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For Jennifer Blankenship's adopted siblings, guidance was tough to come by as children -- and it's probably why the Sandalwood Drive resident decided to dedicate her professional life to counseling and behavioral health.
Blankenship recently brought her behavioral health consulting services, North Star Family Guidance, from western Pennsylvania to Northeast Ohio, opening at 7160 Chagrin Road in Chagrin Falls March 1.
With a staff of one, she specializes in treating children who have symptoms of depression, anxiety (including allergy anxieties), ADHD, Autism and other behavioral difficulties.
"I work primarily with children who are experiencing difficulty with one or more aspects of life and parents who are unsure how to manage their child's behaviors," Blankenship said. "I am excited to begin working in the Twinsburg area, and am looking forward to collaborating not only with parents, but other professionals and local school systems to ensure that children are receiving high-quality services to meet individual needs."
Blankenship's mother worked as a guidance counselor at an elementary school, and she adopted her mother's caring and ability to reach even the most troubled students, she said.
An adopted brother and sister "with a tough upbringing" settled the matter for Blankenship as she set her sights on a career in behavioral health.
"They had a tough upbringing, and both had issues growing up," Blankenship said. "That drove me into this field. I have a heart especially for children who experienced difficulty growing up."
Unique to Bankenship's business is in-home, individualized therapy, which Blankenship said can be particularly effective on the mental health side. She also office regular office hours in Chagrin Falls.
"It helps to see the behavior as it's occurring," Blankenship says. "Then we can develop and design the intervention or therapy that fits the individual, as well as with the parents' raising of the child. An in-home assessment often works best on the child's own turf."
Blankenship says she also works with community mental health agencies (most recently with the Chagrin Valley Speech Therapy Service), providing behavioral consultation and counseling services to local school districts. She provides individual and group counseling for students and assists with community outreach programs.
She is a licensed, independent social worker and board certified behavioral analyst with 15 years experience in the western Pennsylvania and Hermitage, Pa., areas.
Call North Star Family Guidance at 724-813-2065 or visit www.northstarfamilyguidance.com for more information.