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The unique feature of this conference includes tracks tailored for parents, clinicians, and educators who are supporting individuals with special needs during a pandemic.

Our conference presenters have been working on the front lines during the pandemic to support each other–parents and professionals. Educators, Administrators, Clinicians, Parents, and Autistic Advocates will share their experiences, guidance, and practical strategies for supporting healthy development during these uncertain times! The core principles and best practices of intensive developmental programs will also be a key focus of presentations. 

Learn strategies presented by professionals from the DIR-FCD school and center programs from around the country will demonstrate how the Developmental, Individual Differences, Relationship-based Model with the principles of the Foundational Capacities for Development (DIR-FCD™ Model) provide the evidence-based framework for intensive programs for children and adults with autism and related special needs.

THANK YOU TO OUR SPONSORS

3 Plenaries   |   Thursday, Nov 5   |   11 am – 3 pm EST

11:00 am-12:30 pm EST | Live

Anxiety, Stress, Trauma, and Resilience in the Time of COVID-19

Serena Wieder, PhD

Description

The Coronavirus has changed all our lives but we do not yet know the long-term emotional effects of this shared experience.  We do know children and adults have different responses depending on family and circumstances.  We also know resilience far outweighs the impact of trauma.  We will explore the differences between anxiety, stress, and trauma in relation to development and individual differences in our children, our families, and ourselves and pathways to “post-traumatic growth”.

Serena Wieder, PhD
Clinical Director, Profectum Foundation

12:45-1:45 pm EST | Recorded

Plenary Day 1 - 2 150

Practical Supports for Parents, Students, and School Staff: Understanding Anxiety, Stress, and Trauma in the School Setting

Dr. Kimberly L. Cameron, PsyD
Stefanie D’Amore, MA, LPC
Jennifer Mandato, MA, LAC

Description

Anxiety is the body’s biological response to perceived danger. While serving to protect us, it can sometimes send us into survival mode, when there is no danger present. In the case of trauma, one is living in a constant state of perceived threat. As the result of the COVID pandemic, unimaginable changes have occurred in our world.  Understandably, there has been a surge in anxiety and trauma in our communities. We may notice new and/or intense behaviors at home and in the classroom. Having a good understanding of what anxiety and trauma can do to our emotions and behavior, can help us to make sense of these reactions, as well as, help facilitate the healing process.

Dr. Kimberly L. Cameron, PsyD, Psychologist, Celebrate the Children School

Stefanie D’Amore, MA, LPC, Counselor, Celebrate the Children School

Jennifer Mandato, MA, LAC, Counselor, Celebrate the Children School, Profectum CL2 Certified

2:00-3:00 pm EST | Live

Moving DIR® Services from Exclusive to Accessible: DIR® Medicaid/Insurance Workshop for Parents and Professionals

Natalie Kitts, MS, OTR
Mike Suiters, CEO Positive Development

Description

The New Jersey Department of Health has recognized the value of Developmental services for children with Autism. Until now, Developmental, Individual Differences, Relationship-based Model, has only been accessible to a limited number of families. But now these services are available to all families in NJ with Medicaid coverage. For the first time families across the state will have an option to receive intensive DIR® therapy as part of their autism intervention plan for their child. Success in New Jersey is expected to lead to private insurance reimbursement, and  other states are expected to follow; expanding  access to DIR® across the country.

Natalie Kitts, MS, OTR, Profectum CL2 Certified, Trainer Candidate

Mike Suiters, CEO, Positive Development

2 Plenaries   |   Friday, Nov 6   |   11 am – 2 pm EST

11:00 am-12:30 pm EST | Live

Overview of DIR-FCD Programs for Early Intervention through Adulthood for Individuals with Diverse Sensory-Motor-Communication Profiles


Lauren Blaszak
Sherri Cawn MA, CCC-SLP
Linda Cervenka, MA, CCC-SLP
Lisa deFaria, LCSW, BCD
Karen McDowell
Monica Osgood
Michele Ricamato, MA, CCC-SLP

Description

This plenary will illustrate the application of the DIR-FCD model in the home, virtual classroom, school, adult program, and the community. Four intervention programs will outline the key principles and components of intensive, relationship-based, developmental programs for individuals ages 0 through adulthood.

Monica Osgood Executive Director Celebrate the Children School/Profectum Foundation

Lauren Blaszak, Co-Founder and Executive Director, Celebrate the Children School, Profectum CL1 Certified

Sherri Cawn MA, CCC-SLP, Profectum Senior Faculty

Lisa deFaria, LCSW, BCD, Profectum Senior Faculty

Michele Ricamato, MA, CCC-SLP, Co-founder, Soaring Eagle Academy, Profectum Senior Faculty 

Linda Cervenka, MA, CCC-SLP, Co-founder, Soaring Eagle Academy, Profectum Senior Faculty

Karen McDowell, Profectum Assistant Faculty, Young Adult Program Coordinator, Celebrate the Children School

1:00-2:00 pm EST | Live

Adults on the Autism Spectrum Share Perspectives on Educational Programs, Priorities, “Social Distancing,” Love on the Spectrum, Work, and More …

Anie Knipping
and Friends

Description

This group of amazing people have been friends for more than half their lives, some longer! In contrast to old stereotypes of people with autism, this group of friends has demonstrated they are sensitive to each other’s emotions, compassionate, funny, and very social! This group loves to talk and share their experiences, perspectives, and wisdom on almost any topic. The last eight months have only brought them closer as they supported each other through the quarantine.

Anie Knipping and Friends

3 Tracks / 9 Workshops   |   Sunday, Nov 8   |   11 am – 3 pm EST

Parents

11:00am-12:00pm EST

Developmental & Relationship-Based Strategies in the Home: Increasing Your Child’s Engagement During Remote Learning & Teletherapy – Part 1

Sherri Cawn MA, CCC-SLP
Lisa deFaria, LCSW, BCD
Giovana Izzo, Mom

Description

Parents frequently express the challenges they face when they join their children’s speech, occupational therapy, mental health, or educational therapies remotely. We understand how challenging it can be for some children to engage in online learning. Unique sensorimotor and visual-spatial individual differences can play a significant role in how each child attends to people and objects in his or her environment, including computer screens. Tailoring to individual differences and capitalizing on key relationships often improves engagement. Relationships are an essential part of any developmental approach and especially critical during the current environmental climate. Sherri Cawn MA, CCC-SLP, Nora D’angiola, PhD, CCC-SLP, Lisa deFaria, LCSW, BCD and Monica Osgood will co-lead a discussion to support parents with developmentally minded-relationship based strategies for remote interventions.

Sherri Cawn MA, CCC-SLP, Profectum Senior Faculty

Nora D’angiola, PhD, CCC-SLP, Profectum International Faculty

Lisa deFaria, LCSW, BCD, Profectum Senior Faculty

Giovana Izzo, Mom

Monica Osgood, Executive Director of Celebrate the Children School/Profectum Foundation

12:30-1:30 pm EST

Dads who rock!: Empowering Fathers to Engage with their Child and Promote Development

Laura Baldwin, MA
Joanne Keilty, MA
Victoria Sanders

Description

This workshop will focus on the partnership between families and educators while supporting students with diverse needs.  Based on the DIR-FCD™ model, family DIRFloortime® coaching offers individualized support in the areas of engaging, relating, and communicating while also understanding each family’s strengths and needs. By deepening and empowering the relationships in the child’s life, this model helps to build bridges between home and school.  In this presentation a heavy emphasis will be placed on how we promote development in our students through our parent coaching model by highlighting our “Dads who rock!” 

Laura Baldwin, MA, Floortime Specialist, Celebrate the Children School, Profectum CL2 Certified

Joanne Keilty, MA, Certified School Social Worker, Celebrate the Children School

Victoria Sanders, BA, Floortime Specialist, Celebrate the Children School

2:00-3:00 pm EST

Developmental & Relationship-Based Strategies in the Home: Increasing Your Child’s Engagement During Remote Learning & Teletherapy – Part 2

Sherri Cawn MA, CCC-SLP
Lisa deFaria, LCSW, BCD
Giovana Izzo, Mom
Monica Osgood

Description

Parents frequently express the challenges they face when they join their children’s speech, occupational therapy, mental health, or educational therapies remotely. We understand how challenging it can be for some children to engage in online learning. Unique sensorimotor and visual-spatial individual differences can play a significant role in how each child attends to people and objects in his or her environment, including computer screens. Tailoring to individual differences and capitalizing on key relationships often improves engagement. Relationships are an essential part of any developmental approach and especially critical during the current environmental climate. Sherri Cawn MA, CCC-SLP, Nora D’angiola, PhD, CCC-SLP, Lisa deFaria, LCSW, BCD and Monica Osgood will co-lead a discussion to support parents with developmentally minded-relationship based strategies for remote interventions.

Sherri Cawn MA, CCC-SLP, Profectum Senior Faculty

Nora D’angiola, PhD, CCC-SLP, Profectum International Faculty

Lisa deFaria, LCSW, BCD, Profectum Senior Faculty

Monica Osgood, Executive Director of Celebrate the Children School/Profectum Foundation

Educators/Clinicians

11:00am-12:00pm EST

The Key Principles of a DIR-FCD Classroom: The Most Current and Progressive Educational Practices Available Today for Students with Special Needs ages 3-21

Lynn Abelson, MA, CCC-SLP, OTR/L
Susan Smith-Foley, OTD, MPA, OTR/L
Monica Osgood
Michele Ricamato, MA, CCC-SLP
Linda Cervenka, MA, CCC-SLP
Christine DeLoughry-Lama, MA, OTR/L

Description

This workshop will use discussion and video illustration to provide an overview of the key principles to consider when instructing students with special needs in a variety of school settings. These principles are based on the DIR-FCD Model and prioritize relationships, experienced-based learning, respecting individual differences, lesson plans that foster comprehension, discovery vs. teaching and more.

Lynn Abelson, MA, CCC-SLP, OTR/L, The Phoenix Center, Profectum Associate Faculty

Susan Smith-Foley, OTD, MPA, OTR/L, Pediatric Occupational Therapist, Profectum Associate Faculty

Monica Osgood Executive Director of Celebrate the Children School/Profectum Foundation

Michele Ricamato, MA, CCC-SLP, Co-founder, Soaring Eagle Academy, Profectum Senior Faculty

Linda Cervenka, MA, CCC-SLP, Co-founder, Soaring Eagle Academy, Profectum Senior Faculty

12:30-1:30 pm EST

How to Leverage the Virtual Platform to Target DIR-FCD IEP Goals and Promote Development During Remote Learning and Therapies

Lynn Abelson, MA, CCC-SLP, OTR/L
Michele Havens EdD
Susan Smith-Foley, OTD, MPA, OTR/L

Description

This workshop will address how to maximize the effectiveness of the virtual platform for therapists, educators, families, and students ages 3 – 21. Key considerations include caregiver support and coaching, addressing individual differences in sensory processing and regulation, fostering communication, and facilitating academic learning while targeting DIR-FCD IEP goals. Current research on virtual learning will be integrated into this workshop.

Lynn Abelson, MA, CCC-SLP, OTR/L, The Phoenix Center, Profectum Associate Faculty

Michele Havens EdD, Educational Consultant, Professor Emeritus Kean University/Montclair State University, DIRFloortime® Certified, Profectum Assistant Faculty, Expert Training Leader/ ICDL

Susan Smith-Foley, OTD, MPA, OTR/L, Pediatric Occupational Therapist, Profectum Associate Faculty

2:00-3:00 pm EST

Writing Measurable, Developmental Goals and Objectives for your Student’s IEP Using the DIR-FCD Goal Bank

Laura Baldwin, MA
Amy E. Keveanos, BA
Regina Frandano

Description

This workshop will demonstrate how to use the scope and sequence of measurable DIR-FCD™ IEP goals based on Dr. Greenspan’s and Dr. Wieder’s Functional Emotional Developmental Levels (FEDL’s) and the Foundational Capacities for Development (FCD) principles and strategies to guide intervention and school programs. Participants will have the opportunity to practice the process of assessment, identification and individualizing DIR-FCD™ IEP goals for a range of middle and high school aged students. Multiple examples will highlight how data collection is used to guide staff and parent interactions and track progress.

Laura Baldwin, MA, Floortime Specialist, Celebrate the Children School, Profectum CL2 Certified

Amy E. Keveanos, BA, TOSD, Teacher, Celebrate the Children School, DIR Level 1 Certified 

Regina Frandano, Floortime Specialist, Celebrate the Children School, Profectum CL1 Candidate

And More

11:00am-12:00pm EST

Special Session for Administrators/Schools: Navigating COVID-19, Keeping the Ship Afloat, and Lessons Learned!

Randall R. Rossilli, Jr., MAEd
Cathleen Helmlinger, BA
Mary Alice Landis, MS
Amy E. Keveanos, BA

Description

Description coming soon.

Randall R. Rossilli, Jr., M.A.Ed., Principal, Celebrate the Children School

Cathleen Helmlinger, BA,  Director, Celebrate the Children School

Mary Alice Landis, MS, Supervisor of Instruction/Reading Specialist, Celebrate the Children School

Amy E. Keveanos ,BA, TOSD, Teacher, Celebrate the Children School, DIR Level 1 Certified

12:30-1:30 pm EST

The Principles and Best Practices of DIR-FCD Programs for Adults with Special Needs

Karen McDowell
Crystal Farr

Description

This session highlights  key principles and best practices for DIR-FCD programs for young adults with special needs. Supportive programs need to be the bridge builders between the high school years and post 21 potential and young adult expectations, We strive to find the balance in supporting individual needs , understanding  rights and responsibilities of community participation, , and navigating typical adult privileges. Key capacities  that are crucial to support fulfilling adult  futures such  as independence, problem solving, self advocacy ,and tapping into strengths will be examined through a developmental lens. Interventions driven by assessment will be illustrated with video and photo examples as we examine the connection between potential roadblocks ,  foundational capacities, effective support and goals , transition roadmaps, and positive outcomes.

Karen McDowell, Profectum Assistant Faculty, Young Adult Program Coordinator, Celebrate the Children School

Crystal Farr, Floortime Specialist, Celebrate the Children School, Director, Limitless

2:00-3:00 pm EST

CTC Connections Tour: How to Navigate the Transition from Entitlements to Eligibility

Cheri Alexander, Simon’s Mom
Jennifer Mandato, MA, LAC

Description

It is crucial for parents to understand and educate themselves about entitlement versus eligibility (post graduation). During this presentation we will guide parents on how they can expand the circle of supports surrounding their child. This workshop will present information that is valuable to both parents and professionals.

Cheri Alexander, Simon’s Mom 

Jennifer Mandato, MA, LAC, Counselor, Celebrate the Children School, Profectum CL2 Certified

3 Tracks / 9 Workshops   |   Sunday, Nov 15   |   11 am – 3 pm EST

Parents

11:00am-12:00pm EST

Parent Stress Busters: Anxiety Management on the Home Front During Difficult Times

Lisa deFaria, LCSW, BCD
Giovana Izzo, Mom

Description

Balancing your child’s online learning/hybrid schedules, family care, health and safety, on top of your own work demands is simply “too much” for any parent. Excessive pressure to “do it all,” has resulted in chronic stress and worry for so may parents. (Hint: You can’t “do it all.” And that’s OK!)  Identify the difference between “I should…” and “I NEED…”.  Set reasonable priorities and expectations for yourself and family.  Explore easy stress-relief tools.  Learn about ways to stay calm and present, one day, and one moment, at a time, through simple “mindfulness” practices to regain balance and find islands of calm in your busy days.  Finally, why your own self-care is a true priority!

Lisa deFaria, LCSW, BCD, Profectum Senior Faculty

Giovana Izzo, Parent

12:30-1:30 pm EST

The 5 C’s at Home: How feelings of Comfort, Competence, Confidence, Control, and Communication Allow Children and their Parents to Co-regulate, Reduce Stress and Challenges, and Maximize Engagement and Independence at Home

Monica Osgood
Giovana Izzo, Mom
Abigail Rafkin, Mom
Tuli Mukherjee, Mom
Anie Knipping, ASD

Description

The Foundational Capacities for Development (FCDs) are a recently developed concept that serve as a compliment for the DIR model. The FCDs, also known as the 5 C’s offer guidance and strategies on how to build feelings of COMFORT, COMPETENCE, CONFIDENCE, CONTROL, AND COMMUNICATION  with your child! 

This workshop is designed to guide parents in using the FCD framework to rethink how we balance our time and priorities 

with people on the Autism Spectrum and with other challenges in relating and communicating. This has become especially relevant during a time when we are all spending much more time at home. Parents using the 5 C’s share their success fostering more independence and more robust relationships at home during quarantine.

Focus on one of the “5 C’s” and how prioritizing these feelings in ourselves and our loved ones can reduce stress while fostering healthy development!

Discussion and video examples will demonstrate how prioritizing the 5 C’s in the at home maximizes social-emotional progress and independence!

Monica Osgood, Executive Director of Celebrate the Children School/Profectum Foundation

Giovana Izzo, Mom 

Abigail Rafkin, Mom

Tuli Mukherjee, Mom

Anie Knipping, ASD

2:00-3:00 pm EST

Parent’s Open Discussion Facilitated by Lauren Blaszak and a CTC Parent Panel

Lauren Blaszak
Giovana Izzo, Mom
Andrea Anderson, Mom
Stacey Damujian, Mom
Lisa Finkelstein, Mom
Mariana Zamora, Mom

Description

This parent panel facilitated by Lauren Blaszak will offer an open discussion including Q&A with the audience on the topics of this conference including, managing stress and anxiety, fostering comfort, competence, confidence, control, and communication (the 5 C’s) at home, how to support your child with online learning, the critical importance of home-school collaboration, and more.

Lauren Blaszak, Co-Founder and Executive Director, Celebrate the Children School, Profectum CL1 Certified

Giovana Izzo, Mom

Educators/Clinicians

11:00am-12:00pm EST

The 5 C’s at School: How feelings of Comfort, Competence, Confidence, Control, and Communication Allow Students to Maximize Social, Emotional, Behavioral, and Academic Progress

Amy E. Keveanos, BA
Regina Frandano
Cynthia King, MA, BCBA

Description

This workshop is designed to guide administrators, therapists, and educators in using the 5 C’s framework to rethink how we prioritize interactions, respond to challenges, and support a positive school experience for children of all ages.

Amy E. Keveanos ,BA, TOSD, Teacher, Celebrate the Children School, DIR Level 1 Certified

Regina Frandano, Floortime Specialist, Celebrate the Children School, Profectum CL1 Candidate

Cynthia King, MA, BCBA, Celebrate the Children School

12:30-1:30 pm EST

The 5 C’s Virtually: How feelings of Comfort, Competence, Confidence, Control, and Communication to Increase Participation and Independence can be Fostered Even in a Virtual Classroom –  Principles, Strategies, Lesson Plans, and Parent Support Strategies will be Illustrated

Amy E. Keveanos, BA
Laura Baldwin, MA

Description

The Foundational Capacities for Development (FCDs) are a recently developed concept that serve as a compliment for the DIR model. The FCDs, also known as the 5 C’s offer guidance and strategies on how to build feelings of COMFORT, COMPETENCE, CONFIDENCE, CONTROL, AND COMMUNICATION  with your students in the VIRTUAL classroom! Discussion and video examples will demonstrate how prioritizing the 5 C’s maximizes engagement, participation, creativity, and expression in students online.

Amy E. Keveanos, BA, TOSD, Teacher, Celebrate the Children School, DIR Level 1 Certified

Laura Baldwin, MA, Floortime Specialist, Celebrate the Children School, Profectum CL2 Certified

2:00-3:00 pm EST

Creating Relational Safety: Collaborative Dual-methodology ABA and DIR®

Maria Astorga, BS
Courtney Bitting, MEd, BCBA, LBA

Description

We believe safety is the starting point to promote regulation. By presenting our work at Imagine Academy and providing the importance of team work to encourage the student’s development, we will guide individuals to acknowledge the hidden benefits of learning about behavior.

Maria Astorga, BS, Floortime™ Coach, Imagine Academy, Profectum CL2 Certified 

Courtney Bitting, MEd, BCBA, LBA, DIR Level 1 Certified, Imagine Academy

And More

11:00am-12:00pm EST

Academic Case Presentation: Making Reading Instruction Meaningful

Jenna Nieman
Lindsey McDowell
Katie Ivanisevic
Natalie Ainley

Description

This case focuses on two students at different reading levels as they engage in remote lessons to make progress toward fluent reading and comprehension.  The cases incorporate developmental levels as a framework for how the lessons are structured to meet the individual needs of each student while virtual learning.

Jenna Nieman, Associate Expert Clinician Curriculum, Soaring Eagle Academy, Profectum CL2 Certified 

Lindsey McDowell, LBS1 – Curriculum and Resource Specialist, Soaring Eagle Academy, Profectum CL2 Candidate

Katie Ivanisevic, DIR Specialist, Soaring Eagle Academy, Profectum CL2 Certified

Natalie Ainley, Curriculum Program Assistant, Soaring Eagle Academy

12:30-1:30 pm EST

Academic Case Presentation: Making Math Instruction Meaningful

Jenna Nieman
Lindsey McDowell
Katie Ivanisevic
Natalie Ainley

Description

Examples of lessons conducted at varying levels are presented through the developmental lens. At each level, the team will discuss the strategies utilized to combat the challenges remote learning may present.

Jenna Nieman, Associate Expert Clinician Curriculum, Soaring Eagle Academy, Profectum CL2 Certified 

Lindsey McDowell, LBS1 – Curriculum and Resource Specialist, Soaring Eagle Academy, Profectum CL2 Candidate

Katie Ivanisevic, DIR Specialist, Soaring Eagle Academy

Natalie Ainley, Curriculum Program Assistant, Soaring Eagle Academy

2:00-3:00 pm EST

Supporting Parents in Working with their Children in the Home and Virtually. The Ethics, Principles, and Practical Strategies for Teachers and Paraprofessionals Providing Virtual Classroom and In-home Support to Parents will be Illustrated. Sample Policies and Procedures for Working Families in the Home will be Provided

Monica Osgood

Description

Supporting Parents in Working with their Children in the Home and Virtually. The Ethics, Principles, and Practical Strategies for Teachers and Paraprofessionals Providing Virtual Classroom and In-home Support to Parents will be Illustrated. Sample Policies and Procedures for Working Families in the Home will be Provided.

Monica Osgood, Executive Director of Celebrate the Children School/Profectum Foundation

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