2020 Annual ALTA Conference Program
Lydia H. Soifer, Ph.D., CCC/SLP - Reading is Language, Too! - The Oral (and Aural) Foundations of Literacy
Dr. Soifer is a language pathologist with over 45years of experience in clinical and private practice, as well as university teaching. For its highly respected and valued 25-year tenure, Dr. Soifer was the founder and director of The Soifer Center for Learning and Child Development, which was the first multidisciplinary private diagnostic and remedial setting established in Westchester County. Dr. Soifer continues to provide educational consultation and advocacy services to families on behalf of their children, in coordination with other professionals and schools. As a parent educator, teacher trainer, and staff developer, she specializes in the role of language in the development of children's learning, literacy, behavior, and social-emotional development. Classroom Language Dynamics ©, the teacher training program Dr. Soifer designed is used in a variety of school settings to empower teachers and invigorate learners of all kinds. A frequent presenter at local and national conferences, Dr. Soifer focuses on guiding all educational professionals to answer the essential question, “Who is this child?” She is also the author of a chapter entitled, The Development of Oral Language and its Relationship to Literacy for a textbook published by Brookes, Multisensory Structured Language Teaching: Theory and Practice, now published in its 4th edition, as well as a contributor to local publications. Additionally, she is Assistant Professor of Pediatrics and faculty member in the Early Intervention Training Institute (EITI), both at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine.
ABOUT THE SESSION
Babies start learning to read the moment they are born. Reading and writing skills are built on a foundation of the amazing complexity of understanding and use of the sounds, words, sentences, and intentions of the language to which we are exposed. While understanding and speaking are generally automatic and natural ways of engaging with language, as a rule reading and writing must be directly taught. Insights into the ways in which the components of aural/oral language contribute to the development and achievement of literacy will be presented. Participants will learn how each aspect of language is related to literacy on the oral-written continuum, as well as where the differences lie, and how the language teachers use influences student learning.
Jackie Valadez, Ph.D., LDT, CALT-QI - Dysgraphia, Dyslexia, and Handwriting
Lynne Fitzhugh, Ph.D., CALT-QI , Rebecca Thompson, and Mike Pikering, Ph.D. – The Tipping Point, How A Public School for Dyslexia was Started in Colorado
Lynne Fitzhugh, Ph.D., CALT-QI, is Founder and President of the Colorado Literacy & Learning Center and Director and Lecturer of the Master of Arts in Teaching – Literacy Specialist Program at Colorado College. A Certified Academic Language Therapist and Qualified Instructor, Dr. Fitzhugh is President-Elect of the Academic Language Therapy Association and serves on the boards of the International Multisensory Structured Language Education Council, the Alliance for Accreditation and Certification and the Boon Philanthropy Educational Advisory Board. She is a representative to the National Joint Committee on Learning Disabilities and a former board member of the International Dyslexia Association. Dr. Fitzhugh received her doctorate in psychology from Southern Methodist University. She completed her CALT requirements through Southern Methodist University’s Learning Therapy Department and her Qualified Instructor of CALTs from the Luke Waites Center for Dyslexia at Texas Scottish Rite Hospital for Children in Dallas, Texas. Dr. Fitzhugh was the 2018 recipient of the Council of Learning Disabilities Floyd G. Hudson Outstanding Service Award, the Colorado Council of Learning Disabilities 2018 Professional of the Year Award and the University of Colorado-Colorado Springs 2006 Friends and Family Award.
Rebecca Thompson is the Director of Academic Services at the Academy for Literacy, Learning and Innovation Excellence, ALLIES, in Colorado Springs, Colorado. She received her Bachelor’s Degree in Elementary Teaching and Special Education from Western Michigan University and her Master’s Degree in Educational Leadership from the University of Phoenix. Her experiences as an elementary teacher, a special educator and a literacy coach, all led to her desire to find a solution for the students she watched slowly slipping through the cracks of our system; the ones whose disability was magically “hidden in a sea of strengths.” While working as an Assistant Principal for 11 years in a Title I school she became a Certified Dyslexia Screener. As a dyslexia screener and MTSS Consultant, Rebecca began to identify the characteristics of Dyslexia in students at Odyssey Elementary School. It became her mission to help educators and families to increase their knowledge of Dyslexia and understand the struggles of their children. In 2014 she led a team of 6 classroom teachers and 2 Certified Academic Language Therapists, CALTs, to create a Literacy Excellence ‘school within a school.’ Together they began the innovative journey into identification and remediation of students with a profile for Dyslexia on a grand scale; the first school in Colorado to take such a leap. In the fall of 2017 she created and directed the first public school to serve students with characteristics of Dyslexia and its co-morbidities. Her passion is to help each student to “find their way” in the educational system, both academically and emotionally, no matter where they are in their journey. She currently resides in Falcon, Colorado and enjoys hiking and exploring the world with her husband and two children and of course, curling up with a good book!
Dr. Mike Pickering is the Zone Superintendent for the POWER Zone in School District 49 in Colorado Springs, Colorado. Ahead of his appointment to zone superintendent in 2013 and as the former curriculum, instruction, assessment and professional development administrator for the zone he provided the leadership needed to make significant progress with innovation initiatives including supporting the creation of the first zone of innovation of its size in the state of Colorado. Dr. Pickering brings a diverse range of educational leadership experiences. He has served as a teacher, a building level administrator, and a zone/district level administrator. His formal education includes a bachelor of fine arts, a master's in curriculum and instruction and a doctorate in educational leadership, research and policy. Most recently, in his role as Chief Operating Officer for the Colorado Literacy and Learning Center, he has been working to expand opportunities across Colorado for students who struggle to read, focusing specifically on students who fit a learning profile for dyslexia. His goal is to ensure all students have the ability to receive the highest quality and most targeted reading interventions possible, all in a free and public educational setting.