Nora School Parent Education Series Topics and Speakers

Executive Functioning: 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.

Growing Up with AD/HD: 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.

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

College Planning and Preparation for Students Who Learn Differently
The College Consulting Collaborative
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”. Joan Wittan, Sue Cook Christakos, Kyle Kane, and Lori Vise, The College Consulting Collaborative 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. Visit their website at

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. Jonathan 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.

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.

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.

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.

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