ADDventure Conference

Choose Your Own ADDventure Conference 2023

Since 2009, LEP has partnered with other DU departments as well as community resources to host "Choose Your Own ADDventure" for learning differences (LD)/Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) families and professionals.  It's a FREE, half-day conference that explores and increases the understanding of the many nuances of ADHD and LD.

2023 Keynote Speaker: Phil Hanley, stand-up, actor and writer with Dyslexia!

photo of Phil Hanley holding a mic



Katherine A. Ruffatto Hall

1999 E. Evans Ave

Denver, CO 80208


2023 Conference Schedule:

  • 8:45am: Welcome
  • 9:00am: Keynote Introduction
  • 9:30am-10:30am - Keynote Q&A
  • 10:35am-11:35am: Breakout Session 1 with Q&A
  • 11:40am-12:40pm: Breakout Session 2 with Q&A
  • 12:40pm-1:40pm: Lunch ON YOUR OWN -no PATXI this year-
  • 1:40am-2:40pm: Breakout Session 3 with Q&A

Interested in Presenting?  Please contact Nathaniel Ellison at

Conference Presenters for 2023 Breakout Sessions Below

  • Phil Hanley - 2023 ADDventure Conference Keynote
    Phil Hanley on the Tonight Show
    Phil Hanley performing on the Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon

    Join us as Phil Hanley shares his experience of being a neurodiverse learner both in and out of the classroom.  His passion for advocating and increasing awareness for the neurodiverse community will be on full display as he joins us for a Question and Answer session following his opening keynote remarks.

  • Jesse Ruderman, M.A. - Learning Effectiveness Program's Executive Functioning Specialist

    Executive Disfunction: Why Many University Students with ADHD Struggle with Goal-Directed Behaviors  

    Jesse Ruderman is the Learning Effectiveness Program's Executive Functioning Specialist. Jesse supports L.E.P. students with cognitive and behavioral strategies designed to strengthen students' abilities to meet the many demands of university life. Jesse facilitates professional development specific to executive functioning for L.E.P. staff and throughout departments across campus. Jesse has been involved in higher education for over twenty years, having instructed English as a professor at Metropolitan State University for 14 years and leading College Living Experience as Director prior to joining the L.E.P.  

  • Kendra Richard Kendra Richard, MFA - Tutoring Coordinator Learning Effectiveness Program (LEP) & Monterey Buchanan, MFA Best Practices: Tutoring Students with ADHD and other Learning Differences

    Monterey Buchanan 

    Monterey has ten years of tutoring experience, two of them spent supporting and learning from DU LEP students. She has also presented at several tutoring conferences, though this is her first con at DU. Monterey earned her BA in English from Earlham College in 2012, and her MFA in Creative Writing from Regis University in 2019. When she is not tutoring, Monterey enjoys reading YA novels, working on her own creative writing, attending plays, exercising, and playing with her dogs, Zorro and Cassie. She also has mild cerebral palsy. 


    Kendra Richard, LEP Tutoring Coordinator 

    Kendra grew up in southern Maine and currently lives in Evergreen, Colorado with her Catahoula Leopard dog, Tala. She received her Interdisciplinary BA in Writing and Theatre from Loyola University Maryland in Baltimore, and an MFA in Creative Writing and Poetics from the Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics at Naropa University in Boulder. She was also a Freelance Lighting Designer and Technician for 15 years— designing and operating lighting and sets for Theatre, concerts, and dance performances. She has been with the LEP since January 2022.  



    Best Practices: Tutoring Students with ADHD and other Learning Differences 

    Learn some best practices, tips, and tricks for working with students with ADHD and other learning differences. Monterey has been an LEP Tutor for several years and will share from her own personal experiences working with neurodiverse students. This interactive presentation will include activities and takeaways that you can implement on your own, with your students, or tutoring programs.  

  • Speakers: Ryan Pool, Kayden Forsha, Katie, Will, Scout, Zeke, Elenn Steinberg Dyslexia and Adhd in the Real World -
    Dyslexia and Adhd in the Real World -
    Join our team of experts as they share the facts about dyslexia and ADHD.  Learn the science and research - as well as a brief impactful simulation.  In addition, they will share their compelling stories of how to turn challenge into opportunity. They will address sensitive subjects like how they use failure to grow to success.  How to self-advocate and self-motivate and inspire teachers and peers.  This informative and inspiration talk sheds light on subjects that can seem daunting, but essential to the success of our students who struggle to gain literacy skills or have dyslexia.  Additionally, they demonstrate the gifts ADHD, of having so much energy it can be daunting  and how to focus that energy to success.   This fast moving inspiring talk by young people who live it every day may change the way you view your students and children and inspire new tools and techniques to supporting students with dyslexia and ADHD moving forward.
  • Allison Morris, U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights (OCR) – Ensuring Equal Access for Students With Disabilities

    Allison Morris is an attorney at OCR, a neutral investigative agency that enforces federal civil rights laws that prohibit discrimination based on disability, race, color, national origin, sex, and age in schools that receive funding from the Department. Allison earned a JD/MSW from the University of Denver’s Sturm College of Law and Graduate School of Social Work, respectively, and a BA from Hobart and William Smith Colleges, where she was a double major in Public Policy and Spanish and Hispanic Studies. Prior to joining OCR in 2015, Allison worked at an elementary school, college, and university providing various levels of support to students and staff. The presentation will cover the civil rights of students with disabilities, transitioning from high school to college, as well as OCR’s mission, the laws it enforces, and complaint processes. There will be time for questions.

  • Dr Jimmy Langley The Parenting Playbook for ADHD: Dr. Jim talks about tailoring a strategy for parenting, treatment, and education for your unique child.

    Dr. Jim is a licensed clinical psychologist, but more importantly he is a husband and father of five boys, and was diagnosed with ADHD before it was cool. Like all of us, he strives to embrace the messiness of family life by bringing an attitude of fun and determination amidst the chaos. As a psychologist, he works with parents in counseling, speaking, and workshops to help them build a connected family culture that actually works.

    The Parenting Playbook for ADHD: Dr. Jim talks about tailoring a strategy for parenting, treatment, and education for your unique child. In this presentation, you will learn how to simplify the overwhelming world of raising and ADHD child while keeping all the other balls of family life in the air.

  • Roxanne Turner, PMP, BCC (CCE Board Certified Coach) Navigating College: Uncovering the Top 3 Pitfalls

    Starting college is an exciting milestone, but it can also be overwhelming.  It's not like high school, where everything is set up for you; it requires a higher level of effort, focus, and determination to succeed. Being resourceful and resilient is key to thriving in college. Knowing who you are, your strengths and your learning style is crucial in finding the right resources and tools that will help you make the most out of your experience. In this discussion, we'll discuss the top 3 pitfalls and what strategies to consider that will give you a head start on making the most of your college journey, from the day-to-day habits that can make a big impact to understanding your environment and how to leverage the resources available. We'll explore when and how to ask for help, so you can succeed in college and achieve your goals.

    Roxanne is a Board Certified Coach with extensive training in executive function challenges, ADHD, and the science of getting things done. Roxanne applies an outside-of-the-box approach in her work with individuals' strengths, processes, and learning styles. Rich with ADD-specific coaching strategies, Roxanne brings a delightful and unique combination of humor with structure to her work, much of which she drew from her earlier careers in both the corporate and equestrian worlds.

  • Jason Lemire - Founder of Tife Theatre & Colorado Thespian’s Association 2019 Drama Teacher of the Year

    As an educator, recognized by the Colorado Thespian’s Association as a 2019 Drama Teacher of the Year for his passionate, student-driven approach to the creative process. As a playwright, he served as a writer-in-residence with The Rutgers Institute on Ethnicity under the mentorship of the late Dr. Clement Price and Dr. Julia Miller.  

    Jason founded TIFE Theatre to advance the cause of inclusivity and student empowerment in youth theatre. He now offers workshops on acting, storytelling and human connection to schools and educators around the country. 


    Theatre Hacks the Brain: there is an emerging field of study that is illuminating just how effective the performing arts can be at building neuro-pathways and raising "uncertainty tolerance." Join Jason in an exploration of some of the ways that acting and improvisation can help both children and adults with LD and ADHD find new ways to thrive.  


    Better Than Sports: For decades, sports have been suggested by school counselors as a (perhaps the only) positive outlet for students with LD and ADHD. Unfortunately, the transferable skills that sports have to offer are inherently limited. Award-winning theatre teacher -- and All-State high school athlete -- Jason Lemire offers a light-hearted conversation comparing the practical benefits of youth sports to the practical benefits of children doing at least some youth theatre. 



  • Nathaniel Ellison, MA - Is 'Focus' actually a Proxy of Success, the Realities and Strengths of ADHD


    The common wisdom that if we just focus or apply ourselves, is addressed in this interactive forum designed to reframe ADHD. The ability to recognize our skillsets and optimize strategies appropriate to each person with ADHD is what allows the opportunity to access success.

    In this interactive session we will look at the strengths of ADHD and work to enhance our understanding of "focus" to provide a template for positive experiences for future success.