Parents Education Network e-Newsletter November 2009


Annual Fund Appeal 2009

In just 6 years PEN has become the Bay Area’s premier grass roots resource for parents, professionals and students dealing with learning and attention issues.

Our Financial Principles

2009-2010 Expenses

2009-2010 Income

In 2009-2010 we will serve over 3,000 families and 100 schools. 

Here are some ways to support...


Entire Speaker Series $12,000
1 Speaker Series event $800-$5,000
1 Annual membership scholarship $35


1 Workshop speaker $3,000-$5,000
1 Discussion evening $500-$1,000
1 Scholarship to a workshop $75


Project Eye-to-Eye, 1 year $12,000
1 Speaker $1,000
1 SAFE Voices meeting $100-$500

EdRev 2010

Keynote speaker $10,000
1 Breakout session $1,000
1 Attendee scholarship $50

We rely on your generosity to directly support our programs. Your contributions literally change the lives of kids with learning and attention difficulties.

All donations will be matched up to $20,000 by 2 generous donors.

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Upcoming Events

Interventions That Work for ADHD

Friday, December 11, 2009
9am - 11am. The Exploratorium, San Francisco.

With Betsy Corrin, Ph.D., Clinical Child Psychologist. Parents and educators will learn strategies to manage their child's behavior more effectively.  Participants will learn how to improve their child's focus, on-task behavior, sustained attention, behavioral compliance, and task completion, using empirically validated techniques of behavior management.  We will discuss how to avoid control battles and improve family relationships. Click here to register!

A Panel of College Students with Learning and Attention Difficulties

Thursday, January 7, 2010
7pm - 9pm. Immaculate Conception Academy, San Francisco.

Applying to college or choosing a college for the student with learning and attention difficulties is an important and sometimes difficult and confusing process.  Hear from the experts: college students with learning and attention difficulties.  Our students, all founding members of SAFE Voices, will discuss their experiences with:

The discussion will be facilitated by educational therapist and SAFE Voices advisor Nancy Cushen White. Click here to register!

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EdRev 2010: Register now!

Parents Education Network EdRev 2010

EdRev 2010: The LD Journey
From Self-Awareness to Successful Independence

EdRev 2010 will again be held at the unique venue, AT&T Park in San Francisco, on Saturday, April 17, 2010 from 9 am to 4 pm.  This year’s theme, The LD Journey – From Self-Awareness to Successful Independence, highlights the need for supportive services spanning the child’s journey from early intervention through career launch. 

The day begins with two speakers renowned for their work in the field of learning and attention difficulties:  Edward M. Hallowell, M.D., Director of The Hallowell Center and author of Driven to Distraction and Delivered from Distraction, and Jonathan Mooney, Co-Founder of Project Eye-to-Eye and author of Learning Outside the Lines and The Short Bus.  The day continues with a resource fair, additional speaker sessions, technology demonstrations, field activities and much, much more.

Register Now!

We would also like to invite LD/ADHD-related service providers to participate as  exhibitors, sponsors and advertisers at EdRev 2010. Sign up at

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Teachers' Education Network

TEN is excited to announce 2 All-day Teacher Training Workshops in 2010:

A Praiseworthy Brain in Search of a Brainworthy School

Friday, February 5, 2009
9am - 3pm. Jewish Community Center of San Francisco.

With Robert Sylwester, Emeritus Professor of Education, University of Oregon. Dramatic developments in the cognitive neurosciences are providing us with an unprecedented understanding of the modular organization and extended development of our social brain.  This workshop will (1) describe these new perspectives with a focus on the central roles that movement, mirror neurons, and the arts play in the development and maintenance of our brain, and (2) discuss their curricular and instructional implications. Click here to register!

The Classroom Management of ADD & Anxiety

Friday, April 16, 2010
9am - 3pm. Jewish Community Center of San Francisco.

With Edward M. Hallowell, M.D. Intended for audiences of teachers and other school people, this lecture focuses on  stress and the non-medication management of ADD in the classroom.  The presentation offers specific, concrete, and practical ways to manage ADD in a mainstream classroom.  The same principles can be used in other settings, such as home or special classrooms, as well. Click here to register!

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SAFE Voices

"Having been diagnosed with dyslexia in the first grade, I was faced with a long uphill battle to get to where I am today. The biggest obstacle I had, which many LD students and parents can relate to, was myself. My good friend Dave Flink from Project Eye-to-Eye put it best when he said "success is not achieved because of a high IQ but because of high self-esteem". Once I got into a UC after community college I realized the reason I was able to succeed is that I was able to overcome all the negative voices in my head. So I began to give back, to dedicate myself to changing the paradigm and lexicon of the LD community. Now, I have found a place where others have that same goal, a place to create "SAFE Voices".

"I have recently been asked to work with SAFE voices to help these students create a community for themselves. Too often LD students struggle through in silence not knowing who else deals with the same challenges and feelings. Jonathan Mooney, a role model to us all, talks about breaking this silence, and has recently touted PEN and SAFE as the leading organizations in the LD rights community. I am honored and proud to be a part of this and feel truly blessed to help lead this cause.

"The students of SAFE Voices have a huge responsibility in their hands. They are speaking for all of us; their goal is to show the 'normal' people what it is like to navigate through 'normal' institutions and deal with the labels and stigmas that have been given to us.

"Their goal is not only to spread awareness and to challenge the way people see the role of education, but also to learn from one another, share their experiences and create a community. They develop friendships and mentoring relationships, find passions, talents and skills, and gain self-esteem through leadership and cooperation. My hat goes off to the founders of PEN and SAFE and the advisors and facilitators who made SAFE what it is today. It is a run by the students, motivated by the students, and sustained by the students."

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Book Review

The Water Giver by Joan Ryan

Review by Julie Traun

On October 29th, PEN hosted Joan Ryan, author of The Water Giver: The Story of a Mother, a Son, and their Second Chance. Those of you who regularly followed Joan’s column in the San Francisco Chronicle knew she had a kid just like ours. Her infrequent but lively descriptions of her son, her impassioned and well researched discussions of special education foretold a larger story: a mother of a child on a different journey than most – our journey.

Like all parents of children with learning and attention difficulties, Joan struggled mightily to understand and support her son. “School did not play to Ryan’s strengths: his imagination, his big heart, his energy. By third grade, school became almost torturous for him – and us.” “School got worse each year for Ryan. Homework ended in tears and tantrums most evenings….His anxiety grew, which made him even more impulsive.”

In The Water Giver, Joan not only chronicles Ryan’s struggles vividly while simultaneously delighting us with his buoyant, loving character, but with gutsy honesty, she confesses that her relentless pursuit to “fix” Ryan precluded real mothering. “I seemed to believe that I could, with enough research and hard work, construct the child I wanted him to be. I became, over the years, less his loving mother and more his relentless reformer. I was not the mother I imagined I would be. I was not the mother my son needed. Then one horrible summer afternoon, I got a second chance.”

At 16 years of age Ryan suffered a traumatic head injury while skateboarding. In a flash of a second, every parent’s worst nightmare became Joan’s reality. Her “second chance” at mothering is stunning. Her transformative relationship with her son - as both mother and son heal – is so beautifully told, it’s impossible to put down. You feel you know Ryan, Joan and Barry and you are indeed privileged to share in the intimacy of this story and this family. You celebrate every step toward recovery, agonize with every setback and as you accompany Joan on this journey, you find you come to deeply embrace and celebrate your own child in ways previously unimagined. The Water Giver is a true gift to all parents, but it is a particularly poignant gift to parents of children who learn differently. Thank you, Joan for your courageous insight and this brilliant, provocative and healing work.

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Other News

Jonathan Mooney wins LD Achiever Award

Dear Friends,

I am pleased to share with you some more good news this fall: The Lab School of Washington (DC) has honored me with their Outstanding Learning Disabled Achiever Award! I am very thrilled to receive this award and would like to thank you for your support of my message about learning differences over the years.

I will accept the Outstanding Learning Disabled Achiever Award at The Lab School's annual gala to raise awareness about learning disabilities, which will include a keynote address by Vice President Joseph Biden and is emceed by George Stephanopoulos, on Wed., Nov. 11. Some previous awardees include Cher, Billy Bob Thornton, Richard Avedon, Magic Johnson and James Carville.

During the day, I will meet with Lab School students to encourage them and answer questions about learning differently. For more information about the Lab School, please visit

I hope to be able to bring my message to your community soon.


Hear Jonathan's message at EdRev 2010! Click here to register now!


Many thanks to the following members who volunteered their time for various jobs this month:

Ann Farris
Barbara McGettigan

If you are interested in volunteering for PEN, please contact us!

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