11 February, 2016
Glacier Canyon Conference Center at the Wilderness Resort, 45 Hillman Road, Wisconsin Dells, WI

2/9 Update: The conference is now full and registration is closed. No new registrations will be accepted.

We’ve had a strong interest in this year’s conference and consequently are at capacity. Therefore, registrations are now closed. No new registrations will be accepted at this time, either on-line or at the conference (unless arrangements have already been made). We’re sorry if this poses an inconvenience, but hope to see you next year!

Join AAIDD-WI’s 2016 conference on February 11th and 12th at the Glacier Canyon Conference Center at the Wilderness Resort in Wisconsin Dells. We are excited to announce that Karyn Harvey, Ph.D. and John M. Agosta, Ph.D. will be our keynote speakers.

Conference Sponsors:

Conference Sponsor








Western Wisconsin Cares

MHS Health WI


Interested in being a conference sponsor? Click here for more information.

February 11th keynote:

Peak Promoting Sustainable and Progressive Systems of Support for People with Intellectual and Other Developmental Disabilities

Presented by Dr. Agosta:

Systems for supporting people with intellectual and other developmental disabilities are at a turning point.  Policy makers are being challenged to restructure long-standing service systems in the face of increasing service demand, budget shortfalls, workforce shortages, reliance on legacy services, and mounting preferences for services that promote community integration and self-direction. Building sustainable systems in this context requires that public resources be utilized more effectively, but other means of support be utilized as well. Wisconsin is not immune to these circumstances and demands, even as it seeks to improve its system of long-term services for people with IDD.  In response, policy makers in several states are re-designing their systems by establishing individualized “supports budgets” for service participants that are based on a standardized assessment of individual support needs.  Here, individuals have greater opportunity to direct their own lives by exercising control over their supports budget.  In addition, this approach allows state leaders to promote other policy intentions, including a more efficient and fairer use of public funds and increased emphasis on supports to complement public services. Throughout this presentation, interaction with those attending will be encouraged in the context of time restraints.

Dr. Agosta is a Human Services Research Institute (HSRI) Vice President.  He completed his doctorate in Rehabilitation Research at the University of Oregon, specializing in research methods and community supports for people with disabilities.  Employed at HSRI since 1983, he has been involved with nearly all efforts at HSRI surrounding family support issues and self-advocacy, facilitated development of strategic plans, conducted analyses of state systems for people with developmental disabilities (e.g.,  Florida, Illinois, North Carolina, New Jersey, Texas, Wisconsin), and studied specific facets of the field (e.g., integrated employment, managed care, self-determination).  He is a nationally recognized expert in topic areas such as family support, self-advocacy, self-directed supports and community systems regarding policies that affect individuals with developmental disabilities.  He helped found The Riot!, a free national newsletter for self-advocates (theriotrocks.org).  Presently, he leads efforts at HSRI to assist states to establish individualized supports budgets or allocations for people with developmental disabilities based on objective assessments of support needs.

February 12th Keynote:

The Power of Positive Regard

Dr. Harvey will focus on the immense power in the hands of staff when interacting with individuals:  We have the power to encourage or discourage,  we have the power to uplift or undermine, and we have the power to motivate or deflate, all through the words we use.  Dr. Harvey will discuss how to be aware of this power and use it as positively as possible.

Dr.  Harvey has worked as a clinician in the field of intellectual disabilities for over 25 years. She has a master’s degree in Clinical Psychology and a Ph.D. in Applied Developmental Psychology from the University of Maryland.  She has published articles about therapeutic interventions with individuals with ID, workbooks for individuals with ID and two books. Her first book, Positive Identity Development, was published in 2009 and presents both theory and guidance for clinicians doing therapy with individuals with ID.  Her second book, Trauma-Informed Behavioral Interventions, was published in June of this year and presents a trauma-informed care approach to working with individuals with ID both programmatically and clinically. She is currently the Assistant Executive Director of Quality Supports for the Arc of Baltimore.  In addition, she is an adjunct professor at the University of Baltimore, graduate psychology program where she teaches the Psychology of Trauma. She is also an ongoing consultant with the state of Texas, through the Hogg Foundation, on the reduction of the use of restraints in both institutional and community settings.

Additional topics and speakers:

The Next Transformation of Wisconsin’s Long Term Care: Family Care / IRIS 2.0, Presented by Forbes McIntosh, President of Government Policy Solutions (GPS)

Trauma Informed Behavioral Interventions, Presented by Karyn Harvey, Ph.D.:

Dr. Harvey will discuss the sources of trauma in the lives of individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities and the effects of that trauma.  She will then address the ways in which people recover and the critical role that staff play in an individual’s recovery.

Employment, Presented by Laura Owens Ph.D.:

On the heels of the 25th anniversary of the ADA, the 40th anniversary of the IDEA, and the signing of the Workforce Innovation Opportunity Act, Employment First efforts are well underway around the country.  We have turned the corner where integrated employment is now an expectation for individuals of working age.  So what does this mean moving forward?  What can we do to ensure that these efforts get us closer to changing the lack of labor force participation by individuals with disabilities?  Educators, policy makers, service providers, state agencies, families and self-advocates each has a role to play in creating the desired change.  Ms. Owens will provide participants with a national perspective and address strategies to cultivate the next generation of employment practices for individuals with disabilities.

Supports Intensity Scale, Presented by Kathy Varner from AAIDD National:

The Supports Intensity Scale (SIS) is a direct, reliable, and valid measurement of supports requirements in 57 life activities for the individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities.  The SIS identifies support needs in 15 medical and 13 behavioral areas and presents a percentile ranking of the person’s needs based on national field test data.  Ms. Varner will discuss how the SIS provides solid knowledge of the person’s needs, preferences and goals for life.

The Community Consultation Team, Presented by Gary Stark Ph.D:

Dr. Stark will provide an overview of Milwaukee County’s Community Consultation Team (CCT) and its services to support adults with intellectual or other developmental disabilities who display challenging behaviors in the community.  These services include clinical consultations, staff training, and crisis intervention.  Behavioral and risk assessments will be reviewed, an educational curriculum will be outlined, and issues that may arise in supporting individuals, families, providers, managed care staff, and law enforcement will be considered.

Sex is an independent living skill, Presented by Allie Kriofske Mainella: People with disabilities are often left out of conversations about sexuality or denied access to sexuality education programs.  This session will give participants the opportunity to talk about sexuality and disability and learn why it is so important to include people with disabilities in sexuality education.  Participants will leave this session with ideas for making sex education accessible, ways to reach people with a variety of disabilities, and concrete activities and adaptations that can be made for any program.  Sex is an independent living skill!  Come find out why and how.

The Impact of Change, Presented by Linda Draayers:

Why do we fear change so much?  Have we been taught to fear it or is it something innate within us?  Ms. Draayers will explore barriers to successful change, the impact of change on our mental and physical health, specific impacts of change on individuals with disabilities, and strategies to effectively navigate through change for all attending and those they serve.

Benevolent Touch, Presented by Leann Reichertz: The primary goal of the benevolent touch program is to promote the benefit of a positive and nurturing touch through education of caregivers, therapists and health care professionals.  Participants will learn the basic benevolent touch massage techniques by observation and by practicing the techniques in class.  Techniques to be taught will include stroking, back massage, hand and arm massage, and neck and shoulder massage.

Registration is Now Closed.

For our flyer and registration form, click here.

February 11:   $75 (Free to AAIDD Members)

February 12:   $75

Both Days:      $130

Student Fee:   $50 for either day, $90 for both (please provide copy of student I.D. with registration). Check out the Don Anderson Student Scholarship, awarding membership in AAIDD and attendance at our annual state conference.

Early Registration is due by February 1, 2016

For further information on this conference or special accommodations please contact Linda Draayers at  414-433-1210 ext. 101 or Dan Drury at 414-433-1210 ext. 104.

Hotel Accommodations

Wilderness Resort:  511 E Adams St, Wisconsin Dells, WI 53965 (Note: the entrance for the hotel is located off of a different street than the conference center, but they are located next to each other).

Thursday Single Room Rate:  Single $82 (the state rate, but need to ask for this price, else it is  $99 plus tax)

Thursday Double, Triple or Quad:  $99 plus tax

Friday Rates:  Single, Double, Triple or Quad:  $129.99 plus tax

To make room reservations call  1-800-867-9453 and state you are with the AAIDD Winter Conference at Glacier Canyon Lodge (Reservation #515982). The deadline to get a room at the group rate price is 2/2/16 or until they are filled.