Helping the Child with Attentional and Emotional Difficulties Unlocking Their Potential

Helping the Child with Attentional and Emotional Difficulties Unlocking Their Potential

Speakers at Realising Potential

LDANZ Conference 2015

Dr Yvette Ahmed

will co-present with Dee Jones

Helping the child with attentional and emotional difficulties ‘unlocking’ their potential.


Dr Yvette Ahmad is a clinical psychologist with over twenty years’ experience and has worked extensively with both adults and children with ADHD, Asperger’s and learning difficulties. She often attends schools and gives training sessions and support to teachers working with special needs children. She has also worked at Waitakere hospital and child youth and family services. She has extensive experience of working with child trauma. Dr Ahmad has a special interest in developing animation games for children with learning difficulties and developed the award winning computer game, My Friend Quest.

Barbara Brann

M.Ed., B.A., B.Ed, Dip. Ed., Grad. Dip Spec. Ed., TTC (NZ)

will present 2 sessions

7 Keys to learning

There are 7 keys that make learning.

Students with learning difficulties often do not reach their potential because one or more of the keys has not been used to successfully open the doors for them. Sometimes the key is not yet available to the child and sometimes the teacher is unaware that that the student is having difficulty with that particular key. To be successful learners we, the teachers, must be able to recognise when the student needs assistance with the keys.

So what are these keys? They are the keys to the way the brain processes information. They are not teaching tricks or training programmes; they are keys on which we should base all our teaching to ensure that student's brain is able to receive, retain and retrieve information in order to make sense of their learning.

Spelling: It Can Make Sense

Proficient spelling is not the result of rote learning of lots of words. Proficient spelling involves the interaction of motor skills, visual skills, knowledge of phono-grapheme choices, understanding of meanings and word usage and a repertoire of strategies, tricks and memory joggers.

Word study with Brann’s Spelling Blocks provides a kinaesthetic and visual approach to developing understandings about sound-to-letter options, verb tense and grammatical structure of words, rules and generalisations and the frequency with which these are applied to word spellings.This approach to word study is specifically targeted to the students' learning needs. It is research-based and is fun and engaging to use with students of any age.

This presentation will give you understanding of how to assess specific weaknesses in your students' spelling and then how to target their needs to give them the keys and skills for proficient spelling production.


Barbara Brann is an educator, teacher, consultant and professional speaker with more than 40 years’ experience with students of all ages, from Early Childhood to Adult Literacy,and is the Principal of BMB Education.

Barbara has worked in NZ, most recently training RTLBs to use "The Magic Caterpillar's Building Blocks to Literacy" assessment and framework. Every year across Australia and overseas she teaches in classrooms to demonstrate her methods, provides on-going support to teachers using her resources and consults with schools and organisations to improve literacy standards.

Barbara's fundamental education belief in is process rather than product. If we get the process right from the start, the product will take of itself. Learning is not an end-product: it is journey that provides experiences to learn about and master 'product' along the way to help us find the next pathway. However, Barbara also believes in explicit instruction, demonstration and hands-on learning. She believes in WALTs and WILFs and that every second of learning should count.

Tania Coutts

will present one session

The Potential of E-Learning

Tania Coutts is a digital technologies facilitator from the CORE Education professional team in Northland.

Tania is well known nationally for her practice in integrating ICT for teaching and learning and for engaging whanau and the wider community.

Tania became a Google Certified Teacher at theGoogle Teacher Academy in 2011, in Sydney. This has given Tania a vast amount of knowledge that she is able to share with teachers as they integrate Google Apps for Education into their classes/schools/centres. Tania has recently trained as an Apple Professional Development Consultant.

Dr Sue Dymock

will present one session

The story of two boys with dyslexia: How a chance meeting and

a lot of hard work changed the lives of William and Ryan


Dr Sue Dymock is a senior lecturer at the University of Waikato, Hamilton, New Zealand. Dr Dymock has published articles, chapters and books on reading comprehension, vocabulary and reading difficulties, including dyslexia. Her recent co-published books include Dyslexia Decoded and The New Zealand Dyslexia Handbook. Sue is also a regular presenter at international and national conferences including the International Literacy Association.

Dr Dymock is the Director of the Hamilton Children’s Reading Centre - a clinic for children experiencing reading difficulties.

Dee Jones

will co-present with Dr Yvette Ahmed

Realising potentialfrom within Asperger’s Syndrome


Dee Jones has been in private practice as a counsellor in Whangarei for more than twenty years. In this period she also worked for five years (part time) as a school counsellor. She has had an abiding interest in Autism from her university days, and this has grown with the growing international understandings and research to include the whole spectrum currentlyreferred toas the "ASD spectrum". She has specialised for nearly fifteen years in working with children, adults, families and couples,particularly where symptoms of Asperger’s syndromeare evident.

Dr David Moreau

will present one session

Designing Effective Interventions to Enhance Cognition


Dr. David Moreau currently holds a research associate position at the Centre for Brain Research in Auckland. In close collaboration with Pr. Karen Waldie, he is working toward establishing evidence-based interventions to help limit the deleterious effects of learning disorders. Prior to coming to Auckland, Dr. Moreau was at Princeton University designing a novel training program blending cognitive and physical demands. Experimental evidence showed this specific combination to be among the most effective to assist people in achieving their full cognitive potential, with significant improvements in a wide range of important everyday abilities. His work has been published in numerous peer-reviewed publications and has received national and international awards.

Dr Georgina Stewart

Faculty of Education, The University of Auckland

will present one session

Difficult Learnings about being ‘Spacific’

This presentation comments from a Māori perspective on the concept of ‘learning difficulties’ that underpins current educational practice. This talk engages with the challenges facing LDANZ to increase participation by Māori and Pacific people in the organisation and its activities. The presentation situates these challenges within larger debates about education and identity, clarifying the nature of the difficulties, while offering suggestions for a way forward.


Dr Georgina Stewart (koWhakarārātemaunga, koMatauritemoana, koNgāti Kura tehapū, koNgāpuhi-nui-tonute iwi) is a Lecturer in Māori Education at the Tai Tokerau Campus of the University of Auckland in Whangarei, where she teaches undergraduate and postgraduate courses in Education, supervises postgraduate research, and conducts research into the intersections between knowledge, language, culture and education. Georgina has a background as a Year 7-13 teacher of Maths, Science and Te Reo Māori, has taught in both English-medium and Māori-medium schools in Auckland and Whangarei, and contributes to national developments in curriculum, assessment and Māori-medium classroom resources.