Session descriptions


2020 Keynote Presentation


ADA 30 Years Later: How Far We’ve Come and the Work Left to Do


Speakers:  Donna Thornton and Ricardo Thornton, Self-Advocates

Session Description:

In this compelling session, hear how one couple has traveled the road from institution to inclusion, and how the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) helped on that journey.


Ricardo and Donna Thornton survived the notorious Forest Haven institution located on the outskirts of Washington, DC, a place Ricardo describes as a prison for people with intellectual disabilities.  Having both lived in the institution from the time they were small children, full, inclusive access to the community and to the rights enjoyed by other Americans was denied to Ricardo and Donna until they left the institution in 1978 and 1979 respectively.  After leaving the institution, Ricardo and Donna worked full time and began living independently in a home of their own.  Since they were then wards of the District of Columbia, Ricardo and Donna had to petition the city to get married.  Finally granted approval, they married in 1984 and welcomed a son, Ricardo Jr., in 1986.


The couple has been featured on multiple national television shows including several appearances on 60 Minutes.  Donna and Ricardo were also the inspiration for the 2003 film Profoundly Normal.  Through their own personal courage, grit, and determination, along with support from legislation such as the ADA and the Olmstead Decision, Ricardo and Donna helped shut down Forest Haven. They continue to prove that people with disabilities can and should live full and rewarding lives in the community full of love, friendship, service, and leadership.


Speakers Bio:

Ricardo and Donna Thornton are active and strong self-advocates in the Nation’s Capital, the District of Columbia.  They have been married for over 32 years and have a son, Ricky, Jr., who is 31 years old and are the proud grandparents of two girls and a boy.  Ricardo and Donna are former residents of the District’s institution for people with developmental disabilities, Forest Haven.


The couple has been featured on multiple national television shows including several appearances on 60 Minutes.  Donna and Ricardo were also the inspiration for the 2003 film Profoundly Normal.


Both Ricardo and Donna are active members of the District’s self-advocacy group, Project ACTION!​, a self-advocacy coalition of adult with disabilities.  Ricardo and Donna have received many awards and were recognized as “Washingtonians of the Year” in 1997.  They are passionate advocates and believe that people should be able to make their own decisions and choices, and that people with disabilities can achieve almost anything with support.


Ricardo has worked for over 40 years at the Martin Luther King, Jr., Library and Donna retired from the Walter Reed Army Medical Center in May 2017 after working there for over 24 years.  They both are active in their faith community, the Lee Memorial Baptist Church where Ricardo and Ricky are Deacons.  They also enjoy acting and are part of a theatre group, Players Unlimited, where they perform in annual productions throughout the District of Columbia at local theaters.  Ricardo served on the President’s Committee on Persons with Disabilities and was appointed by President Obama in 2014.


Ricardo also serves on the DC Developmental Disabilities Council, University Legal Services, and many other Boards and committees and is an international ambassador with Special Olympics.


Donna serves on the Board of Directors of Quality Trust and is a mentor to new self-advocates encouraging them to speak up and be heard.


10:15 - 11:25  Concurrent Session 1


Legislation:  Policy in Delaware: An Interactive Discussion with Legislators


Speakers:  

Senator Anthony Delcollo

Senator Elizabeth Lockman

Representative Krista Griffith, Esquire

Representative Michael Smith, MPA

​​Moderator:  Rita Landgraf, Director, University of DE Partnership for Healthy Communities,
Professor of Practice and Distinguished Health and Social Services
Administrator in Residence.


Session Description:

There are twelve new members in the House of Representatives and five in the Senate as of last session.  Three of them are joining us today.


This session will be a discussion with the audience.  We will be asking them for their opinions on disability issues that matter to families in Delaware.  We want to hear about legislation that is of interest to them and how they plan to support the disability community.


Speakers Bios:

Senator Anthony Delcollo is a 30-year resident of Marshallton Heights who now resides in Elsmere and is very active in his community.


Anthony graduated Salesianum High School in 2004.  Active in scouting, he attained the rank of Eagle Scout in Troop 21.  In 2011, Anthony graduated magna cum laude from Seton Hall University School of Law.


Anthony was admitted to the Delaware Bar in 2011.  He served as a law clerk to the Honorable Mary Johnston in the New Castle County Superior Court for the State of Delaware and practiced at Heckler & Frabizzio in the Workmen’s Compensation Defense and Insurance Liability Defense Departments.


Currently, Anthony still practices as an attorney in the areas of employment law, commercial law, landlord/tenant law, construction litigation, and civil rights/Constitutional law.


Senator Elizabeth "Tizzy" Lockman represents communities in the central and west Wilmington areas, one of the most diverse and densely populated districts in Delaware.


Raised in Wilmington’s Cool Spring neighborhood, she entered community service through Public Allies Delaware.  She later served as vice chair of the Wilmington Education Improvement Commission and director of the Parent Advisory Council on Education (PACE) initiative at the Christina Cultural Arts Center.

Senator Lockman is vice chair of the Senate Education Committee and serves on the Corrections & Public Safety Committee and Transportation Committee.  She also serves as co-chair of the Redding Consortium for Education Equity, which is developing ways the Delaware Department of Education and the General Assembly can improve outcomes for students in Wilmington and Northern New Castle County.


Representative Krista Griffith, Esquire, represents the 12th District of Delaware.  She is a parent, attorney and advocate who has dedicated her career to protecting Delaware residents and improving the lives of people of all ages.

Krista served for nearly a decade as a Deputy Attorney General in the Delaware Department of Justice under the administrations of Beau Biden and Matt Denn.  She led Attorney General Biden's Senior Protection Initiative and was assistant unit head of the Department of Justice's Domestic Violence and Child Abuse units.

Krista knows first-hand the healthcare challenges confronting Delaware families.  When her younger son, Nate, faced a life-threatening leukemia diagnosis, Krista left the Department of Justice in 2015.  She spent months at Nate’s bedside while he underwent successful cancer treatment.


Representative Michael Smith, MPA, of Newark was first elected in 2018 to represent in the Delaware House of Representatives the citizens of the 22nd District, which includes Pike Creek Valley and parts of Hockessin and Newark.

As a member of the House, Rep. Smith serves on the following standing House committees: Education; Health & Human Development; Labor; Economic Development, Banking, Insurance & Commerce; and Veterans Affairs.

​Rep. Smith is Director of Strategic Initiatives & Partnerships at the University of Delaware’s College of Health Sciences.  He and his wife, Christy, have two children: Braedon and Nathan.


Rita Landgraf joined the University of Delaware’s College of Health Sciences in early 2017 as professor of practice and distinguished health and social services administrator in residence.  She also serves as Director of the UD Partnership for Healthy Communities (PHC), a cross-college, cross-state initiative.


Rita’s focus is concentrated on the social, economic, and environmental conditions that support and sustain healthy communities and the relationship of these conditions to a cost-effective healthcare system, along with policy impacts.


​Prior to joining the faculty at UD, Rita served as Cabinet Secretary of the Delaware Department of Health and Social Services. She currently serves on several boards, and collaboratives focused on health transformation and advancing healthy outcomes for Delawareans.


Independence through AT:  The Internet of Things (IoT)

Speaker:

Brian Norton, ATP, CEAS, Director of Assistive Technology, Crossroads INDATA Project

Session Description:
The latest trend in technology is the Internet of Things (IoT).  This includes wearable technology and internet connected devices like fitness trackers, smart watches, smart speakers, voice assistants, mobile tech, and so much more.  With these devices come new opportunities to meet the needs of individuals with disabilities.  This session will focus on how these devices can be used to assist individuals with organization, productivity, and independence at work and home.


Speaker Bio:

Brian Norton, ATP, CEAS, began his career at Easterseals Crossroads in 1997, and currently serves as the Director of Assistive Technology.  He is responsible for the day-to-day operations of Clinical Assistive Technology and the INDATA Project, a federally funded statewide assistive technology program for the agency.  Brian utilizes his many years of experience to provide direction, leadership and training to a diverse and highly skilled team of AT specialists.  He holds a bachelor’s degree from Anderson University and is a RESNA-certified Assistive Technology Professional (ATP) and a Certified Ergonomic Assessment Specialist (CEAS).  Brian hosts a podcast and radio show called “ATFAQ – Assistive Technology Frequently Asked Questions” and is an adjunct faculty member at Vincennes University.

Family:  Delaware's Division of Human Relations and Accommodation Law - How You Benefit!


Speaker:

Joseph Dawson, J.D., Investigator, Delaware Division of Human Relations


Session Description:

This session promises to be both lighthearted and informative.  We take the participants into the Division's world (as a state agency) and the State Human Relations Commission whom we administratively support.  As with most state agencies, learning what we do and how to find us is imperative.  So, this presentation will discuss not only our investigative process but how to contact us.  We delve into Delaware's Equal Accommodation law then take a look at some common unlawful practices.  Participants will learn there are numerous agencies covered.  Not only agencies providing consumer goods but institutes of higher learning and different levels of government.  The session will educate participants on all basis of protection, but with particular emphasis on persons with disabilities.  The instructor will provide a simple disability defined overview to benefit all participants to increase their awareness.  Then finally, this session will close with how our division benefits participants.  At the end of this presentation, participants will have the opportunity for Q&A.

Speaker Bio:

Joseph Dawson, J.D., has been an investigator with the Delaware Division of Human Relations since April 2018. He is responsible for investigating alleged violations of the State and Federal Fair Housing Acts and the Delaware Equal Accommodations Law.  He relocated to Delaware after more than three decades of public service in New York, first as a state prosecutor and later as a Criminal Court Judge. While working in the Manhattan District Attorney's Office in 1990, he successfully argued before New York's highest court that hearing-impaired individuals had a right to be considered for jury service on the same terms as others, and could no longer be automatically excluded without any inquiry into their ability to serve or the extent to which a reasonable accommodation could be provided.


Education:  Special Education and Career Readiness: Are We Meeting the Needs of Our Students?


Speakers:  

Dylan Carnright, Web Developer, Del Tech Student and Cape Henlopen High School Graduate

Dale Matusevich, Education Associate Secondary and Transition Services, Delaware Department of Education

George Tilson, Ed.D., Founder, Tilson & Diaz Solutions, Inc.


Session Description:

Career and Technical Education is a veritable gold mine for students with disabilities.  Delaware, in association with the National Alliance for Partnerships in Equity, has implemented a bold initiative to increase student access to, and success in, CTE with the ultimate goal of expanding career opportunities in middle skill occupations.  Participants will (a) be informed of the data-based decision making process local education agencies implemented; (b) understand the use of data-based decision making during student scheduling; and (c) walk away with a comprehensive literature review and root cause analysis document and other resources.


Speakers Bios:

Dylan Carnright is a 2019 graduate of Cape Henlopen High School, where he completed the Computer Science pathway and earned the President’s Award for Educational Excellence.  Dylan was a National Honor Society member, and he traveled abroad with the school’s Spanish classes.  He is currently attending Delaware Technical Community College studying Information Technology with concentrations in Cyber Security and Programming.  He is a web developer for a local website design and tech support company, who hired him at age 16 after completing an internship.  Dylan has presented at the Delaware Transition Conference and the Delaware Pathways Conference.  He is well respected for his self-advocacy skills.  Dylan is determined to never let his disabilities stop him and he is determined to be successful and accomplish his goals.

Dale Matusevich  has been with the Delaware Department of Education since July 2008 as the Education Associate for Secondary and Transition Services.  Prior to his position with DDOE, he was employed at the Virginia Department of Education’s Training and Technical Assistance Center at Radford University.  While a special education teacher for Roanoke City Public Schools in Roanoke, Virginia, he taught at the elementary, middle and high school levels in a variety of settings.  Dale has an undergraduate degree in psychology from Hampden-Sydney College and a master’s degree in special education from Radford University.  Dale has also served as President for the national Division on Career Development and Transition (DCDT), where he still coordinates the DCDT strand for the annual Council for Exceptional Children (CEC) Convention.

George Tilson, Ed.D., is the Founder of Tilson & Diaz Solutions, Inc., based in Takoma Park, Maryland.  Since 1975, he has been a classroom teacher, employment specialist, program evaluator, and project manager.  In 1989, he was on the team that developed Marriott's Bridges from school to work project, subsequently becoming its national director.  The project works to secure competitive employment in every industry sector for young adults with disabilities.  Currently, Dr. Tilson provides technical assistance to transition stakeholders nationally and internationally.  He is co-author of the popular book Working Relationships and contributing author to The Way to Work.  In 2015, he was a presenter at the annual conference of the European Union Supported Employment Initiative in Oslo, Norway.


1:25 - 2:25  Concurrent Session 2

Legislation:  National Policy: What is Happening on the Hill?


Speakers:  

Ken Capone, Public Policy Director, People on the Go of Maryland
Nicole Jorwic, J.D., Senior Director of Public Policy, The Arc of the United States

Session Description:

Long Term Services and Supports (LTSS) along with competitive employment are fundamental to people with disabilities.  Much work has been done to protect funding for these services and to move more supports into the community.  Our two speakers are national experts on supporting people in their communities.  Advocates will learn about pending proposals affecting LTSS, employment, and how to make their voices heard during the important debates about the future of these supports


Speakers Bios:

Ken Capone is a recognized leader in Maryland's self-advocacy movement.  He is the Public Policy Director for People on the Go Maryland, Maryland's statewide self-advocacy organization and sits on the Board for Disability Rights Maryland, Maryland's Protection and Advocacy agency.  Mr. Capone spent two terms on the United States Presidents Committee for individuals with intellectual disabilities.  He is well versed in community living and the importance of directing your own services.  He studied Computer Programming at Johns Hopkins University, completed the Partners in Policy Making program and served as a Legislative Intern with the Maryland Senate.  

Nicole Jorwic, J.D., is the Senior Director of Public Policy at The Arc of the United States.  Prior to joining The Arc policy team, Nicole served as Senior Policy Advisor and Manager of the Employment First Initiative in Illinois.  Prior to that appointment, Nicole served as the CEO/President of the Institute on Public Policy for People with Disabilities.  Nicole is also an accomplished special education attorney and an advocate for students with disabilities, their families, and her brother Chris who has autism.


Independence through AT:  Assistive Technology for Adults: Help for Living Life to Its Fullest

Speakers:  

Geralyn Aellis, Planner IV, Division of Services for Aging and Adults with Physical Disabilities

Karen Latimer, Senior Assistive Technology Manager, Center for Disabilities Studies

Beth Mineo, Ph.D., CCC-SLP, Director, Center for Disabilities Studies


Session Description:

Many individuals acquire disabilities as they age and have no idea that devices exist that can help them regain their independence and live more safely and comfortably.  The Delaware Assistive Technology Initiative (DATI), with support from the Delaware Division of Services for Aging and Adults with Physical Disabilities, has curated a special collection of assistive devices particularly useful to individuals with acquired disabilities (although the devices are beneficial for people with disabilities of all ages).  These devices are available for demonstration and short-term loan at every DATI Assistive Technology Resource Center statewide.  There are devices to address vision, hearing and communication challenges, memory issues, medication management, and food preparation and consumption.  There are also devices that assist with participation in favorite hobbies such as needlework, fishing and gardening.  The session will feature a host of products and discuss the ways in which older individuals, their family members or other support people can learn about technology options and try them at no cost before making a purchase decision.

Speakers Bios:

Geralyn Aellis is a senior level planner with the Division of Services for Aging and Adults with Physical Disabilities (DSAAPD) for the State of Delaware.  She has an extensive planning background and is the lead assigned to Community Nutrition, Caregiver Services and the Senior Trust Fund.  The Senior Trust Fund is the funding source for the assistive technologies grant for seniors received by the University of Delaware Center for Disabilities Studies.  Geralyn assists in developing service specifications for DSAAPD Community Programs, provides strategic planning, program development, implementation, research and grant management.  She is involved with caregiver resources and writes the Delaware Cares electronic newsletter for DSAAPD.

Karen Latimer is a Senior Assistive Technology Manager with the Delaware Assistive Technology Initiative at the University of Delaware Center for Disabilities Studies.  Her degree is in Deaf Education and she has extensive background in working with technology solutions for Deaf and Hard of Hearing populations.  She is also fluent in American Sign Language.  Karen holds the Assistive Technology Practitioner credential from the Rehabilitation and Assistive Technology Society of North America (RESNA).  Karen has seen a lot of changes in the field of assistive technology over her near 30-year career in AT, which includes time as an AT specialist and student services coordinator for AT at Temple University in Philadelphia and in her private practice based in Arizona.  She has worked with teams to help them find and implement AT solutions in school as well as employment settings.

Beth Mineo, Ph.D., CCC-SLP, is the Director of the Center for Disabilities Studies, Director of the Assistive Technology Unit at the Center, and Associate Professor in the School of Education and Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders at the University of Delaware.  She completed undergraduate training at Pennsylvania State University and her graduate degrees at the University of Pittsburgh.  Trained as a speech/language pathologist, she has experience in project design and implementation, services for individuals with disabilities, assistive technology development and utilization, and research and evaluation.  She sits on committees and councils in Delaware and nationally and is a frequent presenter at national conferences. Beth has published many articles and book chapters and has served as editor-in-chief of the journal Assistive Technology.

Family:  Supporting Survivors: What Everyone Should Know About Trauma


Speaker:  

Leslie Hailey, Training/Education Administrator I, Division of Developmental Disabilities Services


Session Description:

This presentation provides an overview and examples of trauma.  The session provides a focused view of what trauma “looks like” for the survivor (what trauma makes people DO or how survivors might act) and a very specific view of how to plan to support people in the 3 opportunities that we have to address trauma.  Those opportunities are as follows:


BEFORE it happens - What do people need to learn or do to prepare for the “in case”?


WHILE it is happening - How people can mentally/emotionally/physically survive in the moment.  Positive self-talk while abuse is happening or while living through a disaster, etc.


AFTER it happens - Self-care, stress-relieving techniques, how supporters should respond to disclosure, what survivors can do, identifying the “safe people” in the person’s life that they can report to if something happens.


The session will include a simple “Risk Reduction Planning Tool” developed by Dr. Nora that participants can take with them and complete as they begin to think about how to prepare for the 3 stages.

Speaker Bio:

Leslie Hailey is a Training/Education Administrator and has worked with the Division of Developmental Disabilities Services (DDDS) for the past 24 years.  She served on the Essential Lifestyle Planning Task Force and assisted self-advocates in planning the first ever Self-Advocate Conference in Delaware.  Leslie completed 40 hours of training about domestic violence through the New Jersey Battered Women’s Project.  She is currently Delaware’s Facilitator for the National Community of Practice for Supporting Families of Individuals with Intellectual & Developmental Disabilities.  Leslie conducts workshops in implementing person-directed supports, understanding disabilities, supporting grief and loss, positive behavior supports, understanding trauma, the Americans with Disabilities Act and a host of other topics. 


Education:  SAFE, Understood, and Included: Law Enforcement and People with Disabilities

Speaker:  

Patti Saylor, BSN, BS, M Ed, National Advocate

Session Description:

On January 12, 2013, Ethan Saylor, a 26-year old man with Down Syndrome, died of asphyxiation during an interaction with off-duty police officers at a movie theater in Maryland.  This tragic and preventable event brought to light a lack of understanding that exists between law enforcement and individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD).


Ethan's mother, Patti Saylor, will share the grassroots advocacy movement that resulted in improved training and greater relationship and safety between law enforcement and people with disabilities in Maryland.


She will share how advocates and people in law enforcement worked together to achieve the adoption of training objectives by The Maryland Police Training Commission and the ongoing training of both entry level and in-service officers.


Ms. Saylor will also discuss the establishment in 2015 of The Ethan Saylor Alliance for Self-Advocates as Educators, a state entity within the Maryland Department of Disability.


Speaker Bio:

Patti Saylor, BSN, BS, M Ed, is the proud mother of three adult children, Emma, Adam and the late Ethan Saylor, a 26-yr. old man with Down syndrome who was tragically killed in January 2013 during an interaction with law-enforcement officers in a Frederick County movie theater.


Patti advocates in Maryland and nationally to improve relationships and interactions between first responders and individuals with disabilities. She owns and operates a nursing consulting and health case management business working for adults with developmental disabilities.  She earned undergraduate degrees in nursing and therapeutic recreation, a master’s degree in special education from John Hopkins University and is a member of the Educators Steering Committee of The Ethan Saylor Alliance for Self-Advocates, the Board of Directors for the Advocacy Network and serves on the Advisory Council for A Mother's Rest, respite retreat Inns.


Ms. Saylor enjoys spending time in Delaware at her seasonal home on the Indian River Bay.


2:45 - 3:45  Concurrent Session 3

Legislation:  30 Years of ADA, The Journey

Speakers:

Julie Farrar, National ADAPT Activist
Daniese McMullin-Powell, National ADAPT Activist


Session Description:

Why was the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990 needed?  How did the law makers in Washington D.C. get the message?  How far have we come?  Are we done yet?  Join us to see video clips of the original “Crawl up the steps of the U.S. Capitol.”  Hear stories from original civil rights activists for ADA and Olmstead.  Learn about the most recently introduced, DIA, Disability Integration Act of 2019.

Speakers Bios:

Julie Farrar is a disability rights activist/advocate and ADAPT member.  She joined ADAPT in 1984 and chained herself to people (mostly politicians), places and things throughout the 1980's and early 1990's fighting for accessible public transportation.  As a teenager, she was part of the group that crawled up the steps to the Capitol in Washington DC in an effort to pass the Americans with Disabilities Act, which was signed into law by President George H. Bush in 1990.  She continues the fight (and occasionally gets arrested) for supports and services that allow all Americans to age in place and remain active members of our community.  She currently lives in New York with 2 of her three daughters and is the Coordinator for the Veteran Directed Care Program at the Independent Living Center of the Hudson Valley.


Daniese McMullin-Powell is the mother of 3, grandmother of 3, great grandmother of 4, a song writer, poet, cook, mechanic, artist, and dog trainer.


At the age of 50 in 1996, she became a Grass Roots Disability Rights Activist with National ADAPT and formed the Delaware Chapter of ADAPT and Not Dead Yet (NDY).  In the fight for Civil Rights, including full Community Integration for people with disabilities, she has engaged in civil disobedience resulting in several arrests along the path to Freedom for all.


Daniese is a 1996 graduate of Partners in Policy Making, former Chair of the State Council for Persons with Disabilities and has sat on the Boards of Directors of Independent Resources, Inc and Freedom Center for Independent Living.  She worked for DE Medicaid’s Money Follows the Person Program for several years and received the 2008 Regional Award for Advocacy from the National Council on Independent Living.

Independence through AT:  My Job, My Life: Real Work for Real Pay

Speakers:  

Laura Strmel, MPA, CESP, Director of Employment, St. John’s Community Services Delaware (SJCS)

Edward Thompson, CESP, Kent / Sussex County Coordinator, St. John’s Community Services Delaware (SJCS)​


Session Description:

Meet with successfully working Delawareans and their employers gaining increased integration and independence through participation in Supported Employment programming.  This interactive panel invites attendees to learn more about the development of customized and competitive paid roles highlighting and focused on Abilities, Job Matching and continued professional and natural supports in the workplace.                      

Speakers Bios:
Laura Strmel, MPA, CESP,
joined the SJCS team in September 2014 to spearhead the start-up of SJCS operations in Delaware and is currently the Director of Employment in her home state.  Laura holds a Master’s in Public Administration, with a Specialization in Human Service Administration from the nationally- recognized program offered by the University of Delaware Biden School of Public Policy & Administration.  Laura earned her CESP (Certified Employment Support Professional) in 2015 and has brought this opportunity to her colleagues in Delaware by working with the state to host the first CESP exam in Delaware in 2016.  With Laura’s unique blend of public and private sector experience, guidance from SJCS Executive and State Senior Leadership plus a large dose of tenacity, SJCS-DE is regarded as an innovative resource for advocacy of the Employment First Initiative in Delaware.  Laura lives in Wilmington, Delaware with her husband, Vincent and high school senior, Mallory.


Edward Thompson, CESP, has worked in the human service field since 1998 in areas of mental & developmental health, as well as Traumatic Brain Injury.  Coming to SJCS Delaware with an extensive wealth of experience, Ed is now leading the SJCS Kent County Team’s innovative Employment Services.  His steadfast focus on a customized approach to each individual’s goals and supports has marked successful job placements and positive community relationships.  As a parent of child living with a disability, Ed has insight from the parental perspective as well as the current state of service delivery and can empathize with the family experience.  This has enhanced his approach to advocacy and his work as a Certified Employment Support Professional (CESP).  Ed lives in Dover with his wife, Amanda and five children ranging in ages from 21 to 6 years old.

Family:  Supporting Your Adolescent in Building Relationships

Speaker:  

Philinda Mindler, LCSW, Team Leader, Adolescent Resource Center, Children & Families First

Session Description: 

At the end of session, participants will understand why having a social network is important for their adolescent and be able to identify ways to help their adolescents build relationships at school and in the community.


People with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD) often have a limited social circle.  When it comes to friendships, dating, and other relationships outside of family members, parents and guardians want their children to have meaningful connections but may have fears that their adolescent will be taken advantage of or other concerns for their safety and well-being.  This training will discuss the importance of social connection for adolescents, and how parents and caregivers can provide crucial support and empower their adolescents to broaden their social circle.


The workshop will include strategies that parents can use help enhance adolescents’ social skills, understanding of boundaries, and self-advocacy — resources that can assist with building relationships in all 3 counties.  This session will also incorporate an activity Mapping out Circles of Support.


Speaker Bio:
Philinda Mindler, LCSW,
practices in the area of reproductive health education and counseling.  She works for Children & Families First and in its Adolescent Resource Center program, she began presenting sexual health educational sessions for students and workshops for parents in 2003.  One of her focus areas is working with adolescents with IDD.  She also provides counseling in ARC’s medical clinic partnership with Nemours.  Before entering the field of reproductive health education, Philinda was a case manager at a pilot program for Head Start that served an emergency shelter followed by a position as a Children’s Service Coordinator in an interpersonal violence shelter.  Those experiences working with families in crisis sparked an interest in helping people plan their reproductive lives as a way to improve their quality of life.


Education:  Supporting Diverse Learners in Career and Technical Education Coursework

Speakers:  

Dale Matusevich, Education Associate Secondary and Transition Services, Delaware Department of Education

George Tilson, Ed.D., Founder, Tilson & Diaz Solutions, Inc.

Session Description:

Delaware is committed to ensuring that all of our young people exit high school “college and career ready” – that they will ultimately become contributors to our state, national and global economy, through career paths that are personally meaningful and rewarding to them.  Given our diverse student population – one that includes students with disabilities and those with other learning challenges – this is no easy mission.  It requires a fearless team approach: educators across disciplines contributing their unique talents, knowledge, energy, and resources to create learning environments and experiences that propel our students towards an exciting future.  Topics covered include the Career Development Continuum, from pre-school through adulthood, with an emphasis on preparing Middle School students for the transition to high school life, appropriate and meaningful CTE Pathways, and exposing them to post high school options for further education and training.  The focus will center on diverse learners, including students with disabilities to include Who are they; What are their unique characteristics, and What are the greatest challenges they present to educators?  Rounding out the discussion, participants will discuss strategies for getting to know the strengths and needs of these learners.


Speakers Bios:

Dale Matusevich has been with the Delaware Department of Education since July 2008 as the
Education Associate for Secondary and Transition Services.  Prior to his position with DDOE, he was employed at the Virginia Department of Education’s Training and Technical Assistance Center at Radford University.  While a special education teacher for Roanoke City Public Schools in Roanoke, Virginia, he taught at the elementary, middle and high school levels in a variety of settings.  Dale has an undergraduate degree in psychology from Hampden-Sydney College and a master’s degree in special education from Radford University.  Dale has also served as President for the national Division on Career Development and Transition (DCDT), where he still coordinates the DCDT strand for the annual Council for Exceptional Children (CEC) Convention.


George Tilson, Ed.D., is the Founder of Tilson & Diaz Solutions, Inc., based in Takoma Park, Maryland.  Since 1975, he has been a classroom teacher, employment specialist, program evaluator, and project manager.  In 1989, he was on the team that developed Marriott's Bridges from school to work project, subsequently becoming its national director.  The project works to secure competitive employment in every industry sector for young adults with disabilities.  Currently, Dr. Tilson provides technical assistance to transition stakeholders nationally and internationally.  He is co-author of the popular book Working Relationships and contributing author to The Way to Work.  In 2015, he was a presenter at the annual conference of the European Union Supported Employment Initiative in Oslo, Norway.