When was the last time you heard of a doctor making house calls? If the doctor is Susan Turben, Ph.D., nationally known child development specialist, the answer is probably "just yesterday." That’s because Susan (as she prefers to be called) believes that the only way to get to the root of a family’s issues and concerns is to observe its members in their natural surroundings – in their home, on a playground, or even at the local McDonald’s.
But making house calls is only one of the many attributes that makes Susan very different and, at times, more controversial than your average child development expert. Aside from being a family counselor and child advocate, Susan is also a mother of five, a researcher, and a past professor. She understands modern day, non-traditional families. Her family practice takes her into the homes of families. Susan takes a direct personal approach, incorporating family stories and collaborating with parents so that practical child-rearing methods allow families to decide for themselves how to raise their children.
As head of Turben Developmental Services, providing child development and parenting services for adults and their young children, Susan has developed a national reputation for offering straight-forward, street-wise advice.
Susan has done extensive work with disadvantaged, disenfranchised groups, particularly working poor families and African-American groups. She is accepted as a practical, positive problem-solver! The doctor who makes house calls works with Human Services and Juvenile and Domestic Courts, and has served on Abuse and Neglect Advisory and Welfare-to-Work Boards.
Susan regularly receives referrals from preschool, childcare, and early intervention programs to assist with families who are dealing with issues and concerns, which affect their children’s future. Susan has published educational curricula for private and public schools, the Institute for Human Services in Columbus, Ohio, and the State of Ohio Health Department and the Ohio Bureau of Early Intervention. Families and professionals have used Susan’s The Good Information Child Development Video Series in settings where knowledge of practices for strengthening family life is required (colleges, public libraries, vocational schools, technical schools, clinics, etc.).
The series was composed of four videos offering a first-hand look at how modern families are raising their children: Child Care: Options, A Parent Guide: The Games Babies Play, Our Families, This Generation: Raising Children Today, and Teach Your Children Well: Every Parent’s Responsibility.
Susan’s expertise comes from an academic background of research relevant to infant, child and family studies. She got her start at Head Start in Albany, New York and in 1974 received a grant for the Handicapped Children Early Education Program (HCEEP), to start the first infant stimulation program in the capital district of New York State. During the next 10 years, Susan designed, implemented, and evaluated more than 10 programs to serve families with infants and toddlers.
As an Assistant Professor of Education at John Carroll University from 1989-1996, Susan taught a range of Teacher Education and Early Childhood-Special Education undergraduate and graduate level courses. She has also taught at Lake Erie College, Lakeland Community College, and lectured at colleges and universities throughout Ohio.
Susan has also been sought out as an “expert” by major media outlets including CBS, Dateline Cleveland, Morning Exchange, Cleveland Live Web site, Women Professionals in Ohio, and several other outlets in the Albany, New York and Cleveland, Ohio areas. She is listed in the Who’s Who of American Educators for pioneering clinical work in parent-infant/child studies. Susan has appeared on WCPN 90.3 Public Radio in Cleveland and even performed a brief stunt as “Miss Susie” on Romper Room in the 1960’s.
Some of Susan’s topics of discussion with the media included: how babies actually think; finding day care centers; maltreatment and violence directed to and by children; effects of computers and television on kids; the risks of raising kids without having time to do things as a family; why children don’t learn in school; gentle vs. assertive discipline; parental stress; and school reform. Susan has talked to groups on the topics, “Family Life in the Next Century” and “Practically Perfect Parents.”