The Arc Community Advocates Inclusion Conference

Thanks to a donation from EATON, this conference is FREE of charge! 

Please join us March 28, 2018 from 8:30 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. at the WMU Fetzer Center. 


A wide-variety of topics and presenters will be on hand with the latest best practice and supports that make the most impact for choice and inclusion for individuals with intellectual/developmental disabilities.  

Returning to enlighten us on connecting people to relationships so they can thrive in their community is Tim Vogt from Starfire Council, new this year is Tucker Mashue to talk about running his business “Tuck’s Tooques”  (A Touque is a Canadian term for winter hat).  Tucker will talk about his journey as a young man with Autism to lead a fulfilling life.

Join us as we support each other in the journey for a truly inclusive community where everyone is connected and valued.



BREAKOUT SESSION: Effective Communication for Special Education Meetings
PRESENTERS: Cheryl Levine, Michigan Special Education Mediation Program

Communication and collaboration are essential to effective planning for students with disabilities. Parents and school personnel can sometimes get caught up in the moment and good communication techniques may not be utilized. This workshop illustrates through example and practice how good communication supports dialogue and helps team members prepare for effective participation.


PRESENTERS: Kelly Orginski, Michigan Alliance for Families
In this session, you will be given information about access to and participation in the general education curriculum, and extra-curricular, non-academic activities. Learn tips and tools for achieving FAPE and LRE. Learn current research that supports better student outcomes when edducation occurs with non-disabled peers in the general education classroom.


BREAKOUT SESSION: Expanding Inclusive Options & Access to Learning at Michigan Institute of Higher Education
PRESENTERS: Michael Bray & Dr. Jennifer Coyle, MI-DDI & WMU
There is scarcity of inclusive postsecondary education options for students leaving K-12 with intellectual disabilities in Michigan. Students with disabilities who do enroll in college courses are often met with obstacles to learning posed by the course materials. In this session, current efforts to create and support inclusive postsecondary options and way to enhance success in higher education classrooms using Universal Design for Learning will be discussed.



BREAKOUT SESSION: Early Childhood Systems of Support in Kalamazoo County
This session will walk through the CHild Find process for children 0-5 from referral to offer of programming. Services models used for infants, toddlers, and preschoolers in Kalamazoo County will be discussed as well how the providers determine eligibility for special education services in Part C (birth -3) and Part B (3-5) of the law. Discussion about growing efforts in the county around challenging behavior in preschool settings will also be discussed and how successful tiered systems of support in general education classrooms can reduce referrals to special education.


BREAKOUT SESSION: Parent Resiliency 
PRESENTER: Bev McBrien, The Arc Community Advocates




BREAKOUT SESSION: Tuck’s ProAutism Business Plan Fundamentals
PRESENTER: Dennis & Tucker Mashue, Tuck’s Tooques


PRESENTER: Heather Barsy, MRC Industries


BREAKOUT SESSION: Getting & Keeping the First Job
PRESENTER: Jessie Morton, Michigan Alliance for Families
Many families may wonder if their son or daughter can or will be employed. The goal of this session is to help families and those who support them understand the realities of today’s work world so they can help youth with disabilities gain employment. Particular attention is paid to the role of families in the career exploration and job hunting process.


BREAKOUT SESSION: How to Disclose your Disability to your Employer
PRESENTER: Miranda Grunwell, Disability Network Southwest Michigan

What do I have to tell an employer about my medical condition or disability? Should I tell thema bout my medical condition during the interview or can I wait until after I'm hired? What if I need to do my job differently than co-workers? Can they fire me because of my disability? What are my rights? Learn the only reason you have to tell an employer about your disability or medical condition. Find out the best way to ask for an accomodation at work. Learn the rights under the Americans with Disabilities Act. Learn about disability and employment resources that can help you.


BREAKOUT SESSION: Families as the Creative Center of a Connected Community
PRESENTER: Tim Vogt, Starfire Council
The session will focus on a pilot project Tim is working on that is essentially an alternative “Early Intervention” program, or strategies for families to build lifelong connections.


BREAKOUT SESSION: Self Advocates of Michigan: Learning How to Advocate for Yourself
PRESENTER: Mary Shehan-Boogaard & Sarah Carmany, MI DD Council & Self Advocate
Advocacy begins with you! You can begin your journey by learning to make decisions about your own life. Speak up for yourself, learn how to get information, take control of your own affairs, know your rights and responsibilities, seek help when you need it.


BREAKOUT SESSION: Community Connections Road Map
PRESENTER: Patricia Carver & Elizabeth Martin, Community Drive, Inc. & Elegant Designs by Elizabeth

In this powerful interactive session, participants will learn some steps and skills leading to successful and inclusive community engagement. Focus will be on how to prepare for a future, social life of personal networks and friendships. Session attendees will confirm that relations are vital to a good life and that no disability precludes relationship; learn the importance of “building relations on purpose”, and discover the vital community building tool of Circles of Support.


BREAKOUT SESSION: Self Advocacy in Action
PRESENTER: Stacie Rulison & Ryder Rulison
Families promoting self-advocacy and independence through raising expectations; Part II: A 12 year old’s presentation on having autism including his perspective on his interests and life and how similar he is to most other kids, differences from other kids, his challenges in having a disability, and how peers and others can help support him.


PRESENTERS: Kelly Orginski, Sandee Koski, Caryn Ivey, Jessie Morton, Michelle Miller - Michigan Alliance for Families

This will be a panel discussion of parents who chose Inclusion and worked with schools to ensure FAPE and LRE for the past 20 years. They will discuss their greatest challenges and greatest outcomes. Why do they continue to support Inclusion for all members of schools and communities? Ample time will be allotted for questions and answers.

Resource Fair