WPFP3: "I Wouldn't Be the Same": Embracing Neuro-Differences with Pamela Clapp


In this Episode

When Pamela discovered her son had learning and attentional issues and her daughter had developmental differences, she found a new way to use her PhD in physics. Her practical way of looking at the world helped her appreciate and encourage her kids’ strengths – and accept them for being themselves.  In this thoughtful conversation, Pamela reflects on her naiveté at the beginning of her parenting journey and describes how her experience transformed her life. Her refreshing nuggets of advice and perspective on neuro-differences will inspire any frustrated parent or caregiver to try a new lens.

About Pamela

Pamela wears many hats as a teacher at the Corwinn-Russell School, a place which honors differences to help kids thrive and achieve. Her titles have included: Teacher of Academic Subjects, Head of STEM program, sometimes Head of the Science Department, other times teacher of Physics, Chemistry, Biology, Math, Gizmo Alliance, Study Skills, and Engineering.

Pamela received her PhD in Physics from University of Wisconsin. A specialist in working well with people, she builds rockets, potato guns, trebuchets and wears well the dual hat of teacher and alum parent.  She designs amazing costumes, has a fabulous fashion sense and a son at Wesleyan.  Skuggi and Rumo (her labs) also attend school regularly.

What You’ll Learn

  • How special education advocates often learn their job

  • A healthier way to look at a child who isn’t “typical” — or anyone

  • How fiction character (and witch) Granny Weatherwax of the Discworld series inspires Pamela to reframe challenges

  • How the bell curve can help you appreciate individual strengths and differences

  • What helped Pamela navigate tough times and safeguard her own mental health.

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Resources Mentioned

Kendra Wilde