Nora School Parent Education Series Topics and Speakers

Academics: Executive Functioning, Study Strategies

Executive Functioning Boot Camp for Parents: Helping teens develop time management, organizational, and study skills for success
Carey A. Heller, Psy.D., The Heller Psychology Group LLC

Executive functioning refers to the mental skills involved in cognitive processes that relate to completing tasks successfully. Thus, attention, planning, organizing, use of working memory skills, and other related items are necessary for successful completion of tasks. Poor executive functioning abilities severely impede time management, organizational, and study skills. Deficits in executive functioning are extremely common in individuals with ADHD and learning disabilities. Many parents do not know how to effectively support their teens with executive functioning deficits and often use tools that may help in the moment (i.e., frequent reminders), but do not employ strategies that promote independence and improvement in executive functioning skills. This presentation will provide parents with an overview of executive functioning and tools to help determine what areas of executive functioning their teens struggle with. Many practical strategies that they can use to help their teens improve any deficits in this domain as well as how to implement these tools will be discussed. Furthermore, an emphasis on building on teens’ strengths to help bolster areas of limitation will be examined.
Carey A. Heller, Psy.D. is a clinical psychologist and partner at The Heller Psychology Group LLC in Bethesda, Maryland. He provides psychotherapy and assessment services for children, adolescents, and young adults. Dr. Heller specializes in the evaluation of ADHD, learning disabilities, and comorbid mood/behavioral disorders. His psychotherapy specializations include: ADHD/executive functioning and Autism Spectrum Disorder. Dr. Heller also blends his assessment knowledge and expertise in treatment to provide an executive functioning boot camp, which is a two hour one-on-one session where he assists individuals in developing effective time management, organizational, and study skills. Follow up sessions to ensure follow through are also used. Furthermore, Dr. Heller published a book last fall related to his executive functioning boot camp: A Do-It-Yourselfer’s Guide to Time Management and Organizational Skills for Students of All Ages: A brief guide for children and teens with easy to implement strategies for success. Finally, he completed his doctorate in clinical psychology at The George Washington University.
November 4, 2015

College Planning

College Planning and Preparation for Teens who Think Differently
Finding the Right Colleges for Students with ADHD, and other learning challenges
College Consulting Collaborative: Sue Cook Christakos, Kyle Kane, Lori Vise, Joan Wittan

Parents of 9th-12th graders welcome.
Preparing for college is about more than grades, test scores, and a college list. The focus of this presentation will be on the six essential skills for college success, what colleges are looking for, the types of accommodations and services that are available, and finding the “right fit”.
The College Consulting Collaborative is a partnership of independent educational consultants who work with students with a wide variety of learning differences. They love the challenge of finding and building on the student’s strengths and maximizing their potential. They have expertise in language-based learning differences, GTLD students, autism spectrum disorders, NLD, special education policies and procedures, accommodations and adaptations, promoting college readiness, assistive technology and adoption. Contact Joan Wittan, Sue Cook Christakos, Kyle Kane, and Lori Vise by visiting their website at

Relationships: Teens

What Works with Teens
Effective Ways to Connect with Your Teen
Britt Rathbone, MSSW LCSW-C, and Julie Baron MSW LCSW-C

Parenting and working with teenagers can be exhausting, confounding, and push us to our limits. Yet adolescents are our future and need stable forces in their lives. Raising and guiding them through this stage of development requires understanding of the nature of adolescence, the adolescent brain, and some key influences that can make the difference between toxic conflict and meaningful growth. Therapists and co-authors Britt Rathbone and Julie Baron will present practical, evidence-based skills for a meaningful and productive relationship needed to guide adolescents toward their goals for independence. In all, to “engage authentically” with teens and create an environment of mutual respect.
Britt Rathbone is a licensed clinical social worker, specializing in the treatment of adolescents. Mr. Rathbone graduated from the School of Social Work at Columbia University in 1986, and has worked exclusively with adolescents and their families since obtaining his degree. Mr. Rathbone treats a wide variety of adolescent mental health issues, and has a special interest in challenging and difficult to treat adolescents, and teenagers who have had previous treatment failures. He is active in training other therapists, speaks often to professional and lay groups on issues of adolescence and taught the course Clinical Social Work With Adolescents and Young Adults to advanced level social work graduate students at the Catholic University of America for many years. He is the coauthor of two professional books: DBT for At-Risk Adolescents: A Practitioner’s Guide to Treating Challenging Behavior Problems and What Works For Teens, as well as the parenting book Parenting A Teen Who Has Intense Emotions. He is among the first therapists in the world and the only adolescent therapist in the metropolitan DC area to be certified by the DBT-Linehan Board of Certification as a Certified DBT Clinician. Washingtonian Magazine has consistently named Mr. Rathbone one of Washington’s best therapists for adolescents, and one of Washington’s best therapists for group therapy.
Julie Baron is a clinical social worker with over twenty years of experience working with adolescents and their families in community based mental health centers, residential treatment facilities, home based crisis stabilization programs, public and private schools, and private practice providing individual, group, and family therapy and advocacy services. She practices evidence-based relational strategies to engage adolescents in intervention and empower young people in reaching their goals. She writes articles and blogs and trains adolescents, parents, and professionals in various disciplines on adolescent development and social culture related issues, such as bullying and cyber-socializing, positive school climate, and practicing therapy with adolescents. She is the co-author of What Works With Teens: A Professional’s Guide to Engaging Authentically with Adolescents to Achieve Lasting Change, New Harbinger, April 1, 2015. November, 2016

Sparking Teen Motivation: Practical lessons from Affective Neuroscience
Rebecca Resnik, Psy.D.
Enthusiasm is what motivates adolescents to achieve their potential. And in our complex, competitive world, keeping that ‘spark’ alive is essential. Parents and teachers alike often wonder about how to motivate adolescents to reach their potential, or how to help a struggling teen rekindle the flame. Fascinating new research from the field of Affective Neuroscience (how the brain processes emotion) sheds light on these issues. Attendees will learn about how teens make decisions, process information, and think about the future as their brains undergo the massive reconstruction project we call adolescence. Dr. Rebecca Resnik will discuss findings from Affective Neuroscience that can be applied to everyday interactions with adolescents. She will also discuss how to avoid common pitfalls that can diminish motivation (or even provoke resistance). Attendees will leave with practical “take aways” for use at home or in the classroom.
Dr. Rebecca Resnik has earned a Doctor of Psychology from The George Washington University. She also holds a Master of Education in Special Education from the The University of Maryland at College Park, as well as a Bachelor of Science, Special Education (Cum Laude and with Honors). Dr. Resnik completed her psychology internship training in Pediatric Psychology and Neuropsychology at Mount Washington Pediatric Hospital. Her Post Doctoral Residency in Psychological Assessment was completed at Mindwell Psychology in Virginia. Dr. Resnik enjoys sharing her love of psychology. Her book, A Family’s First Guide To ADHD, is due to be published in 2016. She serves as a Medical Expert for Medhelp for the ADHD and Learning Disability Forums. She has appeared on Fox News, Let’s Talk Live, and Voice of America. Dr. Resnik regularly contributes to articles about psychology and child development. She loves giving parent education talks, professional training/continuing education for psychologists, and conducting teacher training for private schools. Her website is at

Stress, Self-Propelled Motivation and the Adolescent Brain
William Stixrud, Ph.D. and Ned Johnson, A Sense of Control
We all wish to motivate our children and students, but how can we help them learn to motivate themselves? What leads to ”self-propelled” motivation? What are the right — and wrong — ways to praise teens, as well as the myths about success that may be holding us back as parents, educators and students? This talk will focus on ways that parents and educators can nurture the strong sense of autonomy that underlies self motivation in adolescents and keeps teens from becoming overly stressed. We will also briefly discuss how the human brain works in dealing with motivation, and ways in which anxiety and ADD/ADHD can affect motivation and academic success. Presenters: William R. Stixrud, Ph.D. and Ned Johnson head A Sense Of Control, an organization devoted to helping students develop a stronger sense of inner control. Dr. William Stixrud is a clinical neuropsychologist in private practice since 1985 and an adjunct faculty member of the Children’s National Medical Center. He is also Assistant Clinical Professor of Psychiatry at the George Washington School of Medicine and has served as a consultant to the Division of Neuropsychology at the National Institutes of Health. He is a popular lecturer on topics related to neuropsychological assessment, learning and executive disorders, brain development, brain-based learning, motivation, and the effects of stress and sleep deprivation on the brain. The author of Plain Talk About Early Education and Development, he has also bylined numerous book chapters and articles on the subjects of epilepsy, adolescent brain development, self-esteem, homework, and the effects of Transcendental Meditation on students with ADHD. Ned Johnson is the president and founder of PrepMatters, a firm specializing in tutoring, test preparation and educational planning. A professional “tutor-geek” since 1993, Mr. Johnson has devoted more than 35,000 hours to one-on-one test prep for students of nearly every ability as he’s guided them through an alphabet soup of tests: SSAT, ISEE, ACT and SAT, and GMAT, GRE and LSAT. His fervent belief is that standardized tests are not IQ tests: Performance may hinge on motivation, anxiety, sleep deprivation, or belief systems as much as it relies on knowledge, skills, and ability. Insights that students develop about how they learn and perform may be more meaningful and serve them long after the test is over and the score forgotten. Ned is also the co-author of the book “Conquering the SAT: How Parents Can Help Students Overcome the Pressure and Succeed,” which centers on the outsized role anxiety plays in standardized testing.

Talking Points: Communicating and Setting Family Boundaries
Janette Patterson, MSW, LCMFT
Parenting teenagers is exhausting even in the best of circumstances. The developmental phase of adolescence is like a roller coaster ride as teens are stepping into the process of individuation and claiming her or his place in adulthood. Especially if we have a teen with ADD/ADHD or is sensitive, anxious, or simply a challenging teen, we can be tested as parents to the breaking point. In this workshop we will identify common stressors, warning signs in adolescence, and strategies to improve our relationship with our teens. Tips on how to communicate and set good boundaries effectively with adolescents will be discussed. Janette Patterson, MSW, LCMFT, is a licensed clinical marriage and family therapist with experience supporting and guiding parents in coping with parenting kids with ADHD and other learning and emotional challenges. Janette has worked in a variety of alternative and special educational settings as well as in private practice as a psychotherapist, and in non-profit agencies and hospitals as a social worker and therapist, to support individuals and families with mental health and educational concerns. Presently, Janette has a private practice in Silver Spring and runs the family program at Potomac Pathways, a recovery program for adolescents and young adults.

Technology and Teens

Technology, Teens and Families: Screenagers, a documentary, with Marti Weston moderating
SCREENAGERS probes into the vulnerable corners of family life, including the director’s own, and depicts messy struggles over social media, video games, academics and internet addiction. Through surprising insights from authors and brain scientists solutions emerge on how we can empower kids to best navigate the digital world.
Marti Weston will be the moderator for discussions and Q&A following the documentary. Ms. Weston has blogged, written articles and put on many technology workshops for parents of teenagers, including topics of family boundaries surrounding technology. You can read her blog at Ms. Weston is a retired educator and technology chair with more than 25 years working with students, teachers and parents on instructional technology and digital world topics. Ms. Weston earned a master’s degree from The University of Chicago and retired from Georgetown Day School after 33 years, where she was head of the Technology Department for the Lower and Middle Schools. February, 2017

Technology, Teens and Families: Boundaries: When is Technology Too Much Technology?
Panel: Edward Spector, Psy.D.,LLC, Clifford Sussman, MD, Marti Weston

In today’s world, our teenagers are immersed in temptations in the technological world. From the preoccupying and sometimes compulsive use of cell phones, computer and video games and the Internet, teens use their free time in starkly different ways than their parents did when they were their age. And parents use technology in today’s world too. How do we know when technology is too much? How do we regain a proper balance of time management in the family, and hopefully improve family dynamics with more face time, desired by the parents, balanced with the free choice of a teen’s down time, desired by the teen? How can we make changes now, at home, so they will succeed in high school, college and beyond with technology still demanding so much of their time?
Dr. Spector is a licensed psychologist with expertise in helping children, adolescents, and adults in individual and group therapy. He completed his postdoctoral training at Kingsbury Day School. Dr. Spector has extensive experience in a large group private practice helping clients with ADHD, Learning Disabilities, Autism and Asperger’s Disorder, Anxiety and Depression, Social skills deficits, low self-esteem, Executive Functioning deficits, and poor motivation. In particular, Dr. Spector has a comprehensive knowledge of video games, computer games, and the Internet. He has helped many clients change how they use technology, so that they can lead more productive, balanced lives.
Clifford Sussman, MD has a private practice in psychiatry for children, adolescents, and young adults in Washington, DC. He completed an adult psychiatry residency at Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic in Pittsburgh, PA, and a child and adolescent psychiatry fellowship at Children’s National Medical Center in Washington, DC. He places a clinical emphasis on psychotherapy, often in combination with medication. Dr. Sussman has over 7 years of experience treating digital addictions, aided by a background in educational software and game development as well as motivational interviewing, a form of psychotherapy designed to treat addiction. He also works with many clients with co-morbid conditions, such as ADHD and Autism Spectrum Disorder.
Marti Weston is a retired educator and technology chair with more than 25 years working with students, teachers and parents on instructional technology and digital world topics. Ms. Weston has blogged, written articles and put on many technology workshops for parents of teenagers, including topics of family boundaries surrounding technology. You can read her blog at Ms. Weston earned a master’s degree from The University of Chicago and retired from Georgetown Day School after 33 years, where she was head of the Technology Department for the Lower and Middle Schools.
February 3, 2016

Relationships and ADHD, Anxiety

Understanding Anxiety, ADHD and the Teenage Brain
Erin D. Berman Ph.D., National Institute of Mental Health
What do parents need to know about Anxiety in Teens? This lecture addressed the science and biological roots of anxiety in teen-aged children, how ADHD is linked to anxiety, how computer technology is transforming the understanding of anxiety and how to change anxious thinking. Current treatment options (medications & CBT: cognitive behavioral therapy) and how to identify anxiety in a teen was also discussed. Erin D. Berman Ph.D. is a Clinical Psychologist at the National Institute of Mental Health in Bethesda, Maryland. She received her clinical psychology doctoral degree from Rosalind Franklin University / The Chicago Medical School. Her clinical training continued with attending the Boston Consortium of Clinical Psychology where she was a Harvard Medical School Fellowship recipient. She completed post-doctoral respecialization in child and adolescent Anxiety Disorders at Temple University. Her main area of interest continues to be in cognitive behavioral interventions for children, adolescents, and adults with Anxiety Disorders.

Growing Up with ADHD: The Emotional Ramifications for Teens
Judith M. Glasser, Ph.D.
Shame and blame can be significant consequences of growing up with AD/HD. A lifetime of hearing things like these have an effect on teens: sit down, be quiet, why can’t you focus on your work, you aren’t working up to your potential. Meanwhile loving parents and teachers who don’t understand often blame their teenager and/or each other. Some of the emotional consequences of growing up with AD/HD will be addressed in this presentation. Specific ideas to help parents lessen the emotional impact of raising teenagers with AD/HD will be presented. Dr. Judith Glasser is a clinical psychologist with more than 30 years of experience working with families in the Washington DC metro area, specializing in therapy and assessment with children and teenagers. Over the years she has learned that many of the children she sees with emotional difficulties have associated and undiagnosed AD/HD. Dr. Glasser co-authored a chapter in a book edited by Sam Goldstein, Jack Naglieri and Melissa DeVries that was published in 2011: Learning and Attention Disorders in Adolescence and Adulthood: Assessment and Treatment (second edition). She also wrote a book for children with co-author Kathleen Nadeau, Ph.D., titled Learning to Feel Good and Stay Cool: Emotional Regulation Tools for Kids with ADHD that was published by Magination Press in September 2013. Her most recent book coming out in October 2015: Learning to Be Kind and Understand Differences: Helping Kids with AD/HD Develop Empathy, will be available for purchase and signing at the end of this event.
October, 2015

Parenting the Anxious Teen: Counter-Intuitive Strategies for Easing Teen Anxiety
Jonathan Dalton Ph.D., The Center for Anxiety and Behavioral Change

For parents of high schoolers with anxiety, the need for practical, yet sometimes counter-intuitive evidence-based skills and techniques is essential to help their teens experience less anxiety and develop greater tolerance for emotional distress. Specific topics include why anxiety and avoidance are teammates, how to teach specific coping skills to your children, which types of positive reinforcement should be used to decrease anxiety, and when active ignoring of anxious behavior is the best method to decrease the child’s experience of anxiety.
Dr. Dalton Ph.D., founded the Center for Anxiety and Behavioral Change (CABC) in Rockville, MD. Dr. Dalton served as director of the school refusal, social phobia, and group treatment programs at the Behavior Therapy Center of Greater Washington. He received his doctorate in clinical psychology from Fordham University with a specialization in child and family psychology. He completed two years of pre-doctoral training at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine – Kennedy Krieger Institute, and advanced postdoctoral training at the Maryland Center for Anxiety Disorders at the University of Maryland. He specializes in the treatment of pediatric anxiety disorders, including anxiety-based school refusal. He is also a published author and frequently lectures on the treatment of anxiety disorders and school refusal.

If you missed Dr. Dalton’s talk at The Nora School, you can see a video here: Counterintuitive Strategies for Parenting Teens with Anxiety”Parenting the Anxious Teen: Counter-Intuitive Strategies for Easing Teen Anxiety

Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction for Parents of Teens
David Mullen, M.Ed., The Nora School
[Fall, Monday evenings]
See our Mindfulness page for more information.

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