Nomination by Kirsty Wotton
I would like to nominate Simone de Hoogh, founder of PowerWood CIC, for her pioneering and dedicated work within the 2E community. I came across this non-profit organisation about 6 years ago at a time when our family had been experiencing huge challenges that traditional parenting advice was completely failing to address. When I read the PowerWood leaflet in Juno magazine, and then the PowerWood website, I felt like Simone was writing about my child and myself! After years of feeling overwhelmed and at a loss as to how to help my child, I had finally found a place where someone understood and was able to provide real support and guidance. I have since found community through attending group workshops and community events, and benefited hugely from 1-2-1 coaching with Simone.
Simone curates a wealth of cutting-edge information and techniques on all aspects of neuro-diversity, 2E/DME, psychology, education and high ability which she provides for free via her website, social media and to her coaching clients. She has consistently proven herself an invaluable source of advice, information and understanding. More than that, she has taken that pioneering research and translated it into clear, practical, effective strategies that parents can implement to help bring peace, harmony and connection back into their family life. Strategies that enable parents to feel confident in their ability to practically and emotionally support their children. Strategies that put parents back in the driving seat of their family life.
This is no small thing. It is absolutely life-changing! And I say that from first hand experience of how Simone’s support has made a hugely positive impact on our life as a family of neuro-diverse, intense, excitable, passionate people! The insight, wisdom, compassion and empathy with which she shares her knowledge is key in enabling others to apply the lessons, to gain understanding of themselves and their loved ones, and to grow and develop as both people and parents.
Combining a high level of expertise in neuro-diversity alongside superb coaching skills and a passionate dedication to supporting everyone in this community to live better lives through her non-profit organisation, Simone is an inspiration to all who know her. Her vision in creating PowerWood, her passion and her tireless dedication to reach out to others in the 2E community in order to share her knowledge and understanding is admirable and infectious. I have loved working with Simone and volunteering with PowerWood to help reach others who would benefit from her unique contribution.
It is hard to express in words just how much her work has meant to myself and my family, how much it has improved our lives, and how great an impact it has had (and will continue to have) in enabling us all to live to our full potential. I know that we are far from alone in experiencing these benefits and in valuing the vision and leadership that Simone provides to this community. She is without doubt a ‘Person to Watch’ within this movement!
Nomination by Abigail
Having highly sensitive, extremely bright and intense children, in the early days of our parenting journey often felt very isolating, challenging and lonely; it so often seemed like the ‘normal rules’ of parenting just didn’t work, or fit our children or our values when it came to how to respond to their emotional needs. When I read an article in Juno magazine about PowerWood I felt an immediate ‘click’. Discovering PowerWood was enormously reality-affirming! I went from feeling confused, self-doubting and uncertain about what we experienced with our children, to feeling utterly understood, vindicated and that for the first time I had a clear understanding of not only our children’s traits, but mine and my husband’s as well, as neurodiverse adults.
The numerous workshops, camps, and 1-1 sessions that we have attended with Simone over the years have been life-changing. The theoretical frameworks provided us with huge ‘aha moments’ from which everything began to makes sense, but the real gold was (and still is!) in Simone’s ability to offer practical, accessible, useable tools that relate to our individual family situation. It has enabled us to transform our family life from often overwhelmed, to being confidently in the driver’s seat. We now have a deep appreciation of the complexities that accompany 2e and are able to support and advocate for our children with their school lives as well.
I am nominating Simone as one to watch because her research, knowledge, and experience is extensive as is her compassion and ability to ‘meet us where we are’ with empathy and kindness. The combination of detailed theoretical and practical support and the real-felt sense that she ‘totally gets it’ (what we are going through) – feels simply radical. She has imparted to us the invaluable sense that living with neurodiversity can be challenging, but it can also be exciting, joyful, beautiful and a source of strength in its complexity and potential. We now dwell mostly in the gifts and the positives of our neurodiversity and have a road map to come back to time and again, that we would never have found without PowerWood and Simone’s exhaustive body of work.
Nomination by PowerWood Director Carolyn
Simone [de Hoogh] has a robust, inclusive and powerful methodology for working with and celebrating neuro-diverse families, drawing together many approaches and including her own theories around children’s self-regulation. She helps explain challenging behaviours, deep fears, and the child’s need for emotional as well as physical safety, and she helps us as adults see our own triggers, reactiveness and the way we can easily miss what is really at stake in our interactions. Simone’s coaching really changes the lives of the family she works with, including mine.
Simone works with exceptional levels of patience, courage and steadfastness with 2e children (and adults!) allowing all emotions and experiences into the space safely. Her coaching style is remarkable – she works 1:1 and with families to deepen understanding, raise parents’ and carers’ baselines (which means we strengthen ourselves before we intervene and support our children) and she gives concrete, effective – indeed transformative – skills that change the way children experience themselves, the way families work together, and freeing everyone to enjoy life, learning and each other without the crippling effects of misunderstanding and feelings of being out of control.
I could say more and more. The reason I think that Simone is a person to watch in twice-exceptional education is that she is ahead of her time. This is really cutting edge theory and practice and I have a feeling that although at the moment she is one of very few people working in this way, she will be proved in the long term to have been a pioneer and innovator. Her work has implications way beyond childhood – it is relevant to the whole of life, to any kind of adult relationship, and to the way communities and organisations work.
Nomination by Tine Landy
As a client of Simone de Hoogh, working with Simone and PowerWood over the last nine years, I feel that a nomination is so well deserved, due to all that Simone has contributed to me and my family and other families as well.
When I first met Simone at a workshop, I was in awe of how much she described my experience as a parent, in a way, that no other person or book I had come across before. My understanding of my self and my children that I got from this talk and afterwards coaching sessions with Simone, has been transformative at a very deep level, and I am sure that my family life would have looked very different without the support from Simone.
The understanding, compassion and love that Simone shows in her work with 2e children and parents is remarkable, and I see that as the foundation of the successful implementation of Simone’s methodology that contains so much knowledge and so many practical tools. Simone’s work is so well researched, and she offers so many different practical tools that cater for various different family situations. Adding to this a vast amount of patience, to allow for real change to happen. Simone isn’t trying to fix anything.
Through her guidance I have learned to understand my own nervous system and understand how it works in relationship to those around me. She has taught me what it means to be emotionally in charge, so I can be the support I need to be for my children, so over time they can do the same. I don’t really have enough words to show all I have learned, but Simone and her work deserves to be known by all.
Nomination by Karen Luckhurst
I came across Simone de Hoogh by happy accident. My young adult son has complex needs with diagnoses including autism, PDA and OCD. At the point I found Simone’s organisation PowerWood, he had been removed from the home due to challenging behaviours, which was both a relief and absolutely heartbreaking. I felt so guilty and that I had failed as a mother.
My son continues to visit the family home and the old triggers and patterns of behaviour remain. In desperation one day, a Google search threw up a blog written by a lady who had been coached by Simone. I found the PowerWood site and signed up for a course of coaching.
Simone’s innate understanding of our situation was such a relief. There was so much I didn’t have to explain because she just ‘got it’. She helped me to realise how utterly exhausted I was – ground down by years of challenging behaviour and grief. And through that realisation, and with Simone’s help, I saw that in order to have the creativity I needed to work with my son, I needed to raise my own baseline first.
Her insights into my son’s needs were highly informed and accurate – within a short time I was in no doubt that I was safely in the hands of someone who ‘knew their stuff’. As someone with a ‘thin-boundaries brain’ (ie flexible thought patterns) Simone was able to help me see how someone with ‘thick boundaries’ (inflexible thought patterns) might think. My son and I literally speak different brain languages, Simone has helped translate his ‘language’ for me.
As a member of PowerWood for just over a year, I have seen from testimonials, parents’ blogs and the social media groups Simone has fostered with regularity, love and deep compassion, how she has touched and transformed lives and relationships. I live in the UK and not only are social care resources badly stretched, but I think generally there is a lack of understanding about neurodiversity and exceptionality. Simone’s work is cutting edge in this respect and the PowerWood website a powerful resource for families.
I think Simone’s work and accomplishments speak for themselves – her 1:1 coaching is insightful, on the button, and very focused, and the depth of her knowledge huge. However, I also think it is a big accomplishment that she continues to support so many families with 2e and neurodiverse children. The PowerWood website is current and full of freely available information – and behind it the strong sense of Simone’s nurturing hand. This is someone who is passionate about helping twice-exceptional and neurodiverse children and their families, and that passion – and compassion – informs everything Simone does.
Recently, I talked to Simone for a blog I was writing. I asked her what her motivation behind PowerWood was. She replied:
‘I love to connect with families who go through the same challenges as I did as a new mum and was absolutely flabbergasted about how challenging it was, I felt alone, misunderstood, and isolated and started studying and researching to be able to understand and support my children and myself. PowerWood is about sharing what I‘ve collected (and keep collecting), and I love my clients. I’m one of the lucky few that my work is so intrinsically rewarding, on top of that it gives me energy, grounds me and keeps my brain stimulated while contributing to a better world.’
And I think that says it all.
Are you willing to nominate too?
Dear lovely people – the Bridges 2e Center for Research and Professional Development is seeking nominations of people ‘offering vision and leadership within the 2e community’. Successful nominations will be featured in the People to Watch section of their autumn magazine. If this nomination were successful, it would be great publicity for PowerWood and really go some way to helping us get a wider presence. If you are willing to nominate (you just need to write a couple of paragraphs), please visit: https://www.2enews.com/advocacy-and-policy/who-are-the-people-to-watch-in-twice-exceptional-education. Submissions should be made by this Saturday (February 15). Thank you so much!
If you have nominated..
Thank you so much to those of you who have offered to nominate Simone de Hoogh for People to Watch in 2e. If you feel comfortable sharing your nomination it can be added too (anonymously if you prefer). This can help others who want to nominate but are not sure what to write, and acts as a testimonial as well! 😊. Please send yours to firstname.lastname@example.org and we will add it to the website – (indicate at the top if you wish to remain anonymous). In gratitude, Simone