Lexington to hold annual conference

JOHNSTOWN — Lexington, Chapter of The Arc, will hold its 23rd Annual Family Services Conference on Tuesday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. at 465 N. Perry St.

This conference is an opportunity for individuals with disabilities, their parents and families, and professionals who support individuals with disabilities to meet and share stories, strategies and resources for supporting young people with disabilities. This year’s theme is “Dream Big.”

The conference will feature several guest speakers presenting on a variety of topics about parenting and supporting young people with differences.

It will begin with opening remarks from Assemblyman Marc Butler of New York state’s 113th District. After that, Shaun Evans, DPT, will give the keynote presentation, titled “dream big … anything is possible.” Evans is the vice president of education at Ainsley’s Angels of America Foundation. He will share his family’s story of extreme persistence, love and togetherness as they supported his oldest son’s dream of running across the USA, 3,200 miles in 60 days, despite being born with cerebral palsy.

Concurrent breakout sessions will follow the keynote presentation. Tina Beauparlant of Parent to Parent of New York state will present “Planning for a Successful Transition from High School to Achieve Your Child’s Dream.” She will share a parent’s perspective on how to help your child have a successful transition from high school while supporting their dreams.

Joy Stockwell, who has worked for OPWDD for 30 years as a direct support professional, Self-Direction professional and Self-Direction liaison for the Capital District, will present “Exploring Self-Direction.” Her presentation will offer insight on the OPWDD Self-Direction program, which offers people who are eligible for OPWDD services the flexibility to choose the mix of supports and services that are right for them and let them live the life they want.

After lunch, Keith McCauley, Region III deputy director of OPWDD, will give a keynote address, in which he will provide updates from the past year at OPWDD. Two more concurrent breakout sessions will follow.

Renee Carr will present “Mental Health and Wellness.” Carr is the coordinator of education and information-referral services as well as a certified mental health first aid instructor at the Mental Health Association in Fulton and Montgomery Counties. Her presentation will provide an overview of mental health-related diagnoses. It will incorporate tools to help manage some of the symptoms related to mental illness and provide a better understanding of their impact on one’s wellness.

Dr. Kristin Knapp-Ines, a licensed clinical psychologist and board-certified behavior analyst who regularly conducts trainings, presentations and workshops at the Center for Autism and Related Disorders, will present “Supporting Individuals with ASD to Meet Their Full Potential in Meaningful Employment.” This training will briefly describe the definition, characteristics and misconceptions that are common to individuals with ASD, some of the challenges they may face in the workplace due to social deficits, and suggestions and tips for working with individuals with ASD in the workplace so that they may reach their full potential.

Attending any two sessions will qualify an attendee for one FET annual required training, which allows people to maintain their status in the Home and Community Based Medicaid Waiver Service.

There is no cost to attend for individuals with disabilities or their parents and families. For professionals, the cost is $75. For more information, to register or to arrange for transportation and respite/childcare, call (518) 773-2014. Attendees may pay at the door or mail registration and payment to Lexington Family Services at 43 Harrison St., Gloversville, NY 12078.


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