Vanderbilt faculty, staff participate in DSAMT Conference

By: Elizabeth Turner

A bevy of Vanderbilt University Medical Center faculty and staff, including a few Vanderbilt Kennedy Center affiliates, took part in the Down Syndrome Association of Middle Tennessee (DSAMT) "Extraordinary Lives" Regional Conference on Down Syndrome on Friday, May 5, from 7:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. at Brentwood United Methodist Church, located at 309 Franklin Rd., Brentwood.

The one-day conference was designed for self-advocates with Down syndrome, their parents, caregivers and family members, but was open to anyone seeking additional information or resources on Down syndrome. The conference brought together local and national experts to share their expertise in the latest research and best practices for helping those with Down syndrome throughout their lives.

Several staff and faculty from Vanderbilt University Medical Center and the Vanderbilt Kennedy Center led multiple breakout sessions throughout the day, including the following (Vanderbilt affiliates and/or VKC organization in bold):

"Little Steps to a Big Future"
Families, caregivers, teachers, and therapists of children in the early intervention and preschool population are invited to attend this workshop with professionals from the Vanderbilt Down Syndrome Clinic to learn how they can promote and support early and long-term development. Each of our presenters will be share their professional insights and recommendations and then answer any questions attendees have.

  • Angela Maxwell-Horn, M.D., Assistant Professor of Developmental Pediatrics, Clinical Director Down Syndrome Clinic at Vanderbilt
  • Sarah Wilson, M.S., OTR/L, Pediatric Occupational Therapist, Down Syndrome Clinic at Vanderbilt
  • Ashley Allen, P.T., DPT, Pediatric Physical Therapist, Down Syndrome Clinic at Vanderbilt
  • Denise Bryant, M.A., CCC-SLP, Speech-Language Pathologist, Vanderbilt Bill Wilkerson Center, Down Syndrome Clinic at Vanderbilt

"Independence Works: Supporting Independence in Adulthood"
Take a detailed look at programs and support services that target independence in adulthood. Speakers will discuss a variety of topics centering on independence for people with Down syndrome. Key subject matter will include: finances, transition planning, planning for future employment, Employment and Community First-CHOICES (ECF).

  • Carolyn Naifeh, Nashville IDD Housing Group
  • Janet Shouse, Tennessee Works
  • Stacey Irish, ECF Choices Member Advocate, Amerigroup Community Care
  • Marisa Tipp, ECF Choices BlueCare Member Advocate

"Behavior Toolbox: Tips and Tricks for Positive Behavior Changes"
Challenging behaviors generally serve a purpose for a person with Down syndrome. Discover how to look for the functions of different behaviors (attention, escape, etc). Discuss what interventions can reduce the behavior, and get proven options and strategies for making healthy changes in behaviors that you are able to use quickly and easily.

  • David Crnobori, M.S.Ed., BCBA, Behavior Analyst and Education Support for the Down Syndrome Clinic at Vanderbilt

"Aging: Growing Old with Down Syndrome"
Many changes occur in cognitive functioning during the normal aging process, depression, behavioral disturbances, cognitive decline, and Alzheimer's disease. Dr. Newhouse will discuss aging process of people who have Down syndrome, advancements in healthcare contributing to longer lifespans, and the current research/advancements/treatments into Alzheimer’s and older people with Down syndrome.

  • Paul Newhouse, M.D., Jim Turner Professor of Cognitive Disorders; Professor of Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences, Pharmacology, and Medicine; Director, Vanderbilt Center for Cognitive Medicine; Program Director, Vanderbilt-TVHS Geriatric Psychiatry Fellowship; Physician-Scientist, VA-TVHS GRECC

"Siblings: Too Important to Ignore"
The sibling relationship is the longest one of a person’s life, and frequently for a sibling of a person with a disability, shapes every decision they may make about school, career, relationships, where to live, family responsibilities and volunteer life. Tennessee’s Adult Brothers and Sisters (TABS) are here to talk about the supports that are available to siblings, from Sibshops for 8-13 year olds to the availability of on-line and in person supports for adults. Come connect with your sibling experience and learn how to connect with others.

  • Rachael Dodd, M.Ed., Special Education Teacher & Sibling of Individual with DS
  • Tina Prochaska, TABS

"Experienced Parent Panel"
Have you ever thought “I wish I could talk to someone who has been through this”? There is a group of parents picked for their experience and knowledge of resources. They will be able to answer all your questions. You will get information about them, their adult children with Down syndrome and will be allowed to ask questions as a way to bring parents of all ages together.

  • Sheila Moore, Chief Executive Officer, The Arc Davidson County and Greater Nashville; Parent of an Adult with DS
  • Maureen Hawks, Parent of an Adult with DS
  • Elise McMillan, J.D., Co-Director of the Vanderbilt Kennedy Center of Excellence in Developmental Disabilities (UCEDD); Director of Community Engagement and Public Policy; Parent of an Adult with DS
  • Peggye Moss. Parent of an Adult with DS

"Supporting Communication, Play, and Independence in Children with Down Syndrome: Perspectives of a Speech-Language Pathologist and Occupational Therapist"
Participants will learn about motor and learning principles that facilitate communication development, play skills, and independence in children with Down syndrome. Learn how to structure play time and daily routines to facilitate communication skills, self-help skills, and fine motor competency. Learn about resource books, checklists, and visual supports that can be used to support communication, play, and independence. This presentation will provide information about motor and learning principles and how they influence communication skills, play skills, and self-help skills. The importance of engineering the environment and choosing home and therapy play activities will be discussed. Families, caregivers, teachers, and therapists will learn how to structure self-help activities and foster functional communication skills.

  • Denise Bryant, M.A., CCC-SLP, Speech-Language Pathologist, Vanderbilt Bill Wilkerson Center, Down Syndrome Clinic at Vanderbilt
  • Sarah Wilson, M.S., OTR/L, Pediatric Occupational Therapist, Down Syndrome Clinic at Vanderbilt

"Rest Easy: Sleep and Down Syndrome"
People who have Down syndrome have many sleep challenges. How does sleep impact other areas of life? What are ways to make the sleep study bearable for those with sensory issues? We will look at sleep challenges, what sleep impacts, and what to do about it.

  • Althea Robinson Shelton, M.D., Assistant Professor, Neurology-Sleep Division, Vanderbilt University

Last Updated: 4/6/2017 10:54:09 AM

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