Diamonds In The Rough
DC Area's Annual Special Learning Needs Conference
In 2010, Weinfeld Education Group saw a need to bring together providers and parents in the DC, MD and VA area. This annual conference provides an opportunity to educate both parents and professionals about the needs of students with special needs and introduces them to the myriad of outstanding special needs providers in this area.
2019 DIAMONDS CONFERENCE
The 9th Annual Diamonds in the Rough Conference placed a special focus on the skills and supports students need to successfully launch at each educational stage. For parents raising a child with special educational needs, even small changes can feel big. Growing in confidence and hope, thinking farther out, and developing plans for a child’s future becomes crucial as children age and mature. Dr. David Black led the Friday CE workshop and Debbie Rebber, founder of TILT Parenting, provided the Saturday Keynote address.
2018 DIAMONDS CONFERENCE
The theme of our 8th annual conference was Finding Common Ground, Strategies that work for all students. We welcomed over 90 participants for our Friday CE workshop and over 250 parents and professionals took part in the full-day conference. The success of this year's conference speaks to our shared mission of helping students reach their unique potential. Our featured speaker was Dr. Joyce Cooper-Kahn, and all our experts.
2016 DIAMONDS CONFERENCE
2016 marked our 7th annual conference. The theme for 2016 was Using the 'P' Word: Identifying and Developing Potential. The two day conference included a half-day CE credit workshop co-sponsored by Resnick & Associates, and featuring Steven Shores who presented on the topic "Evaluating Different Approaches for Supporting Children with Autism." The second conference day included workshops, panel discussions, and exhibitors from local schools, products, and services for the special needs community.
2015 DIAMONDS CONFERENCE
The keynote speaker was Jonathan Mooney, a dyslexic writer and activist who was labeled “severely learning disabled” in his youth, is our speaker. Although he didn’t learn to read until the age of 12, he went on to author two books, The Short Bus: A Journey Beyond Normal and Learning Outside the Lines: Two Ivy League Students with Learning Disabilities and ADHD Give You the Tools for Academic Success and Educational Revolution. The breakout sessions featured prominent guest speakers and members of Weinfeld Education Group’s professional staff who highlighted a variety of topics related to special needs. There was a separate exhibit hall and ample time for participants to visit. Lunch was held in the ballroom used as the exhibit hall.
2014 DIAMONDS CONFERENCE
The conference was held at Commonwealth Academy in Alexandria, VA, and keynoted by Dr. John Ratey from Harvard University who spoke on the Mind Body Connection. The energy and excitement continued throughout the day with dynamic local presenters: Dr. Bill Stixrud, Dr. Lauren Kenworthy, and Dr. Mary Alvord. Attendees also learned yoga and self regulation techniques, how to plan working out into your family's day, and calming music therapy techniques.
2013 DIAMONDS CONFERENCE
The theme was Family Quality of Life, with Keynote address featuring Dr. Eustacia Cutler
From a parent and past conference attendee
The "Diamonds in the Rough" are our children. Just as they need polishing to display their brilliance in whatever form(s) it may take, so do we, as parents and caregivers, need training and guidance in their special care.
This annual gathering is a wonderful, friendly place to find and discuss new information, ideas and research. If you are a beginner in our special world, you will find valuable, reliable insight, knowledge and skills that we all need for a better understanding of our children. If you are a veteran, you will recognize others who specialize in numerous related fields. Here is a great place to deepen and expand your knowledge.
I have been coming every year since Diamonds began. I always find areas in which I am weak and can use some support. Or areas in which I am strong and can lend some support. There is great sharing going on in these rooms, over and above the professionals who are there to teach us. Much is learned through meeting others who may have been where you are, and who have found solutions which are new to you.
The professionals gathered for Diamonds in the Rough are unique. You will not find such a variety of specialists of this caliber in the field of special education brought together elsewhere. Here you may walk among giants and even ask them questions of your own.
Special Education Advocate
Disability Action Team