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Past Conferences, Speakers Bios2018-09-30T19:52:28+02:00

Speakers from past ASK Annual Conferences

Conference Speakers


Robin Hull (2016)lic.phil. Dip RSA, Principal of Hull’s School
Robin Hull, lic.phil. Dip RSA is the Principal of Hull’s School, an English 6th Form College in Zurich.
He is also a Trustee of Swiss Alpine High School Davos (SAMD), Vice Chairman of the Swiss Dyslexia Association and curator of the International Aldous Huxley Society.
Nachwort zur deutschen Ausgabe der Perennial Philosophy von Aldous Huxley (Hans Nietsch Verlag 2008)
Fragments of an Evolutionary Psychology (IAHS Annual 2008)
A Practical Approach to Perennial Philosophy (IAHS Annual 2010)
How Swiss teenagers read “Brave New World” (IAHS Annual 2014)


Rod Nicolson (2016)Professor of Psychology, University of Sheffield
Rod Nicolson is Professor of Psychology at the University of Sheffield, UK. His area of specialism is human learning, and he has published over 100 scientific articles and books in the field. Working with Angela Fawcett for over two decades, he has a leading international role in dyslexia research, theory and practice. Their book Dyslexia, Learning and the Brain (2007) created a unique and comprehensive framework for understanding the causes of dyslexia in terms of reading, learning and neural circuitry. Recently he has been working on the strengths of dyslexia, with his book “Positive Dyslexia” (Rodin Books, 2015) providing a complete blueprint for success in life as a dyslexic person. His contribution to the book with Julian Eliott “Dyslexia, Developing the Debate” (Bloomsbury, 2016) provides a strong counter-argument to Elliott’s pessimistic view of the value of dyslexia diagnosis. The Dyslexia Screening Tests (jointly with Angela Fawcett), are international best sellers, with a third edition currently in development.


Dr. Kate Saunders (2016)CEO, British Dyslexia Association
Co-author of: Dyslexia Friendly Schools – Good Practice Guide (BDA) and How Dyslexics Learn
Dr. Kate Saunders is Chief Executive of the British Dyslexia Association and has worked for over 30 years in the field of education. This has included working as a primary school teacher, supply teacher for severe special educational needs, specialist dyslexia teacher, Special Educational Needs Co-ordinator (SENCO), chartered psychologist assessing for SpLD/dyslexia and Senior Dyslexia/SpLD Advisory Teacher for a Local Authority. Dr. Saunders has also worked as a lecturer, tutor and internal examiner on a number of post-graduate dyslexia teacher training/assessment courses and has a PhD in Education. Dr. Saunders is co-editor of ‘Dyslexia Friendly Schools: Good Practice Guide’ (2012) published by the British Dyslexia Association, and co-author of ‘How Dyslexics Learn: Grasping the Nettle’ (2002), PATOSS (details at www.bdadyslexia.org.uk). She is dyslexic and has a dyslexic son, and is passionate about the strengths that dyslexic individuals can show.


Joy Tong (2016)Founder of ASK
Joy started ASK – All Special Kids in 2003, as a direct response to the lack of support for Anglophone parents of children with learning differences and special educational needs.
After the birth of her daughter, who was born with significant special needs, Joy began to network with other parents in Geneva, sharing information and experiences, and found that many were experiencing similar struggles in their search for specialists and support services for their children. By 2003, Joy, with the support of five parents, founded Anglophone Special Kids, a prelude to what is known today as ASK – All Special Kids. Joy has been the driving force behind ASK since it’s creation, finding solutions to meet the continually changing needs of a transient population.


Pascal Zesiger (2016)University of Geneva
Pascal Zesiger is a full professor at the Section of Psychology of the Faculty of Psychology and Educational Sciences of the University of Geneva. He is the dean of the Faculty and the head, together with Prof. Frauenfelder, of the Speech and Language Therapy training. He is involved in research focusing on early language acquisition in infants and toddlers, as well as on learning to read and to write. He formerly worked as a child neuropsychologist at the Pediatric Neurology Unit of the Department of Pediatrics at the University Hospital of Lausanne.

Pascal Zesiger est professeur ordinaire à la Section de psychologie de la Faculté de psychologie et des sciences de l’éducation de l’Université de Genève. Il est doyen de la Faculté et dirige, avec le Prof. Frauenfelder, la formation de logopédie. Il effectue des recherches portant sur l’acquisition du langage chez le jeune enfant ainsi que sur l’apprentissage de la lecture et de l’orthographe. Il a travaillé en tant que neuropsychologue pour enfants à l’Unité de neuropédiatrie du Département de Pédiatrie du Centre Hospitalier Universitaire Vaudois.

Professional Development Lecturers


Angela Fawcett (2016)Emeritus Professor
Angela is an Emeritus professor at Swansea University, former director of the Centre for Child Research, and Honorary professor, University of Sheffield.  She held a prestigious Leverhulme Emeritus fellowship, from 2011-2014, and was appointed Research consultant to the Dyslexia association of Singapore in 2012, and Indonesia in 2015. Angela is Vice President of the British Dyslexia Association, and former editor in chief of Dyslexia: an International Journal of Research and Practice from 2004-2010, and continues as executive editor.  Honours include Fellow of the British Psychological society, Chartered Scientist and Fellow of the International Academy for research in learning difficulties, Special Envoy to the World for Dyslexia International, Unesco World Forum on Dyslexia, Paris, 2010, Scientific Advisory committee BDA, IDA and Dyslexia International, Education director Dyslexia Wales, Polish Copernicus prize for Neuropsychology, 2007, advisor to the UK DfES and Welsh assembly, and awarded Outstanding lifetime academic achievement award BDA, 2011. Angela is a leading international researcher into dyslexia and other developmental disabilities. Her approach is broad and interdisciplinary, ranging from child and cognitive development to educational screening and intervention, and developmental cognitive neuroscience. She is the author with Professor Rod Nicolson of 8 screening tests for dyslexia, including the best-selling DST-J, all published by Pearson Education and translated into many languages.  She has contributed 3 of the major theories of dyslexia, 1 authored book and 7 edited books, in addition to over 60 publications in high-impact international peer-reviewed journals, and 40 contributions to edited works.


Dr. Maria Pereira da Costa (2016, 2015)Vice-chairwoman of the Board of Directors of Université Paris V Descartes, Researcher in the field of High Potential Children
Maria PEREIRA DA COSTA gained her PhD from Paris Descartes V University, Sorbonne Paris Cité in 1996. She has been Vice-Chairwoman of the Board of Directors at Paris Descartes University since September 2013. She is also very involved with pedagogical issues and was elected Vice-Chairwoman of the AEPU (National Association of Professors in Psychology) in February 2014. Her teaching centres on gifted children, intelligence theories, cognitive psychology and the construction of psychometric questionnaires. She is a member of the research team LATI (Laboratory “Adaptation, Work, Individual”) directed by Prof. Todd Lubart. Her research focuses on the range of (1) cognitive performance of gifted children in psychometric tests, (2) factors underlying high musical abilities and learning achievements, (3) cognitive styles.

Workshop Presenters


Gemma Calzada (2016)Holistic Nutritionist and GAPS practitioner Founder of LivingFullyNourished and LivingGlutenFree
Gemma Calzada is a Holistic Nutritionist (B.S.), a Nutrition Detoxicology therapist and a certified GAPS practitioner, accredited by ASCA. Her career began with engineering studies in computer science and she started a PhD in Artificial Intelligence. Her family health problems led her to the world of nutrition and alternative medicine.

Today, she offers her personal expertise and scientific academic knowledge in the form of consultations and coaching for people who suffer from dietary intolerance. She also offers guidance to healing with a holistic nutritional approach. She has 4 years of experience working with children with learning difficulties and neurological disorders.

She speaks English, French and Spanish.



Margaret Curran (2016)Cognitive Behavioural Therapist
Margaret Curran is an English-speaking Cognitive Behavioural Therapist currently based in Nyon, Switzerland. She has had a very varied career starting out as a music teacher in Ireland, managing a number of state projects for young people who were in an out of the educational system and with various emotional and behavioural issues to developing her own therapy, training and consultancy business. She also developed and managed her own training centre just outside Dublin. Margaret studied family therapy, addiction studies, child development and finally qualified as a Cognitive Behaviour Therapist from the Institute of Cognitive Behaviour Therapy in Ireland in 1999. She also holds a Masters in Mediation from the International Mediation Institute and is a member and a Director of the Institute of Cognitive Behaviour Therapy.


Pascal Duc (2017, 2016)
Pascal Duc (2017, 2016)Formateur ESPE / français, ASH, Tices
Marié et père de 3 enfants, Pascal Duc est professeur de Lettres. Il enseigne 3 ans à Madagascar, de la primaire au lycée. De retour en France, il profite de l’expérience du laboratoire cognisciences (Pr. Zorman) et encadre des formations continues sur les questions de dyslexie. A Bourgoin-Jallieu il est référent de tous les élèves à profil particulier d’un collège de plus de 900 élèves. Depuis 2007 il devient formateur à l’IUFM (maintenant ESPE, Ecole Supérieure de Professionnalisation des Enseignants) en français mais aussi dans le domaine du handicap (de la maternelle au lycée). Il participe à un projet expérimental pour l’intégration des enfants à haut potentiel en collège. Depuis 2015 il intervient auprès de l’Institut Florimont (Genève) comme expert sur le sujet des élèves à profil particulier. Il travaille avec des entretiens d’explicitation, d’anamnèse scolaire et des outils d’accompagnement personnel. Deux de ses enfants sont reconnus enfants à profil particulier, ce qui fait de sa famille une famille « normale »…


Odile Golliet (2016)
Odile Golliet (2016)
Odile Golliet a développé à partir de son expertise de terrain (fils multi dys) une méthode d’accompagnement des élèves dys, basée sur les principes d’orthopédagogie. Diplômée de Recherche en Didactique des Langues à l’Université Savoie Mont Blanc, elle est formatrice d’enseignants, et intervient comme conférencière. Elle est auteure de plusieurs ouvrages sur les troubles DYS, créatrice de matériels pédagogiques, comme le logiciel spécifique d’apprentissage de « Sons et Mots Anglais » et dernièrement, créatrice également de la méthode en complète autonomie sur tablette tactile « English Phonopass » , méthode d’apprentissage de la base de la prononciation anglaise. Odile Golliet est la seule intervenante en pays francophone de l’accompagnement des élèves DYS dans le domaine de l’apprentissage de l’anglais, appuyant son travail sur la prise en compte des difficultés des élèves dys et notamment des difficultés de transcription grapho-phonémique. L’acquisition des sons fondamentaux anglais donne à tout élève une clef pour entrer dans l’apprentissage de l’oral comme de l’écrit.


Kerry Lynn Labuschagne (2016)
Through personal and family experience with psychological disorders, Kerry has followed her passion to assist healing and growth through non-invasive and natural means. After completing a BA degree in Psychology, she ran counselling and support groups for severe depression and anxiety in Cape town S.A. Kerry went on to discover and practice various complementary therapies including Clinical nutrition, after which she decided to further her knowledge in nutritional science, completing a BSc (Hons) degree from MU in personalised nutrition, with a focus on genetics and childhood neuro development. Having moved to Switzerland 3 years ago Kerry has set up a practice, Nutri 360, in which she follows the principals of Functional medicine to create a personalised plan for individual needs.


Dr Irina Schurov (2016, 2015)Neuroscientist, Nutrition and Health Coach Founder of LiveRight
After my PhD in Neuroscience in Cambridge University I worked extensively in leading academic labs, pharmaceutical and nutraceutical companies. Driven by passion to help people live healthier I have expanded my field to encompass not only the science of the brain but also the science of nutrition and microbiome. I have created LiveRight – an initiative to share my knowledge of nutritional science in preventing of neurological disorders and advocating of wellbeing strategy.
By building an educational platform about healthy eating habits, by restoring the relationships between people and food, by providing a personalized nutritional support, I want to help many families achieve the optimal balance between health and life.


Diana Smit (2016)
Diana is a Mother of 3 children, and an Educational Therapist, Nutritional Therapist, Raw Food Chef and Co-Author of ‘Expat Teens Talk’. She has a firm understanding and comprehensive experience working with the diverse needs of students with Specific Learning Difficulties.
She has over 15 years of experience as an Educational Therapist (BEd.SpecEd., M.Ed.) in both private practice and International Schools. Motivated by her passion for learning, Diana has expanded her support qualifications enabling her to broaden her focus on the whole child, not only their Specific Learning Difficulties.
Diana supports students in a 1-1 setting in order to personalise sessions to address each individual’s specific needs. She takes on a collaborative approach by identifying and supporting learning difficulties, in addition to identifying and supporting nutritional needs.
When working with International students who have transient lives, Diana is well experienced in supporting changes and helps students adapt to common ‘expat’ challenges. To ensure students have every opportunity to maximize their overall potential she collaborates with other professionals as needed.


Tricia Spencer (2016)
Tricia has been a primary and middle school teacher for over 20 years. She has had multiple experiences leading special education/learning support in varying contexts in the UK, Saudi Arabia, Switzerland and Australia.
She qualified as a teacher in the UK (Surrey University) with a B.Ed (Hons) and a Diploma in Specific Learning Difficulties (Dyslexia) with the Hornsby Institute. Since then, she has received a Masters in Special Education (2011) and a Masters in Autism Studies (2015) with Griffith University, Brisbane and has recently studied in the US, gaining her IMSLEC qualification through the Hill Centre, North Carolina (2016). She is also undertaking further post-graduate studies in Leadership.
Tricia is a member of the Oak Hill team in Nyon , teaching students (between 8 and 14 years) who have dyslexia and/or ADHD/ADD, reading, writing and maths. She is passionate about the systematic, individualised, structured and research based programme that is used at the school to assist students developing strengths, remediating weaknesses and experiencing success.
At Oak Hill Tricia also presents workshops and seminars to parents and teachers in the local international community.


Rita Waddell (2016)BEd, MEd.
Rita Waddell has been in the teaching profession for more than 20 years. She holds a Masters degree in Special Educational Needs (SpLd) from IM March University, Liverpool specialising in dyslexia.

Rita joined Oak Hill in 2010 and is team leader. Oak Hill offers a half day programme for students with dyslexia and/or AD(H)D and aims to remediate the deficit between cognitive ability and underachievement. She holds certification for Irlen screening, is trained in Reading Recovery and after training in North Carolina, is qualified to deliver the Hill Methodology. The team at Oak Hill regularly present to other professionals and parents at their centre in Nyon.

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