National Education Summit

Leading Education Conferences and Events Australia

Special Needs Symposium

2018 program has concluded. 2019 program announced soon. 
School Success for Learners with Special Needs, covering ADHD, Dyslexia, Autism and Anxiety

The Special Needs Symposium 2018 is designed to provide in depth knowledge, dispel myths, promote research and explore strategies to create an inclusive classroom. The four key topics covered are ADHD, Autism Spectrum Disorder, Dyslexia and Anxiety. The symposium will bring educators together with the common goal of building capacity to facilitate appropriate classroom strategies for students. Held on Friday 31 August and Saturday 1 September 2018 featuring two streams per day, you may choose to attend one stream, two streams or all four.

The symposium addresses the following PD accreditation criteria: APST 1.5, 1.6 & 4.1 Australia wide

Registration –  $88
Group bookings are available and all prices are inclusive of GST
Please note: catering not included



Stream 1: Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)
Friday 31 August 2018 -Morning Session

Session 1: What it means to be the parent or Carer of a child with ADHD

9am – 9.45am

Ruth Devine
Journalist & Mother of 3 sons with ADHD

Read more about Ruth here

Session Overview
Ruth Devine presents a candid and uniquely personal session on what it means to be the parent or carer of a child experiencing ADHD. Ruth will give insight into her experience over the last 19 years of being a Mum to three sons with the disorder.  As well as providing advice for educators to get the best outcomes for ADHD students in a classroom setting. Ruth’s session includes practical tips and participants will gain insights into:

  • What ADHD means in real terms for children
  • ADHD myths and half-truths debunked
  • The incredible potential of an ADHD brain
  • Top 10 challenges for students with ADHD (and how to manage them)

Session 2: Educational outcomes for children with ADHD: Can we make a difference?
9.45am – 10.30am

Speaker: Dr Emma Sciberras, Clinical Psychologist, Deakin University; Community Health Services Research, Murdoch Childrens Research Institute

Read more about Emma here

Session Overview
This presentation will provide delegates with practical strategies for improving outcomes for learners with ADHD. Participants will gain an understanding of:

  • Educational outcomes for children with ADHD;
  • Information about evidence-based programs that improve educational outcomes for children with ADHD; and
  • Practical strategies that can be used to assist youth with ADHD in the classroom.

Session 3: School success for students with ADHD
11am – 11.45am

Speakers: Cressida Crossley & Jamie Coombs, Special Needs Teaching Specialists, NESTS

Read more about Cressida here & Jamie here


Session Overview
Hear how schools can best support students with ADHD in the classroom and within the wider school community to set students up for success beyond school. Pariticipants will gain an understanding of:

  • Presentation of ADHD
  • How to implement practical school based supports for the ADHD learner
  • How to implement effective social supports for the ADHD student
  • Why creating an inclusive community is a key goal for all educators

Stream 2: Dyslexia
Friday 31 August 2018 – Afternoon Session

Session 1: What teachers and parents need to know about Dyslexia
1pm – 2pm

Speaker: Dr. Daryl Greaves, Educational and Developmental Psychologist formerly of SPELD (Specific Learning Difficulties Association of Vic.)

Read more about Daryl here

Session Overview

This session covers the most up-to-date information about Dyslexia and strategies to assist learners. Participants will gain an understanding of:

  • Getting technology to read text aloud
  • Using technology to write
  • Keeping track when reading
  • Decoding in reading
  • How to make reasonable adjustments

School requirements to make special provision or reasonable adjustments will be outlined with practical examples and strategies that will be relevant to all subject teachers.

Session 2: Step into their shoes – early & evidence based intervention for Dyslexia
2pm – 2.45pm

Speaker: Sarah Asome, Learning and Curriculum Support Leader, Bentleigh West Primary School; Associate Member of Australian Dyslexia Association

Read more about Sarah here

Session Overview
Sarah will focus heavily on Early and Evidence Based Intervention. She will explore how students with dyslexia must be identified early and receive evidence based intervention in order to succeed.  Why wait? Eight is too late!

Find out what to look for and how we must change our teaching in order for students with dyslexia to fly.  Sarah will explore how reasonable accommodations and assistive technology is the key for students who struggle with literacy, especially in the older years.

Session 3: Interaction between language and literacy
2.45pm – 3.30pm

Speaker: Lara Lasnitzki
Certified Practicing Speech Pathologist
Practice Principal of Speech4Kids

Read more about Lara here

Session Overview
Lara will present on the interaction between language and literacy. She will discuss the components of language and how impairments in each area impact on literacy skills. Lara will discuss strategies to address these deficits and will address the role of a speech Pathologist in the classroom.

Stream 3: Anxiety and Keynote Presentation
Saturday 1 September – Morning Session

Session 1: Keynote presentation: “Square pegs in round holes” – Why children with special needs face significant challenges in mainstream classrooms and what can be done to improve their outcome
9am – 11am

Speakers: Dr Jo Martin, Paediatrician
Complete Children’s Health
Dr Renee Testa
Neuropsychologist, The Child and Adolescent Neuropsychology Group

Session Overview
This 2 hour session will outline the common diagnoses that children with special needs face in the majority of mainstream classrooms in Australia, including ASD, ADHD, Language Disorders, Anxiety Disorder, and Specific Learning Disabilities. The diagnostic process will be explained, including the vital role that teachers and educators have in assisting clinicians in this process. Practical recommendations that can be applied to the classroom to improve outcomes for each condition will be discussed, with consideration to limited resources schools face. In addition, time will be allocated to discuss aspirations for a better system to cater for students with special needs in mainstream schools in the future. An important holistic session for educators, in which participants will gain an understanding of:

  • The prevalence and key features of common Special Needs conditions including ASD, ADHD, Language Disorders, Anxiety Disorder and Specific Learning Disabilities, and how they commonly co-exist.
  • The diagnostic process for each condition and the role of specific clinicians in this process and what important information teachers and educators can contribute during this process 
  • Medical and allied health treatment/therapy available for each condition after diagnosis, and the different settings this may be offered in
  • Practical recommendations for schools and classrooms to better support these vulnerable children, especially given the resource constraints schools are facing
  • Discussion of several complex case studies featuring children with multiple special needs, incorporating time for Q&A

Session 2: Understanding Anxiety
11.30am – 12.15pm

Speaker: Sally Rigley
Psychologist, The ASD Clinic

Read more about Sally here

Session Overview
Hear Sally Rigley, a Developmental and Educational Psychologist talk about anxiety and how it affects people’s language ability and sensory processing and can often be disguised as anger, particularly for people with special needs. She will also cover how anxiety is often unrecognised by the child with the special needs and misunderstood by their teachers. 

Session 3: The importance of organisational and time management skills for students
12.15pm – 1pm

Speaker: Amanda Lecaude, Organising Expert, Academic Coach, Writer, Speaker, Educator; Consultant of Organising Students

Read more about Amanda here

Session Overview

Amanda Lecaude will share her knowledge and experience working with students (Year 6 through to Year 12) both in a classroom environment and 1:1, as to why students need strong organisational and time management skills and without them how they are prone to experiencing increased stress, overwhelm and anxiety which can affect them both academically and in life. Participants will gain an understanding of:

  • Why organisation and time management lead to increased success and result in less stress and anxiety
  • What time management really means, why it is important and the need for students to actually ‘see time’
  • The role organisation plays and the impact it can have on the lives of students;
  • Clear tips and strategies to take back to the classroom or use at home in supporting students on their academic journey; and
  • How these skills are vital for a successful transition from primary to secondary school.

Stream 4: Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)
Saturday 1 September 2018 – Afternoon Session

Session 1: A multidisciplinary approach to Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)
2pm – 2.45pm



Dr Alexandra Ure
Senior Clinical Psychologist, The Royal Children’s Hospital, Melbourne
Ms Charmaine Bernie
Occupational Therapist, The Royal Children’s Hospital, Melbourne
Ms Veronica Rose
Speech Pathologist, The Royal Children’s Hospital, Melbourne

Read more about Alexandra here, Charmaine here and Veronica here

Session Overview
Children on the autism spectrum present with a range of strengths and challenges which are often amplified in the school environment.  This overview session will present facts and myths about autism spectrum disorder, discuss the diagnostic process and reflect on the reported rise in autism diagnosis.  Drawing on recent research, this session will take a multidisciplinary approach to evidenced based intervention strategies from the perspectives of a clinical psychologist, speech-language pathologist and occupational therapist.
Participants will:

  • Discuss latest research in autism spectrum disorder
  • Update their knowledge on the diagnostic process and the important role played by educators
  • Develop an understanding of where and from whom to access resources and how educators and clinicians can work together to support children on the autism spectrum

Session 2: School success for students with ASD
2.45pm – 3.30pm

Speakers: Cressida Crossley
Jamie Coombs, Special Needs Teaching Specialists, NESTS

Read more about Cressida here & Jamie here


Session Overview
Hear how schools can best support students with ASD in the classroom and within the school community to set students up for success beyond school.
Participants will:

  • Deepen their understanding Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)
  • Learn strategies to addressing Anxiety
  • Understand how to establish effective social supports within your educational setting
  • Learn why creating an inclusive community must be the key goal of all educators

Session 3: Life on the spectrum – True tales & experiences from a young man with ASD
3.30pm – 4.00pm

Speaker: Miles Glaspole
Student & Comedian

Read more about Miles here

Session Overview

Miles Glaspole is a 21-year-old student and comedian with Asperger’s syndrome. Miles talks with humour and frankness about the ways in which both individual teachers and his school experiences helped his learning journey and in some cases hindered it. Miles has appeared on The Chase Australia and featured in the first episode of Tom Gleeson’s ABC quiz show Hard Quiz with the wholly non-autistic subject of Doctor Who. In 2017, Miles joined the writing team for Hard Quiz and began 2018 completing another top secret writing opportunity, as well as studying Arts at the University of Melbourne. Miles’ story is deeply personal, engaging and honest.


Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre
1 Convention Centre Pl
South Wharf

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