Schedule

12 April

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12 April

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Speakers

Sponsors

Exhibitors

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Ali Lackey

Educational Consultant
Weinfeld Education Group
Alison received her Bachelor's of Arts in Sociology with a minor in Education from the University of Massachusetts in Amherst. She then continued her education getting a dual Masters of Education in both General Education and Special Education from Lesley University in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Alison was a Special Education Resource teacher and Team Leader at the elementary level within the Montgomery County Public School district for 8 years. As team leader, Alison served as IEP chair. Alison also served as a mentor teacher to graduate students obtaining their Masters of Education from local universities. She was the recipient of the Montgomery County Council PTA Special Education Outstanding Educator award in 2013.

Ali serves as a special education consultant with Weinfeld Education Group.

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Chase Phillips

Senior Vice President
Merrill Lynch
Chase Phillips focuses on developing and implementing advanced financial strategies for families, businesses, and individuals, including those with long term disabilities and special needs.

Starting with Merrill Lynch in 2008, Chase concentrates on clients’ primary concerns: preservation of capital, tax minimization, and lifetime cash flow needs. To help ensure that customized strategies are developed for his clients, Chase works in conjunction with families’ Estate Attorneys and CPAs to establish multi-generational wealth strategies, frequently in tandem with philanthropic techniques.

In addition, Chase's practice has a specific focus on improving the financial well-being of individuals living with special needs regardless of their age or disability. This includes customized financial strategies for families with special needs loved ones, including; Special Needs Trusts, Pooled Special Needs Trusts, Conservatorships, Guardianships, Charitable Trusts, Generational Skipping Trusts and a variety of Family Trusts.

In 2017 and 2018 Chase was recognized by Forbes/Shook as one of "America's Top Next-Generation Wealth Advisors."

Chase graduated from The University of Wisconsin-Madison with a BA in History. While at Wisconsin, Chase a member of the Men’s rowing team where he was the coxswain of the Men’s Varsity 8. He was also selected to the 2005 and 2006 United States National rowing team where he represented the USA at two World Rowing Championships in Japan and Belgium; bringing home a bronze medal for the USA in 2005.

He volunteers at Quality Trust for Individuals with Disabilities where he sits on the board as chairman. Quality Trust is an independent, non-profit advocacy organization focused on improving the lives of children and adults with disabilities and their families. Chase also serves on the Investment Committee for Children's National Medical Center in Washington, DC.

He resides in Arlington, VA with his wife, Beth Roszkowski, daughter, Grace and son, James.

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Clay Kaufman

Head of School
The Siena School
Clay Kaufman,co- Head of School at The Siena School, is a longtime educator in the Washington, D.C. area.

As a teacher and administrator he has implemented hands-on, experiential learning and developed integrated curricula in the humanities and math/science for students with learning differences.

Mr. Kaufman has been selected for a variety of leadership roles, including: the E.E. Ford Fellowship for private school leadership; the Fulbright Teacher Exchange Program in Ankara, Turkey; an d the National Endowment for the Humanities Independent Scholars program.

He is a former board member of Sheridan School in Washington DC, and has presented workshops five times at the NAIS annual conference on the subject of skills and strategies for students with learning differences that are valuable for all students.

He has run training sessions and served as a consultant at numerous DC area public and private schools.

He holds a B.A. in American Studies from Yale University, and a Master's from Georgetown University.

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Connie Lorentzen

Owner/President
Connie Lorentzen
Connie Lorentzen was born in Washington D.C. and grew up in the Maryland Suburbs. She attended the University of Maryland, earning a BS in Education in 1969. For almost a decade, she taught in public school at the middle school level.

In 2001, Connie became an advocate for gifted learners who also have a disability. In 2004, she took the lead on the Fairfax Country Council of PTAs to advocate at the Policy Level, on behalf of the Council, on behalf of 2e learners and continue to do so until the present.

This past summer Coinnie served on the FCPS 2e Project Team, the purpose of which was to write a 2e Handbook, create a webpage, and recommend professional development. The documents are in the vetting process and are expected to go public Fall 2019.

Connie is married and live in Virginia; where three of her children attended public school K-12. Two of her children are 2e.

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Dave Mullen

Head of School
The Nora School
David Mullen, M.Ed., has led The Nora School since 1991, instituting many new and innovative programs. Most recently, The Nora School has created a school-wide mindfulness curriculum to help students more skillfully self-regulate in the face of stress. The Nora School serves students in grades 9-12 who are bright but have not thrived in larger settings.

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David Black, PhD

Director, Pediatric Neuropsychologist
Center for Assessment And Treatment
Dr. David O. Black is a pediatric neuropsychologist and director of the Center for Assessment And Treatment (CAAT). He internationally recognized expert in autism spectrum and related disorders. Dr. Black specializes in the assessment of complex childhood disorders, including learning differences, attention and executive functioning disorders, and social and self-regulatory problems.

His assessments are comprehensive, integrated, and individualized, emphasize strengths, and capture the nuance that makes each person unique. Dr. Black is recognized for his work on the transition to adulthood and unique challenges inherent in that transition.

Prior to founding the Center for Assessment And Treatment, Dr. Black was a researcher in the Pediatrics and Developmental Neuroscience Branch at the National Institute of Mental Health, NIH. His research examined factors that contribute to the best outcomes among children and adolescents with autism spectrum disorders.

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Debbie Reber

Author, founder TiLT Parenting
TiLT Parenting
Differently WiredDebbie Reber is a parenting activist, NY Times bestselling author, podcast host, and speaker who moved her career in a more personal direction in 2016 when she founded TiLT Parenting, a website, weekly podcast, and social media community for parents like her who are raising differently wired children. The TiLT Parenting Podcast has grown to be a top podcast in iTunes’ Kids and Family category, with more than 500,000 downloads and a slate of guests that includes hi gh-profile thought leaders across the parenting and education space. Debbie’s newest book is "Differently Wired: Raising an Exceptional Child in a Conventional World."

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Deborah Lourie

Director of Admissions
Chelsea School
Director of Admissions, Debbie Lourie, Ms. Lourie is a Licensed Certified Social Worker - Clinical (LCSW-C) with 12 years of service to Chelsea School. Previously serving as admissions Director at Katherine Thomas School, Debbie has a proud career with social work in educational environments and leading individual & group therapy for social, emotional, and learning disabled youth. She is responsible for ensuring that each and every applicant will thrive at Chelsea, and their pr ofile is a match for Chelsea’s mission.

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Devin Goozh Kesterman

Kindergarten Teacher
Bethesda Elementary School
Devon Goozh Kesterman has been teaching for over 20 years in both public and private school settings, from nursery school through high school. Devon attended Georgetown University where she earned a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology. After teaching for a few years in Maryland and Tennessee, Devon attended Columbia University Teachers College where she earned her Masters of Education in Curriculum and Teaching. She is currently a kindergarten teacher at Bethesda Eleme ntary in Montgomery County.

As a teacher in an inclusion model school, Devon has experience teaching all types of learners and working alongside the parents during the school year. She has experience teaching students with multiple special needs, Rett Syndrome, ADHD, Autism Spectrum Disorder, Down's Syndrome, Emotional Disturbance Diagnosis, Developmental Delay and Intellectual Disabilities. She works to continuously incorporate strategies, resources and activities that engage all of the learners in her classroom.

Although she has taught in the upper grades, Devon truly loves working in Early Childhood maintaining her kindergarteners sense of wonder and curiosity. In the classroom, she enjoys the process of discovering how each child learns best in order to help her students reach their individual potential. Devon hopes to find ways to encourage independence and responsibility as the kindergarten year progresses, developing a sense of confidence and a love of learning in all of her students.

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Fran Gage

Special Educator Paraeducator
MCPS
Fran Gage has 10 years experience with the special education department in Montgomery County - both in pre-school autism and middle school learning disability programs. From these professional experiences, along with raising her own twice exceptional child, who was privileged to be part of the GT/LD program, she has now focused her attention on changes at the legislative level appearing before the Ways and Means Committee on several occasions.

She is the founder of a 501 (c)3 charity, Suicide Resistance Foundation - Solidarity With Ayla, geared to making meaningful mental health changes, such as creating better ratios of student to mental health counselors in all academic venues.

Fran has a B.S degree in Legal Studies and a M.S degree in Business.

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Gretchen Holtzinger Levine

Transition Specialist/Teacher
The Katherine Thomas School
Ms. Levine assists students to plan and obtain services for transition from high school to post secondary life, both as a transition teacher with Katherine Thomas School and through her work with Eric A. Levine and Associates.

She has presented at local, state and national conferences on a variety of topics related to inclusion, self-direction, transition planning and customized employment for individuals with disabilities.

As a Supervisor and Director of The Arc of Frederick County's Local Services Program, Gretchen was able to implement many new initiatives to enhance community support for children and adults with developmental disabilities.

Gretchen worked with The Way Station, in Frederick, a psychiatric rehabilitation program, to help develop employment programming for people with developmental disabilities and mental illness. Gretchen focused on individual outcomes through customized employment planning, and the use of local, state and federal funding streams for staffing of these services.

Ms. Levine earned a bachelor's degree in Special Education from Hood College and her Master of Arts Education and Human Development at The George Washington University and is a certified Special Education teacher.

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Hayley Jacobson

Independent Educational Consultant
Weinfeld Education Group
Since 2011, Hayley Jacobson has worked as an Independent Educational Consultant with the Weinfeld Education Group successfully advocating for the needs of her clients. Hayley helps parents of special needs students to identify and seek out appropriate services for their children. She has advocated for those with ADHD, Emotional Disabilities, Autism Spectrum Disorders, FASD, Specific Learning Disabilities and Twice Exceptional students (GT/LD).

Hayley also serves as the School Selection Specialist for the group. In this role Hayley evaluates and recommends both public and private school options for parents trying to determine the correct placement of their children based on their individual needs.

Hayley is also a trained ADHD coach and provides coaching support to students with ADHD, guidance to parents, and has facilitated ADHD support groups for children. This includes working with adolescents and young adults to identify and teach appropriate strategies to strengthen executive function skills and to improve self-advocacy skills.

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Heather Alpern

Mechanical Systems Engineer
SGT / KBRwyle
Heather Alpern attended the McLean School of Potomac for 10 years and graduated in 2007.

Heather is a mechanical designer for the Satellite Servicing Project Division at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center.  Heather acted as the lead designer of mechanical ground support equipment (MGSE) for the Restore-L Mission and design flight hardware for the payload as well.

In addition, Heather is a part-time graduate student at the University of Maryland, working towards a Master's Degree in Aerospace Engineering with a focus in robotic systems and will be graduating this May.

Heather received a Bachelor's Degree at Alfred University studying Mechanical Engineering, Mathematics, and Art.

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Janet Price

Dir, Admissions & Outreach
College Living Experience
Janet Price is the Director of Admissions and Outreach at College Living Experience in Rockville, MD. Janet has nearly 10 years previous experience as an educational advocate, and has co-authored two books, Take Control of Asperger’s Syndrome, winner of the 2010 Legacy Book Award, and Take Control of Dyslexia, as well as numerous articles. She has been a guest lecturer for graduate programs in special education and autism at Towson University and America n University and wrote the course content for an online graduate level class in special education advocacy. She has presented at national conferences on a variety of topics related to special education advocacy and transition. Janet holds a B.A. from The George Washington University.

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Jasmine Thomas

Coordinator of Special Programs - Provider Relations
Maryland Department of Health
Jasmine Thomas started her career in the Developmental Disabilities in early 2013, where she began providing Direct Supports to people with ID/DD. From there she has worked her way through the ranks and now works with The DDA and is also the Employment Lead for the Southern Maryland Region.

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Jennifer Engel Fisher

Associate Director
Weinfeld Education Group
As Associate Director, Jennifer serves as an educational consultant for students in elementary through high school, conducting observation, reviewing records, and attending school meetings. She is also responsible for the Advocacy division of WEG, which involves ongoing training of our thirteen advocates. Additionally, Jennifer runs our School Selection and Organizational Coaching divisions of WEG. Jennifer consults with schools, providing them with training on effective instructional strategies and methodologies.

Jennifer earned her B.S. from the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, and her M.S. in Special Education from Johns Hopkins University. Jennifer taught in both self-contained and inclusion settings in Howard County Public Schools, Maryland. She served a variety of student populations including students with AD/HD, Learning Disabilities, Autism Spectrum Disorder, Intellectual Disabilities, and those with an Emotional Disturbance diagnosis. Jennifer was also the Learning Resource Specialist at the Lowell School in Washington, DC. She consulted with teachers to support students with a wide variety of special needs as well as the gifted population. Her expertise in a variety of methodologies, including Orton-Gillingham, allows her the broad knowledge needed to work with a variety of populations.

Her current Board positions include: Board President of Washington Independent Services for Educational Resources (WISER), Academic Excellence Chair on the Board of Creative Minds International Public Charter School in DC, and Board Member of the International Dyslexia Association, Maryland Branch. Jennifer has co-authored two books; Take Control of Asperger’s Syndrome: The Official Strategy Guide for Teens with Asperger’s Syndrome and Nonverbal Learning Disorders and Take Control of Dyslexia and Other Reading Difficulties. Jennifer is also a contributing author of School Success for Kids with ADHD.

Jennifer provides advocacy and expert witness services at WEG.

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Jessica Boyle

Program Coordinator
The Ivymount School
Jessica is Board Certified Behavior Analyst and Licensed Special Education Teacher (General Education and Modified Curriculum). Jessica completed her undergraduate degree in special education and her masters degree in Education at James Madison University in Harrisonburg, VA.

Jessica is currently a Program Coordinator within the Multiple Learning Needs (MLN) program at the Ivymount School in Rockville, MD. This program serves Elementary/Middle School and Secondary School aged students within a private day setting. The MLN program specializing in providing evidence-based instructional practices for both academic and adaptive skills for students pursuing a high school diploma or a certificate of completion.

She is a Behavior Consultant within the Ivymount Outreach program providing individual home programs for families and client's to teach targeted goals and provide comprehensive Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) programming in home and community settings.

Jessica has experience working with individuals with developmental disabilities aged 2-21 across schools, residential facilities, and home settings. Her areas of interest include teacher training, assessment and treatment of challenging behavior, and assessment and use of evidence-based academic and adaptive instruction for students with developmental disabilities.

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Joan Wittan

Founder, Independent Educational Consultant
College Consulting Collaborative
Joan Wittan works with students with a wide variety of learning differences and loves the challenge of finding and building on their strengths and maximizing their potential. She has expertise working with twice-exceptional students and a broad and in-depth knowledge of colleges with appropriate learning supports and programs. Joan has developed materials and processes to help students prepare to be independent and successful individuals and find the right post-secondary fit.

Joan has extensive experience with the education community serving on multiple committees through Montgomery County Public Schools, the Board of the GTLD Network, and as a Board member for the Independent Educational Consultants Association. She has both interest and experience in the intersection of education (MCPS) and business through work for the Montgomery County Business Roundtable on Education.

Joan is a founding member of The College Consulting Collaborative which provides individualized planning, preparation, and placement for students with learning differences (offices in the DMV, Charleston SC, and San Francisco CA)

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John Bogasky

Main Street Advisor
Main Street
John Bogasky is a retired Accenture Senior Executive. He has a 27-year-old son, also named John, with intellectual disabilities. His son John lives in his own one-bedroom apartment, with supports, in Rockville Town Center and has a 20 hours/week job with the maintenance team at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History. John Sr. has long-been active in the Montgomery County special needs community. He is a longtime Board member at the Treatment and Learning Centers and a Special Olympics coach (snowshoeing, bocce, and golf). John also serves as Treasurer for Special Olympics in Montgomery County, where his wife is the Montgomery County Area Director for Special Olympics. John also serves as ad Advisor to Main Street, an innovative, inclusive, 70-unit housing development now under construction in Rockville Town Center.

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Joseph Kavitski

Head of School
Fusion Academy Rockville
Joe earned his Masters of Arts in Art Therapy from New York University. He worked with adolescents in the juvenile justice system, adults struggling with mental illness, older adults with Alzheimer’s and Dementia, and spent time working at a clinic for men with physical and cognitive disabilities in Ghana. Later, he became a program manager for a NYC based non-profit organization specializing in 3D computer animation as a means to serve at-risk youth, teaching and running therapy groups in all five boroughs of New York City.

He has guest lectured at the School of Visual Arts in Manhattan and served as adjunct faculty at New York University’s Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development. He currently serves as Head of School at Fusion Academy in Rockville, an accredited private school providing one-to-one education and personalized learning for grades 6-12.

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Joshua Lash

Student
Towson University
Joshua is a graduate of the Sheppard Pratt Frost School and is currently a Junior at Towson University majoring in political Science. He is president of the College Democrats of Towson University, co-moderated a Democratic Primary debate for Baltimore County Executive, served as a panelist for both a State Senate candidate debate and a State House of Delegates candidate debate, and interned last Summer for the Baltimore County State's Attorney's Office. Additionally, he has taken leadership roles in Towson University Hillel.

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Judy Bass, CEP

Certified Educational Planner
Bass Educational Services
Judith S. Bass, CEP is an internationally recognized expert in the field of college placement for students who learn differently. For the past 18 years, Ms. Bass has provided comprehensive college and post-secondary planning for students who learn differently.

Ms. Bass has developed CollegeWebLD, a one-stop source of information on college disability services at over 400 colleges in the US.

Ms. Bass is the current Chair of the Commission on Credentialing for AICEP (www.aicep.org) and is a past Board Member of the Independent Educational Consultants Association (IECA). She also serves as a consultant to several independent high schools in the Washington, DC area.

Ms. Bass is a contributing author in the recently published book, Navigating the Transition from High School to College for Students with Disabilities. Her articles have appeared in numerous magazines, including Washington Parent and ATTENTION Magazine.

Ms. Bass received her undergraduate degree in Spanish and Education from Stony Brook University, earned a Graduate Level Certificate in College Counseling from UCLA and holds the designation of Certified Educational Planner.

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Karla Nabors

Director, Developmental Education
Montgomery College
Mrs. Karla Nabors is employed with Montgomery College as the Director for Developmental Education/ Workforce Access. She is the College wide liaison for Project Search, which provides internship to students with Developmental Disabilities on campus. She joined Montgomery College in January 2000. She earned her bachelor degree in Psychology minor Special Education from Mt. St. Mary’s University and is certified in Academic Leadership Program Competencies. She has been in the field of disability advocacy since 1984. She is a veteran in the field and well respected by her peers, the disability community, and the college. She has enjoyed many rewards in the field and has forged new relationships and partnerships since she began at Montgomery College.

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Katherine Theobald

Director of High School
Commonwealth Academy
Katie Theobald is the Director of High School at Commonwealth Academy overseeing the academic programs and faculty in grades 9-12. She enjoys working to create a positive and engaging High School experience for students and their families.

Before starting that position last year, she was the Academic Dean. She monitored student academics, helping to provide students with extra strategies for success and working with teachers to assist them in supporting students in the classroom.

Ms. Theobald joined C/A in 2005 as a Middle School Math and Science teacher. She transitioned to teaching High School Math and Science and served as Math Department Chair. She continued to teach High School Science through the 2016-2017 School Year and served as Chair of the Science Department for seven years.

Prior to joining C/A, Ms. Theobald worked in the education departments of two zoos. As an intern at the Indianapolis Zoo, she supported the summer teen program and helped to develop the zoo’s interpretation materials. At the Cincinnati Zoo she led overnight programs for students, including outdoor lessons, animal demos and building tours.

It was while working at the zoos that Ms. Theobald discovered how much she enjoyed sharing her love of science with children. She dropped her plan to pursue a doctorate in Biological Anthropology and decided to pursue a career in science education.

Katie Theobald holds a Master’s degree in Science Education from Montana State University and has an undergraduate degree in Biology (minor in Chemistry) from Xavier University. Katie was named C/A Teacher of the Year in 2010/11.

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Kathleen Nadeau, PhD

Clinical Director
Chesapeake Center for ADHD, Learning and Behavioral Health
Kathleen Nadeau, Ph.D. is the founder and clinical director of the Chesapeake Center for ADHD, Learning and Behavioral Health. She has focused for many years on how career choices are impacted by ADHD and LD, first writing a book, Career Success with ADHD, and later creating the Chesapeake Career Center in 2015. In addition to her work focused on career issues, Dr. Nadeau has written many books related to ADHD across the lifespan.

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Kim Brown

Intermediate Division Head
The Lab School of Washington
Kim Brown leads a division of 94 fifth and sixth grade students with Learning Differences through a differentiated instructional program that integrates the arts and hands-on exploration. She supervises and evaluates the performance of 25 instructional staff members and coordinates program delivery with specialists on an interdisciplinary team.

Kim has 33 years as a public school employee, primarily with Fairfax County Public Schools: 9 years as a teacher of students with Specific Learning Disabilities at the elementary, middle and high school levels and 24 years as a school-based administrator at the high school and elementary levels.  She was an elementary principal for 17 years at 2 different elementary schools.

Kim has a Master of Education from the University of Virginia and a Bachelor of Arts degree from Guilford College.  She is certified in District of Columbia with Administrative Services Credential/K-12 grade level, certified in Virginia as an Elementary Principal and Secondary Principal, and Teacher of students with Specific Learning Disabilities and Intellectual Disabilities, K-12.

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Kristen Collins Eccleston

Secondary Program Specialist
Montgomery County Public Schools
Kristen is a Montgomery County native from Silver Spring, MD and a graduate of Paint Branch High School. After high school, Kristen attended Salisbury University and graduated with honors with a Bachelor of Arts in Communications.

Immediately following graduation from college, Kristen earned her Master of Science in Special Education from Johns Hopkins University School of Education. Kristen has spent the last 12 years working for Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS) as a Special Education teacher in programs including Bridge, Learning and Academic Disabilities (LAD), Learning for Independence (LFI), and most recently the Enhanced- Social Emotional Support Services (E-SESS) Program at Col. Zadok Magruder High School.

The E-SESS Program in MCPS is a relatively new program Kristen helped develop and implement as the program's director four years ago. The services provided within the E-SESS Program focus on providing support to students impacted by mental health needs in the school setting.

Kristen is a National Board Certified Teacher (NBCT) and holds a certificate in Educational Leadership from Hood College. As a part of her professional growth, Kristen is currently in her first year of the Johns Hopkins University School of Education Doctorate of Education program in Mind, Brain, and Teaching. Kristen’s research at Hopkins is focused on the increased needs of secondary students displaying the onset of mental health needs in the education setting.

Kristen currently lives in New Market, MD with her husband, two children and Chocolate Lab. Kristen’s professional goals include being an advocate within the school system, by creating educational supports for students impacted by mental health needs that significantly impact their academic and social-emotional progress.

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Lorrie Ness, PhD

Child & Adolescent Psychologist
Ness Psychological Services
Lorrie Ness is a clinical psychologist in Silver Spring whose practice specializes in providing comprehensive testing and counseling to students and adults facing educational challenges. She received her B.A. in psychology from the University of Massachusetts, Boston and her Ph.D. in clinical psychology from the University of Tennessee.

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Maddie Pierce

Licensed Clinical Social Worker
Maddie Pierce is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker in the state of Virginia. Maddie graduated with her Master's Degree in Social Work from the University of Pittsburgh with a certification in mental health. She has worked in various community mental health settings, including running therapy groups for adults with an intellectual disability and a mental health diagnosis and more recently running an intensive therapy group for adults with a substance use disorder and a mental health diagnosis. She currently lives in Loudoun County with her husband and son.

Maddie was a student at The Nora School who was able to learn to manage her anxiety and thrive.

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Margaret Rudt, MSEd

GTLD Coordinator/Resource Teacher
Montgomery County Public Schools
Author of Improving Individual Student Performance through the AIP Process and former Middle School Staff Development Teacher in MCPS. Currently Coordinator for GTLD program at Lee Middle School, Resource/Co-teacher in US History, Advanced English and Algebra. Thoroughly enjoying work with teachers and students to provide rigorous instruction, develop executive functioning skills, and teach writing.

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Marie Marino

Coord. of Learning Services & Asst Head of Lower School
McLean School
Marie Marino has been working in the field of early childhood special education for over 15 years in independent school settings. Ms. Marino holds a Bachelor of Early Childhood Education from the University of Rhode Island and a Master of Special Education from Johns Hopkins University. She has an Advanced Professional Certificate in Special Education: Infant through Grade 3 and is in the process of attaining an Administration Certification with a focus on the development of Professional Learning Communities.

Ms. Marino is currently the coordinator of learning services and assistant head of Lower School at McLean School in Potomac, MD. Her past positions have been as a lower school learning specialist, classroom teacher, and adjunct professor.

Outside of this work, Ms. Marino enjoys running, instructing pre- and postnatal fitness classes, and spending time with her husband and two preschool aged children at home.

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Matthew Bogin, Esq

Attorney
Law Offices of Matthew Bogin
Matthew B. Bogin has been helping families with special needs members throughout the D.C. metropolitan area for over thirty-five years. He is well respected for his championing the varying rights of special needs clients. Currently his particular focus is ensuring that families with special needs members complete and review planning to ensure a successful future for these children. Because that calls for specialized knowledge and expertise, Matthew is ideally suited to assist clients in the area of special needs trust, estate planning, and guardianship.

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Michael Orleans

Senior Advisor
NFP/Meltzer Group
Michael came from the Washington Financial Group and joined the Meltzer Group in 2005 and has been an integral part in the growth of their retirement, employee benefits and insurance divisions.

Michael was recognized as a Special Care Planner from the American College and MassMutual in 2009. Recently, Michael achieved the Work Incentive Practitioner (WIP) designation from Cornell University. These designations enable Michael to assist individuals and families to navigate and manage the complexities regarding future care, government benefits, and financial needs that come with planning for a child/adult with special needs.

The lifetime planning for a child/adult with a disability can be daunting. Michael’s inspiration to focus on special needs planning stems from his personal struggles in planning for his daughter, Danielle, who has autism.

Having a sense of pride in the community, Michael has served on numerous boards including Community Services for Autistic Adults and Children (CSAAC) and The Meltzer Group Employee Giving Fund. Michael also serves as Board President of Shared Horizons; a pooled special needs trust in the D.C. metro area. Shared Horizons provides trust and fiduciary services for people with disabilities.

Volunteering time is also of paramount importance as Michael was honored as Volunteer of the Year for Cornerstone Montgomery in 2017 and he is currently a Representative Payee for Every Mind, formerly known as Mental Health Association of Montgomery County.

He has spoken at numerous events focusing on special needs families and planning for the future. He has spoken at CSAAC, Muscular Dystrophy Association, Autism Speaks, The Ivymount School and many other organizations.

Michael is a third generation Washingtonian and graduate from the University of Maryland. He resides in Bethesda, Maryland with his wife Linda and daughter Danielle.

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Rhona Schwartz

High School Director
The Katherine Thomas School
As an administrator and a classroom teacher, Ms. Schwartz has more than 35 years of experience working with children and adolescents with learning disabilities, autism, intellectual disabilities and other health impairments. Ms. Schwartz designed and has led the KTS high school program since its inception in 2005. Throughout her career, Ms. Schwartz has nurtured collaborative relationships with funding sources, institutions of higher education, and other community organizations and agencies to maintain a high quality program.

Prior to joining KTS, Ms. Schwartz was for 10 years an assistant head of high school and later Director of Tutoring at a private school for special needs students. Mrs. Schwartz earned her Master’s degree in Special Education from Columbia University's Teachers College in New York.

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Rich Weinfeld

Executive Director
Weinfeld Education Group
Richard Weinfeld directs Weinfeld Education Group, LLC, a group of over 25 educational consultants, located in Maryland, Washington DC, and Virginia. In addition to directing the work of the company, Mr. Weinfeld provides direct special education consultation services to
families of students with special needs. Mr. Weinfeld also provides extensive parent and staff training and consults with schools about appropriate programming for students.

Rich has long been an advocate for quality educational programs for all students. Twenty-six years of his thirty-year career, with Montgomery County (Maryland) Public Schools, were spent in a variety of leadership roles in special education. Mr. Weinfeld has expertise in working with students with a wide range of disabilities including learning disabilities, autism spectrum disorders and emotional disabilities. He served as Montgomery County’s first full-time
coordinator of programs for students who are simultaneously gifted and learning disabled.

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Rick Silver, MD

Psychiatrist & Director
The THRIVE Center for Emerging Young Adults
Rick Silver, M.D., is a psychiatrist and the director of the Thrive Center for Emerging Young Adults, which provides programs for failure to launch young adults. Dr. Silver is committed to multi-modal treatment approaches, well versed in theoretical understandings of ADHD and related issues such as failure to launch, and a dynamic speaker and thoughtful practitioner who connects easily with audiences as well as with individual patients.

Dr. Silver obtained his undergraduate degree from University of Michigan, a master’s degree in public health from The Johns Hopkins School of Public Health, and his medical and psychiatric training at the University of Maryland School of Medicine.

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Sarah Finch Jackson

Instructional Specialist - Twice Exceptional
Montgomery County Public Schools
Sarah grew up in MCPS, graduating from Gaithersburg High School. After, she attended Roanoke College, and received her BA in Environmental Policy and Political Science. After working in a outdoor education with the Girl Scouts, and science education with the Science Museum of Western Virginia, and the IT world, she earned her M.A.T. in Secondary Social Studies Education from Hollins University. While there, she specialized in environmental education through a social studies lens.

In 2010, she then moved back to MCPS and began working in the Bridge Program at Hoover Middle School. She received my M.S.Ed. in Special Education, with endorsements in Gifted Education and Advanced Methods of Differentiation and Inclusion. In 2014, Sarah began working at Northwood High School where she taught in and coordinated the GT/LD program for four years. Sarah is currently an Instructional Specialist in the Division of Accelerated and Enriched Programs, where she specializes in working with twice-exceptional students, their teachers and developing programs. Sarah is also married and has a two-year-old daughter.

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Sarah Harte, LICSW

Clinical Outreach Coordinator
The Dorm
Sarah earned her Bachelor of Science in psychology from Northern Arizona University and her Master of Social Work from New York University with a specialty certification in Clinical Supervision. Sarah has close to two decades working with young adults in the field of social work and collegiate mental health.

Sarah serves as the Assistant Director for Outreach at The George Washington University’s Counseling & Psychological Services. Her hybrid role centers on expert clinical care and the development and implementation of campus-wide outreach. Sarah is an Adjunct Lecturer at the Columbia University School of Social Work and has previously worked with University of Maryland, Barnard College and Semester at Sea.

Sarah joined The Dorm in 2018 with the unique mission of developing strategic opportunities for increased awareness of The Dorm. Sarah believes strongly in the opportunity to further integrate collegiate professionals and stakeholders with The Dorm to protect the investment of university education while ensuring that students have the supports necessary to thrive.

Sarah spends her time outside of work taking long walks with her dog, Sundance. She also loves to travel the world, try new restaurants and cook at home.

13 April

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Sarah Wayland, PhD

Special Needs Care Navigator, Parenting Coach, RDI Consultant
Guiding Exceptional Parents
Sarah C. Wayland, Ph.D. is the owner and founder of Guiding Exceptional Parents, LLC. Her work focuses on providing parents with the tools they need to help their children with ADHD, autism spectrum disorders, learning disabilities, giftedness and other challenges that make it hard to function in school or at home.

She teaches parenting classes as well as classes on parent self-care.

13 April

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Sydney Campbell

Student
Goucher College
Sydney Campbell  attended The Siena School for her last two years of high school and is currently attending Goucher College.

Sydney is a psychology major and creative writing minor and hopes to be a child psychologist in the future.

13 April

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Val Wise, PhD

Adjunct Professor
Johns Hopkins University
Dr. Valaida L. Wise (Val) is an adjunct professor at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland. An educator for almost 20 years, Val received a Bachelor’s degree in developmental psychology from Syracuse University, an M.A.T. from Trinity College, Washington D.C., and holds a doctorate in Education from George Washington University.
A Brava award winner, Val has lectured nationally and internationally, most recently on the topic of early childhood education at Tanjian University and other provinces in China. She has presented at a variety of conferences including, National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS) Education Diplomacy, Children’s Trust, etc. Val has written several articles on educational leadership in early childhood as well as Montessori Education. Her article: A Critical Absence in the Field of Educational Administration: Framing the (Missing) Discourse of Leadership in Early Childhood appears in the International Journal of Educational Leadership Preparation. She is a trustee on several professional and independent school boards. Val is married with 3 children.

13 April

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Whitney Ellenby

Author, Founder of Autism Ambassadors
Autism Ambassadors
Whitney Ellenby is a former US Department of Justice, Disability Rights attorney whose writings have been published in The Washington Post, law review periodical and the U.S. DOJ website. She is the author of “Divinity vs. Discrimination: Curtailing the Divine Reach of Church Authority,” Golden Gate University Law Review (1996)), as well as an amicus brief on behalf of the U.S. DOJ Disability Rights Division regarding discrimination against mo bility-impaired individuals in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

She is the proud parent of a son with Autism and founder of “Autism Ambassadors,” a charitable venture through which she runs exclusive recreational events for over 600 families impacted by Autism in the Washington, DC/Maryland area.

She is an expert on Autism and has testified before the Maryland Senate, and serves on the University of Maryland Autism Spectrum Disorder Advisory Board. Whitney’s expertise is steeped in her extensive disability law background and over 10 years of serving children, teens and adults with Autism through her “Autism Ambassador” events. Her “Ambassador events” have been featured in local TV news, The Washington Post and Bethesda Magazine.

Whitney was most recently honored with a “Community Leader” award for her advocacy and dedication to the disability community of Maryland. She has what she describes as a “healthy obsession” with all things Autism.

13 April

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Winston Frazer

CEO
Danae, Inc
Winston Frazer, the CEO of Danae, inc is obsessed with making everything around us look much more like our dreams. He believes that 3D printing technology is the vehicle that will allow humanity to break free from its mental and physical limitations. Danae provides an individualized manufacturing service to help businesses and amputees create prototypes, accelerate product creation, and optimize new products with a focus on 3-D printing for end-use.

Winston was a Dyslexic student in the Montgomery County Gifted and Talented/Learning Disabled (GT/LD) Program.

13 April

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Commonwealth Academy

2-Day Sponsor
Commonwealth Academy offers an exceptional college preparatory program that serves average to gifted student in Grades 3–12. Our students have varying learning styles and many struggle with ADHD and Executive Function challenges. They benefit from small classes and individualized instruction designed to address learning differences. Our welcoming community provides an environment that celebrates students by appreciating their unique talents, challenging them appropriately and supporting their areas of need. Students in every grade are empowered to reach their highest achievement levels, reflective of their true potential. Our caring and experienced faculty upholds a school culture that fosters both academic risk-taking and social success for our students. Commonwealth Academy students graduate prepared for the challenges of college, career and life pursuits.
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Floreo

2-Day Sponsor
Floreo is the leading science-backed virtual reality platform for teaching social, communication, and life skills for people with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Floreo leverages custom virtual reality content that is designed as intervention for kids and adults with social and communication challenges designed by a team of medical, clinical and academic professionals led by Amazon technology veteran. Floreo is actively licensed by a handful of private and public schools, and therapy clinics. For parents, Floreo’s platform enables them via iPad to coach their kids in VR in real time. Parents are guided through lessons, designed by professionals, so they can continue to build their kid’s skill sets at home. A parent version of Floreo launched in December 2018 and is currently an employee benefit to a Fortune 10 company for parents.
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Fusion Academy

2-Day Sponsor
Fusion Academy in Rockville, Maryland, is much more than an accredited private middle and high school for grades 6-12; it’s a revolutionary community of learning where positive relationships and one-to-one classrooms unlock the academic potential in every student and create opportunities for emotional and social growth.
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McLean School

2-Day Sponsor
Where Others See Disabilities, McLean Sees Gifts.

McLean School transforms lives. Our small classes and Abilities ModelTM prepare bright students K-12 including those with dyslexia, anxiety, attention and organizational issues for college success.

Help Your Child Discover Their Strengths.

McLean School
Transformative
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The Auburn School

2-Day Sponsor
The Auburn School, an integrated program built for student success, weaving together our social skills program and challenging academic curriculum. Our schools serve intellectually curious students with challenges in socialization, communication, and organization.

Auburn integrates art, music, social learning, occupational therapy, study skills, and organizational techniques into core academic subjects. We have campuses in Virginia, DC and Maryland

The Auburn School's Camp Aristotle summer camp provides a fun, stress free environment for students with social and communication challenges. Exciting activities, based on weekly themes, are carefully designed to foster friendships, self awareness, exploration, and social success.
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The Dorm

2-Day Sponsor
Since 2010, our mission has been to guide young adults ages 17 to 35 towards independence through evidence-based clinical therapies, community support and practical skill building.
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PrepMatters

Keynote Sponsor
PrepMatters is a premier provider of academic tutoring services, test preparation, and educational planning both in the greater Washington, DC area and globally, through our remote services. Our one-on-one tutoring helps shape the way students approach standardized testing and educational planning. We believe that if we listen well, build trust with our students, and give them a sense of control, remarkable change is possible. Better Scores. Better Choices.
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TLC's The Katherine Thomas School

Tote Bag Sponsor
The Treatment and Learning Centers is a private, non-profit organization founded in 1950 in Rockville, MD that annually serves nearly 2000 children and adults with a wide range of special needs. Our mission is to improve the lives and expand possibilities for individuals with disabilities through offering a family of services within one organization.

We serve families from Montgomery County, Howard County, Frederick, Washington DC, and northern Virginia.
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Center for Assessment And Treatment (CAAT)

The Center for Assessment And Treatment (CAAT) is an integrated assessment and treatment practice created to improve the lives of individuals and families. By taking a strengths-based approach and working collaboratively with families across the lifespan, we support our clients overcoming obstacles and reaching their full potential. At CAAT we believe everyone has something important to contribute, and the ability to be productive allows us all to be happier and more fulfilled.
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Chelsea School

Chelsea School is a nonprofit special education school for students with language-based learning difference. We are college preparatory program for students in grades 5-12.
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Commonwealth Academy

2-Day Sponsor
Commonwealth Academy offers an exceptional college preparatory program that serves average to gifted student in Grades 3–12. Our students have varying learning styles and many struggle with ADHD and Executive Function challenges. They benefit from small classes and individualized instruction designed to address learning differences.

Our welcoming community provides an environment that celebrates students by appreciating their unique talents, challenging them appropriately and supporting their areas of need.

Students in every grade are empowered to reach their highest achievement levels, reflective of their true potential. Our caring and experienced faculty upholds a school culture that fosters both academic risk-taking and social success for our students.

Commonwealth Academy students graduate prepared for the challenges of col lege, career and life pursuits.
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Eagle Hill School

Eagle Hill School is a co-educational college preparatory boarding school that provides an individualized education for students identified with language based learning (dis)abilities including Dyslexia, Dysgraphia and ADHD (inattentive type). Eagle Hill is an IB World School that offers the International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme in addition to our traditional high school diploma.
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Emerson Preparatory School

Emerson, founded in 1852, is a small, independent, and diverse college preparatory day school for students in grades 9-12. Our mission is to find a happier and healthier path to a higher education for bright students who thrive in a small and inclusive community.
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Fitness for Health

Combining high-tech, state-of-the-art equipment with innovative approaches to exercise, award-winning Fitness for Health helps people of all ages and abilities enjoy the benefits of physical activity while having fun at the same time through therapeutic exercise, occupational therapy, and physical therapy. Our goals are that our clients are engaged, inspired, and having fun while working to improve their motor capabilities and, in turn, improving their self-confidence and self-esteem.
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FlexSchool

FlexSchool is the learning community for gifted and twice-exceptional learners from grades 5 through 12, with a curriculum for post-graduate students as well.

If traditional school environments have not been a good fit for your student, please join us to learn about our philosophy of embracing differences and meeting students where they are. We accept students gifted in one or more areas, including those who have challenges ranging from dyslexia to ADHD to ASD to social anxiety.

We are a strength-based program, focused on helping students develop their gifts and talents with the assistance of our expert educators.
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Floreo

2-Day Sponsor
Floreo is the leading science-backed virtual reality platform for teaching social, communication, and life skills for people with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Floreo leverages custom virtual reality content that is designed as intervention for kids and adults with social and communication challenges designed by a team of medical, clinical and academic professionals led by Amazon technology veteran. Floreo is actively licensed by a handful of private and public schools, and therapy clinics. For parents, Floreo’s platform enables them via iPad to coach their kids in VR in real time. Parents are guided through lessons, designed by professionals, so they can continue to build their kid’s skill sets at home. A parent version of Floreo launched in December 2018 and is currently an employee benefit to a Fortune 10 company for parents.
Back

Fusion Academy

2-Day Sponsor
Fusion Academy in Rockville, Maryland, is much more than an accredited private middle and high school for grades 6-12; it’s a revolutionary community of learning where positive relationships and one-to-one classrooms unlock the academic potential in every student and create opportunities for emotional and social growth.
Back

GTLD Network

The GTLD Network is an organization of parents of twice exceptional children, and the educators and clinicians who work with them. The strength of the GTLD Network is its members, who support parents as they navigate the school IEP and 504 process, provide infomation about the strengths and needs of 2e kids, and advocate for greater understanding and school support.
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Kingsbury Wellness & Learning Group

The Kingsbury Wellness & Learning Group is a multidisciplinary team of dedicated professionals working collaboratively to provide exceptional therapeutic and educational services to children and adults of the Greater DC community.

We treat the whole person.

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Landmark College

Landmark College was the first institution of higher learning to pioneer college-level studies for students with dyslexia. Today, Landmark offers bachelor and associate degree programs for students with learning disabilities including dyslexia, ADHD, and ASD, as well as summer programs for middle school, high school, and college students who learn differently.
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Law Offices of Nicole Joseph

The Law Offices of Nicole Joseph provides representation for families negotiating the special education process including identification, IEP or 504 development, progress monitoring, team meetings, and mediation or appeals, as well as appeals and support through the school discipline process.
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Lindamood-Bell

Lindamood-Bell helps children and adults improve language processing—the foundation of all communication and learning. Our intensive, research-validated, sensory-cognitive instruction has successfully improved reading and comprehension for individuals with learning challenges, including dyslexia, ADHD, and ASD.
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Maryland Association of Nonpublic Special Education Facilities

A range of 80 nonpublic state-approved special education schools offering specialized services and hands-on support to students with disabilities. These schools, located across the state, provide high-quality services customized to meet each student’s needs. Students are referred by Local School Systems, which results in no cost for parents.

For more information and a listing of our member schools, contact the Maryland Association of Nonpublic Special Education Facilities.
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Maryland Insurance Administration

State agency that regulates Maryland's insurance industry
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McLean School

2-Day Sponsor
Where Others See Disabilities, McLean Sees Gifts.

McLean School transforms lives. Our small classes and Abilities ModelTM prepare bright students K-12 including those with dyslexia, anxiety, attention and organizational issues for college success.

Help Your Child Discover Their Strengths.

McLean School
Transformative.
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Power UP by Learning Essentials

By creating a liaison position for families, educators, and medical professionals, we can together communicate and collaborate to design strategies and solutions to make it a good day for students living with medical needs.
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PrepMatters

Keynote Sponsor
PrepMatters is a premier provider of academic tutoring services, test preparation, and educational planning both in the greater Washington, DC area and globally, through our remote services. Our one-on-one tutoring helps shape the way students approach standardized testing and educational planning. We believe that if we listen well, build trust with our students, and give them a sense of control, remarkable change is possible. Better Scores. Better Choices.
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Sheppard Pratt Health System

Sheppard Pratt Health System is the largest private, nonprofit provider of mental health, substance use, developmental disability, special education, and social services in the country. A nationwide resource, Sheppard Pratt provides services across a comprehensive continuum of care, spanning both hospital- and community-based resources. Since its founding in 1853, Sheppard Pratt has been innovating the field through research, best practice implementation, and a focus on improving the quality of mental health care on a global level. Sheppard Pratt has been consistently ranked as a top national psychiatric hospital by U.S. News & World Report for nearly 30 years.
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Summit Camp

Summit's Camp, Travel, and Weekender programs provide therapeutic recreation for children and teens that have social learning and executive function skill deficits.
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The ARC Montgomery County

The Arc Montgomery County connects people of all ages and abilities with their communities to build inclusive and fulfilling lives. We support children, youth, adults, seniors and their families, with and without disabilities, starting as young as six weeks old. We operate a fully-inclusive child care center in Silver Spring, an after-school and summer program for youth with disabilities, and several adult programs.
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The Auburn School

2-Day Sponsor
The Auburn School, an integrated program built for student success, weaving together our social skills program and challenging academic curriculum. Our schools serve intellectually curious students with challenges in socialization, communication, and organization.

Auburn integrates art, music, social learning, occupational therapy, study skills, and organizational techniques into core academic subjects.  We have campuses in Virginia, DC and Maryland

The Auburn School's Camp Aristotle summer camp provides a fun, stress free environment for students with social and communication challenges. Exciting activities, based on weekly themes, are carefully designed to foster friendships, self awareness, exploration, and social success.
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The Chesapeake Center

The Chesapeake Center is dedicated to treating those with ADHD, LD and their many co-exsisting conditions. We offer clinicians who are top specialists in their field, providing individualized care across the lifespan. Our mission is to help our clients live up to their potential by using a solution-based treatment approach that focuses on strengths.
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The Chidren's Guild

The Children's Guild...
Empowering children with the vision to see, the courage to try and the will to succeed.
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The Dorm

2-Day Sponsor
Since 2010, our mission has been to guide young adults ages 17 to 35 towards independence through evidence-based clinical therapies, community support and practical skill building.
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The Lab School of Washington

The Lab School of Washington is an innovative learning community fostering scholarship and creativity in 1st through 12th grade students with language-based learning differences. In an environment of inquiry and hands-on exploration, Lab School students learn to advocate for themselves as they become engaged and compassionate members of a global society.
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The Nora School

The Nora School is an intentionally small college-prep high school designed for bright teens who've been frustrated in school. Established in 1964, we offer an academic program that prepares students for college with less pressure and "room to breathe" and be themselves.
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The Siena School

The Siena School, proudly celebrating its 13th school year, was recently named as Washington FAMILY Magazine's best special needs school three years in a row. Siena is a co-ed day school serving bright college bound students in grades 4-12 with mild to moderate language-based learning differences. Sign up for a Wednesday tour at 9:30am.
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The THRIVE Center for Emerging Young Adults

The THRIVE Center for Emerging Young Adults is and outpatient mental health center dedicated to helping struggling young adults and their parents make the successful move from being stuck to launching into independent young adulthood. Our customized programs range from single services (e.g., Life Skills, Job Skills, Executive Function Coaching, Social Confidence, Substance Education, Emotional Self-Regulation); to year-long intensive programs; to a broad array of services directed at helping parents feel empowered to guide their young adult to independence.
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TLC's The Katherine Thomas School

Tote Bag Sponsor
The Treatment and Learning Centers is a private, non-profit organization founded in 1950 in Rockville, MD that annually serves nearly 2000 children and adults with a wide range of special needs. Our mission is to improve the lives and expand possibilities for individuals with disabilities through offering a family of services within one organization.

We serve families from Montgomery County, Howard County, Frederick, Washington DC, and northern Virginia.
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Weinfeld Education Group

Solutions & Strategies for Student Success

We are a child centered team of special education experts who work collaboratively with all involved professionals to design and review individualized plans, helping each child reach his or her unique potential.
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Wye River Upper School

Wye River Upper School changes the lives of bright students with learning differences by fully engaging them in a challenging educational experience that builds their skills and confidence, prepares them for college, and positions them for success and fulfillment in all walks of life.
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Workshop Registration

08:30 AM 09:20 AM Building 9605 Room 121

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Welcome & Opening Remarks

09:20 AM 09:30 AM Building 9605 Room 121

Speakers

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CE Workshop - Supporting Optimal Outcomes for a Neurodiverse Community

09:30 AM 11:00 AM Building 9605 Room 121

A central challenge of parenting is that as soon as we have mastered one set of challenges, a new set emerges. Most often, these new challenges come at developmental milestones, and it can be harrowing for both providers and parents.

The challenge of creating an evolving treatment plan that supports children and families with neurodiverse backgrounds that may affect learning, emotion and behavior regulation, or navigating the social world as the children grow and mature takes a clear-eyed understanding of the end goal you are working towards. For a young neuro-diverse adult to successfully maximize their abilities to be independent, they must have a comprehensive understanding of their strengths and weaknesses, including the underlying causes for their challenges and the ability to persist in the face of difficulties.

In this seminar, we embrace neurodiversity as we examine the key developmental transition periods from preschool through young-adulthood with a practical focus on understanding how to identify and leverage strengths, uncover and address underlying neuropsychological challenges that impact developmental progress, and illustrate how to pragmatically and practically prepare children and families for adulthood and all stages of development. This seminar is appropriate for mental health and educational professionals, including assessors, therapists, and tutors working with developmental differences.

Learning Objectives:
  • Identify the strengths of the individual that make them ready for the next stage.
  • Identify the challenges that may interfere with success at the next stage
  • Identify the strategies they will use to address and overcome the challenge
  • Identify effective strategies for promoting independence, responsibility and resilience in children with differences.

Speakers

Black CE Workshop.pdf Download Link
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Networking Brunch

11:00 AM 11:30 AM Building 9605 Room 121

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CE Workshop - continued

11:30 AM 01:00 PM Building 9605 Room 121

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Conference Registration

08:00 AM 09:00 AM Gilchrest Hall Lobby

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Conference Welcome

09:00 AM 09:10 AM Gilcrest Hall Auditorium

Speakers

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Keynote: Differently Wired: Raising an Exceptional Child in a Conventional World

09:10 AM 10:30 AM Gilchrest Hall Auditorium

Today one in five children is neurodivergent, or what Debbie calls “differently wired,” yet this ubiquitous population is stuck growing up in a world that don’t embrace their gifts, talents, and the modern-day evolution they represent.

In her keynote address, Debbie will share ten powerful “tilts,” a.k.a. practical ideas to help parents, professionals, and educators shift their thinking and actions in a way that will help them not only feel more confidence and peace in supporting the atypical children in their lives, but meaningful contribute to a new paradigm where differently wired kids are seen and embraced in school and society, ensuring that the future is abnormal in the best possible way.

Speakers

Reber Keynote.pdf Download Link
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1A - Readiness for Kindergarten Panel

10:35 AM 11:35 AM Gilchrest Hall, 2nd floor, room 207

As students move into today’s kindergartens, they face significant academic demands, as well as social and behavioral demands.

This panel of early childhood experts will discuss the indicators of readiness for this first great academic transition and how parents can help their children begin to launch successfully.

Moderator - Ali Lackey

Speakers

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1B - Readiness for Middle School Panel

10:35 AM 11:35 AM Gilchrest Hall, 2nd floor, room 215

Traditional middle school programs present a huge set of demands for students. The executive functioning challenges of dealing with multiple classes and multiple teachers, who have different systems and expectations, present a significant challenge for many students. Middle school is also a time of significant social challenges.

This panel of middle school experts will discuss the ways parents and professionals can support students during this time of transition.

Moderator - Hayley Jacobson

Speakers

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1C - Readiness for High School Panel

10:35 AM 11:35 AM Gilchrest Hall Auditorium

Typical high school programs place significant pressure on students, who are faced with earning credits toward graduation and with the pressure of getting ready for college and/or the world of work.

This panel of experts will discuss how parents can begin to launch students towards independence during this important period.

Moderator - Dave Mullens

Speakers

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Lunch & Exhibit Hall

11:40 AM 01:10 PM Building 9605 Room 121

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2A - Launching 2E Students

12:25 PM 01:10 PM Building 9605 Room 123

Your child is almost finished with high school and now they are thinking about what is next. The options for twice-exceptional kids can be tough to figure out because their asynchronous development means they have the ability to shine in some areas, while simultaneously struggling to master other skills like executive functioning, reading, and adaptive skills.

In this presentation, you will learn about some of the options for life after high school, how to set your child up for success, and how to support and collaborate with your young adult to help them make sensible choices that will lead to a rich and fulfilling life.

Speakers

LaunchingYour2eStudent.pdf Download Link
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2B - Launching Students with Autism

12:25 PM 01:10 PM Gilchrest Hall, 2nd floor lounge

So begins the turbulent ride of one parent’s decision, crafted in despair and desperation, to abandon traditional interventions for her autistic son in favor of a “hands on” approach of repeatedly exposing her son to real-world settings. Autism Uncensored is an unrestricted portal into the mind of someone who had no intention of sacrificing her career or life for Autism, unaware of the many ways it would irreversibly redefine both. As she clarifies at the outset, “this is not the story of a miraculous breakthrough or recovery,” Zack is still very much autistic and always will be. It is instead the true, real-time account of her decision to allow Zack to indulge in the very behaviors that formal therapies sought to extinguish, to disclose Zack’s diagnosis in public settings, and to repeatedly e xpose him to real-world situations and override his tantrums regardless of public ridicule or scorn.

Autism Uncensored goes where no other book dares—revealing the private disgrace and self-blame about having a “defective” child; the near disintegration of marriage; the failure of the traditional behavioral interventions; and the mercenary way in which service providers prey on parents’ desperation for a cure. It is a personal manifesto about how a socially integrated life is attainable regardless of whether a child overcomes the major limitations of Autism, sparking a new conversation which goes beyond simply accepting persons with Autism for who they are, but considers pushing them beyond their comfort zones to learn who they are capable of becoming. An unstoppable ride with jolting twists and turns, Autism Uncensored will leave you exhilarated, informed and still gasping for air.

Speakers

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2C - Launching Students with Mental Health Challenges

12:25 PM 01:10 PM Building 9605 Room 125

Three pinnacle questions come to mind when students are being placed in classroom settings:
  1. Do we really know how to look at our students?
  2. Have evaluative tests become so standardized that we use the results to assume mental stability is equal to high scores? and;
  3. What protocols, if any, ARE currently in place when emotional suffering is suspected?

Our society has been programed quite well to attend to physical ailments. But, we are also programmed to not intrude on emotional ailments.

In addition, along with the curriculum guidance, are the mainstream teachers guided on what to look for to see if student is suffering? What are they to do if there is that suspicion or are they simply looking the other way due to fears of legal ramifications?

Speakers

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3A - Launching at Every Age and Stage

01:15 PM 02:15 PM Gilchrest Hall Auditorium

A central challenge of parenting is that as soon as we have mastered one set of challenges, a new set emerges. This workshop will assist parents to support their neurodiverse children through the many transitions of childhood and adolescence while taking the long-view of working toward having confident, happy young adults ready to take on the challenges of adulthood.

Speakers

Black Saturday Workshop.pdf Download Link
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3B - Diploma vs. Certificate

01:15 PM 02:15 PM Gilchrest Hall, 2nd floor, room 207

As academic demands have increase in our schools, many parents have been advised to to take their children off the diploma track and have them pursue certificates instead.  This panel of experts will explore the implications of choosing each of these paths, as well as parental rights within this process.

Moderator - Jennifer Fisher

Speakers

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3C - Employment and Independent Living

01:15 PM 02:15 PM Gilchrest Hall, 2nd floor, room 215

Two of the ultimate goals of special education are to prepare students for employment and independent living. For those students who need support with entering the world of work and in preparing to live on their own, there are agencies and supports that can help make this a reality.  This panel of experts will discuss how parents can successfully launch students who need extra support in these two crucial areas.

Moderator - Gretchen Levine

Speakers

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4A - The Struggling to Launch Young Adults: From Failure to Success

02:20 PM 03:20 PM Gilchrest Hall Auditorium

Parenting the struggling to launch young adult can be an arduous task, as these individuals try to meet the challenges of finding a clear identity, separating from family, and developing a sense of intrinsic motivation. Parents often feel at a loss to understand why their child has reached an impasse where jobs, school, friendships and emotional stability seem impossible to reach; and powerless to help their child make healthy changes. This presentation will answer some of the more pressing questions at this developmental stage, including the roots of failure to launch, interventions that can be used at home to shape more age-appropriate behaviors, what kind of help to seek from professionals and how to find the emotional support as parents so necessary to successfully deal with this life stage. Ample time will be provided to address specific concerns from participants.

Speakers

Silver Launch Young Adults.pdf Download Link
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4B - Readiness for College Panel

02:20 PM 03:20 PM Gilchrest Hall, 2nd floor, room 207

It’s never too early to begin thinking about college! This panel of experts will share information and strategies so that families can help prepare students for a successful college transition. Participants will learn to identify potential concerns; promote independence; foster necessary academic, social, and emotional skills; and identify the best fit college and supports for their student. With planning and practice, students can become college ready and launch successfully.

Moderator - Joan Wittan

Speakers

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4C - Readiness for Financial Independence Panel

02:20 PM 03:20 PM Gilchrest Hall, 2nd floor, room 215

The Panel of three financial planners will discuss steps parents can take to help ensure their children, when they become young adults, will have the knowledge and techniques necessary for financial independence. The Panel will also discuss ways for parents to provide financial resources to their children that will help them launch.

Moderator - Matt Bogin

Speakers

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Launched! A Panel of Young Adults Discussing What Worked

03:25 PM 04:30 PM Gilchrest Hall Auditorium

All of the speakers of this year’s Diamonds conference will present information about how parents and professionals can prepare students to launch successfully.

In this culminating panel, hear from the young adults, themselves, about what worked for them, in school and at home, to help them be the successful adults they are today.

Moderator - Rich Weinfeld

Speakers

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Closing Remarks, Silent Auction Winners

04:30 PM 04:45 PM Gilchrest Hall Auditorium

Speakers