Friday, March 14, 2008

March is Disability Awareness Month

March is disabilities awareness month. It is a time to raise awareness that people with disabilities want the same things that everyone else wants. Those “things” are friends, peace of mind (including freedom from abuse), to be valued through employment and service to their community and to have enough money to be able to live a quality life.

It is a month set aside to recognize the great strides in the care and treatment of people with disabilities moving from an understaffed institutional ward to independent and supported living.

During this month of March, be a friend to a person with a disability, consider hiring a person with a disability in your place of employment (there are supports available to train and coach) and recognize that people with disabilities are often the kindest and most compassionate people you will ever know. Including a person with a disability at any meeting changes the dynamics and changes the environment in positive ways. Welcome people with disabilities in to your business, your restaurant and your place of worship.

During this month of March, consider a career that includes working with people with developmental disabilities. There are opportunities in many fields and the gratification at the end of the day knowing you made a difference is tremendous.

During this month of March, there is one huge request. Help end the disrespect and cruelty targeted at people with disabilities by not tolerating the use of the word “retard” in any conversation you are a part of. Do not tolerate the derogatory use of the word “retard” by your children.

-Janice Fitzgerald, Executive Director Parent to Parent of NYS

Spring '08 Conferences: DAN, Working Together, Carr at CARD

The biannual DAN! Conference will be a short drive away this year in Cherry Hill, NJ from April 3-7. Details and program at

This is the premier conference for biomedical approaches -- you walk away either overwhelmed or inspired that this is the thing for your child (or possibly turned off entirely). For the biomedical curious and the dedicated practitioner alike.

The Working Together Collaborative Conference at the New York Academy of Medicine brings together staff from the leading behavioral instruction programs in the wider Metro area: Connecticut Child Development Center, Alpine, Eden2, and Nassau-Suffolk Services for Autism. It is a great conference for professionals in the field, for parents of kids who require behavioral instruction or behavior management approaches, and a good conference for parents of kids with social cognition weakness, which is to say all spectrum kids. Full conference program available at

And, for those with less flexibility around days off work and less money to spend on conferences, the Queens College Regional Center for Autism and Related Disorders is bringing Ted Carr of SUNY StonyBrook to speak about Positive Behavior Supports.

Program and response form below.

Queens College Center on Autism and Related Disabilities (QC-CARD)


MAY 3, 2008, 9:30 – 1:00

KEYNOTE ADDRESS: Dr. Edward Carr, Leading Professor, Stony Brook University

“Repairing and Enhancing Quality of Life: Achievable and Hopeful”

LOCATION: Queens College, Rosenthal Library, Room 230
(Go to main gate on Kissena Blvd. for parking instructions)

9:30 – 10:10 Registration and refreshments
10:15 – 11:15 Keynote: Dr. Edward Carr
11:30 – 1:00 Breakout sessions: choose one

1. Thinking in PBS: Approaching Problem Behavior Through the Lens of PBS Presenter: Christopher Oliva, Ph.D.
This training will focus on understanding and addressing problem behavior of children with autism in educational settings from the perspective of positive behavior support. General PBS strategies, as well as formal assessment based strategies, will be explored. Case examples will be used to demonstrate effective interventions.

2. Guidelines for a PBS Classroom: Lessons from the Field Presenter: Angela Mouzakitis, MsEd, BCBA
The purpose of this workshop is to share classroom guidelines identified as necessary to create a "positive behavior supports" classroom. These guidelines have been identified through hands-on work, observation and consultation with classrooms that serve children with autism. Goals of the workshop are to provide guidelines for a PBS classroom, discuss and provide examples of the guidelines in action, and to provide professionals with a system for managing and monitoring guidelines, providing feedback to teacher, in order to improve classroom practice.

3. Parent Strategies for Supporting Language and Positive Behavior in Daily Family Routines Presenter: Peishi Wang, Ph.D., BCBA
This session will explore a variety of parent-implemented interventions appropriate in natural environments with young children with ASD. Focus will be on teaching communication skills and increasing participation in family activities.

4. Friendships and Beyond: Developing Social Skills in Students with ASD Presenter: Nicole Weidenbaum, MsEd., SAS
Success within home, school, and community settings, weighs heavily on the development of social skills. This presentation will focus on the social skills needed for students to be successful in an inclusive school setting, as well as teaching techniques that are applicable across a broad range of skill levels and settings.

5. Make It Fun and I’ll Show Up: Moving towards naturally occurring reinforcement Presenter: Randy Horowitz, MsEd, SAS
This presentation will describe ways in which parents and teachers can establish (and maintain) themselves as reinforcing stimuli in the education of individuals diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder. The use of antecedent based strategies to prevent problem behavior will be described in the context of designing effective behavior support plans.

6. “We’re all working really hard – but these PBS strategies are not working!” Presenter: Sara Woolf, M.A
Does this sound too familiar? If so, come to this session to learn about team process strategies and skills that have been identified as critical in establishing successful home-school partnerships -- and developing lasting PBS outcomes. The session will focus on ways to apply “team best practices” as discussed by select school-family teams and in current literature from the fields of Special Education, Educational Leadership, and PBS/ABA.



Name Job Title/Role



City State Zip Code

Phone Email


___ 1: Thinking in PBS ___ 4: Friendships and Beyond

___ 2: Lessons from the Field ___ 5: Make it Fun

___ 3: Family Routines ___ 6: We’re All Working Hard…!


This conference is funded through a grant from the Center for Autism and Related Disabilities, University at Albany, and the NYS Education Department, Office of Vocational and Educational Services for Individuals with Disabilities.

The registration fee is $10.00. Payment must accompany registration.

Please return registration form and payment (made out to QC-CARD) to:

Dr. Fredda Brown, Project Director
Educational and Community Programs
Queens College
63-50 Kissena Blvd.
Flushing, NY 11367