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College of Education

Educational Neuroscience Symposium

How our biological need to connect influences our ability to learn, to trust, and to socialize: Implications of Polyvagal Theory in the classroom.

Dr. Porges Presentation

To view PDFs from previous symposiums, visit:


2019 Applied Educational Neuroscience Fall Conference | The Polyvagal Theory

September 21, 2019
9:00 AM–3:30 PM
Shelton Auditorium, South Campus, Butler University

Objectives of the conference:
  • Attendees will leave symposium with a greater understanding of how attachment and regulation with students carrying in pain-based behaviors inform our practices as educators and parents.
  • Attendees will come away with specific brain-aligned strategies to regulate the nervous system of students while strengthening connections with students.
  • Attendees will leave with a deeper exploration of our physiology and how the Polyvagal Theory affects attachment and connections through nonverbal communication and our prosody.

Conference cost is $150. Workshops and descriptions coming soon. Early registrants will receive an email to choose their preferred workshops once they have been finalized.

Speaker | Stephen Porges, PhD

Stephen W. Porges, PhD is a Distinguished University Scientist at Indiana University where he is the founding director of the Traumatic Stress Research Consortium. He is Professor of Psychiatry at the University of North Carolina, and Professor Emeritus at both the University of Illinois at Chicago and the University of Maryland. He served as president of the Society for Psychophysiological Research and the Federation of Associations in Behavioral & Brain Sciences and is a former recipient of a National Institute of Mental Health Research Scientist Development Award.

He has published more than 300 peer-reviewed papers across several disciplines including anesthesiology, biomedical engineering, critical care medicine, ergonomics, exercise physiology, gerontology, neurology, neuroscience, obstetrics, pediatrics, psychiatry, psychology, psychometrics, space medicine, and substance abuse. In 1994 he proposed the Polyvagal Theory, a theory that links the evolution of the mammalian autonomic nervous system to social behavior and emphasizes the importance of physiological state in the expression of behavioral problems and psychiatric disorders. The theory is leading to innovative treatments based on insights into the mechanisms mediating symptoms observed in several behavioral, psychiatric, and physical disorders. He is the author of The Polyvagal Theory: Neurophysiological foundations of Emotions, Attachment, Communication, and Self-regulation (Norton, 2011), The Pocket Guide to the Polyvagal Theory: The Transformative Power of Feeling Safe, (Norton, 2017) and co-editor of Clinical Applications of the Polyvagal Theory: The Emergence of Polyvagal-Informed Therapies (Norton, 2018).


A Pediatrician View  |  Dr. Jim Bein

In this session, Dr. Jim Bien will share the medical perspective with regard to how Adverse Childhood Study has directly impacted the practices of physicians and what we can expect now and in the future. 

Somatasensory Regulation Through Yoga Practices  |  Ryan Tolhurst

Mr. Ryan Tolhurst, former wide-receiver for the North Carolina Panthers will share mindfulness and yoga practices for students  and ourselves to combat anxiety and depression. Ryan will share his personal story and how this contemplative practice began to heal him from the inside out. 

Adversity and Trauma through an Educator's and Father's Lens  |  Chad Tuley

Mr. Chad Tuley will share as a father and teacher how regulation and relationship with so many of our students and children are a prerequisite for learning, behaviors, and well-being.

Drumming, Rhythm and Trauma  |  Lisa Colleen

Lisa Colleen from Bongo Boys Music School will share in a session how drumming and rhythm can become a part of the school day in a variety of ways and how drumming can be gin to lessen the anxiety and depression our students carry into our schools and classrooms.


Conference Agenda
8:30–9:00 AM Registration
9:00–9:30 AM Welcome
9:30–11:30 AM Dr. Stephen Porges
11:30 AM–12:30 PM Lunch break
12:30–1:45 PM Workshop #1
1:45–2:00 PM Break
2:00–3:15 PM Workshop #2
3:15–3:30 PM Closing remarks



To see archived information from previous symposiums, visit:

Lori DesautelsContact Information:

Lori Desautels, PhD