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LD Innovation Symposium

Diverse Technologies for Diverse Minds

Thanks to all that attended our 5th annual LD Innovation Symposium, held
September 29, 2017 in Cambridge, MA 

Check back soon for information and dates on the 2018 symposium! 

Use the pull down menus below to learn more about the event

  • Keynote by Eric Tridas, M.D., FAAP
    "ADHD and Learning: A Perfect Storm"

    9 a.m. to 10:30 a.m.

    Medical Director of the Tridas Center for Child Development
    President of Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics Consultants, Inc.
    Author of From ABC to ADHD: What Every Parent Should Know About Dyslexia

    ADHD is one of the most common developmental disorders that impacts students of all ages. It affects all aspects of the student’s life, including their work, behavior/emotional regulation, social relationships and health. Oftentimes, ADHD is accompanied by other emotional and developmental problems. The American Academy of Pediatrics’ guidelines for the diagnosis and management of ADHD recommend that we also evaluate for the presence of other commonly occurring problems in the areas of learning and behavior. During his presentation, Dr. Tridas will discuss a practical, easy to understand model for evaluating and managing learning and behavior problems. The participants will learn a structured way of describing the student’s strengths and weaknesses in the areas of learning, behavior, social relationships, and health. Presenting an organized description of how these factors impact the student’s life can guide the formulation of a comprehensive and successful intervention plan encompassing educational, psychological, medical, and environmental recommendations.


    Plenary Presentation by John Gabrieli, Ph.D.
    Cognitive Neuroscience & Dyslexia: From Biology to Remediation

    2:45 p.m. to 4 p.m.

    Grover Hermann Professor in Health Sciences and Technology and Cognitive Neuroscience, MIT
    Professor of Brain & Cognitive Sciences, MIT
    Investigator, McGovern Institute for Brain Research, MIT
    Director, Athinoula A. Martinos Imaging Center, MIT 

    I will review what is now known about differences in brain structure (anatomy) and function (physiology) with reading difficulty (dyslexia). I will also review how effective remediation can result in brain plasticity associated with gains in reading. Finally, I will share thoughts about how basic research about dyslexia might contribute to the practical education needs of students with learning differences.



  • Break-out sessions I. Participants choose one session (on day of event). 10:45 a.m. to 12 p.m.

    a. Summer Slide, Glide, or Gain: Struggling Reader Outcomes in a High-stakes Season
    Joanna A. Christodoulou, Ed.D., Assistant Professor, MGH Institute of Health Profession
    [room 3310]

    The summer is a high-stakes season for reading development, particularly for children who are in elementary school, who struggle with acquiring reading skills, or who come from lower socioeconomic backgrounds. A major concern is that children's reading skills may become eroded during the summer vacation, leading to fragile skills in September that may have been more robust the previous June. Despite being a critical time period, limited empirical work explores summer reading skills in at-risk populations and the factors that can optimize reading outcomes. In this talk, I will present findings from both neuroimaging and behavioral data on the nature of summer reading outcomes, the impact of summer reading intervention, factors differentiating students who did and did not benefit from intervention, and implications for practice.

    b. Applying Universal Design Practices in Economics Courses 
    Manju Banerjee, Ph.D., VP for Educational Research and Innovation, Landmark College
    Ibrahim Dahlstrom-Hakki, Ph.D., Director, Landmark College Institute for Research and Training
    Jim Koskoris, M.B.A., Assistant Professor, Landmark College 
    [room 4062]

    Students with LD can often face challenges in Economics classrooms where formulas and specialized language may make underlying concepts inaccessible to them. This session will explore the Universal Design (UD) mindset as it relates to teaching Economics to diverse learners. We will explore ways to apply this mindset to making economics more accessible to a broader range of learners, including examples of gamifying economics content. Participants will experience practical demonstrations of UD practices used in Landmark College classrooms.

    c. “Passage to Hunza”: Developing Hands-on Educational VR Games to Teach Statistics 
    Landmark College students (Cael Hansen, Caroline Hubley, Dylan Gebel, Dennis Champagne)
    [room 4199]

    A team of Landmark College students has been working on developing an interactive Virtual Reality (VR) game to provide a hands-on way for students to learn core statistics concepts. This interactive demonstration, led by the development team, will provide multiple perspectives on the design and development elements of the project including technical development, pedagogical design, and artistic direction. Participants will have the opportunity to playtest the game in VR.

    d. Engaging Faculty and Staff in Students' Success 
    Amy Strage, Ph.D. Assistant Vice President for Faculty Development
    Elizabeth Tu, M.S. Instructional Designer and Accessibility Specialist, Center for Faculty Development
    San José State University
    [room 5193]

    Borrowing from the well-known adage, “It Takes a Village,” we are committed to a truly collaborative approach to helping ensure the academic success of our students--especially those with atypical learning profiles. On our campus, this has entailed working creatively to raise awareness among faculty and staff about (1) students’ needs, (2) how those needs manifest themselves in academic settings, and (3) supports and resources available to students as well as staff and faculty. We will share some of the activities we have developed to equip faculty and staff with the knowledge, the pedagogical skills, and the disposition to work effectively with these students: panels featuring faculty who are parents of young adults with disabilities, panels features students interviewing peers with disabilities, lunch-and-learn sessions, and informational “house calls” to campus departments and colleges.

    Break-out sessions II. Participants choose one session (on day of event). 1:15 p.m. to 2:30 p.m.

    a. Dyslexia Interventions: What Do You Do When All Else Fails?
    Matthew Schneps, Ph.D., Director, Laboratory for Visual Learning, UMass Boston; MIT Scheller Teacher Education Program
    [room 3310]

    Dyslexia is largely an impairment in phonological processing. And yet, many practitioners and an increasing number of researchers find that traditional instruction encouraging phonological awareness is not effective for all students with dyslexia. Even when phonological processing deficits fundamentally impair reading in dyslexia, other impairments--such as those in orthographic processing that overlay reading--can also take their toll. If phonological instruction fails to provide benefits, what is a practitioner to do? Here, we will discuss some of the research in this area, and talk about the benefits and pitfalls of assistive technologies intended to help those who struggle with reading and writing. This will be an interactive session, so please come prepared with stories and examples from your own practice or experience to share with the group. (What problems did you encounter? Did you find solutions? Did technology help?)

    b. We Know More than We Can Tell: How Game-based Learning Assessments Help Students Demonstrate their Knowledge
    Micah Altman, Ph.D., Director of Research, MIT Libraries 
    Ibrahim H. Dahlstrom-Hakki, Ph.D., Director of the Landmark College Institute for Research and Training
    [room 4062]

    In an educational system that prioritizes testing, particularly those that use text and formalisms to portray concepts, many learners may be excluded from educational opportunities because of their cognitive differences. Games and other digital environments allow us to use learners’ behaviors, such as the strategies they use during gameplay, to measure what they know implicitly but may not be able to express on a test. We will show examples of how we are using game data, along with eye-tracking and other sensor data, to help understand what players really know.

    c. New and Engaging Medium: How Diverse Student Talent Can Be Brought into VR      
    Landmark College students (Caroline Hubley; Cael Hansen)
    [room 4199]

    Virtual Reality (VR) is a new and engaging medium that can afford a broad range of opportunities for student engagement and expression. This interactive demonstration will provide participants with an opportunity to learn about some exciting VR art and innovation projects at Landmark College and how this medium can be used to engage students with a broad range of interests and talents. Participants will have an opportunity to experience a VR art project.

    d. Environmental Influences on The Neural Basis of Language and Reading Development 
    Rachel Romeo, MSc, CF-SLP, Ph.D. candidate at Harvard University & MIT
    [room 5193]

    Children’s environments early in life can have a profound influence on brain development, which provides the foundation for later learning. These environments include broad societal influences, such as one’s socioeconomic status, as well as much more immediate factors, such as how many words a child hears in a day. Participants will learn about recent research demonstrating relationships between these environmental influences and neural structure and function in the context of language and reading, and how the brain changes following reading instruction. Participants will also experience a demonstration of LENA technology, which tracks a child’s language exposure throughout the day

  • Schedule at a Glance

    Friday, September 29th, 2017

    Click here to open a PDF version of the schedule

    8:00 –
    9:00 am 

    Registration 3rd Floor Atrium
    9:00 –
    9:10 am
    Welcome by Landmark College President Dr. Peter Eden Singleton Auditorium
    9:10 –
    10:30 am
    Keynote Address by Dr. Eric Tridas
    “ADHD and Learning: A Perfect Storm”

    Singleton Auditorium

    10:45 am – 12:00 pm Break-out sessions I.
    Participants choose one (see the "Break-out Sessions" menu above for more details).
    a. Summer Slide, Glide, or Gain: Struggling Reader Outcomes in a High-stakes Season 3310
    b. Applying Universal Design Practices in Economics Coures 4062
    c. “Passage to Hunza”: Developing Hands-on Educational VR Games to Teach Statistics 4199
    d. Engaging Faculty and Staff in Students' Success 5193
    12:00 –
    1:15 pm


    1:15 –
    2:30 pm
    Break-out sessions II.
    Participants choose one (see the "Break-out Sessions" menu above for more details).
    a. Dyslexia Interventions: What Do You Do When All Else Fails? 3310
    b. We Know More than We Can Tell: How Game-based Learning Assessments Help Students Demonstrate their Knowledge 4062
    c. New and Engaging Medium: How Diverse Student Talent Can Be Brought into VR 4199
    d. Environmental Influences on The Neural Basis of Language and Reading Development 5193
    2:45 –
    4:00 pm

    Plenary session by John Gabrieli, PhD
    "Cognitive Neuroscience & Dyslexia: From Biology to Remediation"

    Singleton Auditorium


    • Educators, researchers, parents, and administrators working with students with LD, ADHD, or ASD
    • Professionals who are interested in how technology can improve teaching and learning 
    • Educators who would like to use technology more strategically in the classroom
    • High school students interested in learning more about Landmark College  

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