2017 UDL Symposium has ended

 Welcome Letter with Pre-Conference Details
 Session Evaluation
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Monday, July 31 • 11:00am - 11:55am
Social Justice, One Brain at a Time!

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As educators interested in social justice, we are driven to look for means to level the playing field for our disadvantaged students. We have come to view UDL as the means with which to address the strengths and needs of all students. As teachers, we are aware of data that point to academic achievement gaps between the wealthy and those living in poverty. Anecdotally, we know that students who come to us laden with the toxic stress of living in poverty need more from us instructionally. We search for instructional tools and practices that will help these students achieve. But, the answer has been in front of us the whole time – a large body of research indicates that the instructional gap between the have and have not may be explained by differences in executive function.
Executive function is an umbrella term for cognitive skills such as inhibition control, working memory, and flexible thinking. Executive function is what allows students to act on and demonstrate learning. This important set of skills is developmental in nature and is impacted by genetics and the environment. Research indicates that poverty is highly correlated with executive dysfunction. However, as a developmental skill impacted by the environment, executive function can be both supported and developed by strategic and purposeful teachers. Research has already demonstrated that instructional programs that focus on executive function in students living in poverty can not only improve those specific skills, but also provide broad academic and social benefits. When teachers focus on executive function, they level the playing field for their most vulnerable students and provide them with the skills they need for success.
This session will explain the links between poverty and executive dysfunction with a close focus on linking research to UDL implementation. Additionally, the presenters will provide a foundational understanding of the neurodevelopmental nature of executive function. Educators will be given concrete and actionable ways to support and develop executive function skills as well as additional resources to help them continue to learn about this critical skill set.

avatar for Lisa Carey

Lisa Carey

Assistant Director, Center for Innovation & Leadership in Special Education, Kennedy Krieger Institute
Lisa Carey is the Assistant Director of the Center for Innovation and Leadership in Special Education (CILSE) at Kennedy Krieger Institute.  Lisa was part of the CILSE's first fellowship cohort, where she studied neuroscience, behavior science, school law, and scientific inquiry... Read More →

Monday July 31, 2017 11:00am - 11:55am EDT
Alumni Lounge