s both a professional who has worked in both North America and Britain, and as a parent of a teenage son with Asperger’s and Tourette’s syndromes, Dr. Swanson is uniquely qualified to help parents whose children are struggling with special needs of one sort or another. Having experienced the frustrations of raising such a child, and of battling with the education system to provide him with the support that he needs, Dr. Swanson has made it his mission to help other families who also want to do the very best that they can for their children.
Dr. Swanson recognizes not only that there are no magic wands, but that there are very real limitations on what the state-provided institutions (health, education, and social services) can provide. Even so, he strongly believes that there is much that motivated, caring parents can do, especially if they are willing to band together to help each other. Dr. Swanson’s goal is to provide parents with the tools and material they need in order to make the task as easy as possible.
Background and Training
Dr. Swanson graduated in medicine from Southampton University in 1982. After his pre-registration year as a House Officer in medicine and surgery he then went straight into his psychiatric training at the Middlesex and University College Hospitals in London.
In 1987, having become a member of the Royal College of Psychiatrists, Dr. Swanson went with VSO to Belize, Central America, as the country’s only psychiatrist. Working with very limited resources, Dr. Swanson and his team of locally trained nurses and attendants provided a mental health service across the country. As part of this, he reviewed and updated the treatments of many patients who had not seen a psychiatrist for ten years. During these two years, Dr. Swanson also initiated a complete training program for mental health nurses.
From there, in 1989, Dr. Swanson moved to Canada. After completing further training to qualify him as a specialist in Child and Adolescent Psychiatry he then settled in Prince Edward Island where, again, he was in charge of the pediatric mental health service. During this time Dr. Swanson was involved in various public education programs and ministry of health strategic planning processes. During this time he also developed considerable expertise in the newly recognized Attention Deficit Disorders (now called ADHD) and, with his wife Karen, facilitated the founding of the local ADHD parents support group which is still running to this day.
During the years 1992 to 1997, Dr. Swanson traveled frequently to West Africa as part of the leadership team of GAP International, a Canadian Christian charity concerned with international development. During these visits Dr. Swanson provided leadership training workshops, seminars, and consultation to a number of indigenous organizations in Nigeria, Niger, and Cameroon. This experience in service development has been invaluable in his work to develop services back in Britain.
In 1997 Dr. Swanson and his family returned to the UK to take up a post as consultant Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist in a community child and family therapy service in Fareham, Hampshire. The move was primarily prompted by the need for some special educational input for his son (who is now doing fantastically at university in Canada!).
In 2006 Dr. Swanson returned to Canada, this time to beautiful BC, so as to have more opportunities to enjoy his beloved skiing and kayaking.
As well as publishing his highly acclaimed book, The GOOD CHILD Guide, Dr. Swanson writes regular articles that are widely published on and offline, and has spoken at numerous seminars and workshops for both professionals and parents. With his lively, entertaining and highly informative style Dr. Swanson’s talks are never boring!
Apart from his professional roles, Dr. Swanson’s other interests include sailing, skiing, kayaking and painting.