**NEW** Speaking Page

Much of my work involves presenting about “developmental empathy” at schools and conferences throughout the United States and around the world. I offer keynote presentations at conferences, as well as professional development workshops and long-term consultation engagements to schools that are interested in making real and lasting developmentally empathic changes. For more information about my coming to speak to your faculty and/or parent group, please contact me! Further, to learn more about where I’ll be speaking in the future, please visit my calendar of events. Over the past several years, I have traveled around the world presenting to teachers, administrators and parents about students and the many pressures they experience both in and out of the classroom. For a full list of where I have spoken, see my past Speaking Engagements.

I recently was on Elisheva Schwartz Podcast “The Dyslexia Quest”

Our guest Dr. David Gleason is a neuropsychologist and author of the book “At What Cost?: Defending Adolescent Development in Fiercely Competitive Schools.” Students with dyslexia, ADHD, and reading difficulties are often at risk of feeling overwhelmed and stressed. Dr. Gleason walks parents through striving for balance as we raise children and through increasing resiliency of children and adolescents.

I spoke at TEDx Connecticut College!

Are we overwhelming our students?

Over a three-year period, Dr. Gleason researched students’ increasing conditions of anxiety and depression, and their dangerous manifestations, in high achieving secondary schools throughout the US and around the world. Surprisingly, throughout his many interviews, Dr. Gleason found almost complete unanimity in how educators and parents responded to his questions. For a host of prevailing economic and cultural reasons, these caring and dedicated adults fully admitted to overscheduling, overworking and, at times, overwhelming their students and teenaged children. In this TEDx Talk, Dr. Gleason presents the findings of his research and puts it in the context how much we now know about human brain development. Finally, Dr. Gleason then challenges educators and parents alike to change their approaches to educating and parenting so to be more respectful of adolescents’ true developmental capacities.

Past Speaking Engagements

Past Speaking Engagements

Here is a list of recent presentations and workshops that I have delivered. I am fortunate enough to speak around the world. Contact me today if you would like to schedule me for an event!

Where I Have Spoken Recently

Countries That I Have Spoken In:

  • United States
  • Greece
  • Canada
  • China
  • Nepal
  • Thailand
  • Phillippines
  • Hong Kong
  • South Africa
Upcoming Speaking Engagements

Upcoming Speaking Engagements

dsc_2998Much of my work involves speaking about developmental empathy at schools and conferences throughout the United States and around the world. I offer keynote presentations at conferences, as well as professional development workshops and long-term consultation engagements to schools that are interested in making real and lasting developmentally empathic changes. For information about any of these speaking or professional development opportunities, please contact me.

Where I’ll be speaking next…

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  TEDxConnecticutCollege | Are we overwhelming our students?

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Speaking

Much of my work involves presenting about “developmental empathy” at schools and conferences throughout the United States and around the world. I offer keynote presentations at conferences, as well as professional development workshops and long-term consultation engagements to schools that are interested in making real and lasting developmentally empathic changes. For more information about my coming to speak to your faculty and/or parent group, please contact me!

Further, to learn more about where I’ll be speaking in the future, please visit my calendar of events. Over the past several years, I have traveled around the world presenting to teachers, administrators and parents about students and the many pressures they experience both in and out of the classroom. For a full list of where I have spoken, see my past Speaking Engagements.

I recently spoke at TEDx Connecticut College, see below!

Are we overwhelming our students?

Over a three-year period, Dr. Gleason researched students’ increasing conditions of anxiety and depression, and their dangerous manifestations, in high achieving secondary schools throughout the US and around the world. Surprisingly, throughout his many interviews, Dr. Gleason found almost complete unanimity in how educators and parents responded to his questions. For a host of prevailing economic and cultural reasons, these caring and dedicated adults fully admitted to overscheduling, overworking and, at times, overwhelming their students and teenaged children. In this TEDx Talk, Dr. Gleason presents the findings of his research and puts it in the context how much we now know about human brain development. Finally, Dr. Gleason then challenges educators and parents alike to change their approaches to educating and parenting so to be more respectful of adolescents’ true developmental capacities.

About

About

About Developmental Empathy

The mission of Developmental Empathy LLC is to promote developmentally empathic policies and practices – as described in detail in At What Cost? – in schools that foster competitive excellence among their adolescent students. Ironically, “competitive excellence” often gives rise to intense pressures on students to succeed, pressures that overwhelm their still-developing minds and bodies, and that result in their experiences of chronic anxiety and depression, and to a host of debilitating behavioral outcomes.

About Dr. David Gleason

Dr. David GleasonDr. David Gleasonfounder of Developmental Empathy, LLC, has over 25 years of experience in professional clinical psychologyDr. Gleason provides counseling and consulting services as well as neuropsychological assessments for students in public, independent and international schools. Dr. Gleason earned a B.A. in Psychology (1982) and an M.A. in Counseling Children & Adolescents (1987) – both from Boston College, and then a Psy.D. at William James College (1993). Since that time, Dr. Gleason has served as a clinical neuropsychologist, psychotherapist and consultant in several US independent schools and in numerous international schools. In addition, Dr. Gleason has taught psychology at the secondary, undergraduate and graduate levels, and he presents workshops and seminars at schools, national conferences in the US, and at international conferences around the world.

Most recently, Dr. Gleason has become a certified Critical Friends Group coach for
National School Reform Faculty (NSRF).

Workshops and Presentations

Workshops and Presentations

Here is a list of recent presentations and workshops Dr. Gleason has delivered around the world.
Contact him today if you would like to schedule him for your event.

Strike the Balance: When Students’ Abilities and School’s Expectations Collide

Anxiety, disillusionment and depression emerge, sometimes with devastating outcomes, as conflicts between school expectations and students’ abilities persist. Unprecedented insights from human brain research now reveal that environment not only affects adolescent identity, but shapes the brain itself. For all our students, striking the right balance has crucial lifelong implications.

Presented at:

  1. Great to Greater Institute, San Francisco, CA. January 2017
  2. Educational Collaborative for International Schools (ECIS), Amsterdam, November, 2013; Nice, November, 2015; Copenhagen, November, 2016
  3. East Asia Regional Conference of Overseas Schools (EARCOS), Manila. March 2016
  4. American Community Schools – Athens, Greece. April, 2015
  5. Montessori Accreditation Council for Teacher Education (MATCE). Keynote Speaker, December, 2015
  6. Beacon School, Manila; Parents Workshop, October, 2014
  7. International School of Manila, The Philippines (ISM): Faculty Workshop, March, 2014

The Challenge of Parenting Adolescents in a Fiercely Competitive Era

Each year, parents face enormous challenges when trying to prepare their children for success in school, for admission to college, and ultimately, for success in their children’s adult lives. To that end, many parents have genuine hopes and set goals for their children and for themselves, and work hard to help their children achieve. However, all too frequently, and against their best intentions, many parents experience frustration and fear in these endeavors, and then react to these feelings in various unhealthy ways.

In this presentation, parents will discover a rich theoretical framework * and engage an interactive exercise designed to help them recognize and understand these frustrating dynamics, with the hope that this new understanding will enable them to set more realistic and effective goals for their children and for themselves.

*Based on The Immunity To Change, by Robert Kegan and Lisa Lahey

Presented at:

  1. Parents Independent Schools Network (PIN). February 2015
  2. International School of Manila, The Philippines (ISM): Parents Workshop, October, 2014

Facing The Immunity To Change

Educators annually prepare and execute curricular and extracurricular programs for their schools. Many strive to make changes so to promote their primary mission: educating students for a demanding world. Often, unforeseen barriers impede progress toward these changes. This workshop involves an interactive exercise designed to dislodge “hidden barriers” to change.

Presented at:

  1. American Community Schools – Athens, Greece. April, 2016
  2. East Asia Regional Conference of Overseas Schools (EARCOS), Manila. March 2016
  3. Leadership Conference for School Improvement, Montreal. August 2016
  4. Central and Eastern European Schools Association (CEESA), March 2014
  5. St. Paul’s School, Concord, NH. October 2013
  6. New Hampton School, New Hampton, NH. November 2012

Neuropsychological Testing: Demystifying the Data

Many educators struggle to grasp the interpretive value of comprehensive assessments. This workshop will “demystify the data” conveyed in every neuropsychological report. Discussing how to read complex evaluations will help participants to understand students’ needs and intervene more effectively. Participants should bring reports and questions of their own.

Presented at:

  1. Independent Educational Consultants Association Conference (IECA), Boston, Massachusetts. Featured Speaker. April, 2012
  2. Millbrook School, Millbrook, New York. September 2011
  3. Lawrenceville School, Princeton, New Jersey. September 2011

“May I Have Your Attention, Please?”

Learning challenges and mental health problems frequently overlap. Consequently, students get treated for depression, anxiety, learning disabilities and even poor school fit, when too often, the true culprit is an undiagnosed attention problem. This workshop will review these overlapping conditions and clarify how to make accurate diagnoses for effective interventions.

Presented at:

  1. East Asia Regional Conference of Overseas Schools (EARCOS), Manila. March 2016

Challenging “The Way We Do Things Around Here!”

In your administrative role, what important changes would you make – if you were certain about being able to make them – that would not only excite you, but that would also result in your being even more effective in your leadership? Each year, school heads and their co-administrators face enormous challenges such as coordinating the academic, athletic, artistic and other extracurricular programs of the entire school; supervising faculty and staff members; handling all employment and retention matters; and working effectively with the board of trustees. Through it all, school administrators work hard to manage the often-competing demands of their various school constituencies, including students, faculty, parents and trustees. Although flooded by this deluge of executive tasks, to their great credit, most administrators still strive to make helpful changes in their effort to promote their primary mission: to educate and prepare students for an ever-demanding world. To that end, most administrators set genuine improvement goals and then work hard to achieve them. However, all too frequently, and even with the best intentions, many administrators encounter unforeseen – and unacknowledged – barriers that not only impede progress toward their goals, but also, that result in a return to “the way we do things around here,” an established pattern of well-reinforced ways of functioning. How can we recognize and understand these hidden barriers? Most importantly, how can we dislodge these barriers not only to make the changes we so desire, but also, to enrich our overall school leadership and fulfill the mission of educating and preparing our students effectively?

In this workshop, participants will discover a rich theoretical framework ** and engage an associated interactive exercise designed specifically to help them recognize, understand and dislodge “hidden barriers” to their desired changes. Bolstered by this new information, administrators will be empowered to set new goals that respectfully bypass their previously hidden barriers, and that lead, ultimately, to deep, effective and lasting changes.

**Based on The Immunity To Change, by Robert Kegan and Lisa Lahey

Presented at:

  1. Near East South Asia Counsel of Overseas Schools (NESA), Leadership Conference, Kathmandu, Nepal. October 2013

Trouble in Paradise: Counseling Vulnerable Adolescents. 

Over the past decade, the demands and risks associated with providing counseling services in independent schools have intensified. Growing up in a stimulating and highly competitive world, students often feel a tremendous pressure to “prove their worth by mastering curriculum, the student culture, and their own vulnerability.” Further, given the peripatetic lifestyle of many international school students, the seemingly ordinary pressures to “prove their worth” are often exaggerated by frequent transitions in and out of various international schools.

While most adolescents experience developmentally appropriate concerns such as conflicts with their parents or with their peers, or questions about their emerging identities, many are also experiencing increasing levels of social isolation, anxiety and depression, conditions that when overlooked can lead to self-destructive and, at times, suicidal behavior.

Adolescents’ developmental vulnerabilities and the school’s primary educational mission can collide. Essentially, when social-emotional and/or learning-style challenges outweigh the available supports, students suffer, and their “worth” sinks in jeopardy. This potential collision raises critical questions: How should schools respond? What are the school’s responsibilities, and where do their responsibilities and parents’ responsibilities overlap? When does school “counseling” become psychotherapy, and where is the balance between offering appropriate help and support, and fulfilling the school’s primary educational mission?

Workshop participants will learn about a continuum of interventions meeting the wide range of clinical matters daily encountered within their schools, drawing upon clinical examples. We will also explore appropriate lines of adult communication for dealing with student crises, review effective record keeping procedures, and discuss limits to confidentiality when working with children and adolescents in schools.

Presented at:

  1. Near East South Asia Counsel of Overseas Schools (NESA). Bangkok, Thialand, March, 2013

Contact Us

For information about our consulting services for your school or district, or about scheduling a presentation or workshop for your faculty and/or parent group, or for a future conference, please provide your contact information and the purpose of your inquiry in the spaces below. We look forward to hearing from you. Thank you.

 

At What Cost?

At What Cost?

At What Cost Book CoverAnxiety, depression, and their dangerous manifestations-substance abuse, eating disorders, self-injury and suicide- are increasing student conditions at many competitive high schools. Paradoxically, most of these schools promote themselves as being committed to students’ holistic development in academics, athletics and the arts, and in their personal, social, and emotional growth. So why are so many students struggling? Dr. Gleason has investigated these concerns in competitive high schools throughout the United States and around the world, and has found almost complete unanimity in how educators and parents have responded to his interviews. In sum, these caring and dedicated adults fully admit to overscheduling, overworking and, at times, overwhelming their students and teenaged children. This conflict – adults wanting to educate and parent adolescents in healthy and balanced ways, but simultaneously, overscheduling, overworking and, at times, overwhelming them – is at the heart of this book.

Available for purchase on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Lulu.


What People Are Saying About At What Cost?:

Stress and depression among adolescents continue to intensify at an alarming rate. David Gleason has written a truly remarkable book from several perspectives. He has identified factors that contribute to the physical and emotional distress confronting teens, especially emphasizing the unrealistic expectations that are placed on these youth. He has shown that many of these expectations are not in keeping with what the developing teen brain can handle. He has also vividly captured through interviews the dilemma expressed by well-meaning parents and educators who on the one hand recognize that many of the demands they are placing on adolescents are unrealistic but yet they are reluctant to make changes. Some educators are concerned that any reduction in academic requirements may tarnish the reputation of the school even while they acknowledge the burden being placed on their students. What I found very admirable is David’s ability to avoid casting blame and judgment but instead displaying empathy for all parties involved. This ability will serve to lessen defensiveness and promote openness as readers reflect upon not only the problems identified by David but, most importantly, the wise solutions he offers. This is a book that will serve as an impressive resource to be read and re-read by all of us who desire to nurture resilience and hope in our teens. Robert Brooks, Ph.D., Faculty, Harvard Medical School (part-time), Co-author, “Raising Resilient Children” and “The Power of Resilience: Achieving Balance, Confidence, and Personal Strength in Your Life”

Dr. Robert Brooks


A fantastic & important book. As a former student of one of these highly competitive schools, I was brought to tears multiple times reading this book. I feel like David Gleason truly hears these adolescents (and my younger self) and responds to them from a reasoned, empathic, and deeply scientific perspective. At What Cost is this full response. Which is exactly what is needed right now. I think every teacher, parent, principal, and administrator at these highly competitive type schools around the world should read this book. At What Cost is also well written and easy to read and digest without a psych background, which makes the information accessible and manageable. A must read for anyone connected to these schools.

Judith Aronstein


Dr. Gleason poignantly addresses the problem of “hyper-schooling” at highly selective and competitive secondary schools, clearly outlining the problem through his own observations and research. As Dr. Gleason points out in this engaging read, “pressure to succeed, in and of itself, is not necessarily unhealthy, but too much pressure, especially for still-developing children and adolescents-can be dangerous.”

Gleason’s book should be required reading for faculty and parents who need to be aware of the dangers of unrealistic expectation for students who are not developmentally ready.

Toby Brewster