Vanderbilt Kennedy Center

Vanderbilt Kennedy Center Well Represented at the 2010 Eighth Annual Tennessee Disability MegaConference

Updated on 6/8/2010 3:49:20 PM.

Source: Vanderbilt Kennedy Center

Untitled Document

Many of Vanderbilt Kennedy Center’s researchers, leadership, trainees, faculty, staff and community partners participated in the 2010 Eighth Annual Tennessee Disability MegaConference held June 3-4 at the Nashville Airport Marriott.

For more detailed information on Vanderbilt Kennedy Center representation at the Conference see the list below. Vanderbilt Kennedy Center affiliated presenters are denoted by an asterisk (*). Members of the Center’s Community Advisory Council are denoted by a double asterisk (**).

The Tennessee Disability MegaConference is an annual event that brings a wealth of resources for Tennesseans with disabilities together under one roof. Sessions are designed to inform and inspire not only people with disabilities, but also their families and professionals.

For more information about the Eighth Annual Tennessee Disability MegaConference, including a full conference program and pictures, visit


Parent Stress Intervention Project
Roxanne Carreon*
Parents and caregivers of children with disabilities experience higher levels of stress. Reducing that stress is important for long-term health, family wellness, and long-term outcomes for children with disabilities. This presentation educated attendees on the project’s interventions to reduce stress.

Disability Services & the Hispanic Community
Cecilia Melo-Romie*
An overview of Tennessee Disability Pathfinder’s Hispanic Outreach Project, which includes a statewide bilingual HELPline; website resources on a local, state, and national level; online Camino Seguro database of bilingual providers; family support group; and community trainings. The presentation provided practical tips on working with families in the Hispanic community.

Your Voice Matters - The Role of Public Policy in Shaping the Lives of Individuals with Disabilities
Carrie Hobbs Guiden, Wanda Willis**, Doria Panvini**, Courtney Jenkins-Atnip, Lorri Mabry
People do not often realize the important role that the legislative process and resulting legislation plays in shaping the lives of individuals with disabilities and those who support them. How does this legislation get passed? What are the most important pieces of legislation that need to be followed in Washington, D.C., and here in Tennessee? This informative and interactive session helped attendees answer these questions and demonstrated how each of us plays a critical role in the legislative process.

Student Directed IEPs: Leading the Way into Their Own Chosen Futures
Treva Maitland, Loria Richardson**
This workshop summarized Dr. James Martin’s Self-Directed IEP program (SD-IEP) and helped to integrate the SD-IEP tool into the process of secondary transition. SD-IEP facilitates learning the self-advocacy and self-determination skills necessary for successful adult life. Presenters demonstrated how students can actively participate in their own IEP meetings. With more students learning to direct their own IEPs, systems change will occur.

The Volunteer Advocacy Project: Expanding Special Education Advocacy Across the State
Meghan Burke*
This presentation gave a brief overview of special education policy and the subsequent need for special education advocacy. The Volunteer Advocacy Project is a program designed to train individuals to become special education advocates.

Tennessee Disability Pathfinder: Help Accessing Disability Resources
Megan Hart*
Tennessee Disability Pathfinder is a statewide project of the Vanderbilt Kennedy Center and the Tennessee Council on Developmental Disabilities. Information provided included practical tips on accessing disability resources through the use of Pathfinder's website and assistance from its staff.

Education Disaster Preparedness
Juli Gallup**
This presentation helped parents learn how school systems can plan to meet the needs of students with disabilities in the event of a disaster/crisis while their child is at school. Families need to understand the existing emergency plan for the school and work with the school to accommodate the needs of their child.

Future Planning - It's Never Too Soon
Carol Rabideau*, Ashley Coulter*
This workshop discussed the importance of future planning for families who have a member with a disability, and for the inclusion of siblings in this planning. Person-centered planning was emphasized as essential for supporting individuals with developmental disabilities in building and strengthening relationships and in identifying skills, interests, and capacities for future planning. Key components discussed included postsecondary options of education and employment, housing, recreation and leisure, and legal and financial issues. Resources were provided.

Supporting Adult Siblings of People with Disabilities
Ashley Coulter*, Meghan Burke*
This presentation presented concerns and available supports of adult siblings of people with disabilities. Stories were told and a support network was developed with other siblings. Topics discussed included Tennessee Adult Brothers and Sisters and the Sibling Leadership Network, as well as knowledge of legislation affecting families of those with disabilities.

Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Home Visits
Carol Rabideau*
This presentation was a discussion of tools that are required for effective, respectful, and safe home visits. Communication tools include establishing rapport, clear communication, professional boundaries, and talking about disabilities, including People First Language. Safety tips included how to avoid dangerous situations, effective responses to the rare situation in which a person can feel a threat to personal safety, and how to respond to safety concerns for an individual or family.

2010: A Disability Law Odyssey
Cindy Gardner, Elise McMillan*, Martha M. Lafferty
This full-day session was offered as a collaborative session by Disability Law & Advocacy Center of Tennessee and the Vanderbilt Kennedy Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities to Tennessee attorneys for Continuing Legal Education (CLE) Credit and to all MegaConference attendees. Participants learned how to help people with disabilities protect their rights in many areas, such as: Accessibility, Housing, Employment, Special Education, TennCare, and Social Security Benefits. Participants will also receive a copy of a special 'Tennessee Disability Law Guide,' which will include federal and Tennessee laws and regulations designed to protect individuals with disabilities, along with other helpful information.

Accessibility is Good Business
Carole Moore-Slater*, Laura Kolmetz
Access Nashville, an 'accessibility-friendly' project and service learning activity in college classrooms, is a program of the Vanderbilt Kennedy Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities, managed by Tennessee Disability Pathfinder and guided by a coalition of volunteer representatives from the business, aging, and disability fields. The goal of Access Nashville is to gather and disseminate “accessibility-friendly” information about restaurants so that all people can make informed choices about dining out in their community. The restaurant 'accessibility friendly' ratings of Wow, Good, or Limited Access are posted on the Nashville Convention & Visitors Bureau. The goal of this project is focused on gathering accessibility information and does not intend to assess compliance with the accessibility requirements of the ADA.

We have completed our first semester at college!
Tammy Day*, Elise McMillan*, Jacquelyn West*
Six young adults with intellectual disabilities have completed their first semester at Vanderbilt University as part of the Next Step Postsecondary Education program. Attendees heard from the students, their Vanderbilt peer mentors, and a professor as they re-lived some of their celebrations and challenges using pictures and videos. Attendees also heard about their plans for next semester, which includes dual enrollment at the local Tennessee Technology Center, and up to 8 more students on campus.

Transition from School to Adulthood from a Self Advocate’s Perspective
Scott Finney, Steven Glowicki**
In this presentation Scott Finney described the challenges and celebrations that he faced when advocating for himself transitioning from high school to adulthood. He and Steven Glowicki provided information on transition plans, Vocational Rehabilitation Services, Support and Training for Exceptional Parents, etc.

Life After High School: Model Secondary Transition in a Metropolitan Setting
Mary Jane Ware, Elise McMillan*
Nashville's Mayor Carl Dean created the Mayor's Advisory Council (MAC) to study services to students with disabilities in Metro Nashville Davidson County public schools. An example of collaboration at its highest level of excellence, educators, business professionals, parents, agency representatives, and others have worked together for 3 years. Recommendations made by the MAC for improving transition services to high school youth have come to fruition in the form of a model transition program at Stratford High School. A panel of representatives from the MAC, MNPS, and Stratford High School staff shared their perspectives on how collaboration among the various disciplines led to the success of this program.

For more information on the programming listed above, contact

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