Certified Parent Coach/
Child Development Consultant
Angela is the founder of Bear Hugs Consulting and has been sharing her passion and knowledge of child development with parents for over 10 years. She is a former teacher and social worker, certified parent coach (through The Jai Institute For Parenting), and a child development consultant. Angela has a Post-Bachelorette from The University of Florida in Elementary Education and Early Childhood Education and development. Angela has taught in both public and private schools and worked in the child abuse prevention dept. for DFCS as a Children and Family Counselor. To round out her education, in the Fall of 2020, Angela jumped on the opportunity to attend the first online (California based) RIE Foundations training (Resources for Infant Educarers) ; a 60 hour course studying the brilliant work of world-renowned child therapist and infant specialist, Magda Gerber (gentle and respectful care for infants and toddlers).
Angela's volunteer work has included the following; serving on the steering team for her local MOPS group, volunteering in her childrens' schools and classrooms, and running her church's Pre-Cana marriage prep program for 10 years. She and her husband mentored dozens of wonderful couples during this time and stay connected to most of them to this day. After a local move, they continue to stay involved with engaged couples through the Three To Get Married retreats where they give the “Preparing to Be a Parent" talk. Last but certainly not least, Angela remains passionate about child abuse prevention and currently serves as a Guardian Ad Lidem for the national CASA program (Court Appointed Special Advocate). She has completed over 70 hours of training and instruction on trauma, child development and child psychology with CASA and loves “being the voice for a child.”
Angela lives in Atlanta, GA with her husband of 31 years and adorable Boxer/Beagle mutt, Annie. Her son, 25 lives nearby, and her daughter, 27, and son-in-law live in Raleigh, NC. When she is not studying Neuroscience or working with parents you can find her reading, walking Annie under the tree canopied streets of Atlanta, hiking, or traveling with family.
Sarah Nettuno Lohrey
Nettuno Illustrations founder, Sarah Nettuno Lohrey is an illustrator with a BFA in Illustration from Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD). Sarah focuses on children’s book illustration and other related illustration markets; however, she has remained busy working with her true passion, illustrating children's books that focus on or are related to Neurodiversity.
Sarah, now 27, grew up in a time when learning and neurological differences were only beginning to be understood. Throughout her childhood, she was diagnosed with Auditory Processing Disorder, Sensory Processing Disorder, Expressive and Receptive Language Disorder, Dyslexia, and Dyscalculia. Although she attended Special Education classes, Speech/Language Therapy, Occupational therapy, listening therapies and more, the doctors and therapists continuously missed the "big picture." Over the years, as an avid researcher, Sarah took several deep dives into Neurodiversity to better understand herself. Finally, as a young adult she was diagnosed with Autism, an umbrella diagnosis which includes all of her previous individual diagnosis. In other words, Sarah was diagnosed with all the ingredients of Autism while missing the big picture. Through her own research and with the help of Neurodiversity Affirming Doctors, she now knows how to best help herself and has learned to accept herself and her neurodiverse brain.
As a consequence of all of her struggles, Sarah has an incredible sense of personal drive and resilience. She’s developed a unique perspective of the strengths and weaknesses of children with similar challenges, and is a natural at being able to relate to and communicate with them. She is a wealth of knowledge and compassion for parents and children, and an integral part of our team.
Sarah lives in Raleigh, NC with her husband and two pets, Penny and Houdini. When she’s not illustrating something amazing and whimsical, or researching neurodiversity, you might find her swing dancing, attending church events with hubby and friends, or walking Penny around beautiful Raleigh.
How we got here
When my first child was born, I was confident I would have this “mommy” thing in the bag! After all, I was a teacher. Well, guess what, she was “gassy,” which basically meant she screamed 24/7! I quickly realized I didn’t know it all! Thank goodness my insurance had nurses on call 24/7 because I was a frequent caller, usually in the wee hours!
As my two kiddos grew things definitely got easier. I had the blessing of being a stay-at-home mom and loved exploring life with my little ones. My college professors had been passionate about developmentally appropriate instruction so I felt confident in my ability to choose awesome products, activities, and schools for them. Life was good. Then another unexpected twist years later. One of my kiddos seemed to have an atypical learning style that didn’t fit into the public school “mold.” Even with my background in education, I couldn’t put my finger on it. She was repeatedly misdiagnosed throughout childhood, and if I hadn’t pushed and fought for answers she would have definitely “fallen through the cracks.”
Fast forward to high school and she was finally getting the therapies she should have had in 3rd grade! I felt anger, frustration, and loss. Anger toward the doctors and administrators who didn’t take me seriously, frustration that my child felt stupid and misunderstood her whole life, and loss for what could have been. What could have been for my daughter if she had just realized that she was different, NOT less. What could have been for my other precious child who, despite all my efforts, sometimes may have felt second. I never ever wanted that for him.
Then another twist in 2021 (during Covid). After a year of no routine, isolation, and the sensory and communication challenges of mask wearing, she was spiraling. This sparked her to seek out a diagnosis we always suspected. AUTISM! And it was. And it is.
What I’ve learned along the way is;
-Parenting can be hard and children are complicated creatures that don’t come with an instruction manual.
-Neuroscience is the last frontier and doctors, therapists, and administrators are just beginning to scratch the surface with their understanding of it.
I became a parent coach because I’m passionate about supporting parents like you. Because I've been there and I get you momma! I’ve been that exhausted mom that doesn’t know how she’ll get through another day. I’ve loved my kids so deeply it hurts. I’ve lived through the challenges of parenting both a neurodiverse and a neurotypical child. I've been that, oh so scary momma bear, tromping through the schools fighting for my kids! I’ve experienced the challenges of healing hurts from my own childhood so I can be the best mom I can be. I’ve cried, laughed, and played simultaneously. I'm a mom!
- that all children deserve to be understood
- that their curiosity and innocence is refreshing
- that all behavior is communication
- that the feelings and needs of each family member are valid and deserving
- that our children need us to fight for them, love them unconditionally, be as present as possible, and try not to “sweat the small stuff.”
-to fill your parenting journey with joy, inspiration, laughter and captivating moments!
-to share with you my passion and knowledge of child development (typical and atypical) so you can truly enjoy every day with your little miracle(s)!
-to help you heal from past emotional hurts that may be affecting your connection with your children; because YOU are awesome, because your KIDS are awesome, and because they think you hung the moon.
Happy parenting. Enjoy the journey.