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Parent Guides

Gabriele Nicolet


Gabriele Nicolet, MA, CCC-SLP, is a family communication specialist and parent coach with more than 20 years of experience working with families of young children. She founded and currently runs SpeechKids, a private, holistic speech therapy and parent mentoring practice.

Her deep desire is for every child to have parents who truly see them, understand them, and provide what they need. For children with special needs – Orchid Kids – this can be hard because their behavior often makes it seem like they don’t want to be seen or understood.

Gabriele has the profound ability to translate information from children (how they feel/what is motivating their choices) so that parents can understand why their child acts the way they do. And when parents understand the why behind their child’s behavior, they then are empowered to change their own reactions to the behaviors and learn to respond in a more productive way.

Jen Dryer


Jen Dryer, MA, is a parent coach, advocate and and educational consultant who supports families and teachers of neuro-different children. Jen has more than 20 years of experience working with children, families, and teachers in both NYC and DC as a public school teacher, staff developer, and parent advocate. Her younger son is autistic and has ADHD, and her older son has ADHD.

Jen wants to help parents feel seen, heard, and understood in the challenges they face raising an Orchid Kid. Her goal is to empower them to better understand and support the child who is in front of them, rather than the child who they wished they had been tasked to raise. 

Realizing the power of community and connection in weathering the challenges of raising neuro-different children, she wants to assist parents in connecting with others who are navigating similar paths. 

Jen values giving parents the space to reflect on what they really want, while stripping away the “shoulds” and the perspectives of those around them (family, peers, teachers, society, etc.). Her desire is to empower them to connect with their own internal values as they find creative ways to allow their Orchid Kid to feel loved, appreciated, connected, and competent. 

How We Began

From personal experience with her own autistic child, Jen knew that “regular” parenting classes fell short in their application to children who had behavioral, developmental, and/or learning challenges. So Jen and Gabriele created a new kind of class that would …

  • Integrate elements of different, vetted parenting approaches with research-based elements of special education. 
  • Empower parents to see their child – not as needing to be fixed – but as requiring a specialized type of “care and feeding.” 

Then Gabriele read the book, The Orchid and the Dandelion: Why Some Children Struggle and How All Can Thrive by W. Thomas Boyce … and Raising Orchid Kids was born!

“We’re here to help parents just like us! This personal connection is what makes us stand out because we have LIVED it.