Parents Education Network

e-Newsletter May 2010


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Upcoming Events

The View from High School for Students with Learning and Attention Challenges

Friday, May 14, 2010
9am - 11am. Exploratorium, San Francisco.

The last Speaker Series event of the year! 

A Panel Discussion by High School Learning Specialists, featuring:

This event will address the needs of both current and future high school students.

Click here to register!

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EdRev 2010

EdRev 2010: Your Journey from Self-Awareness to Successful Independence

AT&T Park, San Francisco
Saturday, April 17, 2010

We would like to thank everyone who attended and participated in EdRev 2010 and helped to make the day such an overwhelming success. 

MC Brian Thomas gets the crowd moving

The day began at 8:15am as arriving guests were greeted with the student art show, featuring a stunning array of paintings, sculpture, videos, songs and written work. At 8:30 the Golden Gate Boys Choir began to serenade attendees in the stands. From 9am to 12 pm we heard the two keynote speakers, Edward Hallowell M.D. and Jonathan Mooney, whose presentations attendees described as "awesome", "incredible", and "inspirational". In between the two speakers we heard from Youth Speaks poet Brandon Santiago, who was another big hit, with guests praising his "inspiring", "powerful message".

The exhibit hall, featuring 114 schools, organizations and service providers, opened at 10:30 am, followed by the activities level at 12 pm, providing us with our favorite piece of feedback so far:

"I am 7 and I thought this was one of the best events I ever have been to. I read to a dog, ran the bases, made slime, and made a diary, too. I told my mom I want to do this event again next year!"

Between 1 and 4 pm attendees also had the opportunity to attend 2 workshops out of a wide selection. One attendee noted the "exceptional quality of the workshops", and went on to say:

"This conference attracted some of the brightest minds in the field, and their passion was evident in each presentation."

Overall, about 1800 people attended and we are very happy with how the day went, with how it improved on last year's success, and the feedback we have received. Now it's time to start planning next year's!

Click here to watch a slideshow of EdRev 2010 photos!


Thank you!

We want especially  to thank everyone who generously volunteered their time, effort and skills to make EdRev run so smoothly and successfully. There are too many of you to name, but it really wouldn't have been possible without you!

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Past Events

Sensory Integration: Do We Really Need It? with Patricia Oetter, MA, OTR/L, FAOTA.
March 19, Our Lady of Mercy School, Daly City.

Review by PEN member Ann Farris. Visit Ann's website and blog at

In mid-March PEN welcomed Patricia Oetter. She began her presentation defining the senses. Nerves can best be described through neurobehavioral organization. These sensory neurons work in tandem with our motor neurons.  Why?  We need to do something with the neuro-sensory part of our selves. 

I referred to for a little more detail:     

Ms. Oetter expanded the usual definition of the senses: see, hear, taste, touch and smell, to include:

Ms. Oetter cautioned us to remember that our senses are continually providing information to the brain which means that in any given moment, a person may react in one way or another, depending on what sense is dominant at that moment.  For this reason she seemed to eschew placing too much emphasis on the phrases “hyper” meaning beyond or excessively or “hypo” meaning under or below normal.  She re-iterated for the teachers present: a student in a state of hypo-activity is just in a momentary state. Before you know it, the student may become hyper-active.

She talked about the intensity of sensation which is experienced through its duration, frequency and pattern:  novelty vs. repetition.   She explained that the neuro-chemistry inside our cells when turned up or down is a part of how we perceive something.  Our cells are turned up when we are not feeling comfortable or safe.

She had an interesting comment that touch is the key for vision:  If you don’t know what is going on with your vision, your body doesn’t know where it is.

She reiterated several times her concern that boys in our school systems are lacking experiences they need for development.  It seems the schools’ learning systems are focused on a girl’s point of view.  As a result the experience of risk is diminished, an important component for young boy’s growth. She recommended three books that are helpful in raising boys: 

Ms. Oetter made a sobering comment.  It takes 25 – 30 years of age before the brain is mature enough to handle the senses. It seems it takes that long for mylenation, the development of an insulation material to form a layer, usually around a neuron. This sheath is essential for the proper functioning of the nervous system. One of the components that ensures mylenation is the condition of feeling safe. She reminded us that boys, girls, young adults, all of us actually, need smiles and touch to find a way to feel safe.

Finally, I would like to comment on the value of these lectures sponsored by PEN. Over this last year I have attended most of them. As a dyslexic and hyperlexic these perspectives have been very useful to me. And, as each dyslexic/hyperlexic has different reasons for their challenge I know it is important to examine a wide variety of solutions. Each speaker gave me another clue into how I function, or not. In Ms. Oetter’s case, over the last twenty years I have focused on my senses to understand some of my dyslexic behavior. I found her information most helpful. It gave me another point of view on the topic. 

I just wish that parents and teachers challenged with children who have learning issues were in attendance in droves so they, too, could learn. These lectures are one of the best “buys” in the Bay Area. 

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Is your membership up to date?

There's strength in numbers! Your membership is very important to us and is essential in furthering our mission.

Here are some of the benefits for you:

Membership is just $35 annually and covers spouses/partners and children. Lifetime membership is currently $350 but is due to increase in September 2010. Take the opportunity to become a lifetime member of PEN before then!

How to join or renew:

You can join PEN or renew your membership in 2 ways:

1) Send a check (for $35 annual or $350 lifetime), marked 'Membership', to:

281A Sixteenth Avenue
San Francisco, CA 94118

2) Online. If you are a current or past member of PEN, or just on our mailing list, you can log in to our website using your email address and password. If you don't know your password, just click 'Forgot password' and follow the instructions to reset it.

Once you've logged in, click on 'My Account' in the top-right area of the screen.

If you are just on our mailing list, you'll see that you have a free "Mailing list" membership, and you'll need to click the "Change membership level" button to apply for Annual or Lifetime membership.

If you are a current or recently lapsed member, click the "Renew until..." button.

If you are not on our mailing list and want to join for the first time please visit :

Please contact us with any problems or questions.

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Other News

PEN Resource Guide: Coming soon

Each year after EdRev we produce a Resource Guide in which local service providers for the LD community can advertise. Look out for the 2010 edition, available on our website May 17th.

Advertisers can find more information and online registration at


Participate in a Survey on the Quality of Parent-Teacher Relationships

If your child attends a Bay Area independent school, has been identified as having a learning challenge or disability, and has worked with a learning support professional who is employed by his/her school, you may be a candidate for this anonymous study.

Jeremy Davidson, a Master’s candidate in the Holy Names University Educational Therapy Program, is conducting an anonymous survey of independent school parents whose children have learning challenges.  The survey asks parents to answer questions about the quality of a relationship they have with a school-employed learning support professional who works with their child. The information will be used to inform Bay Area learning support professionals about the level of parent satisfaction with the quality of family-professional relationships.

A brief description of the survey, a consent form, a brief, anonymous biographical/demographical questionnaire, and the anonymous survey can be found by clicking this link:

Thank you for considering your participation in this important opportunity.

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