Professional Development

Book a Professional Development Workshop

Building Inclusive Classrooms

Bring Foothills Academy Professional Development to Your School or Organization

Our Professional Development Workshops and Training focus on strategies and programs that have been proven successful within our school and one-to-one Read/Write program. Although our focus is assisting individuals with Learning Disabilities, the ultimate goal is to assist and support staff in meeting the diverse needs of all learners.

Current Workshop topics available for booking:
 

Learning Disabilities: What Educators Need to Know

Speaker: Tanya Keto
(1.5 hours, 2.5 hours or full day workshop available)

Learning Disabilities (LD) are brain-based difficulties in reading, writing, math, organization, focus, listening comprehension, social skills, motor skills or a combination of these. LD are not the result of low intelligence, poor vision or hearing, or lack of access to quality instruction. Examples include Reading LD, Writing LD, Math LD; Dyslexia, Dyscalculia, Dysgraphia, Dyspraxia. 

Educators play a key role in setting these students up for success in the classroom. In this session, we will discuss: 

  • Statistics and outcomes for students with LDs 
  • Causes, myths, and facts 
  • Red flags, identification, and assessment of students with LDs 
  • Social, emotional, and behavioural challenges for students with LDs and how to support these learners 
  • Evidence-based interventions to set up teachers and their students with LD for success 

ADHD: What Educators Need to Know

Speaker: Tanya Keto
(1.5 hours, 2.5 hours or full-day workshop available)

Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is one of the most common neurodevelopmental disorders in children. It is usually first diagnosed in childhood and often lasts into adulthood. Children with ADHD may have trouble paying attention, controlling impulsive behaviours, or over-activity. There are three different types of ADHD, depending on which symptoms are strongest in the individual, and each of these subtypes may impact children differently, especially at school. 

The classroom environment can pose challenges for a child with ADHD. The very tasks these students find the most difficult—sitting still, listening quietly, concentrating—are the ones they are required to do all day long. Perhaps most frustrating of all is that most of these children want to be able to learn and behave like their neurotypical peers. Neurological deficits, not unwillingness, keep kids with attention deficit disorder from learning in traditional ways. Educators play a key role in setting these students on a path for success! In this session, we will discuss: 

  • Statistics and outcomes for students with ADHD
  • Causes, myths, and facts 
  • Red flags, identification, and assessment of students with ADHD
  • Social, emotional, and behavioural challenges for students with ADHD and how to support these learners 
  • Evidence-based interventions to set up teachers and their students with ADHD for success 

Executive Functioning: Who’s the Boss?

Speaker: Tanya Keto
(1.5 hours, 2.5 hours or full day workshop available)

Executive Functions (EF) are mental processes that help to connect past experience with present action to guide future behaviour. Individuals with Learning Disabilities and/or ADHD may experience increased difficulty in the development and use of these functions compared to their same-aged neurotypical peers.  These functions underlie activities such as planning, organizing, strategizing, paying attention to and remembering details, and managing time and space. When students struggle in these areas, it can result in behaviours that are often labelled as  “attention-seeking”, “defiant”, “showing off”, “unmotivated” or “lazy”, “emotional overreactions”, and “inflexible”, just to name a few. 

Teaching students with  EF deficits can be challenging, and understanding the how and why of EF deficits can significantly impact how we work with these students. This session will increase teacher’s knowledge of how EF deficits impact learning and what teachers can do to maximize the success of these students. With a focus on cognitive neuroscience research and brain-based strategies that teachers can use to increase student engagement, motivation, and self-management, we will discuss: 

  • The Executive Functions and how they work
  • Discuss the development of EF
  • How EF deficits impact students and classroom dynamics
  • How to best support students with EF deficits

Put the Pro in Cognitive Proficiency

Speaker: Tanya Keto
(1.5 hours, 2.5 hours or full day workshop available)

Students with ADHD and/or Learning Disabilities (LD) consistently experience deficits in processing speed or working memory, or a combination of both. Processing speed abilities are required to work with ease, efficiency, and automaticity. Working memory is the brain's Post-It Note: the ability to identify visual and auditory information, maintain it in temporary storage, and re-sequence it for use in problem-solving. 

Processing speed and working memory combine to indicate our cognitive proficiency abilities: the efficiency with which we process information. It's no wonder that deficits in cognitive proficiency may significantly impact learning and achievement across all academic areas, particularly given the demand to process information automatically and quickly within the classroom setting without intentionally thinking through information. In this session, we will explore:

  • Processing speed and working memory
  • Examine the relationship between processing speed, working memory, and ADHD and LD
  • Investigate how deficits in these areas may impact learning and academic success 
  • Delve into evidence-based practice strategies and accommodations in 3 areas at school: the classroom environment, teacher instruction, and student assessment. 

Let’s put the PRO in cognitive proficiency to set students with ADHD up for success! 

Understanding Psycho-educational Assessments = Understanding Your Student 

Speaker: Tanya Keto
(1.5 hours, 2.5 hours or full-day workshop available)

Do you work with students who struggle at school? Psychoeducational assessments combine standardized assessments of a child’s intellectual and academic abilities with the dynamic clinical judgment of a trained psychologist to determine the what, how, and why of struggling students. This process measures overall aptitude and academic achievement around core academic skills and any additional factors that may impact a child at school (e.g., attention and concentration, learning disability, mood, anxiety, etc.) and provides strategies to support them. 

Whether a diagnosis is made or not, the information can be used to identify what the student needs to reach their potential. This session will take a deep dive into what teachers need to know about the psychoeducational process including: 

  • The psychological processes that underlie learning: such as language and phonological processing, fine-motor and graphomotor processing, executive functioning, visual-spatial processing, processing speed, working memory, etc.
  • The specific academic skills being investigated: including reading, writing, math, language, etc.
  • Aspects of social/emotional and behavioural functioning that may be impacting the student: including attention and concentration, depression, anxiety, etc.
  • The diagnostic process
  • Recommendations, strategies, and accommodations
  • Using the psychoeducational assessment report for Individual Education/Program Planning (IPPs, IEPs, etc.)

Assistive Technologies in the Classroom

Speaker: Cathi Graveline
Half Day

Assistive Technology (AT) refers to the devices and services that are used to increase, maintain, or improve the capabilities of a student with a disability. AT that specifically helps students with Learning Disabilities (LD) includes computer programs and tablet applications that provide text-to-speech (e.g., Kurzweil 3000), speech-to-text (e.g., Dragon Naturally Speaking), word prediction capabilities (e.g., WordQ), and graphic organizers (e.g., Inspiration).

AT helps in two ways: it can help the student learn how to complete the task and it can help to bypass an area of difficulty. For example, when a student decides to listen to a digital version of a book, they are bypassing an area of difficulty. However, if the student focuses on the computer screen as highlighted words are read aloud, they can learn unfamiliar words. AT is most effective when it is embedded within quality instruction. In this session, we will explore: 

The role that AT plays in supporting students with LD

  • What works best in the classroom setting
  • Supporting students with AT use
  • A variety of AT options for reading, writing, and math to meet that range of needs for students with LD