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PBIDA Annual Conference


Pennsylvania Branch of the IDA

38th Conference on

Literacy & Learning Disabilities


Date: Monday, October 10, 2016 (Columbus Day)

Time: 8:00 am - 3:15 pm

 Saint Joseph's University
    Maguire Campus
Merion Hall
376 North Latch's Lane
Merion PA 19066


                           Keynote Address 9:15 AM TO 10:45 AM

                             Reading Comprehension is Not a Single Ability:
                            Implications for Assessment and Intervention 


Hugh Catts, Ph.D.

Considerable state and federal funding has been directed toward improving reading comprehension. Despite this effort, many children continue to perform below grade level in reading. Most educators and practitioners treat reading comprehension as if it were a single ability. However, research indicated that reading comprehension is multidimensional and involves the complex interaction of reader, text, and task elements. Research supporting this model will be presented and the implications for assessment and instruction of typical and atypical readers will be discussed.
APA Approval Pending

Dr. Catts is Professor and Director of the School of Communication Science and Disorders at Florida State University. He spent much of his career as a professor and researcher at the University of Kansas. He has taught courses in language science and literacy development and disabilities.  His research interests include the early identification and prevention of reading disabilities. He is a past board member of the International Dyslexia Association and past board member and president of the Society for the Scientific    Study of Reading.  He has received the Samuel T. Orton Award from the International Dyslexia Association and the Honors of the Association, from the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association for his career contributions in each of these disciplines.





AM 1: Advocacy and Demystifying the IEP
Norma Francullo, Esq., J.D.,
Special Education Attorney; Parles Rekem, LLP
Attendees will learn how to prepare for their child's IEP meeting and learn how to craft a good IEP to meet their child’s specific needs. The focus will be on dyslexia and other learning concerns. Please bring a copy of your child's IEP with you. This will be an interactive presentation.
Session Focus: Informational

AM 2: Screening and Evaluating for Dyslexia and Other Reading Disabilities in a Multi-Tiered System
Monica McHale-Small, Ph.D.
Superintendent, Saucon Valley School District
Nichole Pugliese, M.S.,
Coordinator of Educational Outreach and Teacher Development, AIM Academy
Megan Maynard, Psy. D., NCSP
School Psychologist, AIM Academy
This session will discuss universal screening, core program instruction, intervention, diagnostic assessments, and evaluation procedures, all of which are intended to provide a solid understanding of individual student skills in order to inform decisions around adequate progress and more intensive intervention. Not all students who struggle to read have dyslexia but all students who have dyslexia struggle to read. This strand is designed to provide educators who may be called on to provide screening and evaluation services with a better understanding of reading and literacy skills assessment in the context of the classroom, the intervention group and the comprehensive evaluation.
Session Focus: Practical

AM 3: Progressive Mastery through Deliberate Practice: The Missing Piece for Developing Thinking through Writing in K-12 Schools
Nell Scharff Panero, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor, School of Public Affairs at Baruch College, CUNY & Director, Center for Educational Leadership, Baruch College
This talk describes an approach to teaching writing that targets prevalent skill gaps for general education students in K-12 schools and that develops writing, content knowledge, oral language, and reading comprehension simultaneously. The talk presents the approach and how it works along with describing how it is currently being used as a key component of a district-level school turnaround effort for high struggling schools in New York City.
Session Focus: Informational/Practical

AM 4:  Anxiety and Dyslexia: Interdependence and Intervention
Joelle Beecher McGovern, Ph.D.,
 Clinical Psychotherapist, University of Pennsylvania
A dynamic relationship exists between development, mental health, behavior and the environment. Looking at the interplay of factors within this big picture perspective helps inform how best to support children who are struggling with learning and emotional issues. This presentation will focus on the relationship between anxiety and dyslexia. Specific information on anxiety including academic, social, and performance worries, in addition to school refusal as related to learning disabilities will be explored. The cycle of anxiety will be highlighted and practical strategies to manage primary and secondary anxiety disorders that co-exist with learning disorders will be presented.
Session Focus:  Practical/Parent
APA Approval Pending

AM 5: Assistive Technology in Action: A Live, Interactive Assistive Technology Demonstration

Bill Keeney, PhD.,CALP, English Department Chair, Director of Research and Faculty Development, Delaware Valley Friends School
Following a brief discussion about assistive technologies and the steps it takes to adopt them successfully, students from the Delaware Valley Friends School will demonstrate and answer questions about their use of assistive technologies, including audio books from Learning Ally, MS word, Livescribe smart pens, Evernote, Google Docs, Inspiration, Voice Thread, Garageband, and graphing calculators, among others.
Session Focus: Practical

AM 6: The Speech–Language Pathologist’s Role in Literacy
Jeanne Tighe, M.A., CCC-SLP,
Speech-Language Pathologist, Beyond Communication, LLC
We all know that language is the cornerstone of literacy, but for SLPs working in the school setting, it can be difficult to clearly define our role in the literacy intervention process. This session will empower SLPs to take a more active role in the treatment of dyslexia by identifying the specific areas in which our expertise in language development intersects with literacy learning. Attendees will leave with an understanding of practical implications for both testing and therapy, as well as intervention techniques that can be implemented immediately.
Session Focus: Practical

AM 7:  Understanding and Promoting Mathematical Fluency in LBLD Students
Peter Morris, M.B.A., Head of Lower School Mathematics, Carrol School
In addition to struggling with reading, many LBLD students also suffer from impaired mathematical fluencies. Research suggests that a deficit in basic math ability creates an even greater barrier to future success than does depressed literacy. But what is the importance of fluency to a student’s overall math ability? This session will discuss what it means to be fluent in mathematics and ways in which math fluency is similar to and different from reading fluency. We will look at how and why LBLD students often struggle with certain aspects of math fluency, and what approaches can be taken throughout the elementary grades to promote different aspects of mathematical fluency in students with learning challenges.
Session Focus:  Practical

AM 8:  Critical Components of Structured Literacy and Wilson® Programs
Susan Frank, Ph.D., Wilson Language Training

Dyslexia creates a breakdown in attaining efficient reading and writing skills, requiring specific treatment. This session will discuss the critical components of Structured Literacy and how it fits into a Multi-tiered System of Supports using examples from Wilson programs. The speaker will examine the importance of this explicit and systematic approach to remediation for struggling readers and students who may have been diagnosed with dyslexia.
Session Focus:  Informational


PM 1: Accommodations in College and High Stakes Tests: Knowing the Trends and Keeping Current
Manju Banerjee, Ph.D.
, VP of Educational Research and Innovation, Landmark College
Loring Brinckerhoff, Ph.D., Director, Office of Educational Policy, ETS
Recent directives from the Department of Justice to testing agencies have resulted in much discussion among high-stakes testing entities, with implications for transition counselors and postsecondary disability service providers. At the center of the debate is the importance and merits of disability documentation in determining accommodations. This session will address the resurgence of embracing self-reported evidence of disability and the decline of neuro-psychological documentation.
Session Focus: Informational

APA Approval Pending

PM 2: Using Your Data to Drive Instruction
Monica McHale-Small, Ph.D., Superintendent, Saucon Valley School District
Nichole Pugliese, M.S., Coordinator of Educational Outreach and Teacher Development, AIM Academy
Megan Maynard, Psy. D., NCSP, School Psychologist, AIM Academy
This workshop is intended to educate practitioners on the use of assessment to inform literacy instruction and improve educational outcomes for all students. Participants will explore the use of Decision Making Flow Charts and data from Screeners and Informal Diagnostics in determining interventions that align with student instructional needs. Educators will acquire the knowledge necessary to make more informed decisions regarding effective intervention planning. Opportunity for practice-based activities will be provided.
Session Focus: Practical

PM 3: Advanced Morphology: Integrating Spelling, Vocabulary, and Pronunciation
Susan B. Mayes, M.A., CALP, Teacher and Language Arts Department Head, Delaware Valley Friends School
With the ultimate goal of helping our students derive meaning from and communicate through text, we should strive to take an integrated and inquiry based, morphological approach to both vocabulary development and spelling. Correct pronunciation of a word is a means to this end. With explicit instruction, dyslexic students can make sense of the English language and feel empowered to use “high powered” vocabulary in their writing. This interactive and practical session will present some effective strategies for melding morphology, spelling, and vocabulary. These tools are ideal for the secondary classroom teacher, resource teacher, or tutor. Please note: This session is interactive and participants will need a laptop or tablet.
Session Focus: Practical

PM 4: Dyslexia and Learning Disabilities: Beyond the Impact on Learning to Read
Jennifer Jackson Holden, Psy.D.
, Psychologist, Center for Psychological Services
Jackie Galbally, Ph.D., Visiting Professor, Saint Josephs University; KIPP Philadelphia Charter Schools, Urban Teaching Residency
Deborah Lynam, Parent, Decoding Dyslexia NJ; Director of Partnerships & Engagement, AIM Institute for Learning & Research
Mary Katerine Ortale, Graduate Student, Chestnut Hill College
Dyslexia impacts much more than reading. For the student that struggles with dyslexia, experiences with peers, siblings and parents are all more challenging than educators or family members may realize. The implications of dyslexia may include demoralization, bullying, social stigma, anxiety, or depression. This workshop will seek to elucidate the experience of the child, their family, and educators. This multidisciplinary panel will provide practical suggestions from the viewpoints of a psychologist, a doctoral level educator, a parent of children with dyslexia and a graduate student with dyslexia about how to combat stigma and enhance advocacy.
Session Focus: Informational/Practical

APA Approval Pending

PM 5: Assistive Technology Primer
Elizabeth Christopher, M.S., CCC-SLP/L, Educational Consultant, PaTTAN
Students with print disabilities experience difficulties accessing curricular materials that require reading. Difficulties reading can limit student’s abilities to succeed in social studies, science and other academic subjects. Assistive technology is available to support students to access curriculum materials. This session will provide an overview of currently available features of assistive technology and accessible instructional materials, legal requirements, basic assistive technology decision making and introduce the audience to available resources and tools available to students and school teams.
Session Focus: Practical

PM 6: Dyslexia and Early Literacy Intervention Pilot Program
Diane Reott
, Dyslexia and Early Literacy Pilot Program Advisory Team, PA Dyslexia Literacy Coalition
Daphne Uliana, Dyslexia and Early Literacy Pilot Program Advisory Team, PA Dyslexia Literacy Coalition
Fran Warkomski, Ed.D., Consultant; 2008 Janet L. Hoopes Honoree
HB198 was signed into law in June of 2014. In July of 2014 the Advisory group began working on the implementation of Act 69 of 2014, known to many as the dyslexia pilot program. The pilot began in September of 2015 and with year one completed, we will share some of the results, and look at what we hope to accomplish as we begin year two of the three year pilot program that runs in 8 school districts throughout state. We will answer your questions and discuss the details of piloting a program such as this in our public school districts.
Session Focus: Informational
Act 48: Not available

PM 7:  Getting Struggling Math Students to Mathematize Their World and Engage Them in Meaningful Procedures
Jen McAleer, M.Ed.,
Middle School Mathematics Department Chair, The Carroll School
Students who struggle with computation rarely learn to appreciate math in their worlds.  They have a difficult time seeing themselves as mathematicians capable of doing math.  In this session, you will explore activities aimed to get students to mathematize the world around them while developing computational skills within a meaningful context.  Participants will learn how to hook lifelong struggling math studuents with a need for procedures (with which they are unfamiliar) and grab their attention by engaging them in a meaningful and real-to-them activity.  They will learn to use tools such as 3 Act Math tasks, Desmos teacher activities, Estimation 180 (within 3 act tasks), Would You Rather, and "Which one doesn't belong?" to both motivate and ignite dialogue in their classes surrounding math that has not been accessible before.
Session Focus:  Practical