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Collaborating with experts to support schools and deliver professional development, ensuring the success of all students.

VT-HEC Fall Preview: Focus on Special Education

Special Education, Early Childhood, Autism, Reading, Trauma, Behavior

We hope we can help you get the year off to a great start with offerings in key areas of need that focus on gaining practical knowledge and skills as well as applying them in real ways to benefit students.

The VT-HEC began in 2000 as an effort of the VT Department of Education, VSC & UVM.  Our first program was the Pathway to Special Education Endorsement course series that continues to this day and has had over 350 completers. In addition, we have offered a selection of workshops and single courses for all those who work with struggling learners and students with disabilities.

Registration will open August 10th for these Fall offerings:

  1. Trauma & Resilience– There are many introductions out there on the impact of trauma and the strategies that can help but the VT-HEC is developing an array of learning opportunities that will go much further & deeper in supporting the application of the most effective strategies and creating in-school expertise. Working with the Northeast Family Institute (NFI) and experts like Joelle Van Lent & Gillian Boudreau, we are planning a coordinated workshops series and course sequence for 2017-2018 & beyond.  


Trauma-Informed Schools – September 26 & October 23, Rutland, VT:  David Melnick of NFI will kick things off with a two-workshop series that has an extended course option.

Spring 2018 Workshops & Courses: We have three additional offerings in this series for the spring– a Part II course presented by David Melnick, a workshop series & course by Joelle van Lent and Gillian Boudreau focusing on resilience, compassion fatigue and mindfulness and Paul Foxman on anxiety.

  1. Tips & Tools for Early Childhood Special Education, September 29 & October 26; Montpelier.  Judith Mason shares practical tools that will benefit both the newest and your most veteran staff member and give them an opportunity to tailor these tools to their own settings.
  1. Special Education Orientation, October 5 & 6; Montpelier. If you, your principal or your staff members are new to your position or to VT, this session is one you want to mark on your calendar now. Andrea Wasson, accomplished special education administrator and presenter/instructor, surveys the special education rules, process and best practices to help you and your staff get off to a confident start in this complicated field. 
  1. Autism Spectrum Disorder in Young Children, October 12; Patty Prelock, one of the most knowledgeable and distinguished experts in the field, will present this “can’t miss” presentation focusing on the latest research on ASD in younger children. 
  1. Teaching Reading Comprehension to Students Who Require More Explicit Instruction, October 16 & November 13; Montpelier- with Tina Newman, Ph.D; Heather Flynn, Ph.D; and Kimberly Marshall, MA, BCBA. A very practical review of the specialized instruction needed to teach reading to many students with challenging disabilities delivered by three experts in the field – a necessity for every reading interventionist and special educator.
  1. Special Education Law Update – November 2, Montpelier – Art Cernosia is a fount of knowledge and perspective on what is important to pay attention to and what is coming down the road concerning special education & related law, court decisions and regulations. 
  1. Power Struggles: What to do When a Student Says, “Make Me!”, November 8, 2017 Killington, VT – Jon Udis. Jon shares both what not to do and the strategies that work to de-escalate the situation and get students back on track. 
  1. Connecting the Dots: Using Best Practices to Support Infants, Toddlers, and Their Families, Montpelier ~ Four workshop dates (11/3, 2/9, 3/23, 5/3) with a 3-credit course option. Covering topics important to everyone working with young children.
  • Check out our other series including: Early Childhood; Trauma, Resilience & Anxiety; General Education – Proficiency & Personalization
  • Go to for more information & registration.  Watch for the full year VT-HEC calendar


Preview: Peg Dawson – Executive Skills Coaching #vted


If coaching executive skills were a football game, this would be the playbook

The most informative, practical guide available on the topic
Invaluable to teachers, counselors and school psychologists who work with students with executive skills deficits
Translates cutting-edge research into meaningful, practical, well-organized and easy-to-implement strategies

Smart but Scattered co-author, Peg Dawson, is coming to VT-HEC on February 2 & 3 to share her celebrated program on coaching for improvement of Executive Skills.  With co-author, Richard Guare, their books have covered the critical importance of Executive Skills for success in the 21st Century for kids, tweens, teens and adults. They cover how to assess those skills and how to develop programs to improve them. Peg will be here for a two day workshop on how to coach improvement in executive skills with a follow-up course option where you can be coached on implementing their program by the author who wrote the books on coaching and executive skills.

What other have said of this work:

A unique and marvelous book that presents a coaching model for students with executive skills deficits including those that have ADHD. It is the most informative, practical guide available on the topic –  filled with strategies that can be readily implemented.  Russell A. Barkley, PhD, ABPP, Dept. of Psychiatry, Medical University of So. Carolina

If coaching kids with executive skills deficits were a football game, this would be the playbook.  It provides both theory and the details on how to implement a coaching program… synthesizes cutting-edge research on learning and the brain into an accessible approach. As a student of child development and the brain I strongly recommend it  Thomas (Lee) Reynolds MD,  psychatrist, North Canton

invaluable to teachers, counselors and school psychologists who work with students with executive skills deficits… provides constructive, step-by-step guidance on what it means to  have an executive skills deficit and how to implement an effective coaching program.  Peter Farrel, PhD CPsychol, FBPsS, University of Manchester, United Kingdom

for more information –



Peg Dawson to Present Revolutionary Executive Skills  Approach & Coaching Strategies

Dr. Dawson  translates cutting-edge research into meaningful, practical, well-organized, and easy-to-implement strategies. This brilliant book is by far the best on the topic that I have read to date.”–Russell A. Barkley, PhD, ABPP, author of Taking Charge of ADHD

Executive skills”–the fundamental habits of mind required for getting organized, staying focused, and controlling impulses and emotions.

They can be the difference between success and satisfaction or failure and frustration in school, job or home-life and these skills have never been more important in each of those settings.

How many of us know kids (& adults) who seem to have the brain power to succeed but are held back by their inability to plan, to organize or follow-through; they may be easily distracted by things in the environment or their own feelings. They never seem to be “on the right page”.  It can be so frustrating, not only for the person themselves but for their teachers, parents, family and peers.

Peg Dawson, co-author of Smart but Scattered, Smart but Scattered Teens and now, Smart but Scattered Guide to Success (for adults), has been working to support educators, kids and families dealing with these issues for over 30 years. She and co-author, Richard Guare, have developed a wealth of strategies that work.

In her presentation on March 18, she will share:

1) how to make environmental modifications to support weak executive skills,

2) how to design protocols for teaching executive skills,

3) how to use incentives effectively to encourage students to engage in the practice necessary for improving executive skills, and

4) the critical features of the coaching method geared to improving school performance through supporting executive skill development from their book, Coaching Students with Executive Skills Deficits.

We are very excited to present one of the foremost experts in the field at the Capitol Plaza, Montpelier, VT on March 18. Whether you want to know how best to support a particular student or how best way to teach these critical skills to all your students, this presentation will meet your needs.




VT-HEC Preview – Teresa Bolick, to Speak on ASD & Co-existing Disorders

A Remarkable Number of Individuals with ASD are Diagnosed with Other Disorders 

There are two things that just about every educator and parent knows about Autism.  The first is that the numbers are still increasing; over 1000 qualify under Vermont special education rules, up from 250 in 2000.  The second thing is that every person on the autism spectrum is very different. To emphasize that complexity is perhaps the lesser known fact that a remarkable number of individuals with ASD have been diagnosed with other disorders as well. Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, anxiety, and depression are more commonly diagnosed in individuals with ASD than in the general population. Other individuals with ASD show cognitive or social/emotional differences that do not meet full criteria for separate diagnoses but add significantly to their complexity.

We are fortunate to have Teresa Boick Phd coming to Montpelier, VT on December 4th to shed some light on this challenge. In her workshop Dr. Bolick will describe the co-existence of ASD and other disorders as well as challenges that may not be recognized as separate diagnoses (such as anxiety or inefficient executive functions).  Teresa will focus upon practical assessment and intervention strategies for school, home, and community helping participants to:

  • Identify and describe the co-existing conditions that are most common in children and adolescents with diagnoses of autism spectrum disorders;
  • Describe a systematic approach to understanding the cognitive, emotional, social, and behavioral challenges of individuals with co-existing disorders;
  • Identify evidence-based educational, psychosocial, and behavioral interventions for co-existing challenges.


Dr. Bolick is a licensed psychologist and board certified behavior analyst with a special focus on autism spectrum disorders. She has provided evaluation and treatment to children, adolescents, and their families for many years. An enthusiastic speaker, Dr. Bolick presents workshops for parents, paraprofessionals, and professionals across North America. In addition, she  teaches in the Rivier University graduate program for ASD and in the NH LEND program. Dr. Bolick is the author of Asperger Syndrome and Adolescence: Helping Preteens and Teens Get Ready for the Real World and Asperger Syndrome and Young Children: Building Skills for the Real World as well as numerous articles and book chapters.

For more information on this exciting learning opportunity see:


An Interview with Daniel Pink: Selling Students to Become Self-Directed Learners

Teachers as Persuaders, Problem-Finding vs Problem-Solving and Learning Goals vs Performance Goals

One of our favorite authors, Daniel Pink (Drive), has a new book and was recently interviewed by Larry Ferlazzo for Education Week.  Pink’s new book is titled: To Sell is Human: The Surprising Truth about Moving Others.  In this conversation with Ferlazzo, Pink talks about how teachers can “sell” more to students to help them to become self-directed lifelong learners and how current education practices, assessments, etc. help or hinder us in this goal. (more…)

Helping Students on the Autism Spectrum Meet Common Core ELA Standards

Struggling Learners: Helping Students on the Autism Spectrum Meet Common Core ELA Standards

This is a summary of an article which explores the challenges that students, who may be quite bright but are on the autism spectrum, may have meeting the Common Core State Standards for English Language Arts. The authors believe this process will go more smoothly if educators and parents have a good understanding of three important psychological theories and develop classroom strategies to support students with these deficits.  The theories covered here are: Theory of Mind, Central Coherence and Executive Function. (more…)