Due to public health concerns, this event will take place VIRTUALLY using Zoom Webinar.
9:00 - 10:30 a.m. - “From Disability to Possibility” presented by Patrick Schwarz, Ph.D.
Using real life stories — from womb to tomb — of individuals with possibilities, Dr. Patrick Schwarz will illustrate what supports are successful and what else is needed for effectiveness in education and human services for all people. These compelling examples will motivate participants to re-imagine and support individuals in new and inventive ways. Be prepared for something fun and different!
10:30 - 11:00 a.m. - Break
11:00 - 12:30 p.m. - “Addressing Adventuresome Behavior While Keeping the Dignity of All Intact” presented by Patrick Schwarz, Ph.D.
Both a person-centered, authentic, functional approach to assess behavior and a problem-solving process will be applied to combine components of the very best user-proven behavioral support strategies. This approach will be illustrated and then applied to real-life classroom and learning situations identified by participants.
12:30 - 1:00 p.m. - Break for Lunch
1:00 p.m. - 1:45 p.m. - “Presuming Competence” presented by Max Barrows Green Mountain Self-Advocates
Fulfilling the promise of equal opportunity centers on the people in my life not making assumptions about what I can or cannot do.
1:45 - 2:00 p.m. - Break
2:00 - 2:45 p.m. - “Division of Rehabilitation Services” presented by Director Rahnee Patrick
Hear from Director Patrick from the Division of Rehabilitation Services of different options and alter-native waivers available for individuals with intellectual and/or developmental disabilities. This session will help you understand the different programs and services.
2:45 - 3:00 p.m. - Break
Check out the Living with Autism 2021 Conference website for more information and visit the Exhibitor Hall.
Place your bids in the Silent Auction. All donations from the Silent Auction will benefit the Assistive Technology Fund!
You will receive three Zoom links after you register for the conference. One link will be all the Keynote Speakers and the Breakout Sessions 1 and 3. The second link will have the Breakout Session 2 and the third link will have Breakout Session 4. If you would like to see 2 or 4, you just go to the other link.
BREAKOUT SESSION 3:00 - 3:45 P.M. - Choose one
“Parent/Caregiver and Siblings of a Loved One with a Disability Expectations and Assumptions: What are we REALLY thinking?”
Presented by a Panel of Parents and Siblings
Facilitated by Nora Fox Handler and Kimberly L. Johnson
One of the hardest conversations to have is between a parent/caregiver & sibling(s) of their loved one living with a disability and often times the discussion NEVER happens leaving the one person that everyone wants to protect at a disadvantage when the parent/caregiver dies. This panel discussion will share thoughts and experiences of parents/caregivers and siblings and provide tips on how to start those conversations including resources for support of parents/givers and siblings.
“Creating Community - The Importance of Community for Autistic adults and their Families”
Presented by Liza Pereira Curiel, LULA, Unique Sweets
Creating a community for Autistic individuals and families has never been more important. We all know that belonging to a group or community we can identify with helps us develop a stronger sense of personal and collective identity. It can also give a boost to our self-esteem and to our willingness to take on the world and make our dreams happen. A brief discussion on the efforts Unique Sweets is doing to create that community.
3:45 - 4:00 p.m. - Break
BREAKOUT SESSION 4:00 - 4:45 P.M. - Choose one
“Going ‘Full-Circle’: Reflections of a Personal Journey from Service Recipient to Service Provider”
Presented by Russel Houser, UCP Seguin of Greater Chicago
When Russel was first diagnosed on the autism spectrum at three years old, his parents made sure that he had access to the same opportunities as his peers in school. Although Russel had soon overcome many initial challenges that were associated with his diagnosis, his journey with autism was just beginning. From learning about autism to developing self-acceptance (and later embracing his identity on the spectrum), Russel will discuss the lessons he has learned along the way, and their implications for people who have a connection with autism. Whether you know someone on the autism spectrum, or have the diagnosis yourself, this presentation is for you!
“Illinois Autism Task Force Adult Services Subcommittee: A Resource for IDHS”
Presented by Sherry Healey, Subcommittee Chairperson
The Illinois Autism Task Force is an advisory body to and administered by the Illinois Department of Human Services. The IATF Adult Services Subcommittee was created in 2021 to be a resource, share best practices, and collaborate with IDHS regarding service needs of adults on the autism spectrum. Initial efforts are focused on employer engagement and meeting diverse day service funding needs.
About the Presenters
Max Barrows is Outreach Director for Green Mountain Self-Advocates, a position he has held since 2007. He mentors youth and adults with developmental disabilities to speak up for themselves and become leaders. GMSA is a lead partner of the Self-Advocacy Resource and Technical Assistance Center (SARTAC). Max leads SARTAC’s technical assistance team assisting local and state self-advocacy organizations across the nation. Max connects with people on all levels advocating for true-inclusion of people with developmental disabilities. In his work, he advances the message that when you meet an individual with a disability, presume competence. He received a White House Champions of Change award for this work in 2015 and Champion of Equal Opportunity award from the National Association of Councils on Developmental Disabilities in 2019. Max is an accomplished self-advocate from Vermont who served as a board member for Self-Advocates Becoming Empowered from 2008 to 2016. On a personal level, Max has a very high interest in extreme weather and he likes to watch college and professional sports.
Rahnee Patrick is Director of Illinois Department of Human Services’ Division of Rehabilitation Services. Her father is an Air Force Academy graduate who met her Thai mother during the Viet Nam Conflict. Rahnee was raised in North Liberty, Indiana, population over 900 people. She acquired her disabilities starting at the age of eight. Rahnee graduated from Indiana University, where she co-founded a group of disabled students. In 2005, she conceived the ADAPT Youth Summit and received the 2008 Paul Hearne Award of the American Association of People with Disabilities. Today she and her husband Mike Ervin live in downtown Chicago, where they try to make each other laugh every single day.
Dr. Patrick Schwarz is a dynamic and engaging professor, author, motivational speaker and leader in Education and Educational Leadership for all students. He is the President of Creative Culture Consulting LLC and Young Professor Emeritus at National Louis University, Chicago. He is the author of From Disability to Possibility®, You’re Welcome, Just Give Him the Whale, Pedro’s Whale and From Possibility to Success. His amazing colleague, Dr. Paula Kluth, co-authored three of his books. His new book is Reimagining Special Education: 101 Makeover Ideas. Patrick has presented, consulted and coached in school districts all across the world, impacting a significant number of schools with his progressive work. Patrick’s professional mission is to promote education and human services that advance the status of people of all ages with diverse support needs. This will enable individuals to be successfully engaged, find meaning and be respected members of their learning, working and living communities.
Breakout Session Presenters
Liza Pereira Curiel was first introduced to Autism when her son was diagnosed 22 years ago. As her son grew older she realized the limitations he would face as an ASD adult. Therefore, with that in mind, she created Unique Sweets, cupcakes and pastries made by young ASD adults. She created this as a safe space where her son, and other young adults could develop job skills, socialize with others and develop meaningful relationships, while practicing important life skills. In addition, Liza is the President and Founder of Latinas United in Love for Autism (LULA). LULA is a peer support group for women. Members are women from varied backgrounds whose commonality is caring for individuals with Autism.
Unique Sweets Life Skills/Baking Program: Unique Sweets provides opportunities for individuals living with Autism and/or Intellectual Disabilities to develop job skills, socialize and expand their skills across family, community, and professional worlds. Through participation in baking events, virtual cooking classes, social outings and peer support groups, Unique Sweets provides opportunities to develop skills needed to promote independence, achieve employment and provide a creative outlet, while cultivating meaningful relationships
Sherry Healey graduated from The Ohio State University with a Bachelor’s degree in Human Resource Management. She worked as Human Resource Manager for NCR and AT&T Corporations for eight years, when her eldest son developed epilepsy and autism at the age of 2. Subsequent to his diagnosis, Ms. Healey transitioned to a career in special education and social services. She has worked as a Job Coach, Special Education Substitute Teacher, and Job Developer. She served as Employment Services Director with UCP Seguin of Greater Chicago, where she led a team of professionals to facilitate community employment for individuals with a variety of disabilities in the Chicagoland area. She was among the first in Illinois to be recognized as a Certified Employment Support Professional with the Association of People Supporting Employment First (APSE). As Statewide Employment First Manager, Illinois Department of Human Services, she worked to create systems change that resulted in increased community-based, integrated employment opportunities for individuals with significant disabilities.
Ms. Healey also volunteers her time and expertise as Board President of Community Access Naperville, a local nonprofit providing individuals with limited communication and social skills an opportunity to volunteer in, contribute to and enjoy their community. In 2021, she launched CAN Consulting to facilitate increased community integration for individuals with I/DD in school, employment and recreation.
For most of his life, Russel Houser knew that he wanted to help others have access to the opportunities that they need to be happy and successful. Diagnosed on the autism spectrum at three years old, Russel was motivated to work hard towards achieving this goal. He later graduated from the Illinois Institute of Technology with Bachelors Degrees in Psychology and Sociology, and received an M.Ed from Valparaiso University. While Russel was in graduate school, he had found his passion for helping others in the adult disability services field through work as a DSP. He later became a QIDP and case manager at UCP Seguin of Greater Chicago, and has also served as the agency’s Intake Coordinator. Russel has enjoyed utilizing both his professional and personal experiences to help make a positive difference in the lives of those he has supported.