Parents Education Network e-Newsletter February 2010


Upcoming Events

How Your Child’s Brain Learns: A Guide for Parents

Dr. Schenck
Dr. Jeb Schenck
- click here for bio
Thursday, February 4, 2010
7pm - 9pm. The Bay School, San Francisco.

With Dr. Jeb Schenck of 

The brain is the most complex system known, but neuroeducation research is beginning to provide insights on how it works. We’ll explore the fascinating, latest brain research through a series of demonstrations. The presentation will provide practical, realistic tips on what parents can do to facilitate their child’s performance, ranging from reading and math to complex science topics, as well as the influence of video games and other technologies upon brain health.  We will also discuss popular misconceptions or “neuromyths” about the brain.

During the presentation we will examine and experience how attention, emotion and movement work together to influence the building of memory, along with study strategies that work and those strategies that don’t work. Part of the discussion will also include information on more common disorders including ADHD, Bipolar disorder, and Autism. Parents will find the presentation both useful and fascinating.

Click here to register!

PEN & TEN present an all-day Teacher Training Workshop:

Keys to the Student Brain: Strategies that Work

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

“The workshop is about neuroeducation research that works in real classrooms when used by real teachers.”

With Dr. Jeb Schenck of 

Please note: Lunch provided, with pre-registration only.

The emerging field of neuroeducation is providing educators with new, practical insights that can improve both student and teacher performance.  Through a series of interactive explorations, teachers will come away with practical strategies they can immediately implement in their instruction. With each major brain process, we will guide the development of personalized strategies that the teacher can take back and realistically use. We will explore and experience how the attention systems, emotion, and motivational strategies work together. Disorders such as ADHD, Bipolar and Autism will be explored along with interventions that work.  Learn how to cement memories through single experiences and why sometimes repetition doesn’t work.

One of the biggest benefits comes after the workshop.  All the ideas that are generated and shared by participants will be assembled, sorted, and sent back to everyone so they have a pool of ideas strategies from which to select. In sum, the workshop is about neuroeducation research that works in real classrooms when used by real teachers. It will be a fascinating journey. Come join us!

Click here to register!

Friends of St. Francis Childcare Center & Parents Education Network present:

Learning to Play & Playing to Learn
Pre-School Workshops for educators and parents

with Alanna Freeman, Occupational Therapist, registered and licensed.

For teachers: Saturday, March 13, 2009

For parents : Saturday, March 20, 2009

9am - Noon. The Laurel School, San Francisco

For the fourth year in a row, the early childhood education community & parents of preschoolers will be able to learn about how brain development is enhanced by play & how to create an environment that promotes learning through play. Places limited - sign up now! Cost: $20.00. Scholarships available--please contact us for details.

Back to top...

EdRev 2010: Register now!

EdRev 2010

Your Journey
from Self-Awareness to Successful Independence

AT&T Park, San Francisco

Saturday, April 17, 2010

 This year’s theme, Your Journey from Self-Awareness to Successful Independence, highlights the need for supportive services spanning the journey from early intervention through career launch. 

Check out the listings that are already on our website for:




These pages will be regularly updated as more confirmations come in. Stay tuned... and don't forget to register! Also please download this flyer and help spread the word!

Register Now!


We need your help! We need a large team of volunteers to help out on the day of EdRev! Please contact us if you'd like to beinvolved!

EdRev 2010 Art Contest!
for students who learn differently


Visual Art: painting, sculpture, photography, works on paper.

Written Word: poetry, essay, short story

Video: short film

Music: up to 10 minutes of music

All submissions due by April 2nd, 2010.

Please attach a brief Artist Statement including: what your piece is about, your name, your learning difficulty, address, contact number & email address. 

Drop off location: PEN Office, 281A 16th Avenue, San Francisco (please call 415.751.2237 beforehand) or send files to Call or email for more information.

All work will be displayed at EdRev 2010. Exciting prizes to be won!

Service Providers

We would also like to invite LD/ADHD-related service providers to participate at EdRev as: 

More inforation and registration at:

If you know any sevice provider who you think should take part in EdRev, please forward these links to them!

Back to top...

Teachers' Education Network

The Power of Teachers Talking to Teachers

Susan Deemer and Rochelle Bussi, TEN steering committee.

We often operate without the luxury of collaboration. As a result, we are more than familiar with the feeling of isolation that often accompanies our profession. In an attempt to address this issue, Teacher’s Education Network (TEN) provides professional growth opportunities to bring together Bay Area educators, administers, tutors and therapists. On January 21st, our most recent event, Professional Development with a Twist was held at Urban Recess in the Potrero Hill district. Our focus was an issue of growing concern: student anxiety and how it manifests itself in the classroom. Discussion centered around what we can do as educators to address this rising need.

First, we discussed anxiety-inducing assessment messages often heard in the classroom. The group agreed that phrases like, “You’re really going to have to study hard for this test” to “Here are the strategies I would use to prepare for this assessment,”   or “I want you all to do your best,” or “I know you are ready for this, show me what you know” tend to raise anxiety rather than focus on strategies they can use to tackle the task. Discussions among students regarding self-regulation and teaching the students about it and how to do it by modeling it for them or trying on role-plays or other activities that allow them to practice it at their level could be very effective. Providing opportunities for students to externalize the internal dialog and setting time limits and boundaries around assignments and projects and coming up with group norms and consequences were also suggested.

Next, we had a very intriguing discussion about the phrase, “Just do your best,” one we often suggest to our students. If students are always doing their best, they are working at 100% or higher ALL THE TIME; furthermore, they may not know what this is exactly! Scaffolding the development of a skill as much as possible and modeling the skill by showing examples along the way were other excellent suggestions made by one of the participants. Offering alternative places for students to take tests and quizzes outside of the classroom, if possible, was another fine suggestion. Finally, we closed by discussing how to address prolonged absences by a student due to anxiety. Taking a team approach to address the issue and being sure to include outside support was suggested.

Our next event will take place on February 5th. We are thrilled to host Dr. Jeb Schenck who will discuss how the emerging field of neuroeducation is providing educators with new, practical insights that can improve both student and teacher performance.  Through a series of interactive explorations, teachers will come away with practical strategies to implement in instruction. With each major brain process, Dr. Schenck will guide us through the development of personalized strategies to take back and realistically use. We will explore and experience how the attention systems, emotion, and motivational strategies work together. Disorders such as ADHD, Bipolar and Autism will be explored along with interventions that work.  We will also learn how to cement memories through single experiences and why sometimes repetition doesn’t work. Hope you will join us! Please visit our TEN site at for more detail on our upcoming events and for the minutes of our Twist events.

Back to top...

SAFE Voices

This month, we are very honored to share with you this piece by a long-time SAFE Voices member:

Personal Narrative

Steven Cancelmo

I am who I am today because of my upbringing and my learning differences. When I was born, my mom was 16 and my dad was 20. From them, I inherited ten different races, and four learning differences. My parents split up when I was around a year old, and neither of them could take care of me, even if they loved me very much.  A woman named Mary became my foster parent when I was 14 months old. Then, every 90 days there was a hearing to see if my birth parents were doing the things they needed to do to get me back, like go to parenting classes, find a safe place to live, find a job.  I saw them for separate visits every week, but after 18 months, they lost their parental rights. About a year later, Mary adopted me. My birth mom found all this hard to take and stopped all contact with me, but I still had contact with my dad and still do today. In elementary school, I was smart in some ways, but there were some kids, and even some teachers, who thought I had the IQ of a jar of marmalade, and kids bullied me because of my learning differences:

I have Central Auditory Processing Disorder, ADHD, Dyslexia, and Slow Processing.
With ADHD, I can easily drift off the planet.  In other words, I am easily distracted and get lost in my thoughts. With slow processing, my mind moves slower then a tractor on a highway.  It takes a while for me to process information. With Central Auditory Processing Disorder, I might think you said “pizza,” instead of “it’s a” since I have a hard time separating the audio that I receive. In addition, with Dyslexia, I look at words in a book and they appear jumbled like a pile of leaves, which makes reading difficult.

I have trouble with my learning differences, but they give me things that other people don’t have, like spatial processing strength, and enhanced creativity, I spend three times as long doing things as everyone else, except building Legos.  I can build Legos three times faster than other people can. And, I have the ability to see things in a different way and sometimes I can solve problems other people cannot.

I’ve grown up trying hard to keep up in school. My mom always helped me with schoolwork, because of my struggle.  When I was in kindergarten, my mother decided to be a teacher, because of my LD. So in a way I shaped her, as much as she shaped me. As an LD teacher, she helps many kids. Even if she works hard, and is not paid as much as she deserves, she loves her job.

 Having learning differences is like trying to get an ice cream cone 5 yards away, before it melts, while wearing size extra large lead shoes.  Although my mom encourages me to try my best, even if I can’t do things perfectly, it is mentally exhausting to do all my schoolwork and I end up with assignments overdue.   I work on what I can and make the best of it, and I don’t consider things finished until they are as good as possible. From elementary to high school, I have been working to the best of my ability, and being goofy in between. Outside of my school life, I am a playful, curious, person who is always thinking, and always planning things to do in the future.

I still have a hard time in school, I still get distracted, and it still takes me three times longer to do things then other people. Nevertheless, I still make things, I still don’t give up, I still try my best, and I won’t let my learning differences get in the way of my projects, my dreams, or my success.  

Back to top...

Annual FundAppeal 2009

Thank you! everyone who contributed to our Annual Fund 2009:

Al & Susan Adams
Alex Endo
Ann Farris
Ann Price
Anna Zara
B.Q. Seeto
Barbara Goto
Barbara Pavicic
Beth Gorman
Beth Ohanneson
Betsy Dodd
Bonnie Preston
Cathy Fitzgerald
Cathy Osgood
Constance Clark
David Flink
Deann Wright & Luke Evnin
Deanna Gumina
Debbie Hudson
Dennis Aftergut
Dick Kirchner
Elena Miraglia
Elizabeth Baker
Elizabeth Daly-Caffell
Gayle Rosenberg
Geraldine Oliva
Golob Family Foundation
Greg Hylton    
Harriet Wolfe
Holly Seerley
Irma Castro
Isabel Breskin
Jacqueline Keyser
James Adams
Jan Leuin
Jennifer Hughes
Jennifer Hughes
Jennifer Steele
Jo Cummins
John & Robyn Roberts
Judi Swenson
Judith Lunger-Bergh
Julie Lepinard
Kathleen Sullam
Kathleen Sweazey
Kathy Klausner
Kelly Gorman
Laura Birss
Laura Cashion
Laura Maloney
Leslie Burlock
Leslie Williamson
Lora Buchler
Lorelei Sontag
Loren Gordon
Laura Shine Revlock
Marianna Rocca
Marilyn Rich
Mary Corrigan
Mary Ellen Wilson
Mary Kay Leveroni
Maureen Costello
Megan Kaplan
Millicent/Bob Lelanne
Mona Lessing Harroch
Myrna Szeto
Myrna Szeto
Pat Mandel
Peter Thorp
Regina Casciato
Richard Flaster
Rita Nolan
Robert Scavulo
Sabina Aurillia
Sally Large
Sam Cuddeback
Sara Flynn
Sarah Horowitz
Shelley Schaenen
Susan Horning
Susan Phelps
Susan Mielke
Tanya Stephanian
Terry Weber
Tinker Judson
TJ Scharffenberger
Tracy Edwards
Trish Schreiber
Vivien MacDonald
Winn Ellis

If we have left out anyone from this list, we deeply regret it--please contact us and let us know.

We did not fully meet our $60,000 goal in this appeal. It is not too late to help us meet our goal for funding our 2010 programs. Please help in any way you can.

Donate Now!

Back to top...

Other News

PEN on Facebook & Twitter

PEN is just getting started on Facebook and Twitter! Just follow these links to become a fan or follower to help us get started!


UCSF: Now enrolling CHILDREN and ADOLESCENTS, ages 10-16 with Dyslexia or Dyslexia plus ADHD

The UCSF Hyperactivity, Attention, and Learning Problems (HALP) program is testing a medication to treat Dyslexia (reading disability) or ADHD plus dyslexia. Your child may be eligible for an evaluation of these problems at no cost to you, and eligible to participate in a treatment research study.

This study is appropriate for children who have been diagnosed, or identified by educators, as having Dyslexia or Dyslexia plus ADHD, and who are continuing to have difficulties because of either of these conditions. It is NOT APPROPRIATE for kids who have either of these disorders, but who are doing well with treatment they are already receiving. It may also be appropriate for kids who are reading well below grade level, but who have not been evaluated for dyslexia.

This study will compare Strattera® (atomoxetine) to placebo (an inactive substance, like a “sugar pill.”) For the first part of the study, kids might receive atomoxetine or placebo. All kids will receive atomoxetine in the second part of the study.
Participation in a research study is completely voluntary. If you’re interested in participatingin this study, or if you would just like more information, please call us:


Back to top...