1-8 How Does Your Engine Run? Self-Regulation Using the Alert Program
Self-regulation is a challenge for many!  The Alert Program uses the analogy of an engine to help with sensory integration and to teach the skill of self-regulation, which is the ability to change how our bodies feel and respond to the world around us. It can be used to teach people of all ages how to regulate their bodies.  Sometimes the engine runs on high; sometimes it runs on low; and sometimes it runs just right. Once a child is aware of what their body is feeling, strategies are given to teach how to change the regulation level to be what is needed for the activity.  This workshop is intended to be a tool that will help parents and teachers understand and use the concepts of sensory regulation in a powerful, effective, and non-judgmental way. With this workshop, participants will:

  1. Understand the principles of the alert program and how they can be used in a school, home, or community setting for all ages.
  2. Take a short personal inventory of the way they personally regulate their body to be at an optimal “Alert” level to participate in daily activities.  Through this knowledge, they will be able to facilitate self-regulation in others, both children and adults.
  3.  Make a list of activities to support self-regulation that are appropriate for all ages.  These activities may be used in school, home, church, or community settings.
  4.   Identify novel methods for sharing sensory integration and Alert Program concepts with all those involved in a child’s life.
    Laurie Chuba, Learning Integrations

Laurie is the founder of Learning Integrations and received her degree in Occupational Therapy from the University of Illinois Medical Center, specializing in Pediatrics. She served as the Director of Occupational Therapy at Illinois State University Laboratory School where she provided evaluation and treatment of children in early childhood through high school programs, as well as supervising OT and Special Education clinical work for university students. Laurie worked in private practice for several years prior to establishing Learning Integrations. She is a member of several professional organizations and certified through the National Board of Occupational Therapy (NBOT). She is trained in many therapeutic techniques including certification in The Listening Program and Moyers Learning Systems, Handwriting Without Tears, and The Alert Program for self-regulation. Continuing educational training has focused in the areas of social skills and sensory integration, auditory processing, and autism-related issues.

1-9 Teaching Social Skills to Promote Friendship & Play
We all learn Social Skills in different ways.  For some, it’s harder than others.  It starts early on with joint attention and develops into making decisions as adults. Thinking socially is the process by which we interpret the thoughts, beliefs, intentions, emotions, knowledge and actions of another person along with the context of the situation to understand that person’s experience. When we think socially, it allows us to interpret the deeper meaning behind what others do in the world and prompts us on how to respond.  A person’s ability to think socially has a considerable effect on his or her ability to form relationships, as well as success in school and at work. It affects the person’s social skills and executive functioning skills (perspective taking, self-awareness, self-regulation, critical thinking, social problem solving, play skills, organizational skills, and ability to learn and work in a group).  In this workshop, we will discuss strategies for teaching social skills and helping children how to think socially.
Michelle Hurst Carney, Erica Stapler, Leslie Moon, Autism Outreach/Club ED

Michelle is a Board Certified Behavior Analyst and the founder of Autism Outreach, Inc., a northern Virginia-based practice focused on children with autism. She has a Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education and a Master’s Degree in Special Education. Michelle has served as an adjunct professor at the University of Mary Washington in Fredericksburg, Virginia. In 2009, she was appointed to the board of directors for the Autism Society of Northern Virginia and is an advisor to Developmental Connections.

Erica is currently the Director of Training and Scheduling Coordinator at Autism Outreach. She trains all new therapists within the company on the basic principles of ABA and AOI Policies and prepares therapists as Registered Behavior Technicians (RBT) through the Behavior Analyst Certification Board®. Erica is the author of the Theory of Mind Curriculum, designed to target executive functioning skills. She also specializes in IEP support, challenging behaviors, and the development of Behavior Intervention Plans.  Ms. Stapler is a Board Certified Behavior Analyst and a Licensed Behavior Analyst by the Virginia Board of Medicine.

began her career as an ABA therapist working in a preschool autism program for Fairfax County Public Schools, Virginia. She went on to become the lead therapist for the program and began recruiting, hiring, and training new therapists and developing programming for the children. During this time, she earned a Master’s Degree in Education with a concentration in Counseling and Development and has worked as a program consultant for Autism Outreach, Inc. since 1999. Leslie has been responsible for supervision and implementation of in-home ABA services for children and adults with varying disabilities from ages 2-30. She is a Board Certified Behavior Analyst and a Licensed Behavior Analyst by the Virginia Board of Medicine.

1-10 Helping Kids Include Kids with Disabilities
Social inclusion is vital to a student thriving in and beyond school. Come discover how to empower peers in social connections in practical ways. You will be filled with ideas, tools and insights so you can empower children of all abilities to better understand and care for one another. You will also learn specific lessons to use as you introduce a child to the group who may have autism spectrum disorder, ADHD, behavioral challenges, intellectual disabilities, physical disabilities, or learning disabilities.
Becky Tubergen, CLC Network

Becky is the Director of School Services for CLC Network, where she helps Christian schools implement best practices in inclusive education. Over the past 17 years, she has served as an educator and consultant, transforming communities to receive the gifts of each student. She received her teaching certificate (cognitive impairment endorsement) from Calvin College and her Master of Arts degree in Emotional Impairment from Grand Valley State University.

2-8 Obtaining Critical Answers via NeuroPsych Evaluations
A comprehensive neuropsychological evaluation is essential to providing accurate answers to your child’s cognitive, emotional, and behavioral functioning and determining where the child’s presenting symptoms and difficulties are truly stemming from. This can be accomplished by utilizing standardized tests in order to assess various domains such as intelligence, executive functioning, attention, memory, learning, language, motor, visuospatial, adaptive skills, social abilities and emotional/psychological functioning. This information will allow parents, teachers, doctors, and other service providers to best understand what treatments and resources are necessary in order to help the child function at their best, across all settings. Evaluations can help address concerns such as: developmental delays, autism spectrum disorder, concussions, attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder, learning disorders, memory disorders, language disorders, movement and sensory disorders as well as a variety of psychological disorders such as anxiety and depression.
Dr. Christopher Haley, Dr. Aneta Leczycki, Dr. Peter Thaxter, Social Skills Center

Dr. Haley is a Licensed Clinical Psychologist with 22 years of experience treating children, adolescents, and adults. His specializes in teaching social skills to patients of all ages. He is the owner of three private practices – Psychological and Life Skills Associates, PC and The Social Skills Center, PC in Woodbridge and Fredericksburg, and he recently opened The Social Skills Center, PC in the Oakton/Vienna area. Dr. Haley has authored a book/DVD entitled Peer Process Social Skills Groups: A Treatment Manual for Mental Health Therapists, Behavioral Specialists, and School Professionals.

Dr. Leczycki is a Licensed Pediatric Neuropsychologist specializing in brain function and child development. Dr. Leczycki provides comprehensive neuropsychological evaluation services for children, adolescents, and occasionally young adults. She can help address concerns such as: developmental delays, autism spectrum disorder, concussions, attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder, learning disorders, memory disorders, language disorders, movement and sensory disorders as well as a variety of psychological disorders such as anxiety and depression.

Dr. Thaxter earned his doctoral degree in Clinical-Child Psychology from DePaul University in Chicago, IL. He completed his pre-doctoral clinical internship with Kennedy Krieger Institute/Johns Hopkins School of Medicine and is currently completing a two-year postdoctoral fellowship in Pediatric Neuropsychology. His focus is on the assessment and treatment of neurodevelopmental disorders.

2-9 The Sensory-Language Connection: Teaching Children & Adults to Read and Comprehend
Imagery is a critical factor in cognition and language comprehension. Sensory input is what connects us to the language that we hear and the language that we read. This presentation examines how concept and symbol imagery are related, and how improvements in imagery can have a lasting effect on spelling, reading, comprehension, and math. Imagery-based instruction is especially successful for children previously diagnosed with dyslexia, hyperlexia, ADHD, CAPD, autism spectrum disorders, and other learning difficulties. This presentation will demonstrate how the direct application of symbol imagery can develop sight words, contextual fluency, spelling, and increased speed and stability of phonemic awareness. We will further explore how students can learn to create an imaged gestalt and integrate that imagery with language as a basis for language comprehension and thinking. As individuals develop the ability to image gestalts—including details such as color and movement—their higher order thinking and expressive language skills improve.
Nancy Gregerson, Lindamood-Bell® Learning Center

Nancy is the Center Director for the Lindamood-Bell® Learning Center in Washington DC. She earned her Bachelor of Arts in Secondary Education at St. Olaf College in Minnesota.  After teaching at the high school level, she began her career at Lindamood-Bell in their Twin Cities Learning Center, and has since held various positions within the Lindamood-Bell Learning Center Division. Nancy is currently the Director for the Washington DC Learning Center, including all satellite locations and Learning Center on Campus Partnerships.

2-10 Growth Mindset and the Special Education Child: What’s All the Chatter?
Growth mindset has begun to be a buzz word around the education community. Even though this educational jargon is tossed to and fro it is critical that educators adopt this mindset as to ensure ALL students progress in the area of academics. This workshop will define Growth Mindset, emphasize its importance and discuss strategies that may be used at school and/or home to increase student achievement.
Ann Hines, Principal, Rosa Lee Carter Elementary, Loudoun County Public Schools; Kirk Dolson, Principal, Park View High School, Loudoun County Public Schools

Ann has been a highly energetic and passionate educator for over 30 years, having served as teacher, Dean, Assistant Principal and Principal in both West Virginia and Virginia school systems.   She earned her undergraduate and graduate degrees from Marshall University in West Virginia. Since her arrival to Northern Virginia in 2009, Ann has stood strong in supporting students with special needs through effective professional development, delivering a tight and rigorous curriculum, and expecting excellence from both staff and students. Her passion for the special education community is known throughout Loudoun County, and she views the educator’s role as the most effective element to a student’s success. With that in mind, Mrs. Hines focuses on the belief of a Growth Mindset — one that rewards students for their development of abilities, rather than focusing on a fixed skill set. This perspective is critical, especially in the special education community, where the perception of a student’s ability often becomes reality. Ann is currently the Principal of Rosa Lee Carter Elementary School in Loudoun County Virginia, dedicated to the success of her students and a true champion of the special needs child.

Kirk has been in education for over 20 years as a volunteer, teacher, school based administrator, and division level administrator.  He holds both a bachelors and master’s degree from Virginia Tech, the former in English and the latter in Curriculum and Instruction, with additional licensure in K-12 Administration and Supervision from George Mason. He taught English at Park View High School in Loudoun County, Virginia and was the only English teacher teaching inclusion classes for 11th graders. Kirk fostered an instructional environment that yielded a pass rate on both English SOLs which garnered district attention.  After several years at 2 other schools, Kirk returned to Park View High School, where he serves as the principal of the most diverse high school in Loudoun County.  Park View has multiple programs serving ALL students and proudly hosts an Intensive Program that serves students in varying capacities with a focus on Autism Spectrum students.

3-8 Say What? I Don’t Have to Talk to Say Something
Not being able to SPEAK is not the same as having nothing to SAY.  Meaningful interactions happen every minute of every day.  Unfortunately, individuals who do not communicate in the “typical” manner have information to share, but it is often overlooked.  This presentation will offer an enlightened understanding of non-verbal communication and help you pick up on important cues that you may be missing.  People with little or no speech have the same desire to communicate as the rest of us.  We may just have to work a bit harder to find a communication strategy that gives voice to their thoughts and needs.
Stacey Collazo and Paul Dols, Leesylvania Elementary School, Woodbridge, VA

Stacey has worked in the field of special education for 24 years, with a focus on communication and multi-modal instruction.  She currently teaches students with severe intellectual disabilities at Leesylvania Elementary School in Woodbridge, VA.  The mother of 3 children, Stacy’s youngest was diagnosed with ASD in 2013.

Paul currently teaches children with severe intellectual disabilities at Leesylvania Elementary School in Prince William County. He began his teaching career in Fairfax Country Public Schools and has taught children with special needs for 13 years at a variety of disability levels across all grades. He holds a Master of Education from George Mason University.

3-9 The Facts About Sensory Processing
This session will review the 8 sensory systems (yes, there are 8!) and how sensory processing deficits can be manifested in both children and adults across various diagnoses.  Attendees will be able to identify when a child is having difficulties with sensory processing and learn basic strategies to help their students and children with mild sensory processing needs. There will also be discussion to determine when a referral to a qualified professional may be necessary for the diagnosis and treatment of sensory processing disorder.
Erin Clemens, BCP and Jennifer Flaherty, MOT, OTR/L, Pediatric Achievements

Erin has been a pediatric occupational therapist for 16 years and is the owner and director of Pediatric Achievements, a private clinic in Woodbridge, VA. She recently became Board Certified in Pediatrics, which makes her 1 of 3 in the state of Virginia and 1 of just 125 in the U.S. She is also the President of the Virginia Occupational Therapy Association.  Erin teaches a developmental disabilities course as an adjunct professor at Northern Virginia Community College for the Occupational Therapy Assistant Program and has presented at numerous local, state, and international levels.

Jennifer is a graduate of James Madison University with a master’s degree in Occupational Therapy.  She has worked in outpatient pediatrics, mental health, and school systems, including leading and running small treatment groups and supervising students.  Jennifer is certified in the Handwriting Without Tears program, as well as Therapeutic Listening.  Her primary area of interest is sensory processing disorders, and she is a staff therapist at Pediatric Achievements.  Jennifer is a member of the Virginia Occupational Therapy Association and the American Occupational Therapy Association.


3-10 The Prevalence and Impact of Trauma
People with disabilities are more vulnerable at every point in life to experience traumatic events. Research indicates that persons with disabilities are 4 times more likely to by victims of crime. Many trauma-related symptoms can mirror maladapted behaviors. In this workshop we will discuss viewing behaviors through a trauma lens, how to create a trauma informed environment and promote resiliency to avoid the re-engagement or re-enactment of more trauma.
Jackie Mills-Fernald, Access Ministry, McLean Bible Church

Jackie has served as the Director of Access Ministry at McLean Bible Church for 13 years.  One of the largest disability ministries in the United States, Access provides a broad range of programs to hundreds of families in the Washington, DC area.  She has been on multiple mission trips in recent years to India, the Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Russia, Serbia, Romania, Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, and Ukraine to present workshops for helping churches to reach out and minister to individuals and families impacted by disabilities as well as training sessions for school personnel to help create an inclusive culture.

4-8 Changing Behavior – It’s Not Magic!
Hear evidence-based strategies that can be used to change challenging behavior such as tantrumming, crying, aggressive behavior, and self-injury.  Learn tools for teaching and working with students with special needs who demonstrate challenging behaviors. The first step is to determine whether the function of the behavior is escape, attention, access to something, or automatic/self-stimulation.  Appropriate consequences for addressing challenging behaviors will be addressed, such as removing attention, following through with task demands, and time out from access to items. Discussion will include strategies for antecedent manipulations and positive reinforcement to deter problem behavior, as well as approaches for de-escalation strategies when the problem behavior has occurred.  Both presenters have had extensive experience with students, ranging from mildly intense to severe behavior issues and have been successful positively changing the behaviors of students and individuals with special needs.
Kendra McDonald, Christine Favréaux, The Arc of Loudoun County/Paxton Campus

Kendra began her career in behavior analysis after her son was diagnosed with autism. Following the successful implementation of his home program, she worked as an in-home ABA therapist for other families affected with autism. Kendra emphasizes the principles and teaching procedures of verbal behavior across all teaching opportunities including communication, social skills, and academics.

Christine has been working in the preschool education field for over a decade and received her Child Development Associate (CDA) Credential for Preschools. During this time, she has had the privilege to holding a variety of early childhood education positions, including Lead Teacher, Administrative Assistant, Center Administrator, and now Preschool Director.

4-9 Too Much Screen Time Makes Kids Lazy – Games Can Lead to Academic Success
Kindergartners with strong social and emotional skills are more likely than their peers to succeed academically and professionally, according to a 20 year study that followed more than 750 children until age 25. Some recent research seems to show that children with mood dysregulation requires methodically eliminating all electronics use for several weeks –an “”electronics fast”. Let’s get them back to talking and interacting with each other. During this workshop we will go back to the basics by reviewing games that encourage children to share and take turns. Participants will work in pairs or small groups to evaluate a number of games that address these skills.
Dr. Jayne Sullivan, Virginia Wesleyan College

Dr. Sullivan has been an Associate Professor at Virginia Wesleyan College in Norfolk for the past 18 years. She has retired after 30 years from St Mary’s County in Maryland where she was a teacher, principal, and Director of Special Education Services. She was selected as Woman of the Year in that county.   Jayne is also involved in Rotary for 25 years and works at many jobs in her Church. She is the mother of a son and daughter and has 2 grandchildren.

4-10 Benefits of Animal Therapy
People of all ages benefit from working with Therapy Dogs, but there is a unique connection between dogs and children. Learn about Animal Assisted Intervention, Play Therapy, and Pet Therapy, and observe an interactive live demonstration with a Registered Therapy Dog Team. See how dogs can be used to help children engage in various activities that promote sensory stimulation, communication, and encourages socialization among children with special needs. Professionals, families, and ministries can all benefit from utilizing a therapy animal to help those with special needs.
Michelle Robinson, Summit Therapy Animal Services, LLC

Michelle founded Summit Therapy Animal Services, LLC (SummitTAS) in 2010 out of a deep desire to help people achieve their rehabilitation and therapy goals through the use of animals. Michelle and her dogs work with people of all ages and visit churches, schools, homeless shelters, juvenile detention centers, retirement communities, and respite centers for the special needs community. She helps parents, teachers, and staff learn about the benefits of using animals to motivate those who are affected by intellectual, emotional or physical challenges, as well as families impacted by autism.