2022 Conference

Welcome by Congressman Troy Carter

Updated 11/6/21

Anxiety and Depression: The Importance of Facts Over Feelings

by William Daigle, Ph.D.

Anxiety and depression are increasingly common issues among children in the modern world. Children with learning disabilities have a built in risk for these conditions due to the stress associated with their daily challenges. Parents and teachers can serve as tremendous aids in helping kids manage anxiety. By understanding the way anxiety is fueled, attendees will learn what to do and what not to do when working with a child suffering from anxiety. Secondly, although depression can occur independent of anxiety, it often develops as an outgrowth of anxiety. Attendees will learn basic information about depression and how they can provide positive support for these children.

ADHD Medications: Basic Information In Laypersons’ Language

by Lauren D. Breite, Pharm.D.,CPS 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.

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

by Theresa Hastings, BS, CALP 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.

Moving the Measuring Stick: Misdiagnosis of Minority Students with Learning Disabilities

by Stacey L. Thomas of Doctoral Student-Educational Research at Louisiana State University

The presentation addresses problems in the testing for learning disabilities, learner variability, and the effects of race, poverty, culture, and language on educational outcomes. The disproportionate diagnosis of learning disabilities among certain sociodemographic subgroups, typically groups who are already disadvantaged, is a persistent problem within the education system. It’s not just the ‘over’ diagnosis, but the ‘misdiagnosis’ that causes the alarm. Because of this continued problem, a new generation of students is at risk due to inadequacies in our educational system. Learn about these issues through this presentation.

Understanding Students Identified with Twice Exceptionality: The Role of Counselors in Supporting Families

by Emeric Csaszar, Jennifer R. Curry, Molly Ravn of Louisiana State University

Twice-exceptional (2e) students comprise a unique population with regard to academic development, career and college preparation, mental health symptomology, and peer/social relationships. In this session, attendees will be introduced to the special needs of 2e students and the characteristics which distinguish students identified as 2e from both gifted and talented and learning-disabled populations. We will also discuss strategies for meeting the comprehensive needs of 2e learners with a special focus on promoting motivation and achievement.

What’s in a School Day? Navigating Executive Functions Skills for Academic Success

by Ashley Bourque Meaux, PhD, CCC-SLP and Ashley Dehaven, B.S. of the University of St. Augustine for Health Sciences

This session will explore the executive function (EF)) skills used to support the school day and how EF skills influence academic interactions (e.g., social, behavior). The speakers will provide specific strategies to implement to support students with ADHD, ASD, and typical development to reach their academic performance goals. Identifying markers of EF will lead to a discussion of community resources available to provide caregivers with support needed to advocate for their child(ren).

Building protective factors around LD students

by Erin Pourciau Bradford and Tanya Chapman Griffin of I CARE East Baton Rouge Parish Schools

We will show a correlation between Learning disabilities and risk factors; and how substance use can be a coping mechanism for individuals that have learning disabilities. We will also discuss ways to build protective interventions designed to help students with learning disabilities combat the problems these risks present.

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!

Dyslexia in Early Childhood: How to Recognize and Instruct Young Children with Dyslexia

by Jessica Stubbs, Ph.D., CALT of The Dyslexia Resource Center

Participants will learn about the nature of dyslexia, the characteristics of dyslexia in young children, how it impacts their ability to gain literacy skills, and what classroom teachers, therapists, and parents can do address early dyslexia and help set these children up for success

Fortifying the Four Foundational Skills for the LD Students

by Brittany Dotson, M.Ed., LDT of Fancy Phonics, LLC

Participants will learn about phonological awareness and how to assess. In addition, phonemes and phonemic awareness information will be included and participants will learn the Northampton symbols and the pronunciation of each symbol. The 6 syllable types and syllables division, and their benefits for decoding will be included as well as methods designed to teach encoding and to improve spelling skills with phonics, letter-sound relationships, and spelling rules.

ADHD and LD in the Workplace

by Belynda L. Gauthier of Children and Adults with Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (CHADD)

There are numerous employment laws protecting employees with disabilities in the workplace and sorting through these can be a challenge. Even more challenging is deciding whether and how to reveal to employers that one has ADHD and/or LD. This session will address these issues from the point of view of a Human Resources professional who has personal experience raising a young adult with ADHD and other challenges, as well as over thirty years of experience implementing workplace accommodations for disabilities. Those with AD/HD can bring their personal strengths to the workplace, and with appropriate accommodations, can avoid or minimize the challenges. Practical and open discussion of these challenges, and identification of potential solutions are crucial to success.

Understanding the Link between Auditory Processing and Literacy Development

by Dr. Katie Cordell and Mrs. Laura Pfefferle of Dynamic Therapy Specialists

This presentation will help participants understand the nature of Auditory Processing Disorders, characteristics of auditory processing disorders in early childhood, and their impact on language and literacy development.

Diving into the Science of Reading

by Mitzi Berryhill, LSU doctoral candidate in Literacy Education

This presentation will dive into the Science of Reading. We will discuss the war on reading, the Science of Reading movement, and the research behind this push for change. Viewers will gain a deeper understanding of what the Science of Reading means for students and educators and will develop strategies for their own classrooms, tutoring, or therapy sessions.

Formal Evaluation to a Strong Foundation: A Teacher’s Toolbox

by Allyson Hayman, educator

I will discuss looking through a student’s dyslexia evaluation and how a teacher can use a hands-on approach to build upon a child’s strengths as noted in the evaluation. I will address the need for foundation first (e.g. established phonemic awareness). I will also show the various strategies I use in my inclusive classroom (and while tutoring students with dyslexia) to establish and build upon this strong foundation.

IDEA vs Section 504: Which does my child need and how are they different?

by Kara Shupe of Families Helping Families of Greater Baton Rouge

Explain the differences between an IEP (Individual Education Plan) and a Section 504 (Individual Accommodation Plan) in terms parents understand.

Don't Settle for Surviving! Could a 100% Virtual School Result in Your Child Thriving?

by Jane St. Pierre of Pearson Virtual Schools

Pearson has 20 years of experience in virtual learning and is currently serving students in 29 states via 44 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 beautifully accommodates special needs that can result in academic success and personal accomplishment for your student as it did for mine. Helpful hints about turning one’s home into an enriching school setting will be offered as well as tips for supporting students in the virtual setting. Come explore the possibilities that just may be the solutions your student needs.

How Epilepsy Affects Children in School

by Amanda Mitchell, MPH Organization

Epilepsy Alliance Louisiana: Epilepsy and Education: Children with epilepsy often struggle with academic achievement. Difficulties in school can be due in part to the common comorbidities associated with epilepsy or even undesired side effects from Antiepileptic Drugs (AEDs). Children may struggle with memory issues, excessive fatigue, mental health issues, behavioral issues, and social issues. These unique challenges may be misunderstood by teachers and peers. Empowering parents to be advocates for their children, training school personnel, and ensuring children have appropriate accommodations can be effective in mitigating these challenges and improving the quality of life for all.

How to be Angry Better

by Dayle Malen, LCSW, M.Ed. or ReDesigning Lives, PLLC

This workshop teaches the science behind our anger behaviors are created and how we can change them by learning Anger Behavior Management © and the F. I. B. ™ technique. It explains why it is so difficult to think before acting. Learn to live honestly and behave effectively…without regret or guilt.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Level the Playing Field through Recreation

by Wendy Deval, Ed. D, LPC ADA Coordinator, BREC

Learn about the mental health benefits of recreation for children with learning disabilities as well as ways to level the playing field for them through best practice interventions and accommodations. Find out how accessible recreational initiatives can foster self-esteem, build confidence and motivate students with learning disabilities. An explanation of civil rights laws designed to provide accessible recreational environments will be included in this presentation.

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.

How to get your child's mental health addressed in an IEP or 504

by Tracey Lyons Tozier, MSS, COPAA Certified Advocate of Tracey Lyons Tozier Education Advocacy and Consulting of Tracey Lyons Tozier Education Advocacy and Consulting

Parents and Advocates might know how to address academic needs in the IEP or 504 meetings but how do you get the school- based team to help your child with mental health or behavioral needs? Learn how and why "If it affects your child's ability to learn, it needs to be addressed by the school-based team!"

Influence of Inhibition on Reading Comprehension

by Rebecca Parker, SLP of Southeastern Louisiana University

Teaching Executive Function Skills to School-aged Children

by Darlyne G. Nemeth., Ph. D., M.P., M.P.A.P. of Neuropsychology Center of Louisiana, LLC.

Rebecca Branstetter, Ph.D., (2014) defined executive function skills as “all of the cognitive skills needed to regulate your thinking, feeling and behavior often to reach a goal” (107). These logical processes are involved in all aspects of learning. They are even necessary for children to learn and manage their emotions. As the last 18-months or so have been strongly affected by COVID-19, the opportunity to learn these skills has been lessened. Children learn best via group processes, wherein they can see and imitate the behavior of others. It is well understood that Louisiana children have been negatively impacted in developing their learning skills during this past year. Many have found that virtual learning has not been as effective as in-class experiences. The purpose of this presentation will be to help parents and teachers to understand the importance of helping children learn the cognitive, emotional, and behavioral skills to move forward in order to be successful.

The Relationship Between Executive Functions and Social, Emotional, and Behavioral Effectiveness in Children with ADHD

by Darlyne G. Nemeth., Ph. D., M.P., M.P.A.P., Cody Capps, B.S., and Olesia Palamar of The Neuropsychology Center of Louisiana, LLC.

This presentation will focus on ADHD children’s impairments of executive functions (e. g. self-regulation, working memory, planning, and cognitive flexibility) and how they impact their ability to recognize emotions, social difficulties, and behaviors both in a classroom and with their peers.

Know The ADA/504 Framework that Will Lead to Engaging, Educating and Resolving Student Classroom Accommodation Issues in Higher Education

by Julie Ballinger, Southwest ADA Center Affiliate of Southwest ADA Center (www.southwestada.org)

Students with disabilities should have equal opportunity to participate in higher education programs where they can increase their knowledge, gain qualifications that are professionally recognized, develop essential skills that are needed in careers and working life, increase earning potential, and to be able to experience student life, which may for some, be their first true taste of independence and freedom. This training will give potential and present students, advocates, higher education professionals, and others an organized, straightforward ADA framework to utilize when engaging, educating, and resolving issues with academic departments and faculty regarding disability-related accommodations to assure ADA/504 civil rights. This conceptual construction can be especially effective when seeking a more effective way to work with instructors and disability services staff in resolving their hesitations, resistance, or down-right denial of accommodations in the classroom.