About the Author and Illustrator
Christie ‘Chris’ Engelfried grew up in Kenmore, New York. After receiving a Master’s Degree in Social Work from the University of Buffalo in 1968, she and her husband moved to Rochester, New York. As a New York State Licensed Clinical Social Worker, her career initially focused on providing psychiatric services to children, adolescents, and their families at Rochester Mental Health Center’s children’s clinic and child and adolescent day treatment units.
In 1989, Chris went to work at Rochester Hearing and Speech Center. In addition to being a member of the evaluation team for children with speech/language and hearing delays, she conducted parent training programs, and provided consultation to agency staff.
Chris opened a private practice specializing in services to children and their families in 1996. She had contracts with Monroe County Health Department, local school districts, Stepping Stones Learning Center, and Rochester Hearing and Speech Center. In 1997, she joined the staff of Stepping Stones Learning Center, providing evaluation, consultation, and counseling to developmentally delayed preschoolers and their parents. She coordinated the Preschool Special Education evaluation team. As Social Work Department Head, she helped develop and implement programs for preschool aged developmentally delayed and autistic children and their parents. Chris was a social work field supervisor for Rochester Institute of Technology’s undergraduate Social Work Program.
In 1983, Chris’ mother-in-law, Martha, showed signs of memory loss, depression, confusion, and demonstrated significant personality changes. Otherwise, Martha was a very healthy 82 year old. These symptoms along with bouts of hallucinations and delusions led to three separate commitments by her son to a hospital psychiatric unit. Initially, Martha’s diagnosis was acute depression treated with psychotropic and anti-depression medications. Martha was admitted to a long-term nursing facility after her third psychiatric hospitalization. She was eventually diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. It was Martha’s condition and treatment that led to Chris’ search for knowledge and understanding of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.
Chris received a Certificate in Gerontology from St. John Fischer College in 1990. After retiring, she obtained a Certificate in Dementia Specific Caregiving Train the Trainer Program through the Rochester Chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association’s Learning Institute. Chris worked as a volunteer facilitator for Alzheimer caregiver support groups and facilitated support groups for individuals with Early Stage Alzheimer’s disease. In 2008, Chris and her husband moved to Pinehurst, North Carolina where she provides education and support to dementia caregivers and their families. Her newest book Helping Children Understand Alzheimer’s Disease is now available. Chris also writes and illustrates social skills books for children.