Register Now for Lexington's 22nd Annual Family Services Conference!

Lexington - Fulton County Chapter, NYSARC, Inc., will hold its 22nd Annual Family Services Conference on Thursday, November 10. This conference is an opportunity for parents and families of individuals with disabilities, professionals who support individuals with disabilities and individuals with disabilities themselves to meet and share stories, strategies and resources for supporting young people with disabilities.
                The conference will feature nine guest speakers presenting on a variety of topics about parenting, teaching and supporting individuals with differences. First, presenting both the keynote presentation, “The Movement of Imperfection,” and a breakout session, “Voices of Imperfection,” are Gina (Terrasi) Gallagher and Patricia Terrasi. The sisters are the co-authors of “Shut Up About Your Perfect Kid: A Survival Guide for Ordinary Parents of Special Children,” a book about the frustrations, sadness and stigmas they face as parents of children with disabilities. The book provides advice on all aspects of parenting children with special needs, such as finding support groups and fighting for in-school supports.
                The conference will also welcome Bethany Youngs, LCSW, and Joy Stockwell, Self-Direction specialist for OPWDD, as they present “Exploring Self-Direction.” Youngs has more than 10 years of experience in non-profit agencies and has been with the OPWDD Self-Direction unit since September 2016. Stockwell has been with OPWDD for 29 years, serving as a direct support professional and a Self-Direction liaison for the Capital District. Both women are dedicated to helping individuals live the lives they want through the Self-Direction program, which lets them to choose the supports they want and which staff and organizations provide them.
                Tina Beauparlant will present “Future Planning from a Parent and Advocate’s Perspective.” Beauparlant is a regional program manager, education specialist, program assistant and educational advocacy specialist with the Capital District of Parent to Parent of NYS. Her presentation will focus on preparing for your child’s future and making sure their needs are met.
                Another keynote address will be presented by Megan O’Connor, OPWDD’s Deputy Commissioner of the Division of Service Delivery – Regional Offices. O’Connor began her career as a direct support professional at an OPWDD provider agency and worked her way up to leadership. She has been with OPWDD since 2012, when she accepted the position of Deputy Commissioner for the Division of Quality Improvement, and in her current role she oversees and manages OPWDD Regional Office Operations.
                Steve Szalowski, LCSW-R, will present “Social Physics: The Paradox of Behavior.” Szalowski helps individuals develop strategies to develop functional independence in an ever-changing world of social, academic, professional and familial expectations. He has coordinated and co-facilitated more than 100 groups for school-aged individuals on the autism spectrum in grades 3 through 12. His presentation will cover how to adjust behavior to the social physics of the moment for more success with homework, social situations, participation in home activities and more.
                Jordan Jankus will present “Tech for Life: Apps for Empowerment, Learning and Fun!” Jankus is a technologist at the Arc of Westchester and the father of a daughter with developmental disabilities. In searching for ways to empower her, he became involved in assistive technology and now supports individuals with person-centered technology solutions. His presentation will explore apps available for smart phones and tablets that help people achieve increased independence and greater access to the community.
                Julia Kelly, assistant coordinator of Statewide Special Employment Programs for OPWDD will present “Pathway to Employment.” Kelly served as co-chairperson of the NYS APSE’s Legislative Committee for more than 15 years and was a member of ACCES-VR’s Statewide Policy and Procedure Committee. Her presentation will provide information on how Pathway to Employment, a new OPWDD service, comprehensively plans and prepares for an individual’s employment to achieve successful job matches in the community.
                The conference will begin with registration at 8 a.m. and will continue until 4 p.m. To register and arrange for transportation and respite/childcare, please call Lexington Family Services at (518) 773-2014. The cost is $75 for professionals and free for parents, families and individuals with disabilities. Attendees may pay at the door or mail registration and payment to Lexington Family Services at 43 Harrison Street, Gloversville, NY 12078.