“The training is just elegant, and the results for my students are the most powerful I have ever gotten.”
- Patricia Bradley, Teacher at Immaculate Heart School, Greensboro, NC, Formerly at St. Mary’s School, Rockville MD
Claire Nissenbaum, M.A., C.A.T Emeritus
Ms. Nissenbaum, who passed away in 2021, was Founder of the Atlantic Seaboard Dyslexia Education Center (ASDEC). Ms. Nissenbaum had over 30 years experience working in the field of language-based learning differences. She was a principal in the TRI-Services National Institute of Dyslexia for 15 years. She was a founding Board Member of the International Multisensory Structured Language Association (IMSLEC) and a member of the Professional Advisory Committee of the 32 Scottish Rite Masons Childrens Learning Centers. Ms. Nissenbaum was a Fellow of the Academy of Orton-Gillingham Practitioners and Educators. We are all grateful for her vision and her leadership. She leaves behind a growing legacy of excellence in education.
Ellen O’Neill, MA
With a Master’s degree in Human Services management from Brandeis University, Ms. O’Neill has over 25 years of experience in management, research, grant writing, and advocacy. Ms. O’Neill is a founding member of The Reading League Maryland and Maryland READS. She helped to start Decoding Dyslexia Montgomery and Prince George's County and has served on the Board of Directors of the Chelsea School, Maryland Nonprofits, and the Prince George’s County Child Care Resource Center. As a parent of two dyslexic children, Ms. O’Neill brings a passionate commitment to delivering high quality training and education services to children and adults with learning disabilities.
Shingerai Mangwiro M.B.A.
Ms. Mangwiro brings over 10 years of experience in Accounting and Administration, Sales, Fundraising, Recruiting and Customer Service. Preparing for a career in Financial Planning, Ms. Mangwiro graduated from the Robert H. Smith School of Business at the University of Maryland and completed a Certificate Program in Financial Planning at Georgetown University. Ms. Mangwiro also has worked on a number of international and local human rights and economic development initiatives.
CALT: Certified Academic Language Therapist
CAT: Certified Academic Therapist
Jennifer Appleton, M.Ed., CALT-QI
Jennifer Appleton is ASDEC Qualified Instructor, Clinical Supervisor and Certified Academic Language Therapist at ASDEC. Jennifer is a former classroom teacher and certified reading specialist, working in Baltimore CountyPublic Schools, Fairfax County Public Schools, and in private schools. Jennifer holds certifications in Sounds In Syllables, RAVE-O, Language!, Lindamood Bell Auditory Discrimination in Depth, Junior Great Books, and holds current licensure in the state of Virginia as a Certified Reading Specialist. In addition to her private practice, Jennifer supervises interns in private practice and public school, and teaches the ASDEC Language 1 course
Donna Brooks, CALT, M.A.
Donna Brooks, MA Counseling, CALT
Ms. Brooks is an ALTA-certified Academic Language Therapist (CALT), an IDA certified Dyslexia Therapist and ASDEC Supervisor and Clinical Director for the ASDEC Summer Practicum. She is the founder of Moving Muscles. This program is specifically used for the ASDEC Summer Program and allows children the ability to become better coordinated, working on total body motion while addressing mid-line, hypotonia, and dyspraxia challenges. Most importantly, the children have fun while participating. Donna is also the founder of Blessings Through Dyslexia, a therapeutic intervention services provider. She is certified as a Myers-Briggs Facilitator, an Equipping Minds (EM) Mediator, a Feuerstein Method Mediator, Primitive Reflex Mediator, The Listening Program (TLP) Provider, Visual and Auditory Assessor through The Listening Program, and an Intern for the Learning Ears Program. Donna has earned her Master’s in Counseling from the Townsend Institute, Concordia University, Irvine, CA. She is currently an LPC Resident Under Supervision, trained in Eye Movement Desensitization Reprocessing (EMDR) for trauma and The Developmental, Individual Difference, Relationship-Based (DIR/Floortime) Model for neurodevelopmental and neurobehavioral challenges. Finally, Donna is a Certified AMEN Brain Health Coach.
Donna is retired from the United States Air Force. Donna and her daughter, Grace, understand the challenges and blessings that come with having dyslexia.
Sally Duckworth, B.S., CALT
Ms. Duckworth is a former elementary classroom teacher and she has worked as a Certified Academic Language Therapist since 1996. At ASDEC she has served as Managing Director, Clinical Coordinator, Supervisor of Interns, Director of the Elementary Summer Program, Director of the Summer Program for Dyslexic Adolescents and Co-Instructor for the Multisensory Study Skills. Ms. Duckworth is a past presenter at the International Dyslexia Conference.
Patti Edison, R.N., CALT
Ms. Edison has worked as a Certified Academic Language Therapist since 1994 and has served as ASDEC’s Clinical Coordinator of Intern Training Program, Director of the Summer Program for Dyslexic Adolescents, Clinical Supervisor, and Master Teacher. Patti holds a BS degree in Psychology from the University of Maryland, and carries certification through ALTA and IDA. Serving pre-k through adult students in her private practice, she specializes in remediation of reading, spelling, comprehension, writing and study skills. Presently, she is thrilled to be a part of the supervision team overseeing the teacher training in Frederick County, MD. A past presenter at the annual International Dyslexia Conferences, Ms. Edison worked as a Critical Care Registered Nurse prior to joining the ASDEC team.
Anthony Henley, Psy.D., CALT
Dr. Henley has been working in the field of learning disabilities for over 25 years. He started as an educational therapist, providing interventions to students with learning disabilities, but he now exclusively provides psychoeducational assessments as clinical psychologist licensed in Maryland, D.C., and Virginia. He has presented locally, nationally, and internationally on the diagnosis and remediation of difficulties with learning and attention. He is co-author of a chapter in the primary textbook for providing interventions for students with learning disabilities (Multisensory Teaching of Basic Language Skills). He has played a leadership role locally and nationally in the International Dyslexia Association, and on the Board of Directors of the Atlantic Seaboard Dyslexia Education Center, a center for training teachers to work with students with dyslexia and other learning disabilities.
Merida Hurkett, M.S., CALT, QI
Ms. Hurkett is currently the Clinical Co-Director at ASDEC in addition to her responsibilities as a supervisor and Master Teacher. Ms. Hurkett has a MS in Special Education and received her certification as an Academic Therapist in 2005 and is a member of the Academic Language Therapy Association. Ms. Hurkett is a frequent presenter at workshops and professional development training.
Mona Iyer, AMS, CALT. CDT
Mona has been in the field of education, focusing on teaching young children for over 25 years. She received her American Montessori Society (AMS) certification in Montessori training from Dallas, Texas. Ms. Iyer moved to Maryland in 1996 where she has been a teacher at Manor Montessori School in Potomac, MD. Ms. Iyer is author of K-Reading Kickstart, a graduate level course in early screening and intervention.
Joy Jacques, R.N., B.S., CALT
Ms. Jacques , Certified Academic Language Therapist, has been working in the field of Academic Therapy since 2002. Previously she was a Certified Critical Care RN. Joy serves ASEDEC as a Board member, a Supervisor of interns in training, member of the management team, and Master Teacher. She is the creator and presenter of workshops in Study Skills and Multisensory teaching of Grammar. She has been director and teacher of Summer Study Skills for middle school students. In private practice, Ms. Jacques serves K – middle school students. She is certified through ALTA as an Academic Language Therapist, and through IDA as a Dyslexia Therapist.
Laurie Moloney, CALT
Ms. Moloney, Certified Academic Language Therapist, holds a B.A. In English and is a certified Academic Language Therapist (CALT). She began her training in 1989 – first at the Tri-Services/National Institute of Dyslexia and then at the Atlantic Seaboard Dyslexia Education Center (ASDEC), where she completed her training, was a faculty and board member, and supervised interns. She is a member of the International Dyslexia Association (IDA) and the Academic Language Therapy Association (ALTA). Currently, she is President of DCIDA, the metropolitan DC branch of the International Dyslexia Association.
Ms. Moloney maintains a private practice, serving students of all ages — from the mildly involved to the severely learning disabled. She specializes in teaching students to read and spell fluently; take notes from textbooks, literature, and lecture; remember what they read and hear using powerful memory strategies; enlarge their vocabulary exponentially through the study of Greek and Latin morphemes; write well; manage their time and school materials effectively; and self-advocate.
Traude Smith, M.Ed., CALT
Ms. Smith is the Clinical Co-Director at ASDEC and the Director of the Summer Program. She completed her training as Academic Therapist in 1988. In 2012 she became a qualified instructor. Ms. Smith has a B.A. in speech pathology and a M.Ed in special education. Her background training in speech pathology and teaching the hearing impaired has been of benefit in the work with dyslexic children and adults. Ms. Smith is a faculty member at ASDEC and presents workshops and professional development training at schools and conferences.
Deborah Spear, M.Ed., CALT-QI-Emeritus
Ms. Spear is a Clinical Supervisor and Certified Academic Language Therapist at ASDEC. She formerly worked for Fairfax County Public Schools as a special education teacher, educational diagnostician, and as a Learning Disabilities Department Chair. Deborah has been in private practice since 2002 and holds certifications in Sounds in Syllables, Scottish Rite Orton-Gillingham, Wilson Language Systems, and Junior Great Books. She earned her Qualified Instructor (QI) certificate in 2017. She has further training in Lindamood-Bell systems and Handwriting Without Tears. Deborah maintains a private clinical practice, supervisors interns, instructs Language 1 and Language 2, directs the Virginia summer program and consults with schools on improving their reading intervention programs.
Marilyn Zecher, M.A., CALT
A nationally certified Academic Language Therapist and former classroom/demonstration teacher, Ms Zecher is a specialist in applying multisensory Orton-Gillingham based strategies to a variety of content areas. She trains nationally for The Multisensory Training Institute of the nonprofit Atlantic Seaboard Dyslexia Education Center in Rockville MD and is a part time instructor at Loyola University, Baltimore. A frequent presenter at regional and national conferences including IDA, LDA, & NCTM, Ms Zecher specializes in evidence based methods and interventions for all students but which are especially effective with students with learning difficulties in the fields of mathematics, written language and study skills. Her presentations incorporate O-G strategies, the principles of UDL, and recommendations from NCTM, The What Works Clearinghouse and the Common Core State Standards. She developed the Multisensory Math Program and graduate level math methods courses for which she is the instructor. She also gives professional development workshops on multisensory applications in math, written language and study skills. She maintains a private practice supporting older students who have dyslexia and related learning differences in Rockville, Maryland.