SPEAKER SERIES
2016-2017

All events are free and open to the public. 

 

Tuesday, September 13, 2016
Norwalk Public Schools SPED Department:
What to Expect in the 2016-2017 School Year

 

Presenters: Lynn C. Toper, Ed.D. and
Yvel C. Crevecouer, Ph.D.

 
The Specialized Learning and Student Services Department of the Norwalk Public Schools (NPS) recognizes that parents/guardians are integral participants in the development of their child’s educational programming and that it very important that the schools and parents work together in order for all students to benefit from their school experience.

Lynn C. Toper, Ed.D. is the recently appointed Chief of Specialized Learning and Student Services for NPS. She will discuss the CREC report and what she plans to accomplish over the next year.

Yvel C. Crevecouer, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Special Education at the City College of New York (CUNY), heads the NPS Board’s newly formed SPED committee. He will discuss his plans for the committee.

6:00 p.m. Sandwiches & Refreshments

6:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m. Discussion

SoNo Branch Norwalk Public Library
10 Washington Street, Norwalk
Community Room

Co-Sponsor:
SoNo Branch Norwalk Public Library:
Community Conversations
 



 

Tuesday, October 25, 2016
The Many Faces of ADD/ADHD

 

Presenter: Dave Sylvestro

 
“Wait…What??

If the sole impact of a child’s ADD/ADHD were just his teacher hearing this refrain whenever she gave oral directions, signaled a change in activity or distributed a previously announced quiz, the remediation would be simpler.

The fact is that struggles with attention have an impact that stretches far beyond the classroom. People with ADD/ADHD often experience difficulties with initiating and sustaining relationships, managing the details of their lives, holding jobs and fending off frequently co-morbid conditions, such as anxiety, depression, bi-polar disorder and social phobia.

On the other hand, nearly one-third of CEOs of major companies have ADHD and/or dyslexia — a percentage suggesting that these “dysfunctions” can have significant functional benefits as well. ADHD is strongly associated with creativity, spontaneity and positive work ethic. Many characteristics that are key to leading successful start-up ventures are among the features related to ADHD.

This discussion will provide an opportunity to discuss ways we can maximize the experience of having ADD/ADHD while managing some of the fallout.

Dave Sylvestro, school psychologist at Eagle Hill Schools for over 30 years, facilitates individual- and group-counseling sessions, parent support groups and Dads-Only groups, presents at LD conferences worldwide, provides training and staff development to professionals and is a contributing writer for Parents Together.

6:00 p.m. Sandwiches & Refreshments

6:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m. Presentation

SoNo Branch Norwalk Public Library
10 Washington Street, Norwalk
Community Room

Co-Sponsor:
SoNo Branch Norwalk Public Library:
Community Conversations

MATERIALS: ADD/ADHD (Powerpoint Format)
 



 

Wednesday, November 16, 2016
Substance Abuse: Prevention & Education

 

Presenters: Maggie Young and
Dennis Bludnicki

 
Addiction is a wide-ranging topic with dangerous, long-lasting consequences, especially for teens with anxiety and mood challenges, learning disabilities, ADD/ADHD, OCD, executive function disorder and other regulatory issues.

Maggie Young and Dennis Bludnicki, staff from Liberation Programs, Inc., will discuss addiction in teens, including: how to talk to your kids about addiction; how stress and anxiety can impact your teen’s substance use/abuse and what you can do about it; and warning signs of substance abuse and how you can catch them early.

Liberation Programs provides a variety of services to help youth, adults and families stay free of the disease of addiction in order to restore their lives. The agency has sites in Norwalk, Darien, Greenwich, Stamford and Bridgeport, which serve 1,200 people daily. Services include residential and outpatient substance abuse treatment programs, as well as preventative education and community outreach.

Dennis Bludnicki has been with Liberation Programs, Inc. for more than 12 years. Dennis initially worked as a drug counselor at Greenwich Youth Options for seven years prior to serving as a counselor at Liberation’s Outpatient Clinic in Stamford. There he provided individual, group and family counseling to adults dealing with alcohol and other drug addictions. Currently, Dennis has returned to working with youth and their families in the Greenwich community and surrounding area, providing prevention education and drug and alcohol counseling.

Maggie Young has been with Liberation Programs, Inc. for 22 years. She worked as a case manager, counselor, and team leader for 10 years before serving as the Director of the agency’s male (Liberation House) and female (Families in Recovery) inpatient treatment programs for another ten years. Since 2014 she has been the Director of the Youth and Family Resource Program in Greenwich.

6:00 p.m. Sandwiches & Refreshments

6:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m. Presentation

SoNo Branch Norwalk Public Library
10 Washington Street, Norwalk
Community Room

Co-Sponsor:
SoNo Branch Norwalk Public Library:
Community Conversations
 



 

Tuesday, January 10, 2017
Snags, Bumps and Setbacks at IEP Meetings

 

Presenter: Attorney Nora Belanger

 
IEP and Section 504 Meetings may be straightforward and collaborative yearly events. Oftentimes, however, they are stressful, adversarial and emotionally exhausting. Attorney Nora Belanger will discuss common pitfalls parents and caregivers encounter and how you can best prepare yourself to be a focused, knowledgeable and calm advocate for your child. Bring your questions or send them in advance to: info@spednetwilton.org.

Nora Belanger, Esq. is a special education and disability rights attorney in Norwalk. She has been in practice for over 15 years and has successfully represented hundreds of children with disabilities. Having been a special education teacher in a prior career, Attorney Belanger brings this experience to her legal practice. She has also been a speaker at numerous parent groups on the subject of special education law and parent’s rights.

Learn more about Attorney Belanger at norabelangerlaw.com.

6:00 p.m. Sandwiches & Refreshments

6:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m. Presentation

SoNo Branch Norwalk Public Library
10 Washington Street, Norwalk
Community Room

Registration:
Please register by email, on-line, or by calling the Library: 
203-899-2790, Ext. 15902

Questions/Comments: info@spednetwilton.org

Co-Sponsor:
SoNo Branch Norwalk Public Library:
Community Conversations

MATERIALS: IEP Meetings (Powerpoint Format)
 



 

Monday, February 27, 2017
Raise Your Child to Be a Resilient Adult

 

Presenter: Tracey Masella, LCSW

 
Tracey Masella, LCSW, Adolescent Transitional Living Program Manager, Silver Hill Hospital in New Canaan, will illustrate how helping a child to learn to live life on life’s terms will build resilience. Parents will learn how to foster problem solving skills and interpersonal effectiveness in their children by using mindfulness (where do we put our focus) and distress tolerance (how do we calm ourselves) techniques.

Tracey Masella comes to the field of clinical social work following a career in academic publishing. She graduated from Marquette University in 1986 and worked with Prentice Hall Publishing and the New School University. After a brief hiatus to raise her two sons, Tracey went back to the New School to work as a program manager on the non-profit Journal Donation Project. Working on this project inspired Tracey to return to school for social work. Tracey graduated from the Fordham University Graduate School of Social Service, earning the Dr. Edward L. Curran award for highest achievement in academics, practical experience, and school service. During her time at Fordham, Tracey worked at the New Haven Family Alliance developing an adolescent court diversion program, working with adolescents and families in the community through mediation, family therapy, and case management.

Tracey has worked at Silver Hill Hospital for eight years, most recently as the Program Manager for the Adolescent Transitional Living Program, a Dialectical Behavior Therapy-based program. While at Silver Hill, Tracey has worked extensively with the dual diagnosis adult patients and adults with personality disorders in the adult DBT program; as part of a multi-disciplinary team, she has treated patients with a full range of diagnoses, including substance use disorders, personality disorders, and mood disorders. Tracey also spent two years as the Program Coordinator for the Transitional Living Program. Tracey is intensively trained in DBT and has additional training in DBT for Adolescents and DBT-S for substance use disorder treatment.

Tracey serves as the Board Chairperson of Medical Relief Alliance, a non-profit organization working with women in Kenya who are affected by HIV/AIDS by offering medical help, education, and a micro-finance program. Tracey also has a private practice in New Canaan and works with the Center for Cognitive and Behavioral Health in Westport.

6:00 p.m. Sandwiches & Refreshments

6:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m. Presentation

SoNo Branch Norwalk Public Library
10 Washington Street, Norwalk
Community Room

Registration:
Please register by email, on-line, or by calling the Library: 
203-899-2790, Ext. 15902

Questions/Comments: info@spednetwilton.org

Co-Sponsor:
SoNo Branch Norwalk Public Library:
Community Conversations

MATERIALS: Resilient Adult (Powerpoint Format)
 



 

Thursday, March 2, 2017
Auditory Processing: Mysteries and Misconceptions

 

Presenter: Lydia Soifer, Ph.D.

 
Auditory processing; what does that really mean? Parents and teachers alike will become better informed and more able to understand, help and teach children with auditory processing challenges after hearing Lydia Soifer, Ph.D. speak. Come learn the key concepts, controversies and approaches that make auditory processing a topic of ongoing interest for anyone working with children for whom learning is difficult.

Dr. Soifer is a language pathologist with over 40 years of experience in clinical and private practice, as well as university teaching. For its highly respected and valued 25-year tenure, The Soifer Center for Learning and Child Development, founded and directed by Dr. Soifer, was the first multidisciplinary private diagnostic and remedial setting established in Westchester County.

Dr. Soifer continues to provide educational consultation and advocacy services to families on behalf of their children, in coordination with other professionals and schools. Classroom Language Dynamics ©, the teacher training program Dr. Soifer designed, is used in a variety of school settings to empower teachers and invigorate learners of all kinds. A frequent presenter at local and national conferences, Dr. Soifer focuses on guiding all educational professionals to answer the essential question, “Who is this child?” Additionally, she is Assistant Clinical Professor of Pediatrics and faculty member in the Early Intervention Training Institute (EITI), both at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine.

7:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.

Temple Sholom of Greenwich, CT
300 East Putnam Avenue
Greenwich, CT

Co-Sponsors:
Smart Kids with Learning Disabilities and Temple Sholom of Greenwich, CT

MATERIALS: Auditory Process Mysteries (Powerpoint Format)
 



 

CANCELLED DUE TO INCLEMENT WEATHER

Tuesday, March 14, 2017
Literacy Evaluations and the Dyslexic Student

 

Presenter: Sheryl Knapp, M.Ed.

 
Sheryl Knapp, M.Ed., A/AOGPE, the founder of the Literacy Learning & Assessment Center of Connecticut, in Norwalk and Ridgefield, will discuss the essential components of literacy — including phonemic awareness, word identification, fluency, vocabulary and comprehension. She will review the importance of each and the ways in which each can be effectively assessed, with a particular focus on students with dyslexia.

Sheryl provides training and consultative services to local families and school districts, as well as direct literacy remediation for students with a wide array of disabilities. She earned her Associate level Certification with the Academy of Orton-Gillingham Practitioners & Educators in 2010 and is currently working toward the next level of certification with the Academy. Sheryl has a Masters in Education in Curriculum and Instruction, with a specialization in literacy, from Post University, a Masters in Decision Sciences from the University of Pennsylvania, and a B.A. in Cognitive Science and Psychology from Wesleyan University. A frequent presenter on topics relating to literacy interventions and assessments, Sheryl was a long-time Board member for the CT Down Syndrome Congress and currently serves as President of the Dyslexia Society of CT and is a contributing writer and editor for SmartKids with Learning Disabilities, in Westport.

6:00 p.m. Sandwiches & Refreshments

6:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m. Presentation

SoNo Branch Norwalk Public Library
10 Washington Street, Norwalk
Community Room

Registration:
Please register by email, on-line, or by calling the Library: 
203-899-2790, Ext. 15902

Questions/Comments: info@spednetwilton.org

Co-Sponsors:
Smart Kids with Learning Disabilities and
SoNo Branch Norwalk Public Library:
Community Conversations
 



 

Tuesday, March 28, 2017
“How Much is Too Much?”
Media, Alcohol, Drugs and Other Addictive Behaviors

 

Presenter: Liz Driscoll Jorgensen, CADC

 
Addictive behaviors can have dangerous and long-lasting consequences. If your teens and pre-teens are stressed at home or at school or if they have mood, regulatory or learning challenges, addictive behaviors can easily get the better of them. Liz Driscoll Jorgensen, a certified alcohol and drug counselor, will discuss how to set and maintain reasonable and healthy limits to keep your teen safe and balanced in a drug and alcohol- and technology-driven world.

Liz, the director of Insight Counseling, LLC in Ridgefield, has over 28 years of experience with adolescent and adult psychotherapy and counseling. A nationally recognized expert in substance abuse counseling, Liz received a Congressional Award for her work in treatment and prevention of substance abuse in 1994 and served as the coordinator of Adolescent Substance Abuse Services, at Danbury Hospital, where she created and ran the dual diagnosis partial hospital, intensive outpatient and outpatient services for 18 years.

7:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.

Wilton Library
137 Old Ridgefield Road, Wilton

Registration:
Please register by email.

Questions/Comments: info@spednetwilton.org

Co-Sponsors:
Wilton Youth Services, Wilton Youth Council and
Wilton Library
 
MATERIALS: Addictive Behaviors (Powerpoint Format)
 



 

Tuesday, April 25, 2017
Skills for Taming Transition-Related Meltdowns

 

Presenter: Susan Bauerfeld, Ph.D.

 
The heavily scheduled life of a student demands an endless stream of transitions from one activity to the next: one subject/class/teacher to the next; home to school; school to sports or other after-school activities and homework, etc. Successfully negotiating a transition involves several steps and requires many skills. Time pressure, anxiety, and undeveloped skills can all interfere with successful transitioning and contribute to transition-related meltdowns, which are common, disruptive and challenging to manage.

In this talk, Susan Bauerfeld, Ph.D., a licensed clinical psychologist, parent consultant/coach, and ADHD coach, will present strategies to help your child build the skills necessary to successfully negotiate transitions in ways that promote self-regulation, competence, and healthy self-esteem.

Dr. Bauerfeld’s passion is teaching skills that lead to positive and connected relationships, especially the skills of self-regulation, anxiety management, and effective communication. Combining the experiences and challenges she encountered while raising her own three boys with her expertise in psychotherapy, neuropsychology, cognitive remediation, and ADHD coaching, she works to help parents strengthen their most powerful tool — a supportive, connective relationship with their children.

In presentations, workshops, individual consultations, coaching, and psychotherapy sessions, Dr. Bauerfeld offers compassion, humor, and understanding as she helps parents (and their kids) develop the necessary skills to manage worries and challenges more efficiently, so they can learn more effectively and lead calmer and more capable and connected lives.

6:00 p.m. Sandwiches & Refreshments

6:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m. Presentation

SoNo Branch Norwalk Public Library
10 Washington Street, Norwalk
Community Room

Registration:
Please register by email.

Questions/Comments: info@spednetwilton.org

Co-Sponsor:
SoNo Branch Norwalk Public Library:
Community Conversations
 



 

Tuesday, May 16, 2017
“I KNOW we’re not supposed to use this word, but…
IS MY KID’S BEHAVIOR NORMAL?”

 

Presenters: Dave Sylvestro
and Gail Gaiser

 
Most of us like to consider ourselves strong enough to resist conforming to the norm “just because everyone else is doing it.” While “Daring to be different” has a positive connotation, being a “follower” does not.

Yet, when it comes to our children’s cognitive, social and emotional development, we often take comfort in knowing that our kids are following a path that is more “typical” than not. We keep track of milestones achieved “within normal limits” and celebrate when out infants smile, sit, crawl and stand according to Dr. Spock’s guidelines. There is relief in predictability.

But when a learning disability, attention deficit or autism spectrum disorder is added to the mix, the ability to take comfort in our child’s “expected” development gets tossed out the window. Children with LD often are slow to talk, struggle to follow directions, and misunderstand simple conversations; a child with ADHD is likely to experience difficulty in sustaining attention to an activity, be fidgety and disorganized, and have a hard time taking turns; a child with an Autism Spectrum Disorder may avoid eye contact, imitate words, gestures or facial expressions, or choose not to play or interact with others.

School psychologist Dave Sylvestro and speech and language pathologist Gail Gaiser, both from Eagle Hill School and both with over 30 years’ experience, will discuss the similarities and differences in the symptomology of children with LD, ADHD and ASD and those children whose development is more typical. By outlining developmental trajectories and behaviors that are considered “expected” and those that may be red flags for LD, ADHD or ASD, we hope this presentation will help parents decrease their anxiety about behaviors that may well be developmentally appropriate, as well as alert them to some patterns of symptoms that call for a closer clinical look.

Mr. Sylvestro facilitates individual and group-counseling sessions, parent support groups and Dads-Only groups, presents at LD conferences worldwide, provides training and staff development to professionals, and is a contributing writer for Parents Together. Ms. Gaiser, who has worked with pre-school to high school students with language impairments, was co-founder and co-director of Pathways School, a school for students on the autism spectrum and other neurological impairments, and has worked with students at Alcott School, the Windward School, and in her private practice.

6:00 p.m. Sandwiches & Refreshments

6:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m. Presentation

SoNo Branch Norwalk Public Library
10 Washington Street, Norwalk
Community Room

Registration:
Please register by email.

Questions/Comments: info@spednetwilton.org

Co-Sponsor:
SoNo Branch Norwalk Public Library:
Community Conversations
 



 

Tuesday, May 23, 2017
Your Kids’ Secrets about Drugs and Alcohol

 

Presenters: Maggie Young and
Dennis Bludnicki

 
Vaping? Pharming? Bowling?

It can be difficult to speak with your kids about drugs and alcohol. Addiction, however, is a wide-ranging topic with dangerous, long-lasting consequences, especially for teens and pre-teens with anxiety and depression, learning disabilities, ADD/ADHD, OCD, executive function disorder and other regulatory issues.

Maggie Young and Dennis Bludnicki, staff from Liberation Programs, Inc., will discuss addiction in teens, including: how to talk to your kids about addiction; how stress and anxiety can impact your teen’s substance use/abuse and what you can do about it; and warning signs of substance abuse and how to catch them early.

Liberation Programs provides a variety of services to help youth, adults and families stay free of the disease of addiction in order to restore their lives. The agency has sites in Norwalk, Darien, Greenwich, Stamford and Bridgeport, which serve 1,200 people daily. Services include residential and outpatient substance abuse treatment programs, as well as preventative education and community outreach.

Dennis Bludnicki has been with Liberation Programs, Inc. for more than 12 years. Dennis initially worked as a drug counselor at Greenwich Youth Options for seven years prior to serving as a counselor at Liberation’s Outpatient Clinic in Stamford. There he provided individual, group and family counseling to adults dealing with alcohol and other drug addictions. Currently, Dennis has returned to working with youth and their families in the Greenwich community and surrounding area, providing prevention education and drug and alcohol counseling.

Maggie Young has been with Liberation Programs, Inc. for 22 years. She worked as a case manager, counselor, and team leader for 10 years before serving as the Director of the agency’s male (Liberation House) and female (Families in Recovery) inpatient treatment programs for another ten years. Since 2014 she has been the Director of the Youth and Family Resource Program in Greenwich.

6:00 p.m. Sandwiches & Refreshments

6:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m. Presentation

SoNo Branch Norwalk Public Library
10 Washington Street, Norwalk
Community Room

Registration:
Please register by email.

Questions/Comments: info@spednetwilton.org

Co-Sponsor:
SoNo Branch Norwalk Public Library:
Community Conversations
 



 

Visit THE ARCHIVES for descriptions of previous Speaker Series presentations, as well as downloadable materials.

 

 

 

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