Adam Schwartz is a stand-up comedian and a writer with Aspergers, as well as a CBC‘s Future 40 finalist. His first book, I’ve got Aspergers, so I’m better than you. Shh… don’t tell mom! was published last March. He’s also performed at the Winnipeg Comedy Festival and had a number of successful Winnipeg Fringe Festival shows. He recently toured his one-man show, Aspergers: A Tale of a Social Misfit. This summer he’s launching a new book and will be performing once again at the Winnipeg Fring Festival.
Pursuing her desire to be closer her family, in 2007, Amy McNeil made the move to Saskatoon where she was hired as Executive Director of Saskatchewan Association of Rehabilitation Centres (SARC). SARC is an association that represents community-based organizations that provide residential, developmental, and employment supports/services to thousands of individuals with disabilities. SARC supports these organizations with a variety of training, consultation, and administrative services.
Margo Powell began working in the disability sector in the early 1990’s and is currently the Executive Director of Abilities Manitoba, a network of agencies, exists to foster excellence in services for people with intellectual disabilities. She has worked for small and large community organizations both in Winnipeg and rurally and has been employed by five member agencies of Abilities Manitoba. Margo is a proud alumni of the Disability and Community Support Program at Red River College and has her degree in Community Rehabilitation and Disability Studies from the University of Calgary. She is passionate about inclusion, equality, community living and quality of life.
André Picard is the health columnist at The Globe and Mail and the author of four books, most recently The Path to Health Care Reform: Policies and Politics. He has received much acclaim for his writing, including the Michener Award for Meritorious Public Service Journalism and the Centennial Prize of the Pan- American Health Association, awarded to the top health journalist in the Americas. He is also an eight-time finalist for the National Newspaper Awards – Canada’s version of the Pulitzer Prize. André is a graduate of the University of Ottawa and Carleton University, and has received honourary doctorates from the University of Manitoba and the University Of Ontario Institute Of Technology.
Angela Amado is a Research Associate at the University of Minnesota’s Institute on Community Integration. She has worked in the field of disability for over 30 years in a variety of capacities, including national research, direct support, international consulting, and government policy. She is also the Executive Director of the Human Services Research and Development Center. For the last 28 years, she has worked on strategies to bring individuals with disabilities together with ordinary community members in friendships and relationships to promote fully inclusive communities. She is internationally known for her key books on friendships between individuals with disabilities and community members, and has provided training across the U.S., Canada, Netherlands, Australia, and Israel concerning inclusion, community membership, person-centered planning and self-determination.
Barbara Finlay has been with the Office of the Ombudsman since 2005 as Deputy Ombudsman and Director of Operations. As Deputy Ombudsman, she is responsible for the daily operations of the Ombudsman’s Office, including the investigation and resolution of more than 22,000 complaints per year from members of the Ontario public about provincial government services as well as municipalities, universities and school boards. Prior to joining the Ontario Ombudsman’s office, Ms. Finlay served as the Director General of Operations for Canada’s first military Ombudsman. She has worked as an Assistant Crown Attorney and a part-time professor at the University of Ottawa, Faculty of Law, and has also lectured in criminal and civil law at the Algonquin College Police Foundations Program. She graduated from the University of Ottawa Common Law Program in 1992 and was called to the bar in 1994.
Brendan is a Board-Certified Behaviour Analyst (BCBA) from rural Manitoba. In 2008 he graduated from the University of Manitoba, and in 2014 he completed a dual Master of Science degree from the Florida Institute of Technology in Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) and Organizational Behavior Management (OBM). He has practiced applied behaviour analysis in Manitoba, Florida, and Washington State; and he’s filled many roles, including autism tutor, behaviour technician, behaviour analyst, graduate teaching associate, and independent contractor. Brendan currently serves as the Coordinator of Clinical Education and Training in St.Amant’s Autism Programs. In this role, he delivers presentations and workshops in the community on topics related to autism and applied behaviour analysis, and he helps to facilitate staff development and process improvement within St.Amant’s Autism Programs.
Dean Richert practices law in Winnipeg, Manitoba with the firm Duboff, Edwards, Haight and Schacter LLP. Although his focus is in areas of family, estate, criminal and disability litigation, he has served as a volunteer mediator for Mediation Services and as a Citizen Advocacy Board member. Currently, he sits on the Human Rights Committee of the Council of Canadians with Disabilities (CCD), co-chairs the Ending of Life Ethics Committee of the CCD and is a member of the Ethics Committee for the Manitoba League of Persons with Disabilities. Dean developed particular expertise in the legal aspects of withholding and withdrawing of life-sustaining treatment for persons with disabilities without their consent, and its implications regarding the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. He was involved in the team that prepared legal arguments before the Supreme Court of Canada in the case resulting in the current ruling on medical aid in dying. Dean’s convictions that persons with disabilities face social discrimination that makes them vulnerable when facing ending-of-life issues drives the impetus for his work in this area.
Rhonda Wiebe has served as a community advocate for persons with disabilities for over two decades. Her work has included researching ending of life issues for persons with disabilities at the Manitoba League of Persons with Disabilities, The Canadian Centre on Disability Studies, and conducting specific analysis of ending of life and disability ethics through the Vulnerable Persons New Emerging Team at the Faculty of Medicine, University of Manitoba. Rhonda currently co-chairs the Ending of Life Ethics Committee for the Council of Canadians with Disabilities, and in this capacity provided expert testimony before the Supreme Court in the Gloria Taylor case which led to the ruling on medical aid in dying. Most importantly, Rhonda has experienced living with disability since the age of 13. Co-existing with a grievous and irremediable condition along with her research and advocacy experience at the community, provincial, national and international levels informs the convictions regarding the dignity, rights and valuable contributions every citizen can offer, regardless of ability.
Donna Torney is a licensed psychotherapist and registered yoga teacher based in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Donna uses Mindfulness-based stress reduction and mindfulness-based cognitive therapy, two scientifically validated treatment modalities to treat teens, emerging adults and mature adults who are seeking to manage anxiety, depression, trauma, and interpersonal struggles. In addition to her formal training in psychological counseling, Donna has studied with many leaders in the fields of contemplative neuroscience, yoga therapy, and meditation. She has combined her studies to offer a unique approach to therapy and wellness.
Dr. Daniel J. Moran is the founder and executive director of the MidAmerican Psychological Institute, and founder of Pickslyde Consulting. He co-authored ACT in Practice, the canonical case conceptualization manual for Acceptance and Commitment Therapy. Dr. D.J. has appeared on The Learning Channel, Animal Planet, and the Oprah Winfrey Network discussing behavioural health concerns. He also received the Outstanding Mentor Award from the Association for Behavior Analysis International. Dr. D.J. is a Recognized ACTrainer, Board Certified Behavior Analyst, and the current president of the Association for Contextual Behavioral Science, the worldwide Acceptance and Commitment Therapy organization.
Dr. Hanley has been applying the principles of learning to improve socially important behaviors of children and adults with and without disabilities for over 25 years. He worked and trained at the Kennedy Krieger Institute of the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, was degreed at the University of Florida, was tenured at the University of Kansas, and is currently a Professor of Psychology and Director of the Behavior Analysis Doctoral Program and the Life Skills Clinic, both at Western New England University, and an Adjunct Professor of Psychiatry at the University of Massachusetts Medical School. Dr. Hanley has published over 100 book chapters and articles in peer-reviewed journals in areas such as the assessment, intervention, and prevention of problem behavior, and evidence-based values. Dr. Hanley is a Fellow of the American Psychological Association (Division 25), past Editor of Behavior Analysis in Practice, past Associate Editor of The Behavior Analyst, and current Editor of the Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis.
Dr. Keith Hildahl, a psychiatrist who has held various leadership positions over the past 20 years, including Chief Executive Officer for the Manitoba Adolescent Treatment Centre, and Medical Director, Child and Adolescent Mental Health. He has worked to develop and implement systemic responses to identified mental health needs for children and adolescents. He is a cross-cultural psychiatrist who has provided community-based psychiatric services to remote Inuit communities for more than 25 years.
Dr. Dawn McCartney is a child and adolescent psychiatrist with the Neurodevelopmental Service at Manitoba Adolescent Treatment Centre. Prior to returning to Winnipeg, she had a broadly-based child psychiatry practice in Saskatoon at the University of Saskatchewan. Her expertise is in providing psychiatric care for children with complex neurodevelopmental needs, supporting their families and caregivers and working as part of a multidisciplinary team.
Dr. Osman Ipsiroglu, explores the causes of sleep problems in children and youth with complex chronic care needs and is particularly interested in how medication prescriptions affect sleep and wake behaviours. In collaboration with an international team, Dr. Ipsiroglu is working on phenotyping so-called H-Behaviours (hyperarousability, hyperkinesia and hypermotor events – disruptive behaviours such as those associated with ADHD) utilizing 2-and 3D video technology to analyze movement patterns in sleep and wake states and associated facial expressions. Another main focus is supporting self-assessment of affected individuals to help them advocate for their needs; together with researchers from the University of British Columbia, Simon Fraser and Emily Carr Universities the Ipsiroglu Lab is developing a Sleep/Wake-Behaviour App with a Medication Module.
Erin Riehle is a national leader in promoting employment opportunities for people with disabilities and other barriers to employment. She is a founder and Director of Project SEARCH, an employment and transition program that has received national recognition for innovative practices. She is regularly invited to present at national and regional conferences, and has co-authored numerous publications and book chapters. Erin began her career at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center as a staff nurse in the pediatric intensive care unit and advanced to clinical director of the emergency department. Her interest in employment for people with disabilities grew from her frustration with high turnover rates among workers performing critical tasks such as restocking emergency room supply shelves. Erin found that placing individuals with developmental disabilities in these positions was both an effective solution to her staffing problems and an improvement in quality of life for the workers she employed. This positive experience ultimately led to a systematic, hospital-wide effort, led by Erin, to explore job possibilities for people with disabilities.
Harold Dougall is an activist for the rights and visibility of institutionalized and disabled people and is himself a survivor of the Huronia Regional Centre (HRC) in Orillia, Ontario. Dougall will be presenting a multimedia seminar on his experience in Huronia from 1960 to 1966 and his subsequent activism, including with the Remember Every Name Project, which advocates on behalf of deceased residents who have been buried in unmarked graves on Huronia grounds; and his work with Recounting Huronia: A Participatory Arts-Based Research Project, that unites a team of artist and scholars with survivors of HRC to newly inform the public record through keynote speaker and workshop presentations. Dougall is active with the project’s Huronia Speakers Bureau, an outreach activity that engages former residents in a story-telling process that helps to communicate the historical injustices experienced at HRC.
Jaime is a multifaceted professional who is an experienced cultural diversity facilitator and curriculum designer and also a professional musician. At Manitoba Start, Jaime coordinates the Diversity and Intercultural training program and works on curriculum design, evaluation, and promotion, liaising with employers to provide them with tools, resources, and supports to create stronger, more inclusive workplaces for all Manitobans.
Joseph Macbeth is the Executive Director at the National Alliance for Direct Support Professionals (NADSP) and has worked in the field of intellectual and developmental disabilities for more than 30 years – beginning as a Direct Support Professional. Joseph is recognized as a national leader in the advocacy and advancement the direct support profession. He has co-authored the series of publications titled “Voices from the Frontlines”, produced an award winning Realistic Job Preview titled “Working as a Direct Support Professional: We Get It Done”, and has partnered with the State University of New York (SUNY) and assisted more than 500 direct support professionals advance their college education through the “Disability Studies Certificate”. He currently sits on the board of directors for the Council on Quality and Leadership (CQL), the College of Direct Support and Relias Learning’s National Advisory Boards and most recently was appointed by New York Governor Andrew Cuomo as a Member of the Advisory Council for the New York State Justice Center for the Protection of People with Special Needs.
Julia is a Registered Dietitian with St.Amant Clinical Services and a member of the College of Dietitians of Manitoba. She obtained her Bachelor of Science in Human Nutritional Sciences from the University of Manitoba in 2010 and went on to complete her Dietetic Internship with the Manitoba Partnership Dietetic Education Program in 2011. In her five years working at St. Amant Julia has specialized in developing comprehensive nutrition care plans for individuals with Prader-Willi Syndrome and advocating for best practice management in this population.
Dustin is a 32 year old male with Prader-Willi Syndrome (PWS). He currently lives in Steinbach, Manitoba and is supported by enVision Community Living. Dustin works at Eastman Recycling and in his free time enjoys spending time with his girlfriend, playing video games, watching movies, participating in Special Olympics, attending church, and participating in Toastmasters. Dustin hopes that his personal story will help others living with Prader-Willi Syndrome as well as those supporting individuals with PWS.
Karen Copeland has two children and has extensive experience navigating school, health and ministry mental health (children and youth) systems in British Columbia to obtain the services her family needs and deserves. She is the Founder of Champions for Community Mental Wellness, an online resource where she shares personal experiences, mental health and wellness resources, tip sheets and more. She strongly believes in the importance of honouring the champions who come into our lives to support us on our journey. Karen is passionate about the amazing things that can happen when youth and families are fully included and valued in all aspects of service systems.
Kate is a clinician at the Families Affected by Sexual Assault Program for New Directions for Children, Youth, Adults and Families in Winnipeg. She has over 25 years’ experience working with children and youth who have experienced trauma. Currently, Kate is an instructor in the Masters of Marriage and Family Therapy program at the University of Winnipeg. She also provides consultation to community agencies and has a private practice in Winnipeg.
Billy is a clinician at the Families Affected by Sexual Assault Program for New Directions for Children, Youth, Adults and Families in Winnipeg. He has been working with children and youth who have experienced trauma for over 25 years. In addition to his work at New Directions, he has a private practice and provides clinical consultation and training to foster care and group care treatment programs.
Both Billy and Kate have developed the Making Sense of Trauma for Children and Youth Workshop and Webinar. They have trained over 2000 professionals in Manitoba. They are particularly interested in assisting adults to better understand the impact of trauma on children as well as on themselves.
Lee-Anne is an accredited music therapist with the Canadian Association for Music Therapy, and a counsellor specializing in attachment-focused work with children and adolescents in the foster care system. She is currently a therapist at Aulneau Renewal Centre, and also teaches in the Music Therapy program at Canadian Mennonite University. Her 12 years of clinical experience includes work with children, adolescents, adults, and families in the areas of FASD and other developmental disabilities, attachment disorders, trauma, grief, anxiety, depression. Lee-Anne has additional training in Modified Interaction Guidance, Dyadic Developmental Psychotherapy, the Preschool Assessment of Attachment, and the Bonny Method of Guided Imagery and Music. Lee-Anne’s approach to therapy is grounded in Attachment Theory, and she uses a range of verbal and expressive arts therapies in her clinical work.
Julie holds a Masters in Clinical Social Work from the University of Manitoba, focusing both on disability related issues within families and attachment theory. Having spent the last 12 years practicing child and family therapy at Aulneau Renewal Centre and in her private practice, her focus has been on attachment-based interventions and play/recreational approaches to promote attunement, regulation, and attachment. Julie has trained in a variety of attachment-based interventions and assessments, including international training in preschool and school-aged assessments of attachment. Beyond her clinical work, she is passionate about sharing information and knowledge about attachment theory, developmental trauma, and working with families with complex needs. This has led her to present nationally, to help create the attachment manual for Healthy Baby MB, and to develop The Dragonfly training program, which is focused on enhancing attachment relationships between parents and children for the purposes of family preservation and reunification.
Amanda Newhook is a Speech-Language Pathologist at St.Amant. She studied linguistics and completed a Masters degree specializing in Sociolinguistics in 2002 from Memorial University of Newfoundland. In 2003, Amanda completed a graduate degree in Speech-Language Pathology at McGill University. Prior to moving to Winnipeg, Manitoba in 2006, she had worked as a Speech-Language Pathologist in Whitehorse, Yukon and in Corner Brook, Newfoundland. Since beginning her career at St.Amant 10 years ago, she has provided service to both children and adults with developmental disabilities and autism. She currently also serves as a Coordinator of Speech-Language Pathology and Music Therapy in Clinical Services at St.Amant.
Jackie Swirsky is a Speech Language Pathologist at St.Amant. She graduated with a Master of Speech Language Pathology from the University of Alberta in 2004. Jackie started her career working with children for the Capital Health Authority in Edmonton and moved back to her hometown of Winnipeg in 2005 to work at St.Amant. She currently provides services to adults with developmental disabilities and autism with a focus in the areas of Augmentative Alternative Communication (AAC) and Dysphagia. Jackie is also a mom, children’s book author and public speaker on the subject of gender diversity.
Patrick O’Reilly is committed to helping successful leaders take themselves and their organizations to new heights of success. A recognized leader in his fields of endeavor through 20 years of progressively more senior roles, Patrick launched Padraig Coaching & Consulting, a management consulting and executive coaching firm, in 2012. Prior to starting Padraig Coaching & Consulting, Patrick worked as a senior executive, managing large budgets, leading and mentoring teams of people and providing management and policy advice to colleagues, senior executives and politicians. Patrick holds a Bachelor of Commerce (Honours) from Carleton University in Ottawa and a Graduate Certificate in Executive Coaching (Certified Executive Coach) from Royal Roads University in Victoria. He is a certified coach (PCC) through the International Coach Federation and is certified to administer the EQi and EQ360 assessments, to administer and debrief 360 feedback under LEADS in a Caring Environment (a Canadian healthcare leadership program) and to administer and facilitate DiSC profile assessments and workshops.
Patti Chiappetta has been Executive Director of Innovative Life Options Inc. since 2014 and prior to that she worked with the Province of Manitoba for 27 years, working in the departments of Housing, Community Services, and in Healthy Living & Seniors where she was the Executive Director of the Seniors and Healthy Aging Secretariat for 15 years. Patti’s passion and work in supporting choices, independence, community living, rights and equality, brought her to Innovative Life Options.
Sandy Sheegl is the Program Director for Gaining Resources Our Way (G.R.O.W.), a community-based transitional life skills program for young adults with social and intellectual disabilities. Sandy was instrumental in the expansion of G.R.O.W. and opened the Winnipeg day program in 2010 as an independent not-for-profit. Prior to this, she worked as the Special Needs Coordinator for the Rady JCC for five years. Her educational background is as a Registered Nurse.
Cindy Yamamoto is a Program Coordinator at the G.R.O.W. Program. She is an occupational therapist and assistant researcher at the College of Medical Rehabilitation.
Shelley Moore, is currently a PhD student at the University of British Columbia. Her research interests integrate the theory and practice of inclusive education, special education, curriculum and teacher professional development. Shelley has presented her work at various conferences throughout North America and is the author of the recently published One Without the Other: Stories of unity through diversity and inclusion.