2016 Online Dyslexia Conference Agenda

* All times EST

Conference Day Session Agenda #SPOD16


Legislative Updates and Q&A Session

Chat in the Lounge

Check out the lounge within the virtual environment. Here you can chat with other attendees privately or in group chats before the first session begins.

Visit the Exhibitor/Sponsor Hall

There are a lot of great organizations in the exhibitor hall. Check out what they have to offer, ask questions, get advice and find products or services that may be what you need to help your child succeed.

A Look Ahead: What to expect in education policy

Richard M. Long
Executive Director of Learning First Alliance

Richard Long, Executive Director of Learning First Alliance, draws on his decades of experiance working on education policy in Washington, D.C., to offer his insights and predictions for what course education policy will take in the next Congress.

Session Block 1

Dyslexia Among English Language Learners

Elsa Cardenas-Hagan Ed.D., CCC/SLP, CALT
President, Valley Speech Language and Learning Center, Brownsville, TX
Associate Research Professor for the Texas Institute for Measurement Evaluation and Statistics at the University of Houston.

The number of English learners in schools has increased during the last decade. These students must achieve literacy in a second language. It is important to recognize the characteristics of dyslexia across languages. Once these students are identified, there are special considerations for intervention that should be considered. For example capitalizing on cross-linguistic features can increase the efficiency and effectiveness of intervention for these students. Participants will learn the cross-linguistic features of Spanish and English and specific strategies that can be incorporated within their intervention programs.

Understanding ADHD, Executive Function Disorder, and Their Relationship with Dyslexia

Roberto Olivardia Ph.D., Clinical Instructor
Department of Psychiatry, Harvard Medical School;
Clinical Psychologist, Private Practice, Lexington, MA

Anywhere from 20-30% of people with dyslexia also have ADHD and executive functioning deficits. Attendees will:

  • Learn what ADHD really is (and what it is not), as well as what is known neurologically about the condition
  • Understand the association or comorbidity of ADHD and Dyslexia
  • Identify the similarities and differences between ADHD and Dyslexia and how having both is different than having either one.
  • Identify the interventions and treatment for ADHD and how it intersects with interventions for Dyslexia.


Technol-OGy: Enhancing Multi-Sensory Reading Instruction with Technology

Theresa Collins
Director of Language Training, Eagle Hill Southport School
Orton-Gillingham Fellow, AOGPE

Sharon LePage Plante
Director of Technology, Eagle Hill Southport School
Orton-Gillingham Classroom Educator, AOGPE Certified

The utilization of technology (Smartboards, iPads, apps and websites) can make the Orton-Gillingham (OG) classroom instruction a multi-sensory process that is engaging while maintaining the essence of what makes the OG approach so beneficial for dyslexic students. A school Director of Language Training and a Director of Technology, both AOGPE certified, will share how they have collaborated to include technology as an instructive and assistive tool following the traditional OG approach in the small classroom setting for instruction and individualized review.

  • Incorporating multi-modal tools to manipulate language making it more concrete
  • Address the concept of Universal Design for Learning
  • Focus is not on the apps but about individualizing instruction, review, and practice


IEPs with Accountability: How to Build “Progress Monitoring” Into an IEP So That You Can Measure a Child’s Progress--Both Short- and Long-term.

Tara Clancy, M.A.
Certified educator, reading specialist, and proponent of nurturing of love of literacy.

Does your child have an IEP with ACCOUNTABILITY? It’s what makes the difference. Learn what accountability is—and how to build accountability into your IEP!

This will be a “how-to” presentation for parents/educators who need to develop IEPs that have accountability. It will use a case study approach to guide participants through:

  • An analysis of an actual draft of an IEP goal/objectives
  • A revision of the goal/objectives.
  • An analysis of tests from a formal literacy evaluation



Chat in the lounge or visit the exhibitor/sponsor hall

Session Block 2


Unlock Multi-Syllabic Words for Struggling Readers by Learning Simple Decoding and Vocabulary Techniques

Jeanne Jeup, Supervisor of Instruction
The Institute for Multi-Sensory Education

Helen Brandon, Instructor

The Institute for Multi-Sensory Education

This presentation will show parents and educators a simple way to help students decode and understand multi-syllabic words that even the most struggling readers will be able to maste. Struggling readers will be able to read polysyllabic words by breaking them into syllables. Instruction will include examples of all four syllable patterns and seven syllable types. After participants learn how to help struggling readers decode a word, they will be given ideas for implementing rich, multi-sensory vocabulary activities. Instruction will provide strategies to use immediately and include ideas for vocabulary maps, games, and other activities.

Critical Components of Literacy Instruction for Prevention and Early Intervention

Barbara Wilson, M.Ed.
Founder & Co-President, Wilson Language, Inc

In this session, Barbara Wilson will discuss the essential elements and key principles of literacy instruction that are necessary for the success of all students in PK-3 classrooms. The session will also explore key considerations for early identification of students with dyslexia. 

Assistive Technology: Solutions for Increasing Learning Independence and Classroom Participation

Marc Surabian, ABD
Assistant Technology Consultant and Graduate School Lecturer ATHelp.org and Pace University

AT is first and foremost a vehicle through which learners can improve their access to any curriculum and thereby empower (and obligate) them to greater participation in their classrooms. This presentation on Assistive Technology for people with Dyslexia will cover:

  • Why AT is often overlooked as a support to enhance learner participation
  • Describe the challenges of functionally incorporating AT into the classroom with real case studies
  • Provide an overview of the affordable and free AT tools used by individuals with dyslexia and for most learning challenges


Successful Transition from High School to College for Students with Learning Disabilities

William N. Presutti, MS, LDT/C
Director, Regional Center for Learning Disabilities, Fairleigh Dickinson University
This workshop focuses on differences between high school and college for students with learning disabilities including:

  • Laws that impact the students
  • Preparation for the major differences between high school and college
  • Successful strategies based on the work of the Regional Center for Learning Disabilities at Fairleigh Dickinson University including metacognition and Assistive Technology


Information will enable participates to successfully prepare for this very important transition.


Chat in the lounge or visit the exhibitor/sponsor hall


Dean Bragonier headshot
Sally Taylor headshot

Family of Strengths: Unlocking Dyslexic Ability

Dean Bragonier
NoticeAbility Inc., Founder & Executive Dyslexic, Husband to Sally Taylor

Sally Taylor
Consenses, Founder, Dyslexic, Daughter of Carly Simon and James Taylor

Special Guest Message from CARLY SIMON

Award winning singer/songwriter, Dyslexic

"My mom said the diagnosis is a qualification for an amazing experience on the planet, and the price of admission is basically that school was going to be hard,"

Sally Taylor

The family of singer/songwriter Carly Simon, daughter Sally Taylor, and Sally's husband Dean Bragonier is gifted with incredible artistic talent. However, like up to 20% of children today, they also all struggle with printed words. Dyslexia strongly runs in their gene-pool. Through that knowledge, they had the benefit of discovering their gifts to lead to success, but it's not that way for all students.

For more than a century, students with dyslexia have been relegated to the sidelines of academia. Locked out by text-based learning, dyslexics have have internalized the failure of a constrained educational system resulting in mass incarceration, underemployment and addiction.

Together, we can change that. With the proliferation of technology, civic engagement in the legislative process and individualized education, the academic playing field is beginning to level. Eventually, equal access to education for students with dyslexia will enable these students to discover their cognitive advantages, revealing an empowered and self-actualized population that benefits society at large.



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Session Block 3

Supporting the Social and Emotional Well-being of Students with Dyslexia: A Strengths-based Approach

Julie Meek, LCSW
Lead Counselor, Lee Pesky Learning Center

This presentation is designed to equip parents and teachers with easy-to- implement strategies to foster social and emotional well-being in their child. Participants will:

  • understand the impact of learning challenges on their child’s social and emotional well-being
  • based on their child’s strengths, learn specific tools and strategies to build confidence and support their child’s emotional regulation
  • Learn ways to enhance social competence for their child who struggles to cope with learning differently


Translating the Research on Reading Comprehension: The Role of the Practitioner

Nichole Pugliese, M.Ed.
Coordinator of Educational Outreach and Teacher Development
AIM Institute for Learning & Research

One of the major challenges educators face is interpreting and implementing research into their practices. In this session, participants will learn about instructional models grounded in theory and research findings, an integrated literacy approach to reading comprehension including curriculum and instructional frameworks, as well as, connections to writing.

Eyes on the Page—Developing Reading and Listening Stamina

Nancy Youree Duggin, Ed.S., NBCT
Educational Consultant

Teachers, school administrators, parents-- everyone involved with students must begin, today, to provide increased amounts of time students have their “eyes on text” reading in EVERY content area WITH PURPOSE! We must all have a sense of urgency—NOT just so a student scores well on a test, but so they develop the reading, thinking, and reasoning skills to be successful throughout their lives! This session will allow participants to walk away with specific knowledge to increase a student’s ability to deal productively with text.

Greek and Latin Roots: Improving Vocabulary and Comprehension in Older Students

Sarah Zelenak, CALP
Coordinator of Educational Outreach and Teacher Development
Reading and Language Arts Centers (RLAC)

Greek and Latin roots make up 65% of the language used in content-area texts in middle and high school. Struggling readers often falter on these words in class and on tests. Root instruction unlocks the meanings to thousands of words, improving the vocabulary and comprehension. This presentation will cover:

  • The benefits of root instruction
  • Multisensory strategies for teaching root meanings and spellings
  • Techniques for practicing roots
  • How morphemes, like roots and affixes, can be combined.



Chat in the lounge or visit the exhibitor/sponsor hall

Session Block 4

Many Evaluations are Mediocre at Best and the Process for Evaluating an Evaluation is Even Worse

Vaughn K. Lauer, PhD,
Educational Learning and Training, LLC

For parents and educators who find evaluations and test scores to be less than informative, participants will learn to EVALUATE AN EVALUATION to:

  • Ensure that school and IEE evaluations are complete
  • Understand what test scores mean
  • Unmask test score discrepancies found in the “undecipherable” text of reports
  • Not be perplexed with descriptors such as “in the average range”
  • Apply test scores to highlight a child’s needs and strengths
  • More easily determine eligibility and develop IEPs.


Beyond Decoding: Providing Effective Instruction in Fluency and Comprehension to Struggling Readers

Lynn Givens, M.Ed., Learning Disabilities
Visiting Professor, College of Education, Florida State University
Course Developer and Facilitator, Beacon Educator
Course and Product Developer and Facilitator, Orton Gillingham Online Academy Creator of Connect to Comprehension, comprehensive reading intervention program

Michael Hart, Ph.D
Consulting Psychologist

We have come a long way toward teaching struggling readers to decode. We now need a focused approach targeting fluency and comprehension. The presentation will outline specific strategies and techniques for moving from decoding to reading with fluency and comprehension. Participants will learn:

  • strategies and techniques to improve fluency
  • links between fluency and comprehension
  • eight essential strategies to promote comprehension
  • activities for instruction and practice with these strategies


How Technology Can Support Decoding, Reading Fluency, and Reading Comprehension

Jules Csillag, BA, MS, CCC-SLP
Speech Language Pathologist
The Gateway School

This webinar will include innovative ed tech tools to support students’ decoding, reading fluency, and comprehension (literal and inferential). By the end of the presentation, participants will be able to:

  • Define and distinguish different components of reading (decoding, reading fluency, reading comprehension)
  • Cite some of the latest research on reading and educational technology
  • Identify 5-10 tools that support different levels of reading, and state why these tools are effective


Encouraging and Remediating Writing Skills in Secondary Students with Learning Disabilities

Sharon W. Fleischer, MA, LDT/C
Director- LD Virtual 
Adjunct Professor - Fairleigh Dickinson University Regional Center for Learning Disabilities.

How do you hook secondary students with learning disabilities, who have become frustrated writers, into remediating their writing skills? This presentation will break down writers’ blocks, explore motivational methods and demonstrate multi-sensory strategies as a foundation for building effective writing.


Chat in the lounge or visit the exhibitor/sponsor hall

Session Block 5

Dyslexia, ADHD & Anxiety

Dr. Robert Hendron, D.O.
UCSF Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Science
Division of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry
Co-Director of the UCSF Dyslexia Center; and Director, Neurodevelopmental, Translational Outcomes Research Program (NTORP)

Children with learning or attentional issues can experience a cycle of frustration and anxiety. In this session, we'll discuss that cycle, and strategies we can teach to help.

Fluency Strategies to Increase Automaticity

Barbara Steinberg, M. Ed.
Dyslexia and Educational Consultant

Fluency is the ability to read text quickly, accurately and with proper expression and is the bridge between word recognition and comprehension. For many students, fluency develops naturally through repeated practice of connected text. However, for our dyslexic learners, developing automatic word recognition and prosody (proper phrasing, intonation and expression) requires explicit and systematic instruction. In this workshop, Barbara will teach you strategies you can use at home or in your classroom to improve fluency.

Creativity, Dyslexia, Dyscalculia: Fostering Positive Syntheses

Fredrika Reisman, Ph.D.
Professor & Director Drexel - Torrance Center for Creativity and Innovation
School of Education, Drexel University

Lori Severino, Ed.D.
Assistant Clinical Professor, Former Director Special Education,
School of Education, Drexel University

Larry Keiser, M.S., Ph.D. candidate
Executive Director for Special Projects,
School of Education, Drexel University

Becoming aware of one’s creative strengths as well as those they serve enhances educational and work activities. Learning outcomes include:

  • Become aware of creative strengths and weaknesses via the Reisman Diagnostic Creativity Assessment (RDCA)
  • Develop knowledge to improve learner creativity applied to academic performance
  • Develop knowledge to improve learner creativity applied to self- concept
  • Develop knowledge to improve learner creativity applied to self- efficacy (know you can do something)
  • Teachers and parents identify creative strengths of their students/children
  • Teachers develop beginning tool box of creative instruction for students with dyslexia and/or Dyscalculia


Differentiating Instruction Using the Pattern of Strengths and Weaknesses Model

Steven Korner, Ph.D.
Private Practice, Cresskill, NJ
Harrington Park Child Study Team

Academic subjects like reading, math, and written expression are byproducts of cognitive processing abilities. Teachers, parents, and child study team professionals are best served when they use the best practice model of patterns of strengths and weaknesses (PSW) to understand the associations between subject area domains and the cognitive processing abilities required to perform successfully in those areas. The result is that evaluations can be targeted to detect specific areas of underlying weakness and instruction can be differentiated to address these weaknesses. The purpose of this presentation is to introduce the PSW model and its underlying theoretical principles and to demonstrate how information from targeted assessments can be used to similarly focus on remediating specific areas of deficit.


Chat in the lounge or visit the exhibitor/sponsor hall

POST SESSIONS: Educational Keynote

Why Spelling Counts in the 21st Century Classroom: Understanding the Spelling of A Dyslexic

Louisa Moats, Ed.D
Independent Psychologist and Author

Spelling is a near-universal source of challenge and stress for dyslexic individuals. In this exclusive keynote session, internationally acclaimed researcher Louisa Moats will explore this phenomenon, using numerous actual writing samples to explain why spelling is so difficult for students with dyslexia. Dr. Moats will conclude her session with key recommendations for teachers around instruction and accommodation.

Network in the Communications Center

Find people within your geographic area and connect with them through the communication function.

Visit the Resource Section

The Resource Center is your digital library to browse content by subject across all spaces and sponsors.

Chat in the Lounge

Visit the lounge within the virtual environment. Here you can chat with other attendees privately or in group chats before and after the first session begins.

Visit the Exhibitor/Sponsor Hall

There are a lot of great organizations in the exhibitor hall. Check out what they have to offer, ask questions, get advice and find products or services that may be what you need to help your child succeed.