Jennifer Gay Summers
Author | Journalist | Blogger | Inspirational Speaker
ADHD and Neurodivergent Parenting Advocate
Jennifer Gay Summers writes stories that engage the head and the heart. Her storytelling abilities are exceptional, blending telling details with a strong narrative that keeps me reading to the end. She is a talent.
— Wayne Kalyn, Editor, ADDitude
“Jennifer knows just how to get to the heart of a story, while still keeping it succinct and focused. She can move you to tears or move you to pick up the phone and take action about something you didn’t even know was important to you.”
~ Abigail Lewis, Editor, Whole Life Times
“Any Way I Can; 50 years in Show Business” is one of those great biographies that you simply can’t put down. John Gay and his daughter Jennifer Gay Summers put together an incredible story of the famous writer’s life and career and made it something simple to read but never boring.”
—Tommy Garrett, Editor in Chief Canyon News
I grew up in Pacific Palisades, California, daughter to a successful screenwriter, John Gay, and his actress wife, Bobbie. Our house was filled with stories from Hollywood sets and the sound of Broadway music. I revered my father, sneaking down the street to write too, hiding under a giant butterfly bush and locking the words away in my red leather diary with a gold key. It would be years before I took the journey to unlock my words.
Instead, the acting bug bit me, and I attended the American Academy of Dramatic Arts, followed by a career performing on stage and in television, under my maiden name, Jennifer Gay. At 28, I sought more stability in my life and chose to pursue a teaching career. I received my undergraduate degree at UCLA, then my teaching credential in English at UCSB.
I went on to teach English and theater in public high schools, winding up in adult school with high school students at risk. Little did I know, at the time, how much this would help me when I became a mother.
After 13 years of teaching English, my desire to write was rekindled. I took an internship at Whole Life
During this time, I had the great honor of helping my father write his memoir,
Any Way I Can: 50 Years in Show Business
From an original comedy sketch that launched the broke, fledging actor and his new bride onto WOR-TV’s first day on the air in 1949, to the glory of writing for the Golden Age of Television, John Gay’s memoir details his breathtaking trajectory into Oscar-nominated feature films, award-winning Emmy television shows, and the ultimate triumph for lifetime achievement.
Thrilled to be a guest on the Parenting with Impact Podcast that aired on 8/30/23! Here’s a quick preview of our interview that focuses on the moment when I knew I would need to leave behind my traditional expectations of motherhood and embark on a whole new journey.
Hope you can join me and the wonderful Impact Parents coach, Elaine Taylor-Klaus, as we discuss the challenges and joys of parenting complex children.
As Mother’s Day approaches, I want to thank all the special moms who supported me through the years. Parenting a neurodiverse child is challenging and makes it difficult sometimes to find understanding friends. When I was struggling, long before my child’s ADHD diagnosis, two moms stepped forward and gave me hope and the gift of friendship. This blog is in honor of them.
Over the years in my quest to help my child with ADHD and now complete a memoir about it, I accumulated many books on the subject. Maybe it’s the teacher in me or just my passion for books, but I ended up with a pretty good collection. This month’s blog focuses on some of my favorites.
Even though I’d heard that communication is a skill we learn and practice, no one told me how important that would be in raising my child. Between Lee’s inability to focus, a lot of hyperactivity, and emotions that were hard to regulate, it became my challenge to find a different way to communicate. In this month’s blog, I put together the tips that worked for me over the years. Hope you’ll find one that works for you!