For families of children and youth with special health needs or disabilities, and the professionals who support them.
Calling all parents who have a child or youth with a disability or special health needs! Are you ready to get your brain on board for more flexible, light-hearted parenting? Want to learn a few tricks for staying focused and calm in the midst of the storm? Please join us for our annual conference where we will:
- Re-image relationships based on mutual enjoyment
- Explore effective strategies for engaging playfully for behavior change
- Introduce brain development and emotional regulation for us all
- Explore rural and urban systems of support for parenting in Vermont
- Examine the teenage brain and motivation for older children, tweens, and teens
Dates / Locations
- Saturday, March 21 from 10 am – 2 pm at a location to be determined in Springfield
- Date to be determined from 4 pm – 8 pm at the Eastside Restaurant in Newport
- Thursday, April 2 from 8:30 am – 1 pm at the Delta Hotel (formerly Trader Duke’s) in South Burlington
- Saturday, April 4 from 9 am – 12 noon at the JMS Family Room in Burlington. The focus audience will be parents from New American communities; however, as with all of our other conference dates, everyone is welcome to participate!
Presenter Sara Forward
Sara Forward, LICSW, is a proud Vermont transplant by way of Kentucky, Michigan, and Louisiana. In addition to being a mom, Sara has worked with children and families as a mental health consultant, clinician, classroom teacher, and professional coach and trainer. Her interests include supporting families in transforming challenging dynamics through self-reflection and mindfulness training. Her current work with the Child Welfare Training Partnership at the University of Vermont allows her to support family services workers, foster, adoptive, and kinship families around Vermont with training and coaching. Sara’s focus in training is on practical knowledge and strategies for parents and professionals and her presentations draw on her love of reading, travel, live performance, and the joy of playing with children in nature.
Title: The Power of Play for All Ages!
This interactive presentation will explore the experience of parenting in our communities big and small, rural and urban and will offer parents strategies for seeking out and expanding the circles of support for their children and families through identifying open doors and entry points. Through the lens of play and gentle humor, we will re-imagine relationships based in mutual enjoyment. After an introduction to brain development and regulation patterns, we will explore how bodies, brains, and life experience work together to shape a child and family’s capacity for behavior change and healthy growth. We will talk about effective strategies for play and creativity that address behavior challenges and families dynamics that need tweaking. We will also hear voices from our parenting community with a recognition that we are all in this together. Finally, we will explore how young adults play and explore the world. We will dive into the teenage brain and how we might engage more lightly and joyfully in supporting youth in transitioning to adulthood. Our focus will be on networking, sharing wisdom together, learning through play, and practicing new parenting tools together.
Registration opens Feb 3
The fee is $10 for Parents (scholarships available) and $25 for Professionals!