Who are we?
As neurodivergent therapists and parents to two totally amazing neurodivergent children, we’ve worked through the system from all sides.
We’ve taken them the private route through Montessori, virtual, and homeschool programs, relentlessly searching for the best fit. We know what it’s like to fight for our kids’ individual needs against a system that doesn’t always get it.
We’ve worked with every resource in our communities to ensure our children have the same or best modified experiences as any other child. We know the love for a therapist that celebrates our child, as much as we know the crushing disappointment when that person leaves and we have to take a risk with someone new.
Neurodivergent advocacy is becoming more and more prominent each day. However, it is often easier for schools and businesses to target the neurodivergent child over the need to update and expand available supports to accommodate ALL children inclusively. This is our passion and we don’t mess around.Our personal and professional experiences have led us to a place where we feel this path is the best way for us to contribute to this movement. We are protective of the neurodivergent and families. You have the best resources we can support you with to authentically thrive in a community that would sometimes seek your silence.
It’s great to meet you!
Mark Luzader, LCSW
I’ve always had a passion for outsiders and kids who never quite fit in because I was one myself.
Like many college students, I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do for a career. It’s such a huge decision. How do you know at 18 what you want to be?
After a year and a half of struggling to find my identity, I took my first Intro to Psychology course and was hooked. In 1999, at age 21, I got my first job as a direct care worker at a group home for children who were wards of the state, and I haven’t looked back since.
My interest in helping teens who self-harm developed from seeing how being misunderstood led to their hospitalization. My desire to work with neurodiverse adults and children came from my experiences as a parent to an autistic child and my own experiences as a neurodiverse person.
My philosophy of working collaboratively came as a reaction to the multiple behavioral programs I worked in as a direct care worker and how off-the-mark they often are with what works. I always say that you are the captain of this therapy boat; I’m just the guide. After being in this line of work for over two decades, it’s a policy I fully stand by.
I work best with clients who come with an open heart and mind, appreciate humor, and are motivated because they want to be here, not because someone behind the scenes is twisting their arm (though I work well with them, too!).
I’m an active, middle-aged guy who remembers the freedom we had before cell phones and social media, and the same person who loves the latest gadgets and embraces technology. I like routines and love new adventures and challenges. I’m a parent to an amazing autistic boy who speaks in every way but with his voice that I will fight for until my very last breath.
If you’re looking for an experienced therapist who brings the dad jokes, has a relaxed demeanor, and wants to work collaboratively with you after fully investigating the hows and the whys behind the reason you’re seeking help, I’m your guy.
Patricia Lomando, LCSW, RPT-S
I became a therapist because I wasn’t born to do anything else.
From when I was a child, I was drawn to finding and sharing safe spaces with others who operated a little left of center, like myself. As a teen, I felt so much of our therapy system attempted to route people into normatively accepted and rule-driven personas, leaving no room for the authentic human experience to be nurtured, empowered, and healed.
Early on, I railed against a diagnostic manual that identified personality types as “disorders” and categorized people by challenges over strengths (i.e., depression over creativity, anxiety over thoughtfulness). I assisted teachers in “co-running” support groups and found an issue with how many of us were incessantly corrected for uniqueness and eccentricities (clothing, volume, playfulness) by teachers and peers.
Feeling a little lost myself, I never fit the “prescribed boxes.” I was compelled to develop a practice that could be a safe harbor where others could feel safe to be whoever they were, think whatever they thought, and feel whatever they felt without judgment or penalty.
I love what I do. I love sharing a mindful space of kindness, mutual respect, and zero judgment that allows people to exist outside societal dictates. (Say more and say less, too much emotion or not enough feeling, don’t cry but don’t bottle it in, sacrifice all for motherhood, and don’t lose who you are.) The message has always been to be yourself but never too much, and I wanted to create a different space that offered unconditional, fully inclusive acceptance.
My earliest teachings were that when people received unconditional positive regard, they did their own healing. Today, we know that when people feel safe or their bodies feel regulated, they can think through their options and problem-solve in the best way for them. There are some gaps in that not all individuals tend to be offered that respect.
All populations outside the norm (varying ages, sizes, circumstances, LGBTQIA, BIPOC, and neurodivergent) are generally asked to conform BEFORE being offered that mutual respect. That’s not how it works. When we respect each other as equals (regardless of age, color, identity, or neurotype), we hear and see each other. And that is what my sessions look like.
Specializing in what I’ve lived through has always given the purpose of my experience.
Living a neurodivergent life, surviving a teen friend’s suicide, experiencing the “never good enough” motherhood, and raising my own neurodivergent son have been a few of the core experiences that have guided my personal and professional life path. ADHD, Autism, Depression, Motherhood, Anxiety, and “the outsider” are all areas of passion and devotion for me. Never being satisfied with the way these populations were “treated,” I forged my own path, modified the approaches that were available at the time, and pursued with a neverending focus the research and therapies that provided an acceptance of the characteristics of these experiences without a negative or corrective bias.
I am a holistically minded therapist. I believe in addition to goals, we must address our often neglected self-care, our ability to regulate regularly, and our prevention habits. I believe in following and nurturing the body; when we feel safe, we can unlock the selves we most want to be.
I support naturally minded efforts to reclaim health and am as happy to coordinate care that includes aromatherapy, meditation, and movement as I am more conventional medicine. I am a Registered Play Therapist Supervisor and a Certified Autplay Provider. I am additionally trained in Child-Parent Relationship Therapy, DBT, CBT, Infant Mental Health, and EMDR.
I am equal parts nature and research, loving both unorthodox means of identifying all the parts of ourselves while devouring current research for what we know works and creates change.
Essentially, I am a science-loving nature child who loves facts and feelings with equal measure and values all paths to healing that work for us as individuals. I am transparent, genuine, honest, responsive, nurturing, playful, and collaborative. I minored in religion and am fascinated by varying spiritual beliefs, philosophical perspectives, metaphysical paths, alternative healing, and all the paths that make us who we are.
I love words, laughter, depth, animal rescue, and 80s sitcoms. I approach others with curiosity, openness, and playful authenticity. I am a research nut who devours trainings like candy but will also ask you to step outside to breathe and stretch for grounding.
If a genuine and wholly accepting experience is what you’re most prioritizing for therapy…
If part of your challenge is a feeling of alienation…
If you’re struggling with thoughts or feelings you believe won’t be well received by others…
Please know there is a safe space for you to explore those impressions. I would feel honored to be the person you choose for that journey.