2016 Conference Materials

Conference materials from our 2016 annual conference for families, individuals with special needs, and the service providers who support them.


Keynote Speaker: Susan Yuan, Ph.D., Professor Emerita, University Of Vermont

Keynote Address: Travels with Andreas – Lessons from the Journey!

More than four decades ago, we began an uncharted journey with our “tour guide,” Andreas. Just as so many of your lives have been changed by your sons and daughters, Andreas changed our directions.  Around every corner we’ve discovered places beyond what we ever could have imagined and learned lessons we didn’t even know were there to learn.


Workshop #2: Transition From Adolescent To Adult Health Care

We will explore how to begin the discussion about transitioning adolescents to adult models of care, including steps to begin the transition, timelines, transition care documents, differences in child and adult models of care, and tips/guidelines to consider. This workshop is intended for everyone who supports transition-aged youth (ages 14-24).

Presenter: Allyson Bolduc, MD, University of Vermont College of Medicine – Department of Family Medicine


Workshop #3: I Disagree With My IEP Team – Now What? Positive Approaches To Resolving Conflicts

We will be looking at ways, formal and informal, to resolve disputes between families and school districts in special education.  We will focus particularly on the less formal means, especially mediation, and ways to prevent conflict from escalating into a legal dispute. This workshop is intended for everyone who supports school-aged youth receiving special education services (ages 3-22).

Presenters: Sam Abel-Palmer, Director, Vermont Law Help, Legal Services Law Line of Vermont, and Katie Shepard, Ed.D., Professor, University of Vermont College of Education and Social Services – Department of Education


Workshop #5: Patient and Family-Centered Care: Creating And Sustaining Meaningful Patient/Family Partnerships

Learn what it means for a hospital to embrace “Patient and Family-Centered Care,” including the specific work being done at UVM Medical Center towards valuing the patient and family and seeking their input in everything we do. There will be a participatory component where attendees will have a chance to “craft their story” and ask questions/discuss/share how they may be able to use their story to educate, improve practices, or inform system changes at the medical center. This workshop is intended for everyone.

Presenters: Charlotte Safran, Patient and Family Centered Care Coordinator, University of Vermont Children’s Hospital, and a Panel of UVM Children’s Hospital Patient/Family Advisors


Workshop #6: Making Life Easier! Strategies for Making Everyday Activities Fun and Rewarding

Parenting is a tough job! Daily activities and routines with young children can sometimes be stressful but also offer an opportunity to build a positive, nurturing, and responsive relationship with your child! Learn innovative strategies and tips for making challenging events and activities easier to navigate, and even pleasurable, for both caregivers and children. Whether you are a parent or a provider, you will learn tips for turning everyday moments into opportunities to promote children’s social and emotional learning and development. This workshop is intended for parents, family, and providers, and focuses on birth to age 8.

Presenters: Elizabeth Gilman, Child Development Specialist, Help Me Grow Vermont 2-1-1; Janet Kilburn, Child Development Coordinator, Vermont Department of Health – Maternal and Child Health Division; and Maureen Sullivan, Early Multi-Tiered Systems of Support Coordinator, Agency of Education


Workshop #7: Developmental Trauma: How Childhood Exposure to Abuse and Neglect Can ‘Live’ in The Present Day

Developmental trauma is a framework for understanding how chronic or repeated exposure to abuse and neglect affects the developing child across multiple areas of functioning. This interactive workshop will explore how developmental trauma is defined, the impact on the child’s development, how it affects children’s ability to develop relationships, and the effect on the moment-to-moment experience of safety and security. Participants will learn best practice strategies to understand how to support children impacted by developmental trauma. This workshop is intended for parents, family, and providers, and focuses on age 3 to young adult.

Presenters: Kate Houston, LCMHC, Program Clinician, Northeastern Family Institute – Family Center, And Michael Piche, LCMHC, Program Clinician, Northeastern Family Institute – Family Center


Workshop #8: Section 504: A Powerful Tool For Students With Disabilities

Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 protects students who have an Individualized Education Program (IEP) as well as those on a Section 504 plan. Section 504 requires that students with disabilities receive an education designed to their unique needs and is as adequate as the education provided to children without disabilities. The law applies to students with a wide range of disabilities and has lower eligibility requirements than an IEP. Learn how to use Section 504 to get the services your child needs in school! This workshop is intended for everyone who supports school-age youth (ages 3-22).

Presenter: Greg Van Buiten, Attorney, EdLaw New England PLLC


Workshop #12: Mindfulness For Stress Reduction

Do you experience stress and want to learn skills and strategies to manage it effectively and sustainably? Join a mindfulness-based mental health counselor to learn and practice mindfulness meditation strategies to incorporate into your daily life. Understand why mindfulness has become a leading evidence-based practice to treat a variety of ailments and concerns, and enhance overall well-being. This workshop is intended for everyone.

Presenter: Catherine Baird, Mental Health Counselor


Workshop #14: Calling All Youth! Hear the Inspiring Stories From Young Adults Who Turned Their Dreams Into Reality

What does it take to have a successful transition from high school to postsecondary or employment? A panel of young Vermonters will share their transition tips and stories, exploring the important topics ranging from IEP transition plans, postsecondary paths, the world of employment, independent living, and the agencies and resources that helped them along the way. These successful young adults will share what helped, what hurt, and what is really making a difference in their adult life. Come hear from other peers who raised their aspirations, faced their challenges head on, and succeeded! This workshop is intended for transition-age youth (ages 14-26), as well as their families and service providers.

Presenters: Martha Frank, Family Support Consultant, Vermont Family Network, and a Panel of Transition-Age Youth

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