2021 Convention
On Demand

Not All Sessions Have Slides and Not All Sessions were Recorded
Monday August 9th
10am - 11am   Supported Decision Making 

Lucy Beadnell and panelists Emma Budway, Donna Budway, Connor Cummings, Sharon Cummings

During the 2021 General Assembly session, Virginia passed a bill directing Virginia’s Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services to develop a program to educate people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, their families and others about supported decision-making agreements. Supported Decision Making (SDM) is a tool that allows people with disabilities to retain their decision- making capacity by choosing supporters to help them make choices for their life.  Lucy Beadnell will give the basics of Supported Decision Making and will explore supported decision-making models. Then Emma Budway,  Donna Budway, Connor Cummings and Sharon Cummings  will share their stories of using SDM.   

12pm - 1pm    A Home of My Own - With Supports 
Clare Huerta, Nancy Mercer and others to be announced
According to the recently released Assessment of Virginia's Residential Disability System by the Virginia Board for People with Disabilities (VBPD), "new residential service authorizations (Independent Living Supports, Supported Living, and Shared Living) still only accounted for about three percent of all residential service authorizations under all DD waivers.  Providers have been slow to offer these services and few individuals have benefited from them."  This is despite the growing demand for inclusive services by people with disabilities.  "VBPD's research found that, to work as designed, the new services require strong self-advocacy, tailored approaches appropriate to individual needs, and more providers able to adapt to new ways of delivering supports".  This session will include an overview of the report findings and real life experiences of those using services to live life fully included in their community. 

 2pm - 3pm   Why Inclusive Education is More Important
Than Ever

Liz Altieri, Karen Douglas and Darren Minarik, Radford University’s Inclusive Practices Center                                                                  
The United Nations UNESCO declared last year at the height of the pandemic that “inclusive education should be a ‘non-
negotiable’ right for all children.” In a new report- The Disparate Impacts of COVID-19 on America's Students - The US Dept. of Education has made this official declaration:
“For many elementary and secondary school students with disabilities, COVID-19 has significantly disrupted the education and
related aids and services needed to support their academic progress and prevent regression. And there are signs that those
disruptions may be exacerbating longstanding disability-based disparities in academic achievement.” The Virginia Center for
Inclusive Practice at Radford University will provide this session for family members, youth/young adults with disabilities, and school advocates passionate about Inclusive Education and give you the information you need to advocate for inclusion for ALL students with disabilities in your school divisions, and why it is so important as children and youth return to school and schools start addressing these learning discrepancies and inequities.

"Funding for this session was supported, in part, by the Virginia Board for People with Disabilities, under grant number 1801VASCDD-00, from the U.S. Administration for Community Living (ACL). Grantees undertaking projects with government sponsorship are encouraged to express freely their findings and conclusions. Points of view or opinions do not, therefore, necessarily represent official ACL policy."
 4pm - 5:30pm 
Virtual Table Talk
Re-Building a Direct Support Workforce in a Post-Pandemic Environment
Josephn Macbeth, Executive Director, National Association of Direct Support Professionals
Presentation Description: For more than four decades, direct support professionals have been supporting people with disabilities across every community in the country; helping people build and maintain relationships, supporting employment opportunities, supporting skills to live independently, supporting the unique and dignified contributions that build inclusive communities and promoting self-directed lives. Then, almost suddenly in early 2020, everything changed and community (where the work is done) was, for the most part closed. Over the course of the past year (or more), direct support professionals re-defined their jobs without a road map, supporting social distancing, educating about the needs of personal protective equipment, dealing with issues pertaining to daily schedule changes, using new technology to build relationships, and of course, keeping people who are three times more likely to die from the COVID-19 virus, healthy and safe. As with all crises, they rose to the occasion and exceeded expectations. As we emerge from these dark days, how will the I/DD system, funders and policy makers recognize these “heroes”? What opportunities are there to finally address this decades-long workforce “crisis”? This session will provide reflection from the pandemic and solution-driven ideas to finally create the hallmarks of a meaningful career for our workforce.
 6:30pm - 8pm 
Opening Keynote
Within Our Power
Members of the A Life Like Yours Self-Advocacy Alliance
Presentation Description:  People with disabilities should not only be leading the movement, they should shape it for the advocates and allies that work to advance disability rights. For too long people without lived experience have formed the narrative and advocacy while gathering input from people with disabilities.  

The A Life Like Yours Self-Advocacy Allliance formed in 2018 to lead the advocacy efforts of The Arc of Virginia.  Their work informs and shapes the Public Policy work that The Arc's across the Commonwealth lead. In this session Alliance leaders will talk about their work in advcocacy, how they are working to influence systems in Virginia and how other self-advocates and allies can join them.     
Tuesday August 10th
10am - 11am   All about Genetics
Dr. Christina Peroutka, Biochemical Geneticist & Shelley Towner,
MS & Ciera Patterson ,MSW

The importance of understanding the role of genetics in the care of individuals with neurodevelopmental or other complex medical concerns is scary and unknown as to what lies ahead for many families. Have you thought about genetic testing for your child? Dr. Christine Peroutka will help you understand what a genetics appointment involves and when testing should take place. What are the most commonly ordered genetic tastings and why? There will be a panel of parents asking some hard questions on genetics and what the future looks like for their loved one(s).  This presentation will also include a parent panel from Momma's & Poppa's Connection all who have a child diagnosed with a rare genetic disorder. 

12pm - 1pm    Employment in Virginia - Learning from Vermont's Journey to Inclusive Employment 
Bryan Dague, Faculty, University of Vermont Center on Disability and Community Inclusion & Clare Huerta, Deputy Director of Policy and Legislative Affairs 

This session will outline the progressive movement away from sheltered workshops for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities in the state of Vermont and increasing community inclusion through employment, and more recently through inclusive postsecondary education at colleges and universities to enhance employment skills, social skills
and career development.

 2pm - 3pm     Medicaid Updates from DMAS
Ann Bevan and Nichole Martin, Department of Medical Assistance Services                                                             

Medicaid Health Insurance and Waivers are the lifeline for thousands and even more so with COVID-19.  Since the pandemic, there have been numerous changes and flexibilities to Medicaid Health Insurance and Waivers and those changes are continuing. In this session, Ann and Nichole with the VA Dept. of Medical Assistance Services will give us the latest on what has recently changed and what may be coming next.  There will be time for questions and answers.   
 4pm - 5:30pm 
Virtual Table Talk
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Self-Care is Your Best Investment
Maria Davis-Pierre, LMHC
This workshop will assist participants in discovering a clear path to their well-being. Misconceptions and myths about self-care will be explored. Presenter will also discuss boundary setting and toxic positivity. Participants will walk away with the beginning foundations of their own personalized self-care plan.
 6:30pm - 8pm 
Evening Keynote
Moving Together
Bianca Laureano, Lead  Educator for "Crip Camp" 
As we celebrate the numerous wins of the Netflix film CRIP CAMP which highlights the emergence of the Disability Rights Movement in the US, we are also witnessing how the Movement is expanding. We will explore lessons learned by discussing the intentional elements of the official CRIP CAMP Curriculum (available at www.CripCamp.com/curriculum), how Disability Justice invites us to do deeper more relational and intentional organizing, and how the phrase “Nothing about us without us” remains evergreen today to create a Movement for us all.
Wednesday August 11th
10am - 11am     
Virtual Table Talk
Listening Session 1 - Department of Justice 
Jessica Polansky, Kyle Smiddie, Attorneys with U.S .Department of Justice, Civil Rights Division
Join attorneys with the DOJ to share your perspectives on services in Virginia.  Share and listen to others across the state talk about how services impact their lives and ideas and improvements to building a full community based system of services and support. 

People with disabilities, their families and service providers are invited to attend. 
12pm - 1pm    Virginia's Adult Health, Safety and Rights System
Veronica Davis, Associate Director of State Licensing Operations, Dept. of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services, T
aneika Goldman, State Human Rights Director,  Dept. of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services, Lynn Hamner, Health Care Compliance Specialist, Office of State Inspector General, Erin Haw  Senior Disability Rights Advocate,  disAbility Law Center of Virginia, Carey Raleigh, Adult Protective Services, Eastern Region Program Consultant Senior and Patti Meire, VA Public Guardianship Program. 
Adults with developmental disabilities are especially vulnerable to abuse, neglect, exploitation, inadequate care and rights violations.  Various Virginia agencies are involved and responsible when people are harmed.  State agency experts will explain who should be contacted if you or another person is suspected of or experiences harm and what occurs once a report has been made. Real life of examples of harm or suspected harm will be presented with the panelists explaining the roles of their respective agencies. There will be time for questions and and answers.    

 2pm - 3pm     Peer Mentoring in Virginia
Shawn Kirk & Brittney Lee, Peer Mentors 

Peer Mentoring is a new service in Virginia.  Peer mentors are people with developmental disabilities who provide guidance, support and resources to help others achieve the life that they want.  The Peer Mentor Program is based on the philosophy that people learn best from others who have lived experience to share.  That connection of shared experiences and mutual understanding builds a strong foundation for planning for a person's future.  This session will introduce the Mentors credentialed in Virginia to provide this service.  Mentoring is available to people receiving DD waiver services OR those who are on the waiting list for services. So don't miss a change to learn about this new and exciting opportunity! 
 4pm - 5:30pm 
Virtual Table Talk
Listening Session 2 - Department of Justice 
Jessica Polansky, Kyle Smiddie, Attorneys with U.S .Department of Justice, Civil Rights Division
Join attorneys with the DOJ to share your perspectives on services in Virginia.  Share and listen to others across the state talk about how services impact their lives and ideas and improvements to building a full community based system of services and support. 

People with disabilities, their families and service providers are invited to attend. 
 6:30pm - 8pm 
Policy Keynote
Public Policy Updates
Ann Bevan, Divison Director at the Department of Medical Assistance Services, Commissioner Kathy Hayfield, Department of Aging and Rehabilitative Services, Sam Hollins, Assistant Superintendent, Virginia Department of Education, Commissioner Alison Land, Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services,
Presentation Description:  Leaders from state agencies will share updates on public policy and regulations in Virginia. They will also provide answers to specific questions provided to them ahead of time on the pressing matters that advocates hear about the most.  

Key topics include Appendix K extensions, COVID Relief and recovery, the impact of lost learning for students, and the DOJ compliance extension.  
Thursday August 12th
10am - 11am  Head Start 101 – Supporting Early Learning, Health, and Family Well-being
Dawn Ault, Executive Director, Virginia Head Start Association 

Head Start is a federally funded comprehensive early childhood development program that has been providing services to low-income children and their families since 1965. Comprehensive services include educational, health, nutritional, and family services. Services are focused on school readiness and helping to improve the conditions necessary for their success in later school and life by partnering and engagement the whole family. In 1994, Early Head Start was created which established services for pregnant women, infants and toddlers. Head Start is administered by the Office of Head Start (OHS) at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), which provides grants from the federal government to local entities (as opposed to providing funding through the state.) “Grantees” may be public or private agencies, nonprofit or for-profit, faith-based or secular.  Join our session to learn more about how Head Start supports our young children and families in Virginia

12pm - 1pm     The Impacts of Minimum Wage Increases
and Benefits Planning

Bethany Lilly, The Arc US, Beth Martin, The Choice Group,  J.Adam Murphy,
The Arc of Southside, and Linda Johnson, The Endependence Center of Virginia Beach.

Minimum wage in Virginia is increasing, and many employees with disabilities are faced with the need for increased planning in order to maintain their benefits. Experts will discuss Social Security and the impact of increased wages, as well as how to ensure that employees can continue working while ensuring their benefits and eligibility for services aren't jeopardized.  Benefits planners will explain what benefits planning is, why it is important, who is eligible and the process. There will be time for questions and answers.  

 2pm - 3pm     Learning Loss - Strategies to Use 
Denise Stile Marshall, CEO, The Council of Parent Attorneys and Advocates, Inc.

Many students with IEPS and 504 plans experienced large scale disruptions to their social connections, emotional well-being, academic and vocational progress due to COVID-19. Compensatory Education or "make up learning" may be an option to address learning loss. Denise will explain what Compensatory Education is, when it applies, what to do if you/your child needs it and how it can be delivered.  Additionally she will cover other strategies to consider when a student has regressed. There will be time for questions and answers.
 4pm - 5:30pm 
DOJ Update
U.S. Department of Justice Update on Settlement Agreement
Jessica Polansky, Kyle Smiddie, Attorneys with U.S .Department of Justice, Civil Rights Division
In 2012 Virginia entered a Settlement Agreement with the DOJ to correct violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act and a lack of a sufficient community based system of support and services.  

The Commonwealth agreed to come into compliance by June 2021.  However, the Independent Reviewer for the case has found Virginia not in full compliance and the court has given an extension for completion to 2022.  

In this session the DOJ attorneys will provide an update on where Virginia stands in meeting the agreement and the work left to be done for Virginia to have a full and robust community based system.  
 6:30pm - 8pm 
Public Forum
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Candidate Forum for Statewide Races
Candidates for Governor, Lieutenant Governor, Attorney General 
Presentation Description:  Candidates for the statewide offices are invited to discuss the issues that impact the disability community.  Come learn more about the candidates, their views on disability issues, and how they would support people with disabilities and their families in the elected offices they are seeking.  

The Arc of Virginia and its chapters is a nonpartisan, 501(c)3 organization; we do not endorse political parties or candidates. 
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Keeping Up With the Milestones
Deana Buck, Act Early Ambassador for Virginia Through the CDC

Track your child's milestones beginning at age 2 months to 5 years. know when your child reaches their milestone in how they play, learn, speak, act and move. You are able to add a child, review milestone photos and videos if you are wondering what a certain milestone looks like, Know when to act early, tips and activities, set appointments, and reference your milestone summary all from your phone. Let Deana tell you more. 

Part C, Transitioning to Part B

Sarah Moore, Early Intervention Monitoring Consultant for the Infant & Toddler Connection of Virginia at DBHDS and  Dawn Hendricks, PH.D. Early Childhood Special Education Coordinator from VDOE

Part C (Early Intervention) transitioning to part B (Special Education) can be difficult for many families with a child who may have a developmental disability. Sarah Moore and Dawn Hendricks will explain what each part looks like and the transition of moving from part C to Part B. Do you know your rights? Do you ask yourself  "Why is my child not eligible for Part B services once they age out of Part C services?" This presentation will provide in depth information you may be looking for. 

What Everyone Should Know about Social Security Disability Insurance & SSI
David Melton, Public Affairs Specialist, Social Security Administration

The Social Security Administration runs the United States' largest entitlement programs: the Old Age, Survivors, and Disability Insurance program and the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program.  David will explain the Social Security Disability Insurance and the Supplemental Security Income programs as they apply to people of all ages with disabilities.  You will learn the purpose of each program, how they are different, eligibility criteria, when to apply, and other nuggets about Social Security.  The information is current as of July 22,2021.