2024 InterHab Training & Professional Development Package


Putting the P in DSP
Sara Sherman, Sara Sherman International
Wednesday, January 10, 2 – 3 p.m.
Recording: https://us02web.zoom.us/rec/share/mi4RH_9YrTEKdowM4IcP7SI3UxyvhDtuX3Ktp-r0KA-liLpSzth7sH_ghKmlihx0.FBNkOAPKDUxME-EL
Passcode: 7n*HpKc.

About the Session: The title “Direct Support Professional” was created to appropriately elevate the direct care support role and to acknowledge the importance of the hard-working specialists who provide this support. All good things!

But…nothing else about the role changed.

Consequently, we have a group of confused workers who would love advancement opportunities, more and better training, and the ability to make the difference they were promised when they accepted their position; and we have frustrated management teams who aren’t seeing the desired results from people who are “supposed to be professionals,” and “have been trained”.

When we empower DSPs to step fully into their roles as knowledgeable capable professional team members, they feel appreciated, proud, accomplished, morale increases, teams get stronger, and individuals receive excellent services from happy and capable staff.

Everyone wins!

In this 40-minute session you will learn:

  1. Why the I/DD system struggles to empower DSPs to fully embrace their professional role
  2. How your training methods may actually be blocking DSPs from their best work…and setting supervisors up to answer an endless array of questions
  3. The “success mindset” that agency leaders must maintain in order to unleash full DSP potential
  4. 3 step simple steps that produce fully independent DSPs…who are ready to make the difference they were promised
  5. Where your training program is missing the mark…and what to do instead
  6. The secret ingredient that supervisors need in order to support DSPs to achieve maximum success
  7. Revolutionize the way you prepare and empower DSPs to achieve their full professional status and watch service quality go through the roof, individuals achieve outcomes, documentation shine, and compliance skyrocket.

About the Speaker: As a sought-after problem solver in the IDD community, Sara Sherman helps providers, governments, and organizations solve their most challenging problems once and for all. With decades of experience in all aspects of the developmental disabilities system, Sara teaches practical, implementable, and repeatable steps that produce measurable and sustainable results to ensure problems stay gone for good.

Sara peppers her presentations with humor and real-life stories from her 30 plus years on the frontlines, making the lessons easy to understand and completely relatable.  Her in-the-moment ability to respond to the specific needs of each audience means everyone gets what they came for and no question goes unanswered.

When not presenting and teaching, Sara can be found working on her next bestseller, hanging out with her grandson, or running her non-profit foundation.


The Importance of Including People Served in the DEI Conversation
Leanne M. Mull, Blue Tower Solutions, Inc. & Chuy Campuzano, Self-Advocate
Monday, January 22, 10 – 11 a.m.
Recording: https://us02web.zoom.us/rec/share/CBq687BT9JfLIuqpB1GWrGZRgif5L8_-tRN76hWoTSv0AsKrglWEerMcrlRV8aIF.lNsY5jWU6iD9YEtk
Passcode: i%66aj+a
Description & Cost Outline (Train the Trainer)
Word Search
Answer Key

About the Session: As agencies start to look at ways to better support a diverse workforce it is important that we include the people receiving services in those conversations.  In the past it was commonplace for the response to someone being called a name was to tell staff not to take it personally.  As we all know, that is not an acceptable response.  It Starts by Saying Hi! is an interactive class created to introduce people receiving services to the importance of accepting differences and the power of words and kindness.  The class was created input from people receiving services, self advocates, DSP’s and QIDP’s and is based on their experiences working with people who have had little experience or exposure to people who are different from them. The class addresses the importance of understanding people of different races, cultures, religions, sexuality, size, age and ability and gives direct care staff tools to use when an incident occurs.  You will get to experience the class as well as understanding the importance of the including people receiving services in this important conversation.

About the Speakers: Leanne Mull, a recent TEDx, Editor’s Pick, has been supporting people with IDD to achieve their dreams since 1999. In her previous career as a corporate trainer and business manager Leanne hired someone who used a job coach and that experience completely changed the course of her life.  She spent the next 15 years at a traditional agency in a variety of roles including job coach, QIDP, and program manager.  Leanne believes that the key to meaningful lives for people who receive services is to encourage, empower and enlighten the staff who work for them.  As co-director of Blue Tower Solutions, Inc. Leanne fulfills that dream as an international speaker, writer and consultant improving organizations and systems supporting people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.  Most recently Leanne and a self advocate with disabilities created the diversity training “It Starts by Saying Hi!” for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

Tavarus Wesley is a consultant with Blue Tower Solutions and the advocacy coordinator for the Illinois Self Advocacy Alliance.  He also serves on the board for The Arc of Illinois.  Tavarus is a graduate of the Alliance Ambassador self advocacy training program and a Partners in Policymaking-IL graduate. Tavarus is an accomplished presenter regularly speaking at the Illinois Speak Up and Speak Out Summit, and has presented at the National Self Advocates Becoming Empowered Conference and at the Tennessee Mega Conference.  In addition to his advocacy work Tavarus is a long time staff member on the maintenance team at Sertoma Star Services.

Chuy is an experienced self advocate leader from Chicago and a consultant for Blue Tower Solutions. Currently Chuy works regularly for the WISE project in Washington State. Additionally, Chuy is part of the Illinois Epilepsy Supports and Resources training team. sof the Illinoi He is active with Access Living in Chicago advocating for choice in housing and more funding for disability services among other things. As a disability activist Chuy is the former co-coordinator for Chicago Adapt and the past secretary for The Illinois Statewide Center for Independent Living Council.  Chuy is co-creator of the “It Starts by Saying Hi! Diversity curriculum. Chuy is a regular presenter at the Speak Up Speak Out Summit, The Illinois Epilepsy Resources and Supports project and runs a weekly Disability Check-In Zoom meeting.


Overdose and Naloxone Training
Deanne Armstrong, DCCCA
Wednesday, January 24, 10 – 11 a.m.
Self-Paced Slide Deck: https://pro.ispringcloud.com/acc/HK-0mU41NTg1Mg/s/55852-bPQxY-7qSoH-3AJyv

About the Session: Participants will learn: The impact of the opioid crisis nationally and here in Kansas, Learn to prevent, recognize, and respond to an opioid overdose, Explore DCCCA resources and other Kansas resources, Learn how to administer Naloxone if you suspect someone is experiencing an opioid overdose.

Preventing Opioid Overdose & Naloxone Training Evaluation

DCCCA Naloxone Information

Disposal Site Search
Full link: https://apps2.deadiversion.usdoj.gov/pubdispsearch/spring/main?execution=e2s1 https//www.pharmacy.ks.gov


Fall Prevention Strategies – A Team Effort
Brenda Rice, IMA
*Rescheduled date: Monday, Feb. 12, 10 – 11 a.m.
Passcode: 2&k6TGt@
Fall Risk Assessment Tool
Post Fall/Injury Huddle Form

About the Session: Fall prevention is a Team Effort!  Understanding why falls or other adverse events occurs is key to minimizing risk to staff and Person Served.   The presentation will focus on four primary fall prevention risk factors and how to manage them – Physical Mobility – Medication Management – Home Safety – Safety in the Community.   The training will cover safe assistive methods and devices to help with walking, transferring, and assisting from fall to the floor.   Along with implementation of a Fall Prevention Task Force with goals to enhance incident investigation and continued education factors for everyone. 

About the Speaker: Brenda joined the IMA Team in 2011 and has over 18 years’ experience specializing in workers compensation,  workplace safety/OSHA, ergonomics, healthcare, social services,  education-university/K-12, manufacturing, municipalities, transportation, healthcare, and social service agencies.  Prior to working for IMA Brenda spent time working on the insurance carrier side and as a safety consultant in private industry.

Brenda’s experience is specializing in Client Specific focus to assess and identify areas of opportunity to enhance the safety, work comp, auto, liability, and property exposures.   Creating Best Practices designed specific to leading loss areas for all lines of insurance – safe patient handling, behavioral management programs, work comp, emergency management, fleet, and property preventative maintenance. Client specific training created for all levels –  management down to front line employees.  Focusing on development of a true safety culture by incorporating education, coaching, and accountability in a practical day-to-day function.

Brenda has accomplished specific state loss control certifications for the States of Missouri, Arkansas, Kansas, Texas, and currently working on Pennsylvania.  Brenda is a graduate of Upper Iowa University with a bachelor’s degree in business.

In 2016 Brenda took on the role of Active Shooter Preparedness Instructor for the IMA offices along with IMA Clients.  Brenda is ALICE Certified and continues working to provide organizations with training, written program guidance, safety/security assessments and methods to be prepared in an active shooter setting or workplace violence situation.

Emergency Preparedness and Response for IDD Organizations: What to Know and How to Move Forward
Christina N. Marsack-Topolewski, Ph.D., LMSW, Eastern Michigan University
Thursday, February 8, 10 – 11 a.m.
Recording: https://us02web.zoom.us/rec/share/Tdz2w3VTP6JcuG5X6VNRJFJk5K5RM_iEBY94nSDwHbBYAuET0Ps2bLU28YPhT7Lx.lTKtqkvKOoPgxTL3
Passcode: j8rm0&OX

About the Session: Preparing for and responding for emergency situations is challenging for anyone, especially for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD) Due the unique needs of individuals with IDD, there are different emergency preparedness needs and strategies that must be considered. This webinar will provide a framework and guide to understand emergency preparedness and strategies as you plan for preparing in the event of an emergency. 

About the Speaker: Dr. Christina Marsack-Topolewski is an associate professor of Social Work at Eastern Michigan University. She earned her bachelor’s degree in Special Education and her master’s and PhD in Social Work with an emphasis in aging and gerontology. Her research focuses on individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities, aging, caregivers, service navigation, and advance care planning.

The DNA of Dynamic Nonprofit Boards
Dan Prater, FORVIS
Monday, February 26, 2:30 – 4:00 p.m.
Passcode: jE.!A1TQ

Nonprofit Report: https://www.forvis.com/forsights/2024/02/2024-state-of-the-nonprofit-sector-report

About the Session: The growth and effectiveness of a nonprofit often hinges on a strong board that understands and operates within clearly defined roles. Every organization needs members who are actively engaging their passion, connections, and expertise toward helping the organization reach its fullest potential. This session will examine the legal and core responsibilities of effective boards and how they use their time and talent to help organizations accomplish their mission.

 Learning Objectives

Upon completion of this program, participants will be able to:

  • Identify the legal and core responsibilities of board service.
  • Differentiate between governance and management.
  • Demonstrate strong risk management through policies and procedures.
  • Increase cause awareness through personal and professional connections.
  • Implement effective donor solicitation and development.

About the Speaker: Dan is a member of the FORVIS National Nonprofit Group. He uses his background in the nonprofit and higher education industries to help organizations be more effective in accomplishing their missions. His leadership in local, regional and national organizations makes him well suited to guide clients in the areas of board governance, strategic planning, public relations and outcome assessment. He has more than 20 years of experience in organizational leadership and management. Prior to joining FORVIS, Dan worked and consulted with various organizations and service groups, including domestic violence and child abuse centers, international relief agencies and outreaches as well as private and public universities. Dan’s area of expertise is nonprofit board governance and practice. He has led several large research projects and has been published numerous times on a variety of industry-specific topics such as volunteerism, civic engagement and economic impact. He is the past board chair of Nonprofit Missouri, the state’s association for the not-for-profit industry. He is the founding director of Drury University’s Center for Nonprofit Leadership and is the co-creator of the university’s popular master of nonprofit and civic leadership program, for which he continues to serve as lead instructor. Dan serves on the board of several Springfield area organizations, including Harmony House, the Ozarks Regional YMCA, and Elevate Lives. He was selected as one of the Springfield Business Journal’s 2013 Men of the Year. He is a graduate of Evangel University, Springfield, Missouri, with a B.A. degree in communication, and a graduate of Drury University, Springfield, Missouri, with an M.A. degree in communication. He also completed Georgetown University’s Nonprofit Management Executive program.


Future and Financial Planning for Parents and Guardians of Children with Special Needs
Sean DiGiovanni, Northwestern Mutual
Thursday, March 7, 10 – 11 a.m.

Due to financial compliance reasons, the recording cannot be shared. If you would like an overview, please reach out to Sean DiGiovanni at
sean.digiovanni@nm.com or Andrew Smidt at andrew.smidt@nm.com. 

About the Session: Join Sean to learn more about financial planning for persons with disabilities. Sean will talk about Case Management, Guardianship, Special Needs Trusts, 529A/Able Accounts, and how to fund a trust. Please invite any friends, family, parents, guardians, or others from your organization who might benefit from this training topic.

About the Speaker: Sean DiGiovanni, originally from Kansas City, Missouri moved to Wichita, Kansas in 2003 with his wife Gretchen and their then 2-year-old triplet boys; Jack, Paul and Sam. Sean spent 20 years in the Restaurant Industry with multiple concepts and then joined Northwestern Mutual in 2012.

He is passionate about planning for his clients and takes great pride in his relationships with his clients. He believes in giving back to his community and is very involved in several charitable organizations.

Sean’s son Sam was diagnosed with Autism in 2003, and he has since focused part of his practice working with families with special needs children and the financial challenges that come with the diagnosis. Sean also enjoys working with clients in agriculture, as well as medical professionals and young families.

Sean’s motto is “It takes what it takes” and is his driving force.


Tinder, Grindr, and More: Supporting People with I/DD who use Dating Apps
Kate Napolitano, Wildwood Programs
Gwen Squire, People, Inc.
Wednesday, March 27, 10 – 11:30 a.m.
Recording: https://us02web.zoom.us/rec/share/v3gUerJGT3AB4bozNJssPRJgwKU7L5jAZR_nvWIlyTPSXUljQmfOGsjNLmsDyEFd.VMVyAeIXIOO36Ogj
Passcode: yqJ.N51b
Materials: https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/1HA0Mc4c-IICkO4o2-zRpv9OStJIXLuv8?usp=sharing

About the Session: People with I/DD want to be in relationships, but often struggle with just how to meet people. One of the ways they can meet people is through dating apps, but how do we successfully support someone when using dating apps? This can be challenging for anyone, whether you’re a person with I/DD or someone who supports them. For example, as a support person, youmight be asking yourself: How can I help someone when I don’t know anything about these apps? What do I need to understand in order to be supportive in a positive way versus a fear based way? What knowledge and skills are needed in order for people with I/DD to navigate these apps safely? Join us for this online workshop and leave feeling more confident that youcan handle this topic.

About the Speakers: Kate Napolitano, MA, LCSW is currently the Social Relationships and Sexuality Educator for an agency that serves individuals with I/DD, called Wildwood Programs, of Albany, NY. She also runs a small private psychotherapy practice in NY’s Hudson Valley, specializing in matters concerning Sexuality, Relationships and Sexual Identities. Kate entered the clinical social work field in 2012, and has been studying the intersections of disability for the duration of that time. She holds a masters in Human Sexuality from NYU, and a masters in Social Work from Fordham University. Most recently, she is a founding member of new professional alliance SEDD: Sexuality Educators supporting people with Developmental Disabilities in NY. For more information about this new alliance, Kate can be reached at knapolitano@wildwoodprograms.org.

Gwen is an Advocacy Support Professional at People, Inc., advising agency-affiliated advocacy groups and serving on multiple boards, including DDAWNY, Center For Self Advocacy CSA, and the Sanys Self Advocacy Regional Conference Planning Committee. She co-founded Outside The Box Associates with Mike Rogers and Alex Jusko, an organization dedicated to educating and empowering individuals with and without disabilities to achieve their dreams while offering disability awareness presentations and workshops. With 27 years of experience in the rehabilitation field and a master’s degree in Rehabilitation Counseling from the University of Buffalo, Gwen passionately advocates for disability rights and inclusion, inspiring others to recognize the abilities and aspirations of people with disabilities.


Navigating Food Selectivity and Textures for Individuals with Disabilities
Chelsea Reinberg, MPH, RDN, Johnson County K-State Research and Extension
Wednesday, April 3, 10 – 11 a.m.
Recording: https://us02web.zoom.us/rec/share/TXznZXzBA_bOJIrDDtali2RHaJKzZ_CN9WSwd-ldSt8yfu-HiebCqdyP-N88Qt_q.qblocLHlVXFkxXNL
Passcode: .B0@KynU

About the Session: Food texture sensitivities, food aversions, eating behaviors, and reduced capacity to chew, swallow, and use utensils may make eating more difficult for individuals with disabilities. Addressing these challenges require special considerations. Food modifications and mealtime assistance need to be properly implemented by care givers to ensure that individuals consume an adequate diet. In this one-hour webinar, learn more about various forms of food selectivity and how to create an environment that supports positive food behaviors and prevents nutrition deficiencies and poor health.

About the Speaker: Chelsea Reinberg is a Registered Dietitian and works for K-State Research and Extension serving Johnson County, Kansas. In her role as Nutrition, Food Safety and Health Agent, Chelsea provides education and outreach to the community working with the diverse audiences and groups that reside in Johnson County, including those with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Chelsea has a passion for ensuring that all people live healthy lives and believes that food is a powerful tool to help achieve that goal.


Navigating Psychotropics – Understanding Effects and Monitoring Risks in the IDD Population
Nick Jackson, PharmD, Neighborhood Pharmacy
Chris Freedom, IDD Pharmacy Consultant
Tuesday, April 9, 10 – 11 a.m.
Recording: https://us02web.zoom.us/rec/share/Ci-nhNWHOVtZ9KGh_3oQwfXxGtEv_x183GbhtVCCxAw8E6Ic4rlhS1QQm1d5o0Xm.G0FL771-v6UM4Rh_
Passcode: F1%B^Py2

About the Session: This presentation offers an exploration into the distinctive challenges faced by Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (IDD) and their support teams. Gain insights into the functions of various medication classes while unraveling the nuances of potential adverse effects.


The Home and Community Based Services Settings Rule and What We All Need to Know: The Importance of Using Informed Decision Making
Kathy Brown, NASDP & Rachel Jacob,NADSP
Tuesday, April 23, 10 a.m. – 1 p.m.
This was a live-only session
Five Step Informed Decision Making Process PDF
Code of Ethics PDF
Additional Training: https://nadsp.org/services/curricula/informed-decision-making-curriculum/ (please let Meghan know if this is something you might be interested in having)

About the Session: In 2014, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) at the Department of Health and Human Services issued the Home & Community Based Services (HCBS) Settings Rule to require that every state ensure that services delivered to seniors and people with disabilities living in the community – outside of institutions – meet minimum standards for integration, access to community life, choice, autonomy, and other important consumer protections. The HCBS Settings Rule was created to expand the availability of community-based services that maximize autonomy and choice for individuals with disabilities, and to address the problem of institutional-like settings receiving scarce HCBS dollars. After a few delays, the Settings Rule has been more fully implemented since March 2023.

The NADSP wants to make sure that everyone in our field, especially direct support professionals (DSPs), are aware of these new standards and their important role in making sure that the people they support have access to the opportunities that are promised in these new federal regulations.

This training is geared for direct support professionals, but open to anyone interested, and will provide the information and foundation of person-centered practices and helping people with making informed decisions.

About the Speaker: John has a Masters of Social Work degree and is an experienced group worker, community organizer, educator and expert facilitator. John’s graduate education is from Yeshiva University in New York City and State University of New York at New Paltz, NY. His career spans over 35 years and those years have been spent teaching direct support professionals and the people they support. Most of the people with whom he has worked and supported over the last 35 plus years are people with intellectual/developmental disabilities, at-risk youth, and people with chronic and terminal illnesses in home-care settings.

John became NADSP’s Director of Educational Services in December of 2016. John has educated tens of thousands of people in the NADSP Code of Ethics and Competencies as well as the NADSP Informed Decision-Making curriculum and Frontline Supervisor Train the Trainer Curriculum.


Shared Living
Sherry Biddle, Sunflower Health Plan; Aaron Norris, KDADS; Connie Keeling, GoodLife Innovations
Wednesday, April 24, 2 – 3 p.m.
Recording: https://us02web.zoom.us/rec/share/rqYgkQmBOJPbh_U8PQS7m1MoJbnRosS14PFIt8wqKW6P-5lQC8_ALD9rvN4AHhTQ.5z68V9fRFMgnXANB
Passcode: G$fn4#+!
Shared Living Manual

About the Session: We will be providing an overview of the shared living program.  We will be discussing the process for choosing shared living, the roles of the shared living providers, shared living contractors and Individuals. 

About the Speakers: Sherry is the Community Living Facilitator for Sunflower Health Plan.  Sherry has over 30 years of experience working with members with Intellectual and developmental disabilities.  Sherry has lots of experience with Shared living.  She graduated from Friends University with a major in Human Resource Management.  She is certified in KIPBS and completed training through NADD.  She is also a certified Person-Centered Thinking Trainer.

Connie expertly brings together individuals with intellectual or developmental disabilities (I/DD) and caring, professional families who are excited to share their life experiences with others. Connie has more than 30 years of extensive experience advocating for and supporting families across Kansas as an in-home family therapist, Executive Director of the Douglas County Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) program, Kansas CASA Association past President and current board member,  and Program Manager for KVC Behavioral Healthcare. She holds a Ph.D in Developmental and Child Psychology with an emphasis in Behavior Analysis from the University of Kansas.



Developing Law Enforcement Crisis Intervention Training 
Liz Holle, Big Lakes Developmental Center
Thursday, May 2, 10 – 11 a.m.
Recording: https://us02web.zoom.us/rec/share/qGnGlLiJpOgjs3ns79yLlazhcfW41UOnvlR77kBx2nkk50cPwQDfpOlBmOMeMv8Y.0NelcjfmHwJhNJy4
Passcode: 7Dh!4gus
CIT Reference Sheet

About the Session: A fundamental responsibility as a service provider to individuals with IDD is to use all available community resources to support the agency’s mission. Unfortunately, this occasionally includes law enforcement services. Emily Loudermilk and I developed a hour training for law enforcement officers from Manhattan and the surrounding area to educate them on identifying and better understanding individuals with I/DD, available supports, communication tips, what to expect and best practices when encountering situations involving the I/DD population. Our training was well received and we have been asked to conduct the same training yearly as a part of their annual CIT program. Learn about the process we developed for building this comprehensive and interactive training and how to set training goals for police officers in your area.

About the Speaker: I started working as a Para educator 20 years ago and started as a Direct Support Professional in a group home for men with complex behavioral support needs at Big Lakes Developmental Center 16 years ago while I was working on my degree at KSU. After several positions and a few promotions I am currently the Deputy Operations Officer. I am a mother of four who is currently in graduate school for my master’s degree in nonprofit administration. At Big Lakes I am responsible for providing leadership and oversight for community integration, support services, safety and transportation, farm services, community employment, contract oversight and procurement for work contracts. Additionally, I oversee three group homes and some supported living services in the Manhattan and Clay Center area. I was a graduate of the first Ancor Leadership Academy class, I am a member of the Hype Connect Committee, Rotary, and Junior League.

Introduction to Fragile X Syndrome 
Matt Mosconi, Director, Kansas Center for Autism Research and Training, University of Kansas
Ann Genovese, Associate Professor, Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, University of Kansas Medical Center
Wednesday, May 8, 2 – 3 p.m.
Recording: https://us02web.zoom.us/rec/share/qD2sZxyHHXGTXlGGwPRybhvv_IAyeYM6bs5zFWA2OgHiZqJmQLxHN95I98iF2Io2.-KMLsdFcxZUcNdH_
Passcode: T2$ux!=q

About the Session: Dr.  Mosconi and Dr. Genovese will provide an introduction to Fragile X Syndrome,  a condition that is caused by the mutation of a single gene, FMR1, on the X chromosome.  This can cause intellectual disability, behavioral and learning challenges.  This presentation will provide an overview of the characteristic of Fragile X Syndrome, and discussion of some of the emerging therapies, interventions and medications that can be used to treat Fragile X.  People with Fragile X are usually I/DD Waiver eligible and served in the HCBS I/DD Waive for long-term care and supports.

About the Speaker: Dr. Mosconi completed his Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology and an APA-approved Clinical Internship at the University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill. He then performed his postdoctoral training in developmental cognitive neuroscience and pediatric neuropsychology at the University of Illinois in Chicago. Dr. Mosconi joined the faculty in Psychiatry at the University of Illinois in Chicago from 2009-2011, moved onto the faculty at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center from 2011-2015, and joined the faculty at the University of Kansas in August, 2015. He currently is the Director of the Kansas Center for Autism Research and Training (K-CART), Professor in the Clinical Child Psychology Program, and Interim Associate Director of the Life Span Institute. Dr. Mosconi’s research is focused on sensorimotor dysmaturation and underlying brain mechanisms in neurodevelopmental disorders, including autism spectrum disorder and FMR1 related disorders. His work has been supported by NIH (NIMH, NINDS, NICHD), the Department of Defense and Autism Speaks. He has published in multiple high impact journals including JAMA Psychiatry, the Journal of Neuroscience, Journal of Neurophysiology, Molecular Autism, NeuroImage and Biological Psychiatry.

As a practicing academic child and adolescent psychiatrist for the past 20 years, Dr. Genovese has established expertise in the management of behavioral and psychiatric conditions in children, adolescents and young adults with developmental disabilities. Her foundation in research is currently being established as an investigator in multiple clinical research protocols during her career at the University of Kansas Medical Center since 2012.


Embracing Change
Lea Aunins, empac
Tuesday, June 4, 10 – 11 a.m.
Zoom Link: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/88911473320?pwd=OW5IaWtJQ0NCQ3A5QytCc29sTDVZUT09

About the Session: Let’s face it, change is inevitable, but not always easy. This training will help participants develop an understanding of why it is important to manage change well and some tools they can use to make the transition feel less chaotic.

About the Speaker:Lea Aunins has a background in social work and spent more than 25 years of her career assisting the elderly, children, and families in crisis, with respect for trauma informed care. During that time, she facilitated both individual and group trainings for families to become licensed foster parents. It was through this opportunity she realized her passion for training and education that she gets to fulfill in her current position with EMPAC. She believes helping others to live happy, healthy, and balanced lives has been some of her most rewarding work experience.

Understanding Hospice and Palliative Care: Considerations to Best Support People with I/DD
Christina N. Marsack-Topolewski, Ph.D., LMSW, Eastern Michigan University & Stephanie P Wladkowski
Thursday, June 13, 2 – 3 p.m.
Zoom Link: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/89583309344?pwd=Ny91TmEwOHNhWWVDMko2Rm5wRytCZz09

About the Session:While palliative care and hospice can have numerous benefits for consumers, many individuals receive these supports far after the time period they could benefit. Individuals with intellectual and/or developmental disabilities (I/DD) often experience unique health realities and end-of-life care scenarios. Understanding hospice and palliative care benefits and options can yield important outcomes not only for patients, but can be helpful for family caregivers and providers. This webinar will explore hospice and palliative care realities and considerations as applicable to people with I/DD

About the Speaker: Dr. Christina Marsack-Topolewski is an associate professor of Social Work at Eastern Michigan University. She has worked with individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDDs) and their families for about 20 years. She received a bachelor’s of science in Special Education from Wayne State University. Training under a fellowship at the University of Michigan, she received her master’s in Social Work and specializing in both school social work and aging. Dr. Marsack-Topolewski received her PhD in Social Work with a dual title in Gerontology from Wayne State University. She has over 70 peer-reviewed publications in national and international journals and encyclopedias. Her research predominantly focuses on individuals with IDDs, their caregivers, as well as service delivery and navigation. Dr. Marsack-Topolewski has collaborated on multiple grant-funded projects tailoring services to individuals with IDDs, older adults, and chronic illnesses. In 2019, she was appointed to the National Task Group on Intellectual Disability and Dementia Practices. She serves as both a board member and co-chair of Membership Affairs. She is engaged in policy advocacy and has provided testimony at the state-level (Michigan) where she has advocated for house bills. The first of these bills was signed into law in Michigan in December 2023 and provides legal protections against abuse and neglect for vulnerable adults, such as individuals with IDDs.

Actions Speak Louder Than Words: Common Behavioral Presentations of Underlying Medical Conditions in People with IDD
Craig Escude, IntellectAbility
Wednesday, June 26, 10 – 11 a.m.
Zoom Link: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/86119076795?pwd=dFIxWm0wOVlKTTArM09wMUVFeEF4UT09

About the Session: Behavior is a form of communication. Adverse behaviors in people with IDD are often a way of communicating underlying pain or emotional discomfort and require a thorough evaluation for treatable underlying causes before starting a person on medication or behavior support plans to reduce the actions. This presentation will use real-life case studies to illustrate 10 different groups of behaviors that can point to specific underlying treatable medical causes that can improve the health, wellness, and quality of life in people you support.

About the Speaker: Dr. Craig Escudé is a board-certified Fellow of the American Academy of Family Physicians and the American Academy of Developmental Medicine and President of IntellectAbility. He has over 20 years of clinical experience providing medical care for people with IDD and complex medical and mental health conditions. He is the author of “Clinical Pearls in IDD Healthcare” and developer of the “Curriculum in IDD Healthcare,” an eLearning course used to train clinicians on the fundamentals of healthcare for people with IDD, and the host of the IDD Health Matters Podcast.

Employment First – A Service Delivery Evolution
Vikki Ortiz, MS, CESP, Colorado Office of Employment First & Brian Dean, MA, CRC, Colorado Office of Employment First
Thursday, June 27, 10 – 11:30 a.m.
Zoom Link: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/88977489808?pwd=SXhScnZXMEdsT3FvUkJybEtadnE3Zz09

About the Session: This presentation provides an introduction to Employment First principles and explores how agencies in Colorado have transformed their service delivery practices to focus exclusively on competitive integrated employment. Topics include a brief overview of disability employment history, defining Employment First and competitive integrated employment, the benefits of inclusive employment, and an overview of the services available to help people pursue their employment goals.The presentation will conclude with best practices for provider transforming, including insights from Colorado agencies who are committed to elevating Employment First.

About the Speaker: Vikki is an experienced curriculum developer and trainer with over five years of specialization in Supported Employment and Communications. She is a certified Employment Support Professional and a graduate of the Association of People Supporting Employment First (APSE) Emerging Leaders in Employment First program. She holds an undergraduate degree in Human Development and Family Science and a graduate degree in Family Studies. Vikki is Co-President of the Colorado Chapter of APSE and chairs the Communications Committee. She is passionate about the professionalization of the Supported Employment field and cultivating consistency in delivering high quality supports and services that promote competitive, integrated employment for all people with disabilities. She has presented nationally about onboarding and developing Employment Support Professionals and has been sought out to provide technical assistance and consultation around supported employment and professional development.

Brian has 7 years of experience in the field of rehabilitation counseling and is a Certified Rehabilitation Counselor (CRC). Brian is certified in the evidenced-informed Practice of Customized Employment and his work focuses on and is committed to expanding competitive integrated employment, real work for real pay, opportunities for all people with disabilities both at the State and National levels. Additionally, Brian is the Rehabilitation Counseling Discipline Director for the Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental and Related Disabilities Program (LEND) through JFK Partners, Department of Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics at the University of Colorado-Anschutz Medical Campus, and is on the board for the Association of Community Rehabilitation Educators (ACRE).


Grief & Loss for Social Workers
Heather Brown, JCDS
Wednesday, July 17, 10 – 11:30 a.m.
Zoom Link: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/84127289232?pwd=UXpHenlTMEJGZ2pwY1JWaGJ5dngzdz09

About the Session: DSPs wear many hats. They’re often called upon to be coaches, advocates, counselors, and advisors. It’s impossible to fill these roles without becoming truly connected to the people they support, and it’s often this strong human connection that drives DSPs to do what they do. But what happens when those connections are lost? DSPs experience a unique grieving process because of the work that they do, but incomplete grieving is also common due to the demands of service delivery. This session will discuss what contributes to the unique experience of grieving for DSPs and how DSPs and their organizations can support each other through this process.

About the Speaker: Heather Brown has over 15 years of experience working in the IDD field. Her experience includes 8+ years as a direct support professional and 4 years as a residential supervisor. She is currently the Training and Development Specials for Johnson County Developmental Supports, a position she has held for the last 4 years. She is also the Chair of the JCDS Human Rights Council, a position she has held for the last 5 years. She received her Master’s in Gerontology in May of 2019 and is a certified dementia trainer through the National Task Group. She has a passion for aging, individual rights, and strengthening the direct support professional workforce.

Being Proactive
Michelle Niedens, KU Alzheimer’s Disease Center
Friday, July 26, 1:30 – 3:30 p.m.
Zoom Link: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/83252089254?pwd=TzREQlp5UmdwVlJaK1grSFFsWnRSUT09

About the Session: An empowered approach to detecting and managing dementia in individuals with intellectual/developmental disabilities.

About the Speaker: Michelle Niedens, LSCSW, is Director of the KU Alzheimer’s Disease Center’s Cognitive Care Network, a community-based program focused on early detection, provider partnerships, support services and education. Ms. Niedens received her bachelor’s and master’s degree from the University of Kansas. She completed clinical mentorship and holds clinical social work licenses in Kansas and Missouri. Ms. Niedens career has been dedicated to working with elders and those with Alzheimer’s disease, including tenure in geriatric psychiatric inpatient settings, serving as Director of Education, Programs, and Policy at the Alzheimer’s Association, Heart of America Chapter and teaching social work practice at the University of Kansas School of Social Welfare.  Ms. Niedens special interests include assessment and intervention for associated neuropsychiatric challenges and advancing programs and services for individuals living with early-stage dementia. She has participated in regional and state-wide efforts in both areas of interest.


Wound Care for Caregivers
Martha Kelso, Wound Care Plus
Wednesday, August 14, 2 – 4 p.m.
Zoom Link: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/89667187183?pwd=ZVRLRXNMNUtaUzQzNmZwdE5xQzNiUT09

About the Session: As our name implies, we are more than an advanced wound care specialty group. ThePLUSmeans our skilled and caring advanced wound specialists can treat anyone with a wound or skin disorder at almost any location including hospitals, outpatient wound centers, long term care, skilled nursing facilities, assisted living facilities, residential care communities and group homes.  We bring advanced wound care,PLUSclinical excellence and education for clients, families, caregivers, medical staff, and managers alike.

About the Speaker: Martha Kelso is the founder and Chief Executive Officer of Wound Care Plus, LLC (WCP). As a visionary and entrepreneur in the field of mobile medicine, she has operated mobile wound care practices nationwide for many years. She enjoys educating on the art and science of wound healing and how practical solutions apply to healthcare professionals today.

Kelso’s desire to make health care a better place for consumers motivated her desire to form and found WCP. In her early career, she was a wound nurse in long term care and this past experience has committed Kelso to educate other fellow wound nurses on regulations and national standards of wound healing thereby empowering the bedside nurse with tools and knowledge. Kelso has educated over a thousand nurses since her education efforts began giving nurses a solid base and foundation to excel with their wound care practical application skills.

Respectful Communication
Greg Baker, empac
Wednesday, August 28, 2 – 3 p.m.
Zoom Link: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/85893547320?pwd=ZW1vaTkzYVNVYUVtNjZPbSsrNXJiQT09

About the Session:This training will help participants learn the importance of respectful communication in the workplace. They will explore the various ways this is demonstrated and receive tips on how to improvement their skills.

About the Speaker: Greg Baker is a lifetime resident of Wichita and has an extensive background in HR that includes providing guidance and support across the United States and in Canada in a variety of roles, including diversity, equity, and inclusion, compliance management, employee development, coaching, mentoring, and training.  He is a student of human nature and passionate about helping organizations create more respectful, inclusive, and productive work environments. Greg collaborated with Empac for more than 25 years before joining the staff,  and as a member of the Empac team, now enjoys the opportunity to acquaint others with the successes he has seen organizations and individuals experience through utilization of Empac’s services.


Hiring Process Simplified and Automated
Todd Sutcliffe, National Screening Bureau
Wednesday, September 4, 1 – 2 p.m.
Zoom Link: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/84853209580?pwd=dXdwNzFjMWxSSytJNzhLekxWWVpIQT09 

About the Session: The challenge of complying with States, Grants, and Auditors’ requirements while efficiently hiring can be daunting. Our presentation demonstrates streamlining the hiring process, automating the collection of essential documents, and ensuring that all forms and searches, including standard searches such as Adult and Child Abuse, KDADS, KBI, Fingerprinting, etc., as well as any custom searches based on your needs are completed, organized, and easily accessible for audits.

We’ll also share insights into the strategies we’ve successfully implemented for some clients within this association.

About the Speaker: TODD SUTCLIFFE founded National Screening Bureau, which is an accredited CRA and was recently named one of HR Tech Outlook’s Top 10 background screening companies.

He has been involved in the industry since 1999,  he holds Advanced FCRA Certification, a Private Investigator’s license, and has served on the Kansas State SHRM board.

Todd is an expert in background screening, drug testing, successful hiring, FCRA compliance and EEOC best practices. His passion is to assist companies in simplifying the hiring process, maintaining compliance and making every hire a successful hire.


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