Featured Speakers 

March 10: Sessions and Speakers

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1:00-2:00 pm

Vision and Learning: How to Achieve the Visual Skills Needed for School


Speaker: Dr. Andrea P. Thau, OD, FAAO, FCOVD, FNAP Description: Vision is more than 20/20. It is estimated that over 80% of learning takes place through vision yet many children have undiagnosed vision problems that negatively impact learning. Vision screenings miss the majority of vision problems and lead to a false sense of security. This presentation will review how vision develops, the specific skills needed for reading and learning, as well as the connection between vision and learning. The presentation will include how to find, diagnose, and treat visual problems that can impact learning. Bio: Dr. Andrea Thau is a Fellow of the American Academy of Optometry, a Fellow of the College of Optometrists in Vision Development, a Distinguished Practitioner of the National Academies of Practice and a Diplomate of the American Board of Optometry. A graduate of the SUNY College of Optometry, she is an Associate Clinical Professor Emerita and former chair of the Admissions Committee. A past president of the American Optometric Association, the New York State Optometric Association, and the Optometric Society of the City of New York, she currently serves as the founding chair of the AOA’s Leadership Development Committee, is a member of the AOA’s Political Action Committee, and is Policy Chair and Councilor of the Vision Care Section of the American Public Health Association. Dr. Thau is a founding member of the AOA's InfantSEE® committee which developed the AOA's InfantSEE® public health program that offers a no-cost vision assessment for every baby in the country and is a founding member and former vice president of the New York Children's Vision Coalition, a coalition dedicated to mandating eye examinations to children of the city of New York upon school entry. A champion of children's vision, she has been called upon to advocate on their behalf at the state and national level including as a speaker at a Congressional staff briefing. Dr. Thau is a nationally recognized lecturer in the area of infants' and children's vision. Dr. Thau has been featured on national television, radio, and print to educate the public about eye and vision care. Dr. Thau is the recipient of numerous awards including the New York State Optometrist of the Year, SUNY Optometry Alumna of the Year, SUNY Optometry’s Benjamin Franklin Society Award, Women in Optometry’s First Theia Award for Leadership and was recognized three times as Vision Monday's 20 Most Influential Women in Optical. Dr. Thau is the owner of a four doctor group private practice on Park Avenue in Manhattan. The practice is a full-scope primary care practice with special emphasis on children's vision and vision therapy.




17 Questions Every Parent Asks about Psychiatric Medicine, with Some Answers


Speaker: Anthony Charuvastra MD Description: Dr. Charuvastra will discuss the practical questions parents and patients have about medicine, bringing in relevant details from neuroscience and clinical trial data, and well as relevant factors learned from his many years of taking care of families. Bio: Tony Charuvastra is an Adjunct Assistant Professor at NYU Langone Medical Center, teaches in NYU’s College of Arts and Sciences, and is a Faculty Advisor at NYU’s Gallatin School of Individualized Study. He directs the tutoring program Connect To Learn, and is also privileged to be a Trustee of Saint Ann's School, in Brooklyn. He has published more than 25 papers in diverse areas of psychiatry, and for the past decade has focussed on developing his clinical practice of psychiatry and teaching. He treats children and young adults with anxiety, mood disorders, ADHD, executive function weakness and other learning disorders. Through this work, he has become increasingly aware of the important intersection between learning and well-being for students of all ages.




From Failure to Freedom: The Power of Learning to Read


Speaker: Shawn Anthony Robinson PhD Description: Dr. Shawn Robinson, will discuss how the three Ps (Perseverance, Patience, and Practice) helped him tap into his creativity thinking as an individual with dyslexia. It was not until after high school that he learned how to read, which was a springboard that propelled his love for learning and reading. Dr. Robinson will share his personal story, while providing specific recommendations for educators, parents, and students.

Bio: Shawn Anthony Robinson, PhD, is a full time reading Faculty Member at Madison College, a Senior Research Associate in the Wisconsin’s Equity and Inclusion Laboratory (Wei LAB) at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and serves on the Board of Directors with the International Dyslexia Association.Dr. Robinson is the author, along with Dr. Inshirah V. Robinson, of the Dr. Dyslexia Dude book series. Robinson is also a Life Member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. He is married to Dr. Inshirah V. Robinson, and is the father of Jeremiah and Ezekiel.





2:20-3:20pm

What Have We Learned About Social Competence in Autism at Stony Brook?


Speaker: Matthew D. Lerner, PhD Description: Through this session, participants will discover the distinction between social knowledge and social performance deficits, and the unique implications of each for intervention design, as well as gaining a basic understanding of the theoretical assumptions underlying social skills deficits and interventions for youth with high functioning ASD. Dr. Lerner will share empirical discoveries that have taken place at Stony Brook regarding how to optimize social skills interventions by better characterizing the profile of deficit experienced by each individual. 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.




Creating a Secure World for 2e Children


Speaker: Debbie Reber, MA Description: When a child is moving through the world differently, especially a gifted child who may feel and experience things more deeply, just getting through the school day can result in heightened stress, anxiety, and emotional overwhelm. Whether it’s struggling to process intense sensory information, paralyzing perfectionism, or feeling like an outlier among a sea of neurotypical peers, many differently wired children find themselves in default protection mode—fight or flight—as a way to cope in their intense worlds. In this talk, Debbie Reber will share strategies for ways parents and educators can create a more secure world for 2e children, so they can be more available for social, emotional, and cognitive growth. 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.




The Schoolwide Enrichment Model


Speaker: Daniel Rosenberg Description: The Schoolwide Enrichment Model (SEM) evolved from Dr. Joseph Renzulli's Enrichment Triad Model and is based on over four decades of field testing and research by Dr. Renzulli and Dr. Sally Reis. The model has two main objectives: providing a broad range of enrichment for all and using students' responses to guide subsequent activities. In this presentation, you will learn about the SEM, including a wide variety of strategies for implementing enrichment activities in your school. The presenter will also touch on how elements of the model are used at Quad Prep in order to personalize instruction and implement a program of study based on students' strengths.
Bio: Daniel Rosenberg is the Director of Academic Affairs at The Quad Preparatory School. Prior to assuming that role, he served as both Lower School and Middle School Head at The Pegasus School, a PK-8 school in Huntington Beach for bright and gifted students. Daniel has extensive background and experience working with gifted students. He served on the boards of the Orange County Council for Gifted and Talented Education (OCC GATE) and the Pennsylvania Association of Gifted Education (PAGE). He has presented at several gifted education conferences, including PAGE, OCC GATE, the California Association for the Gifted, and the National Association for Gifted Children. He founded gifted programs at two independent schools, one in Pittsburgh, PA, and one in Baton Rouge, LA, and he taught at Carnegie Mellon University’s center for gifted children for 15 years. Daniel graduated from Carnegie Mellon University with a Bachelor’s degree in Mathematics. He also has an MBA from The University of Pittsburgh and a Master’s degree in education from Duquesne University.





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

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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 9:20AM

Dr. Sandra I Kay: Human Potential - Nurturing Talents, Cultivating Expertise


Description: Developing children’s potential is a common denominator we all can embrace. Given the current educational debates, it is more important than ever that we directly support children in understanding their skills and talents. Empowered with research-based behavioral checklists in six talent areas, parents and teachers identify sparks of potential on a Talent Profile. Here the arts, athletics, academics, creativity, leadership and psychomotor/kinesthetic abilities are physically on the same page and measure achievements with the same scale. This cumulative K-12 Talent Record of observed behaviors and demonstrated achievements invites collaboration between everyone interested in advancing human potential. The Talent Record’s annual snapshots clearly and succinctly illustrate the environment of talents each child has explored and to what extent accomplishments have occurred in those chosen talent areas.This communication tool was originally designed to preserve and foster the joy and wonder experienced by those who have found their passion, while helping others identify an idea worthy of pursuit, not because it is a 21st Century skill to know what one does well, but to foster the joy it brings to do something well, especially something that takes effort. Pursuing joyful efforts remains the North Star throughout the development of adult, elite expertise. Bio: Sandra I. Kay has a Doctor of Education and Master of Education in Special Education from Teachers College, Columbia University and a Bachelor and Master of Science in Art Education from SUNY New Paltz. Her chapter 7 in the 1998 art ed textbook "Creating Meaning in art: Teacher as choice maker" introduced her concept of Elegant Problems to the world. Grounded in K-12 education for 34 years, she spent 10 of those years as a Visiting Scholar at Teachers College Columbia University honing her work on Elegant Problems as well as a Talent Profile system that places the arts, academics and athletics all on the same page while coordinating district-wide gifted and talented programs for students demonstrating talent in any of the six areas federally defined. Her current research interests remain focused on community efforts to catalog and communicate the developing talents/expertise in children and on their problem-finding aspects of creative thought, visual thinking, and other habits of mind that engage the imagination and promote self-directed inquiry in children and adults. This year’s project is focused on completing a collaborative educational documentary entitled “Engaging the Imagination: Wally’s Way” that introduces new audiences to ways of understanding abstract sculptures and the joys of using one’s imagination for creative thought.





KEYNOTE 4:00PM

Dr. Temple Grandin: Thinking Differently, The Essential Value of Neurodiversity in Our World and Future


Description: 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.
Bio: Dr. Temple Grandin is well known to many for her trailblazing work as a spokesperson for people with autism and her lifelong work with animal behavior. Dr. Grandin has been with Colorado State University (CSU) for over 25 years. Her life’s work has been to understand her own autistic mind, and to share that knowledge with the world, aiding in the treatment of individuals with the condition. Her understanding of the human mind has aided her in her work, as she is one of the most respected experts in both autism and animal behavior in the world.
Dr. Grandin is a designer of livestock handling facilities and a Professor of Animal Science at Colorado State University. In North America, almost half of the cattle are handled in a center track restrainer system that she designed for meat plants. She has also developed an objective scoring system for assessing handling of cattle and pigs at meat plants. This scoring system is being used by many large corporations to improve animal welfare.

She obtained her B.A. at Franklin Pierce College and her M.S. in Animal Science at Arizona State University. Dr. Grandin received her Ph.D in Animal Science from the University of Illinois in 1989. She has appeared on television shows such as 20/20, 48 Hours, CNN Larry King Live, PrimeTime Live, 60 Minutes, the Today Show, and many shows in other countries. She has been featured in People Magazine, the New York Times, Forbes, U.S. News and World Report, Time Magazine, the New York Times book review, and Discover magazine. In 2010, Time Magazine named her one of the 100 most influential people. Interviews with Dr. Grandin have been broadcast on National Public Radio and she has a 2010 TED Lecture titled "The World Needs ALL Kinds of Minds." She has also authored over 400 articles in both scientific journals and livestock periodicals on animal handling, welfare, and facility design. Her life story has also been made into an HBO movie titled "Temple Grandin, starring Claire Danes," which won seven Emmy Awards and a Golden Globe. In 2017, she was inducted into The Women's Hall of Fame and in 2018, was named a fellow by the American Association for the Advancement of Science.
You can find more information about Dr. Temple Grandin at templegrandin.com.





March 12: Sessions and Speakers

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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.





2e | Adjective
Unique; Outside-of-the-box; Innovative; Super Bright; Iconoclastic; Creative; Intensely Curious; Bold; Twice-Exceptional; ANYTHING BUT ORDINARY