The Clayton State University Department of Psychology is proud of all of its graduates. At the moment, however, Teresa Oliver is in the spotlight.
Oliver graduated with her Master of Applied Developmental Psychology in the spring of 2013, and her first book, “Again David's Having Distractions: Friggin Chicken” has just gone on sale. Go to http://borntoread.co/home.html
for more information.
“This book is a lovely reflection of Teresa’s wonderful creativity blended with her content expertise in Applied Developmental Psychology,” says an appropriately proud Dr. Deborah Deckner,
associate professor and director of the Clayton State Master of Science in Psychology program. “(It’s)
about the exploits/adventures of a young boy with Attention Deficit Disorder.”
According to Oliver, “Again David's Having Distractions: Friggin Chicken” (that’s an acronym for ADHD) is a story of a nine-year-old boy named David who has trouble fitting-in at school. He is often distracted by his wild imagination, and finds himself being the source of everyone's jokes. This particular year, David is faced with a task that could make him the laughing stock of the entire school. He has to decide if he should accept the task and possibly be humiliated in front of the entire school or if he should just hide in the supply closet.
“In David’s case, daydreaming has gotten a bad reputation, and his thoughts have often gotten him yelled at and misunderstood,” says Oliver in the dedication of her book, which she feels fits in well with Clayton State’s “Dreams Made Real” tag line. “However, daydreamers are often people that make things happen. They are creative and motivated… I dare everyone who reads this book to dream… then take the first step, and make it happen.
“Often times we limit ourselves by thinking so practically when it comes to college and degrees. I took all the tools that I learned from Clayton State and created something I feel will inspire many beyond what any job could do! Clayton State made this dream real.”
Along those lines, Oliver adds that Clayton State had a tremendous impact on her, notably in the person of three psychology professors, Deckner, Dr. Samuel Maddox and Dr. Eric Bridges.
“Dr. Deckner goes above and beyond for all her students! She takes so much time out her very busy schedule to make sure every single student is successful. She pushes the students to do conferences that can be very intimidating to young scholars. She looks for opportunities for all of us to gain experience and to start our careers! A very special lady!” she says. “Dr. Maddox’ class on neurodiversity helped me view minds in a totally different way. It gave me the ability to see the mind as be as diverse as we are racially and culturally. Dr. Bridges’ class, the Education System and the Child, solidified for me that I was on the right path and that my passion for children and their educational well being would not go unheard.”
Oliver started writing “Again David's Having Distractions: Friggin Chicken” when she entered the Clayton State Master's program.
“Before entering the program, I spent one year as a teacher at a school for students who have unique learning profiles or formally labeled `learning disabled,’” she explains. “Shortly after working there, I noticed that many, if not all, of the children were not learning disabled. They simply have a unique way of viewing the world and a unique way of learning. I knew then it was my job and duty to understand there minds and alter my teaching to fit there minds.”
While working as a teacher Oliver was also getting her B.S. in Psychology from Clayton State. At the same time, she noticed that her son was starting to struggle in school.
“I noticed his frustrations with how information was being presented to him. I also noticed how his struggle was affected his self esteem,” she says. “I wanted him as well as many other students who have struggles, whether academically, physically, social, or emotionally, to have someone or something that they could relate to because, as a society, we make big deals of individuals who are the best or those who are number one. Also as a society we have empathy for those disabilities that are easily seen or easily detected, but it is the invisible `disabilities’ that are swept under the rug and overlooked.
“So, this story is for those individuals!”
Oliver also notes that her book uses a lot of humorous writing to engage all readers and also has vocabulary-building, something many teachers look for.
“It really does tell the inner feelings of children who may feel lost and out of place. It demonstrates how believing in yourself can make any dream come true,” she says.
What’s next? Oliver says she is putting together a non-profit for African American males between the ages of 11 and 17, seeking to provide basic life skills, leadership skills, health and fitness (partnering in that regard with Silver Back Fitness), tutoring, arts, and a host of other things. She also plans two write not one, but two follow up stories to “Again David's Having Distractions: Friggin Chicken.”