Skip to Content

Summer Institute for Educators

Our 2024 Summer Institute will occur June 25th - 27th, 2024 on our campus in Putney, VT


New this year, we're excited to host a special pre-conference half day event on the theme of neurodiversity, diversity, and intersectionality! See more below. 

The Summer Institute at Landmark College has been an annual opportunity for education professionals to reboot their learning and refresh their enthusiasm for supporting students who learn differently. The event features nearly 40 years of Landmark College expertise in teaching students with learning disabilities, ADHD, and autism. Learn and network with small, focused groups of your peers. Get your voice heard and your questions answered. The Landmark College Summer Institute offers cutting-edge presentations with focused attention to participant questions.


Click below for more details for each session

  • Tuesday June 25th


    PC1: Finding Home: Transition Experiences of Neurodivergent Students with Foster Care and/or Adoption Experiences

    9:00 - 10:00 a.m. ET 


    Dr. Adam Lalor, Ph.D., Vice President, Neurodiversity Research and Innovation, Landmark College
    Marc Thurman, Director, Centers for Diversity and Inclusion, Landmark College


    Neurodivergent students are more likely than their neurotypical peers to have adoption and/or foster care experiences. But how much do we really know about how these experiences impact subsequent transition to postsecondary education? Join us to hear the findings of a research study exploring the transition experiences of neurodivergent students with adoption and foster care backgrounds. Key themes from this research will be discussed as well as a novel program develop to support the transition and success of this unique population.



    PC2: Pronouns, Hormones, and Support: The Intersection of Neurodiversity and Queerness

    10:15 - 11:15 a.m. ET 


    Jeff Huyett, MS, APRN, Director of Health Services, Landmark College


    Expression of sexual and gender variation happen at a higher rate in students who are neurodiverse. Jeff, a seasoned queer, nurse practitioner, will review the care provided to sexual and gender minority students within Landmark College’s Health Services as well as across campus housing, academics and programs.


    PC3: Restorative Practices: Using a Restorative Circle for Developing Trust and Enhancing Belonging

    11:30 a.m. - 12:45 p.m. ET 


    Fabio A. Ayala, Assistant Director of the Center for Restorative Practices, Amherst College 


    A Restorative Practices Community Building Circle is a transformative tool that can be used to foster trust, connection, and conflict reduction within a group. We believe that by providing a safe and structured environment for open dialogue, participants are encouraged to share their thoughts, feelings, and perspectives in an equitable way that makes sure every voice in the room is seen and heard.  

    This process not only allows community members to listen to one another but also helps them better understand diverse viewpoints and experiences. In our 75-minute session we hope participants will be able to: 

    • Observe and experience a restorative community building circle
    • Explore the possibilities of including a circle practice to your work with students
    • Walk away with some sample circle scripts for building community, reflecting on content, and debriefing with students. 
  • Tuesday June 25, 2:00 - 3:30 p.m. ET 

    By Audrey A. Trainor,
    Professor of Special Education;
    Content Director, Programs in Special Education
    New York University 
    Portrait of Dr. AudreyTrainor

    As more and more students go to postsecondary education, transition planning for all students—with and without disabilities—continues to be a promising strategy for success. While individualized planning remains at the heart of the IEP, supporting students’ intersectional identity development introduces increased understanding of self and group belonging. Finding a balance between individualization and identity can increase students’ opportunities to thrive in college and beyond.

  • Tuesday June 25, 3:45 - 4:45 p.m. ET

    Hear from a panel of current Landmark College students as they share their personal stories. Students will provide insight into the unique situations they have faced, and overcome, as individuals with both learning and mental health or wellness challenges. Attendees will also have the opportunity to hear from students about the strategies that have helped them along the way. Come with questions you want answered! 

  • Tuesday June 25, 4:45 - 6:00 p.m. ET

    Enjoy light hors d'oeuvres and alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages while you mingle and get to know your fellow attendees, Landmark College faculty, staff, and students. 

  • Wednesday June 26, 9:00 - 10:00 a.m. ET

    Concurrent sessions are 1-hour presentations on a range of topics with relevance for educators working with students with LD, ADHD, and autism.

    *Choose one presentation from the following during this session*:

    C11: Applying an Ungrading Philosophy: How Educators can Rethink and Redesign Assessment to Maximize Learning for Every Student


    Eric Matte, M.S., Professer; Chair of Department of Professional Studies, Faculty Advisor for WLMC Landmark College Radio


    Evidence shows that grading can demotivate students, promote cheating, and overall miss the mark on an authentic learning process. This session will focus on how to empower students to excel in any course using an “ungrading” philosophy. Specifically, what is the ungrading philosophy and how does it work? Second, how can teachers launch and engage students in this empowering assessment practice? This session will address the paradigm shift of power sharing, inspiring agency, and structuring a self-reflective feedback loop to create a genuine learning process for every student. Canvas examples will be shared and contract grading agreements will also be part of the interactive workshop. Prepare to discuss transformative ideas about grading and assessing neurodiverse students. 


    C12: Time Literacy: Reimagining ‘Time Management’ Support to Include Learning and Thriving


    Darrell Earnest, Ph.D., Associate Professor, College of Education, University of Massachusetts, Amherst


    Time management for neurodivergent undergraduates, including those with learning disabilities (LD) and attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), has long been identified as a hurdle impeding college graduation. Building on research in disability studies, mathematics education, higher education, and time management, I share a framework for time literacy, one’s capacity to reason about time in relation to one’s priorities, commitments, resources, and needs. In this session, I provide details of time literacy support for LD undergraduates and their reports of thriving in response to such support.

    C13: Using Self-Dialogue to Boost Metacognitive Awareness and Academic Success in Neurodivergent Students


    Marc Graff, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, Education & Special Education, Touro University 
    Rick Bryck, Ph.D., Senior Director, Landmark College Institute for Research and Training (LCIRT)


    A common challenge for  students at all levels is the application of ‘metacognitive’ skills in learning situations, especially for neurodivergent individuals. This category of skills would include, for example, the ability to monitor the effectiveness of our learning efforts, and knowledge of the correct strategies to employ to enhance our learning. In this session we will report on an interventional research study aimed  at helping neurodivergent college students’ apply metacognitive skills through strategy training sessions, in which these students learned to use their spoken language in order to guide their thinking on academic reading and writing tasks. Results from this study will be discussed, including implications for broader applicability of metacognitive skill training for all students and in other learning contexts.


    C14      Building Bridges, Not Masks: UDL in Neurodivergent Education


    Kelly Cray, Burr and Burton Academy; The Autist Educator


    Delve into the serious risks of masking neurodivergent traits, including heightened suicide risk. In this session, we will confront the urgent need for change in our classrooms, explore the dark consequences of forcing neurodivergent students to hide their true selves and learn how the Universal Design for Learning (UDL) framework offers a lifeline. This session is a call to action, arming educators with the knowledge and urgency to dismantle harmful norms. Attend to be part of a movement that saves lives, fostering authentic support and understanding for neurodivergent learners by providing powerful alternatives to traditional classroom expectations. (Note: this session assumes some familiarity with UDL)


  • Wednesday June 26th, 10:15 - 11:15 a.m. ET

    Concurrent sessions are 1-hour presentations on a range of topics with relevance for educators working with students with LD, ADHD, and autism.

    *Choose one presentation from the following during this session*:

    C21: No Ideas but in Things: The Essential Role of Art in Teaching, Learning and Being


    Eric Stewart, Assistant Professor of Art, Landmark College
    Luke Strosnider, Assistant Professor of Digital Media, Landmark College
    Cindy Ludlam, Assistant Professor of Ceramics, Landmark College


    Integrating studio art practices into coursework, irrespective of the discipline, enriches the learning experience for all participants, and proves particularly impactful for individuals who perceive and engage with the world through visual and kinesthetic modalities, as opposed to linguistic ones. The Studio Arts not only offer therapeutic benefits but also possess the capacity to augment traditional classroom instruction. This panel presentation, facilitated by members of the Integrated Arts Faculty at Landmark College, aims to provide participants with practical insights into how creative practices can effectively support diverse learning styles. Attendees will gain ideas for seamlessly incorporating these practices across various disciplines.

    C22: Staging an Amygdala Intervention: Practical and Radical Strategies for Combating Test Anxiety


    Jacqueline Ahl, Outreach & Retention Specialist, SUNY Dutchess Community College


    “I’m a terrible test-taker!" Let’s change that narrative. This session includes an exploration of the amygdala, the role of cortical and subcortical brain structures in threat detection and response, maladaptive coping strategies, outcome expectancy, attentional bias, and stereotype threat. Guided by neuroscience and borrowing ideas from art therapy to the military, from cognitive psychology to comedy we’ll examine a variety of conceptual and practical interventions for test anxiety, including concrete changes in preparation, radical means of re-framing thinking, and a program used by Navy Seals to decrease performance anxiety and increase success. 

    C23: Empowerment through Teaching Disability History


    Rich Cairn, Collaborative for Educational Services


    Gain a framework and materials to integrate disability history and supportive attention to disability into the K-12 curriculum. Explore the free, accessible Reform to Equal Rights (RER): K-12 Disability History Curriculum. Its inquiry-based lessons investigate topics from early in American history through student research projects on the Disability Rights Movement. Detailed lessons engage students with disabilities in civic engagement projects. Trace the long arc of disability history from early American history through the Disability Rights Movement as we sample tools and strategies for inclusive instruction in history and civics, with attention to students with learning disabilities.


    C24: LIFE Project: Weekly Workshops and Peer Coaching to Support Students on the Spectrum


    Alma Haidee Jongewaard, LIFE Project Coordinator, California State University, Long Beach
    Britney Griffin, LIFE Project Coordinator, California State University, Long Beach


    The Learning Independence for Empowerment (LIFE) Project is a free program for students with autism (ASD) at California State University, Long Beach. Students attend weekly workshops and community-building activities to practice the skills necessary to navigate university life and future career opportunities, with peer coaching for more individualized support. The goal is to foster students’ self-determination and belongingness at CSULB by making the unspoken social hidden curriculum more visible and explicit to reduce barriers to employment and degree-attainment. CSULB can share recommended program structure, pre/post assessments, collaborations with the campus and surrounding community, as well as recommendations for future programming.

  • Wednesday June 26, 11:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m. ET

    Choose ONE topic from this session that appeals to you. Join your colleagues to share your own knowledge and learn from each other.


    Discussion Session Descriptions and Locations
    Topic Location

    Transition planning 

    Lewis Building: Room 104

    Student engagement and motivation 

    MacFarlane (STEM) 111

    Strategy Sharing: Give one take one 


    Come prepared to share a favorite strategy for supporting students — and walk away with some new ideas! 

    Student Center - Café Court

    Handling student anxiety 

    MacFarlane (STEM) 104

    Implementing Wellness Strategies 

    Lewis Building: Room 102

  • Wednesday June 26, 2:00 - 4:00 p.m. ET

    Workshop sessions are 2-hour presentations that are more focused and go into more depth on a topic with relevance for educators working with students with LD, ADHD, and autism. These are intended to be more interactive in nature, which may include any or all of the following: hands-on activities, practice or application of taught strategies or skills, and rich discussion.

    *Choose one presentation from the following during this session*:

    W11: Helping Students Harness the Power of Generative AI for Good, not Evil


    Elizabeth McCarron, EdD, Certified ADHD Life Coach, Excel With ADHD LLC


    Students quickly adopted Generative AI but faculty have been slower to get on board. Worried about cheating, many schools banned the technology. But this can hurt neurodiverse students who have adopted GenAI at a higher rate than neurotypical peers. This workshop allows beginners to experience GenAI for themselves, using ChatGPT to demonstrate ways that neurodiverse students use the technology for academic success. Attendees will practice creating and refining prompts. We will discuss ethical implications and collaborate to create assignments that help students use GenAI responsibly. Join us and get inspired to experiment with GenAI to help your students and yourself!

    W12: Creating and Adopting a Culture of Universal Design in Post-Secondary Education


    Betsy Ralph-Tollefson, Academic Lead/Communications Instructor, Southwest Wisconsin Technical College
    Christena Bowers, Disabilities/Support Services Manager, Southwest Wisconsin Technical College


    Southwest Wisconsin Technical College was looking for a big idea to improve the teaching and learning experience for our campus community. Chris Bowers presented universal design as a path forward. What came next was a two-year investment in people and training to develop internal trainers and a rubric to help our campus continue this work. In this presentation we will share our organizational process for creating and adopting a culture of universal design at Southwest Wisconsin Technical College and how you can use a plus-one approach to implement change on your campus.

    W13: Why Make It Difficult?  Building Desirable Difficulties into Learning and Teaching


    Jim Baucom, Emeritus Professor, Landmark College


    Many neurodivergent students struggle to consolidate what they learn into long term memory, not for lack of effort, but because they rely on strategies that encourage shallow processing and short term recall.  This session will examine current views of memory storage and retrieval and the most common types of memory problems that learners face.  Most importantly, we will discuss study strategies that have strong theoretical and empirical support - strategies that deepen learning and enhance long term retention.   Caution:  Many of these techniques defy conventional wisdom and may cause us to rethink not only how students learn, but how we teach.

    W14: Cognitive Load: What you need to know to support your students


    Dr. Alyssa Lawson, Research Scientist, Landmark College Institute for Research and Training (LCIRT)


    Cognitive Load Theory explains the amount of information learners’ experience during learning varies in its desirability and effectiveness for deeper and longer-term learning. This theory discusses how students process learning material within the highly limited working memory system, which is particularly important to consider for neurodivergent students. This workshop will discuss overarching theories on cognitive load, with an emphasis on 1) each type of cognitive load, 2) what can increase or decrease each type of cognitive load in an educational context, and 3) how to harness cognitive load theories to increase deeper learning for students. 

  • Wednesday June 26, 4:15 - 5:15 p.m. ET

    Location Lewis Academic Building- Auditorium 

    Hear from a panel of current Landmark College faculty and staff as they share their knowledge and experience working firsthand with neurodivergent students. They will share strategies on how they handle tech/devices in the classroom, support student executive function, manage flexible deadlines, manage student anxiety, general classroom management, and more! Come with your questions you would like to have answered.  

  • Thursday June 27, 9:00 - 11:00 a.m. ET

    Workshop sessions are 2-hour presentations that are more focused and go into more depth on a topic with relevance for educators working with students with LD, ADHD, and autism. These are intended to be more interactive in nature, which may include any or all of the following: hands-on activities, practice or application of taught strategies or skills, and rich discussion.

    *Choose one presentation from the following during this session*:

    W21: Cultivating Interdisciplinary Collaboration to Encourage Teaching and Learning Experiences within a STEM Cohort


    Stazi Bonhomme, Student, Landmark College
    Val Proskauer Valerio, Student, Landmark College
    Christin Monroe, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, Landmark College
    Rebecca Matte, Associate Professor, Landmark College
    Kim Coleman, Ph.D., Associate Professor, Landmark College


    It is well understood that experiential learning contributes substantially to deeper and more nuanced understanding of content within a group of typical learners. Moreover, recent evidence suggests that these techniques are even more powerful for those who may traditionally struggle with specific elements of a standard academic program. Our internship model lends enough structure to provide motivation paired with enough flexibility to avoid restricting creative freedom. Our STEM cohort is interdisciplinary in that it includes both Life Science and Computer Science students that meet together in our STEM Community. As an example of this interdisciplinary collaboration, we will highlight a table-top game, that simulates the spread of a bacterial infection through a population, created by program members. We will share the program model that facilitated both the initial creation of the project and the collaborative impetus for further developments.

    W22: Gaming for Growth and Belonging


    Eric Gobel-Lynch, PhD, Director of Transition Programs, Landmark College
    Thomas Kuzma, Coordinator of Student Affairs Online Programs and Support, Landmark College


    Tabletop role-playing games can be a powerful tool to help neurodiverse individuals build skills and have fun while fostering a community at their college. Accessible to students in online and in-person formats, these games give players a chance to practice social skills, empathy, and executive function in a world with simulated consequences that allows for failure and learning in a forgiving environment. After this session, participants will be able to, explain the benefits of TTRPGs for neurodivergent students, prepare for and run TTRPG sessions, and conduct safe and inclusive games using expert-designed resources.

    W23: Greatest Hits: Strategies to Use with your Students


    Emily Helft, Ed.S., Assistant Director of Professional Development, Landmark College Institute for Research and Training (LCIRT) 


    Here at the Institute for Research and Training, we give dozens of workshops and trainings every year, and we hear time and time again that strategies are what people are most excited about getting from our professional development offerings. Come join us for a 2-hour workshop to learn about our most popular recommendations for many educational situations including supporting executive function, fostering a Universal Design for Learning mindset, or supporting neurodivergent students in the classroom. We'll cover strategies we personally see folks get the most excited about, as well as top requests from the student perspective. This is a hands on workshop and participants should come prepared to participate!

    W24: Developing a Neurodivergent Mind Through Game Design


    Daisy Frederick, Founder, Off-Key, LLC


    Games are highly engaging, especially for the neurodiverse community, and game design provides a perfect method for supporting the development of many ‘soft skills.’ This workshop will be full of hands-on activities and open discussion to introduce practical, robust activities that can be integrated into a variety of subject areas.  Participants will get the chance to work with several different materials for designing both tabletop and video games, and walk away with a ‘game design kit’ and access to a Google Folder of resources. 

  • Thursday June 27, 11:15 a.m. - 12:15 p.m. ET

    Do you ever feel like you are overwhelmed with information and ideas for putting them into practice after attending a conference? But never seem to have time to sit down and plan out how you will apply what you've learned? 

    This session is for you! This is dedicated time to reflect on what you've learned thus far at Summer Institute, bounce ideas off the experts from LCIRT and Landmark, and select other presenters, and make a plan to implement what you have learned into practice! 

  • Thursday June 27, 12:30 - 1:45 p.m. ET

    By: Dr. Loring C. Brinckerhoff

    Session Description: 

    The field of higher education and disabilities has evolved greatly in the last 30 years. This plenary session will present the historical underpinnings of the profession through the lens of a seasoned professional who has worked in both Disability Services Offices and for the world's largest testing agency. Loring will discuss the changing landscape since the passage of the ADA as well as some future trends we are witnessing in the higher education and disability community. 

    Speaker Bio: 

    Loring C. Brinckerhoff is the former Director of the Office of Disability Policy for Educational Testing Service (ETS) in Princeton, NJ where he worked for 23 years. His primary responsibilities at ETS were to oversee testing accommodations for 18,000+ test takers with disabilities who are seeking accommodations on ETS high stakes tests. He is also a higher education and disability consultant to Harvard Law School and Columbia University. He earned his Ph.D. in learning disabilities at the University of Wisconsin-Madison where he started the LD Support Services office in the McBurney Resource Center. He is also former president of the Association on Higher Education and Disability (AHEAD). In retirement Loring works one day a week at the Tremont School, in Concord, MA helping neuro-diverse high school students find the best college match. He lives in Cambridge.

Schedule at a Glance

Click on the image below to view or download a summary of this year's schedule. More details coming soon!

Note we are hosting a special half-day pre conference on Tuesday, June 25. Three sessions will centered on theme of neurodiversity, diversity, and intersectionality, culminating with a Keynote presentation after lunch. We will transition to the full conference during the Keynote and continue with a student panel and reception on Tuesday. Wednesday is day 2 of the full conference and features a mix of workshops and concurrent sessions. Thursday, Day 3 of the full conference, will continue workshops sessions, a special new Application session, and close with our Second Annual Manju Banerjee Neurodiversity Plenary Presentation. 


Click on the image below to enlargen or download.

Landmark College Summer Institute schedule

Pricing and Registration

Registration Prices
  Early Bird~ Regular Group^
Preconference only
(yellow sections above)
$179 $199  n/a
3 Day conference
(blue sections above)
$499 $599 $499
3 Day conference + Precon
(yellow + blue sections above)
$599 $699 $599
Single Day (T*, W, or Th) $224 $249 n/a



  • ~ Early bird deadline is April 30, 2024
  • ^ A group is three or more attendees and valid only for the three-day conference ($499 per person) or conference + pre-con registration ($599 per person). Registration must be completed at the same time to receive the discount.
  • * A Tuesday single day registration includes both the pre-con and conference portions of the day.
  • Alumni (a Landmark College associate's, bachelor's, or LDN certificate program, graduate) receives the early bird rate with no deadline.
  • Registration fees include the following:
    • A reception on June 25 including light hors d’oeuvres and alcoholic and nonalcoholic beverages
    • 3 Day conference attendees (or respective items for a single day attendee) --light breakfasts and lunches on June 26 and June 27
    • Preconference attendees --light breakfast and lunch on June 25 


Who Should Attend?

  • College and university professors
  • Secondary school teachers
  • Learning specialists
  • Academic support professionals
  • Special educators
  • Disability service providers
  • School administrators
  • Education consultants
  • Curriculum and staff developers
  • Advisors

Or anyone wanting to learn more about supporting diverse student learners!

Campus COVID policies

See the College's COVID Response page for more information.

Continuing Education Credits (CEUs)

While we don’t offer specific CEUs, participants will receive digital badges that attest to participation in the event(s), including the number of hours involved. These can also be printed out as certificates (and/or we can assist with providing these). For many state education departments and organizations requiring CEUs, such a certificate often suffices for obtaining CEU credit—but it really depends on your particular state or organization (so we recommend reaching out to your representatives to see what is needed). We can also provide a letter of completion upon request.

Directions, Travel, and Accommodations information

Please see the following websites for travel information on getting to campus and recommended accommodations and resources for visitors to Putney, VT. Please note: the shuttle information listed on these websites is for Landmark College students only, we will not be offering a shuttle. Ride share and taxis are very limited in our region, thus we strongly recommend driving your own vehicle or renting a car from the airport.

Past Participant Testimonials

Here’s what past participants have said about the Summer Institute

  • “By far this is the most helpful and informative professional development I’ve ever done. Landmark is so fabulous and incredibly attuned to what special educators and students need to succeed and thrive!”

  • “My workshop was amazing! Theory and practical strategies were well woven into the presentations, discussions, and demonstrations with great quality, value, and depth.”

  • “Thank you for always bridging the research-to-practice gap.”

  • “This was amazing and I’m so glad I attended!”

Previous Summer Institutes

View program highlights and schedules from previous years on this page


Back to top