Includes networking lunch and workshop materials.Visit the Eventbrite
Our conference theme for 2023 is focused on mental health and wellbeing. Now is the time for us to Reflect, Restore and
Re-Imagine new ways to move forward.
What changes and perspectives are needed to instill hope and create a new vision?
A One Day Conference on Special Needs.
Join in our keynote’s inspiring story of determination and persistence: how she moved from chaos and crisis to becoming an advocate and leader in the field of autism. Sharon’s son was diagnosed with neurodiversity and autism as a child and thus began a journey of career change, discovery, and intentional partnerships. A long journey towards well-being. Listen to what becomes possible when care and commitment is what motivates you.
In this workshop, participants will learn to identify signs of
distress, what actions to take in case of imminent suicidal
risk. Through case studies and dynamic interaction,
participants will explore strategies to encourage
self-regulation and how to take care of ourselves in such
Josianne Richard & Amanda Calderon
Tracom: Crisis Center
This workshop will help participants to gain confidence in
addressing youth mental health. Terms, tools and
strategies for direct interventions will also be presented
to identify critical stressors to better help youth better.
Additionally, participants will explore their own
understandings of mental health and their stressors.
Particular attention will be paid to caregiving and how
this too impacts mental health.
Tony Alfonso, Oliver Fitzpatrick & Natalie Boileau
Universal Design for Learning (UDL) is a framework that
guides the design of instructional goals, methods,
materials, and assessments while keeping the diversity of
learners in mind. UDL promotes student health &
wellbeing and supports diverse student populations.
Participants will acquire understanding of how UDL
promotes mental health support through flexible
approaches and design. Participants will engage with
case studies and examples.
Is it what an individual experiencing depression, anxiety,
stress, or inherent autistic traits? Participants will explore
the major mental health challenges faced by autistic
individuals and how their voices have informed recent
research. Through an interactive and revealing
presentation, participants will engage in discussion, share
experiences and discover who to enhance the autistic
experience and coexist to make the world a better place.
Eithne Sheeran & Datevig Etyemezian
Centre of Excellence Lester B. Pearson School Board
We all carry backpacks full of stories. A backpack can
sometimes be filled with sadness, regret, shame,
embarrassment, disappointment, and judgement. Each
of these weighs us down. In this workshop, participants
will learn to identify how these stories can encourage
and support their wellbeing or contribute to stress and
burnout. Through self-reflection, they will explore how
to better protect their mental health and well-being.
Conference Consultant for Champlain College Saint-Lambert
This workshop will explore the principles of trauma
informed care and its importance to improve autistic
mental health. While autism and PTSD can look similar
from the outside, there are some crucial differences to
consider. Explore how they overlap and their
similarities. Acquiring more knowledge about PTSD will
deepen participants’ understanding of autism and
discover effective tools and strategies to support
Champlain College Saint-Lambert
Throughout the pandemic frontline workers have been
overtasked and experienced burn-out. This workshop will
provide frontline workers with tools to engage in effective
self-care and well-being habits. We will introduce useful
self-care techniques, resources, toolkits, and applications
and engage attendees in various self-care activities such
as Sensory Toolkits, Meditation, Reflective and Thought
Journalling with the purpose to promote optimal self-care
and well-being to cultivate resiliency.
Kristofer Brown, Sarah Zreim & Jen Hinkkala
NVLD (Non-Verbal Learning Disorder) is often
misunderstood as ADHD, ASD/Asperger’s Syndrome
and/or persistent socioemotional challenges (anxiety,
depression). The consequences of undiagnosed NVLD
can lead to years of socio emotional distress and social
isolation. Through an engaging case study, participants
will develop an understanding of NVLD, what it looks like
and recommended interventions.
Clinical Psychologist & Neuropsychologist
This workshop will be facilitated by experts Wendy
Singer and Laura Malbogat. Through an engaging panel
discussion with parents, clients with special needs and
experts, participants will learn firsthand. What clients
need to maintain their mental health and well-being.
The panel will share their stories and experiences
focusing on what it really takes. Participants will also
have the opportunity to join and engage with the panel
discussion and ask questions.
Round Table with Clients, Parents & Experts sharing their experiences and insights.
In this workshop, participants will learn firsthand from an Indigenous cultural consultant how to best support Indigenous families, youth and children in care. Participants will have the opportunity to become more informed about resources available and how to access them. Additionally, participants will be provided information on Jordan’s Principle and Child First Initiative. Understanding the power dynamic that inherently exists and its impact will be explored.
Batshaw Youth and Family Centres (CIUSSS)
Rania is a Course instructor for the Autism Spectrum Disorder Program at Champlain Regional College. Her educational background is in Psychology and Autism Intervention along with research experience in several projects in Montreal. What she is best known for is helping Neurodivergent families with skills acquisition plans and to navigate through autism services in Quebec. Her great passion is advocating for neurodiversity-affirming work environments. She has created training programs and workshops in a variety of environments and her goal is to help professionals acquire high-quality training through learning that meets their needs.
Kristofer Brown is a PhD student at McGill University, in the Department of Integrative Studies in Education. Kristofer holds a Bachelor of Education and Social Science from Bishop’s University as well as a Bachelor of History from Concordia University. He did his master’s degree at McGill University in Teaching and Learning. Kristofer is part of the EDI (Equality, Diversity, and Inclusion) committee at McGill University in the Indigenous sub-committee. He currently works as a Frontline Healthcare Worker for Batshaw Family Youth Centers and is a professor at Champlain College in the Special Care Counselling Program.
Laura Malbogat holds a Master’s in Education from McGill University in Counselling, worked as a Pedagogical Counsellor and Teacher in Special Care Counselling at Champlain College. She has also worked as an International Consultant, Counsellor and Executive Coach. She has led workshops on topics ranging from Wellness, Stress and Burnout, Empathy in Action, The Power of Stories to Educate and Inspire, Creating Environments for Learning, and Coaching Difficult Conversations. Laura has lived in Asia and Africa and has consulted in over 20 countries internationally.
Anna is the Accessibility Lead at Concordia University in Montreal, Canada. She is an experienced professional in higher education with expertise in accessibility, inclusion, disability services, and mental health. She began her career as a psychologist with Concordia’s Counselling and Psychological Services and most recently held the position of Disability Accommodation Specialist at the Access Centre for Students with Disabilities (ACSD). She has presented nationally and internationally at conferences on Universal Design for Learning (UDL), mental health, strengths-based advising, and inclusive teaching practices.
Marla Newhook is Cree, Nehiyaw or Eeyou from Moose Factory, Ontario located in the mouth of the Moose River which flows into James Bay.
Professionally, Marla has worked as a journalist, a portrait photographer, and publicity coordinator. She also has experience working in front-line intervention with vulnerable members of the community. Currently, Marla works at Batshaw Youth and Family Centres as an Indigenous cultural consultant. Prior to that, she was the Manager of Prevention and Intervention Services at Native Montreal. Marla is married with two adult children, 22 and 24 years of age, and her family is her greatest joy.
Sarah is a Ph.D. student at McGill University majoring in Integrated Studies in Education. Her dissertation and research interests examine the intersections of sexual violence, technology, equity, youth, and intersectionality on students’ education. In particular, technology-facilitated gender-based violence’s impact on youth’s educational path. Sarah graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Education and Master’s degree in Teaching English as a Foreign Language. In 2020, she joined iMPACTS as a research assistant; the overarching goal of this project is to unearth, dismantle and prevent sexual violence within universities, and ultimately in society.
Jen Hinkkala is a PhD candidate in the Department of Integrative Studies in Education. Jen holds a Bachelor of Arts, a Bachelor of Education, a certificate in writing, and Master of Music Education from the University of Western Ontario. Jens’ dissertation research, entitled The Art of Self-Care and Well-Being: Flourishing and Floundering as a Self-Employed Arts Educator, focuses on the economic conditions, self-care, and well-being of music, drama, dance and, visual arts teachers in order to find ways to improve working conditions for these self-employed educators.
Josianne has a bachelor degree in Social Work (2019). She works as a Psychosocial Worker at TRACOM crisis center since 2020 where she received continue training and external supervision in Crisis Intervention and Mental Health. She has experience in community organizations with an alternative mental health approach and CLSC doing mostly group interventions. She also volunteers at Suicide Action Montreal since 2019 and now trains people on the line.
Oliver Fitzpatrick is the Young Carers Coordinator at AMI-Quebec, highlighting and serving the needs of youth who provide care for a loved one. He studied community health services and social policy at the University of Victoria, with a focus on disability justice. Oliver is a young carer himself.
Natalie Boileau is a family peer support worker and counsellor at AMI-Quebec. She studied psychology at Bishop’s University and has worked in the mental health field for over a decade. She collaborates with the CIUSSS Centre-Ouest-de-l’Île-de-Montréal (CCOMTL) to expand family peer support across the territory of Montreal, while helping families manage the effects of mental illness through support, education, guidance, and advocacy.
Datévig Etyemezian is a Consultant for Autism at the Centre of Excellence for Autism at Lester B. Pearson School Board with over a decade of experience working in various educational settings with children and adults with exceptionalities. She holds a Master’s of Education in Teaching and Learning from University of Ottawa and a Certificate in Inclusive Education from McGill University. Datévig is passionate about helping autistic individuals achieve their own personal best and making various social environments become more inclusive, accessible and neurodiverse.
Tony Alfonso is the outreach coordinator at AMI Quebec. He has a masters in Youth Work and has worked with at-risk youth in various capacities for over two decades. With his work at AMI he focuses on getting as many people talking about mental health as possible through presentations, workshops and conversations to reduce stigma and bring attention to caregivers and their own mental health challenges.
Eithne Sheeran is a Consultant for Autism at the Centre for Excellence for Autism at Lester B. Pearson School Board. Eithne has been working with children with exceptionalities for 20 years, and specifically with the autistic community since 2010. She has worked in both the public and private sectors, and is particularly interested in educating parents and professionals in how to best accommodate and support autistic children and teens. She graduated from Western University in 2017 with a Master’s of Education.
Elizabeth Shoiry is an accredited neuropsychologist, clinical psychologist, speaker, and author who has over 25 years’ experience working in the health and educational sectors. She has also worked with First Nations communities in Quebec. Elizabeth is a graduate of McGill University and has earned two undergraduate science degrees in biology (neurobiology and comparative physiology); and psychology (biopsychology) and a graduate degree in educational psychology and counseling.
Amanda immigrated from Argentina in 2004. Degrees in Medicine (1994) and Psychology (2002) in Universidad Nacional de Rosario. Diploma in NLP Coaching (2020). I work as a Psychosocial Worker at TRACOM crisis center since 2007 where I received continue training and external supervision in crisis intervention and mental health. I work with adults in all kinds of crisis situations. I also volunteer supporting elderly Spanish speaking people to break isolation.
Individual tickets can be purchased at the parking lot ticket booth for $6. Note that only cash is accepted at the booth.