Current Seminars

Coaching Adolescents At Risk for Addiction

Human beings are born with biological and psychological systems that can lead to drug and alcohol problems. This seminar will begin by describing and critiquing theories of addiction including the Gateway model and the Continuum Model. Drug and alcohol problems do not happen right away: addiction is a process. Teens use drugs in a non-problem way BEFORE they have substance abuse problems. An individualized cycle develops for each person according to their family, social and school environments. As well, each person goes through a different cycle for each substance he/she experiments with: each person has a unique relationship with each drug. Brain change due to alcohol and drug problems will be reviewed. Classes of drugs likely to be abused will be discussed including: depressants, stimulants, hallucinogens, and opiates. Medicine that is currently used to treat alcohol and drug addiction will be explained. There are numerous treatment programs to help prevent alcohol and drug abuse in children and teens and many methods of treatment once the teen has moved down the road toward addiction. The role of coaching children and teens with alcohol and drug problems will be elaborated and emphasized in this seminar.

DSM 5 Update: Disorders of Childhood Autism, Social (Pragmatic) Communication Disorder, Pediatric Bipolar Disorder and Disruptive Mood Dysregulation Disorder

DSM 5 was introduced to the educational and clinical community recently and provides a wealth of new ideas and theories. This comprehensive seminar will update educators and clinicians on DSM 5 diagnoses related to the neurodevelopment of children and provide educators and clinicians with current diagnostic checklists, updated research on the neurodevelopment of children, and detail on how development derails. For each disorder listed--autism, social (pragmatic) communication disorder, pediatric bipolar disorder, and disruptive mood dysregulation disorder--you will learn the newest diagnostic criteria, diagnostic features, and related information. Research from the last three years will also be presented, reviewed, and evaluated.

Disorders of Attachment and Reactive Attachment Disorders in Children

Attachment plays a vital evolutionary role. It ensures brain growth, infant development, and social cognition. Attachment is a neurobiological process that prepares the child for collaborative existence with people. The goal of parent-child interaction is secure attachment. When secure attachment is not achieved forms of insecure attachment or reactive attachment disorder evolve to causally result in impairment of motor control, attention, social information processing, emotional control and intelligence. The impact of reactive attachment disorder is profound. This seminar will review new, startling empirical research, demonstrate tests for assessing attachment in infants, children and adults and review intervention programs directed toward improved parenting, child remediation and earned security in the adult.

The Brain: Issues in Learning, Memory and Interventions

This seminar provides a tour of the central nervous system starting in the spinal cord and brain stem, then moving up to the higher centers of thinking, learning and memory. Ideas for teaching include how to engage higher centers of learning. Emphasis is placed on the balance of higher order learning with lower order learning. Basic descriptions of neurons and neurotransmitters are offered along with information on the development of brain circuitry. Strategies for instruction follow a time-line going from engagement, focus and attention to sustained neural firing that promotes micro-gene transcription, which is actual learning. Learning is described in terms of cellular mechanisms and the relay of information across vast neuro-pathways. Optimal teaching focuses on the spread of information across pathways: how do we promote long term potentiation? Executive functions, as they relate to learning, are explained. Teachers want to play to the executive function in order to capture attention and ensure that the learning goals are accepted by the CEOs of the brain. Memory is discussed in terms of functions of the hippocampus, amygdala and pituitary. Direct instruction and Precision teaching aim to provide adequate dialogue, previewing and practice to move information into long term storage. Alexithymia is described as problems with right-left hemisphere function. Educators will look at the process by which students make thoughts and feelings verbal and how to encourage this transfer of brain states. Teachers will learn how to optimize callosal transfer to create verbal expression, access to thoughts, emotions and concepts.

The Brain: Issues in Emotional-Social Development and Disorders of Affect

The process of emotional development is described as the infant forms bonds with caregivers and begins to participate in a communicative give and take. Educators and counselors will identify behavior showing problems with bonding and trust. This emotional turn-taking, which grows from bonding and attachment, gives way to affect development and elaboration of social bonds. These bonds are crucial for the development of neurons, pathways and energy production in the brain. Teachers and counselors will learn how to maximize emotional well-being in order to support learning and memory. Infants with reduced or absent bonding patterns are unable to grow parts of the brain including the orbito-frontal cortex, the pleasure center, the brakes of the brain and the basal ganglia (movement coordinator). Teachers and counselors will learn how to isolate executive disorders and prevent them from hijacking the learning process. Failure to develop vital brain areas renders individuals susceptible to emotional impairment such as reactive attachment disorder, depression, anxiety, selective mutism, borderline personality and post-traumatic stress disorder. Teachers and counselors will learn how to distinguish behaviors which reflect disorders and manage them within school settings.

Bipolar Disorder in Children

According to the DSM IV, children and adolescents do not manifest the symptoms of adult Bipolar Disorder. This seminar will explain how research has shown that children to show symptoms of adult Bipolar Disorder but even more important, children and teens manifest prodromal symptoms of Bipolar Disorder. As well, evidence is reviewed showing that there are known signs and symptoms clusters to describe the prodromal characteristics of Bipolar Disorder. Research is compelling showing that children can be identified in prodromal states of Bipolar Disorder and treated such that the regressive process is stopped. Treatments for Bipolar Disorder in children and teens is discussed, school strategies are reviewed and considerations for medication are offered.

ADHD, Learning and Motivation

Participants will learn the latest research in the area of ADHD, the DSM IV description of ADHD and strategies to treat ADHD. Russell Barkley’s research on the relationship between ADHD, biologically-based motivation deficits and slow cognitive tempo will be discussed, defined and related to treatment protocols. Treatment interventions will be reviewed: collaborative problem-solving, compliance training, negotiation, problem-solving methods, providing external executive support, simple communication, positive behavior support.

Learning Disabilities

The definition of learning disabilities over the course of history will be reviewed. The latest Federal Law related to LD will be discussed and explained in the context of Response to Interventions. The neuropsychological basis of LD will be described and explained related to input, throughput and output.


Call 603-781-3892