Save Jan. 31 on your calendar for Transitions 2014
Lynn University’s fourth annual Transitions Conference brought together over 675 guidance counselors, special education teachers, educational consultants, parents and students on Feb. 1, 2013. This year’s conference had attendees from 20 states and 9 countries.
In one keynote and 21 breakout sessions, this year’s 13 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.
Get connected with parents and educators and stay up-to-date with Transitions news and related information on the Transitions Facebook page.
The Power of Mindsets: Nurturing Resilience and Successful Transitions
Presenter: Robert Brooks
In this keynote address, Brooks discussed the influence of mindsets in determining one’s behavior. He highlighted the characteristics of a resilient mindset and the associated skills that are critical for successful transitions in students who struggle with learning. Specific strategies and case examples were offered for reinforcing this mindset in students.
Stories of Success: Portraits of Hope and Resilience
Presenter: Robert Brooks and students
Students shared their thoughts and feelings about those factors that helped them make successful transitions from high school to college. Brooks tied their remarks to his opening keynote, especially in terms of what teens and the significant adults in their lives (parents and professionals) can do to engage in resilient behaviors.
Managing Anxiety and Social Stressors for Individuals with Autism and Related Disabilities During the Transition Process
Presenter: Ryan Joseph Seidman
Individuals with autism and related disabilities are faced with a number of social and environmental challenges during the transition process. This workshop addressed multiple perspectives and strategies, and provided a framework for parents, families, and supporting professionals to cope with and better understand challenging behaviors, emotions and social stressors.
Thoughts of a Neuroscientist as a Father
Presenter: Dr. Richard Axel
Dr. Richard Axel is a neuroscientist interested in perception and how the external world is represented in the brain. Axel studies this field at the level of molecules, neurons and neural circuits with a passion that borders on obsession. In this session, he shared his insight as a neuroscientist who is also a father. He discussed the integration of seemingly disparate passions: one’s child and one’s science.
Financing Post-Secondary Opportunities
Presenter: Carlo Salerno
Paying for a college education can feel complicated and frustrating. Understanding the wide array of financing options available is important, but so too are school/program choices that affect a student’s ability to cover those expenses over time. This session explored the very surprising relationship between the different types of financing options families should be considering and the way people think about college success.
Visual Social Thinking Techniques: How to Leverage the Visual Thinker’s Strengths
Presenter: Michael McManmon
Many people think in pictures or visual terms and not with written words, yet schools have not tapped into this strength as a teaching method. In this session, participants discovered innovative strength based techniques for visual thinkers, which help to bring social and visual thinking together. Participants learned how to leverage the visual learner’s strengths as a tool for social learning and note taking in school and work, and they learned visual techniques which are effective tools for innovative thinking, retention of ideas, concepts and social thinking.
Apple, Inc. and Accessibility in Education
Presenters: Tim David and Luis Perez; Apple, Inc.
Apple builds accessibility features into both the Mac OS and iOS. An accessibility engineer demonstrated some of the major features and discussed how they are being used in the classroom by educators and students alike. Additionally, participants sat in on a live webcast between an actual practitioner and Apple Distinguished Educator to get a first-hand story on how important Apple Accessibility is to his classroom.
ADHD Medication Pitfalls and How to Avoid Them
Presenter: Laurie Dupar
The right ADHD medications can be one of the most effective strategies to minimize symptoms. Unfortunately, even when working with a medical professional, many people are still confused about their medication options and whether or not they are getting the most effective use from their medication. Using her expertise and experience from working exclusively with people that have been diagnosed with ADHD, Dupar talked about the three most common problems that prevent people from experiencing full effectiveness when taking ADHD medication and offered valuable, clear strategies of how to avoid them and maximize medication benefits.
A Dialogue with Robert Brooks
Presenter: Robert Brooks
This informal session encouraged attendees to ask questions and included answers and comments by Robert Brooks and participants.
Transition Planning and Assessment for Individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder and Related Disabilities: What Is It and Why We Do It
Presenter: Sheena Blue
In this session, participants captured the essential components of how to efficiently and effectively plan for the individual child’s needs as it relates to transition. After following a transition assessment model, professionals and parents captured and interpreted the results in developing personalized and measurable goals in supporting the growth and development of key components: Self-Determination and Self-Advocacy, Academic and Behavior, Life Skills, and Vocational Goals and Objectives.
Hope and Inspiration: An Infusion of Practical Advice
Presenters: Nancy Freebery and Ricky Freebery
Nancy Freebery shared the story of her son’s successful navigation of multiple life transitions. Her son, Ricky Freebery, is a 2012 Lynn University graduate with a degree in multimedia journalism, and currently a graduate assistant halfway through an accelerated master’s degree program. Participants heard how they went from Ricky’s 10 years in a specialized school for children with serious learning challenges to a mainstream high school, college and beyond. This session focused on the potential to thrive, not merely survive.
Burning a Hole in Your Pocket: Managing Money for Students with ADHD
Presenter: Irina Kerzhnerman
This session showed parents and students how to stay on top of finances, so they can graduate just as financially healthy as when they started. Money management can get overwhelming, especially when students are trying to focus on classes and social activities. Students with ADHD may experience being in charge of money for the first time and have issues with overdrawing their account, impulsively spending money and just not keeping track of their finances. The goal of this session was to show students and parents how to keep money in their account, keep spending in check, and keep track of their money.
Making Your Kids School Savvy and Successful: Integrating Executive Functioning Skills Within the School Environment
Presenter: Melanie Brockmeier
We hear about Executive Functioning Disorder more and more, but what is it and why is it important? This session looked into this prevalent concern for parents and students by discussing signs, symptoms, the impact it can have on a child’s education and how to help students learn.
Reaching All Learners with Challenge Based Learning and Digital Content
Presenter: Kate Kemker; Apple, Inc.
Challenge Based Learning is an engaging multidisciplinary approach to teaching and learning that encourages students to leverage the technology they use in their daily lives to solve real-world problems. Challenge Based Learning is collaborative and hands-on. This approach asks students to work with other students, their teachers and experts in their communities and around the world. By doing so, students develop a deeper knowledge of the subjects they are studying, accept and solve challenges, take action, share their experience, and enter into a global discussion about important issues. In this session, participants discussed the attributes and examples of this learning model and its potential to reach all learners.
Jonathan Mooney on Project Eye-to-Eye
Presenter: Jonathan Mooney
This presentation outlined a four-step, asset-based empowerment model that all parents can implement to radically change their child’s educational experience. Mooney focused on concrete steps parents can take to build resiliency, meta-cognition, leadership skills and self-advocacy in labeled students. He also explored how an asset-based approach can be implemented in IEP settings, school to work transitions and in building partnerships with schools and other institutions.
From Stressed Out to Stress Hardy: Learning to Take Care of Ourselves so We Can Take Care of the Teens in Our Lives
Presenter: Robert Brooks
Many parents and professionals have voiced concern that their own feelings of stress and burnout make it more difficult for them to help the teens in their lives to be more resilient. In this presentation, Brooks described a framework and specific, practical techniques we can use to move from a position of stressed out to “stress hardy.”
I’m Ready for College but I Can’t Find My Backpack: Executive Functioning Strategies for College
Presenters: Michael McManmon and Marsha Glines
Participants joined this interactive session to learn strategies to help students who have challenges planning ahead and staying organized to function effectively in everyday life. They learned to understand how executive functioning and a lack of strong executive functioning is a major reason why students fail in high school in college. Due to executive functioning difficulties, these students often struggle to perform at an academic level that reflects their cognitive skills and abilities. Participants learned effective intervention strategies to help these students succeed, while also taking a look at their own executive functioning.
About the Speakers
Richard Axel, M.D.
2004 Nobel Prize winner Richard Axel is a professor and investigator at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, College of Physicians and Surgeons of Columbia University. Axel obtained an A.B. from Columbia College and M.D. from Johns Hopkins Medical School.
Dr. Axel applied his knowledge of molecular biology to problems in neuroscience with the expectation that genetics could interface with neuroscience to approach the tenuous relationship between genes, behavior and perception. His studies on the logic of the sense of smell revealed over 1,000 genes are involved in the recognition of odors and provided insight into how genes shape our perception of the sensory environment. His current work centers on how the recognition of odors is translated into an internal representation of sensory quality in the brain and how this representation leads to meaningful thoughts and behavior.
Denise Belafonte-Young, B.A., M.F.A.
Energy and passion for the media is what describes Professor Belafonte-Young. If T.V is in your future, so should Professor Young. With a long time passion for television production, Belafonte-Young has the skills to oversee from the TV stage, control room, and back room for student production.
Sheena Blue, M.S.
For over 10 years, Sheena Blue has served as a regular and special education teacher within the public school system, supporting children and their families with autism spectrum disorder and varying exceptionalities. Most recently, Blue was a lead district resource teacher specializing in autism spectrum disorder for over 40 schools in the Palm Beach County area, where she provided comprehensive staff development trainings, program development for preschool to high school aged children and behavioral and social therapeutic services.
She is an adjunct professor for Palm Beach State College and Palm Beach Atlantic University in the School of Education and Behavioral Studies.
Blue graduated from Palm Beach Atlantic University with a Bachelor of Science degree in general education specializing in exceptional student education and English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL). She completed graduate courses in autism spectrum disorders at Florida State University, where she received an endorsement from the State of Florida Department of Education. In addition, she attended Nova Southeastern University and completed her Master of Science degree in Educational Leadership.
Priscilla Boerger, B.S., M.S., ED.D.
Priscilla A. Boerger began her career in the public school sector 15 years ago as an elementary school teacher in Miami, Florida. She was a lead teacher and the secretary for her school’s ESSAC committee. She also trained teachers on classroom management strategies, held parent workshops, and was involved with the PTA. During the past five years she has served Lynn University as an adjunct professor and assistant professor in the Ross College of Education as well as the K-6 Elementary Education program coordinator. She works with various organizations in the state of Florida Department of Education and closely works with several departments within the School District of Palm Beach County.
Melanie Brockmeier, M.S., Ed.S.
Melanie Brockmeier was born and raised in the Tampa Bay area and returned there after completing her graduate work at Florida State University in Tallahassee, Florida.
After finishing her clinical work, Brockmeier decided her passion was working with children and positively impacting their lives. She began her career at a psychiatric residential facility as the lead therapist for boys ages 10-14, as well as the trauma counselor, running groups for boys and girls suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder.
She joined the Vanguard School as the educational therapist in 2008, providing individual and group therapy, conducting staffings, developing learning plans for students, working as the guidance and career counselor, scheduling classes and co-chairing the FCIS and SACS accreditation teams.
Currently, Brockmeier serves as the assistant head of school and is active in the development and admissions process, overseeing student academic and residential plans, as well as continuing to provide therapy and support for all Vanguard students.
Robert Brooks is a psychologist on the faculty of Harvard Medical School and former director of the department of psychology at McLean Hospital, a private psychiatric hospital. He has lectured nationally and internationally and written extensively about such themes as: motivation, resilience, learning differences, school climate, family relationships, and balancing our personal and professional lives. He is the author or co-author of 15 books, including Raising Resilient Children; The Power of Resilience: Achieving Balance, Confidence, and Personal Strength in Your Life; and Raising Resilient Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders.
Theodore Curtis, B.A., M.S., J.D.
Prior to joining Lynn, Curtis served for six years as a member of the in-house legal team for the University of South Florida, representing the NCAA Division I institution on legal issues in intercollegiate athletics, technology law and intellectual property. He also previously served as general counsel for the Florida Bobcats of the Arena Football League and as general counsel for a Florida-based sports management firm.
As an award-winning journalist, Curtis has been covering sports, business, law and politics –and the convergence of all of these disciplines – since he began his career covering college football for a Boston-area newspaper in 1989. He has published hundreds of articles in a diverse range of publications, including Sports Illustrated, the United States Golf Association's Golf Journal, the American Bar Association’s ABA Journal, Referee and Golf for Women.
Laurie Dupar, PMHNP, R.N., PCC
Laurie Dupar is a trained psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner and senior certified ADHD coach. She's the owner of Coaching for ADHD and provides one-on-one/individual and group coaching programs in person and virtually.
In addition to coaching, she is involved with ADHD support groups, training ADHD coaches, advocacy and writing.
Dupar is a guest blogger on Healthyplace.com, author of Brain Surfing and 31 Other Awesome Qualities of ADHD, Unlock the Secrets to Your Entrepreneurial Brain Style, and co-author of 365 Ways to Succeed with ADHD and 365+1 Ways to Succeed with ADHD. You can reach Dupar for questions or recommendations through her website www.coachingforadhd.com.
Nancy Proud Freebery has spent the last 22 years of her 33-year professional career as a corporate communications and strategic growth consultant. Self-employment has afforded Freebery the opportunity to always place her special son, Ricky, as her #1 client.
She is the author of the book, Blossom! It's Not What Life Throws At You…It's How You Catch It, in which she describes what she and her family learned about how to cope and grow from their son's learning challenges.
During her years of advising businesses and parenting her unique son, Freebery has gained valuable insight into human potential. With Blossom!, her first published work, Freebery has been inspiring people to flourish and live healthy, hopeful lives.
Ricky Freebery is a Graduate Assistant halfway through an accelerated master’s degree program in Communication & Media. He earned his bachelor’s degree in in Multimedia Journalism in May 2012. Ricky spent ten years in a specialized school for children with serious learning challenges before transitioning to a mainstream high school.
Ricky has excelled as a student and as a student leader and has plied his trade conducting interviews at both the 2012 Democratic and Republican National Conventions and the final 2012 Presidential Debate, while sailing as a civilian with the US Navy, and at Superbowl Media Day. He even achieved an in-depth, one-on-one interview with personal finance expert Suze Orman.
After graduating in August, Ricky hopes to secure a position in broadcast journalism.
Marsha Glines, dean of Lynn University’s Institute for Achievement and Learning, has a national reputation as an expert in teaching and learning theory, special education, nontraditional program design and higher education curriculum development.
The founding president of Beacon College, in 1991, Glines joined Lynn University where she has created and supervised alternative, innovative programs including those at the Institute for Achievement and Learning.
A graduate of Emerson College and Lesley College, she was a special studies student at Harvard University’s Graduate School of Education and received her Ph.D. in higher education administration from the Union Institute.
Glines has conducted teacher training workshops throughout South America and the U.S. and is a frequent presenter at national and international conferences pertaining to higher education. She is currently writing a book on the process of teaching and empowering our current generation of learners with ideas and thinking skills for appropriate problem solving.
In 2012 Dr. Glines was the recipient of the Lewis Hine Award for outstanding service to children and youth. This award is presented by the National Child Labor Committee.
Irina Kerzhnerman, Ph.D. is a licensed clinical psychologist who has dedicated her 15 year career in mental health to helping people navigate the difficult transitions in their life and achieve the success they are seeking. Her practical approach focuses on understanding the individual’s personal goals, identifying the obstacles that stand in the way and helping people have the life they want.
After graduating with honors from New York University, Kerzhnerman received her graduate education at Medical College of Pennsylvania-Hahnemann University in Philadelphia. She received specialized training in the area of student development at the University of Pennsylvania and the University of Hawaii At Manoa. Throughout her academic and professional career, she has achieved several honors and distinctions, including Phi Beta Kappa and recognition in Marquis Who’s Who in American Women. Currently, she has a private practice with offices in Boca Raton and Coral Springs, Florida.
Thomas Kruczek, B.A., M.B.A.
Thomas Kruczek is Dean of the College of Business and Management at Lynn University. He assumed this role in August 2011 after serving as Executive Director of the Falcone Center for Entrepreneurship at the Whitman School of Management at Syracuse University. Under his leadership, the Falcone Center rose considerably in the national rankings and is now listed as the 3rd best entrepreneurship program in the country by Bloomberg/Business Week, 4th by the Princeton Review/Entrepreneur Magazine, and 9th by US News and World Report.
Prior to his commitment to Syracuse University, Kruczek served as Executive Director of the Center for Entrepreneurship in the Crummer Graduate School of Business at Rollins College in Winter Park, Florida. Under his direction, for the first time ever, the program was ranked as “one of the top 25 best graduate entrepreneurship programs in the United States” by the Princeton Review/ Entrepreneur Magazine.
In addition to his successful contribution to the academic field, Kruczek also served as CEO and owner of Sun-Tek Industries, a privately-held manufacturing business selling building materials and lawn and garden products to customers across the United States.
Michael McManmon, Ed.D.
Mike McManmon is licensed as a psychologist by the state of Massachusetts and founded the College Internship Programs (CIP) in 1984. Prior to founding CIP, he worked for state, private and nonprofit organizations in several states and was certified as a family teacher through the Boys Town Center in Nebraska.
During his 39 years of experience with students with learning differences and Asperger's Syndrome, McManmon has worked on curriculum development, staff training, program evaluation and administering community-based programming. He speaks and presents at professional conferences nationally and internationally.
He has a unique perspective, as he was diagnosed with Asperger's Syndrome and grew up in a large family with several individuals on the spectrum. He has 6 children and 12 grandchildren, and is an avid artist, swimmer, gardener and traveler.
McManmon blogs for Psychology Today, and his book of advice for parents was published in fall 2011 by Jessica Kingsley Publishers. He is on the board of ASTEP and a member of ASA, AANE, NACAC and LDA.
Jonathan Mooney, B.A.
Jonathan Mooney is a writer and learning activist who is dyslexic and did not learn to read until he was 12 years old. He is a graduate of Brown University's class of 2000 and holds an honors degree in English Literature.
Mooney has spent his entire professional career as a social entrepreneur developing organizations, programs, and initiatives to improve the lives of marginalized groups. In 1997, as an undergraduate at Brown University, Mooney co-founded Project Eye-To-Eye, a non-profit advocacy organization for students with learning differences. As the founding president and executive director, Mooney grew the organization from an undergraduate project conceived in his dorm room into a national organization, which currently has 38 chapters in 20 states working with over 10,000 parents, educators, and students.
With the publication of Learning Outside The Lines when he was 23 years old, Mooney has established himself as one of the foremost leaders in the neurodiversity and learning revolution. His second book, The Short Bus: A Journey Beyond Normal, was published in spring 2007 to outstanding reviews in The New York Times Book Review, The Los Angeles Times, The Chicago Tribune and many other national publications. Both books are considered foundational texts in the disability rights movement.
Mooney has lectured in 43 states and 3 countries and has been featured in The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, The Chicago Tribune, USA Today, New York Magazine, The Washington Post and The Boston Globe and on HBO, NPR and ABC News.
Photo by Sarah Small
Haley Moss is an 18-year old South Florida native who was diagnosed with High Functioning Autism at age three. She is a renowned visual pop artist and the author of “Middle School: The Stuff Nobody Tells You About”. Haley has been featured on many television programs such as CNN, PBS and NBC as well as numerous magazines and national newspapers.
Recently, Haley has been appointed as an International Ambassador to Project Lifesaver. She was also presented with the Council for Exceptional Children’s Yes I Can! International Award in April 2011. Haley created the featured artwork as well as being presented with the Teen Hero Award at the 10th Annual Samsung’s Hope for Children event in New York City in June 2011.
Haley is currently a freshman at the University of Florida.
Carlo Salerno, Ph.D.
Carlo Salerno graduated with a Ph.D. in education economics from the Pennsylvania State University. For more than a decade he has worked in the education finance space as an international consultant, federal higher education policy analyst with the United States Government Accountability Office (GAO) and co-founder of a specialty firm to help struggling student loan borrowers manage default risk, which was acquired by Xerox Education Services Group in 2011. Salerno speaks frequently on the economics of higher education at both state- and national-level industry conferences.
Ryan Joseph Seidman, Psy.D.
Ryan Joseph Seidman, Psy.D. is a licensed clinical psychologist who currently serves as the associate director of clinical services at the Slomin Family Center for Autism and Related Disabilities. Her primary focus involves autism spectrum disorders, developmental disabilities, behavioral problems and social and emotional concerns. She has extensive experience conducting developmental, psychoeducational, neuropsychological and psychological evaluations. In addition, she has provided consultative services to school personnel and medical professionals throughout Broward and Palm Beach counties.
Seidman utilizes various modalities to treat her clients including individual, family and group therapy. Behavioral interventions as well as parent education and training also have become a key component of her work with families.
She graduated from the University of Miami with a Bachelor of Arts degree in psychology, going on to earn her doctorate in clinical psychology from Nova Southeastern University. Seidman completed her pre-doctoral internship at The Center for Assessment and Intervention and her postdoctoral fellowship at Nova Southeastern University's School Psychology Assessment and Consultation Center/The University School.
Robert Seifer, B.S., M.S., PH.D.
Dr. Robert Seifer is a licensed psychologist and Associate Professor in the College of Liberal Education at Lynn University. He teaches his classes with positive energy, passion, and enthusiasm allowing students to benefit from his teaching styles. Students get hands on learning about how psychology can be applied to life and other work settings. Dr. Seifer believes that the knowledge of being a healthy individual is what students will gain from his introductory courses that he teaches here at Lynn.