Educators and education consultants who specialize in the support of families, working with children and adults with neurogenic disabilities such as Autism Spectrum Disorders, Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorders, syndromes, traumatic brain injuries, and specific learning disabilities.
Ellyn Lucas Arwood, Ed.D., CCC-SLP, has 49 years of clinical learning, language, and behavior experience with a variety of special needs populations in a variety of settings including universities, hospitals, alternative and regular school settings, and clinics. She is author of ten books and provides training, education, and consultation to numerous organizations and agencies at the regional, national, and international level. Currently, she is Professor at University of Portland where she teaches in neuroeducation, special education, and language areas. The unique approach to neuroeducation at the University of Portland was developed by Dr. Arwood who triangulates three lenses of literature; cognitive psychology, language, and neuroscience into effective, inclusive methods. Dr. Arwood is the originator of the Neuro-Semantic Language Learning Theory (NsLLT), the creator of numerous Viconic Language Methods (VLMs), and one of the developers of the Neuro-Viconic Education System (NvES). As founder of APRICOT, Inc., Dr. Arwood provides materials, education, and clinical support for children, adults, and the families of those with learning, language, behavior problems. Education within NvES rests on four principle beliefs: 1) all learning is brain-based; 2) all children learn to think; 3) all children learn to be pro-social; and 4) all children learn through context. This approach to the classroom supports the initiative that providing all children with learning is a social justice issue as well as the path to be a pro-social citizen.
Mabel M. Brown, M.A., has been with APRICOT, Inc. since 1986; working as both Business Manager and Learning, Language & Behavior Consultant at the APRICOT Clinic. Mabel has 43 years of experience in classrooms and in clinical settings. At the clinic, she works with students of all ages and abilities using Viconic Language Methods (VLMs) in her sessions. The VLMs she uses include, but are not limited to: cartooning, flowcharting, picture dictionaries, bubbling, limited gestural signs, and ‘Mabel mini-lectures’. She is proficient at assigning meaning to the thinking, language, and behavior of her students and in turn her students make impressive gains cognitively, socially, and academically. She enjoys creating the many drawing and writing templates that are used both in the APRICOT Clinic as well as in various educational settings by numerous professionals. Mabel has co-authored several publications through both APRICOT and the Autism Asperger Publishing Company (AAPC). The APRICOT publications include: Pro-Social Language: A Way to Think about Behavior (2015); Make it Visual in the Classroom (2005), Balanced Literacy (2002), A Guide to Visual Strategies for Young Adults (2001); and A Guide to Cartooning and Flowcharting (1999). The AAPC publications include: Visual Thinking Strategies for Individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorders: The Language of Pictures (2009) and Learning with a Visual Brain in an Auditory World (2018 2nd Ed.). Individuals familiar with Mabel’s work, will recognize her many drawn contributions found throughout APRICOT’s publications. In 2020, she built APRICOT’s new website.
Louise Debreczeny has been a Learning, Language, and Behavior Consultant at the APRICOT Learning Language & Behavior Clinic since 2013. She completed her Doctor of Education (Ed.D.) degree with an emphasis in Neuroeducation at the University of Portland in 2019. Dr. Debreczeny is both a general education and a special education teacher specializing in working with students, parents, and educators using the Neurosemantic Language Learning Theory. Dr. Debreczeny’s training includes a Master in Teaching degree in elementary education K-8 from City University of Seattle (2008), followed by a special education endorsement from the City University of Seattle (2010). She completed a post graduate certificate in Neuroeducation from the University of Portland in 2015, and then went on to complete her doctoral degree in education in 2019. Debreczeny has also participated in numerous workshops, classes and trainings on language and learning and is very excited about the progress she sees students make using the Viconic Language Methods™ developed from Arwood’s Neurosemantic Language Learning Theory. Dr. Debreczeny holds a Professional Teaching Certificate from the State of Washington and worked for eight years in public schools prior to becoming a consultant with APRICOT, Inc. Debreczeny has a varied background and brings experiences from many walks of life to her work with students, parents, and educators. Previously, Debreczeny worked in horticulture for 20 years, including running her own landscape contracting business. Prior to her horticulture career, Debreczeny was a classical musician and completed six years of conservatory training in orchestral performance and earned a Bachelor of Music degree from the University of North Carolina School of the Arts (1984). Debreczeny also served in the North Carolina Army National Guard in the 1980’s.
Alyse Rostamizadeh is a teacher, author, and educational consultant, known for her inclusive practices and fostering learning communities where children thrive. She believes that all children can learn and the responsibility lies with the educator to provide meaning learning opportunities that meet each learner's unique needs. She has received the award for Rotary's Teacher of the Year for her implementation of Viconic Language Methods ™ in a Title I school. Districts often turn to Alyse to help them provide practical visual strategies for learners who struggle with anti-social behaviors. She is the co-author with Dr. Arwood of Neuro-Viconic Education System. She desires to provide a strong theoretical framework and practical applications for educators to create their own inclusive classrooms. She strives to help educators put learners at the epicenter of every educational decision. Alyse provides professional learning seminars across the nation for small and large groups about how to shift the education paradigm based on current neuroscience. Others say that her practical approach and authentic examples bring the theoretical framework to life. Whether working in the role of educator, author, speaker, or learning consultant, Alyse strives to help learners and educators understand the process of learning, identify learner strengths, and utilize strategies that build upon those strengths to become life-long learners.
Chris Merideth is a doctoral fellow at the University of Portland studying neuroeducation and brain-based learning. He is a former public-school special education teacher and has previously instructed teacher candidates at the University of Portland. Chris has over ten years of experience working in education teaching English as a second language and special needs students in grades K-12. He is passionate about helping future teachers develop strategies that will include students with exceptionalities in inclusive classroom settings. Since receiving his post-master’s degrees in special education and neuroeducation, Chris has presented his research at many different conferences in Oregon, Texas, Louisiana, Hawaii, and Alberta, Canada. Chris is co-editor of the 2017 book Neuro-Education: A Translation from Theory to Practice, a pioneering collection of essays and case studies from multiple authors documenting how they have changed their students’ lives by incorporating knowledge about language and the brain into their classroom practices. Chris is currently finishing his dissertation writing, as well as working on two follow up books on the topic of neuroeducation.
Carole Kaulitz, M.Ed., CCC-SLP has been in the field of education for 47 years as a Speech-Language Pathologist, Deaf/Hard of Hearing Education Specialist, and Autism/Behavior Consultant in Vancouver, WA. Ms. Kaulitz has extensive training in multiple methodologies related to working with deaf/hard of hearing individuals with social cognitive differences across the life span with a focus on visual thinking strategies and pro-social communication. As a consultant, she specializes in working with school district teams who serve children who are significantly impacted and have co-occurring conditions no matter what their age or cognitive levels. She has presented numerous workshops nation-wide on a variety of topics using the lens of Neuro-Semantic Language Learning Theory as her foundation. Ms. Kaulitz also presents for APRICOT, Inc. on a variety of topics and has co-authored the following publications: Learning With a Visual Brain in an Auditory World, AAPC, 2007, Visual Thinking Strategies for Individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorders: The Language of Pictures, AAPC, 2009, The Language of Behavior: A Way to Pro-Socially Think, APRICOT, Inc., 2015 and has a chapter in the anthology Neuro-Education: A Translation from Theory to Practice, APRICOT, Inc., 2017. Ms. Kaulitz is the proud recipient of the Washington Speech and Hearing Association, 2009 Clinical Achievement Award, for advancement of clinical services in the profession.
Bonnie Robb, Ed.D began her teaching career in 1995 after graduating from University of Portland. During the past 25 years, she has been a first grade teacher, second grade teacher, reading specialist, and district-wide math elementary math teacher leader and trainer. Dr. Robb holds Reading and ESOL specialty endorsements.
After seeing a growing achievement gap between children diagnosed with special learning needs and general education students in the classroom, Dr. Robb began collaborating with Dr. Ellyn Arwood to more effectively reach all learners by understanding Neuro-Semantic Language Learning Theory (NLLT) and implementing Viconic Language Methods™ (VLM). These inclusive strategies were very effective in helping Dr. Robb guide all students to academic success. Educators from throughout the country visit her classroom to observe these innovative and inclusive strategies. This collaboration produced a teaching manual titled Make It Visual in the Classroom, and article published in ESL Magazine as well as numerous trainings and presentations. In 2008, Dr. Robb’s classroom success garnered the notice of the Oregon Department of Education and the Milken Family Foundation who named her Oregon Teacher of the Year in 2008. She was honored again as one of only 25 educators nationwide in 2011 to be awarded the Kappa Delta Pi Teacher of Honor award. Currently, Dr. Robb is a teacher in Portland Public Schools while also serving as an adjunct faculty member in the School of Education at the University of Portland where she was recognized with the 2018 “Difference” award for her academic work with student athletes.