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College of Education

Educational Neuroscience Symposium

Educators, parents and the community at large want nothing more than for our students to feel successful and excited to learn, and to understand the importance of their education. Our students want to feel a sense of purpose and connection as they walk into our classrooms each day. Underneath all behaviors, words and experiences there sometimes lies a six letter word that literally can change us for a lifetime. What is trauma? When we hear this word, we tend to think of severe neglect or abusive experiences and relationships. This is not necessarily true. A traumatized brain can also be a tired, hungry, worried, rejected, or detached brain expressing feelings of isolation, worry, angst, and fear. In youth, anger is often the bodyguard for deep feelings of fear. Trauma-filled experiences can be sudden or subtle, but the neurobiological changes from negative experiences cause our emotional brain to create a sensitized fear response. 

Please join the Butler University College of Education, experts in the field of trauma and adversity, and Dr. Bruce Perry for two days filled with learning about adversity/trauma and how we address these critical brain states as parents, educators and as a community.

Friday, April 13 | Applied Educational Neuroscience Workshops and Planning Session with experts in the field
Saturday, April 14 | Educational Neuroscience Symposium with Dr. Bruce Perry

2018 Speaker

Bruce Perry, M.D., PhD
Bruce Perry

Dr. Perry is the Senior Fellow of The ChildTrauma Academy, a not-for-profit organization based in Houston, TX and adjunct Professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at the Feinberg School of Medicine at Northwestern University in Chicago.  Dr. Perry is the author, with Maia Szalavitz, of The Boy Who Was Raised As A Dog, a bestselling book based on his work with maltreated children and Born For Love: Why Empathy is Essential and Endangered. His most recent multimedia book, BRIEF: Reflections on Childhood, Trauma and Society was released in 2013. Over the last thirty years, Dr. Perry has been an active teacher, clinician and researcher in children’s mental health and the neurosciences holding a variety of academic positions.

Dr. Perry was on the faculty of the Departments of Pharmacology and Psychiatry at the University of Chicago School Of Medicine from 1988 to 1991. From 1992 to 2001, Dr. Perry served as the Trammell Research Professor of Child Psychiatry at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, Texas. During this time, Dr. Perry also was Chief of Psychiatry for Texas Children's Hospital and Vice-Chairman for Research within the Department of Psychiatry. From 2001 to 2003, Dr. Perry served as the Medical Director for Provincial Programs in Children's Mental Health for the Alberta Mental Health Board. He continues to consult with the government of Alberta on children’s issues and serves as a founding member of the Premier’s Council of Alberta’s Promise.  

Dr. Perry has conducted both basic neuroscience and clinical research. His neuroscience research has examined the effects of prenatal drug exposure on brain development, the neurobiology of human neuropsychiatric disorders, the neurophysiology of traumatic life events and basic mechanisms related to the development of neurotransmitter receptors in the brain. His clinical research and practice has focused on high-risk children. This work has examined the cognitive, behavioral, emotional, social, and physiological effects of neglect and trauma in children, adolescents and adults. This work has been instrumental in describing how childhood experiences, including neglect and traumatic stress, change the biology of the brain – and, thereby, the health of the child.  

His clinical research over the last ten years has been focused on integrating emerging principles of developmental neuroscience into clinical practice. This work has resulted in the development of innovative clinical practices and programs working with maltreated and traumatized children, most prominently the Neurosequential Model©, a developmentally sensitive, neurobiology-informed approach to clinical work (NMT), education (NME) and caregiving (NMC).  This approach to clinical problem solving has been integrated into the programs at dozens of large public and non-profit organizations serving at-risk children and their families.

His experience as a clinician and a researcher with traumatized children has led many community and governmental agencies to consult Dr. Perry following high-profile incidents involving traumatized children such as the Branch Davidian siege in Waco (1993), the Oklahoma City bombing (1995), the Columbine school shootings (1999), the September 11th terrorist attacks (2001), Hurricane Katrina (2005), the FLDS polygamist sect (2008), the earthquake in Haiti (2010), the tsunami in Tohoku Japan (2011) and the Sandy Hook Elementary school shootings (2012).  

Dr. Perry is the author of over 500 journal articles, book chapters and scientific proceedings and is the recipient of numerous professional awards and honors, including the T. Berry Brazelton Infant Mental Health Advocacy Award, the Award for Leadership in Public Child Welfare, the Alberta Centennial Medal and the 2014 Kohl Education Prize. He serves on the Board of Directors of multiple organizations including Prevent Child Abuse America ( and the Ana Grace Project ( 

He has presented about child maltreatment, children's mental health, neurodevelopment and youth violence in a variety of venues including policy-making bodies such as the White House Summit on Violence, the California Assembly and U.S. House Committee on Education. Dr. Perry has been featured in a wide range of media including National Public Radio, The Today Show, Good Morning America, Nightline, CNN, MSNBC, NBC, ABC and CBS News and the Oprah Winfrey Show. His work has been featured in documentaries produced by Dateline NBC, 20/20, the BBC, Nightline, CBC, PBS, as well as dozen international documentaries. Many print media have highlighted the clinical and research activities of Dr. Perry including a Pulitzer-prize winning series in the Chicago Tribune, US News and World Report, Time, Newsweek, Forbes ASAP, Washington Post, the New York Times and Rolling Stone.  

Dr. Perry, a native of Bismarck, North Dakota, was an undergraduate at Stanford University and Amherst College. He attended medical and graduate school at Northwestern University, receiving both M.D. and Ph.D. degrees. Dr. Perry completed a residency in general psychiatry at Yale University School of Medicine and a fellowship in Child and Adolescent Psychiatry at The University of Chicago.  


Collaboration Workshop Day | April 13, 2018


Welcome | Dr. Lori Desautels
9:30-10:30 Resilience
10:45-11:45 AM Session
11:45-1:00  Lunch
1:00-1:15 Focused Practice Brain Interval
1:15-2:15  PM Session
2:30-3:20  Facilitated Implementation Planning Time
3:20-3:30   Closing | Dr. Lori Desautels

Neuroscience Symposium | April 14, 2018

8:30-9:00 Welcome | Dr. Ena Shelley, Dean and Dr. Lori Desautels, College of Education
9:00-12:00 Dr. Bruce Perry
12:00-1:00 Lunch Provided
1:00-4:00 Dr. Bruce Perry
4:00-5:30 VIP Reception with Dr. Bruce Perry (additional fee, limited to 20 guests)


Applied Educational Neuroscience Workshop Descriptions

Workshops are full and closed to registration.
  • Educational Neuroscience Lives in the Classroom-Practices and Teacher Strategies | Presenter: Deanna Nibarger 
    The foundation to all learning is an awareness of our brain state and the ability we possess to build positive relationships and self-regulate. When we are able to do those two things, we can then begin the great journey of learning. In this session, participants will discover where educational neuroscience lives in the classroom and how to incorporate these practices and strategies in consistent, natural, and purposeful ways. Educators will leave with resources, research, and strategies to implement in classrooms the next day

  • Classroom Systems of Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS) and Trauma Informed Classrooms: Creating the Paradigm Shift | Presenter: Sandy Washburn 
    At its core, PBIS relies on creating predictable and safe classroom environments and teaching learners about expected behaviors.  Additionally, responses to problem behavior Include creating contextual changes that prevent reoccurrence of problem behavior and instructional responses that involve identifying requisite skills and providing opportunities to learn and practice those skills. In this session, we will explore and practice classroom management strategies that enhance the teacher-to student relationship, improve students’ emotional and behavioral regulation skills and foster increased school connectedness.
  • Creating Trauma Informed Schools | Presenter: Michael McKnight 
    Do you have students in your schools that live in environments with "toxic levels of STRESS"?  Do some of your students carry in many adverse childhood experiences that get in the way of their ability to learn? This session will focus on how schools and teachers can to begin to address trauma within our school communities and will explore the following topics:
      1.  Toxic Stress and the Brain
      2.  Developmental Trauma and its effect on student behaviors
      3.  The 3 Pillars of Trauma Informed Care in Schools- First Steps
             >Emotional Regulation
  • Creating Trauma-sensitive Schools and Communities: The Role of Community Partnerships and One School’s Story on Making the Paradigm Shift | Presenters: Terri Miller, Elizabeth Avery, Julie Smart, and Christy Gauss 
    To help students overcome trauma, demonstrate resilience, and succeed physically, emotionally, socially, and academically it will take a collective effort.  This session will focus on developing meaningful school-community partnership in order to create both trauma sensitive schools and communities.  The second half of this session will look at the journey of one particular alternative school as it began to make the paradigm shift of becoming trauma-informed. This will be a case study on lessons learned and next steps to be-taken.
  • Applied Educational Neuroscience Research and Implications for the Future; Building a Bridge of Evidence for Applied Educational Neuroscience: Pathways for Possibility | Presenters: Sheila Dennis and Juliet King 
    This session will introduce attendees to a qualitative case study that seeks to examine educational neuroscience application in classroom settings.  The presenters will outline findings from the exploratory study and implications for developing theoretical constructs for applied educational neuroscience.  From the limitations of this current research, the discussion will include considerations for pioneering a transdisciplinary research infrastructure that explores a mixed-methods approach. This session will discuss the use of contemporary neuroimaging technology that may help to elucidate and expand the potentials of the educational neurosciences.  The attendees will leave with insight into future possibilities for balancing the evolving educational neuroscience practices with research, building the bridge to consequential and responsible practice pathways.   
  • How Adversity Affects Emotional Social and Academic Well-being Through Brain Development, Restorative Practices/Strategies | Presenters: Brandi Oliver and Lori Desautels
    In this break out session, Dr. Oliver and Dr. Desautels will share the research of how adversity affects emotional social and academic well-being through brain development and the restorative practices and  strategies that can dampen the stress response system opening cortical areas for learning and well-being.
  • Can Neuroscience and A Behavioral Approach Peacefully Co-Exist? | Presenter: Cathy Pratt
    Individuals who engage in problematic behaviors present a tremendous challenge to those who live and work with them.  As practitioners learn more about the role of neurology in behavior, there may be an inclination to shift away from a behavioral based approach.  However, the two are not mutually exclusive.  Conducting a functional behavior assessment thru the lens of neuroscience requires us to take a deeper look into what is driving behavior.   Moreover, many of the strategies used in a neuroscience approach are consistent with those used in both ABA and positive behavior supports.  Examples will be presented and a case study used to illustrate.  


Friday, April 13 | Applied Educational Neuroscience Workshops
Saturday, April 14 | Educational Neuroscience Symposium
Location:  Shelton Auditorium, South Campus (formerly CTS), Butler University

Friday Workshop Only Registration   SOLD OUT   

Saturday Symposium Only Registration $150
Friday Workshop and Saturday Symposium Registration   SOLD OUT    $225

Add-on VIP Reception (limitedto 20 guests)   SOLD OUT   



Parking Information: Butler University South Campus, 1000 W. 42nd St.,  Indianapolis, IN  46208

Archived Symposium Information

2017 Educational Neuroscience Symposium | Attention Deficit Disorder

There has never been a more significant time in the history of education to begin applying the research of neuroscience into our educational practices, assessments and relationships. We are feeling creatures who think and emotional connection drives all that we employ within our schools, classrooms and communities. In this Butler University Educational Neuroscience Symposium, we will explore the brain research beneath emotional regulation, the critical executive function skills of attention and engagement and relationships. Educators, mental health professionals, parents and students will leave this symposium with:

1.  Evidence-based tangible strategies for strengthening self-regulatory capacity essential for building self-reliance and adaptive functioning.  

2. A deeper understanding and framework of Attention Deficit Disorder and its implications in our schools.

3. Resources, research, and an understanding that support all educational practices, K-12 that teach and enhance frontal lobe executive functioning of the brain supporting teaching practices, leadership and community engagement delving beneath student behaviors and words.   

Download the Educational Neuroscience Symposium flyer PDF.

2017 Speakers:

Russell A. Barkley, Ph.D., is a Clinical Professor of Psychiatry at the Medical University of South Carolina.  He is a Diplomate (board certified) in three specialties, Clinical Psychology (ABPP), Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology, and Clinical Neuropsychology (ABCN, ABPP).  Dr. Barkley is a clinical scientist, educator, and practitioner who has published 23 books, rating scales, and clinical manuals numbering 41 editions.  He has also published more than 270 scientific articles and book chapters related to the nature, assessment, and treatment of ADHD and related disorders.  He is the founder and Editor of the bimonthly clinical newsletter, The ADHD Report, now in its 20th year of publication.  Dr. Barkley has presented more than 800 invited addresses internationally and appeared on nationally televised programs such as 60 Minutes, the Today Show, Good Morning America, CBS Sunday Morning, CNN, and many other programs on behalf of those with ADHD.  He has received awards from the American Psychological Association, American Academy of Pediatrics, American Board of Professional Psychology, Association for the Advancement of Applied and Preventive Psychology, New England Educational Institute, the Wisconsin Psychological Association, and Children and Adults with ADHD (CHADD) for his career accomplishments, contributions to research in ADHD, to clinical practice, and for the dissemination of science.  His websites are and

Dr. Judy Willis combined her 15 years as a board-certified practicing neurologist with ten subsequent years as a classroom teacher to become a leading authority in the neuroscience of learning. Dr. Willis has written seven books and more than 100 articles for professional journals applying neuroscience research to successful teaching strategies. She is on the adjunct faculty of the University of California Graduate School of Education, Santa Barbara. Dr. Willis travels nationally and internationally giving presentations, workshops, and consulting while continuing to write books and staff expert blogs for Edutopia, Psychology Today, NBC Education Nation ParentToolkit, and The Guardian. She is one of Edutopia’s “Big Thinkers on Education.”


YouTube video presentation playlist

Dr. Barkley:  ADHD - Theory of EF and SR Downloadable PDF

Dr. Willis:   How Emotion Impacts the Brain's Successful Learning Handout Downloadable PDF

Brain Stations Downloadable PDF

Jello Brain Recipe Downloadable PDF


Lori DesautelsContact Information:

Lori Desautels, PhD