ABOUT THE CENTER FOR TEACHING BRAIN LITERACY

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A Message from Director James Bradford Hale, PhD, MEd, ABPdN


Greetings! We offer the Center for Teaching Brain Literacy leaders here, with over 150 years of clinical experience among us as a group. Myself, as a professor, pediatric neuropsychologist, school psychologist, and former special education teacher, I have been serving the needs of children for over 30 years. I received my Master's of Education (MEd) in Special Education (Learning Disabilities/Behavior Disorders Endorsements) from the University of Illinois at Chicago, and then a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) degree in School Psychology (Neuropsychology/Research Methodology Specializations) from Loyola University Chicago. That Jesuit training was awesome, and immensely impacted me both professionally and personally.  I then did a Postdoctoral Fellowship in the Department of Pediatrics at The Ohio State University and Nationwide Children's Hospital. I am currently Board-Certified in Pediatric Neuropsychology from the American Academy of Pediatric Neuropsychology

Although I became a professor after my fellowship, my applied research largely focused on children with disabilities and typical children in real world settings, so both my students and the children they served could benefit. With co-authors, I have over 50 scholarly publications and two books, School Neuropsychology: A Practitioners Handbook and Neuropsychological Evaluation of Children and Youth: An Evidence-Based Approach to Emotional and Behavioral Disorders. I was chosen to represent the field of pediatric neuropsychology in chapters in the APA Handbook of Clinical Psychology and the APA Handbook of Psychopathology.  I am now retired from academia, with my last appointment as a Full Professor of Educational Neuroscience with Tenure at Nanyang Technological University in Singapore, a major university ranked 13th in the world. For a complete list of Dr. Hale's scholarly presentations and publications, please see his curriculum vitae

My goal with this Teaching Brain Literacy Initiative is to partner with organizations across the world to help practitioners think about their brain functioning and the brain functioning of those they serve in the real world (e.g., schools, offices, clinics). Our research has shown that brain literacy training improves participant knowledge, skills, and attitudes toward individuals with disabilities, with the added increment in skills for those who complete the case studies from their sites. For more information, please visit the Training tab. 

It is a great honor to be able to serve the children whose lives I care so deeply about. By making brain literacy an important part of the lives of parents, teachers, and allied professionals, we can optimize outcomes for the children whom we hope to serve each day. 

A Message from Jeff Berland, Washington State Certified Special Education Teacher

Through my graduate coursework in the St. Martin’s University Professional Certification Program in Special Education and Exceptionality, I became a highly qualified Washington State special education teacher in all areas of exceptionality. I am also certified to teach History and Social Studies with highly qualified designations in the areas of civics, geography, economics, and sociology. Having a Bachelor of Arts degree in Anthropology, with a minor in American Indian Studies, I am well-versed in the diverse needs of those I have been serving for over 30 years. My research and service to Indigenous populations—both urban and rural—not only supports my knowledge and skill in working with diverse populations in all settings, but also a valuation of individual differences in learning and behavior. I recognize that personalized education is critical, valuing cultural, socio-economic, family, social-emotional, and intrapersonal influences on my instruction and interventions.

As an educator of special education populations with experience in all grade levels in Washington State public schools, I have taught classes of children with specific learning disabilities, emotional-behavioral disorders, developmental delays and other low-incidence exceptionalities with data-based decisions as my guiding influence in intervention. Consistent with Dr. Hale’s perspective, I believe that education is a profession that not only recognizes the individual, but how those individuals function within school-based and other environments. Although I recognize children are not just data points, I do believe that data informs and directs my instruction and interventions. I not only provide direct services to students with academic and/or behavioral concerns and challenges, but I also provide problem-solving consultation for teachers and families who are serving and supporting our youth in all environments from classrooms to their communities. This problem-solving consultation includes problem identification, problem analysis (which includes neuropsychological assessment results if possible), plan development-implementation, data collection, and plan evaluation/recycling—with intervention modification based on student response and need—until success is achieved. Please see the academic and behavioral consultation tab for more information.   

A Message from Kim Fitzer, PhD, Certified Psychologist and Special Education Teacher

Greetings from Canada! I’m excited to be a part of the Center of Teaching Brain Literacy and represent the Canadian focus of our efforts. I received my PhD in School Psychology, with specializations in Applied Pediatric Psychology and Pediatric Neuropsychology, from the University of Calgary, Alberta, Canada. My areas of specialization include child psychopathology, the neurobiological basis of learning, cognitive neuropsychological assessment and intervention, and dynamic assessment. My Residency placements have included service in the Child and Youth Mental Health (CYMH), the Queen Alexandra Centre for Children’s Health (Pediatric Neuropsychology), and the Behavioural Research Unit (Clinical Outpatients). My orientation is in part guided by the works of Reuven Feuerstein, Alexander Luria, and Lev Vygotsky.

My research work includes examination of how concussions or mild TBI affects real world functioning. In particular, I focused my work on how mild TBI and post-concussion symptoms (PCS) affects children in schools. Grant and research work (CIHR, CHREB, SSHRC) supported several projects I spearheaded, and have included the Mild Traumatic Brain Injury-Cognitive Rehabilitation Project: Cognitive Rehabilitation for Children with Post-Concussion Syndrome; Cognitive Rehabilitation in Complex Concussion in Children (4C Cog Rehab Study); Identifying Specific Reading Disability Subtypes for Effective Educational Remediation; and Differential methylphenidate effects on frontal-subcortical circuit executive functions affecting academic and behavioural outcomes in ADHD. This work led to 11 peer-reviewed scholarly publications, over 16 peer-reviewed international conference presentations and workshops, and invited presentations on ADHD, learning disability subtypes, and neuropsychological assessment. 

A Message from Karie Pariseau Lorenz, MA, Licensed Specialist in School Psychology (LSSP), Licensed Psychological Associate (LPA)

For four years, my first clinical experiences included working at the Southwest Neuropsychiatric Institute in San Antonio, Texas, where I collaborated with neurologists, neuropsychologists, and and other related health care professionals. I provided direct inpatient and residential care for children and adolescents. This led me to pursue a Master of Arts in School Psychology at Trinity University, San Antonio, Texas. I have worked in the schools and in my private practice providing behavioral and metacognitive executive interventions since 1992. Passing the Examination for Professional Practice in Psychology (EPPP), I achieved my Licensed Specialist in School Psychology (LSSP) and Licensed Psychological Associate (LPA), allowing me to practice independently in Texas without supervision.

Having practiced most of my career in Texas, I am also credentialed in Alaska and Washington State. I was a founding member of the Dallas-Fort Worth Regional Association of School Psychologists, which spearheaded training and continuing education (CE) standards that have been adopted across the State of Texas. I have served as a Trainer for the Crisis Prevention Institute (CPI) for 15 years, and this work has given me a great depth and breadth of experience in behavior management and consultation, as well as handling mental health crises. In collaboration with the Association for Neurologically Impaired Children (ASNIC), I consulted regularly to support children with known neurological disorders, including traumatic brain injury, seizure disorders, genetic disorders, autism, and severe learning disabilities. In my private practice, I have followed students with socioemotional and behavioral disabilities. Through executive coaching, cognitive-behavior therapy, and behavior management interventions, I have worked to foster children's self-awareness of their executive functions and improved their social skills. My hope is to foster awareness of brain literacy among children, parents, and professionals to maximize outcomes for those I serve at the Center for Teaching Brain Literacy. For more information, please consult the Academic and Behavioral Consultation tab.   

A Message from Nadine Metro, PsyD, Licensed Psychologist and Certified School Psychologist

Hello!  I have found that understanding the brain basis of learning and behavior really informs my work with children, in both assessment and intervention. My interest in learning about how the brain learns came from having a family history of dyslexia, so I chose to combine training in neuropsychology with working with children in a school setting as a School Psychologist.  After working in mental health settings with adults and children, I pursued a masters degree in Counseling Psychology (MEd) at Boston University.  I was subsequently trained as a Clinical Psychologist with specialties in Neuropsychology and School Psychology at Widener University, where I received my Doctor of Psychology (PsyD) degree. I did my neuropsychological internship at the Hospital of University of Pennsylvania  Brain-Behavior Lab. I then worked at a  Children’s Hospital on the Traumatic Brain Injury Unit, evaluating children and also facilitating their return to school.  Helping children return to school became the subject of my dissertation and subsequently became a book chapter that I wrote with Dr. Hale. 

For the last 25 years, I have worked as a school psychologist, doing psychoeducational and neuropsychological evaluations at  the public school. I also have a small private practice doing Independent Educational Evaluations. 

 

When evaluating children, I have integrated my knowledge of the how the brain learns into evaluations, recommendations and interventions.  I have also done trainings with the staff at my school to educate them on the brain basis of learning disorders, ADHD, traumatic brain injury and neurodevelopment and presented at the county and state level, as well.  I have taught  graduate courses in neuropsychology applied to school psychology and assessment. I continue to be interested in dyslexia, including screening for markers of dyslexia in young children entering school and the interventions that can help them.

A Message from Samantha O'Bannon, PsyD, Licensed Clinical Psychologist and Pediatric Neuropsychologist

Hello from Los Angeles! It is my love for the brain and the growing minds of children that propelled me into the field of Neuropsychology. Born in Bermuda, from a young age, I had a passion for the medical services on the island and was determined to contribute to the quality of health care available to the country. I began working in the hospitals as a student volunteer and later through their student training programs. While in college, I completed several summer research opportunities exploring the brain and its impact on learning and overall functioning. Upon graduating with a BS in Counseling Psychology from Oakwood University in Huntsville, Alabama, I accepted position conducting psychological and neurological research at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. In pursuit of my doctorate, I attended Mercer University School of Medicine in Macon, Georgia, before receiving both my Masters and Doctorate in Clinical Psychology from Loma Linda University in Loma Linda, California where I specialized in Neuropsychology. 

I am currently working in Los Angeles, California as a Licensed Clinical Neuropsychologist with a clinical focus on pediatric and adult populations in several private practice settings. Specifically, I specialize in brain and behavior relationships, and help families and individuals determine the impact of brain injury or neurological and/or neurodevelopmental strengths and weaknesses on their daily life (e.g., school, work, relationships). 

Having trained at some of the top hospitals in California, including UCLA, Children’s Hospital Los Angeles (CHLA), and Loma Linda, I am elated to also introduce the Neuropsychology specialty to my home island of Bermuda and to provide comprehensive and targeted assessments; ultimately reducing the need for locals to travel abroad to receive these services. 

Having a mother who was a special education teacher and early intervention specialist, I was always keenly aware of the developmental needs of children and also the frustrations that could arise when there was a lack of translation or understanding between what we know about the brain and application (how to teach/train a brain). Now, being involved in Independent Educational Evaluations (IEE’s) and having many educational based referrals, I believe it is imperative to serve my families by teaching brain literacy to all involved in their treatment and care. Together, by sharing what we know about the brain and providing practical examples, we can all help to improve the quality of care to those we serve. 

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