Transitions Conference Attracts Over 600 Attendees

Lynn University’s sixth annual Transitions Conference brought together over 600 guidance counselors, special education teachers, educational consultants, parents and students on Jan. 30, 2015.

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Transitions logoTransitions is an annual conference committed to sharing important information relating to ADHD/ADD, autism spectrum disorders, anxiety, dyslexia, coaching, executive functioning and other learning differences. In a keynote session and 18 breakout sessions, this year’s 12 speakers presented on a wide range of topics geared toward helping students with learning differences find the right college “fit” and make a smooth transition to higher education.

Welcome and keynote

Mining magnificent minds—how to unwrap the gifts embedded in ADHD

Presenter: Edward Hallowell, M.D.

Join Dr. Hallowell as he invites you into his world of ADHD and shows you how to mine the magnificent minds of your students.

Celebrating the strengths of ADHD amidst the challenges, Hallowell reviews how ADHD affects academic achievement. He offers scientific underpinnings of positive psychology for educators to use in unwrapping the gifts embedded in ADHD, while also dealing with the problems this trait creates.

There is no easy solution for the management of ADHD in the classroom or at home. After all is said and done, the effectiveness of any treatment for this disorder at school depends upon the knowledge and the persistence of the school and the individual teacher. Hallowell provides effective tips on teaching children with ADHD, and discusses how these kids can transform over the school year and change from being your most frustrating students to your most rewarding.

Luncheon speaker

Presenter: David Wintzer, B.A.

Breakout sessions

Finding fulfillment

Presenter: Edward Hallowell, M.D.

What do people of all ages—children, teens, adults—need most to thrive in today's world? What can an individual person, family, parent, school or organization do to bring out the best in everyone involved? In other words, what's the secret(s) to a long, happy and fulfilling life in 2015?

A great deal of pioneering research has burst forth in the past 25 years that addresses these fundamental questions: "How best to live?" "How best to raise a child?" "How best to help people shine?" Culling that research, Dr. Hallowell has developed a practical five-step process that people can use to bring out the best in themselves, their children and any group of which they are a part. The method costs nothing to use except time and a commitment to living according to principles most people want to live by anyway. Modern life sets traps that sidetrack people, leaving them confused and worried about themselves and their families, not to mention the world. Hallowell explains how to avoid these traps and tap into the best in life.

The presentation also takes into account how having learning and attention difficulties influence the route toward happiness and fulfillment.

Increase resiliency and well-being with coaching

Presenter: Jodi Sleeper-Triplett, MCC, SCAC, BCC

Skill, will and self-regulation have been shown to increase after coaching (ADHD Coaching Research Study, 2010). This workshop focuses on increasing resiliency in young people with ADHD by addressing the question, “Why do young people with ADHD need to become more resilient?” When coaching is added to the treatment plan for individuals struggling with ADHD/EF/LD and co-existing conditions, those individuals feel more self-confident, self-reliant and prepared to move forward in their lives. In this session, participants learn how coaching provides techniques for focus and organization, goal setting and skills for increased resiliency and effective daily living.

Suggested audience: educators and parents

Supporting college students diagnosed with autism spectrum disorders

Presenter: Nicole Jarock, M.A.T.

Participants explore considerations and strategies for the transition to college for students diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder. Jarock specifically addresses concerns that families and students report when transitioning to college, and provides practical strategies to help students be successful in college. In this session, you’ll determine which strategies and tools work for you to manage distraction and organize your stuff, your time and your energy. For example, we explore how to use a “single in-box,” when to barter practical and social support, how to ask for what you want and identify “natural” time management systems.

Suggested audience: educators and parents

The anxiety explosion: today's youth

Presenter: Edan M. Alcalay, Psy.D.

Who am I? What will I do? What should I study? What will I be? What is going to happen if? … are all questions that fuel anxiety during the transition period. During this stage, moderate levels of anxiety can manifest and create much distortion. Often, it can be seen as ADHD or as a learning disorder, however if we can assist these individuals into a smooth transition, then successful resolution, increased learning and identity formation can be accomplished. Alcalay discusses the recent trends affecting adolescents and how anxiety has significantly increased over the last 30 years. He also helps identify specific markers and techniques to reduce anxiety and stress.

Suggested audience: educators, parents and professionals

How to understand psychological assessments and how to develop appropriate strategies for student strengths and weaknesses

Presenter: Catherine Wharton, M.A.

This presentation focuses on the reported numbers in psychological, neuropsychological and psychoeducational testing. Participants are asked to bring in a piece of testing with IQ and achievement scores so that they can apply the information given in the seminar. We will discuss what the different IQ indices and achievement measures mean as well as how to develop appropriate individualized strategies for students.

Suggested audience: educators and parents

Apple accessibility features to enhance learning

Presenter: Luis Perez, Ph.D.

In this session, participants learn about the latest accessibility features built into Apple devices, the apps available for these devices to support diverse learners, and the universal design for learning (UDL) principles that can help educators leverage these technologies to create flexible learning environments that empower all learners.

Perez’s work is at the intersection of assistive technology and inclusive pedagogy. As a person with a visual disability, Perez has experienced firsthand the transformative power of new assistive technologies, and he now promotes their adoption in his work as an Apple Distinguished Educator. As an educator, he advocates for the implementation of UDL principles in order to develop expert learners who are well prepared for the future and the challenges of a rapidly changing society.

Suggested audience: educators and professionals

The classroom management of ADD

Presenter: Edward Hallowell, M.D.

Intended for audiences of teachers and other school employees, this lecture focuses on the "no medication" management of ADD in the classroom. The presentation offers specific, concrete and practical ways to manage ADD in a mainstream classroom. The same principles can be used in other settings, such as home or special classrooms, as well.

Suggested audience: educators

The digital era and its impact on our youth

Presenter: Edan M. Alcalay, Psy.D.

American youth spend more than seven hours per day in front of a screen. For the growing brain, there are many negative impacts including neurological changes as well as psychological influences. Alcalay discusses how screen time is manipulating us in many ways, and how learning is negatively affected. He discusses how the 1980's was a pivotal time and defines the adolescent psychosocial stage of development, including the effects of too much screen time, the pros and cons of social networking (i.e. Facebook) and provides strategies to reduce screen time.

Suggested audience: parents

ADHD coaching—a family affair

Presenter: Jodi Sleeper-Triplett, MCC, SCAC, BCC

For many families struggling with ADHD, coaching can help them learn techniques to improve communication, become more goal-oriented, learn time management and organizational skills. Often family members are lacking executive functioning skills, creating frustration and negativity between parents and their growing children. By initiating a family coaching process with teens and their parents, we can help each person understand his/her unique learning style and develop skills to better communicate with all family members. This interactive session offers information, demonstrations and discussions valuable to coaches, parents, allied professionals and young adults.

Suggested audience: parents

Helping students get ‘AHEADD’ and plan their futures

Presenter: Nicole Jarock, M.A.T.

Participants will learn about AHEADD (Achieving in Higher Education) and will have access to its curriculum and activities. AHEADD, developed in 2002, complements traditional college accommodations by providing students with instruction in social interactions, self-advocacy, emotional regulation and organization skills. AHEADD assists students with progressing through college and preparing for employment. This is achieved through implementation of the four core components that make up the AHEADD Model: AHEADD professional staff involvement, creating connections, utilization of campus resources and peer mentoring.

Suggested audience: educators and parents

Utilizing coaching in a university setting: how to support independence and manage anxiety

Presenter: Melissa Knight, M.A.

Students today are living in a rapidly changing world heavily influenced by technology, which creates unrealistic expectations that are especially challenging for students diagnosed with ADHD. Areas that individuals with ADHD may struggle with include time management, organization, prioritizing, focus and attention, planning, motivation and impulsivity. While even the most prepared adolescent can experience difficulty in making the transition from high school to college, someone who demonstrates difficulty with the aforementioned executive functions is more likely to experience such challenges. This session discusses these concerns and explores how the coach creates an environment for the student to develop an awareness of ADHD while creating strategies for reducing anxiety and helping students become independent learners.

Suggested audience: parents

iBooks Author: multi-touch books that meet the needs of today's diverse learners

Presenter: Lynnwood Belvin, Ph.D.

In this session, we discuss a number of tips for improving the usability and accessibility of your iBooks multi-touch books so that all learners can interact with the content in the ways that best work for them.

With iBooks Author, you can quickly create beautiful multi-touch books that bring content to life in ways that a printed book never could. Starting with a number of professionally designed templates included with the free iBooks Author app for the Mac, these books can be further customized with a number of interactive widgets that can include your own images, videos and more. The result is a learning environment that is not only visually appealing and engaging, but also capable of meeting the needs of today’s diverse learners by supporting the many accessibility features built into the iPad and Mac.

Suggested audience: educators and parents

Empowering youth with ADHD: coaching toward success

Presenter: Jodi Sleeper-Triplett, MCC, SCAC, BCC

Coaching for adolescents and young adults with ADHD reaches beyond academics. For many youth with ADHD, coaching provides techniques for greater focus, organization, time and task management, and skills for effective daily living. These skills are the building blocks for success. By initiating the coaching process with youth, we are able to motivate students and help them to build self-confidence and self-awareness. This interactive session offers information, demonstrations and discussions valuable to coaches, parents, allied professionals and young adults.

Suggested audience: professionals

Supporting college students diagnosed with autism spectrum disorders

Presenter: Nicole Jarock, M.A.T.

Participants explore considerations and strategies for the transition to college for students diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder. Jarock specifically addresses concerns that families and students report when transitioning to college, and provides practical strategies to help students be successful in college. In this session, you’ll determine which strategies and tools work for you to manage distraction and organize your stuff, your time and your energy. For example, we explore how to use a “single in-box,” when to barter practical and social support, how to ask for what you want and identify “natural” time management systems.

Suggested audience: educators and parents

Demystifying the accommodation process: creating a road map for receiving accommodations in a post-secondary setting

Presenter: Stacey Hearn, M. Ed.

Transitioning to college from high school can be overwhelming. Understanding the difference between secondary and post-secondary settings when it comes to accommodations can be confusing and potentially frustrating. This session takes an educational approach to discussing the different requirements, expectations, treatment and responsibilities that a student faces during the transition and while in a post-secondary education system. Learn the basics of which laws apply to high school versus college, who is able to identify the role of the parent, student and professional; and the significant difference between accommodations and modifications.

Suggested audience: educators and professionals

Understanding, owning and explaining one's own learning difficulties to postsecondary service providers

Presenter: Manju Banerjee, Ph.D. and Loring C. Brinckerhoff, Ph.D.

For students transitioning to college, a key component is knowing one’s own strengths and weaknesses, and being able to advocate for oneself. Despite effort, many high school students remain passive participants in the transition process. In college, many students with learning disabilities are guided by a “dated” mindset that extra time is the panacea for all academic difficulties. This session provides recommendations for transitioning students and disability service providers to work in partnership to promote student ownership of their own learning profile. Authentic vignettes and scenarios are used to demonstrate how to bridge the gap between psychometrics in disability documentation and the reality of behavioral manifestation that often tend to derail anticipated academic outcomes. The session also discusses ways to elicit more student engagement and awareness in their own academic trajectory.

Suggested audience: parents

Student panel

Presenter: Lynn University students

The student panel for Transitions 2015 provides an opportunity to hear about college experiences directly from university students. This panel includes several juniors and seniors who have experience with transitioning, taking college classes and utilizing support services.

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Transitions 2014 on iTunesU