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Sessions Added As Confirmed!

2:30p - 3:30p    

Breakout Sessions I

A Great Partnership: How Genetics Can Support You and Your Family

Presenter: Tahnee Causey, MS, CGC

Genetics is an ever-changing field that can seem overwhelming for families. During this talk, we hope to describe why families may seek a genetics appointment or pursue genetic testing. We will discuss what to expect during a genetics appointment, why testing may be suggested, and what kind of testing is commonly performed. We will also discuss how to access genetic services in Virginia.

Arts-Based Community Engagement

Presenter: Amy Keenan Amago

The visual arts provide rich avenues for meaningful community engagement for individuals with developmental disabilities. This vibrant, multi-sensory presentation will demonstrate how visual arts programming can increase opportunities for community engagement in ways that support social inclusion, identity formation, career development, and disability advocacy work. An art educator, artist, and the Director of The Arc Studio at The Arc of the Piedmont will describe how arts programming has transformed community engagement in her chapter and will share innovative approaches for using the arts to deepen community participation, inclusion, and engagement for individuals at Arc chapters across the state.

Medicaid Denials and Appeals – Member Rights when Medicaid Waiver Services are Denied, Revoked, or Reduced

Presenter: John Cimino

This session will cover Medicaid Members’ rights when they are affected by an adverse Medicaid decision to deny, reduce, or revoke their Medicaid services. We will focus on Medicaid Waiver service denials and appeals, but the information will be relevant to traditional Medicaid service denials as well. Participants will learn when they have a right to receive a written explanation of an adverse decision, as well as their appeal rights when they disagree with a decision that affects their Waiver services.

Hot Topics in Self-Advocacy

Presenter: Matt Shapiro

3:45p - 4:45p    

Breakout Sessions II

Waiver and the Supports Intensity Scale (SIS)

Presenters : Kenneth Haines and Maureen Kennedy

This will be an overview of the new Developmental Disability (DD) Waiver Slots and the Supports Intensity Scale (SIS). Ken will first provide an overview of the process of assigning slots for the DD waivers. Then Maureen will provide an overview of the SIS including scheduling, what to expect, how to prepare, the role of the respondent, and what the SIS does and does not impact.

Self-Determination for Inclusive Education 

Presenters: Beth and Taylin Sellers

Taylin and her mom Beth have learned through experience what it takes to be successful in the general education classroom as a student with a disability. Taylin is a 17-year-old high school student who is blind with an orthopedic impairment. In this session, Taylin will share her own experiences as a self-advocate, with support from her mom, to help others learn how to advocate for and create a fully inclusive learning environment for people with disabilities in a school and community setting.

Dating in a Digital World-Safely

Presenter: Jennifer Palmer 

During this session, we will talk about how people with disabilities connect online and IRL and how to develop a strong friendship or relationship. Is a dating app right for me? Am I getting scammed? How do I know this person is sincere? How can I make sure

and be safe? These questions and more will be discussed in this interactive session.

Advocacy 101


..................................Tuesday, Aug 20............................... 

9:00-10:30 KEYNOTE and BREAKFAST 
10:45a - 11:45a

Breakout Sessions III

Beneath the Surface: Exploring the Depths of Behavior in Young Children

Presenter: Lisa Terry, MS, M.Ed.

The Growing Brain," a ZERO TO THREE curriculum, illuminates the profound link between brain development and children's behavior. Discover how development, environmental factors, and individual temperament contribute to children's behavior and gain valuable tools for fostering positive growth and resilience. Whether you're a parent, educator, or caregiver, this interactive session empowers you to navigate the complexities of early childhood with empathy, understanding, and effective guidance.

Empowering Independence: A Journey with Arc2Independence

Presenters: Ashley Africa-Osborne and Ashley Schalick

Arc2Indpendence brings virtual lessons directly to people with intellectual and developmental disabilities to guide them through life's daily routines and challenges. Created by the Tech for Independent Living team at The Arc of Northern Virginia, the app supports people with IDD in creating full inclusion and participation in the community. Arc2Independence has a full library of general lessons across Transportation, Daily Living Skills, Employment, and Safety that can be accessed through a phone, tablet, or computer. The app can be used across an individual’s full circle of care, including caregivers, family members, schools, job coaches, etc. to consistently teach skills to be independent in their communities. Are you a disability organization, group home, service provider, or day program looking to enhance your support? Our app's general lesson library membership is available for purchase on an organizational level.

Elemental Documentary Film 2

Presenters: Jesse Monroe and Shay Ruff

More to Come


12:00 - 2:00 POLICY LUNCHEON
2:15p - 3:15p

Breakout Sessions IV

Practical Self Defense

Presenter: Sensei Carla Dannouf

Accommodating each person's needs, this class will focus on safety in everyday life with tools and tips to help anyone to be more aware of their surroundings and to move through their day with safety in mind.

Navigating New Paths: Birth and Postpartum Doulas Supporting Families of Children with Special Needs

Presenters: Telisha Woodfin, LMSW, CD, CEIM and Brittany Watson, MSW, PMH-C, CHES

This presentation will highlight the unique challenges families of children with special needs face and showcase how doulas provide invaluable support. From offering emotional guidance to practical assistance, doulas empower families to thrive amidst the complexities of raising a child with special needs.

Attendees will better understand the compassionate allyship doulas offer and discover practical strategies for navigating this journey. Whether you're a parent seeking support, a professional enhancing your services, or an advocate for inclusivity, this session offers valuable insights. Explore the transformative power of empathy, advocacy, and community in supporting families on their unique journey.

Housing Discrimination & the Virginia Fair Housing Law

Presenter: Mahalia (Mally) Dryden-Mason

This session will introduce the participants to the Virginia Fair Housing Law. Obtaining information about the law will empower many families to be more aware of the mostly subtle discrimination based on race, color, religion, national origin, sex, familial status, disability, elderliness, source of funds, sexual orientation, gender identity, and military status in the Housing Industry. In many of the cases, the discrimination is geared towards people with disabilities. Get a quick overview of the law, along with learning about "reasonable accommodations" and "reasonable modifications".

Beyond Rates - Making Money gop Further

Presenters: Chip Dodd a nd Monica Karavanic

3:30p - 4:30p

Breakout Sessions V

Embrace, Engage, Empower: Inclusive Education in Childcare Settings

Presenter: Nikida Cromartie-James, MSW

During this session, participants will engage in a thorough review and discussion of
research findings highlighting the benefits and positive impacts of inclusive education in childcare
settings. Additionally, we will explore how Bronfenbrenner’s Ecological System Theory can serve
as a valuable framework for informing inclusive practices within these environments. Through the
examination of real-life case studies, attendees will gain insights into the power of collaboration
between educators, parents, and support staff in achieving successful outcomes for children in
inclusive early childhood programs. In addition, we will also address the challenges that may arise
and potentially hinder the implementation of inclusive education in childcare settings. The goal of
this session is to enhance the knowledge and skills of parents, educators, early intervention
specialists, and other stakeholders in effectively supporting children with developmental delays
and disabilities in childcare settings.

Using Person-Centered Approach Towards Better Health Outcomes for Adults with IDD

Presenters: Molly Dellinger-Wray, MS Ed., Taylor Thomas-Harris, BSW, and Kayla Diggs Brody, PhD, MPH

It is estimated that people with IDD experience premature death and live an average of 20 fewer years than those without disabilities. This startling statistic is compounded by the estimation that nearly 40% of the deaths are caused by preventable illnesses, such as dehydration, constipation, or aspiration. The healthcare system can be daunting for the general population, and for people with IDD, communication issues are seen as an important aspect of this problem. This presentation will provide participants with person-centered materials and strategies to conduct interviews and present information on a One Page Health Profile which may be shared with medical staff in order to promote greater health literacy and better health outcomes for people with IDD.

Discover the Possibilities and Get Connected!

Presenters:  Beth Kessler, 


Join The Arc Community Connectors for an engaging and interactive session where you can explore topics that matter to you. Choose from Employment, Support for Independent Living, Making Friends, or Accessing and Using the Waiver.  We will watch a series of brief, one-minute videos on your selected topic and then come together to talk about how you can use what you learn in your own life. This session is designed to spark thoughtful conversations and help us envision the amazing support opportunities available. Don't miss this chance to connect, learn, and be inspired!

Elemental Documentary Film and Discussion:

Presenters: Jesse Monroe, Kate Olson, and Shay Ruff

Produced through collaboration between I’m Determined and the Health Education Design Group, Elemental focuses on the lives of young adults who are experiencing disability in different ways. As they strive to understand their own identities, navigate relational barriers and communicate misunderstandings, they learn to advocate for their needs both in and out of the classroom and throughout their lives. 

.................................Monday, August 19   ........................ 

..................................Wednesday, Aug 21......................... 

9:00a - 10:00a

Breakout Sessions VI

Guardians of Innocence: Nurturing Mental Health to Preserve Childhood Wonder

Presenter: Tracy Walters, M.Ed. ECSE, IMH-E EOLD,

This session will highlight the importance of preserving childhood in a stressed culture created through technology, over-scheduling, and the loss of family identity.

Flipping the Script -Using Positive Behavior Supports and Person - Centered Planning Tools to Increase Quality of Life

Presenters: Charlene H. Wentland, B.A., M.Ed., EBD, and Teresa Cogar, M.Ed., BCBA, LBA

This presentation will discuss Positive Behavior Supports as it relates to persons with differing abilities
and those who support them. Goals and assumptions of positive behavior supports will be discussed.
Also, tools and activities will be provided to engage participants in learning how "Flipping the Script" for
individuals in how they may be supported through prevention strategies in positive behavior supports,
as well as, using person-centered planning tools to promote positive behaviors and a quality of life that
is important and meaningful to the individual will be explored. Important factors such as looking at a
person's environment, relationships that support the individual’s short-term and long-term goals as well
as the importance of the influence of choice and control in a person's life will be discussed as well.

The Inclusion Project: A Youth-Led Initiative to Create Belonging for Students with Disabilities

Presenter: Sarah Lineberry

The Inclusion Project is a youth-led initiative that works to increase disability awareness and education in K-12 schools in Virginia. Recently, the Inclusion Project has created tools to help high school students plan for the increased responsibility that comes with turning 18, videos about the importance of belonging, and a guide for finding places of belonging in the community. Members of the Inclusion Project will share what inclusion and belonging mean to them, why they are important, and how they are working to promote them for students with disabilities.

The LEAP Project: Fostering Healthy Relationships and Preventing Abuse

Presenter: Molly Dellinger-Wray, MS Ed., and Taylor Thomas-Harris, BSW


What is a friend? Sometimes it's hard to determine who can be trusted and people with disabilities experience abuse at exponentially higher rates than their non disabled peers. This session will discuss LEAP: Leadership for Empowerment and Abuse Prevention, a training program that teaches people with IDD about healthy relationships and what to do if they are in an unhealthy relationship. It is taught by a person with a disability and a co-trainer in four interactive and fun sessions. Research with the LEAP Project proved that people were better able to explain why a relationship was unhealthy and what to do to get out of an unhealthy relationship if they needed to.

10:15a - 12:00p  CLOSING KEYNOTE and BRUNCH


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