Lecture Series

Parents, caregivers, teachers and therapists: if there’s a child in your life with learning differences, chances are you are seeking some advice. Discover the Lab School's popular Lecture Series! Our monthly lectures are rich with information, insights and tips that will help you nurture the opportunities - and navigate the challenges - learning differences can present. 

At our Wednesday night lectures, you'll have the opportunity to listen to - and learn from - leading LD and ADHD specialists as they address early childhood, adolescent, and adult challenges and opportunities. Our lecturers are outstanding, recognized professionals in the learning differences field. Just as important, each is accessible and ready to answer your questions.

All lectures are open to the public and offered free of charge, but registrations are appreciated.

Lectures are held in The Commons on the Reservoir Campus:
4759 Reservoir Road NW Washington, D.C. 20007

Each lecture is 90-minutes long (7:30-9:00pm)

For more information about our presenters, click here.



2015-2016 Lecture Series Lineup:

List of 8 items.

  • September 16: Understanding Neuroeducation and Dispelling Neuromythology

    Martha Bridge Denckla, MD
    Director, Developmental Cognitive Neurology Unit
    Kennedy Krieger Institute
    Baltimore, MD

    Neuroeducation involves advising on developmentally appropriate education, with the understanding that we are now able to document brain development and confirm our decades old developmental psychology data. There is a danger in over-promising our ability to specifically tailor education to different rates and types of brain development, akin to the over-selling of "learning types." Neuroeducation should mean that we look to optimal windows of development for certain kinds of learning.

    Neuromyths are unsubstantiated beliefs, such as stereotypes of left-handers or the conviction that we can restructure the brain through exercises that address precursors of school skills. More recently, our society's awe of technology has fostered sophisticated computerized programs that perpetuate the unsubstantiated claims that if you master certain exercises, your brain can now easily learn reading, writing, and arithmetic.
  • October 14: A Sense of Control: Why It’s Such a Big Deal for Kids with LD and ADHD

    William Stixrud, PhD
    Clinical Psychologist
    Director, The Stixrud Group
    Silver Spring, MD

    Register Now

    A healthy sense of control is associated with virtually everything we want for our children, including good health, a positive mood, freedom from excessive anxiety, self-motivation, and both academic and career success. Children and teenagers with learning and/or attention-related difficulties face some particular challenges in developing a strong sense of control, in part because they need intervention and supports that often feel “forced” upon them. In this talk, Dr. Stixrud will discuss how parents and teachers can support the development of a healthy sense of control in students with LD and ADHD (e.g., by promoting autonomy) while maximizing kids’ willingness to work hard to develop themselves and to use the help that is offered to them.
  • November 4: When Anxiety Affects Learning: Practical Strategies for Parents and Professionals

    Jonathan Dalton, PhD
    Clinical Psychologist
    Director, Center for Anxiety and Behavioral Change
    Rockville, MD

    Register Now

    This presentation will focus on practical, yet counter-intuitive evidence-based skills and techniques that parents and professionals can use to help children and adolescents experience less anxiety. We are all hardwired to avoid perceived threats such as pain and fear, so it is not surprising that young people use avoidance to respond to anxiety. However, anxiety and avoidance are teammates that work together to maintain anxiety over time. Therefore, the gold standard of treatment involves the careful confrontation with fear, known as “exposure.” This presentation will include what parents and professionals can do to encourage the child to “go on offense” against the anxiety and to persist in the presence of fear and anxiety. This process, if conducted in the proper fashion, is the most effective method of reducing anxiety. We will review how to use positive reinforcement and active ignoring to increase non-avoidant coping methods.
  • December 2: Learning to be Kind, Understand Differences and Get Along with Others: Helping our Children and Adolescents with LD/ADHD Develop These Important Skills

    Judith M. Glasser, PhD
    Clinical Psychologist
    Silver Spring, MD

    Regsiter Now

    Understanding how others think and feel is a critical skill for all children to learn. It is a skill they will need and use throughout their lives. People who have the ability to understand how others are thinking and feeling can have an easier time regulating their own feelings, being kind to others, and understanding why they behave the way they do. Just like children have strengths and weaknesses, they also vary in their ability to understand how others think and feel. For some children with learning difficulties this skill is a particular challenge. This talk will present specific ideas for helping children develop these important skills.
  • January 6: Actions Speak: Connecting Language and Behavior at Home and at School

    Jennifer Frey, PhD, BCBA-D
    Assistant Professor, Special Education and Disability Studies
    George Washington University

    Register Now
    The relationship between language and behavior is a complex and often admired but not well understood phenomenon. How does this relationship develop? When students engage in challenging behaviors, what are they telling us? In this session, we will explore the relationship between the language and behavior of students in early elementary school, and begin to interpret challenging behaviors as a form of communication. We will also discuss why children might engage in challenging behaviors and how to support their communication and promote engagement in desired behaviors at home and at school.
  • February 10: The Science of Processing Speed: Why Some Children Struggle to Keep up, and the Impact on Learning and Attention

    Lauren McGrath, PhD
    Assistant Professor, School of Education
    Director, L.E.a.R.N Lab, American University

    Panel Members:

    Doug Fagen, PhD
    Director of Psychological Services, Lab School of Washington

    Melissa Wood, MS, CCC-SLP
    Director of Speech-Language Services, Lab School of Washington

    Register Now

    Many of our children struggle with slow processing speed; but what does this mean, exactly? In this lecture, we will describe what is meant by the term “processing speed” and discuss its role in learning and attention problems. We will discuss strategies for supporting children with slow processing, as well as useful accommodations. In addition, we will describe a new research initiative between The Lab School and the School of Education at American University designed to better understand and help children with processing speed challenges.
  • March 16: What Works with Teens: Engaging Adolescents with Learning Differences to Achieve Lasting Change

    Britt Rathbone, LCSW-C, CGP, BCD
    Director, Rathbone and Associates

    Julie B. Baron, LCSW-C
    Rathbone and Associates
    Bethesda, MD

    Register Now

    If you live with, teach, coach, treat, or otherwise interact with teens, you know they can be notoriously challenging to communicate with. When adolescents are resistant to help, they may respond by being defiant, guarded, defensive, rude, or even outright hostile. In turn, you may respond by reasserting your authority—resulting in an endless power struggle. Teens with learning differences present unique challenges to parents and helping adults.

    In this talk, you’ll discover the core skills that research shows underlie all effective interactions with teens. You’ll learn how to engage authentically with them, create an atmosphere of mutual respect, and use humor to establish a deeper connection. There are many evidence-based approaches to treating, educating and parenting adolescents, but very little information on how to establish and maintain an ongoing productive relationship that underlies the successful implementation of these programs. This presentation will offer effective ways to connect with teenagers and information and real tools for creating positive connections.
  • April 6: Tools for Helping Children with Executive Dysfunction Become More Independent and Effective

    Lauren Kenworthy, PhD
    Children’s National Medical Center
    Director, Center for Autism Spectrum Disorders, Division of Neuropsychology
    Principal Investigator, Children's Research Institute,
    Center for Neuroscience Research (CNR)

    George Washington University
    School of Medicine and Health Sciences
    Associate Professor, Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences Neurology,
    Pediatrics

    Register Now

    This presentation is designed for parents, teachers and other professionals who work with children and adolescents with executive function problems. It will help you identify when a child is having trouble with executive functioning, so that you can better distinguish a "can't" from a "won't" and therefore intervene more effectively. It will present an intervention framework that includes accommodations, teaching new skills and giving you strategies that you can use today.



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