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Growing up on the plains of Kansas, the author was fortunate in having multiple tutors into the natural world there, including his father and mother and his boyhood friends. In the end, a series of such explorations over all the childhood years led to familiarity with and appreciation of just about every living creature in the local ecologies. College in the East, at Harvard, then led to a Ph.D in Psychology from Yale and a continuing career in studying children and teaching Psychology. His work crosses boundaries between Developmental Psychology, Educational Psychology, Communication Disorders, Linguistics, Art Education, and Cognitive Psychology. The heart of his research concerns the developmental processes behind significant advances by children in every area of communication. Spoken language, sign language, reading and writing, and art have all been examined both in typically developing children and in children with varied kinds of delays. Basic research has been translated into new procedures for helping to accelerate developmental progress in children with autism, language delay, dyslexia, and deafness. The complexity of change processes in children and in the learning contexts we provide for them is seen by this author as highly similar to the dynamics of change in ecological systems, in animal and plant life cycles and speciation, in implementation of new laws and processes to protect children and the environment in all its aspects, and in the changeable relationships of people to the natural world.
Looking to the natural world helps to create awareness of patterns that are relevant to anyone's daily life. These natural patterns serve also as a catalyst toward innovations in how we see children and strive to create new arrangements of conditions to better support their progress in critical areas of communication and thinking and spirituality. For the author, nature patterns have also greatly influenced his work in abstract painting, sculpture, and photography. These art creations have appeared in galleries and arts festivals. As an adult he has traveled widely and engaged in all sorts of activities that bring him close to nature--ocean sailing, hiking, meditating in natural settings, camping, introducing children to nature experiences, nature photography, fishing, farm operation, political action to preserve wild spaces, and just sitting and doing "nothing".