Day 1 - Wednesday, October 9th
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Collaborative & Proactive Solutions: Understanding and Helping Kids with Social, Emotional, and Behavioral Challenges

Ross W. Greene, PhD, is the author of the influential, best-selling books The Explosive Child and Lost at School and a fierce and articulate advocate for the compassionate understanding and treatment of behaviorally challenging kids and their caregivers.  Drawing upon vast clinical and consultation experience and research in the neurosciences, his innovative, research-based Collaborative & Proactive Solutions (CPS) approach – which posits that challenging behavior is the result of lagging skills (rather than lagging motivation) and emphasizes solving problems collaboratively (rather than use of motivational procedures) – has been implemented in countless thousands of families and hundreds of general and special education schools, inpatient units, and residential and juvenile detention facilities. 


Dr. Greene was on the faculty at Harvard Medical School for over 20 years and now serves on the clinical faculty in the Department of Psychology at Virginia Tech. He is also the founding director of the nonprofit organization Lives in the Balance (, through which his advocacy work occurs.

Dr. Greene's research has been funded by, among others, the Stanley Research Institute, the National Institute on Drug Abuse/National Institutes of Mental Health, the US Department of Education, and the Maine Juvenile Justice Advisory Group.


A highly sought-after and dynamic speaker, he has presented over a thousand invited public lectures, professional workshops, and scientific addresses internationally.  His numerous media appearances include The Oprah Show, Good Morning America, The Morning Show, and National Public Radio.

Keynote - October 9, 2019 - 9:30 AM to 10:45 AM - Wildrose Ballrooms

Dr. Ross Greene

11:00 am to    Noon -  Sessions (A1-A4)


The Collaborative Problem Solving Approach - Intervention in Therapeutic/Restrictive Facilities


Presenter: Dr. Ross Greene


Trauma Informed Care 

Traumatic experiences can happen to anyone, changing the way people see the world and themselves. In this session, participants will explore the four principles of trauma informed care and learn how to promote an environment of hope and healing for all.

Presenter:  Stephanie McConnell

Stephanie McConnell is a Registered Nurse with Alberta Health Services, working on the Children, Youth, & Families - Addiction & Mental Health Education Team. Stephanie currently provides professional development and caregiver education sessions to increase awareness and understanding of mental health challenges and promote positive mental health in children, adolescents, and families.


Shifting the Mental Health Discussion: Working with Adult


This session will describe the growing self-advocacy movement amongst those with developmental  disabilities.  
Self-advocates will discuss their lived-experience with accessing and receiving mental health services.
A facilitated discussion of strategies for working more effectively and respectfully with adults (paradigm-shift) will provide an opportunity for practitioner self-reflection.

Presenter:  Dr. Katelyn Lowe

Katelyn Lowe, Ph.D., R. Psych  -  Dr. Katelyn Lowe is the Chief Strategy Officer at The Sinneave Family Foundation and a Registered Psychologist specializing in the treatment of autism spectrum disorders and mental health. Katelyn is an Adjunct Professor at the University of Calgary and is trained in a wide-range of mental health interventions including HeartMath®, MYmind, and Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy.


Autism from the Family Medical Perspective

This session will cover building an Autism Practice in Family Medicine, Using Autism Spectrum Disorder screening tools to support diagnosing adults, addressing the  executive functioning limitations in ASD and the unexpected turn (comorbidities).


Presenter:  Dr. Gregory Skinner 

Dr. Gregory Skinner is a Family Specialist practising in Calgary since 2006.  He graduated from the Saba University School of Medicine in 2004 and completed his residency in Family Medicine at the U of Manitoba in 2006.  In 2013 he shifted his practice focus to diagnosing adults with Autism Spectrum Disorder.   Dr. Skinner has been diagnosed with Autism himself.

1:00 pm to    2:00 pm -  Sessions (B1-B4)


Supporting Complex Needs in Children and Youth
In April 2018, the Community Outreach Assessment and Support Team (COAST) expanded to serve children and youth with complex needs. Through using a recovery-oriented framework, our multi-disciplinary team aims to empower families and caregivers to support the child in a holistic and strength-based way. Through this overview of the program, participants will learn about the first year of this initiative and reflect on how the team uses collaboration, engagement, and integrating best practices to support families and their children on the path towards wellness.
PRESENTERS:  Dr. Tanya Wasielewski & Sue Gross

Dr. Tanya Wasielewski, a psychologist with Alberta Health Services, Addictions and Mental Health, has been working in the mental health field for 15 years. Originally from South Africa, she is currently the Care Manager for the Community Outreach Assessment and Support Team (COAST). COAST is a multidisciplinary, cross-ministerial team that specializes in building capacity in the community to support adults, youth and children with complex service needs. Tanya has been with the team since its inception five years ago and has recently taken over management of the team. The COAST team works from a recovery-oriented perspective, focusing on individual needs, strengths and empowerment.
Sue Gross has been with the Community Outreach Assessment and Support Team (COAST) since 2013 in the capacity of Behavioural Consultant, Disability Services Complex Needs Supervisor and now as Systems Liaison, a position dedicated to COAST but supported by Children’s Services.  Sue’s entire career prior to her involvement with the Government of Alberta has been dedicated to working with people with complex needs within multiple systems which have included the not-for-profit sector, criminal justice system, educational system, and immigrant services. Her experience has provided her with an understanding of the challenges of systems collaboration and a relentless resolve to make support specific to the person, not the system.  


Kudoz, Embodying a Growth Mindset: gaining independence and building networks through community experiences
Kudoz was developed in response to 3 months of original ethnographic research on social isolation and loneliness for people living with a cognitive disability. The greatest insight from this research was that people were experiencing a special type of isolation, a poverty of experience. Kudoz blends social science and design to yield greater impact and quality of life outcomes: building independence, better mental health, lifelong learning, meaningful employment, and the reduction of stigma. It moves from services to platforms to engage community for greater social inclusion and network building based on shared experiences and interests.
Janey Roh & Fawziah Bhatia

Janey heads up Kudoz and maintains its culture. She has a passion for shifting cultures both in and out of organizations and developing new HR routines. She holds a BA in Education and Sociology, a BEd in Learning Disabilities, and a Certificate in Social Innovation. She is a pragmatic systems thinker who thrives on conducting on-the-ground, in context research that informs practice. She spent many years in social service management before joining InWithForward as a Fellow and was part of the original Kudoz research team.

Fawziah is a certified coach with Kudoz. She is passionate about helping people unlock their limitless potential to live more inspired and fulfilling lives. She holds a BSc in Actuarial Science and Statistics and a Graduate Certification in Organizational Coaching. Fawziah enjoys working with individuals and teams to facilitate paradigm shifts and inspire renewed actions. She is also a motivational speaker with over 10 years of experience and she brings passion, energy and creativity to motivate and inspire her audience. 

PLEASE NOTE:  The original presenter and topic had to cancel on short notice so we are pleased that Ms. Roh has been able to accommodate this and is now presenting at our conference.  


Trauma and Fetal Alcohol Syndrome Diagnosis

Prenatal Alcohol exposure is a risk factor for brain damage in utero resulting in FASD that can present as difficulties with learning and behavioral regulation across the lifespan. There is often other risk factors of pre and postnatal trauma that contributes to the brain dysfunction. Trauma needs to be considered in the diagnostic process for FASD, development of interventions and in transition to adulthood.

PRESENTER:  Dr. Gail Andrew

Dr. Gail Andrew MD, MDCM FRCP(C)

Medical Director of FASD Clinical Services, Glenrose Rehabilitation Hospital.  Dr. Andrew is a paediatrician at the Glenrose Rehabilitation Hospital, whose main interest has been in the area of developmental, learning,behavioural and emotional challenges of children, including those with known risk factors of prematurity, prenatal exposure to alcohol and adverse life experiences such as maltreatment. She has a major interest in all aspects of Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder, including prevention, diagnostic assessments, interventions and support of individuals with FASD and their caregivers. Dr. Andrew is also a Clinical Professor Pediatrics, University of Alberta; Expert Consultant to Alberta Government Cross Ministry Committee on FASD; Founding Board Member Canada FASD Research Network.  She was awarded the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal for her contributions to FASD in Canada.


Easing Transition from Pediatric to Adult Healthcare 
The transition journey is different for each family because of health concerns that impact the youth's growth and development. Well on Your Way is a website for youth, caregivers and healthcare professionals that provides information on transition from pediatric to adult healthcare to help youth achieve maximum ability.
Karen Johnston &
Sarah Mooney

Sarah Mooney is a Stollery Children's Hospital Youth Advisory Committee volunteer and has a chronic disease requiring multiple emergency rooms visits and admission to both pediatric and adult hospitals.


Karen Johnston is a Nurse practitioner at the Stollery Children's Hospital Transition Program with 30 years of pediatric and adult experience.

2:15 pm to    3:15 pm -  Sessions (C1-C4)


Rigidity necessitates Flexibility
Delivered through a narrative lens using real life examples of people (based on her 15 years of work experience with young children, adolescents, adults on the autism spectrum and her clinical background),
Roopa will cover the following topics:

Behaviours - Why do individuals on the Autism Spectrum engage in Challenging behaviors?

Environmental modifications - We can’t ever fix the disability or the behaviour, but we can fix what is causing it and alter the environment so we can help the client.

Supportive model - Not asking the client to change instead adapting our approach to suit their needs. Working around their idiosyncrasies and capitalizing on their restricted interests.

Meeting individual needs on a daily basis.
PRESENTER:  Roopa Belur
Roopa Belur received her Bachelors degree in Sociology, Economics and Psychology in 2000, and her Master of Science in Psychology in 2002. She began her journey into the world of Autism Spectrum Disorder .Roopa moved to Edmonton, Alberta in 2010 and worked with Glenrose Rehabilitation Hospital as a Psychometrist and Research Coordinator at the Autism Research Centre. Some of her other responsibilities included psychological assessments, scoring and report writing.    Currently, she works as the Lead Behavior Specialist at Entrust. 


Working together on behalf of students with Autism Spectrum Disorder
Understand the differences in focus and approach to Autism Spectrum Disorder from the perspectives of family, medical and educational professionals.  Participate in the discussion of potential improvements in the coordination of programming for students with ASD with inputs from the educational, medical and family perspective.
PRESENTER:  Dr. Keith Goulden

Conference Master of Ceremonies 

Dr. Keith Goulden MD FRCPC Developmental Pediatrics (Teaching -  Associate Professor, University  of Alberta) has been practicing Developmental Pediatrics with a focus on Autism Spectrum Disorder for 30 years.  During that time, he has participated in a number of outreach clinics to schools.  He continues to work closely with the families of persons with ASD.


All Aboard - Transportation and the Autism Spectrum 
Recognize the role transportation plays in access to everyday activities and its significance for adults, in terms of independence and community inclusion.  
-Consider the need for a transportation plan as children on the autism spectrum transition to adulthood.
-Enhance the understanding of transportation options and their respective suitability for individuals on the autism spectrum.
-Review current research regarding driving, specialized transportation and public transit for individuals on the autism spectrum.
-Discuss emerging evidence based approaches aimed at supporting the transportation needs of the population on the autism spectrum.
PRESENTER:  Susann Lagore

Susann Lagore is a PhD candidate in the Department of Environmental Design and the current president of The Urban Research Network (TURN) at the University of Calgary. She was a finalist at the 2017 UCalgary3MT where she presented her research proposal 'All Aboard: Public Transportation
and the Autism Spectrum'. Susann is the parent of a computer crazy fifteen year old, who happens to be diagnosed with autism.


Increasing Ability and Learning Skills through Animal & Nature Assisted Therapy
Animal and Nature-Assisted Therapies (AAT and NAT) can improve learning and skills from a biological and neurological perspective. Working therapeutically with animals allows for the development of higher brain functions and an increase in functional skills. The speaker is a Psychologist from an AAT program that has been helping people with intellectual disabilities and mental health issues for 16 years. Accompanying her to tell the story of how animals and nature helped, is Zach Wilm, who is now 28, and was diagnosed with Autism when he was a small child, and his mother Angela Wilm who has been an amazing advocate and support to Zach. Together, they are a dynamic team.
Angela Wilm & Zach Wilm

Eileen Bona M.Ed. is a Registered Psychologist specializing in working with people with Special Needs, Complex Needs and Mental Health Diagnoses for 20+ years. She started the animal and nature-assisted therapy (AAT and NAT) program, Dreamcatcher, 16 years ago to provide a non-threatening and motivating medium for people who had trouble in traditional therapy models to get the help they needed. She is responsible for the first College courses and certificate in English- speaking Canada in AAT and NAT.

Angela Wilm has her Masters of Eduction, Dip. Autism Spectrum Disorders.  She is currently the 

Disability Studies Program Founder and an Instructor for the Early Learning and Child Care, Faculty of Health & Community Studies  at NorQuest College in Edmonton.  Her son, Zach is attending as well.

3:30 pm to    4:30 pm -  Sessions (D1-D4)


Housing Adults with Complex Needs & Multi-System Involvement
The session will focus on a case study of the challenges and successes of housing people with complex needs and multi-system involvement.  The presentatin will include members from the EPS HUoS Team, McMan - the PDD-funded agency providing support to this population, as well as Disability Services.
PRESENTERS:  Seargent Lee Bieraugle, Lindsay Broderick, Carrie Lewis & Valery Frenette

Sgt. Lee Bieraugle is a member of the EPS and manages the HUoS Project.  Lindsay Broderick is a Methods Analyst with HUoS and has a Master of Arts in Criminology.  Carrie Lewis is the Program Manager for McMan and the Meadows Home.  Valery Frenette is a Case Worker with Disability Services in Edmonton.


Forensic Developmental Disabilites Services: Present & Future 
Dr. Rai will provide an overview of the current provisions in Alberta and Canada and share visions of potential innovations in service based on international best evidence and practice.
PRESENTER:  Dr. Santoch Rai

Dr. Santoch Rai is a Forensic Psychiatrist at Alberta Hospital Edmonton.  He is currently working with violent offenders who are NCR (not criminally responsible) or unfit to stand trial and appears frequently before the Alberta Review Board.  He also has an administrative role as the Lead Psychiatrist for Forensic Rehabilitation and Recovery.


Facilitating Wellness & Recovery in those with Developmental Disabilities
Positive psychology has been receiving more attention within the field of disabilities because of the shift in focus from deficits to strengths, abilities, and virtues. The Community Outreach and Support Team (COAST) has integrated positive psychology as a key component to support people with complex needs as it offers a framework and interventions to address communicative behaviours by meeting human needs. In this overview, participants will review the core concepts of human needs and positive psychology and learn how COAST developed a Wellness Facilitation tool to bring teams together in an environment of sharing and learning. Through this collaboration, we found that teams are empowered to be complex needs capable as they refocus on supporting the person in a holistic and strength-based way.
PRESENTERS:  Dr. Tanya Wasielewski & Donna Brothers-Palfrey

Dr. Tanya Wasielewski, a psychologist with Alberta Health Services, Addictions and Mental Health, has been working in the mental health field for 15 years. Originally from South Africa, she is currently the Care Manager for the Community Outreach Assessment and Support Team (COAST). COAST is a multidisciplinary, cross-ministerial team that specializes in building capacity in the community to support adults, youth and children with complex service needs. Tanya has been with the team since its inception five years ago and has recently taken over management of the team. The COAST team works from a recovery-oriented perspective, focusing on individual needs, strengths and empowerment.

Donna is part of our Conference Planning Committee.


Donna Brothers-Palfrey has a passion for assisting people with intellectual and developmental disabilities as well as their families and supports improve their overall wellness on their journey toward living a meaningful life.  Donna has over 15 years of experience working in the field, including as a youth crisis intervention worker, family support worker, teaching assistant, support staff, team leader, and currently as a Behavioural Consultant for the Community Outreach Assessment and Support Team (COAST).  She has a Masters of Arts (MA) in Political Science from Dalhousie University and a Bachelor of Arts (BA Honours) in Criminology and Political Science from the University of Windsor.


Healthy and Unhealthy Spirituality 
This session will encourage and challenge you to think, feel and act differently.  To help you to be intentional in your clinical/professional practice, in being agents of hope.  To position yourself for a deeper level of care; to be genuine and effective as a professional who cares for not just the presenting symptoms, but the whole person.  To consider that we have a moral ethical obligation to invest in others and to recognize that we have a choice, but they (the patients/clients) don’t
PRESENTER: Daince Kurian

Daince Kurian.  MA, MTS (Pastoral Counseling)

Daince is the Staff Chaplain Alberta Hospital Edmonton since 2005.  He completed his MA in Psychology, St. Johns College, Agra India and was an Addictions Counselor and Associate Coordinator for SAHARA House Rehabilitation Center in New Delhi for two and a half years. He has hands-on experience working in the inner city, urban slums and prison systems.

In Canada, Daince began as a Rehabilitation Worker in the private and Government (Family and Social Services) sectors for several years. He then  graduated with a Masters in Theological Studies from Taylor University, Edmonton in 2000. He was ordained in 2002 and continued his education and training in Pastoral Counseling Education with Canadian Association for Spiritual Care (CASC).  

He provides support to patients at AHE and the treatment team with one on one and group sessions.  Also,he acts as a Preceptor for CPE students specifically in the area of mental health and addiction. He c
urrently continues to be active in the community as a mentor and Spiritual Counselor.