Languages Department
Learning Differences Conference 2013


The descriptions of the Institutes taking place on April 18th and 19th, 2013.
(alphabetical by session name)


Learn strategies to help your young adults who have challenges planning ahead and staying organized function effectively in everyday life at school and work.  Understand how “Executive Functioning” and a lack of strong “EF” is a major reason why young adults with poor “EF” are often unemployed, underemployed, or underperform or fail out of university.

Due to Executive Functioning difficulties these young adults often struggle to perform in university and at a employment skill level that reflects their cognitive skills and abilities.  Learn effective intervention strategies to help these young adults succeed.

We will also look at what questions need to be explored to assess the ASD / Asperger student's readiness for college?  How can you help the student move with fluidity through change which if often seen as the “enemy” of new situations.  What supports (such as social mentors) will many Asperger's or ASD students need when transitioning to university to be successful?  How will you know if the student will be a good match for the university s/he is considering?

We will look at these questions as well as how to foster emotional and cognitive flexibility when coming up against cognitive rigidity and fear.  Join this session to discover strategies and answers for support with transitioning to college successfully.


-  Understand the strengths and challenges those with Executive Functioning challenges face when transitioning to and succeeding at college

-  Learn how the brain develops through the teen years into adulthood and how it impacts on Executive Functioning when when facing a full time work load, which requires planning for projects, working with teams, flexibility emotionally and cognitively, and completing multi-step complex projects

-  Learn strategies to improve Executive Functioning with these bright adults who too often fail at work because of poor EF, a lack of awareness, and a lack of skills and tools to help themselves

-  Learn exercises to help students with transition and “change” skills and cognitive flexibility


Many young adults with learning differences have challenges in areas of social, organizational, and executive functioning skills.  Many begin employment but aren’t successful because they have not had the training with the day-to-day supports they require.  Even though these bright young adults have great potential, many will return home, be under employed or not employed and isolate themselves, and lose motivation.  This session will review & teach executive functioning strategies and key areas of support that can help this growing population transition successfully to work


A review of philosophical underpinnings, the need for self understanding of diagnosis, cognitive rigidity, and social thinking and social mentoring strategies will be discussed and reviewed.

There will be in depth discussion about how a strong lack of Executive Functioning is often the cause for failure in school and work along with discussion of strategies for success.  A brief discussion on the science of the teen / young adult brain’s development and how it impacts “EF” will be covered.

The two day workshop with be interactive with exercises and lively group interaction in order to take the learning and experience deeper for each attendee.



Ever feel as though your classroom has become “alphabet soup” when you are told about the ADHD, LD, ASD, TBI, OCD or even ODD students in your class?  Most students who present with academic or behavioral challenges are taught in the general education classroom part or all of the day.  This institute is designed to provide a brief overview of many of the disabilities encountered in the classroom (i.e., learning disabilities, emotional and/or behavioral disorders, ADHD, Autism Spectrum Disorders, etc.) along with specific strategies to help participants feel more confident in addressing the academic and behavioral needs of these students.  Inclusive teaching can be rewarding, exciting, challenging and at times simply frustrating.  We will discuss the qualities of successful inclusive teaching and the importance of collaboration.

In addition to learning about inclusive teaching for students with special needs, guest speaker Alessandra Sax, ACS Athens Counselor, will join our presentation to provide information on addressing the needs of students who are not fluent in English.  Often these students need additional time to read assignments, have difficulty understanding information presented in class and may struggle to communicate their concerns and viewpoints.  Ms. Sax will also discuss acculturation and third culture students and how language may impact a their academic and social interactions.

This institute is designed to be highly interactive, and participants are encouraged to bring their ideas and be ready to collaborate with and learn from each other.  Participants should feel free to bring challenging case studies or class examples and as a group we will brainstorm effective interventions and solutions.  By the time you leave this institute, you should feel as though your toolbox has grown and you have a new network of support to address all of the letters in your class of “alphabet soup”.


-  Participants will gain an understanding of academic and emotional/behavioral

-  Participants will learn effective strategies for working with special needs students in inclusive settings

-  Participants will learn more about collaboration and consultation in the inclusive classroom

-  Participants will learn strategies to work with students who are not fluent in English


Most of this workshop will be instructional; however, participants are greatly encouraged to bring any case studies or questions they may have, and interaction is always welcome.



Teachers in immersion or bilingual schools often have English Language Learners (ELL) in their classroom who are not at the same level of language skills as the rest of the class. Reading and writing levels often lag behind oral skills. This institute will give a survey of current Teaching English as a Second Language (TESL) methods and Second Language Acquisition (SLA) theory, focusing on what teachers in linguistically diverse classrooms need to know in order to help promote second language acquisition. Participants will be able to analyze how this theory can help their teaching practices in a variety of contexts. Participants will learn about English for Academic Purposes (EAP), content-based instruction (CBI), and language scaffolding. Participants will also get sample activity sheets for each language skill.


The first day will start with an overview of SLA theory and methods, and then focus on how to use writing activities to improve grammar, self-editing skills and reading comprehension, using strategies from content-based instruction theory.  The activities can be integrated into regular lesson plans, the difference being in the amount of language scaffolding or type of teacher feedback needed for ELLs.  Activities will include participant-designed exercises and lesson plans.

The second day will have 4 short workshops that focus on L2 grammar, reading, writing and pronunciation activities that can be used in class or as supplementary material in pull-out EAP sessions, tutoring, or self-directed learning.  Participants will share their favorite activities and work on designing activities and incorporating them into lesson plans.