SESSION DAY 2: MAY 26, 2022

8:30 am – 9:30 am

Disability and Mental Health State Budget Priorities
Representative Dan Miller
Join Representative Miller for a discussion of the proposed state budget and its allocations related to disability and mental health issues.

9:40 am – 10:40 am

Talking about Race in Disability Services
Kristy Trautmann
Fran Flaherty
Chaz Kellem
Disability services have often been approached as race-neutral, as if the experience of having a disability erases other differences.  But people of color can have profoundly different experiences of getting a diagnosis and seeking services and supports in school or in the community.  Join us for an honest conversation about the intersection of race with disability services.

Tech Innovations to Support Mental Health
Julie Faieta, PhD
Eric Meyer, PhD
One of the most intriguing areas of developing technology today focuses on supporting positive mental health. In addition to increased opportunities for connecting to professionals through telehealth and the emergence of a growing number of support options, various types of apps are being developed to enhance mental health outcomes. These apps include options for self-management, improved thinking skills, skill training, supported care, and passive symptom tracking. Join experts from the University of Pittsburgh’s School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences to learn more.

10:50 am – 11:50 am

Children with Disabilities and the Juvenile Justice System: What Parents Need to Know
Laura McWilliams, Esq.
Christine Porter, Esq.
Allison Ware, Esq.
This presentation will provide information about the juvenile justice system in general and the rights of children with disabilities within that system. Parents will learn how to respond when police officers ask to interview their children and what to expect if their children are charged with a crime. We will also discuss school-based and community-based summary citations, which disproportionately impact children with disabilities.

Eating Disorders and Mental Health: An Introduction
Rachel Kolko Conlon, PhD
Alicia Koloski
Alison Paniccia
Alexandra Salerno
This presentation will provide information about eating disorders in the context of mental health conditions, eating disorder symptoms and diagnoses, and risk factors. We also will discuss evidence-based interventions, local treatment options, and ways to access resources, as well as recommendations for how to talk with loved ones and how to promote eating-related mental health and physical wellness.

Noon – 12:30 pm

Argo AI: An Introduction to Self-Driving Vehicles

1:00 pm – 2:00 pm

Ten Things You Need to Know about Special Education
Jeff Ruder, Esq.
IEPs and 504 plans can be confusing. With so many pages and so much data, it’s easy for parents and self-advocates to get lost in the process. Ruder Law, which specializes in representing parents of students with disabilities in school matters, will share the keys to being a strong advocate.

Unmasking Autism
Tessa Watkins
What better way to learn about autism than from an autistic person? Join Tessa in exploring the more nuanced presentations of autism, what it can look like when your autistic child grows into an adult, and what accommodations you can do to help them thrive instead of just survive as they enter adulthood in a world built for neurotypicals. This conversation is more than just spreading autism awareness, it’s also building the foundation for autism acceptance, a crucial step in disability equity and inclusion

2:10 pm – 3:10 pm

Invisible Wounds: The Impact of Trauma on First Responders
Sheila Roth, PhD
Public safety providers routinely witness the emotional and physical pain of others as a part of their jobs. This session will explore the impact of this work through a case scenario and discuss how cumulative events can lead to the experience of vicarious trauma, the ways in which traumatic events are processed differently than non-traumatic events, and how these invisible wounds play out in daily life. Considerations for self-care and resources will be offered as a part of this session.

QPR Gatekeeper Training: Simple Suicide Prevention Strategies to Save a Life
Heather McLean
QPR Gatekeeper Training is listed in the National Registry of Evidence-Based Practices and Policies and is one of the most promising strategies to prepare educators, parents, faith leaders, first responders, and healthcare providers to understand the risk and protective factors associated with suicide. This training helps the participant to identify at-risk individuals, become aware of appropriate community resources, and to make referrals when necessary.


Life Through My Lens Self-Care Workshop
PEAL Center
Youth Move
This special evening session is designed for transition-aged youth, 14 to 26 years old. The session opens with dinner from 5 to 5:30, followed by two hours of fun and engaging, hands-on programming designed to empower young people to battle stigma and enhance self care. Life Through My Lens is a campaign designed to help combat the negative self-talk we ALL deal with every day. The negativity we allow from our internal voice is something that opens the door for others to talk negatively to us and about us. If we are always down on ourselves, we are not confident enough to tell others that we don’t deserve that. However, if we practice positive self-talk and support each other in this process, we can destroy this negativity where it stands!

For more information about this unique youth opportunity, please contact Erin Weierbach from the PEAL Center at or 717-379-7504.

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