Descriptions of Breakout Sessions Are Below

Day 1

Day 2

DAY 1 – WEDNESDAY, JUNE 14 

8am – 9am Registration & Networking Session

9:15am – 10:15am Morning Keynote Speaker: 

Barbara Finlay, Deputy Ontario Ombudsman - Nowhere to Turn
Barbara will be sharing the story of the investigation into the Ministry of Community and Social Services’ response to situations of crisis involving adults with developmental disabilities. The role of the Ombudsman is to resolve individual issues as well as recommending improvements for public administration and governance.

10:30am – 11:45am

Jaime Chinchilla - Strategies for a Successful Diverse Workforce
In this workshop, participants will examine cultural values, perceptions, and expectations, and how these may impact managing a diverse workforce. It will also share strategies for a starting point for ongoing personal and professional development in diversity competence. Participants will leave understanding how cultural values, perceptions, and expectations may impact managing a diverse workforce and how to identify strategies for increasing personal and professional cultural competency.

Adam Schwartz - Life Experience growing up on the Spectrum
Adam Schwartz is a successful stand-up comedian with autism. This show, however, is not a comedy. This is Adam’s first serious show which examines his life with autism and his path from seeing his disability as a hindrance to an asset. Some topics he will discuss include, his path to becoming a stand-up comedian and educator, his educational experiences, as well as some of his successes and failures.

André Picard - Advocacy 101: How to tell your story and influence policy
An interactive workshop where a veteran journalist will lead a discussion on how patients, front-line workers and institutions can influence policy, and how to tell your story in an impactful manner. Participants are invited to bring examples of media coverage, good and bad, about causes in which they were involved.

Angela Amado - Putting the Human Back Into Human Services: Creating support based on the person versus the system
Many criticisms of “the system” and “services” reflect the failure of human services to meet the true, human needs of individuals who are dependent on that system. Many staff think or act like successfully meeting all policies and rules is more important than the quality of life of the individuals they serve. Under the overweighed burden of rules and regulations, paper requirements, funding restrictions, and operating practices, the individual lives of people with disabilities are often sacrificed, and communities are cut off from the contributions of citizens with disabilities. Many concerned and committed professionals are aware of these weaknesses, would prefer to operate services differently, but lack the structured methods to do so. Many factors make change difficult and this session provides the tools to start change.

Dr. Osman Ipsiroglu 
- Disruptive Sleep and Wake Behaviours in Children and Adolescents with Neurodevelopmental Conditions
Sleep disorders aggravate mental health problems and lead to a cascade of diagnoses and medication prescriptions. However, they can be poorly recognized during routine clinical assessments. Screening for sleep disorders is not typically part of routine assessments. This session will assist parents, care providers and professionals in advocating for recognition and treatment of sleep disorders in children with neurodevelopmental conditions.

Dr. Daniel J. Moran
 - The Mindful Action Plan – The Invited Event
The Mindful Action Plan (MAP) aims to simplify Acceptance and Commitment Therapy principles in order to assist practitioners with influencing complex behavioural change.  Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) is founded in behaviour analysis, modern functional contextualism, and relational frame theory research. The MAP creates a practical approach toward changing behaviour in healthier directions and has also been used as an Acceptance and Commitment Training tool in the domain of Organizational Behaviour Management. The primary goal for this session is to help clinicians understand the six core domains of ACT treatment and blend those important elements into their skills repertoire. In addition, a new approach to mindfulness will be discussed and the term commitment will be redefined to make both more useful in complex behavior analytic work.

Patti Chiappetta - Life is Good in the Company of Friends – An Innovative Model
This session will be a highly interactive one highlighting an innovative model that focuses on self-management and is truly person-centered. It will include short videos, and personal testimony from individuals who receive self-managed dollars through In The Company of Friends and will focus on where the model came from, how it has evolved and the many day-to-day issues that arise as people take charge of their lives in their communities and within the company of their family and friends. Great information about the evolution of support networks and the session will include practical skill development regarding person-centered, support networks and innovation.

In The Company of Friends was developed as a pilot project in the early 1990s, by community and government.  It was intended to provide an alternative and innovative model that allowed people with intellectual disabilities to live their lives as citizens rather than clients. Surrounded by their allies and supporters called “support networks” – this progressive model has evolved over the years into a mainstream offering around the province of Manitoba.

11:45am – 1pm Lunch Break

1pm – 2pm

Kate Kiernan & Billy Brodovsky - Practical Tools for Making Sense of Trauma for Children and Youth (Part 1)
This session assists adults to better understand the impact of trauma on children as well as on themselves. Anyone working with or caring for children and youth will benefit from attending this session. It covers how to help children to become trauma-informed and how to recognize children’s trauma survival responses.

Angela Amado - Building Friendships and Relationships between People with Disabilities and Other Members of the Community
Full community participation includes friendships and relationships with a wide variety of people and valued social roles as a community citizen. This training will highlight stories, slides, and successful strategies learned in “The Friends Project,” and “Person-Centered Agency Design Project,” and other efforts across the country which have been designed to support individual with developmental disabilities in having more friendships with non-disabled persons, being more fully part of their communities, and expanding the number and type of social roles they have.

Erin Riehle - Project Search: A Transition Program that WORKS (Part 1) 
This session covers the dynamic Project SEARCH model, which is an employment and transition program that helps people with disabilities find employment. In addition to sharing examples of intern success stories and highlighting key elements that shape this competitive employment training program for young people with disabilities, it will also describe the impact the program has had on the culture of host businesses in a variety of industry sectors. From the original site in Cincinnati, Project SEARCH has grown to include over 300 sites across 43 states and four countries. Winnipeg is currently home to two sites involving The Health Sciences Centre, Manitoba Hydro and the Government of Manitoba.

Barbara Finlay & Panelists - Panel Discussion: What is the Journey Forward for People with Disabilities?
In August 2016, the Ombudsman of Ontario released a report, Nowhere to Turn: Investigation into the Ministry and Community Social Services’ response to situations of crisis involving adults with developmental disabilities. The report contains 60 recommendations to the Ministry, many of them reflect reform needed in Manitoba and other Canadian provinces.

In his report, Ombudsman Paul Dube reminds us SOCIETIES ARE JUDGED ON HOW THEY TREAT THEIR MOST VULNERALE MEMBERS.  The time has come to move beyond apologies and work towards a consistent, coordinated, collaborative, and responsive developmental services system, able to effectively and humanely meet the needs of the individuals and families in crisis. We have a responsibility in Manitoba to reflect upon our own actions and learn from the actions of other provinces to do better for all people.

The panel includes William Cutbush, the lead investigator of the 2016 Ontario Ombudsman’s Report and representation from Public Interest Law Centre, People First, families, and service providers. Janet Forbes of Inclusion Winnipeg will moderate the discussion.

Sandy Sheegl & Cindy Yamamoto
 - Practical Strategies for Implementing Person-Centredness
Person-centred principles are increasingly being incorporated into service approaches in health and social care. Key dimensions of the person-centred concept include client autonomy and choice, partnership, shared decision-making and responsibility, and empowerment. Person-centeredness has been found to positively impact outcomes and client-perceived experiences of service. While individual service providers may use this approach, the service environment and community may be a barrier to implementing person-centred practice. Through the use of case scenarios from the G.R.O.W. Program, this presentation will offer practical strategies for implementing the person-centred approach in day-to-day practice. Vignettes will be presented at the service provider-client, team, and community levels in order to illustrate how person-centred principles may be applied across environmental levels to support change.

Dr. Daniel J. Moran 

Introduction to Acceptance and Commitment Therapy
Incorporating Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) into your treatment approach will have a significant impact on your clinical effectiveness and the well-being of your clients.  ACT is a rich, integrative approach, and has been shown to be effective for many clinically-relevant concerns. ACT takes a different perspective on psychotherapy, leaving some clinicians wondering how to blend the applications into their own therapy approach. Other clinicians who have embraced the ACT concepts still have questions about certain aspects of the therapy.  This workshop will explain ACT in a user-friendly manner and can be enjoyed by novices to the ACT material, and has additional elements that will be instructive for experienced ACT clinicians in the mental health field. Since ACT is helpful for many clinically-relevant concerns, case examples used throughout the day will include substance abuse, social phobia, OCD, depression, generalized anxiety disorder, anger management in executive coaching, and using a mindfulness-based approach to parenting children with childhood behavior disorders.

Shahin Shooshtari & Research Team - Understanding Mortality in Persons with Intellectual Disabilities
An overview of three studies about death in people with intellectual and developmental disabilities in Canada will be shared in this session. The first study reported on in-hospital deaths in Ontarians with intellectual and developmental disabilities; the second study compared deaths in Manitobans with and without intellectual and developmental disabilities and the third study looked at mortality over time in Ontario. Overall, the studies found that Canadians with intellectual and developmental disabilities die earlier than expected. Women with disabilities are more at risk of dying than men. These studies and projects in progress will be introduced and discussed.

2:20pm – 3:20pm

Kate Kiernan & Billy Brodovsky - Practical Tools for Making Sense of Trauma for Children and Youth (Part 2)
This session assists adults to better understand the impact of trauma on children as well as on themselves. Anyone working with or caring for children and youth will benefit from attending this session. It covers how to help children to become trauma-informed and how to recognize children’s trauma survival responses.

Keith Hildahl & Dawn McCartney - Mental Health Services for Neurodevelopmental Disorders in Children and Adolescents at MATC
This workshop will focus on the history of the Manitoba Adolescent Treatment Center’s Neurodevelopmental Clinic, describe the target client group, discuss the multidisciplinary approach to service delivery, and describe some of the challenges that must be addressed to ensure an adequate service delivery model in the future with suggested changes to improve services.

Erin Riehle - Project Search: A Transition Program that WORKS (Part 2)
This session covers the dynamic Project SEARCH model, which is an employment and transition program that helps people with disabilities find employment. In addition to sharing examples of intern success stories and highlighting key elements that shape this competitive employment training program for young people with disabilities, it will also describe the impact the program has had on the culture of host businesses in a variety of industry sectors. From the original site in Cincinnati, Project SEARCH has grown to include over 300 sites across 43 states and four countries. Winnipeg is currently home to two sites involving The Health Sciences Centre, Manitoba Hydro and the Government of Manitoba.

Harold Dougall - Remembering and Recounting Huronia: A Creative Approach to Reconciliation
Harold Dougall shares a multimedia seminar on his experience in the Huronia Regional Centre (HRC) in Orillia, Ontario from 1960 to 1966 and his subsequent activism. Dougall advocates on behalf of deceased residents who have been buried in unmarked graves on Huronia grounds through ther Remember Every Name Project. He will share his work with Recounting Huronia: A Participatory Arts-Based Research Project, which unites a team of artist and scholars with survivors of HRC to communicate the historical injustices experienced at HRC.

Rhonda & Dean Wiebe - Medical Assistance in Dying and
 the Impacts on Canadians with Disabilities
This presentation will review the Supreme Court of Canada’s decision with respect to the Criminal Code’s ruling on physician-assisted suicide, now known as Medical Assistance In Dying (MAID), the new federal legislation resulting from that ruling, and the court case(s) seeking to challenge that legislation. The lens for this discussion will be the history experienced by Canadians with disabilities, including death-making and other forms of discrimination and its impact on current decisions pertaining to ending of life issues. Although this topic is often placed within a legal framework, the presenters will have these complicated conversations in plain language so that this session is accessible for everyone.

Dr. Daniel J. Moran - Demystifying Relational Frame Theory
Arbitrarily applied what? Derived relational who?  If you started learning about Relational Frame Theory (RFT), and then stopped when you read: Crel {ArxB and BrxC…}, or have just been interested in learning the basics of Relational Frame Theory (RFT), this is the introductory workshop for you. This workshop will explain the basic concepts of RFT and help participants understand an expanded functional approach to verbal behavior. The core assumptions of functional contextual behavior analysis will be made clear and how they apply to discussing language and cognition.

Shahin Shooshtari & Research Team - Community Transitions: Healthcare and Quality of Life
Many of St.Amant’s services are shifting to provide the most inclusive, supportive, community-based services with the intention of enhancing health, access to healthcare, and quality of life of persons who are moving to the community. This presentation will describe how to evaluate the community transitions project and the impact for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, families and care providers.

3:30pm – 4:30pm Keynote Speaker:

André Picard - Loneliness is the greatest poverty
A veteran journalist examines the health and social impacts of loneliness and exclusion and the benefits of inclusion and community engagement.

DAY 2 – THURSDAY, JUNE 14

8am – 9am Registration & Networking Session

9:15am - 10:15am Morning Keynote Speaker: 

Joseph Macbeth
 - The Emerging Roles and Expectations of the Direct Support Workforce
This keynote offers a chance to reflect on the evolving role and expectations of Direct Support Professionals. Many of these changes are driven by funders, families, and people with disabilities. This is a radical departure from which we are accustomed and will ultimately create an emphasis on personal autonomy, greater access to integrated settings and helping people to make informed choices. The focus of this keynote addresses one important issue; how do we support people with disabilities to make informed decisions? What are the direct support professional’s role in this process? What are the workforce demographics and projections to fulfill these expectations? Do direct support professionals currently possess the tools, resources, and skills to uphold this responsibility?

10:30am – 11:45am

Shelley Moore - Inclusive Education: Who, What, Where, Why?!
Has inclusive education become contaminated? Come deconstruct the philosophy and practice behind what inclusion means, and who it is actually designed to support. Learn the rationale of inclusion and how to differentiate between inclusion from previous reform efforts including mainstreaming and integration. 

Karen Copeland - Honouring the Family Experience in Systems
This presentation details what it can be like to be a parent trying to navigate complex systems of care. Karen will share her family service journey map and provide participants with the opportunity to practice curiosity and ask questions. Participants will be provided with information on what families find to be helpful and hindering when it comes to parent and caregiver engagement, and why opportunities for sharing our stories are important. Ideas for collaboration between families and professionals will be discussed.

Donna Torney - New Tools for Everyday Mindfulness
A Google search of the term mindfulness will turn up articles from mainstream publications as varied as The New York Times, and The Huffington Post, to peer-reviewed articles in highly regarded medical journals. One can also find products like “Mindful Mayonnaise” and audio courses on drinking wine mindfully. On the other hand, we find “mindfulness purists” who suggest a regular practice of formal meditation every day as the only way to receive the benefits of mindfulness practices. In this workshop, we will find the middle way, and create a toolbox for busy people to access the benefits of mindfulness in modern, everyday life. We will also explore personal motivation for mindfulness that will help participants build a sustainable satisfying mindfulness habit. You’ll learn four practices you can incorporate into your week, and design your own practice. (This workshop will provide a new take on mindfulness skills. You will NOT be asked to eat a raisin in slow motion.)

Lee-Anne Adams & Julie Walsh
 - The Keys to Attachment: Fostering Connection and Relationships
Participants will learn to enhance understanding of different attachment patterns throughout the lifespan and the specific needs a person may have based on their attachment pattern. Look at activities that may aid the attachment relationship will also be discussed. This session will leave you with the tools to understand, identify and offer ways address blocked care.

Dr. Greg Hanley
 - Functionally Analyzing Challenging Behavior of Persons with Developmental Disabilities
Literature reviews reveal that larger reductions in challenging behavior are evident when a functional analysis is part of the functional assessment process. Nevertheless, most practitioners do not conduct functional analyses prior to addressing severe challenging behavior. This breakout session will provide content relevant to closing this apparent research to practice gap. Interview-informed, synthesized contingency analyses will be emphasized for enhancing the speed, safety, and efficacy of functional analyses.

Patrick O’Reilly
 - The Golden Rule is Wrong
At some point in time you’ve, no doubt, learned The Golden Rule, or a version of it: Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. Or, in other words, treat others the way you want to be treated. Seems like reasonable advice, doesn’t it? Few of us would argue with the idea of “Don’t punch someone in the nose, if you don’t like being punched in the nose.” But, what if our relationships and our work-life are a little more nuanced than that? In a Padraig workshop, leaders are asked to think about the best things they do to motivate people… and then to think about how that same thing might be demotivating to others. In this session, Patrick not only walks leaders through an understanding of the approach but helps them figure out the behaviour types of their own employees and how best to adapt their leadership style. The session practices specific skills and leaves the manager with a guide to interacting with employees to achieve greater wins.

11:45am - 1pm Lunch Break

1pm – 2pm

Shelley Moore - Inclusive Education: How?!
How can we become more inclusive by looking at frameworks to help us question who our students are, both within a context of a group as well as individuals? This session explores framework to help you organize your planning to reach all learners regardless of ability, language or experience. Participants will learn new strategies to uncover strength in individuals and how to set meaningful goals.

Mandy Newhook & Jackie Swirsky - It Takes More than Words: Part 1
Just because someone can’t speak doesn’t mean they have nothing to say. This presentation will provide you with the tools you need to feel confident communicating with people who express themselves in a variety of ways. With a combined clinical experience of over 25 years, St.Amant’s Speech Language Pathologists will use evidence-based practice, videos, hands-on participation and case studies to fill your communication toolbox. Some topics include how to create a supportive environment to enhance communication, supporting people with dementia, communicating with people who are non-verbal, improving conversational skills with people who are difficult to understand and mindful strategies for enhancing communication.

Donna TorneyThe lighter Side of Mindfulness: Using mindfulness to boost positive emotions
In a 24/7 culture experiencing accelerated change, simply enjoying life can get pushed aside as we race to keep up. It is great news that mindfulness has been scientifically proven to help those with PTSD, caregiver fatigue, and anxiety disorders, among other ailments. In this session, you will learn contemplative practices that foster a reconnection to pleasure, ease, contentment, and other positive emotions. Leave the session with three ways to boost your happiness set-point, using ‘direct experience’ and other easy to incorporate contemplative activities.

Karen Copeland - Start with Strengths: Change the Lens, Change the Story
Explore the changes that can happen when we shift away from focusing heavily on our kids’ challenges towards exploring and honouring their strengths. Learn how curiosity and storytelling can strengthen relationships between our children, youth, families, and community. This will be an interactive session with participants having the opportunity to explore their own strengths, as well as consider how they can maximize the strengths of the people they’re supporting.

Dr. Greg Hanley
 - Treating Challenging Behavior of Persons with Developmental Disabilities: A Skill-Based Approach
There are numerous treatment options once the function of challenging behavior has been determined via a functional assessment process. There are very few treatments, however, that have been shown to be effective outside of highly controlled conditions and whose effects were socially validated by caregivers. In this session, a skill-based treatment that is highly effective and socially-validated will be described. The critical aspects of teaching others to request important events and interactions and to successfully tolerate times in which requests are denied will be emphasized.

Julia Ruta & Dustin Buchan
 - Prader-Willi Syndrome: A Review of Dietary Management and a First-Hand Personal Story
Prader-Willi Syndrome is a complex genetic disorder affecting appetite, growth, metabolism, cognitive function, and behavior. This presentation will give an overview of the rare condition and will touch on strategies for best practice dietary management. Dustin Buchan will be giving a first-hand account on the challenges of living with Prader-Willi Syndrome and discuss the benefits of residing in a food-secure environment. Participants will be able to implement best practice management strategies or refer to a dietitian who will be able to implement strategies.

2:20pm – 3:20pm

Abilities Manitoba & Saskatchewan Association of Rehabilitation Centres (SARC)
Manitoba’s and Saskatchewan’s sectors are getting to know each other better. Come learn more about how Saskatchewan Association of Rehabilitation Centres (SARC) is set up as Saskatchewan’s provincial association and what it does to provide services to its members. You will also learn more about SARC’s role in government relations and some of the key priorities and projects taking place in our neighbouring province. There will also be a Q&A session with Amy McNeil, Executive Director of SARC, and Margo Powell, Executive Director of Abilities Manitoba. Come join us for the conversation!

Mandy Newhook & Jackie Swirsky - It Takes More than Words: Part 2
Just because someone can’t speak doesn’t mean they have nothing to say. This presentation will provide you with the tools you need to feel confident communicating with people who express themselves in a variety of ways. With a combined clinical experience of over 25 years, St.Amant’s Speech Language Pathologists will use evidence-based practice, videos, hands-on participation and case studies to fill your communication toolbox. Some topics include how to create a supportive environment to enhance communication, supporting people with dementia, communicating with people who are non-verbal, improving conversational skills with people who are difficult to understand and mindful strategies for enhancing communication.

Joseph Macbeth
 - The 80% Solution: We Have a DSP Problem
We hear it all of the time. Home and community-based support providers experience a crushingly high percentage of staff turnover, poor morale, and an inability to provide the high quality supports that people with disabilities and their families want and deserve. How do we fix it? The answer is complex and comprehensive. Approximately 80 % of the workforce in organizations and agencies that support people with disabilities is comprised of direct support professionals. They deliver the service and “product” that we all strive to assist people with disabilities to lead fulfilling lives in the community. This session will describe an organizational cultural change system to focus agency culture to one that fortifies and bolsters the development and recognition of direct support professionals.

Brendan Böhr - Introduction to Organizational Behaviour Management and Behavioural Systems Analysis
Organizational Behaviour Management (OBM) is an approach to management and performance improvement that is based on the science of human behaviour. Behavioural Systems Analysis (BSA) is used to model the complex interactions of processes and systems within an organization with the purpose of identifying important variables that can significantly impact individual and organizational performance. Together, OBM and BSA represent a technology of performance management and organizational change that is used to make employees happier and more productive, and the organization more effective at achieving its goals. Recently, OBM and BSA strategies have been used to improve the efficiency of various functions within St.Amant Autism Programs. These strategies will be discussed, and the outcome of those efforts will be presented.

Dr. Greg Hanley
 - Addressing Stereotypy: The Importance of a Balanced Approach to this Core Symptom of Autism
Individuals diagnosed with autism often engage in repetitive acts that appear to serve no function; these acts are collectively referred to as stereotypy due to the formal similarity of the acts and the frequency with which they are emitted. Applied behavior analysts are often called upon to develop behavior plans addressing stereotypy when chronic levels of stereotypy interfere with the development of important skills. In this presentation, a series of empirical investigations of behavioral interventions for stereotypy will described. A feature common to the most effective interventions, which are also the most preferred by the persons with autism experiencing them, involves reliant access to the person’s own stereotypy. The various ways in which these treatment contingencies may be arranged to produce socially meaningful outcomes will be described.

3:30pm – 4:30pm Closing Plenary Event — Celebrating 25 years