Parents Education Network e-Newsletter December 2008


Welcome to our December 2008 edition. Our Annual Fund Appeal of 2008 is in full swing this month. We're making good progress, but we still need your help!

Please also check out the events coming up this month and in the new year. We have one more Speaker Series event on December 12, and lots happening in January- please sign up and spread the word! We also have reports on our two most recent Speaker Series events.

The SAFE Voices book, Read This When You Can, is in print and on sale, and we have another excerpt included here.

We also have reviews of two books by Robert Brooks, and in a new section, a look at a website that should be of interest to our members.

Annual Fund Appeal 2008

We have raised 41% of our total goal of $45,000. We still need your help! 

You can make a difference.

Kids with learning and attention difficulties struggle in school.

Hear their stories:

Click here to see more...

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Upcoming Events

Friday December 12, 2008: Dr. Virginia Bassi will speak on The Social and Emotional Challenges for LD Teens: How to Assist Them on the Journey. Learn how to help your high school student navigate the challenges of high school so they can be successful, and help them become self-advocates in high school and throughout their lives. Register now!

Friday January 23, 2009: In the new year, Neurologist and Classroom teacher Judy Willis, M.D., M.Ed., will present to the Teachers' Education Network. All educators welcome! This all-day professional workshop, entitled Neuro-logical Strategies to Increase Student Engagement, Motivation, and Memory, will describe the teaching strategies that reduce stressors and build positive motivation, engagement, and joyful learning. Register now!

Saturday January 24, 2009: Dr. Willis will speak to parents on How Your Child Learns Best: Brain-Friendly Strategies You Can Use to Ignite Your Child’s Learning and Increase School Success, describing how the latest brain research, and the strategies she uses in her classroom, offer parents activities to not only help kids learn from schoolwork, but also how to capitalize on the way the brain learns in order to enhance and enrich their child’s education – a necessity in today’s “teach to the test world”. Register now!

Friday January 30, 2009: The Teachers' Education Network presents Karen Miller, a pioneer in the field of teaching foreign language to students with learning disabilities, with a workshop entitled Multisensory Structured Language: Teaching Foreign Language to Students with Learning Differences. All foreign language teachers and learning specialists are encouraged to attend.

Saturday April 25, 2009: Our Annual Conference 2009, The LD Revolution: Shifting the Conversation will take place at AT&T Park Giants Stadium. This is a conference by students, for students (parents and educators are invited too!), featuring student panels and student-centered workshops. Jonathan Mooney and David Flink, co-founders of Project Eye-to-Eye will facilitate and speak throughout the day. Attendance is FREE for kids and $50 for adults. Registration is required, and will be available from January 5, 2009. Download this flyer and help spread the word!

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Recent Events

Paul Grossman at Star Academy

On Saturday, November 8, Civil Rights Attorney Paul Grossman spoke on the topic There Are No IEPs in College, at the Star Academy in San Rafael. He shared his personal journey with learning difficulties, his passion for LD as a civil rights issue, and lots of practical advice for parents and students. Some of the information is covered in this interview with him.

Here are some articles recommended to us by Mr. Grossman:

Many thanks to Star Academy for hosting this event.

Robert Brooks at Convent & Stuart Hall

Our first evening Speaker Series event of the year took place on Monday November 17 at 7pm, at Convent of the Sacred Heart. Nationally renowned psychologist and author Robert Brooks, Ph.D., spoke about Raising Self-Disciplined and Confident Kids to over 250 attendees! Dr. Brooks helped parents explore various disciplinary styles and outlined positive strategies that encourage children and teens to become more responsible, respectful and confident. He left us with a clear plan for preparing our children to become independent adults. See reviews of two of his books below. Many thanks to Convent and Stuart Hall for hosting this event.


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SAFE Voices Book

The SAFE Voices book, Read This When You Can, is available for purchase on our website!

We have another excerpt for you to read online this month: SAFE member Nika Summers' "Freak in the Seat."

Last month we linked to Trevor Gunn's "Living in a Different World" (PDF) and Dash Seerley Gowland's "Dash's Advice to Help Students, Parents and Teachers" (PDF). And if you missed it first time, check out a review of the book (PDF) from the September newsletter. Then go buy it!

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Book Review

Click image to purchase

Raising a Self-Disciplined Child: Help Your Child Become More Responsible, Confident, and Resilient
Robert Brooks, Ph.D. & Sam Goldstein, Ph.D.

Review by Sandy Otellini, PEN Vice-President

Why are some kids out of control while others are able to keep it together? Who better to address the subject of self-discipline than two of the most respected, quoted, and bestselling authorities on raising resilient children. In doing their groundbreaking work on resilience in children, Dr.s Brooks and Goldstein found that a lack of self-discipline is the root of many behavioral problems and a significant factor in lack of resilience in children. Raising a Self Disciplined Child tackles the topic of discipline from a positive, strength based point of view, rather than the traditional punishment approach. It offers important insights and parenting techniques to help parents effectively interact with their children in a way that helps control their impulses, complete tasks, interact with others, and lead happier, more resilient and rewarding lives. Specific case studies involving a range of children’s ages from six to 16 are effectively presented to illustrate suggested strategies. This is a very readable book that provides very practicable advice for all parents.

Click image to purchase

The Power of Resilience: Achieving Balance, Confidence and Personal Strength in Your Life
Robert Brooks, Ph.D., & Sam Goldstein, Ph.D.

Review by Sandy Otellini, PEN Vice-President
from the Summer 2007 PEN e-Newsletter

Why can some people handle a crisis with ease while others fall apart? What allows people to bounce back from a major life setback while others fall apart and can't seem to get back on track? Psychologists Robert Brooks and Sam Goldstein argue that the difference is 'resilience,' an inner emotional strength that sees people through both routine challenges and sudden problems.

Brooks and Goldstein outline how adults can develop a 'resilient mindset,' using many examples from their clinical practice. The first step is 'rewriting negative scripts,' or changing behavior that is repeated over and over despite negative outcomes, such as a manager yelling at his employees for being uncreative. Other strategies include developing empathy; communicating effectively; accepting oneself and others; and developing self-discipline. An appendix offers worksheets addressing the concepts covered in each of the chapters. Throughout, the authors emphasize taking responsibility for one's actions and their impact on others, as well as setting realistic short- and long-term goals.

Parents facing the emotional crisis of learning that their children have learning and attention difficulties need resilience to face the lifelong challenges of helping their children succeed in life. Brooks and Goldstein's book offers hope and a number of useful strategies readers can put into practice to strengthen their own resilience.


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Web Resources

The Association of Educational Therapists

The Association of Educational Therapists (AET) is the national professional organization dedicated to defining the professional practice of educational therapy, setting standards for ethical practice, and promoting state-of-the-art service delivery through on-going professional development and training programs. AET provides information to the public about educational therapy and facilitates access to educational therapy services.  AET provides an online "educational therapist locator" which allow parents to search for a therapist with a particular expertise near their homes. 

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  • There are lots of upcoming events from other organizations to check out on our website.

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PEN e-Newsletter December 2008
Design & Code: Paul Assen / Graphics: Lisa Nowell / Photography: Mike Gunn