Smart Kids; Poor Grades

If your child is not doing well in school, there is a reason. And it can be
fixed. That’s the philosophy behind a new approach to child psychology.
Dr. Frances Thompson of the Early Life Child Psychology & Education Center
tells about a three-pronged approach to education that promotes success
and honors the individuality of every student.

“Here’s to the crazy ones, the misfits, the rebels, the troublemakers, the
round pegs in the square holes… the ones who see things differently —
they’re not fond of rules… You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or
vilify them, but the only thing you can’t do is ignore them because they
change things… they push the human race forward, and while some may see
them as the crazy ones, we see genius, because the ones who are crazy
enough to think that they can change the world, are the ones who do.”

-Steve Jobs- (February 24, 1955 – October 5, 2011)

The pediatric specialists at Early Life Child Psychology & Education Center
provide state of the art school-neuropsychological assessments for the
diagnosis and treatment of disorders that affect the intellectual, academic,
personality and emotional status of children, adolescents, and young adults.
Dedicated to excellence and ethics, the clinical, educational, and advocacy
professionals at Early Life offer a wide array of diagnostic, therapy, and
consultation services for your child and adolescent that may be currently
struggling in public school settings. We are currently the only clinic in the
United States that provides integrated academic/cognitive assessment,
therapy, IEP advocacy and cognitive/academic tutoring services under one

Utah public schools have one of the highest student to teacher ratios in the
country. It is no secret that most, if not all, public school districts in Utah are
struggling to meet the diverse academic and learning needs of our children.
A week does not go by without reading in Salt Lake Tribune or Deseret News
about various political and public interest groups viciously fighting for the
very soul of a decaying and underfunded system of public education. The
“Liberals” and Unions want more money for teachers and students…The “Tea
Party” faction wants more localized and privatized control in attempts to
revitalize education…..both are fighting for the right to educate the next
generation of children in Utah.

This, however, is what we do know: From children struggling with
undiagnosed learning disabilities, to kids with gifted abilities, many kids are
simply falling through the academic cracks despite the efforts of talented and
hard working teachers. Early Life Child Psychology and Education Center was
founded by local clinical scientist parents of public school children who
devoted years of doctoral level study to answer one simple question: How do
we get bright kids with poor school performance to succeed academically
despite the political, administrative and economic chaos that often surrounds
them? In a nutshell, we found that it starts with the brain, and ends with the
heart. Our guess is that the ultimate and correct political choice in this
matter will come to the same conclusion.

Our clinic has no political or religious affiliations. We are scientist. Our staff
and members of our Board of Advisors at Early Life are widely diverse and
represent a wide range of personal, political, ethnic, religious and cultural
experiences. We are public school teachers, school psychologists, college
professors, school district consultants, mothers, and students. Nevertheless,
we are all united on this front: The public school system is dire need of
drastic and imaginative reform in order to meet the needs our community’s
children. We support talented teachers and innovative, progressive learning
environments that are scattered across our great state. To name a few,
Barbara Johnson, Director of Special Education Services at Bingham High
School in South Jordan, has pioneered several imaginative and innovative
programs to assist kids with learning disabilities. Charter School Principal
Mary Kimball at Weilenmann School of Discovery in Park City, Utah has
integrated state of the art psychology practices into the evaluation and
treatment of a wide range of diverse and gifted students at their school. Our
schools need more pioneers like these educators to take bold steps in re-
thinking ways of educating our child.

Shortly, our doctoral staff will testify in front of the Utah Senate regarding
medical and psychological research emphasing ways of measuring and
monitoring brain performances that simply did not exist 15-20 years ago.
Integrating these advances in science in Utah classrooms of all types is
paramount to ensuring the academic and emotional success of children in
school settings. Measuring academic achievement is important, but the
current obsession with measuring what a child knows and “teaching to the
test”, as opposed to how a child knows, is placing thousands of our best and
brightest children in a position of utter and complete frustration. As a result,
many of our “Facebook Generation” of children has simply given up. It is our
hope that not one single child will ever leave our clinic after an evaluation
thinking they are “stupid” or cannot achieve in school. In fact, they will leave
with firm, science based knowledge of how their individual brains process
information and the best way to tap into their innate talents.

Imagine the life changing experience for the slightly “quirky” computer game
obsessed 11 year old, who is barely passing school to be told by a Doctor
that his/her brain functions better than 95% of all the “smart” kids in his
classroom? Or the joy of a recent Salt Lake County mother whose child was
diagnosed with a rare mental disorder two years ago and has struggled in
school, only to see spectacular grade improvement and cooperative
accommodations from a local school district who “dropped the ball” for two
years regarding this child? Or a pre-teenagers relief that he will eventually
reach his dream of attending college despite national “test” scores that
indicated that he reads three grade levels below his peers? This child went
six years in a public school setting not know that he had dyslexia. Or the
child who developed an anxiety disorder due to excessive homework who
obtained relief from mind numbing paperwork after receiving a definitive
diagnosis of ADHD? Our staff at Early Life does not have to imagine these
events because we get to witness these life changing events for children and
their families on a weekly basis.

When education control and reform is taken away from special interest
groups and politicians in Washington, D.C. and given directly to parents and
teachers, amazing things happen…one child at a time…one school at a
time….and one community at a time.

Based upon the 30+ pages of individualized cognitive, academic and
emotional profile of your child that you receive from Early Life, progressive
schools will adjust their teaching practices for your child. If a school fails to
adjust their practices, and such results in your child not receiving a “fair and
appropriate public school education,” our advocacy division will fight for your
child like they were our own. We win these “fights” simply because we utilize
better science, as well as the fact that we rely heavily on the resident expert
of your child: You.

Although your evaluation will be performed by a licensed professional who
must maintain certain ethical and personal boundaries as prescribed by the
American Psychological Association (APA), your Early Life’s advocacy
department is headed by a Doctor of Psychology, Dr. Gary Thompson, who
lived through the experiences of flunking out of school multiple times due to
undiagnosed learning “disabilities.” The same ethics and professionalism
apply to our advocates, however, make no mistake about it: We take our
advocacy seriously and personally. No one gave up on Dr. Thompson. He
won’t give up on your child.

If more individualized attention is needed, our specially trained (and carefully
screened) cognitive tutors will come into your home to assist with not only
academic subjects, but with building up deficient cognitive processes of your
child’s brain. Cognitive skills are not reading, spelling, and math, but rather,
the underlying mental abilities required for long-term success in those
subjects. In fact, cognitive skills such as successive processing, simultaneous
processing, academic related planning skills and attention are the
foundations for success throughout school, career, and life. We chose and
trained our very diverse group of Cognitive Tutors from hundreds of
applicants in the State of Utah. With their education resumes already
amazing, the Doctors’ added in the training components of diversity, culture,
special education techniques, and neuro-cognitive interventions into their
tutoring skill set. Unlike traditional tutors, Early Life cognitive tutors also
have the advantage of weekly supervision from two doctoral level staff

While we as parents wait for the politicians to step up to the 21st Century in
terms of educational reform, our staff at Early Life invites you to schedule a
consultation via our website with our Pediatric Psychologist to discuss your
unique child’s academic and emotional needs. We can’t legally or ethically
promise you certain results. Mental health agencies or educational services
that state or imply such should be avoided. We can, however, promise that on
a level probably never experienced before, you will find a group of
parent/professionals that truly have your child’s best educational, emotional,
psychological and spiritual interests at the forefront when it comes to
achieving fulfillment in education and otherwise.

Dr. Frances Thompson is a licensed clinical psychologist (UT#7588970-2501)
with extensive training and experience working with children and teens
presenting with an array of emotional, developmental, social and educational
challenges. Dr. Thompson received both her Doctor of Psychology (Psy.D.)
and Master’s Degree (M.A.) in Psychology from Phillips Graduate Institute in
Los Angeles, California, and completed her award winning pre-doctoral and
post-doctoral residency requirements at A Better Way Child & Family Services
located in Berkeley, California. Dr. Thompson’s unique clinical experiences
with foster care youth provided highly sought after training and experience
dealing with a wide range of problems associated with infants, children, and
teenagers. Prior to completing her graduate studies, Dr. Thompson
graduated summa cum laude with a degree in Psychology from the University
of California, Santa Cruz.

Dr. Thompson’s expertise lies in performing pediatric school
neuropsychological evaluations that assess for ADHD, personality
“abnormalities”, learning disabilities, and other childhood developmental
disorders. As part of her Doctoral Residency training program, Dr.
Thompson became a certified youth trauma clinician through the University
of Washington, as well as receiving certification from the University of
California, Davis as an expert in PCIT (Parent-Child Interactive Therapy).

Doctor Thompson consults with teachers, medical doctors and other
professionals to facilitate an understanding of your child’s struggles and
advocates for their needs. She believes that successful treatment entails the
full collaboration of caregivers, teachers, tutors and other medical
professionals and incorporates this component as part of a comprehensive
treatment approach.

As a parent, Dr. Thompson understands the challenges that caregivers face in
our community and has a highly developed sense of empathy for parents
working to better the lives of their families. Dr. Thompson is quickly gaining
a well deserved reputation of clinical excellence along the Wasatch Front
through her involvement in one of the most innovative and unique child
psychology/educational centers in the western United States. Dr. Thompson,
and her husband and clinic co-founder Dr. Gary Thompson, was recently
invited by Senator Howard Stephenson (R-Draper) to testify in front of the
Utah State Senate regarding upcoming education reform issues. Both Dr.
Thompsons’ enjoy spending the bulk of their quality time with their four very
diverse children ranging in ages from 1 year old to 22 years old.

Dr. Thompson is an active member in good standing with the Utah
Psychological Association (UPA), and the American Psychological Association
(APA). To schedule a appointment, feel free to visit the clinic website at or
contact our office directly at 801-984-2877


Early Life Web Site:

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