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Dawn Keller, M.Ed | CFD Educational Specialist (1986-2011)

Initially started forty years ago by two pioneering women, Sherry Launt and Vicki Christenson, Child & Family Development was and remains the premier, unique multidisciplinary therapeutic pediatric practice in Charlotte. My personal journey at C&FD began in 1986. It was then that C&FD began its expansion with the opening of its first “satellite” office on the other side of Matthews. It was housed on the 3rd floor of a new office building. There were five clinicians: one educator (me), one psychologist (John Simpson), one part time speech therapist (Sarah Lockhart) and one part time physical therapy assistant (Lynn Hill)! Thus began a period of enormous growth and development for me personally as well as the practice.

New clinics within the practice were developed. New options for treatment and new collaborations within the greater medical community of Charlotte flourished. We all felt the times were heady with an emerging understanding of differential diagnoses and treatment options. C&FD was on the “front lines” and it was exhilarating. At the time, I found that C&FD was the only “game” in town that could offer me, an educator, the opportunity to do work tailored to my strengths and to collaborate with and learn from so many talented therapists. All shared their knowledge generously as we worked with a common belief that together we can make a difference in the lives of the children and families we serve. This singular commitment to excellence remained the driving force that sustained me.

The joy of discovering how a child learns; figuring out how to unlock a child’s learning potential; discovering how best to teach a child to read; working with families as partners; and knowing when your job is done was my credo. Gaining such insights and nuggets of knowledge could only have happened for me within the atmosphere of trust, caring and togetherness that was C&FD’s commitment to excellence shared by administrative staff and therapists alike. The bottom line was to do good work with children and their families and to then reap the pure joy of seeing these children thrive and gain confidence. What a privilege. No price tag can be put on my own experience.

Do I miss my work at Child & Family Development? Oh, yes. Do I believe my work there is finished? Oh, yes. Do I believe that through others the legacy of the work remains? Absolutely! Thank you for this opportunity to reflect upon my 25 years at Child & Family Development.