Family Tree Therapies
Core Strength Presentation
Kent County Health Dept Vendor


LEAP - March 4, 2017

Kent ISD Education Service Center

LEAP Conference Agenda and Session Information                 

Keynote Speaker: Janice Fialka

Janice Fialka is an author & advocate for creating a life that matters for ALL our children. She has helped assist parents & providers to gain insight as they work together. Her message is both inspiring and hopeful. 

Maintaining a Healthy Relationship: Strategies for Couples
Courtney Kowalczyk, MS, LLP 

 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  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 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 
Kristina Donaldson, Parent Leader, State of MI & Kent County, Kristin Hawkins, Parent Coordinator-MPHI
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.

Navigating Insurance & Other 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.
Poverty Guidelines Michigan Handout

When Nothing Else Works! Strategies for Decreasing Challenging Behaviors
Jennie Reminga, LMSW & Michelle Davis-Van Aman, LMSW , 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.

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.

Creating a Circle of Support
Janice Fialka LMSW,ACSW
In this workshop, Janice and her husband, Rich, will discuss the ins and outs of creating Circles of Support. We will look at how to start and maintain a group, how to involve participants and what issues you may need help with. We will explore the gifts and challenges of creating Circles of Support. Participants will be encouraged to share their experiences and insight.

An invitation Handout

Circle of Friends Invite Letter

Circles of Support

Circle of Friends

Favorite Books & Websites

Making Action Plans

Reflective Questions


I Scream, You Scream, We All Scream….Let’s Stop! A Workshop to reduce Parents & Child Stress

Tom Rutledge PhD Psychologist, Comprehensive Therapy Center

Using Common sense, humor and a surprisingly simple but powerful strategy, Psychologist Dr. Tom Rutledge Ph.D. provides tools that anyone can use to increase their parent comfort zone and their parent effectiveness. Dr Tom presents an effective remedy to the often embarrassing and always uncomfortable screaming and yelling that most of us parents have exhibited on too many occasions.


MiABLE: Saving & Investing Without Jeopardizing Benefits 
Kara Scheenema, Departmental Specialist, MiAble
MiABLE is a savings program designed to help people with physical and/ or mental disabilities put aside money to pay or qualified disability expenses. These accounts provide an opportunity to save and invest with tax free earnings to help participants maintain independence and quality of life. Come and learn more about the MiABLE program.

5 Simple Steps for Reducing Mealtime Stress 
Erin Roon, MA, CCC-SLP
Having a picky eater can make mealtimes difficult for the whole family. There are some simple strategies that can make eating more pleasant for everyone involved. Come explore ideas for making food exciting and enjoyable for even the pickiest eater. 

Low Tech vs. High Tech in the Classroom
Liesha Crawford, Special Education Teacher, Grand Rapids Public Schools
We will explore strategies that assist children with significant learning, behavioral and sensory needs with access to their learning environment with greater success. Learn practical strategies that you can implement with your child that has complex needs, playing on their strengths and interests. From no-tech/low-tech through high tech, learn how we can tackle everything from determining what they know and understand through strategies and activities that build on what they can do. 

Understanding Transition
Tammy Finn, The Arc Kent County
The transition process prepares students with disabilities for adult life by planning for specific areas of post-secondary education, employment, community participation, and independent living skills. This workshop will help parents of students with disabilities understand how to use the Individualized Education Plan (IEP) to develop transition services that support their youth in planning for life after high school. This workshop will also help parents of students with disabilities understand the Person-Centered Planning process for students who are eligible for Community Mental Health services.

How to Understand the Meaning of Your Child's Behavior
Alissa Hofstee, Kent ISD Behavioral Supports Consultant 
Have you seen your child engage in a challenging behavior and asked yourself, “Why does my child keep doing that?” It can be very frustrating, especially when it seems like it should be easy for your child to figure out on their own a better way to behave. This workshop will help you figure out that “why”, so you can then teach them to communicate their wants and needs in a new way.

Making and Using Visual Supports-Building Communication, Behavior & Independence
Kindy Segovia, OTR Kent ISD
Visuals, such as pictures, drawings, objects, gestures, and environmental cues can be an important support for children with special needs. Whether verbal or nonverbal, visuals can help a child know what to do, learn new skills, communicate, and develop independence. Join me to learn how visuals can assist in home and community activities including, daily routines and schedules, transitioning to different tasks, behavior management and communication. Walk away with some low-tech, no-tech, low-cost, no-cost ideas for creating, organizing and using pictures and other visual supports.

Let us "Make" your day! Low Tech Make-it Take-it 
Join us in the MakerSpace Playground to discover and explore Assistive and Adaptive Technology tools, and create no-tech, low-tech materials that you can use with your child. In our hands-on space, you will be able to learn about and play with switch toys, adaptive keyboards, alternative communication tools, reading supports, interactive iPad apps, sensory tools and more. Then, you’ll have some time to ‘make’ and ‘take’ visual supports, communication cards, study aids and sensory manipulatives for use with your child at home


Sponsored by:

KCHD LogoFamily Tree Therapies LogoComprehensive Therapy Center logo





Helpful Links 

Kindy Segovia's Assistive Technology Wiki