Theme – Mental Illness and Learning Disabilities in the Classroom

 “He who marches out of step hears another drum” 
― Ken Kesey, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest

Teachers face a range of very complex mental health issues in the classroom. Generally teachers are not trained in managing these. This conference is about gaining greater insight into mental illness and gaining a few tools to help manage students in the classroom.

Friday, 2nd June 2017
8.45-9.45 Keynote Address Wayne Schwass
9.50-10.50 Workshop Session One Various Presenters
10.50-11.10 Morning Tea
11.10-12.10 Workshop Session Two Various Presenters
12.15-1.15 Workshop Session Three Various Presenters
1.15-1.55 Lunch
1.55-2.55 Workshop Session Four Various Presenters
3.00 -4.00 Plenary Address Harrison Craig
4.00 Conference Close

Keynote Speakers

Wayne Schwass

Schwass Wayne 2016 (1)Wayne’s vast experience from being an AFL player to media personality, from the private sector to establishing the Sunrise Foundation has also developed him into a versatile and motivating Keynote Speaker and MC.

Wayne’s keynote includes a candid, honest and inspiring story about his 14 year struggle with depression and his road to recovery, including;

  • Depression is an illness that doesn’t discriminate
  • How depression invaded every aspect and area of his life and the impact this had on his health, well-being, performance, enjoyment and quality of life
  • Watching the colour fade from his life, living in a heavy fog and accepting his disease had taken control of his mind
  • How he managed to hide his illness from his family, friends, team mates, football club and the general public for 14 years and the impact this had on his quality of life
  • How he managed to play 282 AFL Games, win 3 Best & Fairest Awards, play in a Premiership side, win All Australian Selection, represent his State and be awarded AFL and North Melbourne Football Club Life Membership all while battling clinical depression
  • Why he considered an option with irreversible consequences to escape the pain and suffering, why and how he chose to keep fighting
  • Why he self-medicated for 14 years
  • Why he chose not to seek help and the impact this had on his recovery and relationships
  • The importance of your support network and how 2 key people in his life played a critical role in saving his life
  • The role of carers and professionals and their importance in your recovery
  • Learning new skills
  • Why he believes the Stigma associated with mental illness is out-dated, uneducated and totally unacceptable in 2014
  • Why he believes mental illnesses are a bigger threat to our communities than the road toll
  • How he began to reclaim control of his life and the long road back to health and wellbeing
  • How he lived in denial until his light bulb moment
Harrison Craig

3Harrison Craig won The Voice in 2013, but for many years he struggled to find his own voice. He battled with a stutter for most of his younger life, which made everyday conversation very difficult for him. Often the subject of bullying, he turned to his love of singing, which is how the story behind Harrison’s Song began.

He is now a professional singer, has visited and performed in cities around the world, worked with Seal and Olivia-Newton John, sung alongside the likes of Leo Sayers and John Paul Young as part of an ensemble Christmas performance, featured on TV in Australia and overseas, has had a hit platinum status record and toured the country with sold out shows. His book tells the story of how Harrison overcame adversity through the gift of song. It was the gift of song that enabled Harrison to share his love and his words that were within. Through this book, Harrison hopes to inspire children to search for and use their own talents to overcome all challenges that they face.


Workshop Presenters

Please read through the topics for each presenter and then make your selections using the link below.
Nevo Zisin Nevo Zisin is a young activist, student, public speaker and the author of newly released Finding Nevo, a memoir on gender transition. With a particular focus on issues surrounding gender, religion and sexuality, Nevo engages in activism which attempts to spread awareness and understanding around LGBTIQA+ issues. Nevo was assigned female at birth and has had a complex relationship with gender. They work with children as a youth leader and graduated from the King David School in 2013. My journey in school and how it could have been better

An insight into Nevo’s gender journey and high school experience at the King David School. Including tips and tricks for teachers to create more inclusive and understanding classrooms.

Dr Daryl Greaves Dr Daryl Greaves is an award winning academic in the field of Specific Learning Difficulties, and especially Dyslexia.  He was a lecturer at The University of Melbourne for several decades and is colloquially known as a ‘guru’ of special ed in Victoria! Dyslexia: What Teachers Needs to Know

In this session, participants learn the latest, most up-to-date information about Dyslexia and engage in activities to help them understand just how difficult school can be for a student with Dyslexia.  This deep understanding then frames how the strategies presented can be useful.

Monica Hadges Monica Hadges is an experienced, multi-skilled and talented allied health, mental health, education and community development professional: Career to date has combined senior public sector positions with private consulting work, teaching and knowledge transfer, complemented by international training and experience. Her current research is in e-Mental Health Understanding Common and Challenging Anxiety Signs and Symptoms in School-Aged Children and Adolescents

The symptoms of anxiety can have a significant impact on how a person behaves and learns. Anxious people might try to avoid feeling anxious, and escape from distressing experiences which often makes things worse. For children and adolescents, emotional and social resilience is still a process in development, so school-aged children may display a range of challenging behaviours to represent a social or emotional need. In this session, we will consider the range of healthy and normal worry and fears, through to the spectrum of anxiety disorder from a developmental perspective. The Purpose of this session is to:

  • Explore a different perspective of how to view ‘challenging behaviours’ in primary and middle years
  • Increase awareness about the causes of mental health difficulties (challenging behaviours) in children
  • Increase understanding about how mental difficulties (challenging behaviours) impact on children’s development and learning
  • Reflect on teaching practice and whole of classroom approaches to stress reduction and emotional development including e-health tools.
Nikki Isaacs Nicki has been a psychologist for 20 years.  She has worked in clinical, corporate, hospital and school settings with children, adolescents and adults. Her experience and areas of interest include: anxiety, depression, self-esteem, parenting, social skills training, bullying, eating disorders, substance abuse, grief, trauma, abuse, forensic psychology, and relationship issues.

She currently works as a psychologist for a research company and at the Butterfly Foundation. Her role at Butterfly entails presenting to students, teachers, parents and other professionals about body image, self -esteem, eating disorders and disordered eating. She has three school aged children.

Eating Disorders:  Information and Strategies for Teachers

The Butterfly Foundation is Australia’s largest charity supporting people with negative body image, disordered eating and eating disorders.

The session will:

  • Provide current, relevant and useful information about body image for educators.
  • Increase awareness of issues around body image, disordered eating and eating disorders and what can be done to intervene and improve the outcome for a young person.
  • Provide practical strategies for educators to help them to intervene and assist a young person presenting with an issue around negative body image or eating issues.
Helen Salter Helen Salter have been working as a Child Psychologist for the past 15 years, specialising in children with Autism Spectrum Disorder. Providing intensive educational and behavioural intervention with children and their families, at home, at school and the in community.


Strategies for teaching children with Autism Spectrum Disorder

Understanding the different characteristics of Autism and how sensory, environmental and behavioural challenges influences learning.  Developing proactive and reactive strategies to shape behaviour and educational outcomes.

Alison Lubliner Alison is a clinical psychologist working with children, adolescents and families in private practice. She also works part time as a school counsellor. Alison has previously worked in research teams developing programs aimed at building resilience and preventing anxiety and depression in young people.


Strategies for supporting children and adolescents with depressive symptoms in school

Depression clearly impacts children and adolescents in school. School staff can help by recognising depressive symptoms and symptoms of comorbid diagnoses such as anxiety and ASD. Strategies staff can use to support students experiencing depression will be discussed.


To register for each session, please click the following:  REGISTER


Workshop Session One (9.50-10.50)
Workshop Title Presenter Room
1A Dyslexia (Part A) Daryl Greaves SG.08
1B Eating Disorders (Part A) Nikki Issacs SG.10
1C Gender Nevo Zisin SG.11
1D Anxiety (Part A) Monica Hadges SG.13
1E Depression Alison Lubliner S1.13


Workshop Session Two (11.10-12.10)
Workshop Title Presenter Room
2A Dyslexia (Part B) Daryl Greaves SG.08
2B Eating Disorders (Part B) Nikki Issacs SG.10
2C Gender Nevo Zisin SG.11
2D Anxiety (Part B) Monica Hadges SG.13
2E Depression Alison Lubliner S1.13


Workshop Session Three (12.15-1.15)
Workshop Title Presenter Room
3A Dyslexia (Part A) Daryl Greaves SG.08
3B Eating Disorders (Part A) Nikki Issacs SG.10
3C Anxiety (Part A) Monica Hadges SG.11
3D ASD (Part A) Helen Salter SG.13


Workshop Session Four (1.55-2.55)
Workshop Title Presenter Room
4A Dyslexia (Part B) Daryl Greaves SG.08
4B Eating Disorders (Part B) Nikki Issacs SG.10
4C Anxiety (Part B) Monica Hadges SG.11
4D ASD (Part B) Helen Salter SG.13