services and early intervention?

Elisa: On the surface, the services are pretty similar, I think. Early intervention is for children 0 to 3 and preschool services are for 3 to 5. But the main difference is early intervention is a medical model, and it's sponsored by the Department of Health. And preschool services are sponsored by the Department of Education, and they are school-based services.

Julian: Interesting. So, school-based versus like the medical world is one of the big differences.

Elisa: Yeah.

Julian: Got it.

Elisa: So, in early intervention they can address all different kinds of things that are going on with the child. And in preschool, they're primarily concerned about what's interfering with their ability to take advantage of the curriculum in the classroom.

Julian: Got it. Got it. So, thinking about that. I'm just wondering for, you know, my own knowledge as a parent, obviously, like we, we're teachers. And so my wife and I, we're very much the people that read all the books. You know, we had all the books before the child was born. And we have the American Pediatric Association, that giant handbook that they have or what to expect when you're expecting. We had that one.

And, you know, we would kind of tick off the different developmental points that the kids should be hitting as they were progressing. And so I'm thinking, as you know, those of us that have gone through that, when I think back, I'm not sure if I would have known, like if and when I needed to seek out any of these services. So, just from your own experience, what do you think in terms of parents navigating when they should seek them out?

Elisa: I often have parents talk to me about, you know, feeling bad that they didn't do something sooner. And I keep telling them they're right along with the actual principles of special education, which is development. You have to let a child develop. You don't want to just jump on everything and micromanage everything you know your child is doing. You want them to have a chance, and you want to see if it's developmental and will change over a certain period of time.

And at some point then if it's not changing and your teachers are concerned and you're seeing that the things that you would typically do as a parent aren't helping the situation, then it's time to think about getting an evaluation, not necessarily to get services, but to get answers.

Julian: Yeah. And I like the idea of not just going straight to "I need something" but more seeking out help from somebody that specializes in it so that you can figure out "Is this a thing or is it not?"

Elisa: Right.

Julian: That makes a lot of sense.

Elisa: A lot of parents go to their pediatrician too, you know. Who, they vary in their responses. But yeah.

Julian: And again, the pediatrician is really the first point of contact for a lot of us. And, you know, knowing that relationship is so, so important, having that communication with the pediatrician is really incredibly fundamental.

Let's go into your expertise, right? So, I asked you a little bit about early intervention. But I want to really hear about your expertise related to preschool services. So, can you describe for the listeners and for myself what are these services often look like? What would the services you specialize in, what would they look like? Can you give us some concrete examples?

Elisa: Well, as I said, the Department of Education here operates on the federal law of least restrictive environment. So they want to give as few services as possible because kids are supposed to be educated as close to the norm as they can manage. So, they have certain criteria that they start with saying, "Is the child OK in his classroom?" If not, then what about if we add a related service such as speech therapy, occupational therapy, physical therapy, or counseling, other related services?

And if that's enough, good. And if not, the next one is a SEIT, which is a master-level special education teacher who goes into the classroom and works with the child and the teachers in the room and tries to bridge the gaps. Beyond that, there's an integrated classroom, kids with services, and kids without learning together with a general ed teacher and a special ed teacher. And beyond that, there are special classes of varying size for kids who need a smaller, more intensive environment.

Julian: Got it. So, thinking about all the different ways it can vary. And you know, Elisa, you've been in the classroom for a number of years and this is the last one.

Elisa: Maybe not.

Julian: But thinking about all the time that you spent providing preschool services in your own classrooms. Can you give us just some things that parents should be looking for? Like what, if they walk into a classroom like yours? What kind of things should they be looking for as examples of services that are really helpful and are going to work?

Elisa: Are you talking about a parent who's trying to find a school that would work for their child?

Julian: Yes.

Elisa: Yeah. Well, I'm particularly partial to relationships between the adults and the children. So I like to see, I think most learning comes from that trusted relationship. So, I would be most looking at the relationship between the children and the teachers. How welcome parents are, you know, that kind of thing.

But in the classroom, it varies so much because you've got the child's goals and what he's supposed to be addressing. You've got the classroom culture. You've got the parents' desires. You've got everything to consider so the services can look differently. But there are few things that are foolproof, I think, if you're looking for a classroom.

One is really clear schedule and expectations. Not too many transitions going from one thing to another. You know, where kids have to stop what they're doing. They hate that. Like, they don't like that. It makes trouble.

Julian: No, but having like, predictability like that, I say the same thing at the high school level too, so.

Elisa: Yeah, absolutely. I think visuals help a lot.

Julian: And especially for little ones, like they need to see these things.

Elisa: Yeah.

Julian: It's a great reinforcement.

Elisa: And then I think opportunities for small groups, some kids do so much better with just one other child or two other children. So, not everything with everybody doing all the same thing at the same time.

Julian: So seeing like multiple stations in a classroom is something I would definitely be looking for as well.

Elisa: Yeah.

Julian: Thinking about preschool services, and again, I'm talking and it's bringing me back to when my own kids were that age, you know, the development of their social, emotional, and physical development is so crucial in that 0 to 5. You know, I don't know the exact statistic, but it's one of the highest and fastest times that your brain develops throughout the course of your life.

And so, all of these things social, emotional, physical, it's all happening so fast. Thinking about that, how can preschool services really help to foster all of those things? Social, emotional, physical development. How can high-quality preschool services help develop those in your opinion?

Elisa: Well, I think all of that contributes to your social well-being, right? Being physically active, engaging in things that are of interest to you. Having the opportunity to do it with other people. And I would hope that special services would work that way, using things that the child is interested in pulling in other children who have the same interests. Adding physical components. You can't have children sitting all day long in preschool.

Julian: No. You cannot.

Elisa: You can try, but you wouldn't be successful. So, throughout everything you're doing and then you're modeling a relationship with children. That's what I talked about, the importance of relationships with the adults in the room. You're modeling what it looks like to have a social relationship where you can talk about your feelings or what you did or what you want, or, what made you mad.

Julian: Thinking about your own career, Elisa, you've gotten to see so much over the course of the time you've worked in different schools. I'm wondering like, what have you noticed as some of the larger changes that have happened in preschool services since you started to now?

Elisa: That's a good question. I think they have become more child-friendly. Not everybody do everything at the same time. I think the current kind of buzzword is "neurodiversity," you know, and I think the awareness of that is going to be, going to have a big payoff, because we used to talk about learning styles, but it's more than that. It's the way children think and the way they can receive information.

It used to be every child had to sit crisscross, you know, at circle time, and now they're kind of letting kids, as long as you're paying attention, you can lie on your belly if you want to. You know, and I think that all of that is a change that I've seen for the good.

Julian: I've just finished, I'm going to finish my 20th year in education, right? And so, over that time period, you know, things have definitely, they've changed. We talk a lot about the stigma of special education that was far more prevalent earlier in my career to now, and just the ability for our families to have so much information at their fingertips for how to advocate for their children and how to make sure that things in the classrooms are going the way that they should be going.

I'm wondering, to your point, thinking about the changes that have been happening for the good. Have you noticed technology making an impact at all on preschool services?

Elisa: In preschool, in my experience, we don't really use technology too much, with one exception, and that is children who are on assistive technology, so it's a talking device that they can use so that they can communicate with their friends and teachers. And those have been really, evolved so much over the past few years from something that was quite cumbersome and difficult to now it's almost like using an iPad, you know, it's a very. So, that has been a big change.

And technology, all the other children in the class want to use it too, you know, so that they can have a friend talk to them on it even if the other friend doesn't need it. So.

Julian: So, families listening, you know, Elisa just brought up a really good point, thinking about your own process as your, if you are in the process of trying to gather preschool services, one thing that you can ask about is the availability of assistive technology.

It's something that is prevalent, you know, across the country and in many classrooms. It can help with language development. It can help with tactile skills. It can help with fine motor skills, like there's so many different things that can be aided with assistive technology. It's something that you should definitely be looking out for.

Going back to the parenting side of things, right? You and I are both parents, and I remember that a lot of my friends and I were having kids at the same time, right? And inevitably, we would compare a little bit like, "Oh, my son started walking when he was 12 months old," and "My daughter started crawling when she was six months old." And "Oh, wait, she's not crawling yet. And she's 15 months, like what's happening here?"

And, you know, I remember the books would tell you these certain times that these things should be happening. And we had this phenomenal pediatrician, Doctor Karten, and shout out to Doctor Karten at Villanova, she would always talk us off the ledge and say, "Listen, your child's going to develop in the way that they are ready to develop. They have their own timeline," but it's still be really hard not to compare.

And so, thinking about this particular situation where this is just beyond the normal development of a child, like this is where things that are needed are a little bit extra. In your opinion, Elisa, what is developing on time look like? Is there one answer or does it depend on the child? Like was Doctor Karten wrong or what do you think?

Elisa: No, not wrong. Each developmental milestone has its own bell curve of when it occurs. For example, speech has probably the widest bell curve because kids can talk, start talking, I don't know right off the top of my head, but something like from ten months to two and a half, you know, it's a big wide range. Others have a much smaller range.

That's one reason why the evaluations are so helpful, because they can tell you if it's out of range, you know, and I think once you get in the out-of-range area, sometimes kids still need a little more time. There might be a family history of late development. So, I think the answer to that is check your own Doctor McKart, Doctor Karten, you know, and to see what's happening.

Julian: Yeah, you check with your doctor. And again, you know, inevitably a lot of us are going to compare. But I think as Elisa is saying, there's so many different variables involved in how kids develop. So, there isn't really a specific timeline. But I always tell people, you know, trust your intuition. Like you as a parent, for whatever reason, you know, you have that child and that completely changes your mentality, that caretaker kind of mode just kicks in and your intuition tells you, like, "Maybe I do need to get this checked out a little bit more." And that's where checking in with the pediatrician is there.

Elisa: Yeah, I agree, and evaluations will just get you the answers. It doesn't commit you to anything. It's free of charge. And we see all the time kids where you know, close to 3, they're not talking. You do the evaluation and you find out that their language really still is within normal limits. But if you tested them six months later, it might not be true, because four-year-olds, as you know, talk way more than they do three-year-olds. So, you know, at least you have the answer for them. And they'll tell you if you should come back or if you're over-worrying.

Julian: Yeah. No, that's very true.

Elisa: And your show is called "The Opportunity Gap," right? And that's one of the things that really, I think addresses that. Because these evaluations through the Department of Education are free to everyone. And you find out early if there are gaps that need to be addressed. You know, so it's, yeah.

Julian: You must have been reading my mind because that was going to be my next question.

Elisa: Sorry.

Julian: No, no. Not sorry. No, that just means we're going exactly where we should go. Yes, the show is called "The Opportunity Gap." And, you know, the basis of the show is really about addressing the intersectionality between special education services across the board and kids of color, kids and families of color.

You know, knowing your experience — and that's why we wanted you on here specifically because you've worked in one of the most diverse cities on the planet. And so, you've had this wide just experience and spectrum of people that you've come in contact with throughout your career. And I'm wondering, knowing what you know about preschool services, are they accessible to families of color? Like, do you feel like they have been accessible?

And you already answered the question about the cost, it's free. It's free. It's all free. Let's say it one more time so everybody can hear in the back, it is free. But just realistically thinking about the time that you've spent in the city, in Manhattan, Brooklyn, East New York, everywhere. Are these services accessible to people of color?

Elisa: They are. When a parent contacts the Department of Education, they send them a packet with a list of evaluation sites. Then they can make their own choice. And not only are the evals free, but the services are free, also, so throw that in there.

So, when we get a call from someone looking for an evaluation, we have no idea. We ask them what school they're in because we have to send people to observe, but we have no idea what color, who we're talking to, what their income is, what their job is. That's never asked in the eval. They get the same evaluations. Everyone does. Everyone gets the same meeting. Everyone gets the same services. We've sent SEIT teachers to every kind of school on the spectrum, in every kind of neighborhood, so.

Julian: Do you find that certain demographics access the services more than others? Meaning, do you find that maybe wealthier districts access it less or more, or have you seen any difference in that?

Elisa: I don't really know how to answer that because it's also weight off with wealthier districts might also seek private services more, or they're in schools that don't allow services in sometimes. So, I really couldn't answer that. I know I've been in various districts in Brooklyn. Yeah. I'm not, I don't.

Julian: Wait, so there's also private services that can be acquired as well?

Elisa: Yes. People who want to, don't want to go through the Department of Education or they don't want a full eval. They know it's speech, for example. Yeah, you can pay yourself for services. There are clinicians all over.

Julian: Interesting and I wonder how that impacts the quality of service if people think, or maybe it doesn't impact it?

Elisa: I don't think so, because most of the providers that I know anyway do some private and some public. So, it's the same providers.

Julian: Got it. But they're just choosing to pay out of pocket as opposed to accessing what the department has?

Elisa: Yeah, to pay out of pocket, or because situations like it's a ten-month service and they want to get things during the summer for their children, which are not mandated by the department of Ed, they might pay for it privately or different situations.

Julian: So, the services only occur during the school year. It's not a summer thing then?

Elisa: There is a 10-month IEPs, September to June or 12-month IEPs, so summer is considered a separate service, so, you're not automatically eligible for it unless there's certain diagnoses you know, or severely, children who are having severe issues who would automatically get it.

Otherwise providers write justifications to say why they think they would need it during the summer, why it would be detrimental to miss the time.

Julian: Interesting.

Elisa: It's because it's based on a school model. School model, they don't get summer services, you know, unless you really are behind, right? Same idea. But preschool doesn't work that way. Preschools generally 12-month program. You know, kids.

Julian: Exactly. Yeah, and that's why I was wondering because having ten month and then having that gap...

Elisa: Yeah.

Julian: Could be very detrimental to families, especially after having services and then having it cut off right.

Elisa: Right. And when the child is in the same school, they just feel abandoned, I think. But, so that is a little bit of a mismatch. But anyway.

Julian: Thinking about, you know, going back to the cultural differences side of things. My mother is African American, my father is, Cuban. So, I grew up in a multi-ethnic background. My wife is Caucasian, and so my kids have like a mixture of everything. And there's definitely cultural differences in the way that people choose to raise their children, right?

Like just it's stated it's, there are definitely things that are similar, but across all the cultures, whether it's in Cuban culture, there's certain things that we did in Black culture, certain things we did. My wife and her Scottish culture, certain things that she does.

I'm wondering from your experience knowing that you got to go all across Manhattan, all across Brooklyn, thinking about that, how do these cultural differences, like how did they impact the work that you did in providing some of these childhood services? Like how did you navigate having to work with all these different types of cultures and different ways of rearing children?

Elisa: Well, first, it's fun to learn about them because they're, in terms of cultural differences, I don't think there's any wrong way. It's just different.

Julian: I love that you said that. I love that you started by saying "I wanted to learn."

Elisa: Yeah.

Julian: I'm sorry to cut you off. I just really, I love to hear that, when people say that.

Elisa: That's OK. I often tell the teachers I supervise, "If you're not learning, you're doing it wrong." Go back and change, because something's not right. And they, you need to understand them as a teacher, because when you're asking parents to work with you on strategies, it has to be something they can do and will do, you know, not something that's so like, "I'll never do that."

And there are certain things, like if you just take a simple example like eye contact, which a lot of kids will have as a goal, especially kids who are on the autistic spectrum or other thing, in some cultures, it's impolite to make eye contact with an adult if you're a child.

Julian: Yes.

Elisa: So, making the child do it or asking the parents to help with that is not going to work. That's all.

Julian: And that takes having like the knowledge of the different cultures to understand those nuances. And so, going back to what you said, like that's the learning that you have to do your homework before you start working with different people.

Elisa: Or you have to build a trusting enough relationship that they will tell you like to say to a parent "This is what I think he needs. Does that work for you? Does that fit? There's like, is that something you can do? Why not? Or why?" You know, to open that kind of dialog where you can really talk together about what you can do as a team for that child.

Julian: Did you find any resistance to some of the services that you provided over the years?

Elisa: I think initially sometimes parents are a little worried, but mostly by the time they've gotten to this point, they are happy to have people who will work with them and help them figure out what's going on. I haven't, I work with people with good intentions. I think parents know that. I don't know what it would be like otherwise.

But I think the first thing we try to do is to really build that relationship, because without that, you're not going to have, be able to work with families. You know, they're going to be resistant because they don't know who you are, and you're asking them to entrust their child to you. It's a big ask.

Julian: Yes it is. It is. And for all of us that are in education, that's such an honor that we hold being able to work with the most important people in a family's life.

Elisa: Yeah.

Julian: So, I agree with you 100%. It's a really big responsibility, but I think it's one of the best ones we can have.

Elisa: Yeah. And I think, you know, it's so, sometimes it's not uncommon — you probably hear it too — that the child is so different at home than at school. So, the parents may not be seeing the child that you're seeing in the school. And both are right. I'm different at home than at work, you know?

Julian: No. That's very true.

Elisa: Children can be too. And that it's not an interesting question as to who's right. The interesting question is how does a child perceive that? And can we tell him that? Like, "Wow, you're really different at home than at school. What are you thinking? You know, do you feel happier at home? Is there something at school or do you feel," you know, whatever it is. But that's the more interesting question is what's, why is that true? And is that OK? ‘

Julian: So true. So, so true. Elisa, I could talk to you forever. But I do have one last question before we close out. I'm just thinking about summarizing all the things we've talked about, the differences between early intervention and preschool services or early learning services, how to go about identifying things that are happening in classrooms where services are being provided. Thinking about the wealth of diversity for cultural differences and how those impact the work that we all do.

I'm wondering, you know, if nobody listens to anything that we said, but they have to walk away with, "This is how I go about getting services," do you have any clear steps and or recommendations for parents or families that are seeking out preschool services? If you have any resources or any specific steps, that'd be really helpful.

Elisa: In New York, anyway, the step is to contact your Department of Education school district and ask them for an evaluation site. That is the first step. I don't think anybody wants to give services that are not necessary, and I believe firmly that our families want what's best for their child, and so do these people who are working with them because they're invested. You know, and I know there are lots of jobs you could do if you were only interested in making money. Education typically isn't one of them.

Julian: Not one of them. Not one of them.

Elisa: Mostly people are here because they love this work and they really care about the kids. So, do what, parents need to do what they need to do in order to be able to trust people. But when they can, then really, you know, work with them. Take the responsibility for explaining everything you know about your child, because that helps everyone to know what they like, what they don't like, what they say about things. You know, what they did over the weekend, all that stuff helps.

Julian: Yes.

Elisa: And in the meetings, too, with the Department of Ed, when you're getting services, to just be honest about your, really what's worrying you. I think sometimes parents come in thinking they need like a legal strategy. And I often say, "Just be the parent, you know, let it show and let, bring that child to life because evaluations can be good, but it's words". And they need to change that child into a hologram, you know, fill out so that the people who are thinking about services know them better.

Julian: Yes. Any specific parent groups or family sites or anything that you'd recommend people check out, even if they're based in New York or outside of New York?

Elisa: Well, here, it's interesting because, sometimes I talk to, there are lots of parent blogs and, you know, that kind of stuff where parents talk to each other and, you know, talk about what where is good and where is not good and things like that. But, I don't know that those can vary, as you know, depending on who's riding them and who's adding to it.

The Department of Education here actually has a really good website which you can find out everything they describe, each service, each step of the way. And the other group that has great information is called "Advocates for Children." And they also outline the whole process, they tell you how to write that first letter to the DOE to get the package. And they have been, they have been really helpful to parents. They run workshops and things. They have a lot of resources as well.

Julian: Awesome. Awesome. Well, I just have to say again, I really appreciate you taking the time to come on and just tell us your story. Tell us about your expertise. I learned a lot. I know I have my own kids, but I'm a high school based in the education world, so I'm always learning more about what it's like to provide services early on.

Julian: Yeah.

Elisa: I do believe that if we can, as families and as educators, really focus on the beginning, it can be transformational for the rest of the journey. So, I just appreciate the work that you've done. And, you know, just on a personal note, anytime I come in contact with an OG or somebody like yourself that's been in the game for so long, I just want to give you your flowers and so thank you for all the work you've done.

Honestly, like it really, it means a lot to me to come in contact with people that have dedicated their lives to this work, and knowing that you're coming up on retirement. Just good job and thank you for doing the work that you've done.

Elisa: Well, thank you. And thank you for being so informative for parents because they often don't know who to turn to. So, it's good to have a good source of information.

Julian: Yes, yes, yes. Well, Elisa, again, thank you so much for joining us. OG family, "Opportunity Gap" family and listeners everywhere, please be sure to check out the resources in the show notes. There's a lot of great gems in there. Until next time, take care OG family. Thank you.

Elisa: Thank you so much, Julian. It was a pleasure talking with you.

Julian: Thanks so much for listening today. We love hearing from our listeners. So if you have any thoughts about today's episode, you can email us at And be sure to check out the show notes for links and resources to anything we mentioned in the episode.

This show is brought to you by Understood is a nonprofit organization dedicated to empowering people with learning and thinking differences, like ADHD and dyslexia. Learn more at

"The Opportunity Gap" is produced by Tara Drinks and edited by Daniella Tello-Garzon. Our theme music was written by Justin D. Wright, who also mixes the show. Ilana Millner is our supervising producer. Briana Berry is our production director. Neil Drumming is our editorial director. Our executive directors are Laura Key, Scott Cocchiere, and Seth Melnick. Thanks again for listening.


  • Julian Saavedra, MA

    is a school administrator who has spent 15 years teaching in urban settings, focusing on social-emotional awareness, cultural and ethnic diversity, and experiential learning.

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