301-768-8503 [email protected]

About Us

Sarah Wayland, Ph.D.    |    Betty Adkins, M.S.    |    Julie Watson

    |    Rachel Silverstein    |

Sarah Wayland, Ph.D.

Founder and Owner, Guiding Exceptional Parents

✉️  [email protected]

  • Neurodivergent Resource Navigator
  • Certified Relationship Development Intervention (RDI™) Consultant
  • Parent Coach
  • Internationally Acclaimed Speaker

Dr. Wayland received her Ph.D. in 1990 from Brandeis University in Cognitive Psychology; she worked at Northeastern UniversityUniversity of Maryland School of Medicine, and University of Maryland’s Center for Advanced Study of Language. More recently, she earned her certification as an RDI Consultant. She has been deeply involved with disability support organizations in both a professional capacity and as a parent. These include the Special Education Citizens’ Advisory Committee of Prince George’s County, the Individual Differences in Learning Association, the Parents’ Place of Maryland, and The Arc of Prince George’s County.  Along with her friend, Penny Williams, she hosts several online training programs for parents of neurodivergent kids, which you can find at The Behavior Revolution.

Sarah loves learning, especially when it can inform her approach to helping families. Trainings that have had the biggest impact include:

  • RDI™ (Relationship Development Intervention) – a developmentally sequenced family-focused program that helps children with autism and other social communication challenges learn the skills fundamental to making and maintaining meaningful relationships with their parents, other adults, and their peers – RDI™ Program Certified Consultant since 2013.
  • Parent Child Journey – Developmental Pediatrician Dr. Dan Shapiro developed this parent education program to help parents identify the source of their child’s challenging behavior and learn what they can do about it – Parent Trainer since 2013.
  • Collaborative & Proactive Solutions – Ross Greene’s non-punitive, non-adversarial, trauma-informed model based on the premise that challenging behavior occurs when the expectations being placed on a kid exceed the kid’s capacity to respond adaptively, and that some kids are lacking the skills to handle certain demands and expectations — 3-day Advanced Training (2015) in Collaborative & Proactive Solutions.
  • PEERS® – a manualized social skills training intervention for kids and young adults with social challenges. I am certified as both a Young Adult Provider (2017) and a School Based Professional Provider (2018).
  • SPACE (Supportive Parenting for Anxious Childhood Emotions) – a parent-based treatment program developed by Dr. Eli Lebowitz at the Yale Child Study Center for children and adolescents with anxiety, OCD, and related problems. The treatment focuses on changes that parents can make to their own behavior by learning to respond in a supportive and empowering way to their anxious child.

Want to learn more? Dr. Wayland’s Curriculum Vita tells all.

Please note that Dr. Wayland is currently unable to take new clients. 

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Watch this interview I did with Dr. Rachelle Sheely of the RDI Connections Center in March of 2014, where I talk about my background, my journey with autism and how I came to RDI. I also talk about the book I co-edited, Technology Tools for Students With Autism.





Betty Adkins, M.S.

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  • Certified Relationship Development Intervention (RDI™) Consultant

Betty M. Adkins has been a certified Relationship Development Intervention Consultant (RDI™) consultant for 13 years, and is a special educator with over 37 years of experience. Betty has worked with children with Autism Spectrum Disorders and their families in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan region for the past 30 years.

Betty holds degrees from Louisiana State University and Northeast Louisiana University, as well as a graduate certificate in autism from Johns Hopkins University.   She designed and implemented instructional programs for students with autism, developed parent support programs, and piloted the RDI™ Certified Educator program in Prince George’s County Public Schools.  She has been a presenter at both local, state, and national conferences, and has provided a variety of professional learning opportunities over her years as an Autism Specialist for Prince George’s County Public Schools.

Betty transitioned back into the classroom in 2020, ending her public school teaching career in a program she helped design at Kenmoor Middle School.

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Betty Adkins

Julie Watson

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  • Parent Coach for parents of neurodivergent children

Julie Watson has worked in Special Education as a teacher and Autism Specialist for 24 years. She was a certified RDI™ Consultant for over 10 years and is on-track to earn RDI™ re-certification in early 2024. She worked with autistic individuals – toddlers through adulthood – during her career at Prince Georges County Public Schools (PGCPS). As an Autism Specialist, she helped develop, implement, and support elementary, middle, and high school Autism Programs for the school system, and for the last 3 years of her teaching career, provided parent coaching and support through the Infant Toddler Program to families in their homes.

Julie has a degree from Frostburg State University and has completed her graduate classwork in the University of Maryland School Psychology program. She is a seasoned presenter, having written and given training for teachers, parents, and community groups, as well as presenting at local and national conferences. She has helped coordinate, with Betty Adkins, an RDI™ parent group for PGCPS for 9 years.

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Rachel Silverstein

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  • Administrative Support

Rachel loves organizing and helping people! Born and raised in Maryland, she graduated from the University of Maryland with BS in Family Science, and has experience in both education and special education. She currently resides in Howard County with her rescue pup, Benny.

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Portrait of Rachel Silverstein - with long brown hair and a big smile with the sun setting over the water in the background.