Session Descriptions & Speaker Bios

NAQ is pleased to announce that we will be offering a variety of sessions at our 2021 virtual conference:    

  • Keynote Sessions are one hour sessions with a featured speaker.  
  • Breakout Sessions are one hour sessions covering a wide variety of topics. 
  • Roundtable Discussions are one hour discussion based sessions focused on a single subject matter.  
  • Deep Dive Sessions are three hours in length and allows speakers to provide in-depth training and information on his/her particular subject matter.   

Session Title: Keynote: Defiant: A Broken Body Is Not a Broken Person

Session Description: Janine Shepherd’s story is that of the classic hero's journey. As national champion skier, Janine was one of Australia’s best hopes in the Calgary Winter Olympics. But an accident while training cut short Janine’s future as an athlete, and nearly ended her life. Paralyzed and in hospital for close to six months, she defied the medical odds by not only learning to walk again, but by creating an entirely new life in a most remarkable way.

Janine’s life story has been featured on ’60 minutes’ and ‘This is Your Life’. Her first book, “Never Tell Me Never,” was made into a feature length film, and she has since written five other books including her recently-released memoir entitled “Defiant.” Her TED talk, A Broken Body is not a Broken Person, has been viewed nearly 2 million times and continues to be featured as a favorite on

Janine has been awarded her country’s highest civilian acclaim, the Order of Australia, in recognition of her service to the Community and tireless work to raise awareness of Spinal Cord injury and research. She also serves as ambassador for Red Bull, Wings for Life, and Spinal Cure Australia. Today Janine is in demand as one of the world’s top inspirational speakers, having presented her compelling story to leading organizations and companies around the globe. Her message of resilience and human potential continues to inspire her audiences to overcome adversity and take on life’s challenges. Spiritual leader and best-selling author Deepak Chopra calls Janine a “change agent.”

Speaker Bio: Janine Shepherd is an inspirational speaker and writer whose books have become classics in the survivor genre. A champion cross-country skier in training for the 1988 winter Olympics, Janine’s life changed forever when she was hit by a truck during a bicycle training ride in the Blue Mountains of Australia.

Doctors warned her parents that—even if she somehow miraculously survived her massive injuries—Janine would almost certainly never walk again. After a risky procedure to rebuild her shattered vertebra, and almost six months flat on her back in a hospital spinal ward, Janine came home to heal. With the promise of a career as an elite athlete now gone forever, Janine faced a daunting recovery and an uncertain future.
Struggling to rehabilitate with permanent disabilities, Janine rekindled her defiant spirit in a dramatically improbable way. Sitting outside in her wheelchair one day and watching a small plane fly overhead, she declared, “That’s it! If I can’t walk, I’ll fly!”  Still encased in a full body cast, Janine had to be lifted into an aircraft for her introductory flight lesson. But within a year she had defied the odds and succeeded in gaining her private pilot’s license. Her talent and skill as a pilot subsequently earned Janine a commercial pilot license and ultimately, her flying instructor’s rating. She then decided to learn to fly upside down, and finally, to teach aerobatic flight to other pilots.  Janine went on to succeed not only as a professional pilot but also to attain her University degree, raise three children and author several best-selling books.  Her remarkable life story ultimately captured the interest of a prominent film company, which produced the feature length movie, aptly titled Never Tell Me Never.

In recognition of her service to the community and her tireless efforts in raising awareness for spinal cord research, Janine was awarded the Order of Australia, her nation’s highest honor. She is an ambassador for Spinal Cure Australia and Red Bull’s “Wings for Life” and a contributor to Deepak Chopra’s workshops. Janine’s story has been featured on 60 Minutes, This is Your Life and CNN’s Turning Points with Dr. Sanjay Gupta. Her inspirational and emotional TEDx talk, “A Broken Body Isn’t a Broken Person,” has been viewed almost 2 million times.  She was recently named as an “Architect of Change” in Maria Shriver’s “Sunday Paper” Her latest book, “Defiant: A Memoir” was published for worldwide distribution by SoundsTrue®.

Janine lives in Wyoming, USA but is frequently traveling the globe delivering keynotes and her inspirational message of “defiance.” For more information, visit

Session Title:  Keynote:  A Personal Journey of Success:  The Story of Todd Stabelfeldt

Session Description:  Todd will share his personal journey of acquiring and using assistive technologies to achieve independence in his own life.  He describes this process as a journey because it did not happen overnight - it took years of dedication and hard work to get to where he is at now.  However, Todd recognizes the importance of successfully addressing one challenge at a time.  Success builds upon success and so on.  Such is the impact that assistive technology has had on Todd’s life – from home to work and so much more. 

Speaker Bio:  Todd Stabelfeldt speaks and writes about his life experiences of using assistive technologies which has spanned over three decades. An expert in technologies for the spinal cord-injured, Todd regularly contributes to New Mobility magazine. As a gifted computer technologist, he also participates in usability testing efforts for technology companies. He has been a featured keynote speaker at various events including Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference and the GeekWire Summit. Todd resides in the Puget Sound area of Washington with his wife Karen and is an entrepreneur: founder and CEO of C4 Consulting. Learn more about Todd and his many accomplishments:


Session Title:  Deep Dive Session:  Promoting Healthy Relationships among People with ID/DD

Session Description:  As social creatures, it is natural for us to seek connections with others and to develop many different types of relationships including sexual and romantic relationships. This is true for all people - including the people you support who have intellectual and/or developmental disabilities.  As a disability professional, one of your roles is to help the people you support develop the skills needed to establish healthy relationships - those that foster health and well-being. In this deep dive session, participants will:

  • Define sexuality and sexual self-advocacy.
  • Gain knowledge about sexuality and specific issues for people with developmental disabilities including human sexual development, healthy v. unhealthy relationships, and consent.
  • Explore our own values and attitudes regarding sexuality and strategies for managing our values.
  • Explore ways to communicate about sexuality with people with developmental disabilities and their parents/guardians.

Speaker Bio:  Katherine McLaughlin, M.Ed., AASECT Certified Sexuality Educator, is the Founder, CEO and Lead Trainer for Elevatus Training. As a national expert on sexuality and ID/DD she trains professionals, and parents as well as individuals to become sexual self-advocates, and peer sexuality educators.  She is the author of Sexuality Education for People with Developmental Disabilities curriculum. She has developed two online courses: Developmental Disability and Sexuality 101 for professionals and Talking to Your Kids: Developmental Disabilities and Sexuality for parents, and a 3-Day certificate training: Becoming a Sexuality Educator and Trainer. She has spent her 25+ year career committed to elevating the status of all people, which is why the name of her growing company is Elevatus Training.

Session Title:  Deep Dive Session:  Shampoos, Tatoos, and Barbeques:  What’s New in the World of Infectious Diseases

Session Description:  This three-hour seminar provides an up-to-the minute overview and update on current issues in the world of infectious diseases. New vaccines, new diseases, new drugs and new bugs!! Barb will answer many questions you might have including: How can I boost the immune system to help fight of pathogens?  What's new in the world of vaccines? There are lots of "microbes on the menu" in today's world—how can you avoid them and, if you get one of those microbes, what are the clinical manifestations and treatments?  Barb discusses the benefits of antibiotic stewardship for all patients--in other words, how long do you have to take an antibiotic for a urinary tract infection? What in the world is a fecal transplant? Senior living and STIs will open your eyes! Learn about why DEET is your new summer fragrance, how summer picnics can be hazardous to your health and why hand washing is still important--soap or alcohol-based gels?  What diseases can you get from the local tattoo parlor? How long does a tick have to be attached before you can acquire Lyme disease? How long does a herpes virus live on a toilet seat? What is the risk of acquiring hepatitis C from a needlestick? Barb's seminar on infectious disease is infectious—with laughter, enthusiasm, and a plethora of pearls you can take home and take back to your clinical practice.

Speaker Bio:  Barb Bancroft (RN, MSN, NP) is a fascinating, highly informative speaker whose dynamic and humorous presentation style makes learning enjoyable. She provides a wealth of clinical information that can be applied to everyday practice.

Barb is the author of eight books: Medical Minutiae (1999), An Apple a Day: The ABCs of Diet and Disease (2002), Live a Little, Laugh a Lot (2004), Kiss My Asparagus (2012), Geriatric Gems (2018), Focus on Pharmacology (2019), Plants or Pills? (2019), and her latest 2019 release—Laughing My Aspirin Off.

She has provided more than 2800 continuing education events on clinical topics pertaining to pathophysiology, physical assessment, and pharmacology to health care professionals throughout the United States and Canada. She has been the motivational keynote speaker on health maintenance topics for numerous nursing associations, medical associations and dental associations as well as for corporate groups and events.

Barb has held faculty positions at the University of Virginia, the University of Arkansas, Loyola University of Chicago, and St. Xavier University of Chicago. She has provided courses on Advanced Pathophysiology, Pharmacology and Physical Assessment to graduate and undergraduate students.

Session Title: Deep Dive Session: Failing Your Way To Success: Why Failure Is A Crucial Ingredient For Success

Session Description: Ever since we are young, we are taught to avoid failure. Instead of seeing failure as a natural part of life, we see it as very negative. In fact, two world-renowned psychologists, Daniel Kahneman and Amos Tversky, who won the Nobel Prize for their work, explains why we are so averse to failure. What they found is that effect of loss is twice as great as the gain from a win.

Fear of failure is often the toughest hurdle to jump in leadership. The difference between a good leader and a great leader is their ability to turn failure into success. This session will examine our fear of failure and provide us with the tools needed to develop a growth mindset. Instead of seeing fear as something detrimental to success, we will learn how to leverage our failures and turn them into success.

Join me as we start to leverage our failures!

Speaker Bio:  Edward Hershey, Chief Operating Officer, started with Home of Guiding Hands in July of 2015. With 25 years of wide-ranging experience in the profit and nonprofit sectors, Edward is a motivated and passionate professional with broad experience in directing all facets of business operations, specializing in leadership, operations, and project management. 

Prior to joining Home of Guiding Hands, Edward worked for Father Joe’s Villages as their Vice President of Operations for 12 years, the Employment Development Department where he specialized in Veteran’s needs, and owned and operated a restaurant in Northern California. Edward served in the US Navy during the Gulf War and was honorably discharged in 1993.

Edward proudly extends his leadership acuity to his community and has a true passion for endeavors benefitting individuals with IDD, Veterans, and youth. Edward is active in the community serving on California’s Developmental Services Oversight, Accountability and Transparency Workgroup, California Disability Services Institute, California Disability Services Association, Scouts BSA, and the VFW. In the past, Edward has served on the San Diego FEMA Board, serving two terms as the Board chair. He has also served on the California Governor's Interagency Council on Veterans and Got your Back San Diego.

Edward holds a Master’s Degree in Human Resource Management with a Specialization in Strategic Innovation and Change Management from Colorado State University and a Bachelor’s Degree in Organizational Leadership with a Specialization in Public and Non-Profit Management. Edward is a graduate of the National Leadership Consortium on Developmental Disabilities, a licensed California Contractor, and is a member of the John Maxwell team certified as a leadership coach, speaker, and trainer.

He lives in El Cajon, California with his wife of 17 years, Jessica, and their three children, Julia, Niko, and Ethan.

Session Title:  Deep Dive Session:  Autism:  What You Need to Know

Session Description:  Presenter will review updated information on Autism Spectrum Disorders and will discuss the characteristics of autism to help people understand this disorder as it is expressed differently in individuals based on cognitive functioning, severity of autism, sensory issues and dual diagnosis such as downs syndrome.  Strategies will be reviewed that help people with autism  make choices, predict and control their world at home, and in the community. A discussion on services, understanding parents and the important  role of the QIDP will be discussed.

Speaker Bio:  Patti Boheme has been specializing in autism and intellectual disabilities since 1982. She led the development of programs in residential, homebased, adult day, early intervention and therapeutic schools along with a Center for Autism specializing in diagnostics, therapy and training. Patti is an experience counselor and behavior therapist. She has trained over 15,000 parents and professionals and developed core autism trainings. Patti retired from her Executive V.P. position after 38 years  to devote her career to clinical work and advocacy. She is now the Director of Autism Outreach Services for Wellspring Clinical Associates with SamaraCare where she works with clinicians and physicians.  She is  Co-Chair of the Illinois Autism Task Force and is on several  statewide committees.

Session Title:  Leadership in uncertain times: Lessons learned-still learning

Session Description:  During this past year we have all experienced the impact of uncertainty and have been faced with making changes quickly and sometimes (most times) without much opportunity to think it through. This presentation will explore some real life experiences that have occurred in our industry and the lessons learned in the process. Some of the experiences were rather painful and some of the decisions that were made were not always the right ones. Sometimes the best way to learn and then teach is to actually go through these experiences. As our industry faces staffing shortages, external pressures, mixed messages on expectations and yet attempts to continue to serve in support, we will need to retrain many of our leaders/supervisors on what we believe our mission and vision is instead of having it defined by others. How do we get to a point of “business as usual”…… When it has been unusual for over a year? Hopefully this session will help guide the participants through this process. Dan promises to be honest and keep your interest as well as tell you his story in this journey together.

Speaker Bio:  Dan Housepian has served as the Regional Superintendent of the Northwest Ohio Developmental Center (NODC) and the Tiffin Developmental Center (TDC) from 2006-2008. Prior to that he served as the Superintendent of NODC since 1999. He also served as Director of Program/Medical Services of the NODC since 1982 and has been working in the field of Developmental Disabilities for over 45 years. He has a B.S. in Psychology, Health/Physical Education that he received from Houghton College, Houghton, New York, in 1973. He also has a Masters degree in Organizational Development from Bowling Green State University, Bowling Green, Ohio, received in 2000.

Dan retired from his state duties on September 30, 2008 and started his new full-time job at Luther Home of Mercy on October 1, 2008 as their ICF Director.

Dan has developed Right Way Training, Right Way Leadership and Right Way Crises Prevention “Right on Time” training programs. He has had numerous opportunities for public speaking. He is also a regular presenter at conventions and conferences in Ohio and other states. Dan has also been invited to speak and share his training in several national forums throughout the country


Session Title:  Breakout Session:  The Fatal Five Plus: Top Preventable Causes of Death in People with IDD

Session Description:  There are PREVENTABLE causes of death in people with IDD. Aspiration, Constipation, Seizures, Dehydration, Sepsis and Gastroesophageal Reflux are common medical conditions that often present differently in people with IDD causing unnecessary suffering and death. The discussion of each topic will include causes, early signs and symptoms, how to prevent them, and knowing when and how to act when you see signs of these conditions. Learn how you can help reduce suffering and save lives of people you support.

Speaker Bio:  Dr. Craig Escudé is a board-certified Fellow of the American Academy of Family Physicians and the American Academy of Developmental Medicine, and is the President of IntellectAbility. He served as medical director of Hudspeth Regional Center in Mississippi and is the founder of DETECT, the Developmental Evaluation, Training and Educational Consultative Team of Mississippi. He has more than 20 years of clinical experience providing medical care for people with IDD and complex medical conditions and is the author of “Clinical Pearls in IDD Healthcare” and the “Curriculum in IDD Healthcare.”


Session Title:  Breakout Session:  Inclusive Tech: Apps for Life

Session Description:  During this session, the participants will learn how mobile technology can enhance and simplify everyday life for people with disabilities. A variety of skills will be addressed including cognitive and social development, daily living, and more. The apps highlighted will range from free to paid versions with subscription fees and will address a range of needs of those with cognitive disabilities. Information will be briefly shared on the use of our app search tool to help participants explore more helpful apps for their unique situation.

Speaker Bio: Amy Fuchs is the Program Coordinator for BridgingApps, a program of Easter Seals Greater Houston. She holds a BA in Psychology and a M.Ed. in Early Childhood Special Education from Auburn University; as well as a Texas teaching certificate. She taught in public elementary schools for 13 years in a variety of classrooms including resource, co-teach, inclusion, and adaptive behavior settings. During her tenure, she had the privilege of working with students of varying abilities, including autism, behavior disorders, learning and developmental disabilities, and physical differences. She co-founded an advocacy group with a speech pathologist in 2016, serving families in the Houston area, with the primary focus on educating and empowering parents to be their own advocates. As Program Coordinator, she writes blogs for educators, magazine articles for parents, and app reviews on behalf of BridgingApps. She also works to educate the community by sharing mobile technology tips to improve the lives of people with disabilities of all ages, from children being served through early intervention to seniors as they age in place and work to maintain independent lifestyles.

Session Title: Breakout Session:  Simple Ways to Include People with Significant Disabilities

Session Description: Often times, working with individuals who have severe or profound disabilities creates unique and challenging circumstances. Some may believe that because the person cannot speak with traditional words he or she has nothing to say. Others may think that people with severe or profound disabilities cannot understand the world around them or that they have the capacity to do for themselves. It is our role as Developmental Disability Professionals to debunk these myths! In this session, you’ll learn about practical ways to promote choice and inclusion for people that you support who have more significant disabilities.

Speaker Bio: Christine Bodzianowski is a member of the Support Services Team through Illinois Crisis Prevention Network. She provides support to people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, many of whom are dually diagnosed with mental illness and are experiencing complex or medical challenges. ICPN provides community-based services and supports to children and adults who are referred, as well as their families, provider agencies, schools, places of employment, and community day service programs.
Christine’s entire career has been spent in the Special Education Field. From degrees in Speech Therapy and Cross Categorical Special Education, to now being a Level II Behavior Specialist. Christine has always been an advocate and voice of inclusion for the nonverbal severe and profound population. In her free time she loves spending time with her husband Ken and their amazing and brilliant son Kenny.


Session Title: Breakout Session:  Your Abuse IQ: Do you know what you need to know?

Session Description: This session will help disability professionals explore their knowledge about abuse, neglect, and exploitation. It’s not just about mandated reporting, victims, perpetrators or zero-tolerance policies. It is also about PREVENTION. This includes thinking about the positive relationships, experiences and skill building disability professionals can promote for the people they support that can help prevent bad things from happening. Come and join Amy and Tina as they share their experiences in making prevention an organizational priority.

Speaker Bio:  Tina M. Campanella has been the Director and Chief Executive Officer of Quality Trust for Individuals with Disabilities, an independent advocacy and monitoring organization in Washington DC, since its inception in 2002. She previously worked with the Council on Quality and Leadership (CQL) prior to assuming leadership at Quality Trust. She has over 40 years of experience working on behalf of children and adults with disabilities in many different capacities. She is acknowledged as an exceptional thinker and leader with expertise in program development, person-centered approaches, and service quality management. Most recently Ms. Campanella led the creation of the National Resource Center on Supported Decision-Making and has travelled the country promoting dialogue on improving decision-making support for people with developmental disabilities. She was also recently recognized for her contributions to the field as a fellow by the American Association on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (AAIDD). Ms. Campanella holds a MA degree in Organizational Management and Change and is a passionate about partnering with advocates who have disabilities to promote change.

Speaker Bio:  Amy E. Tabor has worked in the human services field for more than three decades. She began her career as a behavior specialist in a residential setting for people with autism and has held a variety of positions within organizations -- including case management, program evaluation, staff development, and executive leadership. Much of her work has been dedicated to the prevention of abuse, neglect, and exploitation of vulnerable people, and, specifically, the importance of Human Rights Committees.

As President of Organizational Dimensions, Amy travels extensively working with provider agencies throughout the U.S. and beyond, to enhance service effectiveness within these organizations. She regularly presents at local, state, and national conferences where she shares her knowledge, experiences and perspectives on a variety of topics.

She holds two degrees in Sociology completing undergraduate work at North Central College and graduate work at Northern Illinois University. Additionally, Amy is an accomplished writer who continues to create new resources to assist organizations in their efforts in providing high quality, effective services to vulnerable populations.

Published works include Human Rights Committees: From Compliance to Cultural Commitment (4th Edition), Scanning the Horizon: Using Organizational Data to Prevent Abuse & Neglect, and From Inquiry to Insight: Preventing Abuse and Neglect of Vulnerable People Through Team Learning and Meaningful Dialogue (Facilitation Guide and Dialogue Deck).  Amy is currently working on a new book, All Aboard, which will be published soon.

Session Title:  Breakout Session:  Words that Lift Us Up: Teaching Person-Centered Language

Session Description:  Words that Lift Us Up is a new multi-media learning experience for training staff in using language that is considerate, generous, and respectful. The course includes in-depth training on person-first language and takes learners well beyond to help them understand the importance of language in general—how our words influence our behavior, the effect of words on self-esteem, and the power of our words to create, reinforce or to remove barriers for the people we support.

Words that Lift Us Up consists of five modules plus a prologue and introduction:

  • Module 1: The Importance of Person-Centered Language:  Using language to make sure we put people first; keeping labels and jargon from slipping into those communications
  • Module 2: Where It Begins: Empathy and Feelings:  Getting to the reasons why language is of central importance to what we do—the effect of words
  • Module 3: The Language of Respect:  Three examples of people using language that is not quite correct, followed by language that is more helpful, more respectful
  • Module 4: Sustaining Our Efforts:  How to practice good language behavior and how to get back on track when old habits show up
  • Module 5:  Coaching and Person-Centered Language:  A supervisor meets with a fairly new employee for a coaching session on the importance of lan-guage for those who support people with disabilities

In this session, we will take participants through key parts of the curriculum showing several video segments as we go. We’ll start with understanding the importance of what we say and how we say it. We’ll move on to practicing the language we choose to use. And, finally, we’ll touch on sustain-ing our language choices, building habits that will keep us on track.  Each participant will receive the Person-Centered Language Check-up, a quick checklist to help with everyday language choices.

Speaker Bio:  Sherry Ladislas oversees Trinity Services’ Development Office and is responsible for special events, grant writing, community relations, and external publications. She has been part of Trinity Services since 2000.  Sherry has served on the Illinois Autism Task Force since its inception in 2004, is a member of the Autism Provider Exchange (formerly Advancing Futures for Adults with Autism), and the Illinois Association of Fundraising Professionals. 

Sherry earned her Master’s degree in organizational leadership from Lewis University.

Sherry, her husband, and their three dogs live in the southern suburbs of Chicago. They are the proud parents of two adult children and two grandchildren – two of whom are on the spectrum. 

Speaker Bio:  Anne Ward is Director of Publications for High Tide Press. High Tide publishes books and media for leaders and practitioners at every level in Human Services. In 2020, we published A New Plan: Using Positive Psychology to Renew the Promise of Person-Centered Planning for People with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities. In 2021, we are introducing an application for phones and tablets so that every person can have their plan—including their most important goals—available to them at any time.

Session Title: Breakout Session:  Integrating Supported Decision Making into Daily Supports

Session Description:  Supported Decision-Making (SDM) has become increasingly recognized as an option for decision-making assistance for many people who may have difficulty with decision-making, including people with disabilities. In practice, there remains much work to be done to foster the widespread use of SDM as a preferred alternative because of the tradition of using legal guardianship as a solution. This session will explore how to use the foundational principles of the Supported Decision-Making approach to guide everyday interactions. Practical strategies for supporting people to improve and retain decision-making skills and authority in life will be shared. The presenter will also address some of the legal and policy issues that may need to be navigated for SDM to work well as a support for many people.

Speaker Bio:  Tina M. Campanella has been the Director and Chief Executive Officer of Quality Trust for Individuals with Disabilities, an independent advocacy and monitoring organization in Washington DC, since its inception in 2002. She previously worked with the Council on Quality and Leadership (CQL) prior to assuming leadership at Quality Trust. She has over 40 years of experience working on behalf of children and adults with disabilities in many different capacities. She is acknowledged as an exceptional thinker and leader with expertise in program development, person-centered approaches, and service quality management. Most recently Ms. Campanella led the creation of the National Resource Center on Supported Decision-Making and has travelled the country promoting dialogue on improving decision-making support for people with developmental disabilities. She was also recently recognized for her contributions to the field as a fellow by the American Association on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (AAIDD). Ms. Campanella holds a MA degree in Organizational Management and Change and is a passionate about partnering with advocates who have disabilities to promote change.

Session Title:  Breakout Session:  Trauma Informed Care: What is it and what can we do?

Session Description:  A person’s behavior is shaped and learned through their experiences and interactions with others in their environments. Challenging behaviors that are difficult to manage may emerge when that person’s behavior has been shaped by traumatic experiences. For people with developmental disabilities traumatic experiences may be hidden and only show signs of existence when challenging behavior emerges. This training will discuss trauma and how it may present in people diagnosed with developmental disabilities. Moreover, this training will discuss strategies for supporting people touched by traumatic experiences including current and relevant situations such as natural disasters and pandemics.

Speaker Bio:  Mike Jersey, MA, LPC, is the Clinical Director of the Illinois Crisis Prevention Network’s Support Services Team and has been a member of the team since its inception in 2010. The Illinois Crisis Prevention Network is funded by the Illinois Department of Human Services and works to support individuals diagnosed with intellectual and developmental disabilities experiencing behavioral and/or medical challenges. Prior to his work with the ICPN, Mike has supervised residential settings for adults diagnosed with a severe mental illness and adolescents diagnosed with intellectual and developmental disabilities that were wards of the state of Illinois.

Session Title:  Round Table Discussion:  The Changing Role of the Developmental Disability Professional

Session Description:  There is no question that the role of the Developmental Disability Professional has changed significantly over the past few years, for a variety of reasons.  In this session attendees will be encouraged to share their own experiences in navigating these changes, learning about best practices from and exchanging strategies with one another.  One of the topics we'll address is how the CMS mandate for conflict free case management changed the role of the DDP and how and/or if organizations have restructured in response.  We'll also be discussing the education and training of DDPs - from higher education to hands-on learning.       

Facilitator Bio:  Connie Harrington is a founding member of the Technology Enhancing Capabilities Lab (TEC Lab) - a division of Trinity Services, Inc.  She also serves as the Director of the National Association of QIDPs - a member association dedicated to providing cutting edge tools, information, and resources to disability professionals across the country.  Prior to coming to Illinois, Connie developed an assistive technology program from the ground up for a large community-based provider and spearheaded the initiative for assistive technology adoption in another state, which resulted in a number of successful pilot programs as well as the implementation of highly regarded best practices.  In addition to her work in the area of assistive technology, Connie has served a case manager, staff trainer, and supervisor of residential services.  A lifelong student herself, she recognizes the value in providing learning opportunities to others and, as a result, has designed and hosted several regional and national conferences dedicated to this purpose.  Connie is a highly sought speaker and consultant.  She is graduate of the National Leadership Consortium on Developmental Disabilities and earned her MA in Counseling Psychology & Education.

Session Title:  Round Table Discussion:  Community Employment

Session Description:  The intent of this session is to provide an opportunity for participants to share and discuss their current experience with respect to assisting the persons supported to find and keep employment positions.  Attendees will have the opportunity to discuss a variety of topics including: 

  1. The current economic crisis and how it has impacted community employment.
  2. Whether the situation has become easier or more difficult.  
  3. What new techniques are being utilized to assist people to find jobs.  
  4. The future of community employment.  

Facilitator Bio:  Stephanie Behlke Leigh Ed.D, LCPC has been in the field of mental health since 1996. For the past twenty years she has been employed at Trinity Services undertaking a variety of roles. Stephanie has served as Trinity’s Vocational Program Director; the Director of Trinity’s Family Counseling Center, Residential Network Director and is a past president of the Illinois Rehabilitation Association, and a Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor. Presently Stephanie is a Network Director with eight community day service programs, school, employment program, home based services, respite services, two support businesses, and equestrian program under her purview. She has a Masters in Marriage and Family Counseling and a Doctorate in Counselor Education Training and Supervision. Stephanie also served as an Adjunct Professor at Argosy University (2011-2019) teaching courses in Career Development, Marriage and Family Therapy, and Group Counseling Techniques. In 2016, she was honored to receive the Distinguished Alumni Award. 

Session Title:  Round Table Discussion:  The Staffing Crisis Continues

Session Description:  In this session, you will have an opportunity to share your strategies for responding to the ongoing staffing crisis and learn about initiatives from other organizations.    Has your organization come up with creative approached to recruitment?  Are you testing new scheduling models?  Have you added innovative services?  How have you handled wages and sign-on bonues?  These questions, and more, will be discussed.  

Facilitator Bio: Shauntelle Brown currently serves as Recruiter for Trinity Services, Inc. In her seven years with Trinity, primarily in direct care with adults with intellectual disabilities, she has experienced firsthand the highs and lows associated with recruiting and retaining staff. Shauntelle is passionate about helping people find meaningful employment and recognizes that part of that process involves intentional creativity in both recruiting and retention practices.

Shauntelle graduated from Northwestern University with a BA in Communication Sciences and Disorders. She began her career at Trinity Services directly supporting those with intellectual disabilities and mental illness. Her role has expanded to include identifying quality candidates and assisting in cultivating a healthy work environment for staff. She is a strong believer in organizational culture, purposeful work, and providing opportunities for growth and reflection.

Session Title:  Round Table Discussion:  Community Connections

Session Description:  We know that a sense of community is important and are interested in learning about how you support people to establish and build relationships that foster connections to their communities.  In this session, you will have an opportunity to talk about what approaches have and have not worked in relation to volunteerism, natural supports, and employment.  We will examine current trends, challenges, and opportunities. 

Facilitator Bio:  Snovea Porter is the Association Services Coordinator for the National Association of QIDPs. She has a Bachelor’s Degree from Northern Illinois University in Psychology, and is currently a student with Aurora University studying for her Master’s in Social Work. Snovea has previously served as a QIDP in a vocational capacity and has served as an advocate for individuals in their community jobs and working alongside them to secure the resources they needed to obtain and/or maintain their employment. With a team of QIDPs, Snovea advocated for improved community access for the clients that were attending the vocational day program. As a result, the individuals were able to engage in frequent community access activities that supported their community engagement goals. Snovea find joy in family, friends, her dog, Levi, and helping others.