The Bristow Center is a family-owned business. Our family members have a range of complementary skill sets which are well-suited to help families and young people grow and develop in healthy ways throughout their life.
Our mission is to provide a place for all children to develop and gain the ability to navigate the social nuances of the modern world through fun activities, experienced staff, and a safe space to learn free from stigma and labels.
Mrs. Bristow’s incredible relationship with parents will also ensure that they are in connection with their child's individualized goals, enhancing their ability to understand their child and help them in the home setting as well. Mrs. Bristow believes it is a slower process than an "easy fix". This type of training and learning is not something you get in school, simply because the understanding and time constraints are limited by curriculum needs, benchmark assessments, and academics.
What she does ensure is that you will see the growth and success of your child, and it will spill over into the school setting -- not only in understanding their world and how their actions play a part, but they will become better observers, improve on interpreting intentions of those around them, and most importantly, improve on perspective-taking in order to create more positive relationships.
This will also be evident in the community, which would include team sports and work experiences, as well as provide a basis for improved reading, writing, and communication skills, which thus helps support academic and intellectual growth.
Her expertise is in behavioral planning and Applied Behavior Analysis, along with applicable cognitive behavioral approaches. As a certified School Psychologist, she received the Governor’s Teacher/Child Study Team Advocate Award in 2020. She has helped many families understand their child and navigate through challenges both at school, home, and community settings.
As the COO and Founder of the Bristow Center, Bari's passion is unsurmounted.
After 33 years of experience working in public schools, private schools, case management, and advocating for children and families, Bari has come to realize that the lack of social skills is often overlooked and children are misdiagnosed. Bari believes that "kids are the best diagnosticians of finding the friends who are quirky and different, and what happens then? We all know they become the targets!”
Her research and experiences have led her to her passion of understanding the social world -- not only of children with developmental delays or neurological implications, but to include the general education children who are smart, quirky, frustrate easily or may be perfectionists, in addition to understanding those who are shy or filled with anxiety.
Her work has led her to understand their world and their perceptions as well as the fact that their peers aren’t educated and trained to understand the reality that "social skills" are not innate for many.
Her biggest pet peeve is that most guidance counselors, psychologists, or even school teachers just can’t deal with the presenting behaviors. So, when a child drops to the ground during recess crying, we tell him or her that’s not the right thing to do. But Bari realized quickly that these children don’t always understand the "why" of what's happening around them.
The Bristow Center’s uniqueness is to have both the parents and the children involved; to be taught and to understand that social skills are multi-layered, and it is a learning process that drives problem solving abilities, not necessarily an innate skill set. At the Center, Bari will be able to diagnose the developmental level of a child’s social awareness through understanding
How they attend
How (or if) they interpret information from the environment
How well they can solve problems
Their own social responses
It is Bari’s intent to then be able to build and fill in gaps with their foundational skills.
Morgan is Bari’s daughter and knows her life's work is with families and children. She earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Family Science from the University of Maryland, and followed that up with a Master’s in School Counseling from Kean University, as well as working toward her licensure as a Practicing Counselor (LPC) and SAC certification.
She’s had many opportunities to work with families and children in a variety of settings and states, allowing for a wide range of perspectives. She’s worked closely with Bari to develop the Bristow Center.
Morgan believes that every child has the potential to become the best version of themselves, and will help make the Bristow Center the place to call home for children of all backgrounds. Morgan believes that if there is a strong understanding of interactions and increased self-confidence in their surroundings, they will be able to achieve all goals.
Justan is Bari’s son and brings a strong background in business and finance, as well as life-long engagement with social skills training for all students. His goal is to make the Bristow Center accessible for everyone so they can thrive in the "real world" setting.
Growing up as the child of a school psychologist, he’s had the opportunity to observe and work with his mom’s "other kids". In high school, he started a program called "Kicks for Autism" -- teaching modified Taekwondo to autistic children.
He observed the positive impact this simple program had on the participants, and throughout his time in corporate trading and private equity work, he kept that impact in mind as he looked for a way to use his experience to help others with social skills for the 21st Century.
Justan is committed to making sure the Bristow Center is successful both as a social skills training for adults center AND as a business. This dual emphasis will allow it to reach as many children as possible -- from all backgrounds.
Ollie is the Bristow Center Therapy Dog who has graduated his program with honors. He is currently three years old and was a rescue dog from Korea. He was raised by the Bristows and spent the first three years of his life at an elementary school full time, where he had recess duty and hall duty. He also provided frequent assistance to administrators, students, teachers, and therapists throughout the day. He will be at the Center and will even participate with the members as they wish. He is completely hypo-allergenic, friendly, and lovable.
For the Initial Social Consultation, please choose a time when at least one parent or guardian can accompany the child to the Center.
Certified School Psychologist Bari Bristow has launched the Bristow Center in Lake Hopatcong, NJ. After 33 years in public education and advocacy for families, she discovered that many children evidence social developmental gaps and are struggling with peer interactions and at an increasing rate... Read More >