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Thursday, October 18, 2012

Don't Miss the Special Needs Seminar November 17 at Moraine Valley Community College


By Rex Robinson

Expert speakers in two separate rooms and more than 35 vendors with tables displaying products and services will be at Family Time Magazine’s 3rd annual Autism & Special Needs Seminar Saturday, November 17 at Moraine Valley Community College, 9000 W. College Parkway, in Palos Hills. The seminar will be held from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. in Building M on the campus.

Caroline O’Connell, Family Time Magazine’s publisher, founded the seminar in 2009 after seeing a need to provide more resources to families with loved ones with autism and other developmental disabilities.

“Anyone with a child or family member with autism or other developmental disabilities will want to make sure they attend this year’s seminar,” O’Connell said. “The speakers we have lined up for this year are all experts in their respective fields and will offer vital information for families. Many of the speakers have spoke at the national level.”

* CEU's, CPDUs and Early Intervention Training hours have been approved for the seminar.


** Purchasing tickets now can save you up to $15 off the regular door price admission of $25 with the coupon attached here:




Here are the experts scheduled to speak at the seminar:

Keynote Speakers: Dr. Valerie Nowinski  and Drina Madden, MA, CAS,
Pediatric Neuropsychology Diagnostic
and Treatment Center






“Beyond Genes and Advances in Brain Science”
The Brain can change and children can develop their potential

Dr. Valerie Nowinski (left) and Drina Madden
Times: 3:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. in Room 1


Dr. Valerie Nowinski and Drina Madden will discuss how with advances in brain science children with autism and related developmental disorders can develop to their full potential. Dr. Nowinski is the founder of the Pediatric Neuropsychology Diagnostic Center, Orland Park, Illinois. The Center houses three specialty programs: Brain Injury Program, Autism Spectrum Program, and Neurodevelopmental Disorders/Attention and Learning Disorders Program. These diagnostic and training programs incorporate an interdisciplinary team of pediatric specialists including neuroscientists, educators, speech language, movement, child development and learning specialists. Bridging neuroscience with education is a primary focus at the center.  

Drina Madden, MA, CAS, is a neurodevelopmental specialist who has multifaceted experience working with people of all ages who have dyslexia, autism spectrum disorders, verbal and nonverbal learning disabilities, and other brain/behavior difficulties. She is also certified to work in birth to 14-year-old programs, Montessori programs and special education programs. She is member of the Neuropsychology Diagnostic and Treatment Center’s valuation and treatment team. She also explains diagnoses and treatment plans to children, families and schools. She is a speaker and educational consultant for multiple local, national and international organizations.



“Insurance 101: What Families should know about
the Autism Insurance Mandate in Illinois and Surrounding States”
Speaker: Dr. Karen Fried, Little Leaves Behavioral Services

Dr. Karen Fried




Dr. Karen Fried will discuss how many employer-provided insurance plans now cover the treatment of autism, including ABA therapy. Dr. Fried will give practical information about autism insurance reform in Illinois and surrounding states. She will give pointers on determining whether you have coverage and on understanding and using your autism benefit. Dr. Fried, BCBA-KD, is the clinical director for Little Leaves Behavioral Services’ Chicago office. She is a licensed psychologist and Board Certified Behavior Analyst who has worked with children with special needs for the past 20 years.


Times: 10 a.m. to 10:50 a.m. in Room 2







“Managing the How and Why of Difficult Behaviors”





Speakers: Lindsay Rice, MA, BCBA,
and Stephanie Beaulieu, MA, BCBA, both with the Center for Behavior Intervention and the Academy of Excellence and Learning

Lindsay Rice
Stephanie Beaulieu











Lindsay Rice has been working with children and adults diagnosed with autism and other neurological and developmental disabilities for more than 16 years. Stephanie Beaulieu has with individuals with autism and other neurological and developmental disabilities for more than 10 years. Ms. Rice is the President of the Center for Behavior Intervention, Inc., the owner of Dynamic Behavior Consulting and the Vice President of the Academy of Excellence in Mokena. Ms. Bealieu is the owner of SandyToes Behavior Consulting, in Chicago, the Vice President of the Center for Behavior Intervention, Inc., and the President of the Academy of Excellence 
in Mokena.

Times: 10 to 10:50 in Room 1


“Unlocking the Puzzle of Autism”
Speaker: Brendan McCormick, Good Shepherd Center


Brendan McCormick
Brendan McCormick’s session will focus on how individuals with Autism are unable to understand the intricacies of the people or world around them nor can they fully explain themselves to the rest of the world. Individuals without Autism also have difficulty understanding those that are in the Spectrum. This is why the symbol most commonly associated with Autism Spectrum disorders is the puzzle piece. This course serves as an introduction to Autism to assist parents, & educators to better understand the disorder to support families in promoting their childs optimal development and to facilitate the childs participation in family and community activities.
Times: 11:00 a.m. to 11:50 a.m. in Room 2





"The F.A.M.I.L.Y. Blueprint - Advice from a Father and Certified Financial Planner"



Speaker: Gregory Zibricky, CFP author and President


Provider Group Wealth Advisors
Gregory Zibricky


Greg Zibricky, will share anecdotes and insights he has learned from more than 19 years of fathering a son with autism and 27 years of experience in the financial services industry. The tone is fresh, fun and informative. Mr. Zibricky’s goals are to inspire action and promote positivity. He uses the word “F.A.M.I.L.Y.” to breakdown difficult financial planning concepts into easy to understand segments. Start to learn the techniques that will help you chart your child’s future with confidence. Mr. Zibricky is the author of “F.A.M.I.L.Y. Autism Guide Your Financial Blueprint for Autism.”






Times: 11 to 11:50 in Room 1

"Physical Therapy and Autism: What's the connection?"
Speaker: Amber Brim, PT, DPT, Unlimited Mobility Therapy


Amber Brim
Amber Brim, PT, DPT, owner of Unlimited Mobility Therapy, will discuss will discuss some of the motor challenges that kids with Autism typically have and treatment strategies that are utilized by physical therapist to address them. I will also include discussion regarding the connection between motor skills, social skills, and speech/language development.

Times: 12 p.m. to 12:50 p.m.

“Exercise Strategies for People with Autism”
Speaker: Suzanne M. Gray, Right Fit Sport Fitness Wellness



Suzanne M. Gray
Suzanne M. Gray, M.S. will discuss how exercise programs are one of the most underutilized yet effective treatments for youth and adults with Autism Spectrum Disorders. Traditional Fitness programs, though fun and appropriate for typical populations, are not usually a good fit for this special population. Right Fit’s focus is therapeutic play-based functional movement, helping to facilitate neuro-development growth, improved body awareness, increased balance, sensory integration, mobility skills and most importantly having fun. Because one size does not fit all, the Raise the Bar fitness program provides each participant a pre and post assessment to identify movement dysfunctions, body composition and strength and sensory deficits impeding success.

Times: 1 p.m. to 1:50 p.m.

“Piecing the Puzzle Together”
An Autism Prevention and Recovery Program

Speaker: Dr. Ashly Ochsner, Maximized Living/Autism Whispers


Dr. Ashly Ochsner
Dr. Ochsner is a chiropractor for Maximized Living in Orland Park, and founder of the Autism Whispers Program. His program is designed for children on the Autism spectrum (autism, aspergers, PDD, sensory integrative disorder, ADD/ADHD) and offers effective action steps for parents to implement and care designed to address the tri-fold problems causing autistic symptoms.  Different from any other program designed for autistic symptoms, the AW Program incorporates and addresses the often missed neurological component of “recovering” from autism, according to Dr. Ochsner.  The often severe neurological damage can be treated and coupled with a researched optimal nutritional program and lab based detoxification program. The Autism Whisper Program is helping save and change lives across the U.S. It is not a cure but a recovery program.
Times: 1 to 1:50 p.m. in Room 1



"Instructional Technology for Students with Learning Disabilities"

Jennifer Conwell-Barnes

Speaker: Jennifer Conwell-Barnes, Brehm Preparatory School

Jennifer Conwell-Barnes is an instructional technologist with Brehm Preparatory School in Carbondale. She will discuss assistive technology for students with learning disabilities. Brehm’s mission is to empower students with complex learning disabilities and differences to recognize and optimize their potential throughout their lifetime.


Times: 2 p.m. to 2:50 p.m. in Room 1


* A representative from Pace Suburban Bus also will speak at the seminar. The Pace representative will speak from from 3 to 3:50 p.m. in Room 1 about transportation services provided for those with disabilities.

Reserve your tickets for the seminar today by calling 
(815) 806-8844. 

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