2020 Keynote Speaker

Jane Holmes Bernstein, PhD

Jane Holmes Bernstein earned a Ph.D. in Linguistics from Edinburgh University. Following a postdoctoral fellowship in the Aphasia Research Center in Boston, Massachusetts, she moved to Boston Children’s Hospital where she is now a Senior Attending Neuropsychologist in the Department of Psychiatry and a Faculty member of the Center for Neuropsychology. She is an Associate Professor of Psychology in Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School and a licensed psychologist provider in Massachusetts. In 2004 she stepped down as director of the Neuropsychology Program at Children's Hospital, now dividing her time between teaching and research responsibilities at Boston Children’s Hospital, professional work with children in Trinidad and Tobago, and international clinical consultation.

In Trinidad and Tobago, working with the Cotton Tree Foundation and the Immortelle Centre for Special Education, Dr Bernstein developed a Service Learning Programme providing psychological services to children/families. She is involved in training and professional development for psychologists locally. She presents workshops to professional and lay groups about neuropsychological assessment, neurobehavioral development and early childhood education. She is a co-investigator on a research team examining neurobehavioral development in the early primary school years.

Friday Sessions

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Reaction, Response, Resilience in Unprecedented Times. Strategies for Living and Learning After Major Life Change
Part 1: 8:00 AM - 9:30 AM PDT
Part 2: 9:45 AM - 11:15 AM PDT

Jane Holmes Bernstein, PhD

The experience of pandemic is challenging us to re-think our roles, responsibilities, attitudes, and values as persons, parents, professionals, and participants in community and society. Such demands have particular impact on children’s development, thinking/learning, and mental health. Educational therapists cannot rely on “business as usual” in the new context. We must maintain the integrity of our value system as practitioners as we make necessary adaptations to our modes of practice.

Participants will be able to describe the effects of stress, worry, and anxiety on our bodies and our minds for both teachers and learners, explore strategies for change in the conduct of evaluations – from modifications of physical environment to adoption of virtual technologies to development of new tools and techniques, identify and respond to changes in thinking and learning under challenge, incorporate principles of stress management into learning activities and integrate principles of responsible citizenship into learning activities.

The Empathy Solution: Transforming Education with Discipline, Attachment, and Neuroscience
Part 1: 12:00 PM - 1:30 PM PDT
Part 2: 1:45 PM - 3:15 PM PDT

Diana Kennedy, MA, BCET

Educational Therapist in Private Practice- San Anselmo, CA Instructor, Educational Therapy Certificate Program, UCSC Silicon Valley Extension

This presentation draws from recent insights in the fields of neuroscience, attachment theory, and neuroplasticity to offer educators a roadmap for transforming school discipline. The moralistic or puritanical paradigm that children are good or bad and thus should be rewarded or punished is replaced by a model that views children’s behavior as a means of communicating unmet needs or missing skills. The empathy solution improves learning and leads to equity and justice in the classroom.

Participants will be able to compare and contrast the puritanical paradigm with the empathy paradigm, describe the impact of the puritanical paradigm in our school system in relationship to disability, race, class, and gender, explain the neuroscience and psychology behind the empathy paradigm, describe three approaches that exemplify the empathy paradigm and identify ways to incorporate empathy techniques into their own work with students.

Saturday Sessions

School - In, Out, With and Now: Four Years and the Changing Nature of Educational Therapy
7:30 AM - 9:00 AM PDT

Laura Doto, MA, ET/P

High School Learning Coordinator, University of Chicago Laboratory Schools Director of Academic Support, Montclair Kimberley Academy Educational Therapist in Private Practice

This case study follows a student over a four-year period, starting at the transition into middle school through his first year of high school. The role of the educational therapist began as more of a “head coach” and gradually transitioned to a trusted guide for in-school referral, eligibility and service planning, psychiatric consultation, and preparation for the shift to high school. Educational diplomacy with collaborating professionals within the school and larger community proved to be the heart of case management for this student and his family. This case will demonstrate how goodness of fit, trust, just-in-time skill building, diagnostic intervention, good humor, patience, and calm were the essential ingredients of a positive outcome.

Participants will be able to Identify methods to develop educational therapy goals, describe and apply elements of reciprocal compromise when building curriculum, explain how to incorporate the “organic curriculum” while still articulating objectives for skill-building and support, compare elements of one-on-one work with complementary and supplementary supports in school and with outside service providers and explain how an ET can contribute to effective and meaningful IEP meetings over time.

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Impetus for Change: How to Present Your Assessment Results
9:15 AM - 10:45 AM PDT

Marion Marshall, MS, BCET, FAET

Emerita Professor, Holy Names University Author, Assessment in Educational Therapy

Assessment is much more than scores. How can you present so that your Findings become an Impetus for Change? Sadly, your finely crafted written report may remain in a file, rarely read, or under-utilized. This presentation gives practical advice in how to prepare and effectively communicate your insights so that recommendations are implemented. Practical and real-life examples from the presenter’s decades of experience with assessment will equip participants to present results that wholly reflects the student.

Participants will be able to compare recommended preparation approaches to their own practices, examine integrating the client/student’s voice & perceptions of learning, explore the qualities of strengths-based recommendations and connect resiliency practices to interventions.

Creating a Dynamic Online Session
11:45 AM - 1:15 PM PDT

Kara Scanlon, MED, ET/P

Educational Therapist in Virtual Private Practice- Pasadena, CA AET National Conference Chair

This presentation will share the knowledge gained through Kara’s four years of experience as an educational therapist in virtual private practice. The merits and challenges of different virtual video conference platforms, whiteboards, and games will be discussed. In addition, we will examine the importance of attachment, energy, and focus in creating online relationships and a safe learning environment. During this time of heightened stress and anxiety, educational therapists need to understand how to best support parents and students as participants in a virtual learning plan. This session will provide that insight, as well as practical solutions for achieving student goals.

Participants will be able to compare and contrast different virtual video conference platforms, describe approaches to using visuals and virtual whiteboards in online work and explain the importance of attachment, energy, and focus in creating online relationships and a safe learning environment.

Have You Ever Tried? -- Brought to You Live
1:30 PM - 3:00 PM PDT

AET Members

Join us as members share their favorite techniques, best practices, innovative ideas, and tried-and-true strategies with other conference attendees. “’Have You Ever Tried…?’ Brought to You Live” is an informal exchange of educational therapy approaches through brief five to eight-minute AET member presentations. Attendees will receive a one to two-page descriptive handout from each presenter.

Join us as members share their favorite techniques, best practices, innovative ideas, and tried-and-true strategies with other conference attendees. “’Have You Ever Tried…?’ Brought to You Live” is an informal exchange of educational therapy approaches through brief five to eight-minute AET member presentations. Attendees will receive a one to two-page descriptive handout from each presenter.

Pre-Recorded Sessions

Promoting Self Advocacy: Building Essential Skills for the Transition to College

Laurel Grigg Mason, MA

Director, Bartlett Labs, Strategic Alternative Learning Techniques (SALT) Center- The University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ

Claudia Sandoval, MSW

The laws and systems related to disability support and information privacy change dramatically when students transition to post-secondary education. Students who have not had much practice advocating for themselves may experience challenges when they encounter this abrupt shift in their new academic environment. This session will describe the self-advocacy skills necessary in higher education and provide tools that practitioners can use now to help students prepare for the transition.

Participants will be able to explain the differences in laws and systems that govern secondary and post-secondary education for students with disabilities, describe the knowledge and skills required for self-advocacy in college, evaluate their clients’ abilities related to self-advocacy, transfer the knowledge and skills to their clients with the provided tools.

Get a Life After High School: Transitioning to Your Next Adventure

Drew Lau-Regent, MA

Upward Bound Project ACADEMIC Coordinator, Holy Names University- Oakland, CA

Pamm Scribner, MEd, BCET

Educational Therapist and Academic Assessment Specialist in Private Practice- San Francisco and Sebastopol, CA

This presentation will utilize the four quadrants of the Self-Advocacy Framework to support high school clients as they navigate to the next phase of their life adventure. This includes those students who opt for: a gap year, an internship, job training, community college, a four-year institution, CTE (Career Technical Education), a certificate or licensing program, among other options.

Participants will be able to demonstrate/model to their clients how to self-advocate (communication), prepare their clients to take a leadership position, and to step forward in a group project (leadership), explain strategies that help clients explore and discover their strengths and challenges (knowledge of self) and research information and assist their students to better understand and obtain knowledge about their basic rights as human beings and as scholars (knowledge of rights).

Bridging the Gaps to Achieve Student Success in Reading

DeJunne’ Clark Jackson, MA, MAT, MEd, CALT

Educational Therapist Learning Fundamentals Educational Therapy & Consulting, LLC Baton Rouge, LA

Oftentimes schools, teachers, and parents have the unfortunate experience of independently bearing witness to students’ daily reading struggles. Those subjective experiences may vary if examined in isolation and could result in a missed opportunity for creating a cohesive and unified understanding of the reading problem. Each stakeholder plays a vital role in the stage of discovery, identification, and intervention. It is critical that all participants are knowledgeable, capable, and eligible to make determinations in order to ensure student success.

Participants will be able to explain how to empower parents with the knowledge essential to becoming well-informed participants in the educational decision-making process, demonstrate how to equip students with the skills necessary to be successful learners using evidence-based therapy practices and support stakeholders with the appropriate tools and information critical to effectively educate students with learning challenges.

What is Multisensory Structured Language?

Katie L. Hodgkins

Director of Instruction, Brainspring Educator Academy- Troy, MI

According to the International Dyslexia Association, “The principles of instruction and content of a multisensory structured language (MSL) program are essential for effective teaching methodologies.” The Orton-Gillingham (OG) method, a 70-year pioneer of MSL, has been repeatedly and continuously validated by robust reading research. Once thought of as a one-on-one instruction for dyslexic students, many schools and districts are choosing to implement MSL to teach foundational reading skills to all students. There are many programs based on OG or MSL, but what do these terms mean and which concepts and principles are requirements? This presentation will provide educators with an understanding of the MSL methodology deemed “essential” for remediating mild to severe reading difficulties, including dyslexia.

Participants will be able to explain the key principles of a Structured Literacy approach, list and describe the common instructional components found in reading programs based on a Structured Literacy approach, apply MSL techniques that are proven strategies for achieving effective student progress in literacy and list the questions to ask when looking for a program based on a Structured Literacy approach.

Learning Disability as a Social Justice Issue: The Role Educational Therapists and Learning Specialists Can Play in Shifting Special Education Ideologies in Schools

Bibinaz Pirayesh, EdD

Adjunct Professor of Education & Psychology, Pepperdine University Adjunct Professor of Education, Loyola Marymount University- Los Angeles, CA

In both public and private educational settings, we often find ourselves advocating for the rights of individual students. But what if we could use our positions as educational therapists, learning specialists, and other professionals to advocate for systems level change? This presentation applies the same framework used in many teacher preparation programs to address the ideological shifts we need to make in order to create more inclusive educational settings for our students.

Participants will be able to analyze and identify the root ideological causes preventing inclusion, deconstruct their own thinking and the thinking of others around the concept of “difference”, break down the concept of social responsibility and why all educators must be social justice advocates, identify the specific principles and conditions that allow students with learning differences to thrive in any setting and employ straightforward, actionable steps to help support schools and classrooms in creating such conditions.

The Hand You Were Dealt: Challenging Assumptions About the Attributes of Cognitive Diversity

Cindy Hansen, MEd, ET/P

Gifted and Talented Specialist in Private Practice- Ventura and Santa Barbara Counties, CA

Challenge assumptions and explore a range of learning attributes in a high-energy, heart-tugging, and often humorous format. The Hand You Were Dealt is a tool for teachers and practitioners that seeks to reveal hidden biases about gifted students with various diagnosed and undiagnosed learning disabilities. This approach exposes the potential impact of temperament and asynchrony on the family, child, and the school environment and clarifies the experiences of many atypical learners.

Participants will be able to integrate constructs from GATE, special education, and educational therapy to illustrate the complex nature of dual exceptionality, apply strategies to develop student-to-family-to- school collaboration for their gifted students with learning discrepancies, describe their unintentional biases and strengths regarding certain learner attributes, recognize potential asynchronous learning profiles and the impact they have on twice exceptional students and provide psycho-educational support for their clients, teachers, and allied professional partners.

Sunday Session

The Susan Fogelson Ethics Panel
9:00 AM - 12:30 PM PDT

Facilitated by Judith Brennan, MEd, BCET, FAET

Panelists include José M.Chávez, MA, BCET; Ann P. Kaganoff, PhD, BCET, FAET; Marion Marshall, MS, BCET, FAET; and Pamm Scribner, MEd, BCET

Educational therapists periodically encounter practice dilemmas that must be handled ethically and effectively. Have you ever struggled to resolve a disagreement with a parent, teacher, or allied professional? Do you find it difficult to manage boundaries when faced with a parent who demands excessive time and drains your emotional energy? What useful information might you learn by analyzing your feelings about that parent? Who can you consult for advice and support? Business practices can also present ethical dilemmas. Is it difficult for you to set fees or discuss fee collection with clients? How do you represent yourself professionally on your business cards, website, or brochures? How do you adapt your practice to an online format?

A panel of Board Certified Educational Therapists moderated by Judith Brennan will discuss ethical issues that often arise in the practice of educational therapy. The panel will offer anecdotes from private practice and settings such as schools, clinics and learning centers. The presentation will include ample time for questions and discussion of specific case examples from the audience.

Participants will be able to generate solutions when there are disagreements between educational therapists and other professionals or parents; decide when professional consultation is needed in order to understand and maintain boundaries that promote healthy relationships with difficult parents; and identify areas of business practice that often present us with practical and/or ethical dilemmas.