2017 Conference (2)

Sensational Kids Special Educational Needs Conference aims to Support, Educate and Empower parents & professionals who work with and care for children with additional educational needs. This one day conference will provide the most up to date research and information on helping students with special educational needs to thrive and will feature seminars about:

  • Thriving & Surviving in Secondary School
  • Stress and why we need to understand how it impacts learning for all students with special educational needs
  • The Worries!
  • Navigating the SEN & welfare systems


Featuring international expert Dr Jerome Schultz, an award winning Clinical Neuropsycholgist and Lecturer on Psychology, Dept. of Psychiatry Harvard Medical School, this conference will provide you access to to leading experts and top quality information to educate, support and empower those who work with and parent children with special educational needs.

This conference will be of particular interest to those who work with or parent children with a variety of special educational needs such as adhd, autism spectrum disorders, down syndrome, dyslexia, dyspraxia, intellectual disabilities and more.

If you work with, care for or parent children with special educational needs this is a not to be missed event!



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Session Descriptions: Jerome J. Schultz, Ph.D.

Research, stories, art work, brief videos and stress-reducing cartoons will be used to help participants develop a new way of thinking about our built-in response to challenges and threats. Dr. Schultz will present his DE-STRESS Model of intervention that’s been very effective in helping kids become the masters of their own academic destiny. This simple, but transformative model guides teachers and other practitioners as they help kids turn brain-shrinking (really!) toxic stress into the fuel kids need for productive, effective learning. We’ll take a very practical look at the language we use with kids, and how to change mindsets and learning trajectories. Each participant will take away many practical strategies as well as a personalized plan of action designed to reduce stress in kids and enhance learning.
In an era where everything in schools tends to be a part of some BIG NEW THING, this integrated approach is surprisingly effective, involves no materials, and costs no money.

Jerome Schultz, Ph.D. Clinical Neuropsychologist
Lecturer on Psychology, Dept. of Psychiatry Harvard Medical School
Dr. Jerome Schultz began his career as a public school special education teacher, and is currently a clinical neuropsychologist, on the faculty of Harvard Medical School in the Department of Psychiatry, where he supervises aspiring young psychologists and psychiatry interns. For over three decades, he has specialized in the neuropsychological assessment and treatment of children with learning disabilities, ADHD, and other special needs. He is in schools several days each week, working directly with students, teachers and mental health specialists. He dedicates his time to enhancing people’s understanding of the neurobiology of stress and its impact on learning and social and emotional development. Dr. Schultz received both his undergraduate and Master’s degrees from The Ohio State University and holds a Ph.D. from Boston College. Additionally, he has completed post-doctoral fellowships in both clinical psychology and neuropsychology.
A sought after speaker at national and international conferences, Dr. Schultz has written extensively about children with learning challenges and writes a special education and psychology blog on the Huffington Post. His book, called Nowhere to Hide: Why Kids with ADHD and LD Hate School and What We Can Do About It, examines the role of stress in learning, and has received international acclaim. He is an Expert for the Understood.org website, writes many practical articles for teachers and parents, and is the guest on frequent webinars. He is a long-time member of the Learning Disabilities Association of America (LDA), and now serves as the Chair of LDA’s Professional Advisory Board. He is the recipient of the 2016 LDA Award, an honor bestowed on individuals who have made outstanding contributions to the field of learning disabilities.

Session Descriptions: Jerome J. Schultz, Ph.D.

In four interrelated sessions, Dr. Schultz will help us understand why students who have a poor understanding of the conditions that impact learning are under chronic stress, and how and why this impairs learning. Liberally laced with stress-reducing cartoons and stories that entertain as well as educate, this presentation will provide an overview of the brain systems involved in the stress response, and offer many practical strategies that can stop this self-defeating cycle in its tracks.

We’ll examine the protective role of stress, and how a student’s faulty self-perception can quickly move the needle from “good” stress to “toxic” stress. We’ll take a look into the human brain to gain a better understanding of the neurobiology of stress, and what happens when things get out of balance. We’ll see why many kids with Learning Disabilities and ADHD are in a state of chronic stress that’s actually impedes learning and memory in a way that goes way beyond the initial effects of the LD/ADHD. We’ll examine adults’ reactions to “negative” behaviours that might actually be the protective response to chronic stress, and explore different, effective ways to respond to kids to get them back on track.

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Katie Cremin, MSc. BSc. OT

Assistant Professor in Occupational Therapy at Trinity College Dublin,  PHD student at The Children’s Research Centre and School of Psychology, Trinity College Dublin & voluntary board member at Sensational Kids

Katie Cremin, is an award winning Assistant Professor in Occupational Therapy at Trinity College Dublin and PHD student at The Children’s Research Centre and School of Psychology, Trinity College Dublin.  Her study is looking at the social, emotional and behavioural factors in secondary school experience for students with Autism Spectrum Disorder. Her particular interest is in children’s rights to participate in social and educational activities irrespective of their diagnosis or difference. Katie has a B.Sc. in Occupational Therapy and an MSc in Health Informatics from the University of Dublin. She previously worked as an Occupational Therapist in Child and Adolescent Mental Health. Katie lends her extensive clinical expertise to the board and to the future development of Sensational Kids.


National Disability Authority: An exploration of the participation of children with fine motor difficulties and the impact of occupational therapy intervention. November 2006 – November 2007

National Development Plan: The use of digital video resources in occupational therapy education. Teaching and developement grant. June 2003 – June 2004

Norah Ferris Post-Graduate Research Award



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Aoife Lyons, Ph.D.
Licensed Clinical Psychologist
Director of Educational Engagement, Alltech

Dr. Aoife Lyons received her PhD in clinical psychology from DePaul University, Chicago, USA, in 2001. She ran a successful private practice clinic, Dr. Aoife Lyons and Associates, in Chicago for over 10 years before returning to Ireland in 2012. Dr. Lyons specialises in learning disabilities, attention problems, peer difficulties, autism, pervasive developmental disorders and nonverbal learning disabilities.

Dr. Lyons is currently Global Director of International Educational Initiatives at Alltech Inc. She is also Adjunct Assistant Professor of Psychology at Trinity College, Adjunct Assistant Professor in the Faculty of Science and Health at Dublin City University and Adjunct Assistant Professor at the Smurfit Business School at University College Dublin.

Dr. Lyons’ academic qualifications include a BSc in biology and psychology from the University of Notre Dame, an M.A. in Women’s Studies from UCD, Ireland, a both an M.A. and Ph.D. from DePaul University. She also completed Post-doctoral Fellowship from Northwestern University.

Dr Lyons will speak about The Worries! We all experience anxiety and worry from time to time. Even children can experience anxiety. So when is anxiety just the “worried well” and when is it something for parents and clinicians to be concerned about? When is a little bit of worry actually adaptive and helpful and when does it begin to interfere with a child’s learning and development? This talk will explore the nature of children’s very real anxiety and offer parents tips on how to keep the worries under control.


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Lorraine Dempsey

Co Chairperson of Special Needs Parents Association

Formerly a nurse, Lorraine is Co Chairperson of the Special Needs Parents Association. Lorraine’s oldest daughter has Cerebral Palsy and Intellectual Disabilities.

Lorraine is also a Parent Representative on Transforming Lives Working Group 2 – Person-Centred Model of Service & Support – Implementation, Oversight & Support and the Parent Advisor on the Cross Sectoral Implementation Group in Department of Children & Youth Affairs overseeing the implementation of AIM, the Access and Inclusion Model supporting children with disabilities to access preschool.


Conference Timetable

08:00 – 09:00  Registration
09:00 – 09:55  Thriving & Surviving in Secondary School, Kate Cremin, Assistant Professor in Occupational Therapy, Trinity College, Dublin,
10:00 – 11:00  Setting the Stage: The Role of Stress in Our Lives and our Kids’ Lives, Dr Jerome Schultz, Neuropsychologist, Lecturer Harvard Medical School, USA
11:00 – 11:30  Break & Refreshments
11:30 – 13:00  The Neurobiology of Stress and Why We Need to Understand It, Dr Jerome Schultz, Neuropsychologist, Lecturer Harvard Medical School, USA
13:00 – 14:00  Lunch
14:00 – 15:15  The Journey from Distress to DE-STRESS, Dr Jerome Schultz, Neuropsychologist, Lecturer Harvard Medical School, USA
15:15 – 15:40  Break & Refreshments
15:40 – 16:10  Planning for the Future: Turning Stress into the Fuel for Success, Dr Jerome Schultz, Neuropsychologist, Lecturer Harvard Medical School, USA
16:15 – 17:00  The Worries! Dr Aoife Lyons, Clinical Psychologist
17:00 – 17:30  Q&A Panel With the Dr Aoife Lyons, Dr Jerome Schultz & Katie Cremin
17:30 – 18:30  Navigating the System- A roadmap to supports and schemes in health, special education and welfare, Lorraine Dempsey, Special Needs Parents Association

Who Should Attend

This conference is suitable for

  • Parents of children with special educational needs
  • Teachers of children with special educational needs
  • School Principals
  • Educational Welfare Officers
  • Senos
  • SNAs
  • Allied Health Professionals such as psychologists, occupational therapists, speech & language therapists, play therapists and others who work with children with special educational needs.


Carlton Hotel Blanchardstown
Address: Church Road, Tyrrelstown, Dublin 15
Tel.: + 353 1 827 5600
Email: info.blanch@carlton.ie

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53º 24′ 55″ N, 6º -23′ 6″ W

The Carlton Hotel Blanchardstown, formerly Plaza Hotel in Tyrrelstown, is located within the heart of Dublin 15. This four star Dublin hotel is conveniently located close to the M50, M2 and M3 motorways, making it easily accessible from all major routes across the country.

Bed & Breakfast

The Carlton Hotel, Blanchardstown is offering special rates for conference delegates of €106 single B&B and €116 Double B&B for a superior double OR twin room for March 10th – 11th 2017. To book this rate please contact the hotel directly by phone on 01 827 5644 and mention the special rate for the Sensational Kids Conference to avail of these prices.


Busy Buddys

Busy Buddys

Busy Buddys was set up to provide equipment and services for children and young people with a disability. Our goal is a simple one, to provide the best service combined with the best quality products to our customers. We pride ourselves in offering accurate and honest advice to all customers and organisations about their needs. www.busybuddys.ie is part of Promobility Ltd. a leader in provision of special needs transport equipment and access solutions. Incorporated in 2001, this Irish company is family run by Charlie and Cynthia Fitzsimons.


GMB College

The GMB College ethos is to educate the workforce with proven, quality, and accredited programmes in order to improve the prospects of our learners, so that they too can strive for better working conditions, security of tenure in their employment and the attainment of a living wage. GMB College will promote these values through our education programmes, through partnership with employers and through the provision of courses which promote upskilling and reskilling to support a growing and evolving workforce. Courses available include Manual Handling, Special Needs Assistant and  Speech & Language Assistant.



Irish Fragile X Society

The Irish Fragile X Society promotes awareness of Fragile X Syndrome, the cognitive and behavioural difficulties associated with the syndrome, the likely impact on individuals and their families, and good practice in meeting their special needs.

Email info@fragilexireland.org



Leading the way in rehabilitation therapy, Jobskin is the largest UK manufacturer of specialist custom made compression garments for therapy and orthotic professionals.We offer the highest quality made to measure products, silicone gel and stock orthotic products to meet your needs. We are dedicated to providing the ultimate in therapy management, with the focus on improving patient quality of life.



Sensational Kids Child Development & Learning Store

A treasure trove of skill building and learning resources Sensational Kids Shop is Ireland’s only child development store that is run as a social enterprise where all proceeds help take children off waiting lists for assessment and intervention services. For children of all abilities. Visit our shop in Kildare Town or shop online.

SNPA Screen Logo

Special Needs Parents Assocation

The Special Needs Parents Association is a national parent-run organisation which provides support and information for families who have children with disabilities and special needs in Ireland regardless of age or diagnosis.

By bringing parents together we aspire to give parents a voice by promoting improved treatment, education, welfare and acceptance for our children on a national level and peer support on a local level.



Your Ticket Includes

  • Printed Handouts
  • Refreshments
  • Lunch
  • Exhibition Area
  • Attendance Certificate
  • Parking
  • High Quality Expert Training


Ticket Costs

Early Bird Rate until 16th January 2017: €75

Regular Rate: €85


How To Book

Tickets should be booked online using the link below.

Tickets will be emailed to you on booking. Tickets should be printed and brought to the conference for admission.


Not For Profit

All proceeds from this event will go towards funding Sensational Kids Child Development Centre where services include subsidised occupational therapy, and speech & language therapy for children of all abilities. Your kind support for this event is very much appreciated.

Standard Rate Ticket