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Individual Differences
in Learning Association

"Making a Differences for All Kinds of Learners"


NEXT MEETING: Monday September 12, 2011 7pm

TIME: Doors open 7pm; presentation from 7:30pm - 9:00pm
LOCATION: Linden-Linthicum United Methodist Church
12101 Linden Linthicum Lane, Clarksville, MD 21029

IDL presents:

An Introduction to Twice Exceptionality

with IDL officers

Katharina Boser and Julie Morrison

Our first meeting of the year will focus on tips and strategies to help students with twice Exceptionality be successful. We will ask your help in planning speakers for our 2011-2012 school year and will highlight Upcoming events of interest. On-line as well as national and local resources will be discussed and questions answered. We look forward to seeing Old friends and meeting new parents and educators interested in helping this unique population.

Monday, September 12, 2011

7:30pm at LLUMC in Clarksville: 


Please join us! RSVP to info@gifteddifferentlearners.org

We always invite you to renew your membership for the school year at any time or join us as a new member with your $25.00 tax deductible contribution to IDL.

Non-members, we ask you to bring a $5.00 donation

  • Please join us !!

    PLEASE RSVP with us at info@gifteddifferentlearners.org

    Linden-Linthicum church is located in Clarksville on Route 108, directly next to the River Hill Village Center.


CALENDAR: 2010-2011 School Year

(Note: some sessions are subject to change, IDL does not 'endorse' any speaker but provides information and local resources for parents) 


Monday, September 13, 2010

Introduction to IDL --'Learning to Fly': A Meet and Greet  (from 7-7:30)

Katharina Boser, Ph.D., and Julie Morrison, Ph.D. President and Vice President of IDL


Individual Differences in Learning has been working with families and schools in Howard County since 2001. Our organization is a 501(c)3 non-profit whose mission is to educate parents, teachers and the community about issues related to the challenges and strengths of learning with both gifts and talents and specific disabilities. Students who are twice exceptional have unique needs, often requiring understanding of the emotional components of learning such as anxiety, stress and the importance of motivation to effort. We will focus our first meeting on the basics of what you need to know to help your child succeed and be supported in the school environment. We hope to provide parents with support from experienced parents and professionals in our group. This meeting is about connecting with others who share your needs and questions and learning about books, websites, local resources, events and talks that are available through our organization and others like us.

Please join us to find out what is happening in and around Howard County in the school year 2010-2011 and share your particular concerns with our members and executive committee.

Lots to learn and to catch up on!-

We will also provide details about the upcoming events and speakers this year.


Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Where's the Help? Event at Central Library of Howard County

(download .pdf of flyer)


Thursday, September 23rd, 2010

ADHD awareness day with

Dr. Brad Sachs The Key To the Engine Lies Within: Understanding and Promoting Self-Motivationat Centennial High School (7-9pm)

The process of helping children/students with attentional deficits, anxiety, & learning challenges, to become academically independent is a complicated one, and the strategies that parents tend to rely on often serve the purpose of undercutting, rather than augmenting, their children's autonomy.  This lecture will provide attendees with a new understanding of the basis for self-motivation, as well as the conversations, methods and interventions that are most likely to reduce family conflict and ultimately enhance their children's self-reliance and self-assuredness. This evening's program will provide examples for all age ranges.

 Dr. Brad Sachs is a psychologist, educator, consultant, lecturer and best-selling author specializing in clinical work with children, adolescents, couples, and families, in Columbia, Maryland. Dr. Sachs is the Founder and Director of The Father Center, a program designed to meet the needs of new, expectant, and experienced fathers.


No pre-registration is required for this thought-provoking program! Dr. Sach's books will be available for purchase


Monday, October 11, 2010

Katharina Boser, Ph.D.

TOPIC: Technology Tools for the Conceptual Thinker

Learning to use the tools that are part of daily life in the 21st century workplace should start earlier. Schools often still rely heavily on ‘old-style' learning of content e.g., rote memorization and internet ‘look up'. Instead, organization, (e.g., alarms, reminders), spelling (spell check), internet information look-up, should be reserved for computers to free the mind's focus on the critical thinking and conceptualization aspect of learning.

In this presentation, we will review a number of different technologies that can help with:

  • Organization,
  • Memorization
  • Learning Strategies


Specifically this presentation will focus on

  •    Free organization and reminder tools (Google education apps, Diigo)
  •    Good educational 'games/programs' (e.g., Labyrinth, learningscience.org, )
  •    Writing tools such as mind maps (XMind, Mindmeister) --ipod/Pad apps
  •    Flashcard, self-quizzing programs.

Along with an understanding of the need to restrict video/game time, this presentation will provide participants with an understanding of how educational tools can actually push student learning forward by requiring critical thinking, problem solving, interactivity and/or collaboration


Monday, November 8, 2010

Dr. Richard Silver

Anita Bajaj, M.D., MPH

TOPIC: Medication and Behavioral Therapies for your 2e Child


Dr. Silver, both a psychiatrist, parent and advocate of children with different needs, will discuss the current thinking about the role of medication in treating  symptoms typically seen in 2e students and the concerns that parents sometimes have about using medications to treat  them.  He will cover the pros and cons of the newer medication options to deal with anxiety, attention issues and depression and discuss what other kinds of interventions might be appropriate for a youngster who is twice exceptional.  He, and his colleague, Anita Bajaj, a developmental pediatrician,  also will offer suggestions for working with schools to best help youngsters with twice exceptionalities and help other professionals and parents understand and implement skills that assist students in overcoming executive function roadblocks. Alternative treatments, both behavioral and medicinal, will be discussed. Please come with your questions and concerns.






Monday, December 13, 2010 


Joe Potosky MV Financial Group, Bethesda MD

TOPIC: Health Insurance issues for your 2e child

How to select, finance and manage a winning formula that maximizes your financial situation while getting the benefits that your 2E child deserves


Joe is director of Employee Benefits with MV Financial Group in Bethesda, MD.  He has been in the financial services industry for 20 years with experience with individual planning and group benefits.  He has clients nationally who he has advised in the procurement of the health insurance both for businesses and individuals.  One of his engagements is a national physician placement firm with self-employed professionals all over the country that need to address personal health insurance.  As the proud parent of three children with IEPs, Joe has a huge amount of personal experience with trials and tribulations that people face when getting their health insurance needs met.


He will focus this presentation on the following topics:

  •  Healthcare Laws

  • Coverage Options

  • Getting Claims Paid

  • Financing Strategies


Joe is a cum laude undergraduate in Finance and an MBA from the University of Maryland, College Park.  In addition, he has his JD from the University of Maryland School of Law in Baltimore, MD.  Joe's professional designations include a Chartered Life Underwriters (CLU) and a Chartered Financial Consultant (ChFC).


Monday, January  10,  2011

Andrea Bennett, M.eD. Special Kids Company

Lisa Frank , M.eD.  Special Kids Company


TOPIC: Assessment, IEPs and Data: Understanding how they are all connected

Andrea Bennett and Lisa Frank are both certified special education teachers with a combined 17 years of experience in teaching children in the public school setting. They have worked in both inclusive and self-contained environments with children who have a wide range of learning differences. In 2002, Andrea and Lisa formed The Special Kids Company, where they have worked as educational and behavioral consultants serving children, families, and schools throughout Maryland. They have extensive knowledge of the various school systems and a proven track record for working collaboratively with other professionals to meet the needs of your child.

An interactive workshop for parents to understand the IEP process, learn what to look for in a well written IEP and understand how data impacts progress.  Using both informal and formal data to analyze your child's strengths and needs, the presenters will discuss how you can work with the school to enhance your child's educational program. Participants will learn to identify the various forms of data, how to keep it organized, make sense of it, and present it to the school. There will be a question/answer session at the end.


Monday, February 14, 2011

TOPIC: Somewhere Between Walking on Eggshells and Riding the Perpetual Roller Coaster: Understanding and Managing the Emotional Intensity of Twice Exceptional Children

withDr. Julie Morrison


Parents of gifted students with learning differences, ADHD, and/or anxiety can find themselves caught off guard, worn out, or demoralized by the emotional and behavioral challenges they are faced with.  Understanding the emotional intensity and related behaviors of the twice exceptional student, from a neurobiological perspective, fosters empathy, paving the way for more effective interventions. When parents adopt a supporting and guiding role, power struggles become less frequent, and children or teens are able to draw on available resources to increase coping. This provides a sense of ownership, which is crucial for development of a healthy sense of self, on which to build the self-regulation skills that they need as they move into adulthood. This talk will discuss specific strategies that parents can employ, many of which are derived from cognitive behavioral therapy approaches, to facilitate emotion regulation and build problem-solving skills.
Dr. Julie Morrison , Vice President of IDL, is a licensed psychologist and mother of two children with ADHD and language-based learning differences. In private practice in Columbia, she specializes in working with gifted individuals with challenges to learning, conducting comprehensive evaluations and psychotherapy. A Fellow of the Maryland Psychological Association, she is a member of MPA's Professional Practice Committee and she also serves on the LD/ADHD Advisory Committee for HCPSS. She recently authored an article on identification, assessment, and intervention of GT/LD students, which was published for  Maryland Psychologists and she originally presented the above talk at the national conference Diamonds in the Rough: Smart Kids Who Learn Differently last March. 

Monday, March 14, 2011

TOPIC: Navigating the Social World: Tips and strategies for your 2e student

A Panel discussion with Clinical Psychologist, Catherine Busch, Ph.D.

and Social Work, Michelle Morrison,  LCSW-C

Relationships and bonding are essential to a happy and healthy life. Attachment to others begins the day we are born and continues throughout our lives. Some children struggle to understand and interact in ways that foster meaningful relationships.  Michelle Morrison, LCSW-C will help parents understand how they can help their child form meaningful friendships, exploring the challenges facing teens of today and the importance of educating our youth to navigate the complexities of relationships successfully. Dr. Catherine Busch will be discussing safety issues for teenagers when socializing with their peers. Adolescents with executive function or social skills deficits are more likely to be drawn into risky behavior. They are also less likely to recognize potentially dangerous situations that may lead to harm or victimization. Dr. Busch will cover what we know about risky behavior among adolescents, practical prevention principles, and safety education resources. Parents will learn some tips for helping teenagers anticipate problems, develop safety plans, and decrease their risk of harm in social situations.

Catherine Busch, Ph.D. is a child psychologist in private practice with expertise in psychological trauma and ADHD. She has many years experience treating victims of sexual abuse and assault, was Chair of the Howard County Injury and Violence Prevention Coalition, serves on the Howard County Child Fatality Review Team, and is President of the Howard County Mental Health Authority Board.

Michelle Morrison, LCSW-C has a practice that focuses on the treatment of children, teens, and their families, assisting children who experience social, emotional, and learning challenges. Our practice emphasizes building on the childs strengths and helping them to understand and minimize their weaknesses. Social skills groups for middle and high school students promote healthy social development.

Monday, April 11, 2011

TOPIC:  Self-Advocacy Skills for Students: What, Why, and How

Self advocacy is an essential skill for school and life success for students with learning

differences. Even younger students can learn to understand their learning differences, connect

these to their accommodations, and speak up for what they need to be successful. In this

participatory workshop, students in grades 5 through 12 are invited to learn what self-advocacy

is, why it's critical, and how to self-advocate respectively and effectively. Parents and school

staff are encouraged to attend to explore the underlying framework of successful advocacy.

Joan Wittan, was introduced to the GTLD community courtesy of her daughter, currently a

graduating senior at Walter Johnson High School. After many years of serving on the GTLD

Network Board (currently as president) as well as tutoring and advocating for students with

disabilities, she found a second career as an independent educational consultant guiding

students and their families through the college selection, application, and transition process

focusing on the students personal growth and independence. Joan has served on various

advisory committees for Montgomery County Public Schools, is a member of the MCPS GTLD

Advisory Board and is active in the adoption community.

Barb Siegel is a mother of two children with IEPs, one of whom is GTLD and in the program at

Walter Johnson High School. She currently serves on the MCPS GTLD Advisory Board. She is a

registered architect and recognized artist collected internationally. Serving as Vice President/

President Elect, Barb Siegel has been active with the GTLD Network for four years, contributing

membership ideas and thoughts on possible lecturers for most of that time.

Marisa Stemple has spent her career in education and since 1997 has focused on gifted and

talented students with learning disabilities. After teaching GTLD middle school students, she

became the instructional specialist for GT/LD programs and services in 2004. She coordinates

MCPS nationally recognized programs and provides consultation and professional development

on behalf of twice exceptional students.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Fran Bowman Bowman Educational Services

TOPIC: Preparing your Different Learner for College

Fran Bowman has been in the field of special education for 34 years and is author of a guidebook that specializes in teaching reading to dyslexic students. She is part of the graduate education faculty at Goucher College and is helping to launch a new program for students with dyslexia and executive function. Her presentation will focus on the kinds of testing and application issues, schools, technological preparation and time tables for completion that need to be considered to maximize success. She will discuss differences between colleges for LD students and regular colleges with embedded services.  Parents will learn about college counseling services available through the public and private schools. Ms. Bowman will also highlight how to best handle college visits.  This presentation will be of great interest to parents of children who are in middle school and high school.


Monday, June 13, 2011

TOPIC: End of Year meeting/Volunteer Appreciation

To check
our guest speakers from our previous school years,

click here and see our guests from the 2009-2010 School Year.

Click here for speakers from the 2008-2009 school year

click here and see our guests from the 2007-2008 School Year.


 Diamonds in the Rough 2010