About Dr. C & Elwood
DR. SAMUEL R. CARON, PH.D., CHILD PSYCHOLOGIST
I have been working with children and families for over 25 years.
During that time, I have worked as a special education teacher; at a hospital for people who were severely, developmentally disabled; as an elementary school counselor; at a mental health center, as the director of children and family services; at a college, teaching courses; and in my own office, seeing children and families who were having problems. Currently, I am a child psychologist at the mental health clinic at Fort Huachuca, an army base in Sierra Vista, Arizona.
I am glad that I chose a career which allows me to try to help children and families get along better and be happier. It particularly makes me feel good when I hear that one of my former patients is doing well now, and it also makes me feel bad when I am not able to help much and the problems just continue.
Since I work so much with children, I have developed hobbies which children like. Some of these hobbies I will be sharing with you on my web page.
I guess my most obvious hobby is that I am a ventriloquist. A ventriloquist is someone who talks without moving his or her lips. I am not the best ventriloquist since my lips still move a little, but I am very good at making my puppet seem to come to life. I hope that someday you will all get a chance to meet my puppet, Elwood, in person.
I started learning ventriloquism when my aunt gave me a Jerry Mahoney puppet on my sixth birthday. When I was a child, “The Paul Winchell and Jerry Mahoney Show” was popular on television. Yes, they did have television when I was younger.
Nobody taught me how to do ventriloquism. I just kept practicing and taught myself.
After I grew up, I continued to use my puppet skills a little bit in all of my jobs. About 10 years ago, I hired a puppet maker named Jerry Baum, and he made Elwood for me. He also made puppets for
everybody in my family.
Speaking of my family, I have been married for over 25 years and my wife’s name is Mary. We have two sons, Benjamin who is 32, and Jeremy who is 24.
My sons and my wife helped me produce my video tapes on ADHD. It was truly a family effort. Working together on the same goal also brought us closer together as a family.
When I first purchased Elwood, he didn’t have a name. I decided to have a contest among my patients to name him. The winner was given a bag of animal balloons. When somebody suggested Elwood, I knew that it was the right name.
Elwood helps me at work by talking with my young patients. Talking with Elwood makes them happy to visit me. Some very young children are afraid of Elwood, because they don’t understand that he is only a puppet. I don’t show Elwood to these children.
Several years ago, there was a hurricane named Andrew which hit the Florida coast. I was able to take Elwood to Florida right after the storm. We worked in a Red Cross shelter trying to help people and entertain the children. Elwood and I also worked on a non-violent children’s television show. We talked to children about things like anger and divorce.
Working on the television show was a lot of fun. We worked in a public access studio in Tucson, Arizona. First my entire family learned how to work in a television studio. We learned how to set up the lights, sound, and the cameras. We also learned how to operate the cameras and work in the control room. If you want to learn about television, ask your parents if there is public access in your town.
After we spent an entire year working on the TV show, we began to produce our own public service announcements on topics like family violence and don’t talk to strangers. These 30 second productions were shown on television in Tucson, Arizona. It made us all feel good to see them on TV and hopefully they helped some families.
Most recently, I have been producing programs about Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). Many of the children I see have this problem, and that is why I decided to make these TV shows. I thought that it would be nice for me and Elwood to share some of our thoughts about ADHD with parents and children across the country.
When I started making these shows, I had no idea how difficult it would be. First, I had to write the scripts. Then I had to write the songs. Next, my older son, Ben, composed the music. After that we had to rehearse and rehearse and rehearse. Finally, we went into the studio and taped the shows.
That was hard too. It seems that when the camera is on, it becomes easier to make a lot of mistakes. Therefore, you have to do parts over and over again, until you get them right. To complete thirty minutes could take 4 or 5 hours. I forgot to mention that my two sons, Benjamin and Jeremy, and my wife, Mary, helped me with all of the work by working the other puppets, singing, changing the puppets’ clothes, and doing anything else that needed to be done.
Now I thought that the hard part was done after we taped the programs, but I was wrong. Editing the video, choosing out the best sections and putting them together, took a lot more time. During the editing, we also added the pictures and cartoons. This was all done with a computer.
I didn’t do the editing since I don’t know how. The people who helped me do the video taping also helped me with the editing. I learned that it takes a lot of people and a lot of time to make a television program. If you get to watch my programs I hope that you’ll tell me if you like them!