National Conference Tour
CIP sponsored five nationwide conferences in January and February, 2011. We kicked off our conference circuit on Tuesday, January 4th with Dr. Stephen Shore speaking to a group of 18 staff members and former students in Bloomington, Indiana.
His presentation: Know Yourself – A Key to a Better Life, focused on a total lifespan approach that encourages people with Asperger’s Syndrome to advocate for themselves from IEP’s during their school years and continuing on throughout their lives. Dr. Shore has written many helpful books and his presentation featured concrete examples of students advocating for themselves from IEP’s in high school years to techniques for doing this in college, career training and workplace settings.
The following Tuesday, January 11th, it was on to the Buffalo, NY conference at Daemen College in nearby Amherst. We had 4 staff members and 14 clinicians, teachers and parents from as far away as Philadelphia, PA, attending this presentation. Dr. Stephen Shore was once, again our featured speaker. While giving essentially the same presentation as he did in Bloomington, he varied it by doing a lot of group work, break out sessions and exercises with this very interactive group. Everyone rose to this challenge and the day sped by with participants taking home many hands-on ideas for working with Asperger’s and LD.
Mother Nature intervened on Tuesday, January 11th, with a record breaking blizzard (up to 4 ft of snow in parts of the Berkshires), canceling our Wednesday, January 12th conference. After some last minute juggling, we successfully implemented our pre-planned snow date and the conference went off without a hitch on Thursday, January 12th.
Filling in at the 11th hour for Susan Moreno (whose flight was canceled), Margaret Dillon Katz, CIP’s Transition Counselor and Outreach Coordinator, rose to the challenge and delivered an amazing, interactive conference day with Dr. Michael McManmon.
The morning session, presented by Dr. McManmon took us through Understanding Social Mentoring with CIP staff contributing and giving many fine examples throughout the morning. We had 42 people with an even mix of staff, clinicians, and students. The afternoon brought us Developing Executive Functioning Skills with Michael and Margaret tag teaming and interacting with all attendees. One of our guests, Fidel Moreno, who works with school districts throughout Massachusetts, Vermont and Connecticut on programs that develop skills for life and work, treated us to some drumming before lunch – showing us how effective this and relaxation techniques can be for those with Asperger’s and LD.
On Tuesday, January 18th the weather got considerably better as I traveled to the Melbourne, Florida conference at the King Center at Brevard Community College. On a perfect, sunny 75 degree day, Tim Kowalksi spoke to 35 parents, students, clinicians and CIP staff during his presentation: Managing the Emotional Rollercoaster of Asperger’s. Tim gave an extremely informative session that gave parents, clinicians and staff a thorough understanding of the criteria used in assessments. He supplied and gave examples of many techniques that can be used effectively in dealing with students of all ages in a variety of emotional situations, including the classroom, home and social settings.
I arrived back in the Berkshire’s as another blizzard was approaching knowing that the 5th and final conference with Dr. George McCloskey: The Dog Ate My Homework – Assessment and Intervention for Executive Function Difficulties will be in a warmer climate!