2007-03-22 / News

Special education conference scheduled

The Jamestown Special Education Local Advisory Committee (SELAC) will present its fifth annual Educational Awareness Day Conference on Saturday, March 31, from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. The conference will be held in the multipurpose room at the Melrose Avenue Sschool.

National author and lecturer Rick Lavoie will present two workshops and provide information and inspiration to parents and teachers. Parents, educators and administrators are welcome to attend. Admittance is free, and no pre-registration is required but seating is limited.

Lavoie has three decades of experience in special education as a former teacher and administrator of residential programs for special needs students, and has served as a visiting lecturer at numerous universities. He is the author of numerous workshops, books and video materials on challenges faced by children with learning disabilities in the school system. His two workshops planned are "It's So Much Work to be Your Friend: Helping the Child with Learning Disabilities Find Social Success," targeted at parents and families, and " A Dozen Strategies that Don't Work with Learning Disabled Kids, and A Dozen That Do," which is targeted at both parents and school professionals.

Lavoie's first workshop will explore the relationship between learning disabilities and social incompetence and how that impacts the daily life of children. Extensive studies have examined students with learning disabilities who have chronic failure in mainstream classes and adults with learning problems who have been unsuccessful in the workplace. The studies further show the failures are linked to the individuals' incompetence of social skills, not academic skills. People with learning disabilities have marked diffi- culty perceiving, understanding and responding to social situations. Social isolation, rejection and humiliation are often the result.

The second workshop will examine the numerous classroom techniques that have been traditionally and remain frequently used for special-ed students that are simply not effective. Techniques that include follow-along reading, time-out, classroom competition, and punishment are just a few examples. The seminar will outline twelve unique and field-tested techniques that can be used effectively by parents and professionals to modify and improve children's behavior and performance.

"As parents of special-ed children ourselves and SELAC members, we are delighted to have Rick Lavoie address our Awareness Day event," SELAC co-chair Donna Perry says. "Children with learning disabilities, especially language disorders, too often face isolation because of challenges in engaging in conversation and traditional social behavior. But as parents we know the ability to make friends and be treated as a friend is critical to the progress and development of a child. We are looking forward to learning Mr. Lavoie's techniques for helping these kids."

The conference will include one break between workshops. Books, brochures, and other materials will be available for participants.

For more information, contact Elizabeth Pinto, Director of Student Services/Special Ed at 423- 7020 or ride7405@ride.ri.net or Donna Perry, SELAC co-chair at donnaperry@cox.net or 423-0450.

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