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Emily North Presents Workshop on Social Pragmatics

by Solvegi Shmulsky

Emily North, director of student activities at Landmark College, presented a social pragmatics workshop at the northeast regional conference of the Association of Promotion of Campus Activities (APCA) in Syracuse, N.Y., on October 12, 2013. Student Activities Director Emily North

Social pragmatics is the art of interpersonal communication, and it includes abilities such as conversing in a back-and-forth way, responding appropriately to the emotional dynamics in a situation, and employing etiquette.  Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is associated with social pragmatics challenges, and North’s presentation emphasized strategies for working with students with ASD in a campus activities setting.

In her role as director of student activities at Landmark for more than a decade, North describes her approach as “integrated.” She mentors students with dyslexia, ADHD, ASD and other differences, promoting their growth as leaders and expanding their tastes and experiences through involvement in the campus community.  Last year, she presented at two APCA conferences, and many audience members asked her about her experiences working with students with ASD. This interest propelled her to create the October 2013 workshop.

North’s session invited participants to “learn effective strategies for mentoring college students with ASD for leadership roles on campus that will empower them to develop skills for the university and beyond.” Accompanying her in Syracuse were two current Landmark College students, Emily Drnec and Kyle Vanderwiel, who serve on the Campus Activities Board.  “Emily and Kyle were extremely helpful in answering questions,” said North, who described the audience’s high level of interest in her topic. “We had an excellent turnout, and people who attended the presentation continued to ask questions about working with ASD populations throughout the duration of the conference.”

Presenting at the APCA, North shared innovative, student-centered approaches with student life professionals from across the country. APCA is a vibrant, active “educational training organization that was founded in 1994 and serves the programming needs of all Campus Departments throughout the United States.” APCA, which will host seven conferences in 2014, draws professionals and student leaders from a variety of roles who share the mission to support the growth and development of college students. 

Landmark College was the first institution of higher learning to pioneer college-level studies for students with dyslexia. Today Landmark College, offering two and four-year degree options, a graduate level certificate in universal design with technology integration, and summer programs for students who learn differently, is a global leader in integrated teaching methods for students with dyslexia and other learning disabilities, ADHD, and ASD. Students, faculty, and other professionals from all over the world are drawn to Landmark College for its innovative educational model—designed through research and practice to help all students who learn differently become confident, self-empowered, and independently successful learners.

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