The Details — Session Descriptions with Speaker Bios

School Struggles Summit

Classroom and School-Triggered Behavior

Your Kid's Gonna Be Okay: Helping Kids Develop the Executive Function Skills They Need in the Age of Attention

Our culture defines a path to success that is rigid and often excludes kids who struggle in school. Yes, overall life success is somewhat high stakes, but there’s more than one path to success and there’s more than one definition of success. And not everything along that path is high stakes — a lot of it is NOT. When we can take it one day and one small goal at a time, our kids are better for it. 

In this session, the CEO of Beyond Booksmart, Michael Delman, M.Ed., shares the mistakes we often make with our kids and students that end up co-escalating the struggle instead of regulating and helping our kids succeed in their own ways and in their own time. He offers actionable strategies for both parents and teachers to connect with kids and help them on their journey instead of pushing our own agendas, timetables, and pathways.

Michael Delman, M.Ed.

Michael Delman is the CEO of Beyond BookSmart, the world leader in executive function coaching. For nearly 20 years, Beyond BookSmart and its affiliate, WorkSmart Coaching, has helped thousands of clients worldwide become more successful at managing their lives. His school division, BrainTracks, trains school personnel to understand and help students become more successful in the classroom.

Prior to Beyond BookSmart, Michael founded the McAuliffe Charter School and was an award-winning teacher. His book, Your Kid’s Gonna Be Okay, provides expert guidance for parents who are trying to figure out how they can be helpful. Michael resides in Massachusetts and is the proud dad of two girls in the college and post-college stages of their lives. For fun, he plays Ultimate Frisbee, and his passion cause is addressing climate change and climate justice issues.

Humanizing Students with Behavior Challenges & Addressing Unmet Needs

Students with behavior challenges are often disciplined for the behavior seen on the surface. They may be labeled as troublemakers or even incorrigible. Our educational system often deems them in need of reform, but goes about it in a rigid way, assuming that all behavior is intentional.

In this session, I talk with Special Educator Sam Parmerlee (a.k.a. theEdQueen) about the mindset shift that parents and educators need to make when it comes to undesirable behavior. Sam outlines for both parents and teachers what steps to take to dive deeper and educate individuals with compassion and dignity. We also touch on collaborating as a team, determining if a student should be in a self-contained classroom, and how to help students meet expectations through supporting skill development and humanizing their behavior.

Sam Parmerlee

Sam Parmerlee was a former self-contained teacher for students with emotional and behavioral disabilities who is transitioning into being a behavioral consultant for a school district. She has been in the classroom for seven years now and has worked primarily with students with behavioral disorders. She is a Teachers Pay Teachers author, blogger and runs an instagram platform geared to changing outlooks on student behaviors and providing tips to help manage behaviors in the classroom environment.

Teaching the “Unteachable” Students

Students with extreme behavior and volatility are often labeled “unteachable” and moved out of mainstream learning. Yet, we know that every kid is teachable, when given the right support, understanding of their learning differences, and connection with at least one caring adult. 

In this session, secondary teacher, Claire English, explains how kids with emotional and behavioral challenges don’t respond to traditional methods of teaching and behavior management, including what they do respond to and need. Teachers can make a shift in their entire class to accommodate kids with behavioral challenges because what works for those students is also great for neurotypical students. Join us to learn how you or your child’s teacher can make success accessible to all students.

Claire English

Claire is an Australian secondary teacher whose mission is centered around empowering and equipping educators to support even the most vulnerable young people in the classroom. In addition to senior leadership and classroom teaching, Claire creates professional development programs for teachers through ‘The Unteachables Academy’.

Shifting from Compliance to Regulation

A child’s nervous system and all systems of the brain must be working in harmony to achieve optimal availability to act and learn. When this harmony is achieved, a child is feeling physiologically safe, which means their calm and connected and able to take action and meet the expectations that are doable for them.

In this session, Greg Santucci, OTR/L, creator of the Model of Child Engagement, shares how to shift from a model of compliance to one of regulation and what that looks like at home and in the classroom. Regulation is a key component of getting things done. He also outlines the most humanistic and effective way to respond to negative behavior.

Greg Santucci, OTR/L

Greg Santucci is a pediatric occupational therapist and the owner of Power Play Pediatric Therapy in NJ. He is certified in Sensory Integration and the creator of the Model of Child Engagement: a model of intervention that focuses on felt safety and regulation to improve participation and motor planning in children. Greg has been an OT for over 20 years and continues to work with children both in the public schools and an outpatient sensory gym. In addition to his clinical work, Greg lectures both nationally and internationally on topics related to sensory processing, regulation, behavior and child development. Greg is married to an OT and he is the father of two children, now teenagers, who he learns from every day.

How Sensory Impacts Learning

We often take for granted the impact of our senses and the way our bodies process them differently for each of us. Plus, we often forget about the three additional senses — proprioception, interoception, and vestibular — all of which impact a child all day every day. Sensory processing plays a key role in learning because it can impact cognitive functioning and behavior, two necessities in the classroom. 

In this session, occupational therapist, Laura Petix, explains the sensory systems and the role each can have on learning and the experience at school. She discusses the interconnectedness of sensory processing and executive functioning, as well as the often automatic nature of sensory challenges. Learn how to talk with your child or student about what’s going on with their body, how it may be different from others, and how to use that information to advocate for their own needs, and advocate for celebrating neurodiversity.

Laura Petix, OTR/L

Laura is a pediatric Occupational Therapist, wife and mom to a neurodivergent 5 year old who specializes in supporting sensory processing development in pre-school and school-aged children. Through her podcast, courses, 1:1 parent coaching, instagram and website, Laura educates parents and teachers on how to support children’s sensory needs using a neurodiverse- affirming approach.

Taking a Humanistic Approach to Behavior Management

Traditional behavior management plans, like PBIS, encourage compliance through fear and public shaming. Not only does this not work for neurodivergent students and struggling learners, but it is also damaging to all students, including neurotypical students who are often compliant out of fear. There’s a much better way to address behavior at school!

In this session, child psychologist, Emily W. King, Ph.D., shares the biology of behavior and how understanding behavior causes and conditions informs a more effective approach to transforming challenging student behavior. We discuss top-down vs. bottom-up behavior and how to shift your mindset from “students need to be controlled” to “students need help to resolve individual behavior needs,” as well.

Emily King, Ph.D.

Dr. Emily King is a Child Psychologist in Raleigh, North Carolina who has worked with neurodivergent children and teens for the last 20 years. She received her Ph.D. in School Psychology from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and worked as a School Psychologist in Houston, Texas before starting her private practice in Raleigh. Dr. Emily is passionate about empowering parents and teachers to embrace their journey by taking care of their own mental health and finding the best solutions for the growth and happiness of all children. She and her husband are parents to two energetic boys, ages 8 and 14 years old.

Dr. Emily is also the founder of www.learnwithdremily.com where she shares online resources related to raising and educating neurodivergent youth beyond her psychology practice. Resources include her blog, an online course for parents raising neurodivergent children, and an online course for teachers coming this fall. Dr. Emily has been featured on MSNBC’s Morning Joe, has written for Parents.com, and has been quoted in The New York Times and The Washington Post. You can find Dr. Emily on social media sharing helpful information for parents and educators in addition to her email newsletter.

How to Help Kids Stuck in Survival Mode at School

Survival mode looks different in different kids. One child may get volatile and cause physical danger to others. Another may be too quiet because they’ve completely shut down. And yet another may be desperate to avoid. While the signals of survival mode are different, they all lead to the same action needed from the adults around them — discovering why they don’t feel safe and how to restore a sense of safety.

In this session, Dayna Abraham takes us on a deep dive of survival mode — what it is, how to identify it in different students, and the steps to take to help that child feel safe. We discuss the biology of behavior and the key role of the nervous system. If your child or student(s) has any behavior challenges at all, even a quiet internal storm, this session is extremely valuable to you.

Dayna Abraham

Dayna Abraham, founder of the Calm the Chaos® Framework, best-selling author of The Superkids Activity Guide to Conquering Every Day and founder of the popular blog, Lemon Lime Adventures, helps parents and education professionals unlock the unique super powers in children so they can live a more peaceful life filled with clarity, connection and empowerment by providing them with a proven plan designed to Calm the Chaos® of everyday life. When she’s not writing, you can find her drinking lots of coffee and being the best sidekick possible for her own three Superkids.

Dayna Abraham is the bestselling author of Sensory Processing 101 and the Superkids Activity Guide. After quitting her teaching job to take care of her out-of-the-box son and his daily epic meltdowns, she discovered a framework that has helped her and 200,000+ parents eliminate meltdowns, tantrums, and outbursts while giving their kids the skills to be happy and successful in life.

School Avoidance & Refusal

School avoidance and refusal is a really tough challenge for parents… and for their kids. Knowing that kids do well if they can, we can deduce that there’s something going on for a kid who can’t make themselves go to school no matter the consequences. And it’s the job of their parents and teachers to figure out what’s going on, and address it. 

In this session, Penny Williams is talking with her 19-year-old son, Luke, to get the insider’s view on school avoidance and refusal and what helps and what actually makes things worse. We talk about Luke’s 8-year experience with school refusal (and mine as his parent), why it happened, and his view on how parents and teachers can help. He shares some insights that I heard for the first time during this session. 

Penny Williams

Penny Williams trains and coaches parents raising kids with ADHD and/or autism. She’s the parent of a son with ADHD and autism, and the award-winning author of four books on parenting kids with ADHD, including Boy Without Instructions.

Penny is the host of the School Struggles Summit, founder of ParentingADHDandAutism.com, host of the Beautifully Complex Podcast, co-founder of The Behavior Revolution, a speaker, and a contributor on parenting and neurodivergent children for various publications, including ADDitude Magazine.

Luke Williams

Luke is a young adult who openly shares about his experience with ADHD and autism. He creates digital music and loves video games, especially VR (virtual reality). His favorite personal characteristic is his ability to make people laugh, including the international characters he sometimes brings to life through voice acting, including imitating the accents of Britain, Russia, Australia, and Brooklyn. He is currently exploring different career possibilities and taking time to heal from his school experience after graduating from high school in 2021.

Specific Learning Challenges

Executive Functions: What They Are & How to Support Students with EF Deficits

Executive functioning skills are all the skills required to do life — to plan, organize, manage and get things done. And many neurodivergent kids have deficits in executive functioning. This is a quality of life issue. Students with poor EF skills struggle to meet expectations designed for neurotypical students. 

In this session, Seth Perler explains what executive functioning is and how deficits of those skills get in the way of learning, showing what you’ve learned, and, often success in school. He all shares strategies and action items for parents and teachers to help build these lagging skills and support this weakness on the path to success.

Seth Perler, M.Ed.

Seth Perler is a former teacher turned Executive Function, ADHD, Neurodiversity & 2e Speaker & Coach. His life is dedicated to helping struggling students learn to navigate school and life, so they can have a great quality of life now and a fantastic future, full of possibilities, choices and opportunities, where they can achieve their goals, develop their strengths, and contribute in ways that matter to them. Executive Function is key, and he created TEFOS to give you exceptional tools to support children.

How to Help Frustrated Learners

Kids with learning challenges often struggle with poor frustration tolerance too. They get frustrated by being asked to do something they don’t understand, are overwhelmed by, or that just isn’t doable for them in that moment, and those around them not understanding these things. Then, ignored or punished, that frustration boils into behavior like lying, avoidance, apathy, conflict with adults, refusal, and more. And there’s no learning once everyone is at a boiling point.

In this session, educational therapists, Rachel and Stephanie share their insights as to what can cause frustration in neurodivergent learners and how to pivot from punitive to curious and help kids learn and show what they learn in a way that creates success for that student. Learn what actions you can take to get some quick wins in helping your child or student achieve with less frustration. The insights shared in this session are powerful and priceless.

Stephanie Pitts, M.Ed, BCET 

Game and tech guru, Stephanie Pitts grew up in Los Angeles and attended both public and private schools. Even though she went to USC, Rachel still loves and adores Steph. Steph’s dogs are EVERYTHING and you can follow their adventures at @andytucker_thedoxies on social media. After teaching elementary school, Steph’s executive functioning skills were commandeered by a family with seven children. For 9 years, Steph made things happen for the kids and the family before moving on to educational therapy. She loves traveling, spending time with her dogs, and living by the beach. You can learn more about Stephanie’s educational therapy practice at www.myedtherapist.com

Rachel Kapp, M.A., BCET

Rachel grew up in sunny Los Angeles, California. After having a wonderful public school experience in LAUSD —yes, it exists! — Rachel went on to attend UC Berkeley. She studied abroad in Rome, Italy, which allowed her to combine a love of art and travel with nightly gelato. She found educational therapy after teaching preschool for 7 years in Los Angeles and is obsessed with helping struggling learners thrive in school. Rachel loves the path of least resistance and her absolute favorite thing is to get things done quickly (Steph tolerates this passion). When she is not working you’ll find Rachel at spin, baking, or spending time with her husband and son. You can learn more about Rachel’s educational therapy practice at www.kappedtherapy.com.

Reading Struggles and Dyslexia

Do you have a child or student who is struggling with reading? Take note: individuals with reading challenges can thrive. It’s a common learning struggle but it requires identification, intervention, and accommodation.

In this session, Dyslexia Advocate, Jeanette Roberes, M.Ed. outlines the many warning signs of dyslexia, what to do if you suspect that a child has dyslexia, and the interventions and accommodations that are most helpful. We also discuss the barriers many face and how you can help to break through. Kids who struggle with reading need your help — this session offers many ways to do just that.

Jeannette Roberes, M.Ed., M.A., CCC-SLP

Jeannette Roberes is an author that has worked as a speech pathologist, software engineer, and educator. She has spoken in over 40 countries and has earned recognition in The Washington Post and US News & World Reports among other media acknowledgements. Jeannette’s commitment to life-long learning is noted through her LETRS® Early Childhood facilitator certification and PROJECT READ® Curriculum certification. Her debut book Technical Difficulties: Why Dyslexic Narratives Matter In Tech has received starred reviews across Goodreads and Amazon. Jeannette is the Chief Academic Officer of Bearly Articulating.

Handwriting, and Written Expression Struggles, and Dysgraphia

It is estimated that 10 million people in the world have some form of dysgraphia — the writing disability. That means that many, many kids are struggling but slipping through the cracks unidentified. And, even when identified and diagnosed, students are often under-treated and under-accommodated.

In this session, dysgraphia expert, Cheri Dotterer, MS, OTR/L explains exactly what dysgraphia is and offers a ton of intervention strategies and assistive technology resources. Even if you don’t have a child or student with this diagnosis, you should watch this session — you might recognize that someone you know actually has dysgraphia.

Cheri Dotterer, MS, OTR/L

Cheri is an international speaker, author, and consultant who trains adults to shift their mindsets about struggling writers to strengthen the social-emotional well-being of people with dysgraphia so they can fully engage in life activities and unleash their potential to change their future and other generations through the written word. One-third (33%) of the population has difficulty writing. Many can read yet have difficulty writing. Dysgraphia, a disability in written expression, encompasses all forms of writing, from those who are learning to adults having trouble at work for ineffective communication skills. Her book, Handwriting Brain-Body DisConnect, has remained in the Top 100 on Amazon since publication in Handwriting Reference and Learning Disabilities. It was also a Top 10 Finalist in the Author Academy Awards in 2019. She was nominated the USA 2022 Dysgraphia Expert of the Year by Global Health and Pharma magazine. She has worked in many concentration areas as an occupational therapist for 25 years. However, it wasn’t until starting her private practice that she found her passion to help others understand this disability. She has been an adjunct instructor at Penn State, Alvernia, and Misericordia Universities and has guest lectured at several other colleges. She lives with her husband of 32 years. They have two adult children. Both children and Cheri suffer from mild dysgraphia. She believes that understanding dysgraphia is essential to life success.

How to Help Students Struggling with Math & Dyscalculia

Does your child or student make consistent mistakes in math? Do they do anything and everything to avoid doing math? Do they fight you when it’s time for math homework? Do they struggle to retain math facts despite frequent review? All of these are signs that a child is struggling with math.

In this session, the founder of Made for Math, Adrianne Meldrum, outlines these and other signs that a student has a learning challenge with math. Whether that’s due to dyscalculia or another learning challenge that’s also impacting their math work — like distractibility, dysgraphia, dyslexia, poor executive functioning — Adrienne’s recommended intervention is largely the same: a multi-sensory approach with classroom and homework accommodations. You’ll learn about the multi-sensory approach as well as some common accommodations that help struggling learners succeed in math.

Adrianne Meldrum, M.A.

Adrianne Meldrum is the founder and owner of Made for Math (MFM), an all-online math center focused on serving students with dyslexia, dyscalculia, and math learning disabilities. She is a certified Multisensory Math Instructor through Marilyn Zecher. She recently graduated with a Master’s Degree from Bridges Graduate School of Cognitive Diversity. Adrianne is married with three boys and lives in Mesa, AZ (a recent change) where she enjoys poolside living.

Processing Struggles: Your Student Isn’t Defiant, They Just Need Time

Many neurodivergent kids and struggling learners have slow processing speed. It can impede their ability to get things done in the time frames often dictated by the adults around them and needs to be understood and accommodated for.

In this session, Sarah Wayland, Ph.D. explains the testing used to measure an individual’s processing speed, the fact that it’s often not a matter of processing, and how to help kids who work slower. You’ll learn numerous strategies and accommodations to help kids get things done in their time.

Sarah Wayland, Ph.D.

Sarah Wayland, Ph.D. founded her company, Guiding Exceptional Parents, to help parents learn how to confidently and effectively help their children with ADHD, autism, learning disabilities, and other brain-based differences at home, at school, and in the community. She is a Parent Coach, Special Needs Care Navigator, and a certified RDI® Consultant.

In addition to hosting trainings, lecturing, and working with individual clients, Sarah is a co-author of the upcoming book, “Is This Autism? A guide for clinicians and everyone else.” She co-edited the book “Technology Tools for Students with Autism,” and has written articles for the 2e Newsletter, Washington Parent Magazine, and the Gifted Homeschoolers Forum.

2e: When Students are Gifted & Have Learning Challenges

A student who is considered twice-exceptional is gifted but also has learning challenges. Their development is asynchronous — they may be advanced in some areas, behind in other areas, and on target in still others. It can be tough to differentiate learning appropriately for both aspects: giftedness and learning challenges. 

In this session, Bright & Quirky Founder, Debbie Steinberg Kuntz explains twice-exceptionality, how it is identified, and strategies to help 2e kids shine. You’ll learn how to blow on the embers of strengths and lift with supports to help your 2e child or student shine.

Debbie Steinberg Kuntz, LMFT

Debbie Steinberg Kuntz is the founder & CEO of Bright & Quirky, an e-learning company in the field of children’s mental health. Bright & Quirky’s mission is to help bright kids with learning, social, emotional and/or behavioral challenges thrive. Bright & Quirky partners with the best experts in psychology and education to help families with bright kids, with ADHD, autism, dyslexia or anxiety, soar with their strengths and get support for their struggles through online summits and a parent education membership.

Debbie is a licensed marriage and family therapist. Before focusing on Bright & Quirky, she was a counselor in a private practice near Seattle, Washington, specializing in kids, teens, couples and families who are twice exceptional.

Intervention & Accommodation

The Support Neurodivergent Students Want & Need

As caregivers and educators, we’re always trying to guess what the experience is like to be neurodivergent, and guess what those individuals want and need from us. And we certainly get it wrong a lot of the time. That’s why we have to turn to neurodivergent individuals to help us decipher both the experience and the most appropriate strategies.

In this session, I’m talking with Paul Micallef, an autistic adult who provides insights and education based on live-experience. Paul shares his story of what school was like for him and shares some common challenges for many neurodivergent kids (and adults) and helps us gain some powerful perspective of autism and neuro-differences from the inside.

Paul Micallef

Paul discovered he was on the Autism Spectrum 4 year sago. Since then he has worked with countless autistic adults and children, as well as teaching parents, teachers, and students about Autism.

He is also an aerospace engineer with a passion for teaching and Emotional Intelligence. He’s working to see Emotional Intelligence as standard in every school curriculum.

Redefining Success

Each culture has its own ideals about success, but many value prestige and wealth at their core. And yet, that’s not what brings most people joy. Instead of defining success for our kids (and each other), we need to allow kids to define what success looks like for them. Both parents and educators can support this.

As Iris Chen shares in this session, the first step is to throw out the cultural norms of success and shift our mindsets to be open to the fact that not everyone needs prestige and wealth to be happy. In fact, the stress and pressure of that lifestyle often makes people unhappy. Iris outlines the qualities and actions we need to adopt in order to allow kids to be their true selves and learn in their own ways and their own time. We discuss how less judgment and labeling and more collaboration, choice, and connection are the educational keys to unlocking success for all students.

Iris Chen

Iris Chen is a recovering tiger mother, unschooler, and founder of the Untigering movement. After seeing the negative effects of authoritarian parenting and unhealthy cultural expectations in her own life, she’s now on a mission to promote mental health, peaceful parenting, and self-directed learning. You can read more about her adventures in her book “Untigering: Peaceful Parenting for the Deconstructing Tiger Parent.”

Playing to Strengths: Optimizing Brain Systems to Maximize Learning

Every single person has strengths. Yet kids with ADHD, autism, or learning challenges often find it very hard to uncover them. They get so many negative messages about what they can’t do, it becomes really hard to see what they can do.

As Andrew Fuller explains in this session, that’s where the adults come in — it’s our job to let kids know that they absolutely have greatness within them, that you know it without a doubt, and that you’ll help them uncover their strengths and use them to succeed. You’ll learn how to help kids discover their “smarts” and use those learning strengths and interests to map out a way forward. Andrews explains that once you know your learning strengths, you find people who value that and you build from there. Watch to learn how.

Andrew Fuller

As a clinical psychologist, I have worked with people who were at their last hopes and that inspired me to create my mission of creating futures people can fall in love with. I have worked with over 3,000 schools in Australia, NZ, Asia and the UK and with more than 500,000 young people and have identified the concept of The Resilient Mindset and also the three main components of resilience- connect, protect and respect (CPR).

My research has been in two areas — learning strengths and resilience — which I define as “the happy knack of being able to bungy jump through the pitfalls of life — to rise above adversity and obstacles.”

Andrew is an Hon. Fellow at the University of Melbourne and has been a scientific consultant for the ABC. He is an ambassador for Adolescent Success and the Lion’s Club Alcohol and Drug Awareness Foundation He has also been a principal consultant to the Dept. Education START, resilience and Bully Stoppers initiatives and the national drug prevention strategy REDI, and is a regular presenter on Radio National.

Andrew’s research on learning strengths takes the research on resilience and positive education back into the classroom where it can make the most difference.

How to Help Students Get Things Done that Should be Easy, But Aren’t

Parents and teachers are often advised to quit making assumptions when it comes to behavior, because our first assumptions are almost always negative.. But there are positive, healthy assumptions to make about kids and adults that will help you reframe what you’re seeing on the surface and dig deeper to get to the root of the problem — to discover why a task that seems easy isn’t easy for your child or student.

In this session, Brendan Mahan shares three foundational assumptions we should always make about everyone we meet. These assumptions set the stage for determining why a kid isn’t meeting an expectation at a given time and opens the door to doing things differently so tasks can be doable for kids and kids can get things done.

Brendan Mahan, M.Ed., MS

Brendan Mahan, M.Ed., MS., an internationally recognized ADHD/Executive Function coach, a highly engaging, sought-after speaker, and the host of the ADHD Essentials Podcast. A former teacher, mental health counselor, and principal, Brendan helps individuals, families, schools, and businesses manage the challenges of Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder and neurodiversity through an approach that blends education, collaborative problem-solving, and accountability with compassion, humor, a focus on strengths and growth, and his trademark “Wall of Awful™” model. Contact him at brendan@ADHDessentials.com.

Connecting with Students with Learning Challenges

We all have a need to understand others and feel understood and heard. The way we ensure this with our kids and students is through human connection, which offers a lot of other benefits in school and learning as well. 

To build connection with neurodivergent students, Dr. Norrine Russell recommends reducing stressors, taking a brain-based approach, and seeing negative behavior as a symptom of a student’s neurobiological differences. In this session, we discuss the two main stressors for students and how adults can relieve them, as well as specific strategies to build a positive relationship with a child through connection. 

Norrine Russell, Ph.D.

Dr. Norrine Russell is the founder of the Russell Coaching for Students, which uses an innovative method of coaching for complex students, including those who are 2E; have ADHD, Autism, or Anxiety; and those with learning differences. This innovative method, Connected Coaching, has proven successful for hundreds of students across the United States and Canada since 2009. Dr. Russell has been a featured guest on over 25 podcasts focusing on ADHD, including ADDitude. With twenty years of experience creating positive youth development and parenting education programs, Dr. Russell has extensive knowledge of child development, learning styles, special needs, and positive parenting philosophies. She blends this knowledge to provide students and parents with comprehensive support and the tools they need to grow and thrive. Dr. Russell has a Ph.D. from Bowling Green State University with a focus on psychology and education. Prior to starting her coaching and consulting practice, Dr. Russell worked at a variety of well-known non-profit agencies, including the YWCA of the City of New York, the Tampa Metropolitan Area Y, The Ophelia Project and Boys Initiative of Tampa Bay, and One Circle Foundation.

Preparing for Successful School Meetings

School meetings can be overwhelming and anxiety-provoking for all parties. Often, you leave feeling that it could have gone better. In this session, Educational Advocate Liz Capone shares strategies for both parents and teachers to prepare for school meetings so they can be collaborative and  successful and truly helpful to the student, whose success is exactly why everyone has taken a seat at the table together. 

Liz Capone, M.S. 

Liz Capone is a Special Education advocate and certified expert witness  that works nationally. She is a former Special Education teacher of 21 years and has taught every grade, pre-K through 12.

What to Do When School Accommodations Aren’t Being Met

Parents feel such relief when their child finally has a 504 Plan or an IEP plan or accommodations to help them with their school struggles. But that is just step one in the process of securing the education your child needs and has a right now. The next step is implementation in the classroom, and that often isn’t automatic. 

In this session, Dr. Beurkens shares the five-step process you should take if your child’s accommodations and services aren’t being implemented. We also discuss how to work collaboratively between parents and educators to keep an open and healthy dialog that ultimately benefits the child or student.

Nicole Beurkens, Ph.D., CNS

As a licensed clinical psychologist with advanced degrees in psychology, education, and nutrition, Dr. Nicole Beurkens is a leading holistic child psychologist. She has dedicated her 25-year career to providing parents with research-based strategies that get to the root of children’s attention, anxiety, mood, and behavior challenges so they can reach their highest potential. She runs a multi-disciplinary evaluation and treatment clinic and is a best-selling author, published researcher, award-winning therapist, media expert, scientific advisor, and experienced mother of four.

Social and Emotional Wellbeing

How to Help Kids Feel Accepted & Valued

School success is about a lot more than academics. There are a lot of factors that determine if a child is available to learn and can succeed in the ways expected. Skills are a common factor that come to mind, but how a child feels is just as important, if not more so. Why? Because we know that when we feel good we’re able to do good. 

In this session, pediatric psychologist, Dr. Ann-Louise Lockhart explains the reasons why feeling accepted and valued is crucial in learning and education and the cost of not having these core feelings. She provides some simple and actionable strategies to make sure that your child or your students feel accepted and valued.

Dr. Ann-Louise Lockhart, PsyD, ABPP

Dr. Ann-Louise Lockhart is a business owner of A New Day Pediatric Psychology in San Antonio, TX. She is a pediatric psychologist, parent coach, wife of 23 years, a mom of 2 kids and has over 16 years of experience in her field.

She serves as a parent coach for parents who have kids and teens with behavioral and emotional regulation concerns, those diagnosed with ADHD and anxiety, as well as kids who are highly sensitive. She focuses on helping parents adjust their mindset about parenting. Dr. Lockhart helps overwhelmed parents get on the same page and better understand their kids and teens.

Teaching Emotional Intelligence in the Classroom and Beyond

It is common to think that school is about academics and even athletics, but social and emotional needs of students are often viewed as an outside-of-school problem. Yet, teachers play a crucial role in emotional development. Because emotions can easily overtake a child (or adult), emotional intelligence is vital for kids to be available to learn and to interact with educators and peers appropriately. 

In this session, Nadine Levitt, creator of the social emotional curriculum “My Mama Says,” teaches parents and educators how to foster a healthy relationship between kids and their emotions. She provides many actionable strategies to build a child’s emotional skills at school, at home, and beyond.

Nadine Levitt

Nadine is an education advocate, author, and the CEO and Founder of Wurrly Holdings, LLC. She uniquely brings her past experiences as a lawyer and an internationally touring opera singer to education. In 2016 she led the development of a K-12 ed tech platform WURRLYedu – that leverages the Arts as a gateway to learning social and emotional skills. In 2019 she released her first children’s book on emotions called My Mama Says Inside Me Lives A Village, and quickly thereafter the sequel My Mama Says Inside Me Lives A Superhero. A full school curriculum soon followed, along with a suite of toys, and other kids products that teach emotional intelligence through play. In her latest endeavor, Nadine applied the same holistic approach to a teacher wellness program seeded in inspiration, called PD Reimagined, aiming to reverse teacher burnout and attrition. You can connect with her on all socials  @mrswurrly

Helping Disconnected Kids Find Social Connection

Many kids struggle with social connection and friendships for a variety of reasons, including anxiety, lagging skills, and poor awareness of self and others. Yet, feeling connected is crucial to feeling good and being available to learn and thrive in the school environment. 

In this session, Caroline Maguire, M.Ed. shares why social connection is important for learning and for success after school. She outlines strategies for parents and teachers to help foster connection and teach the social skills necessary for life success. You’ll learn what you can do right away to help kids who struggle socially.

Caroline Maguire M.Ed.

Caroline Maguire, M.Ed., ACCG, PCC, is a graduate of Trinity College and Lesley University, where she earned her M. Ed. and Early Childhood Development with a specialization in social emotional learning (SEL). She is the author of the award winning book, Why Will No One Play With Me? and the  founder of a SEL training methodology both designed to teach emotional regulation, emotional intelligence, social and self-awareness and responsible decision-making skills. She founded the only Coach Training program accredited by the ICF at the ADD Coach Academy  The Fundamentals of ADHD Coaching for Families. 

Ms. Maguire practiced as a social skills clinician at the Hallowell Center Boston then formed her private practice. She is a sought-after lecturer and workshop facilitator on various topics related to social, emotional and behavioral learning. She is a permanent columnist on social skills in Attention Magazine, a favored contributor to many revered publications. Follow her @AuthorCarolineM

Managing Stress and Anxiety at School

The frequency and severity of stress and anxiety have increased a great deal in the last couple years. Which begs the question, how do we help the kids who are struggling now, and how do we reduce the number of kids who are stressed and anxious at school?

In this session, school psychologist Natalie Burrell shares what she’s been seeing in her high school and her teen coaching practice to solidify the validity of the issue. She also offers a bunch of strategies for both parents and teachers to help students who are currently struggling and some pivots we can make in schools to be proactive and help kids stress and panic less.

Natalie Borrell, Ed.S.

Natalie is a school psychologist and an academic life coach for teenagers. She and her team of coaches help tweens and teens build their confidence, get grades that they are proud of, and reduce their stress. 

She coached high school and competitive cheerleading for 8 years and this is where she realized that she had a gift for connecting with teenagers and motivating them to be the best version of themselves. She has fourteen years of experience working as a school psychologist in a public high school. Her area of expertise is working with students who need a boost of confidence to feel successful both in and out of the classroom.

The Correlation Between School and Suicide

Suicide is often assumed to be caused by depression, but that’s not always the case. Kids with neurodevelopmental disorders have a higher risk of suicide because of the negative experiences they have with peers, teachers, and others in our communities.

Data shows that school pressure is often a factor, as suicide rates increase during the spring and fall and drop when school is out for summer and winter breaks. 

In this session, suicide expert Jonathan B. Singer, Ph.D., LCSW shares the suicide trends we’re experiencing from elementary to high school age to provide a clear current picture. He also talks about how parents and teachers can identify kids who is at risk of dying by suicide and help them stay alive. Learn what parents and educators can do right now to safe a life.

Jonathan B. Singer, Ph.D., LCSW 

Jonathan B. Singer, Ph.D., LCSW is Professor at Loyola University Chicago’s School of Social Work, Past-President of the American Association of Suicidology and coauthor of the 2015 Routledge text, Suicide in Schools: A Practitioner’s Guide to Multi-level Prevention, Assessment, Intervention, and Postvention. He is a two-time winner of the National Association of Social Workers Media Award (2012 and 2016). Dr. Singer is a well-regarded international speaker who has given hundreds of continuing education workshops, keynote addresses, and presentations in the USA, Latin America, Asia, and Europe. He is an NASW Expert, Healio Psychiatry Peer Perspective Board member, and served on several national youth advisory boards including Sandy Hook Promise, JED Foundation, Suicide Prevention Resource Center, and the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. He is the author of over 80 publications and his research has been featured in national and international media outlets like NPR, BBC, Fox, Time Magazine, and The Guardian. 

A pioneer in the integration of technology and social work, Dr. Singer is an original member of the online suicide prevention social media community #SPSM, past-Treasurer for the international human services Information Technology association (http://husita.org/), co-lead for the Social Work Grand Challenge initiative “Harness Technology for Social Good” (https://grandchallengesforsocialwork.org/harness-technology-for-social-good/), and member of CSWE’s Technology Advisory Group. Dr. Singer is the founder and host of the award-winning Social Work Podcast (www.socialworkpodcast.com), the first podcast by and for social workers. The Social Work Podcast has over 40,000 followers on social media, listeners in 208 countries and territories, and a million podcast episode downloads per year. He lives in Evanston, IL with his wife and three children and can be found on Twitter as @socworkpodcast and Facebook at facebook.com/swpodcast.

School Shootings are Everyone’s Problem & Everyone Is Part of the Solution

We have an ever-increasing problem with gun violence in America, even in our schools… especially in our schools. With that comes an increasing panic — not just for kids, but their parents and the educators who go to work in the eye of the storm. Collectively, we’re all more afraid of what might happen to us or our loved ones in public spaces, and the fear is compounded by a sense that we have no control over it.

Yet, we have a responsibility to have hard conversations with our kids about these realities, including conversations about how they’re feeling about gun violence and their own safety. We also have a duty to ourselves to feel the feelings and work through them. And all of this is a LOT can be a heavy burden. 

In this session, Florence Ann Romano shares tips and strategies for talking about mass shootings with our kids, gives us permission to feel and do what we need for ourselves as adults, and discusses what we can do to take some control and make a difference with this critical social issue.

Florence Ann Romano

Florence Ann Romano is a childcare and village advocate, author, and philanthropist who has always had a special place in her heart for children. She worked as a childcare provider for over 15 years and believes the key to a family’s success lies in focusing on what she calls THE TRIFECTA – parent, child, and caretaker working in unison toward common, family goals.

Florence Ann also hosts the YouTube Series, Windy City Nanny, which sheds light on the variety of childcare challenges we see across the country. She has been featured on over 400 national and local media outlets across the country, including ABC/CBS/ NBC and FOX TV affiliates, Home & Family, The Jenny McCarthy Show, SiriusXM, and more. Her loyal followers on Instagram, Facebook, and Youtube have grown into a robust, engaged social media village of moms, dads, grandparents, aunts, uncles, and childcare providers that grows larger every day.  Florence Ann is also currently a regular expert on over 10 different National TV affiliates across America!  

Born and raised just outside of Chicago, Florence Ann earned a degree in performance theater at Bradley University in Peoria, IL. She has served as President and Founder of a non-profit board dedicated to autism awareness and now serves on the Executive Board of the Children’s Research Fund at Lurie’s Children’s Hospital and is a founding member of Sesame Street’s Leadership Council.

Celebrating the Accomplishments of Introverts

It’s the extroverts who often get recognition, while the introverts fade into the background. But it’s time that we celebrate all temperaments and make a school environment that is comfortable for both extroverts and introverts because they are equally deserving. 

In this session, Deborah Farmer Kris explains that introversion is one’s temperament and part of your biology. She also offers strategies for parents and teachers to help introverts get the still and quiet recharge that they often need, to foster the environment and skills necessary to succeed at things that are uncomfortable for introverts, and to recognize the accomplishments of introverts.

Deborah Farmer Kris, M.Ed.

Deborah Farmer Kris is an author, parent educator, and founder of Parenthood365. As a child development expert, Deborah works as a parenting columnist for PBS KIDS and writes about education for MindShift, an NPR learning blog. Her work has also been featured in The Washington Post, Boston Globe Magazine, and other national publications. Over the course of her career, Deborah has taught elementary, middle and high school, worked as a school administrator, and served as an associate scholar at the Boston University Center for Character and Social Responsibility. She is the author of the “All The Time” picture book series: I Love You All the Time; You Have Feelings All the Time; You Wonder All the Time; & You Are Growing All The Time. Deborah has a B.A. in English, a B.S. in Education, and an M.Ed. in Counseling Psychology.  A popular speaker, she has offered workshops to thousands of parents and educators around the country. For more information, visit her website: https://www.parenthood365.com/

Navigating the Journey of Raising Kids Who Struggle in School

There are a lot of really deep emotions that come with parenting a child that struggles in school — feeling alone, judged, stigmatized, and vulnerable, to name a few. In order to do our best for our kids, we must take care of ourselves as well. That includes the work required to process our emotions while on this journey so we can help our kids shine in their own way.

In this session, Tilt Parenting founder, Debbie Reber, gives you permission to feel all the feelings, as well as strategies to not only survive the school years, but navigate them with curiosity and grace. Learn how to leave the future on the horizon and show up for what’s happening right now.

Debbie Reber, M.A.

Debbie Reber, MA is a parenting activist, bestselling author, podcast host, speaker, and the founder of Tlt Parenting, a website, weekly podcast, and resource for parents like her who are raising differently wired children. The Tilt Parenting Podcast has more than 4 million downloads and a slate of guests that includes high-profile thought leaders across the parenting and education space. A regular contributor to Psychology Today and ADDitude Magazine, Debbie’s newest book is Differently Wired: A Parent’s Guide to Raising an Atypical Child with Confidence and Hope. In 2018 she spoke at TEDxAmsterdam, delivering a talk entitled Why the Future Will Be Differently Wired.

Prior to launching TiLT, Debbie spent fifteen years writing inspiring books for women and teens, including Doable, Chill, In Their Shoes, The Real Deal series from Chicken Soup for the Soul, Run for Your Life, and more than a dozen Blue’s Clues books. Before becoming a solopreneur, Debbie worked in TV and video production, producing documentaries for UNICEF, working on Blue’s Clues for Nickelodeon, and developing series for Cartoon Network. She has an MA in Media Studies from the New School for Social Research and a BA in Communications from Penn State. In 2019, her husband, and 17-year-old relocated to Brooklyn, NY after living in Amsterdam, the Netherlands for five years.