We are Fundamentally Social – Kiley Hamlin (July 24th, 2013)

Did you know babies can tell the difference between right or wrong? Even though they might not be able to talk yet, Kiley Hamlin has shown that they can.

Kiley Hamlin

Kiley Hamlin

Prof. Hamlin, PhD, and Canada Research Chair at UBC, studies moral reasoning and how infants and toddlers develop empathy. She will be speaking on July 24th.

 Come join us as we discover how smart babies are, and how they learn to think about right and wrong, good intentions, helpfulness and punishment! DL

CONTINUING EDUCATION CREDITS in over 20 professional fields

31.5 hours, Category 1 CME credits available for both the US & Canada
CONFERENCE WEBSITE: www.braindevelopmentandlearning.com
Conference brochure: http://braindevelopmentandlearning.com/Brochure2013all.pdf
To Register: http://braindevelopmentandlearning.com/BDL2013/register_2013.html
SAVE MONEY: Scholarships are available.

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KAREN PAPE ON NEUROPLASTICITY (Friday, July 26th)

Karen Pape

Karen Pape

Babies with cerebral palsy or spinal cord and brachial plexus injury were long thought to be incapable of significant improvement in movement patterns.  Dr. Karen Pape has learned that what has been mistaken for unchangeable damage is often the result of motor habits developed with a young, injured brain.  She believes that many parents worried about their children ever walking should instead be concerned with how WELL they will walk – not whether they will walk.

Dr. Pape believes her 40-year medical career has led to this point – a time of sharing what she has learned about neuroplasticity and infant brains.  She has always been the kind of pediatrician that gives hope to parents of newborns with serious conditions.  As one mother pointed out, while the other doctors were focused on her newborn’s disability, “Dr. Pape was one of the only people on that team who encouraged us and she told me that my baby would probably be able to do a lot of things and be like other children. She was right.”

We are so excited to hear Dr. Pape discuss overcoming habits learned with young, injured brains and how to retrain the brain by going against the grain!  She will speak on Friday morning, July 26th. MK

CONTINUING EDUCATION CREDITS in over 20 professional fields
31.5 hours, Category 1 CME credits available for both the US & Canada
CONFERENCE WEBSITE: www.braindevelopmentandlearning.com
Conference brochure: http://braindevelopmentandlearning.com/Brochure2013all.pdf
To Register: http://braindevelopmentandlearning.com/BDL2013/register_2013.html
SAVE MONEY: Scholarships are available.

Dr. William Beardslee – Protecting the Children and Strengthening the Family When a Parent Is Depressed – (Saturday, July 27th)

One characteristic of this conference is how well it blends research and practice.  This year we are particularly proud to have so many speakers addressing issues and presenting research relevant to the medical field. There will be chances to hear about ground-breaking, mind-changing discoveries in neuroscience, mental health, & child development.

We have many speakers addressing topics like:

  • Trauma, Stress & Healing
  • Integrating Mind, Body, & Spirit
  • Treating Indigenous Peoples and Learning from their Healing Practices
  • Flourishing despite Developmental Disorders, Motor Challenges, or Blindness
  • Neuroplasticity

Physicians who treat adults or families can also expect to learn about:

  • Important cutting-edge research in neuroscience and related fields, and
  • Promising new evidence-based approaches that can improve patient care.

 Past attendees have had this to say about the conference:

“One of the best conferences I have ever attended — it was inspiring. I came away with new ideas to work on and things to put directly into my pediatric practice.”
Barbara Fitzgerald, MD, Developmental Pediatrician, UBC

“Finally a conference that successfully bridges the gap between Research & Practice.”
Robert Knight, MD, Neurologist & Director, Neuroscience Institute, UC-Berkeley

This year promises to be just as engaging and applicable with speakers including Dr. Dan Siegel, Dr. Karen Pape, Dr. Bessel van der Kolk, Dr. Bruce Perry, Dr. Gabor Maté, and Dr. Evan Adams.

William Beardslee

William Beardslee

We are especially excited to have Dr. William Beardslee speak. He is author of “Out of the Darkened Room: Protecting the Children and Strengthening the Family When a Parent Is Depressed” a book about how parents and caregivers can help families overcome depression.

Dr. Beardslee will discuss the importance of protecting children from parental depression and explain a variety of promising prevention approaches for depression in families.  He will help us to think broadly and boldly about ways to substantially increase efforts in the promotion of resilience and the prevention of depression. This is CME at its best. MK

CONTINUING EDUCATION CREDITS in over 20 professional fields
31.5 hours, Category 1 CME credits available for both the US & Canada
CONFERENCE WEBSITE: www.braindevelopmentandlearning.com
Conference brochure: http://braindevelopmentandlearning.com/Brochure2013all.pdf
To Register: http://braindevelopmentandlearning.com/BDL2013/register_2013.html
SAVE MONEY: Scholarships are available.

Kevin Miller (Wednesday, July 24)

Kevin Miller

Kevin Miller

Kevin F. Miller has always done interesting work that examines how children think and takes into consideration how that might affect learning.  He has not been content with advancing theory but has also examined the ways in which theories of cognitive development could and should inform the practice of teaching.  Most of his research involves cross-cultural comparisons between children growing up in China and the United States and has looked at questions that vary from the particular like “how do language differences in number names affect the ability to count from 10-20?” to the more multi-layered like “how to do teachers develop and improve their ability to monitor the complex, chaotic environment of a classroom?”

As an adult Kevin has become a fluent speaker of Chinese (fluent enough to bargain in the marketplaces of China!) His experiences as a learner of Chinese and as a visitor to Chinese classrooms have given him unique insights into the challenges and advantages of learning in the classrooms of China and the United States.  His projects have increased our understanding of early mathematical and literacy development by examining basic cognitive development, teacher feedback, language, instructional practice and symbol structure (among other factors.)

We are excited to hear him share his insights into how best to integrate basic cognitive development research findings into classroom practice. MK

CONTINUING EDUCATION CREDITS in over 20 professional fields
31.5 hours, Category 1 CME credits available for both the US & Canada
CONFERENCE WEBSITE: www.braindevelopmentandlearning.com
Conference brochure: http://braindevelopmentandlearning.com/Brochure2013all.pdf
To Register: http://braindevelopmentandlearning.com/BDL2013/register_2013.html
SAVE MONEY: Scholarships are available.

Terry Ford – East Dallas Community Schools

East Dallas Community Schools

East Dallas Community Schools

We are tremendously excited to have the founder of the East Dallas Community Schools, Terry Ford as one of our speakers.  Her program, started in 1978, is a nationally and internationally recognized organization that serves 500 urban, low-income, and immigrant families on three campuses.  Almost half of their students do not speak English when they enroll and the majority (over 60%) come from poverty-level families.

East Dallas Schools take a holistic approach that includes parent education beginning in pregnancy, Montessori Early Head Start and public charter school classrooms for children ages 3 to 9.

Parents as Teachers

Parents as Teachers

They have had fantastic results:

  • In a neighborhood where less than half of entering freshmen graduate from high school, 95% of EDCS graduates earn their diplomas, with 89% of those graduates attending college.
  • For the sixth year in a row, the State of Texas has awarded East Dallas Community Schools (EDCS) a Gold Performance acknowledgment for commended student achievement in reading.
  • In 2011 EDCS earned the nationally prestigious 2011 Educational Achievement Award from the American Psychoanalytic Association for its system-wide support of children’s emotional well-being.
  • For four out of the past five years, EDCS was rated “Exemplary” or “Recognized” by the state of Texas.
  • Compared to Texas public schools, EDCS educates a higher percent of children from low-income families and children whose native language is not English. In spite of these challenges, EDCS students
    • Perform better on the state reading test*,
    • Have a higher high school graduation rate*, and
    • Have a higher enrollment-in-college rate than the state average**

*Source: State of Texas AEIS reports for 2010-2011 under “Dallas Community Charter School”
**Source: The National Center for Higher Education Management Systems at www.higheredinfo.org

What do they say the keys to their success are?

  • Starting young to take advantage of early brain development
  • Involving parents as partners
  • Expecting excellence from each child
  • Learning values: to be kind, loving, and respectful
  • Encouraging initiative
  • Creating a small supportive school community

We’re very excited to have Terry here to share her wisdom and the practical lessons she has learned during her 35 years of leading this excellent organization!

CONTINUING EDUCATION CREDITS in over 20 professional fields
31.5 hours, Category 1 CME credits available for both the US & Canada
CONFERENCE WEBSITE: www.braindevelopmentandlearning.com
Conference brochure: http://braindevelopmentandlearning.com/Brochure2013all.pdf
To Register: http://braindevelopmentandlearning.com/BDL2013/register_2013.html
SAVE MONEY: Scholarships are available.

EDUCATION THAT WORKS Measurable Results & Research-Based Interventions

Another focus of our conference will be Education That Works. We will have educators and innovators speak about programs that have had tremendous impact and have approached education improvement on a variety of fronts. All of them have focused on more than just the classroom and more than just the child’s intellectual gifts or challenges.

Terry Ford (speaking Friday, July 26th) has used the Montessori curriculum and supported parents in becoming partners in the education process which has led to phenomenal success in the East Dallas Community Schools. In “From Hope to Empowerment: Montessori as a Tool to Create Educational Environments in Underserved Communities” Terry will discuss lessons learned over 35 years of leading an organization that successfully educates children of diverse backgrounds from primarily low-income families. Her program, where parent intervention and education begins during pregnancy, has moved from private-funding to public sector and has identified guiding principles for creating educational environments for children and parents where the human spirit blossoms.

Linda Lantieri (speaking Sunday, July 28) has worked to cultivate the inner lives of children as a way to strengthen their social and emotional capacities and she has developed ways to make this an integral part of regular school experience.  Her research-based Resolving Conflict Creatively Program has been implemented in over 400 schools. Linda will draw on her 40 years of experience as an educator, and on principles derived from modern brain research, to explore how to strengthen the habits of mind, body, and heart it takes to relieve the pressure that modern children face in “Cultivating the Inner Lives of Students and Teachers.”  She will focus on cultivating the inner lives of young people and adults by equipping them with some form of regular contemplative practice that can help them manage emotions, increase compassion, and instill stillness.

Brian Warren (speaking Wednesday, July 24) founded Start2Finish in 2000 as a way to break the cycle of child poverty by nurturing mind, body and social health; his non-profit uses fitness training, literacy training, and mentorship to great effect.  After a successful professional sports career, Brian founded Start2Finish a program that pairs exercise with literacy to prime the brain for learning. His talk “Fostering Social Change through the Nurture and Support of Young People” will demonstrate that when literacy, physical activity, inclusion, mentorship and community involvement are mobilized together it creates a powerful tool in the fight against child poverty.

All of these speakers will focus on the practical benefits of education interventions that go well beyond the classroom.

CONTINUING EDUCATION CREDITS in over 20 professional fields
31.5 hours, Category 1 CME credits available for both the US & Canada
CONFERENCE WEBSITE: www.braindevelopmentandlearning.com
Conference brochure: http://braindevelopmentandlearning.com/Brochure2013all.pdf
To Register: http://braindevelopmentandlearning.com/BDL2013/register_2013.html
SAVE MONEY: Scholarships are available.

Vancouverites of all stripes unite to help a Palestinian doctor attend this summer’s conference

Dr. Sami Owaida is the only Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist in Gaza. He emailed us about 6 months before our July 2013 Brain Development and Learning Conference that he would be attending the meeting and was very eager to learn about other ways to better help those in Gaza suffering from stress and/or post-traumatic stress disorders. (The world’s top experts in the diverse ways that trauma expresses itself in the mind and body and in diverse ways to help people recover would be presenting at that conference. There would also be experts on the psychology and neurobiology of stress and on ways to cope with stress.)

When Dr. Owaida contacted us that he would be coming to the Brain Development and Learning Conference we were delighted. The conference organizer (Adele Diamond) immediately offered her assistance in his obtaining a visa to come to Canada for the conference. But shortly thereafter, we received a very disappointed email from Dr. Owaida saying that his institution’s travel funds for 2013 had already been spent and he would not be able to attend the conference after all. Undaunted, Prof. Diamond straightaway said we would give him a full scholarship to cover the cost of conference registration and that the Jewish and Moslem/Arab communities in Vancouver would each raise 50% of the travel funds needed for him to attend the Brain Development and Learning Conference. Then she got to work, and the response was amazing!

We quickly received donations from Sunni, Shia, and Ismaili Muslims, from Conservative, Reconstructionist, and Reform Jews, from Christians and from secular individuals to cover Dr. Owaida’s travel expenses for attending this conference. The vast majority of people making donations lived in the greater Vancouver area, but we also received contributions from folks in Washington State in the US, Manitoba and Newfoundland in Canada, and even Jews in Israel. The outpouring of support and enthusiasm for making it possible for Dr. Owaida to attend the conference was truly heartwarming!

In short order we had funds to cover Dr. Owaida’s travel costs in full.

Then only a month before the conference we received a very disappointed email from Dr. Owaida. (Canada does not have an embassy in Gaza, so Dr. Owaida’s visa had been sent to the Canadian Embassy in Cairo). BUT, mass protests had erupted in Egypt against Mubarak and Canada had closed its embassy in Cairo and the border between Gaza and Egypt was also closed because of the unrest. There was no way for Dr. Owaida to pick up his visa to come to Canada.

Hussein Hirji, an amazing man, who at that time was a Representative of Canada to the Palestinian Authority, arranged for Dr. Owaida’s visa to be sent to the next closest Canadian Embassy – the one in Tel Aviv.

But, Israel would not let a Palestinian, Dr. Owaida, enter Israel from Gaza, go to Tel Aviv to pick up his visa, and re-enter Gaza. Therefore, Hussein arranged that the visa to be couriered from the Embassy in Tel Aviv to Dr. Owaida in Gaza.

The next problem was that Prof. Diamond had booked Dr. Owaida on a flight to Vancouver departing from Cairo, but the border between Gaza and Egypt had been closed due to the unrest. So she had to re-book his flights so that he would fly out of Amman, Jordan. But, Dr. Owaida needed a visa to enter Jordan.

He was able to get the Jordanian visa in time, and despite the many obstacles, Dr. Sami Owaida made it safely to Vancouver and back home to Gaza and was able to attend the entire 2013 Brain Development and Learning Conference.

At the conference, he made friends with people not only from Vancouver, but also with people from all over the world, including a woman from Ecuador, a couple from Nigeria, a woman from Israel, and a woman from UAE. Dr. Owaida was able to attend cutting-edge talks, meet the experts on trauma and stress presenting at the conference in person, and attend one of the small dinners for conference participants with the trauma experts. He learned much that he was able to put directly into use to help children and adolescents in Gaza.

As a wise 4th grader once told us, “We’re on the other side of the world but we’re all connected.”

CONTINUING EDUCATION CREDITS in over 20 professional fields
31.5 hours, Category 1 CME credits available for both the US & Canada
CONFERENCE WEBSITE
Conference brochure
To Register
SAVE MONEY:  Scholarships are available.

Daniel Kish – Echolocation for the Blind

In his talk No Sight, No Limits: How the Blind Learn to See.” Daniel Kish will discuss how he has developed, and trained many, many blind people, to use a method of echolation using one’s tongue so they can navigate by themselves through the busiest intersections and remote, dangerous natural habitats.

Daniel Kish mountain bikes through a stream.

Daniel Kish mountain bikes through a stream.

Daniel Kish leads a group of hikers with canes on a trail alongside a cliff.

Daniel Kish leads a group of hikers with canes on a trail alongside a cliff.

In her talk “Beginning to Believe,”Shawn Marsolais will cover common misconceptions or assumptions about blindness that pose barriers to learning and discuss the effect of positive attitude and opportunity on fostering potential and a no limits attitude.  She will highlight how important a positive attitude is for children who are blind to be successful in all aspects of their lives including establishing social relationships, finding employment, and participating in recreational activities. She will use her own personal experience to illustrate the concept of attitude and no limits.

Shawn Marsolais smiling between two skiers

Shawn Marsolais smiling between two skiers

Lindsay Yazzolino will discuss the challenges facing blind students and professionals as they participate in scientific fields in her talk The Excitement of Being a Blind Tech Enthusiast: Leveraging Modern Technology to Empower Today’s Blind Students and Professionals. ” She will discuss how many of these barriers are reversible, and can be overcome through a combination of educational resources (both high- and low-tech), personal drive, and an overall belief in the capabilities of blind people. She will highlight several assistive and mainstream technologies which have helped her and many others to pursue a career in the sciences.

All three will discuss ways in which challenges that look like impossibilities can be overcome by specific training and technology, by attitude and by the larger society changing its concept of what counts as “impossible”.

A batter swings at a ball during the Beep Ball World Series where blind athletes from over the world compete.

A batter swings at a ball during the Beep Ball World Series where blind athletes from over the world compete.

Prince William blindfolded and learning to aim an arrow using a camera tripod equipped with a tactile sighting device.

Prince William blindfolded and learning to aim an arrow using a camera tripod equipped with a tactile sighting device.

On Thursday, July 25th, Mel Goodale, a Canada Research Chair and Professor at Western Ontario, will talk about the neuroscience behind how/why human echolocation works in his talk “’Visual’ Activity in the Blind Brain: Neural Underpinnings of Echolocation in the BlindHe will explain how the blind brain can exploit what would normally be visual areas for processing information from sound and how echolocation enables blind people to do things that are otherwise thought to be impossible without vision.

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe: “Treat people as if they were what they ought to be and you help them become what they are capable of being.”

CONTINUING EDUCATION CREDITS in over 20 professional fields
31.5 hours, Category 1 CME credits available for both the US & Canada
CONFERENCE WEBSITE
Conference brochure
To Register
SAVE MONEY:  Scholarships are available.

Self-respect vs. Paternalism

One of the themes running through this summer’s conference will be the importance of self-respect, of deriving pride and self-confidence from seeing yourself accomplish something that you know was not easy versus the detrimental effects of paternalism.

Remember the old attitude toward women, “Don’t worry your pretty little head, we’ll take care of you.”  Well, that paternalistic attitude can often be found today toward First Nations people and toward people with disabilities such as blindness.  Three impressive and accomplished blind individuals will tackle head on the need to encourage empowerment and accomplishment rather than custodial care and low-level training.

On Friday, July 25th Daniel KishShawn Marsolais and Lindsay Yazzolino will discuss ways to empower blind individuals from:
training them in echolocation (Daniel Kish)

Daniel Kish teaches a group how to navigate nature trails.

Daniel Kish teaches a group how to navigate nature trails.

Daniel Kish teaches  a child about echolocation using a piece of plexiglass to reflect sound.

Daniel Kish teaches a child about echolocation using a piece of plexiglass to reflect sound.

to fostering the right attitude for facing challenges (Shawn Marsolais)

A blind marathoner roses the finish line of the California International Marathon.

A blind marathoner roses the finish line of the California International Marathon.

Viviane Forest, who has just 4% vision, chases her guide down a slalom course in Sestrieres, Italy.

Viviane Forest, who has just 4% vision, chases her guide down a slalom course in Sestrieres, Italy.

to enabling full participation in science education by adapting materials, courses and technologies (Lindsay Yazzolino.)

A young Lindsay Yazzolino using lab equipment.

A young Lindsay Yazzolino using lab equipment.

Lindsay Yazzolino laughing in front of a laptop.

Lindsay Yazzolino laughing in front of a laptop.

Titles

CONTINUING EDUCATION CREDITS in over 20 professional fields
31.5 hours, Category 1 CME credits available for both the US & Canada
CONFERENCE WEBSITE
Conference brochure
To Register
SAVE MONEY:  Scholarships are available.

Conference update — We’re so excited!!!

banner from vert brochure

The 4th Brain Development and Learning (BDL) Conference is only a little over 6 months away. It runs from  July 24-28 at the Westin Bayshore Hotel in the beautiful city of Vancouver, BC, Canada. For more information about making reservations at the Westin Bayshore Hotel for the conference, click here. If you register before Feb. 15, you’ll receive the early bird discount and save enough for some great sightseeing and dining out when you get here!!

Below you’ll find a sample of ONE popular conference theme and subtopics together with some wonderful speakers who’ll be presenting on that theme. [Note: this is just ONE. You’ll find the others — both themes and speakers — in the conference brochure.]

  • Mind-Body Interrelations & Holistic Approaches to Health and Healing: that for good health, school success, and personal development it is critical to address ALL the aspects of a person — social, cultural, spiritual, cognitive, physical, and emotional.
  • Childhood Trauma: understanding its deep and diverse effects but especially how we can help children recover, prosper, and shine
  •  Maternal Depression: effects of a mother’s depression on her child and what to do about it
  •  Neuroplasticity: the brain is plastic; it changes throughout life based on what you do and experience
  • Epigenetics: most of your genes are turned off; experience affects ‘gene expression,’ that is, it affects which genes get turned on and when

Some of the Amazing Speakers who have agreed to speak at BDL 2013 on one or more of the above topics include: