Presenter's Info


Keynote Speaker: Lydia Denworth
Author, Journalist

The Friendship Factor:  Nurture it Early and Often

Friends matter at every age, but never more so than when we’re young. The new science of friendship explains why that is so. Lydia Denworth will explain the how the social brain gets built, the importance of social and emotional learning for healthy development, and how building good friendship skills early in life sets children and adolescents up for a long, healthy and happy life.  

Speaker: Karen Lynn Cassiday, PhD, ACT
Clinical Psychologist

Positive, Powerful and Practical: How You Can Build Mental Wellness in Children and Teens

Have you ever worried that what you are doing is not quite enough to meet the needs of a particular child? Have you ever wished that work with kids could be more fun? You are not alone! Come join Dr Karen Cassiday as she helps you understand and implement the science proven strategies from the field of positive psychology that build good character and robust mental wellness in any child, regardless of past history of mental health challenges. You will have the opportunity to practice strategies that are easy to implement in any home, school or therapy office. Dr. Cassiday will also teach you ways to apply these strategies to specific clinical populations that are often overlooked when the clinical challenges are great. You are guaranteed to recover your good humor, joy and clarity of purpose if you attend!

Daniel S. Pine, MD

Understanding Pediatric Anxiety: Categorization, Treatment, and Neuroscience

This presentation will begin with a review of major symptomatic aspects of pediatric anxiety disorders as well as aspects of their longitudinal outcome and relationship to mood disorders. The presentation next will consider research in treatment. This will focus most practically on currently available treatments for mood and anxiety disorders. In addition, the presentation will focus more superficially on novel therapies, particularly those that are arising through research on attention. This provides novel insights for computer-based attention retraining therapies. Finally, during the discussion period, discussion will be entertained and encouraged on the approach to particularly difficult clinical problems, providing clinicians with guidance in these scenarios. This will include treatment-resistant anxiety, anxiety in very young children, and anxiety in highly- comorbid cases.

William R. Stixrud, Ph.D
Clinical Neuropsychologist & Author

The Self-Driven Child: Promoting A Strong Sense Of Control In Kids To Foster Learning, Motivation, And Mental Health

Everyone who works with kids today is concerned about the unprecedented levels of stress, anxiety, sleep deprivation, and unhappiness that children and adolescents are experiencing. Educators ae also concerned about the number of kids who are either obsessively driven to achieve academic success or unmotivated to work hard in school. Dr. Stixrud will explain a crucial link between the twin scourges of high stress and low intrinsic motivation, namely a low sense of control. Extensive research has indicated that a healthy sense of control or autonomy is associated with virtually everything we want for our children (and ourselves), including good health, a positive mood, freedom from excessive anxiety, self-motivation, and academic and career success. Conversely, a low sense of control is associated with negative outcomes in virtually every area studied. In this workshop, Dr.Stixrud will share important research and extensive clinical experience, and he will offer many suggestions for supporting the development of a strong sense of control in students. Many of the suggestions are discussed in his new book (co-written with Ned Johnson), The Self-Driven Child: The Science and Sense of Giving Your Kids More Control Over Their Lives (Viking Books).
Topics will include empowering students to make their own decisions and learn from their mistakes; the wisdom of parents and teachers being a “consultant” to kids rather than a manager or enforcer; the benefits young people gain when parents and other adults serve as a nonanxious presence in their lives; the challenges of 24/7 engagement with technology; the importance for young people of “radical downtime; the wisdom of giving kids an accurate model of what it takes to create a successful and satisfying life.

Anna Vagin, Ph.D.
Speech Language Pathologist & Author

Turn It On: Media-Supported Pathways for Social Learning

Let’s admit it. All students learn best with engaging materials! And we often do our best work when our students are enjoying and finding value in their sessions. Learn how to integrate animated videos into your social cognitive work to foster greater social success and overall resilience for life’s challenges. Ms. Vagin shares her recommended materials and activities to support practice of critical social learning concepts.
We will look at ways to use animated videos to support students in connecting feelings and thoughts, improving perspective taking and inference, and building resilience. You will acquire a toolbox filled with a new list of great videos, activities to pair with them, suggested ways to move students to the “practice” phase, and sample rubrics to use in tracking progress for each pathway.

Positive, Powerful and Practical: How You Can Build Mental Wellness in Children and Teens
• List evidence-based skills associated with robust mental wellness
• Explain how to implement simple practice strategies that help children and teens and develop the cardinal skills of mental wellness
• Describe the difference between reducing clinical symptoms and developing mental wellness
• Identify and address toxic child rearing and child intervention beliefs and attitudes associated with long term failure to develop mental wellness

The Friendship Factor: Nurture It Early and Often
• Discuss the changes in brain development that affect friendship in childhood and adolescence.
• List three ways friendships affect biology and longevity.

Understanding Pediatric Anxiety: Categorization, Treatment, and Neuroscience
• State the key phenomenological distinctions among the varied pediatric anxiety disorders
• Explain the process through which clinical research on therapeutics is informed by basic research in systems neuroscience
• Describe the direction in which ongoing research on therapeutics is moving, from basic research to novel applications through cognitive training.

Turn It On: Media-Supported Pathways for Social Learning
• Explain why using materials that contain social movement makes sense when working with students on the Autism Spectrum.
• Demonstrate how to work on inference using a YouTube video with a student with whom they work.
• State 2 activities they can use to build resilience in a student with whom they work.
• Utilize the use of continuums to measure social concepts creates an effective tool for students with social learning challenges.

The Self-Driven Child: Promoting A Strong Sense Of Control In Kids To Foster Learning, Motivation, And Mental Health
• Describe the four aspects of life that make it stressful
• List at least two important studies that support the importance of a sense of control
• Discuss how stress and insufficient sleep undermine a sense of control
• Apply ways of using rewards that don’t undermine intrinsic motivation
• Identify how technology can support and undermine a sense of control


Dr.Karen Cassiday, PhD, ACT, is a lively, sought-after speaker and commentator on national media such as Nightline, The Today Show, Animal Planet, The Joy Behar Show, Huffington Post, public radio and many more. She is the host of the Moms Without Worry radio show featured on IHeart Radio. She is a TEDx speaker who shared her personal experience as a mother overcoming her own anxious perfectionism in the middle of Walt Disney World! She is the host of the Moms Without Worry radio show. She served as the President of the Anxiety and Depression Association of America and is the founder of the Anxiety Treatment Center of Greater Chicago, the longest-running clinic to first use modern exposure-based treatment for anxiety disorders in the Chicago region. She won the Anxiety and Depression Association of America’s prestigious Clinician of Distinction Award and is a Clinical Fellow of the Anxiety and Depression Association of America. She is also a Diplomate and Founding Fellow of the Academy of Cognitive Therapy, served as Chair of the Scientific Advisory Board of the Chicago OCD Foundation/Beyond OCD, and has been listed on numerous Who’s Who lists. She has published numerous scientific articles and articles on parenting and managing anxiety. Dr.Cassiday is dedicated to helping mothers overcome the cultural pressure to be perfect and to raise perfect kids. She enjoys using her expertise from over thirty years in the field to help families overcome the dilemmas of parenting in a high-stress digital world. Her goal is to help all mothers embrace the messy hilarity of parenting with unshakable self-confidence so they can raise kids who thrive!

Lydia Denworth is an acclaimed science journalist and speaker. She is a contributing editor at Scientific American and writes the “Brain Waves” blog for Psychology Today. She is the author of Friendship: The Evolution, Biology, and Extraordinary Power of Life’s Fundamental Bond, which was named one of the best leadership books of 2020 by Adam Grant and called “the best of science writing” by Booklist. She has written two other books of popular science. I Can Hear You Whisper is an exploration of the science of sound and language after she learned her youngest son was deaf. Toxic Truth is the story of a doctor and a scientist who were among the first to recognize the harmful effects of lead. Lydia's work has also appeared in The Atlantic, New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Newsweek, Time and many other publications. She lives in Brooklyn, New York with her family. 

Dr. Daniel S. Pine, MD is an actively practicing child and adolescent psychiatrist, working in the Washington, D.C. area, where he is on staff at the Ross Center. Dr. Pine also has been engaged continuously in psychiatry research for the past 20 years. His research is currently conducted at the National Institute of Mental Health Intramural Research Program. Dr. Pine moved to this position in 2000, after 10 years of training, teaching, and research at Columbia University. Since graduating from medical school at the University of Chicago, Dr. Pine has been engaged continuously in research on pediatric mental disorders, as reflected in more than 500 peer-reviewed papers. Currently, his group examines the degree to which pediatric mood and anxiety disorders are associated with perturbed neural circuitry function. Dr. Pine served as the Chair of the Psychopharmacologic Drug Advisory Committee for the Food and Drug Administration, Chair of the Child and Adolescent Disorders Work Group for the DSM-5 Task Force, and President of the Society of Biological Psychiatry. He is a member of the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences and has received many other awards.

William R. Stixrud, Ph.D, is a clinical neuropsychologist and the co-author (with Ned Johnson) of the best-selling book, The Self-Driven Child: The Science and Sense of Giving Your Kids More Control Over Their Lives. He is also a member of the Adjunct Faculty of Children’s National Medical Center, as well as an Assistant Professor of Psychiatry and Pediatrics at the George Washington University School of Medicine. Dr. Stixrud additionally is a frequent lecturer on topics related to neuropsychological assessment, brain development, motivation, meditation, and the effects of stress, sleep deprivation, and technology overload on the brain. His work has been featured in publications such as The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Times of London, The Wall Street Journal, U.S. News and World Report, Time Magazine, Scientific American, Business Week, Barron's, and, New York Magazine. He is a long-time practitioner of Transcendental Meditation and a musician who plays in the rock band Close Enough.

Anna Vagin, PhD is a licensed speech language pathologist with over 30 years experience. Currently in private practice in Marin County, she provides individual sessions and social learning groups to families and children six months through young adulthood. Her particular interest is using media to support social thinking in students with diagnoses such as ASD, ADHD, NVLD, Language Disorder, Anxiety Disorder, Social Communication Disorder or Twice Exceptional.
Dr.Vagin received her doctorate from UC Berkeley and SFSU. She provides consultation to parents and schools, and is a frequent speaker in the US and Canada on topics related to social cognition. Recipient of the CSHA District 1 Outstanding Achievement Award, she is the author of Movie Time Social Learning (2013) and YouCue Feelings: Using Online Videos for Social Learning (2015), and developer of the Conversation Paths Pack (2020).


Karen Cassiday
Financial Disclosures:
• No financial disclosures.

Nonfinancial Disclosures:
• No nonfinancial relationships to the content of this presentation

Lydia Denworth
Financial Disclosures:
• I receive royalties for sales of my book, Friendship.

Nonfinancial Disclosures:
• No nonfinancial relationships to the content of this presentation

Daniel Pine
Financial Disclosures:
• No financial disclosures.

Nonfinancial Disclosures:
• No nonfinancial relationships to the content of this presentation

William Stixrud
Financial Disclosures:
• Potential Book royalties from The Self-Driven Child: The Science and Sense of Giving Your Kids More Control Over Their Lives

Nonfinancial Disclosures:
• No nonfinancial relationships to the content of this presentation.

Anna Vagin
Financial Disclosures:
• No financial disclosures.

Nonfinancial Disclosures:
• No nonfinancial relationships to the content of this presentation

Schedule | October 17, 2020

Virtual Conference 8:30 am - 5:00 pm


A special thank you to the sponsors of the 7th Annual Innovators In Education Conference


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