2023 Conference

Updated 12/9/22

Welcome

Congressman Troy Carter

Adaptive Resources @ Your Library for Students, Parents, and Educators

by Brandi Burton and Tara Dearing of the East Baton Rouge Parish Library: In this presentation, Library Service Coordinators Brandi Burton and Tara Dearing will introduce participants to the broad range of free library services and resources that will directly benefit their students, as well as supplement or ease the work of parents and educators.

Adolescent Substance Misuse and Special Education: Why We Should Pay Attention?

by Dr.Shayla Polk by Project Systems Manager, Governor’s Office of Drug Policy: The purpose of this presentation is to raise awareness among educators, advocates, parents/legal guardians, caregivers, teachers, foster parents, and those involved in special education on understanding the elevated risk of substance use by adolescents in special education and the importance of paying attention to emerging drug trends. You will be blown away about what drugs are accessible in gas stations, convenience stores, and local malls right in your community. Many of these products are sold under the guise of labels such as mood and behavior enhancers and dietary supplements. Meanwhile, these products contain hidden ingredients that can be incredibly harmful to anyone and can have major negative interactions with the prescription medications taken by some adolescents.

ADHD Medications: Basic Information In Laypersons’ Language

by Lauren D. Breite, Pharm.D., BCPS of Mississippi Baptist Medical Center: ADHD is considered by some to be the most commonly treated psychiatric disorder among school-age children. The stimulant medication, Ritalin (aka methylphenidate) has been used to treat hyperactivity in children for the past 59 years. Although many changes have been made in both the diagnosis and treatment of attention disorders over the past 50 years, the use of stimulant medication in general, has remained the most effective medication treatment to date. Currently, there are numerous stimulants on the market as well as a handful of non-stimulant medications. This presentation will provide an overview of the different medications used to treat ADHD and will discuss the differences between stimulants and non-stimulants. It will also discuss the common concerns that parents have regarding possible side effects and concerns about long-term harm for children. This presentation will also briefly address dietary supplements that many parents try before opting for medication.

A Parents Journey with their LD child: from denial to diagnosis, to treatment and accommodations to acceptance

by Robin Marrero and Christian Marrero: The goal of this presentation is to share experiences and knowledge gained through the process of recognizing and accommodating learning differences. Participants will also learn about the emotional aspects and grief process associated with a learning differences diagnosis. Mental health professionals will gain empathy for LD families and learn ways to help them.

After the Diagnosis: What Children/Students Need to Know

by William B. Daigle, Ph.D.: Once the evaluation is complete and the feedback has been presented to parents and teachers, the people who are so often left out of the discussion are the children/students. This presentation will help parents and teachers know how to explain a learning disorder diagnosis to children and will help parents and teachers know how to involve students in understanding accommodations and how to use them effectively.

Build Better Interventions Through Empathy

by Georgann Mire, President of the Greater Baton Rouge Learning Disabilities Coalition: Pull out your pencil and paper for this interactive demonstration designed to increase empathy for students with learning disabilities. Learn about evidence-based resilience and motivational interventions. Best practice accommodation and advocacy recommendations will be discussed.

Counseling siblings and parents of children with developmental disabilities: Using a relational cultural and family-centered approach to promote systemic engagement and resilience

by Imre Emeric Csaszar, Jennifer R. Curry, Abbye McDonald, & Mairin Reynolds of Louisiana State University: This presentation will focus on counseling the siblings and parents of children with developmental disabilities. As family members are essential to the support and well-being of children with developmental disabilities, it is critical that they have access to evidence-based interventions to create positive interactions at home and engagement among and between all family members. A relational cultural and family -centered approach will be utilized to give attendees strategies for promoting positive coping and resilience within the family system.

The Domains of Language

by Hailey Hunt, M.Ed., CALP, SLCT, Vice President of Professional Development and Holli Hinton, Ed.S., CALT-QI, C-SLDS, LDT, Vice President of Certification Programs of the Neuhaus Center: The domains of language represent all the ways in which we understand and use oral and written language. Each component of language- phonology, orthography, semantics, syntax, morphology, and pragmatics- is governed by a set a rules that must be learned in order to use language correctly. An understanding of the domains of language will help students progress in reading fluency as they are able to understand the various aspects of the words they read. Educators should be able to explain why all component skills for reading development must become accurate and rapid to support more advanced reading skills.

Don’t Settle for Surviving! Could a 100% Virtual School Help Your Child Start Thriving?

by Jane St. Pierre and Pearson Virtual Schools Special Populations Team of Pearson Virtual Schools, USA: Pearson Virtual Schools has more than two decades of experience in virtual learning and is currently serving students in 31 states via 46 full-time online schools and district partnerships. The research-based program made all the difference for my sons who had learning differences. Although Pearson Online Academy is not specifically developed for students with learning disabilities, the digital platform and tremendous supports in place beautifully accommodate special needs and can result in academic success and personal accomplishment for your student as it did for mine. Come explore the possibilities that just may be the solution your children’s needs.

Examining Mental Health Stigma in the Black Community

by LaCrystal McCoy, LPC of Baton Rouge Community College: Mental health professionals can provide support and treatment for problems associated with learning disabilities however, mental health stigma can get in the way. Learn about this issue in the Black community and how to design culturally competent interventions.

How to Stop Suffering from Worry and Anxiety

by Dayle Malen, LCSW-BACS, ADHD-CCSP, M.Ed. of ReDesigning Lives, PLLC: Anxiety disorders are the most common mental disorder in the U.S., affecting 40 million adults in the United States age 18 and older. In addition, anxiety disorders are among the most common mental, emotional, and behavioral problems to occur during childhood and adolescence, with about 13 of every 100 children and adolescents ages 9 to 17 experiencing some type of anxiety disorder. It is known that heredity, brain chemistry, personality, and life experiences play a role in the occurrence of anxiety disorders. No matter the cause, worry and anxiety involve their own language; one that creates a "maze" leading to imagined disaster and catastrophe. This seminar shows how "worry" language develops and techniques that can be used to command your worry and anxiety…and stop the suffering.

How to Think like a Social Worker Even if You Aren't One: Building Wrap Around Services for Children with Issues that Impact Learning

by Tracey Lyons Tozier, MSS, COPAA Certified Advocate of Tracey Lyons Tozier Education Advocacy and Consulting: Learn how to build support teams around them and worked to create a team of helpers, both inside and outside of the school setting. Team building remains an important approach to support LD students. Resources both inside and outside of school to help support the learning, emotional and social needs of the child will be discussed. These don't have to be expensive, if you think outside of the agency box. Plenty of real-life examples and stories will be provided to keep participants interested and to stimulate thought.

In the Best Interest of the Child

by Ashley Viltz and Kelly Gonzales of Agape School: After teaching for several years in various environments, we sought to open a school that honored and tailored instruction to the unique individuals in a classroom. In order to create this type of classroom environment, our school has implemented several strategies as administrators, teachers, parents, and a community as a whole. This session will focus on how mainstream schools and classrooms can meet the needs of varying types of learners.

LD Students in Higher Education

by Alisha Diggs, LPC, and LaCrystal McCoy, LPC of Baton Rouge Community College: Learn about college accommodations and ways students with learning disabilities can access them effectively. In addition, presenters will share their experiences while serving as mental health providers to college students and suggest therapeutic interventions to enhance successful transition.

Learn What Could Be Responsible For Your Child's Academic and Social Challenges- And Practical Tips To Help At Home And In The Classroom

by Grace Ferrara MOT OTR/L, Stacy Levy MS CCC-SLP of Dynamic Therapy Specialists: Dynamic Therapy Specialists' Team of Occupational Therapists will provide a foundation of understanding the sensory system and its roll in development and learning. With this information the team will also provide practical tips that will help the child reach his optimal learning and socializing state.

Louisiana Assistive Technology Access Network (LATAN): Learn about LATAN and what assistive technology helps people with LD

by Kara Shupe, AT Service & Outreach Coordinator, LATAN: In this presentation, you will learn about LATAN and what services we offer. You will also see demonstrations of some devices that can help people with Learning Disabilities be more successful at work, home and school.

Managing Anxiety Behaviorally and Medically

by Darlyne G. Nemeth, Ph.D., M.P., M.PA.P and Cody Capps, B.S.: Anxiety is a common problem for children with learning disabilities. This presentation explains anxiety and discusses ways to manage a child's anxiety through behavioral management techniques and medication.

Mindfulness for Self-Care

by Lori Anderson and Melvin Sanders of I-CARE Program East Baton Rouge Parish Schools: Our presentation aims to define mindfulness and self-care as well discuss the importance of these practices. We will also touch on the mind-body connection which is essential for understanding the practice of mindfulness. We will identify mental and mindful self-care practices for you and your family to do at home, work, or anywhere. That is the beauty of mindfulness. Once you gain an understanding and start implementing it into your everyday life, you will be able to use it any place and in any situation.

Modeling Supportive Interventions

by Wendy Deval, Ed. D, LPC ADA Coordinator, BREC: Supporting people with learning disabilities creates an environment for success. Building support through counseling and accommodations can lead to academic and employment achievement. Through this case-study discussion learn strategies and interventions designed to build on strengths and mitigate challenges.

Oral Language and Listening Comprehension

by Holli Hinton, Ed.S., CALT-QI, C-SLDS, LDT, Vice President of Certification Programs and Hailey Hunt, M.Ed., CALP, SLCT, Vice President of Professional Development of the Neuhaus Center: As the late educator and author Priscilla Vail said, “Beginning readers don’t get language from reading. They get reading because they have language.” We know that good readers have a large oral language base. As students learn how to decode, they are quicker to decode words they have heard before. This means that as students are learning to read, oral language is one of the most important skills they must develop and develop well. To help our students with comprehension, we need to increase the breadth, depth, and flexibility of their oral language and add to their world knowledge. Oral Language and world knowledge are the foundational skills for comprehension. In the early grades, comprehension is best developed through listening. Participants will learn the importance of oral language and listening comprehension and how it aids in the development of skilled reading comprehension.

Positive Discipline for Children with AD/HD

by Randall L. Lemoine, Ph.D.: Frustrated with all the drama and constant nagging to get your child/student to behave? Wish there was a more positive and lasting method to do discipline? Well, this workshop provides positive, practical strategies to effectively accomplish discipline of children with AD/HD and other neurodevelopmental disorders both at home and school. It will transform the way you think about and do discipline - we are positive!

Preparing middle and high school students now…for life after high school!

by Chris A. Zeigler Dendy, MS: Key executive skills that are critical for success in middle and high school are also essential for success in college and the work world. Specific challenges linked to deficits in executive functions such as difficulty getting started on tasks, completing long-term projects, forgetting assignments/ chores, being disorganized, and often being late will be discussed. Intervention strategies will also be reviewed. Tips for enhancing leadership skills and knowledge of career opportunities will also be discussed.

Reducing the Barriers by Redefining Career Exploration

by Lisa Hibner, MA, and Alyson Enk, MA of LSU Olinde Career Center: Career exploration is an important aspect of development for young people with learning differences. With the right support and resources, these students are better able to successfully navigate the career exploration process.

Stuck is a State-of-Mind: Strategies to Address Executive Functioning Struggles in Secondary Students

by Chris Champagne & Ali Kowitzm M.Ed, ET/P of Louisiana Autism Spectrum and Related Disabilities Project (LASARD): This presentation describes executive functioning skills and focuses on working memory, task initiation/completion, and organizational skills. It targets secondary students who struggle with executive functioning skills and provides specific strategies that can be implemented to support the secondary student both academically and socially.

Tackling the Homework Beast

by Cheryl Ollmann, MEd., CALT of The Brighton School: For students and families, homework is nothing more than frustration, strife, and tears. This is understandable when one considers the skills required to complete homework independently. In this presentation, participants will look at the requisite skills necessary for students to be able to manage time, manage materials and manage information when doing work at home.

The Black Experience: ADHD

by Alisha Diggs, LPC: Learn about the unique challenges for Black children with ADHD and their parents/advocates affecting mental health and school success. This presentation provides evidenced-based strategies and interventions designed to combat problems and stressors encountered by students as well as Black parents/ advocates looking to help this vulnerable population.

The Neurology of Dyslexia and Related Learning Differences and the Importance of Early Identification

by Theresa Hastings, CALT with MEd of The Brighton School: This presentation will help unmask the neurological underpinnings of dyslexia and related learning differences. Because dyslexia is neurological in origin, it is possible to identify children at-risk for a learning difference. Encouraging early identification of “at-risk” and early intervention practices can set young children on the path to success.

Top Tips for Effective IEP Meetings

by Cynthia Chesterfield, Program Director of Education Families Helping Families of Baton Rouge: This presentation provides tried and true tips to utilize before, during, and after the IEP meeting. The content includes: Acronyms and bulletins; organizing yourself and tips you can use before, during, and after the meeting.

When it's not JUST ADHD: Addressing Co-occurring Conditions

by Belynda Gauthier, Past President of CHADD