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  • Breakout Session Descriptions (in alphabetical order by title)

    A Special Education Success Story Presenter: Jennifer Fitzhugh, Jennifer Fitzhugh Advocacy Jennifer describes the success of her sons journey through public education with a disability and the successful transition into adulthood that is now a book entitled Seth's Story.

    Alternatives to Guardianship Presenter: Brooke Kearney, MS; Director of Community Services Case Management and Community Education, The Arc of San Antonio

    Brooke will provide a better understanding of the process of adult guardianship, as well as an overview of the alternatives to guardianship including Supported Decision-Making, Powers of Attorney, Representative Payee, and additional options.

    Autism Safety Risks and Prevention Tips Presenter: Sandra E. Jacobs, Autism Education Specialist, Any Baby Can

    Parents and caregivers of individuals diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder are invited to learn important information on safety in the home for their child on the spectrum. Sandra will provide information on how to identify potential hazards in the home, how to develop a household safety plan, and cover information on wandering patterns and possible triggers for wandering.

    Bookshare: Solutions for People with Reading Barriers Presenter: Matt Hattoon, Outreach Coordinator, Bookshare/Accessible Books for Texas

    Come learn how Bookshare, the worlds largest library of eBooks in accessible formats (over 575,000 titles, including textbooks), makes reading possible for people who experience barriers to reading due to visual, physical, or learning disabilities. Bookshare is free for U.S. students, and non-students can join for a low annual subscription. Compatible with Computers, Chromebooks, Tablets, and Smartphones, Bookshare makes reading accessible to all!

    Bullying: Tips for Parents and Teachers Presenter: Cheri Kahn, Educational Specialist, Educational Service Center, Region 20

    Cheri will inform participants on Senate Bill 179 (AKA David's Law) and what the school's responsibilities are in regards to reporting and investigating alleged bullying incidents, the characteristics of someone being bullied and how to recognize signs of students who bully. Bullying: Tips for Parents and Teachers will provide participants with research-based interventions/techniques on how to empower children to solve their own problems and learn ways to respond to bullying situations.

  • Compassion Fatigue: Helping the Helper Presenter: Amy Cunningham, Talent Management Consultant

    Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is a health issue most people are familiar with, but what about those individuals who dedicate their lives to caring for the traumatized? The empathetic nature of caring professionals exposes them to an increased risk of vicarious trauma, or Compassion Fatigue, where the helper during a crisis can also become personally affected without personally experiencing the trauma. The PTSD symptoms can begin to manifest in those serving the traumatized and begin to create significant personal, emotional, and psychological changes within a person.

    In this session, Amy will teach you how to differentiate between stress, burnout, and Compassion Fatigue. You will learn to recognize the signs and symptoms of Compassion Fatigue, identify the trajectory, and begin to implement the 5 resiliences needed to assist you achieving post traumatic growth.

    De-Escalation and Protection Strategies Presenters: Diane Cosnowski, Student/Instructor/Co-Founder, Kaizen Edge Foundation Michael Hanson, Owner/Chief Instruction, Elite Edge Training

    Michael and Diane will safely show you how to de-escalate a situation while maintaining the trust that is very important between the individual with special needs and the persons that care for them. While participants are not able to be a part of the "hands on demonstration" they will learn valuable skills that they can immediately use.

    Do I Really Need a Special Needs Trust? Estate Planning for Families with Special Needs Presenter: Charles J. Weisinger, CEO, Weisinger Law Firm

    Charles will address basic estate planning principles and documents including Powers of Attorney, Wills and Special Needs Trusts.

    Dysgraphia Risk Factors & Interventions Presenter: Katy Kloberdanz, Dyslexia Specialist, Education Service Center, Region 20

    In this session, Katy will guide participants in simulation activities to better understand the characteristics and risk-factors of dysgraphia. The assessment and identification process will be briefly explored before discussing instructional and programming options to support students identified with dysgraphia.

  • Exploring the 8 Dimensions of Wellness Presenter: Stephanie Peterson, Manager of Community Relations, Clarity Child Guidance Center

    In this session, Stephanie will talk about how wellness includes more dimensions than most people realize. You will leave this session with a better understanding of what being 'well' feels like to you, along with solid tips to improve your mental health and 'wellness' in all 8 dimensions. As parents, it's imperative we learn to take care of our own wellness so we can better help our children. This also provides teachable moments for our children, in leading by example.

    Facilitation Skills in the ARD Process: Conflict Resolution for Committee Members Presenter: Anissa Moore, Educational Consultant, Anissa Moore Educational/Behavioral Consulting

    We know that ARD meetings are intended for the greater good of every student, but when conflicts arise it can be challenging to stay focused on the end goal. Parents, teachers, and administrators can all benefit from facilitation skills. Learn the art of the facilitated IEP meeting, a process in which all team members learn 1) focused questioning and listening skills, 2) how to attack the problem and not the person, and 3) handle emotions during disagreements. This session focuses on the importance of communication and data to drive good decisions for students during ARD or 504 meetings.

    Fine Motor FUN! From Chopsticks to Squeeze Balls: Making Learning FUN! Presenter: Sarah Ford, PPCD Specialist, Education Service Center, Region 20

    Join us as we have FUN learning about young children's fine motor development! We will actively explore ways to support fine motor development in the early childhood classroom and home setting. A "Mini Make & Take" activity will be provided for all participants.

    Helping Kids Overcome Anxiety Presenters: Cori Callahan, LPC-Intern; Easter Seals Early Childhood Intervention Trisha Govini, MA, LPC; Easter Seals Early Childhood Intervention

    Parents, teachers and other professionals will gain a better understanding of how a childs brain is affected when they are experiencing anxiety. The goal of this session is to provide tools to help children find a healthy, affective way to conquer anxiety. Improving self-awareness, communication skills and developing coping techniques can help alleviate the symptoms. Trisha and Cori will share ideas and tangible tools parents can use right away. Their hope is that participants gain more confidence in recognizing anxiety and learn how to be an effective helper.

  • I Have a Special Needs Kid! What Am I Going to Do Now? Presenter: Rick Daynes, author, Keep It Together Man

    Every parent at some point has had that moment when they thought they knew what they were doing, only to find out they didn't know jack squat. This interactive session will cause you to take a good look atwait for it YOU! You are a unique parent with a special needs kid. We will assess the framework, the environment, and the grind of your day. By combining group discussion with sharing of promising practices, this presentation will explore techniques that will bring a renewed attitude and effort to your home. Consequently, participants will leave armed with tools, renewed spirits, and an action plan for progress.

    Improving Your Toddlers Communication Skills Presenters: Emily Hernandez, Speech Language Pathologist, Brighton Center Heidi Pinkerton, Speech Language Pathologist, Brighton Center

    Emily and Heidi will be going over developmental milestones for speech and language development of children ages birth to three years old. Information will be provided on receptive and expressive language skills, articulation, and red-flags for speech and language delays. Strategies and activities will also be provided to help facilitate speech and language development in toddlers.

    Instructional Accommodations & Modifications Presenter: Karla Calla, Special Education Advocate & Trainer, Brighton Center

    During this session, Karla will teach participants about the instructional accommodations and modifications available to children in special education. They will learn the differences between the two and have insight on how to determine which is the best fit for their child. Real examples will be given and explained, related to different disabilities and needs. Attendees will leave with a better understanding of how these elements affect their childrens education and how they can provide their input to make sure that they are contributing to their childrens success.

    Its All Fun & Games! Presenter: Stephanie Pepi, Director, Starfish Social Club

    Games are an excellent way to teach kids how to think about others. This session utilizes participant engagement to demonstrate social skills you may not even think about teaching and reinforcing when it comes to playing games. It will also touch on the behaviors you may be allowing from your child that actually cause others to NOT want to play with him/her!

  • Marriage is What Brings Us Together Today Presenter: Rick Daynes, author, Keep It Together Man

    Married? In a relationship? Didnt work out? Sometimes, it just aint easy. What matters most in marriage are often times forgotten by both parties to it. Plus, you have extra circumstances! We dive into the real nuts and bolts of relationships and what makes them grow. Communication, balance, antecedents, priorities, POG's (Parents Only Getaway), and much more! This program offers life changing solutions to all parents who want to empower their marriage and shape the brightest future for their family.

    Mental Health and You: How Do You Help When You Dont Know Presenter: F. Leanne Lindsey, Director, Bexar CARES Project

    This session will discuss mental health disorders common in children and adolescents, as well as signs and symptoms. Other types of discussions include risk and protective factors and types of treatment(s).

    Parental Rights & Special Education 101 Presenter: Girasol Margain, Special Education Advocate & Trainer, Brighton Center

    In this session, participants will have a clear understanding of how the Admission, Review & Dismissal (ARD) process works and supports students through Special Education Services.

    Perspectives of a Special Educator & Parent Presenter: Mills C. Rodgers, Speaker/Owner, Rodgers Speaks! Join Mills Rodgers as he shares his very personal and intimate experiences with special education. He will discuss misconceptions about special education and debunk the stereotype that special education is only for the severely disabled students. Mills will also provide an overview of the settings, methodologies, and approaches to how schools address special education students.

    Piece It TogetherFinancial Planning for a Special Needs Loved One...


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