2017 Annual Conference

Vermont Family Network’s Annual Conference will be held Wednesday, April 5  at the Sheraton Burlington Hotel & Conference Center. This year’s conference theme is “High Hopes & Great Expectations” and Alix Generous will be the keynote speaker. Our day-long conference hosts more than 300 attendees, 35 exhibitors, and features 14 workshops geared to helping families who have children with special needs. Here is the Agenda.

Workshops: We’ve got a great line-up of Workshops and Transition-Age Youth Workshops this year!

Register Now!     

  • Participant Registration
  • If you would like to request a parent scholarship, complete this Scholarship Form first and then register after you hear back from us.
  • Would you like to attend our conference but there are barriers in your way? Let us know to see if we can help. Contact Claire Giroux-Williams via email or call her at (802) 876-5315, x201

New Location! Sheraton Burlington Hotel & Conference Center, 870 Williston Road, South Burlington

Special Room Rates!  The Sheraton is offering a special room rate of $109 for attendees.  To schedule your room, click here:

Transition-Age Youth Strand Registration

For the second year in a row, VFN will be hosting a special strand for transition-age youth. Students registering for this strand will pay a registration fee of $25 to attend all three transition workshops. Registration for these workshops will be limited and attendees will be accepted on a first-come, first- served basis with transition-age youth taking priority. If you are not transition-age or would prefer to attend only part of the strand, your registration fee will be $90 or $110.

Keynote Speaker: Alix Generous

Alix Generous

Alix Generous is a mental health activist, tech innovator, and storyteller. Her TED Talk “How I Learned to Communicate My Inner Life with Asperger’s has received 1.4 million views! Her works have been featured on NPR, Bloomberg Businessweek, TEDx, and the Sydney Opera House. Through high-impact media, comedy, and creative storytelling, she advocates for scientific literacy, child welfare, and for the advancement of mental diversity in the sciences.

Generous won the Citizen Science Biodiversity competition for her paper on coral reefs and microbiology which she then presented at the United Nations Convention of Biological Diversity. She was a youth delegate with SustainUS at the United Nations Convention of Climate Change.

Alix was the co-founder for Podium, a social impact company that creates technology to help high functioning autistic millennials improve their presentation skills. In her 2015 TED talk, she shares how tech improved her public speaking skills.

Keynote: “How to Think Big”

Alix Generous has big ideas, but she hasn’t always been able to communicate them to others. Her Autism was misdiagnosed for many years and it took great courage and persistence to overcome her challenges. Now, Alix has already achieved what most people can only dream to do in their lives: speak at the United Nations, make a significant contribution to science, give three TED talks, own a successful technology company, and travel the world. One of Alix Generous’s big ideas is that we need all the creativity and intellect we can muster to solve our problems and build a culture that accepts mental diversity so everyone can share their talents. In her talk, “How to Think Big”, she shows us how to do just that.

Exhibitors:

Exhibitor registration is now open. Exhibitors are accepted and placed on the exhibitor map on a first come, first served basis.

If payment is not completed through PayPal, please mail in your check made payable to Vermont Family Network, 600 Blair Park Road Suite 240, Williston, VT 05495, Attn: Conference. All exhibitor fees must be received prior to the day of the conference. Please contact Claire Giroux-Williams via email of call (802) 876-5315, x201 if you need an invoice to complete the payment process.

If you have trouble viewing any of the documents or any questions about the 2017 conference, please contact Claire Giroux-Williams.

Sponsors:

Sponsor registration is now open. Interested? Check out the Sponsorship Levels & Benefits

If payment is not completed through PayPal, please mail in your check made payable to Vermont Family Network, 600 Blair Park Road Suite 240, Williston, VT 05495, Attn: Conference. Please contact Claire Giroux-Williams via email of call (802) 876-5315, x201 if you need an invoice to complete the payment process.

Free Movie Screening- Open to everyone

Once again VFN, in partnership with Vermont PBS, Mosaic Learning Center, Vermont Special Arts, the Howard Center and Champlain Community Services will be offering a FREE movie screening following the conference.  Grab a bite to eat in the hotel restaurant and invite friends who could not make the conference to join at 6 pm for Life, Animated followed by a panel discussion.  Closed captioning for the film provided.

A documentary by Academy Award winning filmmaker Roger Ross Williams based on a book by Pulitzer Prize winning writer Ron Suskind.

Imagine being trapped inside a Disney movie and having to learn about life mostly from animated characters dancing across a screen of color. A fantasy? A nightmare?

Life, Animated is the real-life story of Owen Suskind, the son of the Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Ron Suskind and his wife, Cornelia. An autistic boy who couldn’t speak for years, Owen memorized dozens of Disney movies, turned them into a language to express love and loss, kinship, brotherhood. The family was forced to become animated characters, communicating with him in Disney dialogue and song; until they all emerge, together, revealing how, in darkness, we all literally need stories to survive.

See the trailer here:

We are so grateful to Vermont PBS, Mosaic Learning Center, Vermont Special Arts, the Howard Center and Champlain Community Services for their partnership in making this happen.

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