Justin understands first hand many of the challenges of trying to navigate and thrive in a world that is often biased towards specific personalities and styles of learning.
Over the years he has learned the importance of choosing which battles to fight and that at times it is necessary to jump through hoops, conforming to what others and society asks, in order to accomplish personal goals. On the other hand, he also understands the importance of challenging the status quo and advocating for change, helping others to see the wisdom and creativity that can flow from the neurodiverse mind.
Justin was diagnosed at a young age first with dyslexia and then later with ADHD. He will never forget the feeling of being pulled out of class and walking to the resource room to receive specialized support. No matter how nurturing and kind the special education staff treated him, he couldn’t help feeling singled out and “lesser than.”
As a high school student, Justin was often bored and unstimulated by what was happening in class. Feeling disengaged in the classroom, he instead spent class time on the ski slopes and hanging out with other teens who had little interest in school.
However, by his junior year it became clear to him that the path he was on did not lead to the life he wanted. After a frank discussion with his parents, together they determined that a change was needed and Justin enrolled in a youth program in Maui Hawaii.
There he was surrounded by a team of young adult staff whose examples still influence his thinking today. He considers his time in Hawaii as perhaps the most important year in his life.
Justin returned from Hawaii with new found commitment and purpose. Hoping to provide the same spark to others that he had experienced himself he enrolled in college to study human behavior and looked for work where he could influence others.
Learning to harness the strengths of his bright and creative brain while developing ways to better manage his rigidity and distractibility, he transformed himself into a honors student; while at the same time getting his career started working with teens in residential treatment.