W. John Abramson, Ph.D.
Dr. W. John Abramson ’66 is well known in the education community for his quick wit, his presentation skills and his groundbreaking work with the seriously emotionally disturbed (E.D.). A pioneer in the field, he was chosen by Riverside County Schools to be the lead teacher and codeveloper of California’s first program especially designed for E.D. The resulting successful School-Home-Intervention Program launched Abramson into the spotlight, and he became a sought-after speaker and consultant for many school districts. His clever workshop titles, e.g., “Lifestyles of the Rude and Crazy,” “My Therapist, Godzilla” and “Emotional Disturbance–How You Get It…and How You Give It,” plus his innovative delivery make him a popular conference speaker.
As Abramson developed E.D. programs, he became a learning therapist and co-founded Advocate Schools, the area’s first non-public school for severely emotionally disturbed students. He then helped create Jack Weaver School, serving as principal, and Oak Grove Institute in Murrieta, where he was program director. During this time, he continued to consult, support and assist schools in dealing with their E.D. populations. He was especially successful in helping teachers find ways to best serve these students.
Convinced that public schools can instruct their own E.D. students with a significant cost savings, Abramson is now in his 11th year of teaching the E.D. for Moreno Valley Unified School District where he recently started Arnold Heights Alternative Program, a school dedicated to transitioning Seriously Emotionally Disturbed adolescents from non-public school placements back into public schools. In addition, he is a high profile instructor at U.C. Riverside and continues to lecture and consult across the state.
Abramson has dedicated his life to improving the chance of success for a most difficult group of highly at-risk students. His accomplishments have been recognized by the State Department, Council for Exceptional Children (CEC), California Association of Neurologically Handicapped Children (CANHC), Riverside County Schools (with the prestigious Point of Light award), numerous other school districts and The Learning Disabilities Association of California.