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Creating Networks of Support for Families Living with Special Needs

Dr. Maria SiroisJoin us for a day of information and inspiration, featuring noted Positive Psychologist Dr. Maria Sirois. In her keynote address, Dr. Sirois will help families of individuals with disabilities, and professionals who serve them, learn to build resilience. The author of A Short Course in Happiness and Every Day Counts, Dr. Sirois will draw on the scientific basis for the practice of resilience. Blending humor and compassion, she will offer practical strategies to help conference participants make choices every day that lead to happiness and thriving, even in difficult circumstances.

When: Saturday, October 28, 2017
8:30 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.

Where: The Hancock Center, Marist College
3399 North Road, Poughkeepsie, NY 12601
(Parking Map for Event)

Registration Fee: $15, includes workshops and meals

Interactive workshops will address:

  • Caring for the caregiver
  • Planning for your child’s future
  • Overcoming barriers to care
  • Support for siblings



What to Do When It All Goes Wrong - Dr. Maris Sirois

Serenity is hard enough during stress-free times. During the hardest days and the longest moments, it may feel impossible to find serenity or to make it last. In this lively, interactive presentation, positive psychologist Maria Sirois, highlights the perspectives necessary to shape moments of calm. We'll discuss what to do with chronic, negative thoughts, how to notice and address agitation (especially when involving other people!), and why happiness and serenity nourish each other. Workshop content is relevant for both family members and for professionals.

After the Diagnosis of Autism: What Do Families Really Deal With? - Amy Kelly

This workshop will take you through one mother’s personal journey with her daughter’s diagnosis of autism, and identify common themes that many families who have an individual diagnosed with autism encounter every day. Designed to give you an intimate and unique perspective of the whole experience, this workshop aims to provide a comprehensive perspective of the emotional, mental and physical dynamics that many families and caregivers endure.  It also hopes to provide an open forum to answer any questions about a variety of issues with families living with autism, including more sensitive and delicate areas and challenges that naturally arise through the course of this puzzling disorder.  “Critical points” throughout a family’s journey will be highlighted (preschool, school, puberty, transition) along with potential resources and therapy ideas that may provide appropriate support during these essential times.

I’m Special Too: The Lifelong Relationship of Siblings - Susan Rebich

The sibling relationship is life’s longest lasting relationship. When one of the siblings has a disability, that child often becomes the focus of parents and professionals. Based on personal experience and research, this workshop will share the highs and lows of being a sibling of a person with a disability. Typical life stages experienced by siblings and their capacity for resiliency will be highlighted. Information for parents/caregivers/professionals along with resources for sibling support will be shared. Siblings in attendance will be encouraged to have their voices heard!

Navigating Roadblocks to Resilience - Devereux Staff 

We offer practical solutions to help participants negotiate life’s twists and turns-providing the stepping stones for disability planning. If you’ve ever found yourself frustrated and asking, “Now what?” this workshop is for you. This workshop will have a local perspective and will discuss navigation and alignment of the mental & behavioral health field, the medical field and the educational field.

Conference Schedule

8:30 a.m. - 9:00 a.m.
Welcome coffee

9:00 a.m. - 10:30 a.m.
Welcome Keynote and Q & A - Dr. Maria Sirois

10:30 a.m. - 11:00 a.m.
Break, book signing, time to visit exhibitors

11:00 a.m. - 12:15 p.m.

12:15 p.m. - 1:00 p.m.
Lunch Networking and time to visit exhibitors

1:00 p.m. - 2:15 p.m.

2:15 p.m. - 2:30 p.m.
Break and time to visit exhibitors

2:30 p.m. - 4:00 p.m.
Town Hall and Advocacy Panel

4:00 p.m.
Conference ends