Keynotes & Plenary

Session Descriptions

Monday August 3rd, 7:00 pm - 8:30 pm

Mary Gonzales "Advocacy in Action" 

Mary Gonzales will engage and inspire as she shares her experience in community organizing for real change.  Mary is a legendary community organizer and though retired now, she continues as a leader in The Arc of U.S., and organizations she has founded including, the Gamaliel Network, an international institute building faith-based organizing (a young Barack Obama, was one of their community organizer trainees).   

Come learn how to turn our Advocacy into Action! 


Tuesday August 4th, 

7:00pm - 8:30pm

"COVID19 & Beyond, Impacts on Budget and Services" 

Governor Northam (Confirmed), Delegate Luke Torian, Chairmen of Appropriations, Delegate Mark Sickles, Chair Health & Human Resources Subcommittee Chair, Senator George Barker, Senior Member of Finance and Appropriations, Senator Hanger, Senior Member of Finance and Appropriations,  Karen Kimsey, Director, Department of Medical Assistance Services (DMAS), Alison Land, Commissioner, Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services, Dr. James Land, Superintendent, Department of Education  

2020 has brought uncertainty to all of us.  The impact of COVID on the state budget has restulted in freezes to previously approved expenses, including the rate increases for Medicaid Waiver Services.  We invited the chairs of the money committees to join us in a discussion of the real life impact Covid will have on services in Virginia.  Leadership also join us to share updates from their departments with our members.  

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Wednesday August 5th,

7:00 pm - 8:30 pm

Alfie Kohn 

Moving from "Doing to" to "Working with"

To support people with developmental challenges, we must begin by understanding what sort of approach DOESN'T make sense, and why. In his keynote address, Alfie Kohn, author of Punished by Rewards and Unconditional Parenting, will argue that manipulating people's behavior, is both morally objectionable and, according to decades of research, unlikely to be effective in the long run.

Kohn will offer a critique of interventions such as ABA, which he contends is particularly destructive for children on the spectrum. He will talk about the preoccupation with measurable behaviors that ignores the experience of the human being who engages in those behaviors; the proven drawbacks of carrot-and-stick control across a wide range of settings; and the poisonous message of conditional acceptance: "You are valuable only when you act the way you are told." Kohn will conclude his presentation by describing humane, constructive alternatives that are rooted in a respectful relationship rather than in power and control.


Thursday August 6th,

3:30 pm - 5:00 pm

Nicole Jorwic, Senior Director Public Policy, The Arc of United States

Kyle Smiddie, Trial Attorney, U.S. Department of Justice, Civil Rigths Division

Nicole will join us to share updates and information on the National issues that are key in the advocacy movement.  Smiddie will share an update from DOJ, as Virginia enters the final year in a decade long Settlement Agreement designed to build community based services for citizens with developmental disabilities.  

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