Saturday, April 23, 2016
1:00pm - 4:00pm

*Registration begins at  12:30pm

Greater Chicago West
705 Jackson Boulevard
Oak Park, IL 60304

Special Guest Speakers

BRIANNA MALIN   Eye to Eye Diplomat

Eye to Eye Diplomat

Hear from two successful college students about how they have transformed self-doubt into success.  These speakers are Eye to Eye Diplomats who inspire audiences and ignite hope through stories of their own journeys to self-empowerment.

Eye to Eye is an organization whose mission is to improve the life of every person with a learning disability.  Eye to Eye fulfills its mission by supporting and growing a network of youth mentoring programs run by and for those with learning differences, and by organizing advocates to support the full inclusion of people with learning disabilities and ADHD in all aspects of society.  

GERALD PORTER   Eye to Eye Diplomat

Eye to Eye Diplomat

Diplomats are a select group of Eye to Eye’s college-age mentors who are trained to speak to audiences of middle school and high school students with learning differences, their parents and professionals who work with them.  

During this presentation, the Diplomats will walk the audience through their journey of educational and personal change, providing a new understanding of LD/ADHD and learning itself.

At the core is a message for people who think differently. The presentation also will provide practical, accessible tips for academic success. 


Student breakout session with Eye to Eye Diplomats:

  • Participate in an interactive art project focusing on self-esteem, self-advocacy skills, meta-cognition, accommodations, and/or allies.

Parent breakout session with Chris Everett, College Financial Planning:

  • Discover how to lower the cost of college
  • Earn family generated scholarships
  • Help your student select a career in which they are fit to flourish.
  • Attendees receive a Tuition Reward Scholarship valued at $500.

Conference Co-Sponsors

Praise for 2015 Ready For Take-Off Speaker - Theresa Maitland

Educators and Mental Health Professionals
Moderator: Theresa Maitland

Theresa's April 25th session will discuss how professionals who work with college bound teens and their families can integrate the information from the conference into their current practice.

"This talk is a Must See for any student, parent, and special education teacher at the middle and high school level thinking about future academic work after high school.  Dr. Maitland shares her invaluable insights from 30 plus years of real life experience helping this unprepared population when they land in the independent and unstructured world of college. 

She does this with powerful data, anecdotal stories, and humor making this often ignored, but critically important work understandable, relatable, and actionable.  The ultimate goal of special education is preparing students for their future, but Dr. Maitland has identified a gaping hole in the process and provided simple, manageable next steps in preparing our youth for independent academic success.  She passionately brings this important dialogue out into the open.  I have recommended her book to all of my families as one of the most important steps in planning for and supporting their child's future."

Stacey Kohn
Triangle Parent Navigator

"Dr. Theresa Maitland was able to share critical information with our parents and teachers on the transition from high school to college for our students with disabilities. Her presentation was engaging and informative and will certainly help ease the minds of parents and teachers when preparing these students for the next chapters in their lives. We were very fortunate to have her speak to our families!"

Stephanie Jordan
Coordinating Teacher in Special Education Services for Wake County Schools


Saturday, April 25, 2015
8:30 AM – 12:00 PM
*Registration begins at 8:00am

Greater Chicago West
705 Jackson Boulevard
Oak Park, Illinois 60304

Registration information available via Eventbrite
Buy Tickets


Posted by Chris Everett
February 19, 2015

This morning I was reading a new book I recently received as a gift.  The book, ONE WAY LOVE – Inexhaustible Grace For An Exhausted World by Tullian Tchivididjian.  His introduction is why it’s finding its way into this blog post.  And I quote:

A few years ago I read something astonishing.  Dr. Richard Leahy a prominent psychologist and anxiety specialist, was quoted as saying, “The average high school kid today has the same level of anxiety as the average psychiatric patient in the early 1950s” (1)  It turns out the problem wasn’t limited to an age group.  In 2007, The New York Times reported that three in ten American women confess to taking sleeping pills before bed most nights. (2)  The numbers are so high and unprecedented that some are calling it an epidemic.

What I see more than anything else is an unquestioning embrace of performancism in all sectors of life. Performancism is the mindset that equates our identity and value directly to our performance and accomplishments.  Performancism casts achievement not as something we do or don’t do but as something we are or aren’t.  The colleges those teenagers eventually attend will be more than the place where they are educated –they will be the labels that define the students’ values as human beings in the eyes of their peers, their parents and themselves.  The money we earn, the cars we drive aren’t merely reflective of our occupation; they are reflective of us, period.  How we look, how intelligent we are, and what people think of us are more than descriptive; they are synonymous with our worth.  In the world of performancism, success equals life, and failure is tantamount to death.  This is the reason why people would rather end their lives than confess that they’ve lost their jobs or made a bad investment.

This is not to say that accomplishments are somehow bad, or even that they aren’t incredibly important.  It is simply to say that there is a difference between taking pride in what we do and worshiping it. When we worship at the altar of performance – and make no mistake, performancism is a form of worship – we spend our lives frantically propping up our image or reputations, trying to do it all – and do it all well – often at a cost to ourselves and those we love.  Life becomes a hamster wheel of endless earning and proving and maintenance and management and controlling, where all we can see is our own feet.  Performancism causes us to live in a constant state of anxiety, fear, and resentment until we end up heavily medicated, in the hospital, or just really, really unhappy.

So moms and dads, at EWS, we believe in the greatest happiness and success of your student.  One of the best College Planning Tools we have to replace performancism from the “College Selection Process” and replace it with peace of mind, is to provide your student with a Birkman analysis. For over 50 years, the Birkman Method® has been an industry leader in personality assessment assisting over 3.5 million participants with dialing into their hard wiring. Leading companies such as Procter & Gamble, Wal-Mart and NASA use the Birkman as well as Emory University, Colgate and the University of South Carolina. This multi-dimensional tool focuses on measuring usual behaviors, underlying needs, stress behaviors and interests to reveal multiple ingrained personality dimensions. This information combined with a student's academic profile directs the student in discovering best match, economically safe careers, the college majors that lead to those positions and the schools respected for these majors.

If a student can start college having chosen a major and career path confident their needs will be met, interests embraced and stresses avoided then the 4-year graduation rate sky rockets saving thousands in future tuition.

Students take the 45-minute online assessment in the comfort of their home. Once your Birkman and Academic Supplemental Questionnaire are complete, the Birkman consultants marry the two sets of information into best fit suggestions for your student. Families receive the full 56 page Birkman® results, the 24 page LEAP Fit 2 Flourish report that includes at least 5 best fit careers for exploration, majors leading to these careers, sampling of colleges (meeting the student's demographic requirements) respected for these majors.

It’s all about doing the steps in the right order to improve your students chances for success!  Find out more at our upcoming 2015 Conference:  Ready for Take-Off.       

Notes according to how they appear in the book ONE WAY LOVE – Inexhaustible Grace For An Exhausted World:

  1. Taylor Clark, Nerve: Poise Under Pressure, Serenity Under Stress, and the Brave New Science of Fear and Cool (New York: Little, Brown, 2011), 11
  2. Pamela Paul, Sleep Medication: Mother’s New Little Helper  (New York Times, 11/4/11, www.nytimes.com/2011/11/06/fashion/mothers-and-sleep-medication.html?pagewanted=all

Ready For Take-Off 2015 Special Conference Speaker - Theresa Maitland

Theresa E. Laurie Maitland, PhD, CPCC
Educator and Author
Senior ADHD/LD Specialist & Coach with The Learning Center's ADHD/LD Services
The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Theresa E. Laurie Maitland earned her undergraduate degree at Bowling Green State University in Ohio and her M.Ed. and Ph.D at the University of Pittsburgh.  She is currently a Senior Learning Specialist and Academic Coach at the Learning Center at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.  She has been on the staff at UNC since 1994. It is Dr. Maitland’s passion to work with individuals with learning, attention and emotional challenges and to assist them in turning those challenges into gifts.  Since 1996 Dr. Maitland and her colleagues at UNC have been studying the field of professional coaching and its application to college students with special learning needs.  As a result, in 2003 she became a Certified Professional Co-Active Coach (CPCC).  Dr. Maitland has also been the primary investigator in several research projects studying the impact of coaching on college students as well as a large scale study investigating the characteristics, graduation rates and enrollment patterns of college students with ADHD and/or LD.

Prior to joining the staff at UNC, Dr. Maitland worked as a special class teacher at all grade levels, a college professor, an in-service trainer, and a clinician.  Dr. Maitland helped develop and implement a unique, private, multidisciplinary clinic for individuals with cognitive, emotional and behavioral challenges and their families.  Throughout her career, Dr. Maitland has conducted numerous local and national presentations on topics related to teaching and parenting children, adolescents and young adults with these challenges.  Dr. Maitland has a private practice which allows her to function as a professional coach and a consultant to families, schools, colleges and professionals.  She specializes in issues related to the preparation of individuals with learning differences for life after high school.

Dr. Maitland has been the primary investigator on two research projects: one studying coaching and its impact on college students which resulted in the publication of an article in March 2014.  The other large scale study investigated the graduation rates and enrollment patterns of college students with ADHD/LD and is currently being prepared for publication.  Dr. Maitland co-authored one of the first books written on the subject of coaching:  Coaching College Students with ADHD: Issues and Answers with Dr. Patricia Quinn and Nancy Ratey.  She and Dr. Patricia Quinn also published two books on the subject of transition to college.  Ready for Take-Off: Preparing Teens with ADHD or LD for College was awarded the 2011 National Parenting Publication Honors Award, and On Your Own: A College Readiness Guide for Teens with ADHD/LD which is targeted to high school students.  Both books were selected as Mom’s Choice Gold Award winners for 2011.  She is a member of the Professional Advisory Board of CHADD (Children and Adults with Attention Deficit Disorder) and contributed to the development of The National ADDA (Attention Deficit Disorder Association) Guiding Principles for Coaching Individuals with Attention Deficit Disorder.

Phone:  919-962-9350
Email:  tmaitlan@email.unc.edu



Overview of upcoming Ready for Take-Off Conference
by Theresa Maitland

At the end of every summer, a ritual is reenacted across the country. Excited and anxious parents, and their equally excited and apprehensive sons and daughters, take the first step in a journey toward the future. They pack up cars and vans loaded with their teen’s possessions and bursting with hopes and dreams and deliver their teenagers to college. After unloading the car and saying goodbye, the teens and their parents face one of the most difficult stages in life for which both groups are typically unprepared: the teenager’s first solo flight into the new world of college.

What most of these families and teens do not know is that at some time in the future they may be making a very different trip back home from college. There is a strong possibility that their beloved teen will encounter some turbulence and even unexpected storms that could cause this first solo flight to get off course, to take longer or to eventually be aborted. National statistics on college graduation rates suggest that 4-5 (or 40-50%) out of every 10 freshman who start college may not graduate or still be enrolled 5 years later. For some teens, the odds are even higher that they will experience transition challenges and not finish college. Freshmen with emotional, attention and/or learning disabilities may graduate at an even lower rate (11% to 20% lower than those without these disabilities). Why do some many bright teens without unique learning differences struggle to adjust or graduate from college? What leads to the many challenges faced by bright, young and well prepared teens with ADHD/LD?

This conference will shed light on the reasons for the epidemic of college transition difficulties experienced by our youth. The differences between high school and college will be detailed with a special emphasis on how these differences impact teens diagnosed with ADHD/LD.  This workshop will share what is known in the literature about the common challenges teens with ADHD/LD tend to encounter during their college adjustment.   Factors related to teens with these differences will be discussed as well as some of the common non-productive patterns that adults can adopt that may add to the lack of college readiness.   The workshop will provide an overview of the legal mandates colleges follow for providing services and accommodations to students with disabilities and how these differ from those governing the world of K-12.  

The presentation will draw from the growing literature on college transition with the goal of helping participants make a specific plan to better prepare the teens with ADHD/LD in their lives for college.  In depth information will be shared about coaching as an intervention that is designed to empower individuals. A coaching approach may have a unique ability to promote the executive functioning and self-determination skills that are thought to be at the root of the problems of teens with ADHD/LD.  In addition the workshop will review key college readiness skills; strategies for assessing these as well how professionals and parents can develop strategic and personalized college readiness programs for college bound teens with ADHD/LD.

Throughout the conference participants will be given opportunities to discuss and apply the information presented in the workshop to teens in their own lives.

Additionally, the presentation will discuss strategies for selecting a post-secondary experience that is matched to the readiness of a teen with ADHD/LD as well as things to do during the summer and fall of a teen's first year in a college setting. 

Ready For Take-Off Conference, April 25, 2015 @Greater Chicago West

Preparing teens with learning, attention, social and emotional differences for the transition to college

Saturday, April 25, 2015
8:30 AM – 12:00 PM

Greater Chicago West
705 Jackson Boulevard
Oak Park, Illinois 60304


Panel Presentation and Discussion

  • Learn the differences between high school and college that can cause even the most prepared teenager  to have a rocky take-off and solo flight
  • Become more aware of the additional challenges that teens with emotional, social, learning, and attentional differences are “at-risk” for experiencing
  • Evaluate your current patterns of interaction to determine if they are promoting or inhibiting  college readiness in the teens in your life.
  • Learn how to develop an Individualized College Readiness Plan to use at home, at school with teens or in your work with college bound teens with ADHD/LD.
  • Become  aware of resources & procedures for selecting an appropriate post-secondary setting for teens with ADHD/LD and strategies for increasing their success  
  • Learn how to help teens understand their hard-wiring to make best-fit career selection & to get the order right - Career and Majors before College selection.