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New This Year!
Self Advocate Sessions

(Suggested Age - 17+)

10:15 am - Check In
Canyon Room (3rd floor)

10:30 am - Session 1
Money Matters, Shari Penny, Heroes*
Self advocate participants will be led through discussion and fun, interactive activities to learn the importance and how to’s of budgeting, shopping wisely, and other money matters.
*Due to an unexpected family emergency, Money Matters will now be facilitated by Shari Penny from Heroes. Heroes-providing lifelong learning through community experiences.
Canyon Room (3rd floor)

12:00 pm - Lunch
Room TBD

1:15 pm - Session 2
Draw Your Own PATH, Shaun Bickley, Self-Advocate Coordinator, The Arc of Texas
PATH (Planning Alternative Tomorrows with Hope) is a powerful way to help self advocates plan for their lives. PATH is a person centered planning tool that utilizes graphic facilitation and natural support networks to discover dreams and develop positive future plans. Self advocate participants in this workshop will use pictures to help you show others what they want for their future. PATH breaks a big idea down into small steps, creating a plan. Together, with the right support, everyone can reach their dreams.
Canyon Room (3rd floor)



Special thanks to the Charles H. Phipps Family Foundation for their support of the 2014 Fall Conference.

Fall Conference


     Saturday, September 27, 2014
     The Westin Dallas - Park Central
     12720 Merit Drive
Dallas, TX 75251
     9:00 am – 4:30 pm

Online registration is now closed!
On-site registration tables open at 8:00 am on Saturday.

$50 individuals, $80 married couples, $15 self advocates (includes lunch, handouts, & refreshments)

This year’s conference will interest a diverse group of attendees. Family members who have a child of any age with developmental disabilities, educators, and professionals will all benefit. This year's conference will also feature two breakout sessions specifically for self advocates. Confirmed speakers and topics include:

Libby Kumin, Ph.D., CCC-SLP, Professor of Speech-Language Pathology/Audiology and author, Loyola University, Baltimore, MD

Keynote: With a Vision of the Future: Lifelong Communication Planning for People with Down syndrome
There has been great improvement in health care, education, and therapeutic support of individuals with Down syndrome over the past 30 years. We know much more about speech and language skills and how to work with professionals and parents as a coordinated team to help infants, toddlers, children and adolescents move ahead and maximize their communication skills. This address will focus on how to use that knowledge to support a positive vision for the future for all children. We will look at three young adults with Down syndrome and the paths they have followed to become bright, caring, productive adults. The presentation will conclude with an action plan, for the individual, for families, for SLPs and other professionals, and for society.

Social Skills*
Pragmatics is considered a strength for children with Down syndrome. They are sociable, but as they mature and develop, they often need help with social skills including conversational skills, how to start and end conversations, how to stay on topic, handling communication when someone doesn’t understand what you are saying, knowing how to give more information, and telling about something that happened, and nonverbal communication such as gestures and appropriate social distance. The presentation will focus on addressing social skills in elementary, middle, and high school years. Practical suggestions, resources, and techniques for individual and group therapy will be included.

Every behavior is a form of communication. When a child displays behaviors that are difficult or undesirable, understanding what the child is communicating through the behavior is the most important step in changing the behavior. Case studies of A-B-C analysis and positive behavioral interventions that involve communication difficulties will be presented. Behavioral challenges that arise from limited expressive language and speech intelligibility issues and strategies to support appropriate behavior will be included. Materials, resources, and techniques to address behavioral difficulties will be included.

Speech Intelligibility*
Attendees will learn about methods and techniques that can be used at each stage - infants, toddlers, children, adolescents, and adults - to help develop speech that is easy to understand. Methods and techniques for identifying, analyzing, and treating the factors that affect speech intelligibility (including dysarthria/oral motor skills and childhood apraxia of speech) will be presented. Information on interprofessional team approaches and family-based treatment will be included in the presentation.

Kent D. McKelvey, M.D., Associate Professor of Family Medicine and Genetics, Rockefeller Chair in Clinical Genetics, Director of Cancer and Adult Genetics Services, Winthrop P. Rockefeller Cancer Institute, University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences

Medical Evaluation in Down syndrome Across Lifespan - Part 1

This session will provide a broad overview of medical and behavioral issues common in and unique to Down syndrome from pediatric to adult care.

Medical Evaluation in Down syndrome Across Lifespan - Part 2

This session is a continuation of part 1 concluding with updates on clinical research in Down syndrome and why research is important.

The Genetics Medical Home
This session will focus on the importance of (and barriers to) transitions of care for people with special needs from pediatrics to adulthood. Discussion includes the team approach to care in the changing world of payment reform, medical homes, and pay for performance. This talk will include a discussion of care coordination as part of a comprehensive and consistent Genetics Medical Home to serve patients and families with special needs.

Susan Ellis, National speaker on video modeling and visual strategies and co-founder of The TV Teacher (
Video Modeling: An Engaging and Effective Means for Teaching Children with Down syndrome

If your child or student is a visual learner, make breakthroughs using an evidence-based approach of video modeling! Whether you’re struggling with teaching self-help, behavior, social, motor skills, vocation, or even play--if it’s action oriented, video modeling could make the difference! This session will be an in-depth and thorough presentation on video modeling and is helpful for both educators and caregivers. Through dozens of video examples and true stories, as well as discussing many research projects, learn WHY it works so well, WHAT can be taught, WHO best to film, and WHICH editing tools & apps to use. Eight strategies for making these successful video tools will also be showcased.

Visual Strategies 101: A Broad Spectrum of Techniques to Help your Child Succeed
Fostering communication using visuals can expedite your child’s ability to truly understand and react to situations in a positive manner. From traditional methods to apps, learn tips to several strategies: simple pictures, if/then, choices, visual schedules, social stories, and more. Research projects will also be discussed throughout the presentation.

This presentation will help with more than just communication. Setting visual expectations can assist with transitions, behaviors, academic skills, self-help skills, and more. Mixing industry best practices with personal success stories and examples, Ms. Ellis will inspire you to think outside the box and make it visual!

Marie O’Bryan, Reading and Language Intervention (RLI) trainer for Down Syndrome Education International (DSE)

Program Overview: Introducing DSE’s Reading and Language Intervention for Children with Down syndrome (RLI)

RLI incorporates best practice in structured activities delivered in fast-paced daily teaching sessions. Results from the San Antonio Study will be shared which reconfirms that the RL intervention is more effective than ordinary literacy instruction. Come learn how RLI offers a well-defined structure for individualized teaching to meet the particular learning needs of students with Down syndrome.

Reading Strand Overview: DSE Reading and Language Intervention for Children with Down syndrome (RLI)
Come learn how the reading strand components of RLI combines book reading, sight word reading, and work on letters, sounds, and phonology.

Language Strand Overview: DSE Reading and Language Intervention for Children with Down syndrome (RLI)

Come learn how the language strand components of RLI combines explicit vocabulary instruction that supports expressive language development and written language.

*This program has been approved for 1.50 clock hours of continuing education credit by the Texas-Speech-Language-Hearing Association (TSHA). TSHA approval does not imply endorsement of course content, specific products, or clinical procedures. (Libby Kumin sessions only)