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A Road Map for Navigating the Return to School

  • Thursday, August 13, 2020
  • 7:00 PM - 9:00 PM
  • Zoom
The Chicago Gifted Community Center is partnering with Professionals in Learning Disabilities and Special Education
for an Expert Panel Presentation:
A Road Map for Navigating the Return to School
August 13, 2020

7-9 PM

A panel of experts from Professionals in Learning Disabilities and Special Education (PLDSE) who are familiar with the needs of twice exceptional students will be on hand to present ideas for navigating the challenges of this coming school year and answer parent questions. We will meet online using the Zoom meeting software, which will allow you to join the meeting on your computer, via an app on your phone, or by calling in on a dedicated phone number. Registration is through The Chicago Gifted Community Center at

Attendance is free for members in good standing. Please email us at for the registration code.

  • Dr. Lisa Novak is a Licensed Clinical Psychologist and co-founder of Illuminate Psychological Assessments, PLLC, a private assessment practice in Wilmette. Dr. Novak specializes in completing comprehensive neuropsychological evaluations with children, adolescents, and young adults. Her areas of expertise include, but are not limited to, learning disabilities, ADHD, executive functioning, twice exceptional, and the impact of anxiety and self-esteem on a student's learning. She attends school staffings, closely collaborates with other providers, and remains available to parents for consultation in order to ensure that their evaluations yield a positive change for the individual and family.

    Dr. Novak plans to discuss the ways in which a comprehensive evaluation can help tease apart the nuances in a gifted child's learning profile. What is the functional impact of gifted-level reasoning with much slower processing speed? How do we understand the difference between relative and normative weaknesses, and how does that difference impact our diagnoses and a student's eligibility for special education services?
  • Corrie A. Goldberg, Ph.D. is a licensed clinical psychologist; a licensed school psychologist; and a certified EMDR therapist. Dr. Goldberg has an extensive background working with individuals across the lifespan in clinical, hospital, school, residential, and community mental health settings. She currently provides individual therapy to clients from her private practice in Wilmette with specialized interests in adults feeling overwhelmed by life stressors; parenting children with unique needs; trauma; LGBTQIA+ issues; women’s issues; anxiety; and depression and other mood disorders. Dr. Goldberg is a parent of three children, and a passionate lifelong learner and educator, who brings her formal training, life experiences, and ongoing education to her work.

    Dr. Goldberg will discuss mental health correlates that may accompany learning disabilities, neurodiversity, giftedness, and the asynchronous development characteristic of 2E children. She will review possible impacts of raising and educating a 2E child on the family system and home environment. She will talk about the critical role of parents as models and advocates, and underscore the importance of parents addressing self-care and putting on their "oxygen masks" first as essential steps to mitigate the effects of stressors; to support their well-being and efficacy; and to support their children long-term.
  • Maggie Schwalbach, M.A. is founder and owner of North Shore Executive Functioning, a nationwide EF coaching practice that works with elementary, secondary and college-age students, as well as parents and school districts, to address executive functioning in and out of the classroom. A trained yoga and mindfulness teacher, Maggie weaves breath work and meditation into her coaching practice with 2E clients.

    Her discussion will examine how EF coaching works to break the myths around “lazy” or “unmotivated” students. Maggie will introduce viewers to the Identity Iceberg exercise and explore “above the waterline” vs. “below the waterline” behaviors and belief systems for 2E learners. Ms. Schwalbach will close by leading the group through a short meditation in a hands-on centering exercise designed to develop the executive functions of sustained attention, inhibitory control, and emotional regulation.
  • Tara Montgomery has a M. A. in Learning Disabilities from Northwestern University. Tara is a Wilson Credentialed Trainer for the Wilson Reading System and an Instructional Coach at Hyde Park Day School. She is the parent of two boys - a 2E teenager (Gifted and OCD) and a gifted tween.

    Ms. Montgomery plans to discuss the characteristics of and interventions for 3 types of Gifted LD Learners.

  • Chaya Rubenstein, MA, LBS Il, taught for 35 years in Special Education (Early Childhood Education through Middle School LD Resource) in the south suburbs. She was a member of the IL State Board of Education Early Childhood Task Force, Vice President of the National Assn. for Down's Syndrome, & was the Acting Director of Hyde Park Preschool. She was recently on the ISBE Committee on Virtual Learning, & is currently on the Learning Disabilities Assn. of IL Board. She also is endorsed in and has training in Gifted Education. She has worked extensively with 2E students, & her daughter had attended the Science & Arts Academy (a 2E student). She is proud to be a longtime member of PLDSE, & is honored to be a part of this panel.

    Ms. Rubenstein will discuss
    how parents can approach schools/teachers to get the most appropriate education for their 2E students. She will share examples from her own experiences as a parent. She will also talk about how LD & Gifted Resource teachers can work together with general education teachers.
  • Pepi M. Silverman, Educator, Administrator, University Professor, and Educational Advocate has dedicated her life to supporting the rights of ALL children. She has sat on all sides of the conference table, understands all of the roles and each participant’s responsibilities, and brings that understanding to her work as an advocate. Having worked in public schools for the last 25 years, she understands the system, knows the language, and can help to facilitate the conversations necessary to achieve positive outcomes for students. Pepi founded Bridge Educational Advocacy to extend herself and her knowledge and experience to support families needing assistance in order to work effectively with their school districts.   

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P.O. Box 911

Glenview, IL 60025

Professionals in Learning Disabilities and Special Education is a not-for-profit organization offering continuing education programs to inform members of current instructional practices, assessment, and policy issues in the field of learning disabilities.  PLD/SE also offers a referral service to the community, providing qualified professionals for diagnostics and remediation.  PLD/SE provides programs as a service to its members.  PLD/SE does not endorse any specific program, speaker, instructional materials, method, treatment, or evaluation center for children with disabilities.  

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