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1.20.21 Breakthroughs Branding — to add

The 2e study Center and The Quad Prep School announce our fully remote 

2021 Breakthroughs in Twice-Exceptional Education National Conference.

 

For the 8th year, Breakthroughs will bring together physicians, clinicians, educators, parents, and community members for three days of diversely knowledgeable speakers from across the disciplines. 

*Already Registered? Look for an email from Reattendance. For further instructions click here.*

 

Featured Keynote Speaker 

 Dr. Temple Grandin

" Thinking Differently: The Essential Value of Neurodiversity in Our World and Future"
Thursday March 11 @ 4pm

In an intimate and in-depth keynote conversation with Quad Prep Founder and Head of School Dr. Kim Busi, Dr. Temple Grandin illuminates the value, impact, and urgent necessity of neurodivergent thinkers in our world, its economy, and its future. Sharing key moments and stories from her own incredible successes as a scientist, activist, and author, and drawing from her deep expertise in the field, Dr. Grandin offers new perspectives, pointing the way forward for twice-exceptional educators, providers, individuals, and their families.

March 10: Sessions and Speakers

Select a time to view the speakers for that session

KEYNOTE 3:40PM

Dr. Renae D. Mayes: Mapping the Margins, Understanding Intersecting Identities for Twice-Exceptional Students


Description: With the identified twice exceptional population being seemingly small, it’s easy to understand why these gifted students with disabilities feel like unicorns. However, what we often miss is that these students sit at a complex intersection of identities that all come together to form who they are. We’ll discuss these intersecting identities, especially as it relates to minoritized students, and how this impacts the identification of twice exceptional students along with their experiences once identified. As we consider their unique experiences, we will end with a discussion of specific strategies around antiracist practices that we as educators, counselors, caregivers can implement to support the holistic development of twice exceptional students.
Bio: Dr. Renae D. Mayes is an associate professor in the Department of Disability and Psychoeducational Studies. She is a licensed school counselor and national certified counselor with experience in K-12 schools along with specialized educational settings. She completed her Ph.D. in Counselor Education at The Ohio State University where she was a Todd Anthony Bell Fellow. Dr. Mayes completed degrees at the University of Maryland, College Park (M.Ed. in School Counseling) and University of Missouri (B.S. in Middle School Math and Social Studies Education) where she was a McNair Scholar. Dr. Mayes was also a Gates Millennium Scholar as an undergraduate and graduate student. Informed by Critical Race Theory, Critical Race Feminism, DisCrit, and bioecological systems theories, her research agenda centers around the academic success and college readiness for gifted Black students with dis/abilities and Black girls. Mayes’ research details the experience of students and families navigating schools, while also providing recommendations for dismantling systems of oppression through policy and practice. Further, Dr. Mayes has extended this research to include implications for leadership, advocacy, and collaboration for school counselors and school administrators.





KEYNOTE 3:40PM

Dr. Renae D. Mayes: Mapping the Margins, Understanding Intersecting Identities for Twice-Exceptional Students


Description: With the identified twice exceptional population being seemingly small, it’s easy to understand why these gifted students with disabilities feel like unicorns. However, what we often miss is that these students sit at a complex intersection of identities that all come together to form who they are. We’ll discuss these intersecting identities, especially as it relates to minoritized students, and how this impacts the identification of twice exceptional students along with their experiences once identified. As we consider their unique experiences, we will end with a discussion of specific strategies around antiracist practices that we as educators, counselors, caregivers can implement to support the holistic development of twice exceptional students.
Bio: Dr. Renae D. Mayes is an associate professor in the Department of Disability and Psychoeducational Studies. She is a licensed school counselor and national certified counselor with experience in K-12 schools along with specialized educational settings. She completed her Ph.D. in Counselor Education at The Ohio State University where she was a Todd Anthony Bell Fellow. Dr. Mayes completed degrees at the University of Maryland, College Park (M.Ed. in School Counseling) and University of Missouri (B.S. in Middle School Math and Social Studies Education) where she was a McNair Scholar. Dr. Mayes was also a Gates Millennium Scholar as an undergraduate and graduate student. Informed by Critical Race Theory, Critical Race Feminism, DisCrit, and bioecological systems theories, her research agenda centers around the academic success and college readiness for gifted Black students with dis/abilities and Black girls. Mayes’ research details the experience of students and families navigating schools, while also providing recommendations for dismantling systems of oppression through policy and practice. Further, Dr. Mayes has extended this research to include implications for leadership, advocacy, and collaboration for school counselors and school administrators.





March 11: Sessions and Speakers

Select a time to view the speakers for that session

8:00 - 9:00 AM

Disability Workplace Inclusion: Autism at Work


Speaker: Susanne M. Bruyère, Ph.D., CRC Description: Through this session, attendees will gain deeper insight into businesses’ current interest in increasing hiring opportunities with the neurodiverse population. They will learn more about related current company initiatives, including various pipeline development (recruitment) and hiring initiatives being used by companies and successes and challenges to date, along with a basic background understanding of neurodiversity and related conditions. Bio: Susanne M. Bruyère, Ph.D., CRC is currently Professor of Disability Studies and the Director of the K. Lisa Yang and Hock E. Tan Institute on Employment and Disability, Cornell University, ILR (Industrial and Labor Relations) School, Ithaca, N.Y. The Yang-Tan Institute is Cornell University’s premier research, training, and technical assistance resource focusing on disability inclusion in employment, education, and community, with an annual budget of approximately $10 million and 60 academic and administrative personnel. In her role, Dr. Bruyère serves as Institute administrative and strategic lead, and serves as the director/co-director of numerous federally-sponsored research, dissemination, and technical assistance efforts focused on employment and disability policy and effective workplace practices for people with disabilities. She is currently the PI and Project Director of the National Policy, Research, and Technical Assistance Center on Employment of People with Disabilities funded by the U.S. Department of Labor, Office of Disability Employment Policy. She is the author/co-author of four books and over 120 peer-reviewed articles and book chapters on workplace disability inclusion and related topics. While at Cornell University, Dr. Bruyere also served as the Director of Cornell University’s Faculty-Staff Health Program in the Office of Human Resources, managing disability- and health-related services for Cornell employees. Most recently, Dr. Bruyère is focused on workplace inclusive policies and practices conducted in companies with proactive hiring initiatives for persons who are on the Autism Spectrum. Together with DXC Technologies, she has designed an online portal at Cornell University to house the training materials and protocol descriptions for DXC’s The Dandelion Program, focused on employment of persons with Autism. She is the author and instructor of several related Human Resource Studies courses offered in 2019-20 at Cornell University ILR (Industrial and Labor Relations) School entitled Workplace Disability Inclusion: Innovations and Initiatives (ILR HR 4657 – Autism at Work), as well as a Directed Study and semester-long credit internship for undergraduate HR students in multinational companies, designed for them to study and learn about workplace Autism-inclusive promising HR policies and practices. She is a Guest Editor for a special issue of the Journal of Management and Organization (Australia), projected entitled “Advantages and Challenges of Neurodiversity Employment in Organizations'' (fall, 2019). She is also the author of an online eCornell sponsored course for human resource (HR) professionals entitled “Autism at Work'', which will be offered throughout 2020. Susanne is a past president of the Division of Rehabilitation Psychology (22) of the American Psychological Association, the American Rehabilitation Counseling Association (ARCA), and the National Council on Rehabilitation Education (NCRE). She holds a doctoral degree in Rehabilitation Counseling Psychology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, is a Fellow in the American Psychological Association, a member of the National Academy of Social Insurance, and has held numerous leadership positions on the Executive Board Member of the Division of Rehabilitation Psychology (22) of the American Psychological Association, the Global Applied Disability Research and Information Network on Employment and Training (GLADNET), and the Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities (CARF) an international accreditation organization operating in the U.S., Canada, Europe, Asia and South America.




Engaging with Parents: Navigating Effective Ways for Provider-Parent Collaboration


Speaker: Venus Mahmoodi, PhD Description:This presentation will focus on how educators and clinicians can provide a holding space for parents in order to enhance collaboration. Parents of 2e students often struggle to feel validated when collaborating with teachers and care providers. The objective of this presentation is to provide tips and tools to help educators validate parents and their parenting journeys, while also providing them with a roadmap to support their children. Another objective of the presentation is to engage educators in a meaningful discussion around empathy and understanding to improve parent engagement. Bio: Dr. Venus Mahmoodi is Licensed Clinical Psychologist, Clinical Supervisor, and Managing Director of the Khalil Center-New York City office. She cares for individuals and couples to alleviate distress from a wide range of mental health challenges, including anxiety, depression, trauma and post-traumatic stress, and emotional dysregulation. In her clinical practice, Dr. Mahmoodi utilizes a range of interventions to manage symptoms depending on the need of the patient, from insight-oriented techniques to effective coping strategies. She has specialized training in reproductive mental health, including perinatal loss and infertility, and childhood trauma. Dr. Mahmoodi is also an Affiliate Scholar with the Global Mental Health Lab and Adjunct Assistant Professor of Psychology at Teachers College, Columbia University, where she engages in several research projects focused on perinatal mental health, teaches graduate-level courses, and mentors students. Dr. Mahmoodi completed her PhD in Clinical Psychology at the Pacific Graduate School of Psychology at Palo Alto University in California, with an emphasis in women’s neuroscience and reproductive health through a collaboration with Stanford University. She completed an APA-accredited pre-doctoral internship at Mount Sinai Beth Israel in New York City, where she focused on trauma treatment in children and adults, psychiatric inpatient care, and research on child trauma.




Building Successful Classroom Environments for 2e Students


Speaker: Jacqui Byrne Description:Using gifted characteristics, Jacqui discusses how 2e students make classrooms more challenging for teachers. and shares how teachers can both understand these wonderful students and help them thrive. This session is for teachers and parents who are not familiar with the ways in which classroom environments can be changed to support 2e students. Bio: Jacqui Byrne is the visionary behind FlexSchool, learning communities for gifted and 2e students. She loves all of the creative, quirky, asynchronous minds and finds figuring out how to reach each child very satisfying. Jacqui is the co-founder of the widely respected Ivy Ed college preparation and counseling firm. She developed her own verbal test prep curriculum, wrote a test prep book for McGraw-Hill, and high school curriculum for English teachers for an educational publishing company. She is an acknowledged expert in education: training school district guidance counselors, speaking at college parent nights throughout New Jersey, and presenting at professional conferences. Prior to founding Ivy Ed, she taught creative writing to gifted students at a Milton Academy summer program, completed an operations management training program on Wall Street, and started a boutique marketing company. Jacqui earned a B.A. from Yale and has children who are twice-exceptional.





10:40 - 11:40 AM

The Complementary Value of Assistive Technologies: A Paradigm Shift for Sustaining Learner Engagement throughout the Duration of Remediation


Speaker: Mark Surabian Description: The ableist presumption that Assistive Technology (AT) should not be considered until “remediation has run its course” is detrimental to the daily participation needs of students with learning challenges and further creates an unnecessary dependency upon educators and caregivers for support. Now ubiquitous, AT should be integrated with remediation for more proactive and holistic interventions. This alternative paradigm recognizes technology's potential for fostering “access and sustained engagement” (Edyburn, 2010) with rigorous academic content, thus creating more equitable classroom experiences. Attendees will hear actual student-user testimonies on the value of AT for sustaining an uninterrupted level of participation in class while their remediation proceeded along a parallel path. Research will also be shared that demonstrates AT’s value for enhancing remediation outcomes. Attendees will depart with resources for finding free and affordable tools which may serve to empower students who experience daily learning challenges in reading, writing, note-taking, math, and idea organization. Bio: Mark Surabian has practiced in the field of Assistive Technology for over 30 years. He currently operates ATHelp.org, a free Assistive Technology clinic that has served over 4000 children and adults with learning, communication, sensory, and physical challenges, and ATTrain.org, a free professional training program that serves schools and agencies across the greater NYC area. He is an instructor of assistive/educational technologies for the New York University's Doctoral Program in Occupational Therapy, and in the Education departments of Bankstreet College and St. Joseph’s College. He is published, and collaborates on research projects around the use of AT for learning, communication, and accessibility. He can be contacted at ATHelp@me.com or through his LinkedIn Profile.




Multisensory Math: Linear Functions, Prove by Construction


Speaker: Marilyn Zecher, M.A., CALT Description: Students with learning challenges often do not respond to procedural instruction which is built onmemorization and verbal memory. Evidence based strategies for instruction include multiple representations and hands-on engagement using manipulative objects which support multiple memory sources. One essential building block of algebra is linear functions. To provide students with meaningful applications and lasting memories, we can begin with an inverted instructional sequence beginning with real life applications. Students construct linear models using manipulative objects and map meaning onto these tactile and visual representations which can then be linked to the abstract models. This presentation will demonstrate a workable sequence for supporting all kinds of learners in formation of this essential concept. If you wish to participate, bring some linking cubes, unifix cubes or 9mm pony beads and a shoestring. Bio: A nationally certified Academic Language Therapist and former public school classroom/demonstration teacher, Ms Zecher is a specialist in applying multisensory strategies to a variety of content areas. Her graduate level Multisensory Math courses have been used as methods courses at the university level and she is a frequent speaker at national, international, and local conferences. Ms Zecher specializes in evidence-based methods and interventions for all students but which are especially effective with students who have learning challenges. She is well known for her work in the fields of mathematics, literacy strategies for older learners and study skills. Her presentations incorporate Orton-Gillingham strategies, the principles of UDL, and recommendations from the NCTM, The What Works Clearinghouse and the Common Core State Standards.




How to Spot Fake News and Stay News Literate


Speaker: Professor Sissel McCarthy Description: The digital age demands a new kind of literacy that empowers the public to determine whether information is credible, reliable and truthful for themselves. This is not just a skill; it is a new core competency because a healthy, civil society can exist only if the public is well-informed. So-called “fake news” is hard to spot and easily spread, leading to disagreements over basic facts. The COVID-19 pandemic and the 2020 election have only accelerated these trends, but fortunately, news literacy is the antidote. Professor Sissel McCarthy will share her insights on the challenges facing today's news consumers and several tips to help you become a more literate news consumer. Bio: Award-winning international business journalist Sissel McCarthy is a Distinguished Lecturer and Director of the Journalism Program at Hunter College as well as the founder of NewsLiteracyMatters.com. She has been teaching news literacy and multimedia reporting and writing for 16 years at Hunter College, NYU and Emory University following her career as an anchor and reporter at CNN and CNBC. Before her career in television news, she worked on Wall Street at Lehman Brothers and Bankers Trust. McCarthy earned her bachelor’s degree at Dartmouth College and two master’s degrees at Columbia University. She lives in Westchester with her husband and four sons.





12:00 - 1:00 PM

The Effects of the COVID Era on those with ASD (Roundtable)


Moderator: Matthew D. Lerner, Ph.D.
Description: Through this roundtable discussion will offer participants greater insights into the effects of our ongoing COVID time period on individuals with Autism-Spectrum Disorder. How do masks, quarantining, and social distancing affect these individuals? Bio: Matthew D. Lerner, Ph.D. is an Associate Professor of Psychology Psychiatry, & Pediatrics in the Department of Psychology at Stony Brook University, where he directs the Social Competence and Treatment Lab, and is the Research Director of the Stony Brook Autism Initiative. Dr. Lerner’s research focuses on understanding emergence and “real world” implications of social problems in children and adolescents (especially those with Autism Spectrum Disorders [ASD]), as well as development, evaluation, and dissemination of novel, evidence-based approaches for ameliorating those problems. He has published roughly 100 peer-reviewed articles and book chapters; he serves on the Editorial Boards of 8 academic outlets, including Child Development, the Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, the Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, and the Journal of Clinical Child & Adolescent Psychology. Dr. Lerner has received grants from organizations including the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the Brain & Behavior Research Foundation, the Simons Foundation, the Medical Foundation, the American Psychological Association, the Society of Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology, and the American Academy of Arts & Sciences. He has received several acknowledgments and awards, including the Biobehavioral Research Award for Innovative New Scientists (BRAINS) from the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), the Early Career Research Contributions Award from the Society for Research in Child Development (SRCD), the David Shakow Early Career Award for Distinguished Scientific Contributions to Clinical Psychology from the Society of Clinical Psychology (APA Division 12), the Sara S. Sparrow Early Career Research Award (APA Division 33), the Susan Nolen-Hoeksema Early Career Research Award from the Society for a Science of Clinical Psychology, the Richard “Dick” Abidin Early Career Award from the Society of Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology (APA Division 53), Young Investigator Awards from the Brain & Behavior Research Foundation (NARSAD) and the International Society for Autism Research, the Transformative Contributions Award from the Autism & Developmental Disabilities SIG of the Association for Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies, and the Rising Star designation from the Association for Psychological Science.




Parenting Twice-Exceptional Children (Roundtable)


Moderator: Debbie Reber, MA Bio: Deborah Reber, MA is a parenting activist, New York Times bestselling author, podcast host, and speaker who moved her career in a more personal direction in 2016 when she founded TiLT Parenting, a top resource for parents like her who are raising differently wired children. The TiLT Parenting Podcast has nearly 3 million downloads and a slate of guests that includes high-profile thought leaders across the parenting and education space. A certified Positive Discipline trainer and a regular contributor to Psychology Today and ADDitude Magazine, Debbie’s most recent book is "Differently Wired: Raising an Exceptional Child in a Conventional World." In 2018, she spoke at TEDxAmsterdam, delivering a talk entitled Why the Future Will Be Differently Wired.




Multisensory Math: Differentiation in the Mathematics Classroom (Roundtable)


Moderator: Marilyn Zecher, M.A., CALT Description: I feel strongly that we sometimes over accommodate our unique learners because we do not understand how unique learners learn. There is a balance to be had between accommodation and skill development. This will also be a part of my intervention presentation but a round table discussion will allow others to have a voice in the discussion. It is a relatively new and different approach to dealing with students who can possibly acquire skills at all levels of math and not just allow us to abrogate our responsibility to actually teach skills that can be replaced by technology. It is an important topic for those of us in the field of special education. Bio: A nationally certified Academic Language Therapist and former public school classroom/demonstration teacher, Ms Zecher is a specialist in applying multisensory strategies to a variety of content areas. Her graduate level Multisensory Math courses have been used as methods courses at the university level and she is a frequent speaker at national, international, and local conferences. Ms Zecher specializes in evidence-based methods and interventions for all students but which are especially effective with students who have learning challenges. She is well known for her work in the fields of mathematics, literacy strategies for older learners and study skills. Her presentations incorporate Orton-Gillingham strategies, the principles of UDL, and recommendations from the NCTM, The What Works Clearinghouse and the Common Core State Standards.




Teaching Students How to Think Like Fact-checkers (Roundtable)


Moderator: Professor Sissel McCarthy Description: This roundtable discussion led by Hunter College Distinguished Lecturer Sissel McCarthy will talk about the need to rethink how we teach students to evaluate digital information. Most schools are not equipping students with the skills they need to access reliable information and avoid misinformation on the internet, Professor McCarthy, who is the founder of the website, NewsLiteracyMatters.com, will take your questions and share her expertise on how to teach students to become more critical news consumers. Bio: Award-winning international business journalist Sissel McCarthy is a Distinguished Lecturer and Director of the Journalism Program at Hunter College as well as the founder of NewsLiteracyMatters.com. She has been teaching news literacy and multimedia reporting and writing for 16 years at Hunter College, NYU and Emory University following her career as an anchor and reporter at CNN and CNBC. Before her career in television news, she worked on Wall Street at Lehman Brothers and Bankers Trust. McCarthy earned her bachelor’s degree at Dartmouth College and two master’s degrees at Columbia University. She lives in Westchester with her husband and four sons.





1:20 - 2:20 PM

Project Approach: Making Learning Real and Purposeful


Speaker: Jo Sigmund Description: In this workshop, participants will be guided through the process of creating a hands-on, real-world Project that meets the interests and needs of a wide variety of students. We will also discuss the various activities and procedures involved with each of the three phases of a Project. Participants will be given the opportunity to practice some of these important aspects including: initial planning of a Project, brainstorming ideas for field studies and guest speakers, as well as ways in which academic subject areas can be effectively and authentically integrated throughout the Project. Examples of Projects completed at a variety of grade levels will also be shared. Bio: Jo Sigmund has used Project Approach in a wide variety of classrooms—from preschool through grade 5—for more than 25 years, and has trained educators across the country and in the UK in its use. In 2004, she co-founded The Emerson School, a k-5 charter school located in Portland, OR whose program is based on the use of Project Approach at all grade levels. Now she is thrilled to work as a professor of education at multiple universities, where she has the opportunity to work with pre-service teachers, and to introduce them to the joy and excitement of project based learning.




Learning and Skill-Building through Tabletop Role-playing Games


Speaker: Timm Woods, PhD & Julia Rutkovsky, LMSW Description: Tabletop Role-Playing Games, or RPGs, are best known as fantasy escapes which have captivated players for generations, long before even the first video game release. Dungeons & Dragons is the best known example, and has become more popular than ever before in recent years. To a generation raised on screens and technology, RPGs represent a rare opportunity to be creative together, in a social context, with clearly defined rules of play. In particular, students with special learning needs have found the opportunity to grow a unique set of skills through the gameplay of RPGs. Timm will outline the uses and benefits of bringing RPGs into an educational context, and how gameplay in general-- even video games!-- can be turned into a learning opportunity. Bio: Timm Woods, PhD is a professional game master with a background in education and writing. He specializes in running game-based educational programs, with a focus on the therapeutic and skill-building uses of gameplay. His PhD dissertation was on the many uses of role-playing games like Dungeons & Dragons in educational contexts. Timm runs 6-10 sessions weekly of RPGs for adults and younger players, connecting people online during the pandemic.
Bio: Julia Rutkovsky, LMSW is a social worker and psychotherapist who specializes in working with children, adolescents, and families. Julia received her B.S. in Social Work and Theater from Skidmore College in 2016, and her Masters of Social Work with honors from New York University's Silver School of Social Work in 2017. Julia began her professional work with Twice-Exceptional learners in 2018 as the Associate Director and Summer Program Director at The Quad Manhattan. In July 2020, Julia began serving as the School Social Worker at the FlexSchool for 2e learners. In addition to her LMSW, Julia holds a Certificate in Child and Family Therapy from NYU and the Play Therapy Association (2018) as well as a Certificate in Meeting the Needs of Twice Exceptional Children from the 2e Study Center at The Quad (2019).




Eye of the Beholder: Our “Obsessions” = Opportunities


Speaker: Morénike Giwa Onaiwu, PhD(c), MA Description: The DSM calls them “highly restricted, fixated interests that are abnormal in intensity or focus,” but we call it, as 2E artist Kassiane Asasumasu says, “deep love...going big or going home.” Our passions don’t have to just be hobbies! The purpose of this interactive workshop is to explore mechanisms for channeling areas of intense interest into a potential means of connection, socialization, learning/teaching, and self-actualization (that might even generate occasional income!).
Bio: Morénike Giwa Onaiwu, PhD(c), MA (she/they) is a global advocate, educator, and autistic person of color in a 2E neurodiverse, multicultural, serodifferent family. A prolific writer, consultant, and social scientist/activist whose work focuses on meaningful community involvement, human rights, intersectional justice, and inclusion, Morénike is a Humanities Scholar at Rice University’s Center for the Study of Women, Gender, and Sexuality and a member of several executive boards. Morénike has been an invited speaker at the United Nations, the White House, and numerous peer-reviewed international conferences in addition to contributing author/editor of several publications, abstracts, and books Shawnfocusing on community engagement, intersectionality, disability, advocacy, and inclusion. Publications of note include the first anthology on autism and race All the Weight of Our Dreams: On Living Racialized Autism, a 2021 edited collection from Beacon Press Sincerely, Your Autistic Child: What People on the Autism Spectrum Wish Their Parents Knew About Growing Up, Acceptance, and Identity, and the forthcoming Neurodiversity en Noir: A Collection of Black Neurodiverse Voices from Jessica Kingsley Publishing (2022). Follow Morénike’s work at: https://MorenikeGO.com




1:1 Conversations with the Head of School, Dr. Kimberly Busi


Speaker: Dr. Kimberly Busi, MD Description: These one to one conversations with Dr. Kimberly Busi, Founder and Head of School, will provide an opportunity to ask questions, and engage with one of the strongest leaders in the Twice-Exceptional field. Slots are very limited, and are by request only. Conversation slots are limited to (10) minutes each. Request a conversation, here: https://forms.gle/LT5tDV4NHHnyNp9R7 Bio: Dr. Kimberly Busi is the Founder and School Head of The Quad Preparatory School, a psychiatrist and former Clinical Assistant Professor of Psychiatry at the NYU School of Medicine. She left her faculty appointment in 2009 to found The Quad Manhattan, from which the school evolved. In 2013, Dr. Busi led the formation of The Quad Preparatory School as a separate K-12 not-for-profit organization and has overseen its growth from 3-112 students. Dr. Busi received her medical degree from the Brown University School of Medicine in 1997. After completing a year’s training in pediatrics at the New York Hospital-Weill Medical Center, Dr. Busi finished her residency training in psychiatry at the NYU School of Medicine in 2001. At NYU, Dr. Busi designed curriculum, taught, and supervised residents. She served on the curriculum committee for the Department of Psychiatry, and as the Director of Education for the NYU/Bellevue Program for Survivors of Torture, a not-for-profit multidisciplinary treatment center within the Bellevue Hospital Center. She is an endlessly fascinated fiction reader and most enjoys spending time with her family and close friends. She is the lucky mother of two teenage boys.





2:40 - 3:40 PM

Not A Boy's Club: Empowering Autistic Girls


Speaker: Haley Moss Description: While autism is diagnosed in 1 in 54 American children, we think of autism as being diagnosed in boys only. However, this is not the case. Girls and women on the autism spectrum exist and are diagnosed less frequently than their male counterparts. Girls and women are often misdiagnosed, diagnosed later in life, or are self-diagnosed. This session explores unique traits to recognize in autistic girls and women in order to help close the diagnostic disparity and empower autistic females. Further, the session will talk about issues unique to autistic girls and women throughout the lifespan, including but not limited to adolescence, sexual abuse and violence, and parenting while autistic. Finally, the session will address key provisions in order to empower and support autistic girls and women. Bio: Haley Moss made international headlines for becoming the first documented openly autistic attorney admitted to The Florida Bar. She received her Juris Doctor from the University of Miami School of Law in 2018 and graduated from the University of Florida in 2015 with her B.S. in Psychology and B.A. in Criminology. Haley is a speaker, educator, scholar and consultant on neurodiversity at work, the Americans with Disabilities Act, autism and disability-adjacent topics. Haley is writing her latest book, Great Minds Think Differently: Neurodiversity for Lawyers. She is also the author of Middle School: The Stuff Nobody Tells You About and A Freshman Survival Guide for College Students with Autism Spectrum Disorders: The Stuff Nobody Tells You About. Haley’s work on neurodiversity, autism and disability has also been published in The Washington Post, HuffPost, Teen Vogue, Fast Company, and others. She was appointed to the Florida Bar Young Lawyers Division Board of Governors, the Florida Bar Journal Editorial Board, the Florida Bar Standing Committee on Diversity & Inclusion. Haley also serves on the constituency board for the University of Miami – Nova Southeastern University Center for Autism & Related Disabilities and the Board of Directors for Different Brains. You can find Haley on haleymoss.net.




Imagination (Roundtable)


Moderator: Nancy Tarshis MA, MS CCC/SLP Description: If imagination is the window into dreaming a future, how do we support students in developing the crucial skill sets necessary to make this happen? Is it enough to improve language, literacy and social cognition? Or, should we be thinking about the current climate of STEM, STEAM, project‐based learning and 21st century skills? We know educational systems are rethinking and retooling schools to prepare students for 21st century jobs and occupations. How do we operationalize what we do and how we teach as we ready our students to step into their futures is the topic of this discussion. Bring your imagination as we welcome your thoughts, questions and excitement! Bio: Nancy Tarshis is a speech-language pathologist/special educator is Director of Early Childhood Programming at The Quad Preparatory School, dedicated to 2E children K-12. For 27 years, she was on the clinical team at Children’s Evaluation and Rehabilitation Center at Einstein College of Medicine, serving as Supervisor of Speech/Language Services for 21 of them. While there, she trained more than 400 SLPs currently practicing worldwide. As Emeritus at CERC, she participates in ongoing research and lectures to pediatric fellows and medical residents. She serves as adjunct clinical instructor at several New York City graduate programs, and consults on social-emotional learning to public and private schools. Nancy is deeply experienced in a wide variety of treatment methodologies, including Social Thinking. She is the co-author of their early learner curriculum, We Thinkers Volumes 1& 2 and the Social Thinking Group Collaboration Play and Problem Solving Scale (GPS). Nancy’s private work includes Altogether Social, a social cognitive practice serving pediatric clients through adulthood which provides individual and group sessions, training for parents and professionals, and school consultations. Nancy is a member of the professional advisory boards of New York Zero to Three and Apraxia Kids.




Assessing and Treating Anxiety in Children with and without Autism Spectrum Disorder


Speaker: Lauren Moskowitz, PhD Description: Although there are numerous studies demonstrating the successful assessment and treatment of anxiety in neurotypical children, comparatively less is known about how to assess and treat anxiety in Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), particularly those individuals with co-occurring intellectual disability. This presentation will discuss how anxiety presents within ASD, the functional assessment of anxiety in children with ASD, and how to treat anxiety in children with ASD. Interventions discussed will incorporate strategies from Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA), and Positive Behavior Support (PBS). Case examples of children both with and without intellectual disability will be presented. Bio: Lauren Moskowitz, PhD is currently an Associate Professor in the Department of Psychology at St. John’s University. Dr. Moskowitz’s research focuses on behavioral assessment and intervention to address challenging behaviors and anxiety in children with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) and other developmental disabilities (DD). Dr. Moskowitz received her PhD in Clinical Psychology at Stony Brook University, studying under the late Dr. Edward (Ted) Carr, who is one of the co-founders of Functional Behavioral Assessment (FBA), Functional Communication Training (FCT), and Positive Behavior Support (PBS). She completed her postdoctoral fellowship at NYU Child Study Center and her psychology internship at NYU Child Study Center and Bellevue Hospital in New York City. Dr. Moskowitz has co-authored many papers and book chapters and has presented at numerous international, national, and regional conferences. Dr. Moskowitz has taught several undergraduate and graduate courses covering ASD and DD, applied behavior analysis, and positive behavior support and is also on the Editorial Board for the Journal of Positive Behavior Interventions.





8:00 - 9:00 AM

Joyful, Not Painful: Education Spaces for All Learners


Speakers: Jennifer Carpenter & Irina Verona Description: We live in a neurodiverse world, but most education spaces are not designed for the neurodiverse population they serve. Learning is inseparable from the environment in which it takes place, and that environment should make learning possible, and joyful, for all students. And so learning spaces must adapt to the learners – not the other way around. Though some children with special needs are well supported by specialized schools, legions of students with learning differences– diagnosed and undiagnosed – flounder in spaces that privilege those who can sit still, face forward, and tolerate a bright room. An inhospitable school environment causes mental and physical pain. We will present examples from our research and practice in designing neuro-inclusive spaces, exploring the boundaries between materials, objects, rooms and programs to allow for movement and choice that lessen the impact sensory sensitivities -- all with the goal of unlocking the generative power of difference. Bio: Jennifer Carpenter and Irina Verona lead Verona Carpenter Architects, an award-winning architecture and interiors practice in Manhattan with expertise in education, workplace, and culture. Collaborators for over twenty years, the partners design with humanity and for resilience, with the community of users always in mind. The firm’s current roster of clients includes Princeton University, Hines, and Adidas. Verona Carpenter Architects was one of five winners in the 2019 international competition to design a new K-12 school for the University of Louisiana, a project they presented this year at the Thomas Jefferson University symposium on neurodiversity and the built environment. The firm’s recent Brooklyn Bathhouse project won the top prize in Interior Design Magazine’s 2020 NYCxDesign competition in the Wellness category, and their Adidas New York showroom design was an honoree for Creative Office. In the past year, Verona Carpenter has been featured in Forbes, Architectural Digest, Vogue, and other publications. Verona Carpenter is committed to improving the city they live and work in, providing pro-bono services to organizations including The Quad Preparatory School, the Food and Finance High School, and the Museum of Food and Drink. Jennifer and Irina both earned their Master of Architecture degree from Columbia University’s Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation. Jennifer graduated summa cum laude with a BA from Yale; Irina received her BA from Princeton and is the recipient of a Fulbright fellowship in Barcelona. Both partners are registered architects and members of the NY American Institute of Architects Social Sciences committee.




Autism in Black


Speaker: Maria Davis-Pierre, LMHC Description: This workshop will highlight the importance of cultural awareness when working with Black families of children diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder. Beginning with a detailed analysis and explanation of culture broadly, the presenter will lead the conversation toward helping attendees understand their cultural development and biases. The presenter will discuss the methods they have used to coach parents, caregivers, and program leaders in the understanding of culture and shift their practice to be more culturally responsive. Participants will leave the workshop with practical tools to serve Black communities as well as lead conversations with their peers on the topic of cultural responsibility. Bio: Maria Davis-Pierre LMHC, is the Founder and CEO of Autism in Black Inc., located in West Palm Beach, Florida. This organization aims to bring awareness to Autism and reduce the stigma associated with the diagnosis in the Black community. As a licensed mental health therapist, Maria primarily works with Black parents to provide support through education and advocacy training. Maria has been featured in Forbes, The New York Times, USA Today and has collaborated with Microsoft. Maria’s unique approach to coaching and counseling exemplifies her drive and motivation toward greater acceptance and overcoming the barriers and personal struggles associated with raising an Black autistic child.





9:20 - 10:20 AM

Introduction to OT: Deeper Dive


Speaker: Prudence Heisler/Paula McCreedy Description:The empowerment to fail is an important topic to discuss. Especially since our 2E students have tremendous issues with self-esteem around what it is to succeed and how to handle any perceived failure. In our discussion we will appraise with the participants the idea of allowing learners to experience the full range of natural consequences of their choices and their efforts to succeed. When we speak of growth and change in our students we must appreciate their resilience. The necessity of allowing our students to experience positive as well as negative consequences of their actions is important. Occupational therapy intervention is built around providing students with opportunities to learn through trying to achieve goals, failing and succeeding within that process. The process of choosing an activity presents our students with an opportunity to reach for mastery through persistence, effort and problem solving with a focus on the process rather than the product. As occupational therapists we concentrate on improving flexibility, enthusiasm for learning, and the ability to recuperate. We continue to acknowledge and celebrate small success, effort in the process and success as the student defines it. Therapists must have an understanding of what neurological influences contribute to a student strength in goal-directed action. The therapist must also understand what influences thwart goal directed behavior. The presenters will discuss neurological processes that drive and enhance goal directed behaviors. Our discussion will weigh with the participants, the influence of positive and negative habits as they impact learning, productivity and functioning. Further the presenters will discuss strategies to support a student’s endeavors to succeed by struggling through fear of “failure” and the process of failing. Bio: Prudence Heisler graduated from the University of Melbourne in Melbourne, Australia and moved to New York City with her husband in 1981. Prudence has specialized training in the evaluation and treatment of children with sensory processing disorders. She has extensive counseling experience in mental health programs for mothers and children who have suffered from trauma. She brings this sensitivity to her work with the children at SPOTS. She was trained and certified as a psycho-therapist from The Manhattan Institute of Sociotherapy in 1979. She received a Master’s Degree in Organizational Psychology from Columbia University in 1985. Bio: Paula McCreedy graduated from the University of Puget Sound in Tacoma, Washington, with dual degrees in occupational therapy and psychology. She completed her masters’ degree in education at the University of New Orleans. With her husband, she moved to New York City from New Orleans, Louisiana in 1985 to take a teaching position at New York University.She co-founded SPOTS with Prudence Heisler and Gloria Graham in 1998. The founders of SPOTS have a unique understanding of the challenges of sensory dysregulation which upsets a child’s ability to play and enjoy the simple pleasures of childhood. We appreciate that at times sensory regulation problems leave a child hard to reach, hard to parent and hard to teach.Paula taught in the Occupational Therapy Department at New York University for 26 years. She retired to work full time at SPOTS providing evaluations, consultations, continuing education seminars and direct clinical care with children, schools, agencies and non-profit foundations where children with learning differences and diverse special needs receive a variety of needed services. Paula enjoys collaboration in research, publishing and speaking nationally and internationally with colleagues on topics related to resolving difficulties and finding solutions to living with sensory processing challenges from the perspective of the child, parents, therapists and educators.




Multisensory Math: What Intervention Should Look Like


Speaker: Marilyn Zecher, M.A., CALT Description:Students with learning challenges frequently enter upper grades with a patchwork of skills and conceptual gaps which fail to support reasoning. Specific hurdles for students with learning challenges occur at predictable points and for predictable reasons. In a diagnostic prescriptive approach, educators look for strengths upon which they can build and then construct interventions to expand on those strengths. Using a vertical conceptual approach, educators create linkages through the hierarchy of math concepts to weave in skill and conceptual development even as they move students along toward and into grade level curricula. This takes insight on the part of the educator and a solid understanding of the conceptual linkages between foundations in math and the higher-level applications that follow. Include specific differentiation strategies and students can catch up to keep up. Bio: A nationally certified Academic Language Therapist and former public school classroom/demonstration teacher, Ms Zecher is a specialist in applying multisensory strategies to a variety of content areas. Her graduate level Multisensory Math courses have been used as methods courses at the university level and she is a frequent speaker at national, international, and local conferences. Ms Zecher specializes in evidence-based methods and interventions for all students but which are especially effective with students who have learning challenges. She is well known for her work in the fields of mathematics, literacy strategies for older learners and study skills. Her presentations incorporate Orton-Gillingham strategies, the principles of UDL, and recommendations from the NCTM, The What Works Clearinghouse and the Common Core State Standards.




Poster Session Presentations w/ Early Career Researchers


Speaker: Various Presenters Description: These Early Career Researchers have spent many hours working on their presentations, with topics ranging from interactive theatre, to social communications profiles. Join us to hear four (12) minute presentations, where researchers will share their poster, abstract, and take a few questions!





10:40 - 11:40 AM

Executive Function and Hybrid Education: Closing the Gap from Intention to Action


Speaker: Sarah Ward, M.S., CCC/SLP Description:The theme of this school year is students with executive function challenges and ADHD drowning in the hybrid model. It is so difficult for teachers to teach explicit strategies for task initiation, sustained attention, prioritizing, etc. and it is up to parents to somehow manage homework completion as well as synchronous schedules at home. There is a BIG gap in student’s ability to navigate online school schedules, assignments and due dates as well as manage the workload. Sarah will share executive function based interventions and systems that professionals and families could implement that would enable them to support students.

Learner Objectives:

  • State the functional working definition of what is meant by the term “executive function skills” as it pertains to developing interventions.
  • Define how situational awareness, self-talk, forethought and episodic memory are the foundational skills for successful task execution and are now vulnerable to development in the setting of social distancing and remote instruction.
  • Breakdown the techniques for teaching students how to navigate online assignments to meet due dates.
  • List 3 technology tools that can be used to help students manage their workload.

Bio: Sarah Ward, M.S., CCC/SLP has over 25 years of experience in the treatment of executive dysfunction. Sarah is an internationally recognized expert on executive function and presents seminars on the programs and strategies she has developed with her Co-Director Kristen Jacobsen. Their 360 Thinking Executive Function Program received the Innovative Promising Practices Award from the National Organization CHADD. She has presented to over 1600 public and private schools in the United States, Canada, Europe, Australia, Asia and Africa.




Imaginative Inquiry: Using Drama to Ignite Inquiry


Speaker: Elaine Chu Description: Developed in the United Kingdom, Imaginative Inquiry is a pedagogy based on the idea that a child’s imagination is our greatest resource in the classroom. Within a community of inquiry, teachers and students create exciting and meaningful contexts for learning, using conventions of theatre such as point of view, tension, and narrative, to explore curricular objectives. Students are not merely passive observers of the stories of our world, but are collectively invited to take action in the realm of possibility that Imaginative Inquiry provides. This presentation will explore the pedagogical underpinnings of Imaginative Inquiry, provide examples of its use in elementary school classrooms, and discuss how Imaginative Inquiry can be a powerful tool for the teaching of social studies and social justice. Bio: Elaine Chu has been an education consultant for 25 years, working with teachers, administrators and museum educators nationally and internationally. Elaine has sixteen years’ experience as a classroom teacher in independent and public elementary schools in New York City. She currently provides professional and curriculum development to schools and teachers in Imaginative Inquiry, and has worked with faculty in schools such as the Little Red School House and Elisabeth Irwin High School, Packer Collegiate, the Town School, the Coop School, the East Village Community School, and more. She has worked in the field of education throughout her professional career, designing programs for schools and museums, and has worked internationally to help create educational infrastructure in developing countries. She has a B.S. in History from Tufts University and an M.S.Ed. in Childhood General Education from Bank Street College.




Evidence-Based Treatments for Childhood ADHD & Disruptive Behaviors


Speaker: Dr. Vasco Lopes Description: This presentation will provide an overview of ADHD and disruptive behaviors. Participants will learn about ADHD symptoms, prevalence, and epidemiology. This presentation will also focus on evidence-based treatments for this population. Participants will learn about the effective treatments for ADHD and disruptive behaviors, facts about access to care, and barriers to implementing these treatments. Bio: Dr. Vasco Lopes is a clinical and school psychologist specialized in treating children with behavioral and emotional dysregulation. Throughout his career, he has been passionate about providing high-quality treatment to children and families as well as innovating ways of applying evidence-based treatments into real-world clinical settings. Having spent the first 10 years of his career at reputable academic institutions, he has received extensive training and experience providing treatment and developing clinical programs for children with challenging psychiatric disorders. In 2019, Dr. Lopes founded a behavioral modification app called Behavior Rocket, which helps parents and teachers provide positive reinforcement and behavioral strategies to improve child behavior.





12:00 - 1:00 PM

History without Chronology?!


Speaker: Selah Johnson, PhD Description:This presentation will present different strategies to teach history courses, without being wedded to a chronological approach. There are ways to cover themes, historical trends, and topics despite not following a strict timeline. However, history is not a discipline that can be easily understood without timelines. I will share some teaching approaches to present historical information to students around various historical themes and concepts, and still provide substantial, historical understanding. The intended goal of this session is to offer history teachers exposure to approaches that will allow them to develop historical curriculum that is not wedded to strict, historical timelines. Bio: Dr. Selah Johnson is a history teacher at Saint Ann’s School in Brooklyn. She teaches a range of history classes including 4th grade history, 8th grade Early Modern, U.S. History and an elective in African-American history. Selah Johnson is originally from Atlanta, Georgia. She graduated from Spelman College in 2010, with B.A. in History, with honors including Magna Cum Laude and Phi Beta Kappa. She continued her studies by pursuing a doctorate in American History at the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA). During this process she obtained her M.A. in American History in 2012, and completed her Ph.D. in American history in 2015. She has been teaching in independent schools for the past 7 years, including the Spence School and currently, Saint Ann’s.




Collaborative and Proactive Solutions: Changing Our Lenses and Why We Should Use This Model


Speaker: Bari Schwartz, PsyD (Lower School Chief Psychologist) Description: The premise of Collaborative and Proactive Solutions (CPS) is that we need to change the lens through which we look at and understand challenging behavior. Creator of CPS, Ross Greene, states that "the difficulties of behaviorally challenging kids tend to be complex, which can be further complicated when caregivers or educators are not viewing the kid through a prism of lagging skills and unsolved problems." Furthermore, how we view and understand challenging behavior influences the way in which we try to help those children who exhibit challenging behavior. In this presentation and Q&A session I hope to introduce a new way of thinking and understanding challenging behavior, answer questions, engage in discussion, and point you in the direction of further resources to deepen your understanding and application of the CPS approach. Bio: Bari Schwartz, Psy.D. is the Lower School Chief Psychologist at The Quad Preparatory School. She received her Doctoral and Masters degrees in School Psychology from St. John's University, and is a New York State Licensed Psychologist and New York State Certified School Psychologist. Bari has experience working with children who exhibit behavioral, learning, and social-emotional difficulties, including students who present as twice exceptional. Bari has training in a wide array of evidence-based practices, including Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy, Collaborative and Proactive Solutions and Parent Management Training models. On an ongoing basis, Bari collaborates and consults with classroom teachers and other related service providers, and supervises psychosocial teachers, assistants, and interns in their work within the classroom. This consistent collaboration and support allows for teachers to implement integrative services and supports throughout the day, which helps to increase students' ability to generalize use of psychosocial skills and to make school make school a successful and enriching experience.





March 12: Sessions and Speakers

Select a time to view the speakers for that session

8:00 - 9:00 AM

Joyful, Not Painful: Education Spaces for All Learners


Speakers: Jennifer Carpenter & Irina Verona Description: We live in a neurodiverse world, but most education spaces are not designed for the neurodiverse population they serve. Learning is inseparable from the environment in which it takes place, and that environment should make learning possible, and joyful, for all students. And so learning spaces must adapt to the learners – not the other way around. Though some children with special needs are well supported by specialized schools, legions of students with learning differences– diagnosed and undiagnosed – flounder in spaces that privilege those who can sit still, face forward, and tolerate a bright room. An inhospitable school environment causes mental and physical pain. We will present examples from our research and practice in designing neuro-inclusive spaces, exploring the boundaries between materials, objects, rooms and programs to allow for movement and choice that lessen the impact sensory sensitivities -- all with the goal of unlocking the generative power of difference. Bio: Jennifer Carpenter and Irina Verona lead Verona Carpenter Architects, an award-winning architecture and interiors practice in Manhattan with expertise in education, workplace, and culture. Collaborators for over twenty years, the partners design with humanity and for resilience, with the community of users always in mind. The firm’s current roster of clients includes Princeton University, Hines, and Adidas. Verona Carpenter Architects was one of five winners in the 2019 international competition to design a new K-12 school for the University of Louisiana, a project they presented this year at the Thomas Jefferson University symposium on neurodiversity and the built environment. The firm’s recent Brooklyn Bathhouse project won the top prize in Interior Design Magazine’s 2020 NYCxDesign competition in the Wellness category, and their Adidas New York showroom design was an honoree for Creative Office. In the past year, Verona Carpenter has been featured in Forbes, Architectural Digest, Vogue, and other publications. Verona Carpenter is committed to improving the city they live and work in, providing pro-bono services to organizations including The Quad Preparatory School, the Food and Finance High School, and the Museum of Food and Drink. Jennifer and Irina both earned their Master of Architecture degree from Columbia University’s Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation. Jennifer graduated summa cum laude with a BA from Yale; Irina received her BA from Princeton and is the recipient of a Fulbright fellowship in Barcelona. Both partners are registered architects and members of the NY American Institute of Architects Social Sciences committee.




Autism in Black


Speaker: Maria Davis-Pierre, LMHC Description: This workshop will highlight the importance of cultural awareness when working with Black families of children diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder. Beginning with a detailed analysis and explanation of culture broadly, the presenter will lead the conversation toward helping attendees understand their cultural development and biases. The presenter will discuss the methods they have used to coach parents, caregivers, and program leaders in the understanding of culture and shift their practice to be more culturally responsive. Participants will leave the workshop with practical tools to serve Black communities as well as lead conversations with their peers on the topic of cultural responsibility. Bio: Maria Davis-Pierre LMHC, is the Founder and CEO of Autism in Black Inc., located in West Palm Beach, Florida. This organization aims to bring awareness to Autism and reduce the stigma associated with the diagnosis in the Black community. As a licensed mental health therapist, Maria primarily works with Black parents to provide support through education and advocacy training. Maria has been featured in Forbes, The New York Times, USA Today and has collaborated with Microsoft. Maria’s unique approach to coaching and counseling exemplifies her drive and motivation toward greater acceptance and overcoming the barriers and personal struggles associated with raising an Black autistic child.





9:20 - 10:20 AM

Introduction to OT: Deeper Dive


Speaker: Prudence Heisler/Paula McCreedy Description:The empowerment to fail is an important topic to discuss. Especially since our 2E students have tremendous issues with self-esteem around what it is to succeed and how to handle any perceived failure. In our discussion we will appraise with the participants the idea of allowing learners to experience the full range of natural consequences of their choices and their efforts to succeed. When we speak of growth and change in our students we must appreciate their resilience. The necessity of allowing our students to experience positive as well as negative consequences of their actions is important. Occupational therapy intervention is built around providing students with opportunities to learn through trying to achieve goals, failing and succeeding within that process. The process of choosing an activity presents our students with an opportunity to reach for mastery through persistence, effort and problem solving with a focus on the process rather than the product. As occupational therapists we concentrate on improving flexibility, enthusiasm for learning, and the ability to recuperate. We continue to acknowledge and celebrate small success, effort in the process and success as the student defines it. Therapists must have an understanding of what neurological influences contribute to a student strength in goal-directed action. The therapist must also understand what influences thwart goal directed behavior. The presenters will discuss neurological processes that drive and enhance goal directed behaviors. Our discussion will weigh with the participants, the influence of positive and negative habits as they impact learning, productivity and functioning. Further the presenters will discuss strategies to support a student’s endeavors to succeed by struggling through fear of “failure” and the process of failing. Bio: Prudence Heisler graduated from the University of Melbourne in Melbourne, Australia and moved to New York City with her husband in 1981. Prudence has specialized training in the evaluation and treatment of children with sensory processing disorders. She has extensive counseling experience in mental health programs for mothers and children who have suffered from trauma. She brings this sensitivity to her work with the children at SPOTS. She was trained and certified as a psycho-therapist from The Manhattan Institute of Sociotherapy in 1979. She received a Master’s Degree in Organizational Psychology from Columbia University in 1985. Bio: Paula McCreedy graduated from the University of Puget Sound in Tacoma, Washington, with dual degrees in occupational therapy and psychology. She completed her masters’ degree in education at the University of New Orleans. With her husband, she moved to New York City from New Orleans, Louisiana in 1985 to take a teaching position at New York University.She co-founded SPOTS with Prudence Heisler and Gloria Graham in 1998. The founders of SPOTS have a unique understanding of the challenges of sensory dysregulation which upsets a child’s ability to play and enjoy the simple pleasures of childhood. We appreciate that at times sensory regulation problems leave a child hard to reach, hard to parent and hard to teach.Paula taught in the Occupational Therapy Department at New York University for 26 years. She retired to work full time at SPOTS providing evaluations, consultations, continuing education seminars and direct clinical care with children, schools, agencies and non-profit foundations where children with learning differences and diverse special needs receive a variety of needed services. Paula enjoys collaboration in research, publishing and speaking nationally and internationally with colleagues on topics related to resolving difficulties and finding solutions to living with sensory processing challenges from the perspective of the child, parents, therapists and educators.




Multisensory Math: What Intervention Should Look Like


Speaker: Marilyn Zecher, M.A., CALT Description:Students with learning challenges frequently enter upper grades with a patchwork of skills and conceptual gaps which fail to support reasoning. Specific hurdles for students with learning challenges occur at predictable points and for predictable reasons. In a diagnostic prescriptive approach, educators look for strengths upon which they can build and then construct interventions to expand on those strengths. Using a vertical conceptual approach, educators create linkages through the hierarchy of math concepts to weave in skill and conceptual development even as they move students along toward and into grade level curricula. This takes insight on the part of the educator and a solid understanding of the conceptual linkages between foundations in math and the higher-level applications that follow. Include specific differentiation strategies and students can catch up to keep up. Bio: A nationally certified Academic Language Therapist and former public school classroom/demonstration teacher, Ms Zecher is a specialist in applying multisensory strategies to a variety of content areas. Her graduate level Multisensory Math courses have been used as methods courses at the university level and she is a frequent speaker at national, international, and local conferences. Ms Zecher specializes in evidence-based methods and interventions for all students but which are especially effective with students who have learning challenges. She is well known for her work in the fields of mathematics, literacy strategies for older learners and study skills. Her presentations incorporate Orton-Gillingham strategies, the principles of UDL, and recommendations from the NCTM, The What Works Clearinghouse and the Common Core State Standards.




Poster Session Presentations w/ Early Career Researchers


Speaker: Various Presenters Description: These Early Career Researchers have spent many hours working on their presentations, with topics ranging from interactive theatre, to social communications profiles. Join us to hear four (12) minute presentations, where researchers will share their poster, abstract, and take a few questions!





10:40 - 11:40 AM

Executive Function and Hybrid Education: Closing the Gap from Intention to Action


Speaker: Sarah Ward, M.S., CCC/SLP Description:The theme of this school year is students with executive function challenges and ADHD drowning in the hybrid model. It is so difficult for teachers to teach explicit strategies for task initiation, sustained attention, prioritizing, etc. and it is up to parents to somehow manage homework completion as well as synchronous schedules at home. There is a BIG gap in student’s ability to navigate online school schedules, assignments and due dates as well as manage the workload. Sarah will share executive function based interventions and systems that professionals and families could implement that would enable them to support students.

Learner Objectives:

  • State the functional working definition of what is meant by the term “executive function skills” as it pertains to developing interventions.
  • Define how situational awareness, self-talk, forethought and episodic memory are the foundational skills for successful task execution and are now vulnerable to development in the setting of social distancing and remote instruction.
  • Breakdown the techniques for teaching students how to navigate online assignments to meet due dates.
  • List 3 technology tools that can be used to help students manage their workload.

Bio: Sarah Ward, M.S., CCC/SLP has over 25 years of experience in the treatment of executive dysfunction. Sarah is an internationally recognized expert on executive function and presents seminars on the programs and strategies she has developed with her Co-Director Kristen Jacobsen. Their 360 Thinking Executive Function Program received the Innovative Promising Practices Award from the National Organization CHADD. She has presented to over 1600 public and private schools in the United States, Canada, Europe, Australia, Asia and Africa.




Imaginative Inquiry: Using Drama to Ignite Inquiry


Speaker: Elaine Chu Description: Developed in the United Kingdom, Imaginative Inquiry is a pedagogy based on the idea that a child’s imagination is our greatest resource in the classroom. Within a community of inquiry, teachers and students create exciting and meaningful contexts for learning, using conventions of theatre such as point of view, tension, and narrative, to explore curricular objectives. Students are not merely passive observers of the stories of our world, but are collectively invited to take action in the realm of possibility that Imaginative Inquiry provides. This presentation will explore the pedagogical underpinnings of Imaginative Inquiry, provide examples of its use in elementary school classrooms, and discuss how Imaginative Inquiry can be a powerful tool for the teaching of social studies and social justice. Bio: Elaine Chu has been an education consultant for 25 years, working with teachers, administrators and museum educators nationally and internationally. Elaine has sixteen years’ experience as a classroom teacher in independent and public elementary schools in New York City. She currently provides professional and curriculum development to schools and teachers in Imaginative Inquiry, and has worked with faculty in schools such as the Little Red School House and Elisabeth Irwin High School, Packer Collegiate, the Town School, the Coop School, the East Village Community School, and more. She has worked in the field of education throughout her professional career, designing programs for schools and museums, and has worked internationally to help create educational infrastructure in developing countries. She has a B.S. in History from Tufts University and an M.S.Ed. in Childhood General Education from Bank Street College.




Evidence-Based Treatments for Childhood ADHD & Disruptive Behaviors


Speaker: Dr. Vasco Lopes Description: This presentation will provide an overview of ADHD and disruptive behaviors. Participants will learn about ADHD symptoms, prevalence, and epidemiology. This presentation will also focus on evidence-based treatments for this population. Participants will learn about the effective treatments for ADHD and disruptive behaviors, facts about access to care, and barriers to implementing these treatments. Bio: Dr. Vasco Lopes is a clinical and school psychologist specialized in treating children with behavioral and emotional dysregulation. Throughout his career, he has been passionate about providing high-quality treatment to children and families as well as innovating ways of applying evidence-based treatments into real-world clinical settings. Having spent the first 10 years of his career at reputable academic institutions, he has received extensive training and experience providing treatment and developing clinical programs for children with challenging psychiatric disorders. In 2019, Dr. Lopes founded a behavioral modification app called Behavior Rocket, which helps parents and teachers provide positive reinforcement and behavioral strategies to improve child behavior.





12:00 - 1:00 PM

History without Chronology?!


Speaker: Selah Johnson, PhD Description:This presentation will present different strategies to teach history courses, without being wedded to a chronological approach. There are ways to cover themes, historical trends, and topics despite not following a strict timeline. However, history is not a discipline that can be easily understood without timelines. I will share some teaching approaches to present historical information to students around various historical themes and concepts, and still provide substantial, historical understanding. The intended goal of this session is to offer history teachers exposure to approaches that will allow them to develop historical curriculum that is not wedded to strict, historical timelines. Bio: Dr. Selah Johnson is a history teacher at Saint Ann’s School in Brooklyn. She teaches a range of history classes including 4th grade history, 8th grade Early Modern, U.S. History and an elective in African-American history. Selah Johnson is originally from Atlanta, Georgia. She graduated from Spelman College in 2010, with B.A. in History, with honors including Magna Cum Laude and Phi Beta Kappa. She continued her studies by pursuing a doctorate in American History at the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA). During this process she obtained her M.A. in American History in 2012, and completed her Ph.D. in American history in 2015. She has been teaching in independent schools for the past 7 years, including the Spence School and currently, Saint Ann’s.




Collaborative and Proactive Solutions: Changing Our Lenses and Why We Should Use This Model


Speaker: Bari Schwartz, PsyD (Lower School Chief Psychologist) Description: The premise of Collaborative and Proactive Solutions (CPS) is that we need to change the lens through which we look at and understand challenging behavior. Creator of CPS, Ross Greene, states that "the difficulties of behaviorally challenging kids tend to be complex, which can be further complicated when caregivers or educators are not viewing the kid through a prism of lagging skills and unsolved problems." Furthermore, how we view and understand challenging behavior influences the way in which we try to help those children who exhibit challenging behavior. In this presentation and Q&A session I hope to introduce a new way of thinking and understanding challenging behavior, answer questions, engage in discussion, and point you in the direction of further resources to deepen your understanding and application of the CPS approach. Bio: Bari Schwartz, Psy.D. is the Lower School Chief Psychologist at The Quad Preparatory School. She received her Doctoral and Masters degrees in School Psychology from St. John's University, and is a New York State Licensed Psychologist and New York State Certified School Psychologist. Bari has experience working with children who exhibit behavioral, learning, and social-emotional difficulties, including students who present as twice exceptional. Bari has training in a wide array of evidence-based practices, including Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy, Collaborative and Proactive Solutions and Parent Management Training models. On an ongoing basis, Bari collaborates and consults with classroom teachers and other related service providers, and supervises psychosocial teachers, assistants, and interns in their work within the classroom. This consistent collaboration and support allows for teachers to implement integrative services and supports throughout the day, which helps to increase students' ability to generalize use of psychosocial skills and to make school make school a successful and enriching experience.





Plus additional speakers from across the twice-exceptional, education, medical and professional fields. 

BE SEEN at Breakthroughs in Twice-Exceptional Education National Conference!

Breakthroughs brings together hundreds of attendees from across the fields of education, psychology, occupational therapy, speech therapy, business, and more! These experts and professionals are joined each year by twice-exceptional individuals and the parents and families of twice-exceptional children for a dynamic and multidisciplinary conference experience. Learn More Here.

CO-PRESENTED BY

Updated Logo 1.17.19 - Karthiga Veeraman

IN PARTNERSHIP WITH

Breakthroughs 2020 went virtual, with our faculty sharing with Quad Prep families their in-depth knowledge of 2e education and workshops on how to mirror classroom learning at home.

A list of speakers, schedules and pictures from past conferences is available to browse until registration opens in February for the next conference.