May 3-7, 2021 – Virtual via zoom

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Monday Session Descriptions


MF1: Youth and Adult Mental Health First Aid

Presenter: Dianna Sullivan, LMFT, Boys & Girls Club of South Puget Sound

The Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department has heard from so many about the increased need for mental health support during the pandemic. Mental Health First Aid trains non-mental health professionals/lay persons ages 18 and over to recognize and respond to signs and symptoms of mental health conditions with a proven action plan. Participants must also complete about 2 hours of self-paced, pre-coursework before the class. Pre-coursework must be completed at least 2 days in advance of your class or you may risk being withdrawn from the course. Please register only if you can commit to this time frame.

About the presenter: Dianna Sullivan is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist who uses her lived experience and education to help others through their experiences. She obtained her Master’s Degree at Pacific Lutheran University in Marriage and Family Therapy and her Bachelor’s degree in Child Development and Family Relations at the University of Maine. Dianna is the Director of Family Support at the Boys & Girls Clubs of South Puget Sound (BGCSPS). In her role at BGCSPS, she supports members, staff and families. Dianna has a passion for Youth Substance Prevention work and participates in local coalitions and collaborations throughout Pierce County. Dianna is a national trainer of Mental Health First Aid, Guiding Good Choices and Right Response as well as a BGCA Safety Peer Consultant. Throughout her career, she has focused on community, equity and inclusion.

WA State Early Learning Core Competency: Child Growth, Development and Learning

** Note: This session has a maximum capacity of 10 participants.

Age Group Addressed: All

Who Should Attend: All


MA: Supporting Wheelchair Users: Insights From Those Who Roll With It

Presenter: Rachel Nemhauser, the Arc of King County with Kaley Dugger and Jae Kim, The Arc of King County

Growing up as a wheelchair user is a unique experience, and one rarely talked about in disability circles. Join us for this panel presentation featuring wheelchair users that explores growing up with a physical disability, ableism, the medical model of disability and so much more. This poignant and honest conversation is critical for anyone who knows and supports young people with mobility challenges. Join us and learn the reality of wheelchair use directly from those who roll with it.

About the presenter: Rachel Nemhauser is the Community and Family Support Program manager at the Arc of King County in Seattle, WA, and has been an active member of the disability community since 2009. She is a former member of the Washington State Developmental Disabilities Council, and has been the Supervisor of Parent to Parent in King County since 2015. Rachel works closely with families throughout King County providing emotional support, navigating complex systems and connecting with the disability community. She is also the parent of a 16 year old autistic son, and writes about her experiences being Nate’s mom on her blog:

WA State Early Learning Core Competency: All

Age Group Addressed: All

Who Should Attend: All

Learning Objectives:

  1. Participants will gain understanding of the unique challenges and experiences of adult wheelchair users, in order to more effectively support young children with mobility challenges.
  2. Participants will learn the impact of ableism and the medical model of disability, and how to mitigate those factors when supporting children with I/DD.
  3. Participants will leave this session with concrete steps they can take to more compassionately support and serve young wheelchair users and their families.


MB: Understanding Siblings and Strategies for Support

Presenter: Emily Holl, Director, Sibling Support Project, Kindering

Throughout their lives, siblings share many of the same concerns that parents of children with special needs experience, as well as issues that are uniquely theirs. Siblings typically experience these issues for longer than any other family member, as the sibling relationship can easily exceed 65 years. Because of the important role siblings play in the lives of their brothers and sisters with special needs and families, siblings and their concerns must not be ignored. Supporting siblings can contribute to lasting positive outcomes for children with disabilities and their entire families. This session will promote understanding of sibling issues and share effective strategies for support.

About the presenter: Emily Holl is the Director of The Sibling Support Project at Kindering, the first national program dedicated to the life-long and ever-changing concerns of millions of brothers and sisters of people with special developmental and health concerns. Emily is a social worker, author, and trainer who has provided workshops and groups for siblings and families, presented extensively on sibling issues, and has conducted and published sibling research. A sibling, and board member of the national Sibling Leadership Network, Emily has written about her experiences in blogs, magazines and books such as “Thicker than Water.” She was a co-editor of “The Sibling Survival Guide: Indispensable Information for Adult Brothers and Sisters of People with Disabilities,” published by Woodbine House in 2014. Emily earned a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Massachusetts, a Master of Fine Arts from Columbia University, and a Master of Social Work from Hunter College at the City University of New York. Learn more at

WA State Early Learning Core Competency: Families and Community Partnerships

Age Group Addressed: All age groups

Who Should Attend: All

Learning Objectives:

  1. Identify common concerns and opportunities experienced by young brothers and sisters.
  2. Utilize strategies to decrease concerns and increase opportunities for even the youngest siblings.
  3. Help your agency/family provide "sibling-friendly" supports.


MC1: Building Blocks: Teaching Young Children with Special Needs

Presenter: Ariane Gauvreau, Senior Director, PD and Training, Haring Center

This session will cover the Building Blocks Framework for supporting all learners in early childhood environments. We will discuss strategies for assessing a high quality early learning program, planning and implementing curriculum modifications, planning and teaching embedded learning opportunities, and for learners who need more support, providing child focused instructional strategies. Participants will receive copies of planning tools.

About the presenter: Ariane has extensive experience leading professional development and in-service trainings on topics including inclusion, neurodiversity, home visiting, tiered systems of support, individualized instruction and family collaboration. She is author of many peer-reviewed articles and chapters, including Building Blocks for Teaching Preschoolers with Special Needs. Ariane is an active member of the Division for Early Childhood (DEC), on the Editorial Board of Young Exceptional Children and a part of several state and national committees promoting inclusion and best practices in education

WA State Early Learning Core Competency: Curriculum and Learning Environment

Age Group Addressed: Age 3 through Age 5

Who Should Attend: Teachers, Administrators

Learning Objectives:

  1. Introduce the Building Blocks Framework
  2. Review each Block in the framework and how participants can plan for instruction at each level
  3. Use the Building Blocks framework to assess, plan, and provide instruction.

For Additional Information

Amanda Cardwell
Conference Coordinator
AC Consulting
Stanwood, WA 98292

Mike Stewart
Conference Administrator
Boyer Children's Clinic
1850 Boyer Avenue E.
Seattle, WA 98112

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