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Third Annual “Cecily’s Advocacy” Parenting Workshop at McLean School

Workshop Teaches How To Adjust to Learning Differences

The co-chairs for the Cecily’s Advocacy Workshop are Paula Schuster and Stephanie Schissler.

The co-chairs for the Cecily’s Advocacy Workshop are Paula Schuster and Stephanie Schissler. Photo by Susan Belford.

“Learning Differences: What Works?” will be the subject of the third annual “Cicely’s Advocacy” workshop on Saturday, Feb. 11 at the McLean School, 8224 Lochinver Lane in Potomac.

This workshop kicks-off with a keynote address by dyslexia researcher and expert, Thomas G. West who will speak about “Amazing Shortcomings, Amazing Gifts.” West is the author of “In the Mind’s Eye – Creative Visual Thinkers, Gifted Dyslexics and the Rise of Visual Technologies.” After his initial address, attendees will have the opportunity to attend breakout sessions on a variety of topics.

The “Cecily’s Advocacy” workshops, sponsored by the McLean Parents Association were initiated after Cecily Kaufman of Potomac succumbed to breast cancer in 2009. Kaufman was a committed advocate for children and a devoted mother. She chaired the McLean School Book Fair and was a dedicated member of the McLean School Parents Association Executive Board. After she died, her friends and fellow McLean volunteers planned the first advocacy workshop in memory of Kaufman — to pay tribute to her devotion to the school and to honor her husband Joel and children Ben and Rachel. More than 150 people attended the first year and more than 175 attended last year to learn strategies for coping with their child’s ADD, ADHD other learning disabilities.

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Cecily Kaufman with her children Rachel and Ben.

Co-Chairmen of this year’s workshops are Paula Schuster and Stephanie Schissler, working with McLean Director of Development Linda Rafferty

“This year, the program will address a wide variety of learning issues that affect all children with or without disabilities,” said Schuster. “The program is open to parents and educators, with different speakers and topics from last year. We are offering workshops that relate to adopted children and their families, workshops on anxiety in children and adolescents as well as sessions to help with college decisions.

“All kids learn differently, thus, we are offering these parenting workshops to address the many learning differences. Parents will come away from the program with a lot of practical strategies that they can immediately put to use.”

Rafferty adds: “The biggest problem is choosing among the sessions. There are so many excellent topics, that one wants to attend each one.”

Session topics include: “Homework Helper 101: Getting Your ADHD Child to Complete Homework without Tears, Tantrums or Time-outs,” “Recognizing and Addressing Anxiety of Children and Adolescents,” “College Considerations for LD/ADHD Students,” “Game Change: Move from ‘Enabling’ to ‘Empowering’ Your Children to Overcome Obstacles, Discover Their Strengths and Accomplish Their Goals,” Where Dyslexics Thrive — Pixar, SIGGRAPH, Weta Workshop,” “Is it Adoption, Kid Stuff or Something Else” and “Maximizing Your Adopted Child’s Self-Esteem.”

The speakers for the sessions are experts from the D.C. area. They include Janice Goldwater, Dr. Stacie Isenberg, Dr. Ruth Spodak, Dr. Kenneth Stefano, Hannah Serota, Sheila Adams Gardner, Dr. Julie Lewis and Carol Muleta.

Registration begins at 8:30 a.m. and the program will run until 1:30 p.m. The workshop is complimentary for McLean School parents and $25 (cash or check) for non-school parents and educators. The program includes a box lunch. To register, go to www.mcleanschool.org/parents/resources/2414/ or call Rosanne Urick at 240-395-0692. Email with questions to: CecilysDay@McleanSchool.org.