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Teaching and Learning for Students with Learning Disabilities and ADHD: From Research to Classroom Experience

Wednesday, September 21, 2022 @ 5:00 pm - 6:00 pm EDT

Teaching and Learning for Students with Learning Disabilities and ADHD: From Research to Classroom Experience

Presented by Alison R. Shell, Ph.D., Senior Research Scientist, Learner Variability Project, Digital Promise; Amanda Morin (She/Her), Learner Variability Project Advisory Board Member & Educational Consultant; Stevie Mays (They/Them), Program Analyst, Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee; and Misha Nicholas (She/Her), Former Sustainability Communicator, Neurodivergent Advocate, and Climatebase Founding Fellow
Moderated by Barbara Pape (She/Her), Senior Director, Learner Variability Project, Digital Promise

Sponsored by Digital Promise

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An estimated one in five students has a learning disability or attention issue. Many are underserved in schools because programs too often emphasize deficits and ignore strengths. In this edWebinar, through a whole-child framework, we discover what the research says matters for supporting students with learning disabilities and ADHD in being able to learn, meet their potential, and feel a sense of belonging in their schools and classrooms. We present how these ideas can be incorporated into the IEP process with the goal of providing you with steps to take to build an inclusive environment that has high expectations and support for all students with learning disabilities.

We also engage in conversation with two young adults with learning disabilities and a parent of a child with learning disabilities. They share their experiences of what works—and what doesn’t—in a school environment. During this edWebinar, viewers are able to:

  • Understand key research findings that have an impact on teaching and learning for students with learning disabilities, particularly in the areas of writing, math, reading, attention, emotion, and executive functioning
  • Recognize the importance of using student strengths to mitigate deficits
  • Discover ways to include the research findings and a strength-based approach in writing IEPs
  • Hear first-hand accounts from students about what works for them to learn best in a school environment

This recorded edWebinar is of interest to PreK-12 teachers, librarians, school counselors, and school and district leaders.


Alison R. ShellAbout the Presenters

Alison R. Shell, Ph.D. is the senior research scientist on the Learner Variability Project team at Digital Promise. Her work focuses on digging up evidence to support the factors that underlie learner success. She earned her Ph.D. in cognitive psychology at the University of Maryland, with a focus on the cognitive processes that underlie language. Prior to moving to Washington D.C., she was involved in research projects in the Boston area, including investigating the biological underpinnings of autism and working to develop more linguistically sound reading assessments for young-adult readers. Alison received her B.A. in cognitive science from Vassar College.


Amanda Morin

Amanda Morin is an impact-driven, mission-oriented expert in the fields of education and neurodiversity. She’s a nationally known speaker, published author, host of a successful podcast, early childhood specialist, and certified special education advocate. She’s dedicated her career to working in education and social impact to ensure families and educators have resources and support to build accessible, empathetic spaces for neurodivergent people.

Amanda is the author of five books: The Everything Parent’s Guide to Special Education, The Everything Kids’ Learning Activities Book, On-the-Go Fun for Kids: More Than 250 Activities to Keep Little Ones Busy and Happy — Anytime, Anywhere!, What Is Empathy? A Bullying Storybook for Kids, and Adulting Made Easy: Things Someone Should Have Told You About Getting Your Grown-Up Act Together.

During her years as an early childhood educator, she taught kindergarten and worked with preschoolers with disabilities. She provided education and training to parents of children with disabilities and led multidisciplinary teams in developing and implementing IEPs and IFSPs.

Amanda received special education advocacy training from the Council of Parent Attorneys and Advocates. She holds a certificate in Universal Design for Learning from the UDL Implementation and Research Network and sits on the Center for Inclusive Learning (CISL) advisory council, the advisory board of Digital Promise’s Learner Variability Project, and the professional advisory board of Matan.


Stevie Mays

Stevie Mays works in the Office of Autism Research at the National Institute of Mental Health. They started working with autistic children, focusing on floor play and social skills. As an undergraduate, Stevie valued playfulness in their work, which included four years as a therapist and four summers as a camp counselor. They worked for two years as a research assistant in Costanza Colombi’s lab, studying ways to teach groups of parents how to use a social skills toolkit to play and communicate with their Pre-K autistic children. Stevie had internships with the American Association of People with Disabilities and a fellowship with the National Association of Councils on Developmental Disabilities, which welcomed them to the disability community. Stevie previously worked part-time for Reach Every Voice, leading social hours with spell-to-communicate peers—a job they quickly came to cherish. They are thrilled to serve on the Young Adult Leadership Council to support better education, employment, and holistic lives of disabled people within our communities.


Misha NicholasMisha Nicholas is a junior communications consultant for Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research, a global partnership that unites organizations engaged in research for a food-secure future. At work, she faces her old childhood fear of confronting writing. From the time she was seven, Misha struggled with reading, writing comprehension, and formulating math equations. The problem only worsened when writing became more complex and math equations became more difficult. For a long time, she did not realize that she could have learning difficulties, thinking everyone went through the same struggles she did. She kept on pushing and decided to pursue a BA in communications and media studies at John Cabot University in Rome, Italy. There, she began to understand her difficulties when someone suggested that she should look into a different field—but she kept on going. She later pursued an MA in international relations at Macquarie University in North Ryde, Australia. Now, as an advocate for people with learning difficulties, Misha comes to the Young Adult Leadership Council with a particular interest in helping undiagnosed young people with learning difficulties fight the stigma around getting tested.


Barbara A. PapeAbout the Moderator

Barbara Pape is the senior director for the Learner Variability Project at Digital Promise. She has 20 years of experience in strategic communications, writing, and policy analysis, primarily in education. Previously, she served as the executive producer of the award-winning Teaching & Learning conference, sponsored by the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards, where she developed content and oversaw outreach and communications. As a writer, she has written for numerous publications, including Harvard University, the National Education Goals Panel (U.S. Department of Education), and Parents magazine. Barbara also served as editor and publisher of the first electronically delivered education newsletter, the Daily Report Card. She served on the Advisory Board of the Kennedy Center’s Intersection of Arts Education and Special Education Committee, serves as a judge for the Milken-Penn Graduate School of Education Business Plan competition, and is on the Boards at the Education Writers Association and Potentia. She earned an Ed.M. at Harvard University’s Graduate School of Education and launched her career as a middle school language arts teacher.


Learn more about viewing the live presentation and the recording, earning your CE certificate, and using our new accessibility features.

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Digital PromiseDigital Promise was created with the mission to accelerate innovation in education to improve opportunities to learn.


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Wednesday, September 21, 2022
5:00 pm - 6:00 pm EDT
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