About Dr. Body

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During my 20 years as an Academic Dean at Mount Holyoke College (South Hadley, Massachusetts), I have worked with literally hundreds of students to help them understand their learning strengths and challenges, develop academic skills, explore technology, and advocate for reasonable accommodation under the law.  I have also been in private practice in the Pioneer Valley for that same amount of time, working with students and consulting with Disability Service Providers at Smith, Hampshire, Amherst, and Williams College, as well as, the University of Massachusetts-Amherst. I also worked with art students as a consultant and Learning Specialist at the Massachusetts College of Art and design. I have experience working with high school students from 9th grade on up, as well as,  graduate students, non-traditional aged students going for their associates/bachelors degree, as well as, professionals in the world of work.

Back in 1988, I was inspired to return to school for my doctorate in Special Education and Higher Ed. Administration at the University of Massachusetts- Amherst because of my work with Dr. Gertrude Webb and the Faculty of the Program for the Advancement of Learning (The PAL Program) at Curry College in Milton, Massachusetts.  Their focus was on meta-cognition, critical thinking, and academic/social skills building.  The focus of my doctoral studies at the University was the assessment and treatment of learning disabilities and attention deficit/ hyperactivity disorder in adolescents and adults with an emphasis on how those concerns play out in a higher educational setting.  I completed my doctoral studies and defended my dissertation (Students with Learning Disabilities in Higher Education) in 1993.  During my time at the University, I was Casemanager for the Learning Disabled Student Services, participated in assessment internships, as well as, taught the study skills and Introduction to Special Education courses.

When I work with students, my focus (like the PAL Program) is on helping them understand their learning strengths and challenges; what is going to get them through school, as well as, what is getting in their way, both cognitively and emotionally.  This personal understanding helps students build confidence and self-advocacy skills.  By first focusing on these things, we can then develop a plan that includes reasonable accommodations under the law, important skills to learn and practice, and the use of technology (text to speech, voice recognition, writing, and smart pens) as a support.  In this way, by the time students graduate from college, they have developed self-awareness, self-advocacy, and internalized skills to a level that has them better prepared to deal with the expectations and the rigors of the world of work and/or graduate school with confidence and independence.  The transition after graduation is much smoother and forward thinking.

I work with students on meta-cognition using their psycho-educational evaluations, their history, and other learning skills inventories.  I work with all students to upgrade their tools for time management and organization.  My goal is to help students internalize time management skills so they can work towards balance and reasonable expectations. Time management is the foundation for exploring (depending on the student) skills in reading, their process of writing, notetaking strategies, test taking skills, social and leadership skills, and stress reduction.  These are all skills that need to be taught; we are not born with them.  Just like swimming or any other skill, they need to be taught and then practiced with the help of a coach.

My educational background is varied.  I have a Bachelor’s degree in Environmental Resource Management (Penn State), giving me a broad perspective on the sciences.  I also have a Masters degree in Business (Penn State), which gives me insight into business courses, as well as, writing.   I consider myself an amateur naturalist, enjoying hiking, sailing, and kayaking.  Wildlife conservation, land preservation, wildlife photography, and of course, chocolate are also my passions.
You can visit my wildlife photography website at    www.naturenerdsrule.com

Dr. John Body

Dr. John Body         413-584-4781        

email:   body.john@comcast.net