Transitions Conference Attracts Over 650 Attendees

Lynn University’s fifth annual Transitions Conference brought together over 650 guidance counselors, special education teachers, educational consultants, parents and students on Jan. 31, 2014. This year’s conference had attendees from 21 states and 12 countries.

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In two keynote sessions and 21 breakout sessions, this year’s 14 speakers presented on a wide range of topics geared toward helping students with learning differences find the right college “fit” and make a smooth transitions to higher education.

Keynote Sessions

ADHD, Self-Regulation and Executive Functioning: Implications for Management

Speaker: Russell Barkley

In his keynote address, Russell Barkley describes his recent theory of executive functioning (EF) as a suite of cognitive abilities that are based on and contribute to self-regulation across time to attain goals. He also will articulate a multi-level theory of EF as an extended phenotype that radiates effects outward from the individual to form four levels of EF in daily life all of which contribute to daily self-reliant behavior, social reciprocity and social cooperation. In this presentation, Barkley shows how this theory can be extrapolated to understanding the nature of ADHD as a disorder of EF. From this he will develop numerous clinical implications concerning the assessment and management of ADHD. Specific management principles will be developed from the theory that extend across multiple domains of major life activities. Participants will be able to understand the nature of ADHD as a disorder of EF and how it disrupts each of the seven instrumental EFs and how these create disruptions in EF in daily life in self-management to time, emotional self-regulation, self-motivation, and other aspects of executive functioning and self-control.

Failure to Launch

Speaker: Patricia Quinn

When a child is diagnosed with attention or learning issues, parents may often take on one of several roles. As a result of these roles and relationships, parents often have more knowledge of a disorder and how it affects their child, and the child lacks the skills to function in college and eventually live successfully on his own. In this session, Dr. Patricia Quinn will discuss how to analyze a young adult’s readiness for college and how to develop a plan to use during high school and the transition process to help prepare him or her for life on his or her own.

Breakout sessions

The Other Attention Disorder: Sluggish Cognitive Tempo (or ADD) vs. ADHD

Speaker: Russell Barkley

Russell Barkley reviews the history of Sluggish Cognitive Tempo (SCT) and what is known about it from past research. He also describes the results of his own recent investigations into SCT in children and the only study of SCT in adults that he recently published, all of which suggest that SCT is a distinct disorder from ADHD, but one that may overlap with it in nearly half of all cases. Barkley discusses the differences between SCT in symptoms, executive functioning, comorbidity for other disorders, and psychosocial impairment and what little is known about differential treatment response. He also discusses several different possibilities for explaining the underlying nature of SCT.

48 Strategies That Just Might Change Your Life: Successful College Transition for the Young Adult with ADHD

Speaker: David Nowell

David Nowell believes he has gleaned the most creative, powerful and innovative time- and goal-management strategies he can find from recent scholarly research and from the best clinical minds in the field, as well as from conversation with workshop attendees or clients in his practice. Just one of these tips has saved him 13 days of time since he started using it. In this session, you will determine which strategies and tools will work for you to manage distraction and organize your stuff, your time and your energy. For example, you’ll explore how to use a “single inbox,” when to barter practical and social support, how to ask for what you want, and identify “natural” time management systems.

Practical Approaches for Effective Student Advocacy and Planning for IEPs

Speaker: Robert Tudisco

Parents of students with special needs often find themselves in a difficult, if not impossible, situation trying to advocate for services and accommodations for their children. An inside look at the special education process will facilitate a discussion of strategies to assist in maximizing a student’s chance at receiving the appropriate services and/or accommodations. This session will also contemplate transition planning for IEPs as well as 504 plans to ensure your child continues to receive support in college.

Surviving the Rigors of Applying to College

Speaker: Rick Ackerly

This session will discuss how parents and teachers can maximize the probability that each child will not only be accepted at the right college, but will get the most out of it when they get there. Participants will leave with a strategy and a set of skills that will make the college admission process more like thriving and less like surviving.

Apple, Inc. and Accessibility in Education

Speaker: Apple, Inc.

Universal Design for Learning (UDL) is an approach to curriculum design that emphasizes goals, materials, methods and assessments that work for all learners and can reduce the need for costly accommodations for many students. Luis Perez will demonstrate how educators can leverage standard accessibility features on Apple’s latest mobile devices to meet the needs of diverse students using the devices many of these learners already know and use on a regular basis.

Coaching for Academic Success

Speaker: Jeff Copper

The abundance of time management, organization and study strategies can be overwhelming for college students. The question is why? All too often students with ADHD focus on conforming to other people's strategies, systems and structures that don’t work for them. In this presentation, common challenges that come up when coaching college students will be highlighted. Sharing tangible examples and solutions, attendees will learn how other students struggling with ADHD have adapted their environment to do it their way, while still complying with the system.

Top Ten Questions to Consider When Discussing Transitioning

Speaker: Marsha Glines

This presentation brings some humor to the challenge of discussing transitioning to college for parents of high school students. Offering some tips for discussion points, Marsha Glines will provide advice on how to approach professors, how to share advocacy needs, and conversations that should take place before our teens enter college or post-secondary programs.

The Importance of Emotion in Understanding and Managing ADHD

Speaker: Russell Barkley

This presentation reviews the evidence from the history, neuropsychology, neuro-anatomy and observational research that shows that emotional impulsiveness and deficient emotional self-regulation are an integral part of ADHD. Returning emotion to its rightful place as a core feature of the disorder also serves to better explain the development of comorbid disorders, such as oppositional defiant disorder, as well as various life course impairments. Russell Barkley will discuss how to determine which aspects of emotional adjustment problems in ADHD cases are the result of the disorder and which are likely to be the consequence of comorbidity or other life course circumstances. He will also address the implications of including emotion in ADHD for its management.

High Risk to High Potential: Transition Issues for High School and College Students with ADHD

Speaker: Robert Tudisco

While students diagnosed with ADHD face continual difficulty addressing transitions, none prove more difficult than the transition from high school to college. What makes this transition difficult are a variety of social and legal changes that many students and parents are not equipped to address, which put them at high risk despite their high potential. This transition, however, can be addressed if parents and students are proactive in addressing the difficult road to transition and plan ahead. This session will address many of the social and legal changes and discuss practical strategies for students to reach their full potential.

Immediate Gratification is Not Soon Enough: How to Coach the Student to Become Their Own Search Engine

Speaker: Melissa Knight and the IAL Staff

Students today are living in a rapidly changing world heavily influenced by technology. The expectation tends to be for immediate solutions along with quick success. These unrealistic expectations are especially challenging for students diagnosed with ADHD, because they are most likely to struggle with time management, organization, prioritizing and attention; all the skills that are needed for academic success. While even the most prepared adolescent can experience difficulty in making the transition from high school to college, someone who demonstrates difficulty with executive functioning (EF) skills is likely to experience more challenges. Academic coaching supports students with EF by creating strategies for success. Students expect to find answers with the click of the button, and in doing so they are losing the skills of critical thinking, creativity, and continued learning. Through the coaching process students can learn how to become independent learners, self-advocates and their own search engine.

Diversity and Inclusion as Cornerstone Elements for Innovation: The SAP Autism at Work Program

Speaker: Jose Velasco

Diversity and inclusion are cornerstone elements for innovation at Systems, Applications, and Products in Data Processing (SAP). These two elements ensure that a unique combination of experiences, backgrounds and cultural legacies are leveraged to provide unique perspectives in problem solving and creative thinking, resulting in richer and more rewarding solutions for SAP customers. A key element of SAP’s “Diversity and Inclusion Drives Innovation” strategy is the recently announced “Autism at Work” program, where SAP will leverage the unique abilities and perspectives that people affected by autism bring to the table. Jose Velasco will share SAP’s vision and experience as the company prepares to have one percent of its worldwide workforce represented by employees with autism spectrum disorders by 2020.

Tips for Teachers

Speaker: Susan Moreno

Susan Moreno shows teachers some tips that have stood the test of time and distance. They are aimed at providing simple, practical solutions to accommodating the learning styles and gifts of individuals on the autism spectrum.

On Your Own with ADHD

Speaker: Patricia Quinn

As they begin to plan for college, students with ADHD will be faced with many new challenges. This session will help parents better understand these issues, learn how to assess their child’s college readiness skills, and create a plan for developing the new skills that he or she will need to succeed in college.

The Impact of ADHD Outside of School and Work

Speaker: Jeff Copper

ADHD impacts our lives 24/7. It manifests as much, if not more, outside the work and school environment. Impulsivity, distractibility and hyperactivity can impact religion, team sports, exercise, sleep, diet, meal preparation and even personal relationships. In this presentation, we'll identify where ADHD shows up and offer insights on how to minimize and manage its challenges. Sharing tangible examples and solutions from coaching others who have moved forward, attendees will learn new ways of thinking when it comes to managing their own ADHD. Once the challenges are identified and understood, attendees will be able to apply the skills learned in this presentation and start focusing on their strengths.

Transitioning into Life Beyond Secondary School: Planning for a Successful Life in the Community and Beyond

Speaker: Susan Moreno

Too often highly advanced individuals with learning differences leave the educational system and find the opportunities for independence and employment way under their expectations. This session will provide practical strategies for improving the transition into adult life outside of academia.

The What, When and How of Executive Functioning

Speaker: Jill Kelderman

Learn about the various aspects of executive functioning, how it manifests in a variety of clinical conditions, and how educators and parents can identify and support weaknesses with executive function. The focus will be on strategies that are particularly relevant during the transition stage.

Allies, Accommodations and Agents of Change

Speaker: David Flink

What does it mean to be a “different thinker?” Where can we find the full potential of our community? How can we make strides toward creating a world in which every learner is recognized? By sharing some of his own LD/ADHD journeys, David Flink will provide answers to these questions. At the core is a message of personal empowerment, academic success and educational revolution for people who think differently.

Success and the Self-Determined Student: What Self Determination Is and How It Affects Academic Outcomes Both During and After High School

Speaker: Elizabeth Mattson

Research shows that self-determination is one of the biggest indicators of student success in post-secondary academics. This presentation will discuss the current state of students with disabilities who are in transition as compared to their peers, and explore the different components of self-determination and different strategies to foster self-determination in youth.

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