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.

2014 Fall Lecture Series Lineup:

September 17
The Irritable Child: New Research Findings

Ellen Leibenluft, MD
Chief, Section on Bipolar Spectrum Disorders Emotion and Development Branch National Institute of Mental Health

Why do some children have terrible trouble controlling their temper, while others are very mild-mannered? What happens to irritable children when they grow up? Is severe irritability a psychiatric illness? How can we help irritable children?

Trouble with temper outbursts is one of the most common reasons that parents seek psychiatric help for their children, but remarkably little re- search has focused on it. In recent years, however, researchers have learned a lot about irritability in children. For example, we have learned that there are strong links among irritability, anxiety, and depression, and that these links are partly genetic. We are also beginning to understand brain mechanisms that may underlie children’s irritability. In particular, irritable children get into a “vicious cycle” when they get upset i.e., they can’t control what they pay attention to, but they need to do so in order to calm down. Many irritable children have language difficulties, and this too may contribute to their irritability. And, most importantly, we are learning more about how to treat irritable children.

October 15
Feeling Overwhelmed? De-Stress Strategies for Parents and Kids

Elizabeth DuPont Spencer, LCSW-C
Licensed Clinical Social Worker Coauthor, The Anxiety Cure (2nd ed.) and The Anxiety Cure for Kids (2nd ed.)

Have you been stressed managing the needs of your children with different abilities, juggling work and family responsibilities, or helping your child navigate friendship problems? Join us as Elizabeth DuPont Spencer, MSW, LCSW-C, an author, presenter and therapist provides insight about stress and teaches us how to make simple changes in our thinking and lives that will lead to a healthier approach to handling the extraordinary stresses of life with kids.

Learn the distinction between stress and mental health problems like depression and anxiety and common symptoms of each in children and adults. Learn strategies that will help you connect with children of different ages who may be experiencing stress related to their learning disability, such as elementary school kids who struggle with peer interactions or middle school kids who give up academically. We will consider the role of parent coping style and mental health, and the interplay between what parents are feeling and what kids are feeling. Finally, learn a simple cognitive restructuring exercise and how to easily teach this skill to children of different ages.

November 5
Always On: Positive Parenting Techniques in an Age of Electronic Excess

Doug Fagen, PhD
Clinical Psychologist,
Lab School of Washington Director, Department of Psychological Services

The digital world requires a new set of skills in both parents and their children. “Just turn it off!” is not an effective parenting strategy, nor is it realistic. Children and adolescents need to learn to interact with their devices to work, play, and socialize, while at the same time developing offline social and emotional skills. This lecture will out- line the challenges that today’s parents face, and highlight positive, collaborative approaches that parents can use to help our adolescents develop the skills -- both online and offline --they need to thrive.

December 3
Late, Lost and Unprepared: Building Better Executive Functioning at Home and in School

Joyce Cooper-Kahn, PhD

Clinical Psychologist
Psychological Resource Associates, Severna Park, MD
Coauthor, Late, Lost and Unprepared: A Parent’s Guide to Helping Children with Executive Functioning and Boosting Executive Skills in the Classroom: A Practical Guide for Educators

Students with weak executive functioning have trouble negotiating deadlines and demands, and tend to lag behind their peers in many areas of development. They may be chronically disorganized, lack persistence and follow-through and struggle to manage routine developmental tasks. How can we support them in the short-term while we facilitate the development of better executive skills over the long haul?

This presentation will start with what the science tells us in order to build a foundation for general principles of intervention. Then we will consider practical ways to apply these principles in order to create an “EF Smart” home and classroom environment.

January 14
Incorporating the Video Production Process into Classroom Instruction: Another Way for Students to Show What They Know

Daniel Hartmann, MA

Lab School Director of Educational Technology

Matt Frattali, MA

Lab School Multimedia Facilitator

Communication is continually morphing – a hybrid of text, images, audio, and video, which is emerging as the most dominant medium of our time; therefore, being able to effectively communicate through video is just as important as being able to compose an essay. Lab School Multimedia Facilitator, Matt Frattali, and Director of Educational Technology, Daniel Hartmann will provide evidence of the tremendous benefits of video production and demonstrate how easy the process has become.

February 4
Think Smart: Applying Brain Science to Instructional Practices to Empower Learners

Jack A. Naglieri, PhD, ABAP

Research Professor, University of Virginia Senior Research Scientist, Devereux Center for Resilient Children
Emeritus Professor of Psychology, George Mason University

Kathleen Kryza

Educational Consultant
CIO, Infinite Horizons
Centreville, VA
Coauthor, Developing Growth Mindsets in the Inspiring Classroom (2011), Inspiring Secondary Learners (2007), Inspiring Elementary Learners (2008), Differentiating in the Real Classroom (2009), and Winning Strategies for Test Taking.

This lecture will merge brain science of the PASS theory of intelligence with real classroom examples and practical strategies to help students think smarter and ultimately take charge of their own learning in school and beyond. Helping students learn requires application of quality instructional methods based on an understanding of the abilities associated with different regions of the brain. These abilities include (a) Planning (complex decision making related to the frontal lobes), (b) Attention (focus and resistance to dis- tractions related to the brain stem), (c) Simultaneous processing (understanding inter-relation- ships related to occipital/parietal area), and (d) Successive processing (working with information in sequence related to temporal lobes). These brain-based PASS abilities are the foundation of learning and help us understand academic success and challenges.

March 18
The Neuropsychology of Mathematics: Diagnosis and Intervention

Steven G. Feifer, D Ed, ABSNP

National School Psychologist Monocacy Neurodevelopmental Center, Frederick, MD
Bethesda-Chevy Chase Counseling and Assessment Associates
Author, The Neuropsychology of Written Language Disorders: A Framework for Effective Intervention

This workshop will explore how young children learn and acquire basic mathematical skills from a brain-based educational perspective. There will be a discussion on primary ways in which numbers are formatted in the brain, and the central role of language to expand upon conceptually ordered number sets. Cultural stereotypes regarding gender difference in mathematics will be explored, as well as the relationship between anxiety and mathematical performance during classroom learning. Two critical constructs of- ten overlooked, namely working memory and executive functioning, will also be featured. The expected learner outcomes will be to introduce more efficient ways to diagnose and remediate math disorders in children.

April 22
Neuroscience and Education: A Promising Partnership for Success

Guinevere Eden, PhD

Director, Center for the Study of Learning (CSL)
Associate Professor, Department of Pediatrics and Department of Neuroscience Georgetown University

Neuroscience provides insights into the brain- based mechanisms that serve critical skills including reading and arithmetic. Dr. Eden will review the recent advances in brain imaging studies of reading, dyslexia, the neural basis of successful tutoring of dyslexic students, as well as the potential role of brain measures in deter- mining the success of reading outcome.
The presentation will reveal how partnerships between neuroscience and education can ad- vance our understanding of dyslexia and our goals of providing better support for struggling readers.

Lecture Series FAQs
  • Lectures begin at 7:30 pm and are 90 minutes in length (7:30-9:00 p.m.) and include audience discussion and Q&A.
  • All lectures are offered free of charge.
  • We provide professionals with a certificate verifying 1.5 instructional hours, contingent upon full attendance at each lecture.
  • Please allow sufficient time to park and get settled; there is no reserved seating.

Missed a Lecture? Visit Lecture Series Resources for information from past sessions.

Additional Questions? Contact Emily Hamberger at emily.hamberger@labschool.org
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