Family Tree Therapies
Core Strength Presentation
Kent County Health Dept Vendor
Legal Planning Presentation


                                          Saturday, March 12, 2016

                                                 Kent Intermediate School District

                                                 Educational Service Center 

                                                     2930 Knapp Ave NE 

                                                  Grand Rapids, MI 49525                           



Maintaining a Healthy Relationship: Strategies for Couples

Courtney Kowalczyk, MS, TLLP & Michelle VanderHeide, LBSW 
 Parenting a child with special needs can strain the lives of adult caregivers. Our focus will be on the importance of couples building and maintaining a healthy relationship with each other. Strategies for reducing stress and improving communication will be presented.

Legal Planning for a Child with Disabilities  

Dan Blauw & Sarah Kirkpatrick, Attorneys

Parents of children with disabilities often wonder if they should seek legal guardianship or powers of attorney for older children. What public benefits are available to children and adults with disabilities? Can I arrange my estate planning so an inheritance does not disqualify my child from these benefits? Attorneys Dan Blauw and Sarah Kirkpatrick will provide helpful planning tips on these and other legal questions.

Building Communication Skills Through Play   

Stacy Pulley CCC, SLP & Terri Zartman OTR, Family Tree Therapies
Come and learn our top tips for building communication through play. Develop an understanding of child-led play based intervention. Take away an immediate understanding of basic concepts that will grow and develop your child into a successful communicator, all while taking into consideration his/her individual differences.

Caring for the Caregiver 
Kristen Hawkins, Parent Coordinator, Michigan Public Health Institute  & Kristina Donaldson, Parent Leader, State of MI & Kent County

 Caring for a child with a disability is challenging and can lead to chronic stress. This presentation will focus on the importance of self-care, the benefits and barriers to self-care, and strategies for self-care specifically for caregivers of a child with special needs. Includes hands-on activities to use at home.

Creating Accessible Equipment and Learning Supports for Students 

Jim Kauppila, Assistive Technology Consultant, Muskegon ISD  

 Join us to learn how to create durable, safe, effective items out of cardboard that support the learning and positioning of children with physical needs. This make-take NO TECH option allows children with physical barriers to access the other tools in their environment. Leave with your own small creation!

Navigating Insurance & Community Resources 

Chris Buczek, Kent County Health Dept, Children's Special Healthcare 

 The maze of services can be overwhelming! Knowing where to go for what can be confusing. This session will provide a road map of what the service systems are and how they work or don’t. Questions such as, “Why can’t my child get more therapy” will be discussed.

Top Tips on Transition

Kim Norman, Transition Coordinator, Northview Public Schools 

 Transition is not a “Plan”, it is a process. This session will focus on the “W’s” of Transition ~ Who, What, Where, When, Why and of course, How. After 30 years of working in Special Education Transition I have a good idea of what can be helpful. This will be a great discussion for all ages and abilities, with everyone walking away with great ideas.

Make the Home Environment Accessible Through Consideration
Laura Taylor, Technology Integration Specialist, MITS  

The home is the first learning environment and thinking about what children need to learn from the start is our first consideration. This session will focus on what consideration means as it relates to making the first learning environment accessible for our youngest learners.



It is more than the Inside of an Apple-Help Kids have a Strong Core!

Michelle Gallery & Amy Bannick-Burmeister, Phsyical Therapists, Kent ISD 

 Our core is made up of our muscles in the middle of our body. If kids have a strong core they have an easier time moving and sitting. In this group you will learn more about how to strengthen the muscles in the middle of your child’s body. This course will be a hands-on approach to practicing activities that work on development of core strength and coordination. Come ready to MOVE and PLAY!


When Nothing Else Works: Strategies for Decreasing Challanging Behaviors 

Clinical Staff, BRAINS 

 Behaviors such as temper tantrums, physical aggression, property damage and meltdowns can be stressful for both parents and children. This breakout session will focus on promoting confidence in caregivers by providing strategies for supporting positive behaviors at home. Topics include ways to prevent challenging behaviors, and methods of teaching children new skills to manage their emotions.


Aided Communication for Early Childhood  

Laura Taylor, Technology Integration Specialist, MITS 

 For many children, learning language is difficult from the start. There may be many reasons why children have delays in learning but providing supports early on can help the child develop language just as their peers develop language. “Aided language” is one way to provide that support. Join this session to learn what aided language is and how to provide that support in the early childhood years.


Twitchy Toddlers, Fidgety First Graders & Every Other Child

 Rhonda Hines, Michelle St Aubin & staff of Comprehensive Therapy Center 

 In this workshop the staff of Comprehensive Therapy Center share fun movement, sensory, and language strategies to help families take the stress out of homework. This session is appropriate for parents and teachers of children from preschool through middle school.


Understanding Your Child's IEP & Section 504 

Debbie Rock, Regional Parent Mentor of The Arc Kent County, Michigan Alliance for Families

Sandee Koski, Presenter

This workshop will provide an overview of: referral, evaluation, eligibility, developing an Individualized Education Program (IEP) and dispute resolution options. We will also cover information about the uniqueness of 504 Plans and their potential role in your child’s education.


Parenting with Love & Logic 

Lillian Pulliams Cummings, School Pyschologist, Wyoming Public Schools

 Do you end your days as a parent exhausted and frustrated? Do you desire a relationship with your child without the battles? Using the expertise from Jim Faye and Charles Faye, PhD, Love and Logic Parenting will help you have less stress and more confidence, raise respectful and responsible kids and show empathy.


I'm a Dare Devil, Kayaker, Skier, High School Student...and I use a Wheelchair & AAC! 

Tony Bonofiglo, Forest Hills Public Hills Student 

 Join me to learn how AAC and Assistive Technology have given me the confidence to try new things, meet new people and explore new opportunities! From Boardmaker picture books, Makaton gestures, a Hip Talker and a Dynavox, I’ll share the good, bad and the ugly. My experiences with devices, progression of goals and my journey to independence will offer unique insight for your work with students.


Myths and Legends of Extended School Year versus Summer School

Rebecca McIntyre, Assistant Director of Special Education, Kent ISD

In this session we will discuss the difference between extended school year and summer school. We will discuss who is eligible and what service(s) might be provided. We will wrap up the session by looking at a variety of summer programming options that are available to students around Kent County. 


Calming, Energizing & Body Awareness

Kindy Segovia, OTR, Assistive Technology Consultant, Kent ISD  

 Our children and their behavior, reactions, emotions and movements can be a puzzle! Their brains and bodies are complex machines, trying to make sense of what they see, touch, hear, smell, and feel. Join us to experience and learn about triggers for outbursts and impulsiveness, reasons for laziness or clumsiness, and road blocks to typical social, sensory and motor development. Leave with some practical strategies for calming, energizing and building an awareness of movements and coordination.


 Visual Supports & Strategies

Jill Kreuze, CCC-SLP Grandville Public Schools 

Attendees will be introduced to a variety of effective visual strategies and supports that can help all children including children with Autism Spectrum Disorder. Strategies related to task completion, organization of materials, communication, behavior, emotions, and transitions will be explored. 




Sponsored by:

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Helpful Links 

Kindy Segovia's Assistive Technology Wiki