Speakers and Sessions


Educators face a range of mental, psychological, behavioral, and learning issues when schools return this fall from the pandemic's impact on children, their brains, and learning. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that from April through October 2020, the proportion of children between the ages of 5-11 visiting an emergency room because of a mental health crisis climbed 24 percent compared to that same time period in 2019. Among 12-17 year-olds, the number increased by 31 percent. A recent study by Harvard University researchers found that about two-thirds (67%) of the children they studied in ages 7-15 between November 2020 and January 2021 had clinically significant symptoms of anxiety and depression, and 67% also had clinically meaningful problem behaviors. That compares to only 30% with anxiety and depression symptoms and 20% with behavioral problems in a pre-pandemic study. A March 2021 report by Horace Mann found that more than half of educators (53%) reported a “significant” loss in students’ academic learning, and another 44% of educators agree there is “some” loss.

This conference will provide new research on the impact of the past pandemic school year on brains, mental health, and learning and science-based strategies for helping heal and deal with anxiety and trauma in children and teens. Discover the impact of stress on ADHD, LD, and autism; teaching strategies for tackling learning loss; classroom management techniques for behavior that reduce stress, anxiety, and depression; ways to provide trauma-sensitive classrooms; and methods for dealing with the increased use of technology and screen time as a result of the pandemic.

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Educators, Parents
Curriculum, Staff Developers
Speech-Language Pathologists
PreK-12 Teachers, Administrators
Learning Specialists, Special Educators
Psychologists, School Psychologists, Counselors
Early Childhood Educators, Professionals
Reading, Math, Science, Technology Teachers
Superintendents, Principals, School Heads
Adolescent Educators, Clinicians, Counselors
Social Workers, Mental Health Professionals
Guidance, Career, College Counselors
College, University Professors

Featured Speakers

Reestablishing Attention and Synchronicity in Children Exposed to Trauma

Bessel A. van der Kolk, MD

Professor of Psychiatry, Boston University Medical School; President, Trauma Research Foundation; Blog, “Nurturing Our Mental Health During the COVID-19 Pandemic” (2020); Author, The Body Keeps the Score: Brain, Mind, and Body in the Healing of Trauma (2014) and Traumatic Stress: The Effects of Overwhelming Experience on Mind, Body and Society (2006)

Good Anxiety: Harnessing the Power of Anxiety in Schools

Wendy A. Suzuki, PhD

Professor of Neural Science and Psychology, Center for Neural Science, New York University; best known for her extensive work studying neuroplasticity and areas in the brain critical for our ability to form and retain new long-term memories; Author, Good Anxiety: Harnessing the Power of the Most Misunderstood Emotion (Forthcoming, 2021); Co-Author, “Brief, Daily Meditation Enhances Attention, Memory, Mood, and Emotional Regulation in Non-Experienced Meditators” (2018, Behavioral Brain Research) and Healthy Brain, Happy Life: A Personal Program to Activate Your Brain and Do Everything Better (2015)

Unwinding Our Anxiety in the Brain After the Pandemic

Judson A. Brewer, MD, PhD

Director of Research and Innovation, Mindfulness Center; Associate Professor in Behavioral and Social Sciences and Psychiatry, Schools of Public Health and Medicine, Brown University; Research Affiliate, Massachusetts Institute of Technology; Author of the New York Times Best Seller, Unwinding Anxiety: New Science Shows How to Break the Cycles of Worry and Fear to Heal Your Mind (2021) and The Craving Mind: From Cigarettes to Smartphones to Love - Why We Get Hooked and How We Can Break Bad Habits (2018); Co-Author, “Unwinding Anxiety: Using Technology to Promote Mental Health in College Students” (2019, AACAP)

Under Pressure: Confronting the Pandemic of Stress, Anxiety, and Mental Health Concerns in Adolescents

Lisa K. Damour, PhD

Clinical Psychologist; Recognized as a Thought Leader by the American Psychological Association; Senior Advisor to the Schubert Center for Child Studies, Case Western Reserve University; Executive Director, Laurel School’s Center for Research on Girls; Writer for the Monthly “Adolescence” Column at the New York Times; Regular Contributor, CBS News; Advisory Board Member, Parent Magazine; Co-Host of the Podcast, Ask Lisa: The Psychology of Parenting; Author of the New York Times Best Sellers, Under Pressure: Confronting the Epidemic of Stress and Anxiety in Girls (2019) and Untangled: Guiding Teenage Girls Through the Seven Transitions into Adulthood (2016)

Helping Students With Concerning Behavior Before and After the Pandemic

Ross W. Greene, PhD

Psychologist; Adjunct Associate Professor, Department of Psychology, Virginia Tech; Adjunct Professor, Faculty of Science, University of Technology in Sydney, Australia; Former Faculty, Harvard Medical School; Founder/Director, Lives in the Balance, which recently released finding from it's "Parenting in a Pandemic" Survey that found parents of children with behavioral issues have been fairing much worse than parents as a whole; Collaborator on the documentary The Kids We Lose, Winner of the Best Feature Documentary Award at the 2018 New Hampshire Film Festival, the 2019 Women's Film Festival in Philadelphia, and the 2019 Los Angeles Women's International Film Festival; Author, The Explosive Child (2021, 6th Edition), Raising Human Beings: Creating a Collaborative Partnership With Your Child (2016), Lost and Found: Helping Behaviorally Challenging Students (and, While You're At It, All the Others) (2016), and Lost at School: Why Our Kids With Behavioral Challenges Are Falling Through the Cracks and How We Can Help Them (2008)

The Science of Stress and Trauma: Can It Impact Future Generations of Children?

Bianca Jones Marlin, PhD

Herbert and Florence Irving Assistant Professor of Cell Research; Principal Investigator, Marlin Lab, Columbia University’s Zuckerman Institute; Assistant Professor of Neuroscience, Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons, Columbia University; whose research aims to use neurobiology and the science of learning to better inform both the scientific and educational communities on how positive experiences dictate brain health, academic performance, and social wellbeing; Neuroscientist featured in the film, “Breakthrough: The Trauma Tracer”, produced by ScienceFriday; Co-Author, “Bridging the Gap Between Innate and Learned Behaviors: A Parental Role in Promoting Survival” (2020, Neuropsychopharmacology), and “Oxytocin Enables Maternal Behavior by Balancing Cortical Inhibition” (2016, Biological Psychiatry)