Keynote Speakers

Dr. Brian Willoughby

Dr. Brian Willoughby is the Co-Director of Achieve New England and a Clinical Research Associate at the University of Massachusetts Boston. Previously, Dr. Willoughby was faculty in the Department of Psychiatry at the Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School.

Dr. Willoughby is a licensed child Clinical Psychologist specializing in neuropsychological, educational, and developmental evaluations. His expertise is in children and adolescents with learning disabilities, attention and executive functioning concerns, autism spectrum disorders and other neurodevelopmental conditions, anxiety, and mood disorders. While Dr. Willoughby sees children of all ages, he has particular expertise evaluating very young children (ages birth to 6 years). Prior to his current position, he was the lead neuropsychologist at Massachusetts General Hospital’s Developmental Neuro Pediatrics Unit (DNP), a multidisciplinary assessment program for young children with complex developmental disorders.

In addition to his direct work with children and families, Dr. Willoughby is also an established researcher, author, and speaker. Dr. Willoughby’s work in the areas of child clinical and family psychology has been published in some of the nation’s top psychology journals, such as Psychological Bulletin and Parenting: Science and Practice. His research findings have been mentioned in the New York Times. Dr. Willoughby is also the co-author of Bright Kids Who Can’t Keep Up, (Guilford Press), a book for parents of children with slow processing speed. He has been an invited speaker at several national and international conferences and is a member of the American Psychological Association.

Dr. Steve Chinn

Dr. Steve Chinn received a PhD in applied physics in 1967. In 1986 he founded a UK school for dyslexics which received Beacon School status from the Government and the Independent Schools’ Association’s ‘Award for Excellence’. Through Beacon School funding he designed and delivered the UK’s first PG Certificate course on dyslexia and maths difficulties.

Dr. Chinn’s many research papers, articles and books include the award-winning ‘The Trouble with Maths’. He was editor and compiler of ‘The International Handbook of Dyscalculia and Mathematical Learning Difficulties’ (2015). The fourth edition of ‘Mathematics for Dyslexics: A Teaching Handbook’ will be published this year. He has recently produced an online series of tutorial videos.

Dr. Chinn chairs the British Dyslexia Association’s Dyscalculia committee, is a member of ESRC Peer Review College and is an Honorary Advisory Member of the Register of Educational Therapists (Singapore). He has lectured in 30 countries, has done consultation work for the Ministry of Education, Singapore and is a Visiting Professor at the University of Derby.

Dr. Madeleine Portwood

Dr. Madeleine Portwood is a practicing psychologist and Clinical Director of the Witherslack Group, the UK’s leading provider of specialist education and care for children and young people with social, emotional and mental health needs, communication difficulties and complex learning needs. She is also an Education Advisor for the Dyspraxia Foundation UK and an Executive member of ESPA (Education and Services for People with Autism). Dr. Portwood is a spokesperson for the British Psychological Society on Child Development, Neurodevelopmental Disorders and Teenage Suicide.

Dr. Portwood has published a number of books to support parents, educationalists and clinicians working with children with complex needs, including the book ‘Developmental Dyspraxia: A practical manual for parents and professionals’,’ which has sold more than 100,000 copies, in the UK and internationally. Her work has been the focus of several television documentaries. This has included research into the number of inmates in a Young Offenders centre with undiagnosed neurodevelopmental disorders, a study examining the effects of dietary supplementation on children with coordination problems and specific learning difficulties, and a study on the effect of supplementation with 270 Primary-age pupils.

Dr. Portwood’s research into neurodevelopmental disorders is recognised internationally and she has presented at numerous international conferences.