Neuroscience and Education Symposium connects brain research to classrooms

Neuroscience and Education 2015 Conference Attendees

Educators, other professionals, and parents gathered to learn about discoveries from brain research and connections to education at the Second Annual Neuroscience and Education Symposium, held June 4-5 at Currey Ingram Academy. The conference welcomed over 150 clinicians, teachers, and neuroscience specialists from around the South for two days of keynote speakers, breakout sessions, and networking.

Neuroscience and Education is a one-stop symposium for educators and other professionals to learn about the latest brain research as it relates to education and to learn evidence-based strategies for classroom instruction for students with diverse learning needs. Topics discussed included ADHD, anxiety disorders, auditory processing disorders, autism spectrum disorder, behavioral interventions, brain plasticity, executive functioning and multisensory processing in the brain, evidence-based practical classroom-strategies, learning disabilities, reading interventions, and social-emotional learning.

The symposium was sponsored by the Annette Eskind Institute of Learning at Currey Ingram Academy, the Vanderbilt Kennedy Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities (VKC UCEDD), the Vanderbilt Brain Institute, and Peabody College at Vanderbilt.

“We are delighted to be able to partner with Currey Ingram to offer this very successful second year of Neuroscience and Education,” said Elise McMillan, VKC UCEDD co-director. “The participation of area and regional educators shows the deep interest in this area. We especially appreciate our speakers who presented on a wide range of related topics. They shared excellent in-depth knowledge.”

Martha Denckla, M.D.

Neuroscience and Education 2015 Conference Speaker Martha Denckla, M.D. Photo by Elizabeth Turner

Serving as keynote speakers for this year’s symposium were Martha Denckla, M.D., and Mark Wallace, Ph.D. Denckla, a research scientist and director of the Developmental Cognitive Neurology Department at the Kennedy Krieger Institute, spoke on “The Impact of Executive Function and Dysfunction on Academics.” Wallace is director of the Vanderbilt Brain Institute, associate director of the Vanderbilt/NIMH Silvio O. Conte Center, and Professor of Hearing & Speech Sciences, Psychology and Psychiatry at Vanderbilt and presented “Brain Plasticity: The Biological Substrate for Education.”

Other topics covered by VKC researchers and clinicians were:

  • ADHD Medication and Additional Supports–Steve Couch, M.D., assistant professor of Pediatrics, Division of Developmental Medicine; assistant medical director for Pediatric Rehabilitation, Vanderbilt Stallworth Rehabilitation Hospital
  • A Practical Model of Understanding the Impact of ASD on Learning and Behavior–Pablo Juarez, M.Ed., BCBA, associate director of Treatment and Research Institute for Autism Spectrum Disorders (TRIAD) and assistant in Pediatrics and Psychiatry
  • Bridging the Gap: Increasing the Durability of Behavioral Interventions by Connecting with Basic Research–Joseph Lambert, Ph.D., BCBA, assistant professor in the Practice of Special Education
  • Intensive Intervention: Using Data to Individualize Reading Intervention for Students with Severe and Persistent Learning Challenges–Chris Lemons, Ph.D., assistant professor of Special Education
  • Learning Disabilities in a Life Course Context: Road Signs Along the Highway of Life–Sheryl Rimrodt-Frierson, M.D., assistant professor of Pediatrics, Division of Developmental Medicine, and faculty clinic director of VKC Learning Assessment Clinic

“At Currey Ingram Academy, we have a mission-based commitment to help families and professionals who work with children, particularly with resources related to learning differences,” said Kathy Boles, admissions director at Currey Ingram Academy. “Co-hosting this event with the Vanderbilt Kennedy Center fits perfectly with our mission. This year, we increased participation by nearly 20 percent and drew participants from 12 counties and four states. We are very thankful to our incredible list of expert speakers and look forward to another great event in June 2016.”

For more information on the Neuroscience and Education Symposium, e-mail or call (615) 322-8240.

Elizabeth Turner is VKC Communications Coordinator.

Pictured top of page: Neuroscience and Education 2015 Conference attendees. Photo by Elizabeth Turner

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