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Aimee Barr: Teaching Self-Advocacy


Aimee Barr, GSS ’06, is driven by her profound belief that people learn best from one another. It’s a lesson she learned early in life.

When Barr was just 13, she was diagnosed with perceptual problems. “Even to this day I sometimes have a challenging time with spatial relations—it’s a form of dyslexia,” she says.

After the diagnosis, the New Jersey native was moved out of her eighth-grade classroom and into a resource room. “They thought it would be kinder to me, that it would make things easier. But I didn’t want things to be easier,” Barr says. “And I just felt really strongly that it wasn’t the right place for me, that I learn really well when I’m around a variety of other people.”

With support from her parents, Barr fought the decision and eventually rejoined her classmates. But the experience is something that has stayed with her.

Her decision to pursue a master’s degree in social work at Fordham’s Lincoln Center campus was fueled by the feeling that, unlike other psychological professions, “social work is focused on the advocacy piece as well as the clinical realm,” Barr explains. “The advocacy piece teaches people how to advocate on their own behalf and how they can make their life better.”

As a licensed clinical social worker, Barr has a private practice in Brooklyn and also works with adolescents through the educational consulting group Forster-Thomas and the Center Against Domestic Violence in New York City.

“It’s a really inspiring group to work with,” she says. “It’s amazing to see the resilience they have, to see their creativity, to see the dreams they want to achieve. Witnessing their growth is very inspiring to me.”

Barr’s interest in working with adolescents “definitely stems from things that I went through,” she says. “I do feel that, if you successfully work your way through a crisis or trauma at a younger age, you have those problem-solving skills for life.”

Barr also hosts workshops for various groups, giving them an opportunity to learn not only from her but also from each other, “in a collective environment among their peers.” She has focused on topics from bullying and relationship abuse prevention to career advancement and stress management.

Read the rest of the story in Inside Fordham.


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