Saturday April 2, 2016 from 8:30 AM to 4:00 PM EDT

Add to Calendar 


Grappone Conference Center 
70 Constitution Drive
Concord, NH 03301

Driving Directions 



Conference Agenda


   Friday, April 1st  Dinner                Pre-registrion is required


5:30-6:00          Registration  

6:00-8:30          Dinner Event    


   Saturday, April 2nd

8:30-9:00          Registration

9:00-10:30        Welcome/Keynote

10:45-12:15     Morning Sessions

12:15-1:15       Lunch

1:15-2:00         Shorts

2:15-3:45         Afternoon Sessions

3:45-4:00         Wrap-Up and Prizes


Partnering for Strength 2016

The Parent Information Center and NH Family Voices  and the YEAH Council are very excited to bring you the Partnering for Strength Conference at the Grappone Conference Center in Concord, NH.  We will be featuring Rachel Adams as our keynote speaker.  Registration cost is $30 for parents of a child with a disability/special health care need ; $40 for professionals.  This conference fee includes morning, afternoon  and "short" breakouts along with a full lunch buffet and refreshments throughout the day.

Friday night networking/dinner event! Join us for a dinner and discussion with Tracy Strombom, PhD.  Tracy will be discussing humor and how to deal with life's difficulties including health issues.  Enjoy an evening of getting to know new friends and connecting with old friends, while learning from this inspirational night.  $10 fee and pre-registration is required.

Saturday morning registration begins at 8:30 AM.  See the full agenda on the left hand column and below for breakout descriptions!  

Overnight accomodations are available at the Courtyard Marriott at a discounted rate. Please call the hotel at 603-225-0303 and mention you are attending the Partnerships for Strength Conference!

For more information on this conference please call the PIC office at 603-224-7005x111.

For more information on the Youth Conference, please click here


Friday Night Key Note Speaker - Tracy Strombom, PhD., Warren Street Counseling,  Humor for the Health of it!  

We’ll discuss the different ways we can use humor to deal with life's difficulties including health issues. Learn how humor works and how it can help us, hear other people's experiences on how they have used humor, plus you’ll get to practice lots of fun exercises in the workshop that can be used at home.   

Tracy Strombom, PhD, works with children, adults and families  at Warren Street Family Counseling in Concord NH.  He likes to help people use their strengths to solve the problems they confront. Those problems might include anxiety, depression child or adolescent difficulties, school problems, or dealing with the effects of a major illness. He provides individual, couples and family therapy as well as hypnosis. He also provides consultation and training on a number of topics including sports performance. He has given talks on humor and health around New England for the last 25 years.

Key Note Speaker - Rachel Adams, Making Time for Our Children - Challenges and Opportunities for the Exceptional Family  

Children with disabilities develop, move, and think at a different pace than typical peers.  In a busy and often hectic world, how can parents make time to enjoy their children with special needs and allow them to operate at their own pace?   Rachel Adams is a writer and Professor of English and American Studies at Columbia University.  She has written numerous academic articles, reviews as well as 3 books.  Her most recent is Raising Henry:  A Memoir of Motherhood, Disability, and Discovery published by Yale University Press.  She also blogs for the Huffington Post.  

Morning Break Out Sessions - Choose one

  • Connecting Students with Learning Disabilities to the Curriculum with Accessible Materials and Technologies - Dr. Joy Zabala, Ed.D, CAST  If a student cannot see or cannot physically interact with the materials that connnect students to the curriculum, it is pretty easy to tell that they need those materials in a format that works for them.  When a student cannot use or gain meaning from materials because of a learning disability, it SHOULD be just as easy, but it isn't.  In this fast-paced session, Joy Zabala, the Co-Director of the National Center of Accessible Educational Materials at CAST, will address major questions about accessible materials and technologies:  What are accessible materials and technologies?  How do we know if students with learning disabilities need them?  When needed, where can we get them?  Additionally, conversation will include identifying barriers encountered when determining need and acquiring accessible materials for students with learning disabilities and thinking about potential ways that those barriers can be lowered.  
  • Involving Your Child in the IEP Process - Anat Eshed and Mary Grillo, Parent Information Center  Sometimes involving your child in the IEP process is important.  It can provide the IEP team with information and help set priorities, it can help build your child's self-esteem, and assist them in better understanding their disability and the services and accommodations written in the IEP.  Involving your child can also present information in a different perspective and context, and has the potential to help the team communicate.  This workshop provides applicable information to help parents plan their child's involvement including:  how to talk to your child about their disability; how to determine what level of involvement is appropriate based on the age and disability of your child, and creative ways you can involve your child in the IEP process.
  • Families, Doctors and Insurance Companies Working Together to Maintain Access and Improve Care in an Ever Changing System - Erik Shessler, MD., Casey Bolton, Ashley Miller, MD, Angela Ford, Megan Pizano.  Sometimes getting what you need is difficult, but working together equals positive outcomes.  There are many partnerships that can support families as they work to obtain services.  Come hear how families have worked successfully with physicians and care managers.  
  • Anxiety in Children - Margreta Doerfler, MSW. and Terri Holland, LCSW.  Many children struggle with symptoms of anxiety and don't have the skills to recognize and manage their feelings.  This workshop will provide information about the signs and symptoms of anxiety, associated behaviours, and ways it can impact children both at home and school.  In addition, facilitators will review ways to effectively respond to children with symptoms of anxiety.  Part of the time will be designated for questions and answer forum. 

"Shorts"  - These fun and interactive  45 minute discussions give you an opportunity to talk in more detail with others interested in the topics below - Choose one

  • Coloring Your Way Through - Stephanie Van Horn, COTA  Why is coloring for adults becoming such a hit with so many people?  Are there actual benefits to coloring?  Has coloring already proven helpful to you?  Come on in and learn about this newly revived activity as we spend some time actually experiencing the relaxing mindset coloring creates - and take home ideas for enjoying coloring with your kids too! 
  • Mindfulness For the Family - Robin DeAlmeida,  NH Family Voices Mindfulness meditation or training your capacity for true attention is an evidence based practice that has numerous benefits.  Studies show regular practice limits impulse control, regulates emotions, and increases mental flexibility, focus and attention.  Learn about the benefits of mindfulness practice for children, parents and professionals and how to begin a practice of your own. 
  • "Get the Treats" - Kaarla Weston, Gilford's Golden Guardians   Curious about service animals per Titles II and III of the ADA?  What does that mean?  Come explore the possibilities!  Meet a puppy in training!
  • Vroom: Turn Everyday Moments into Brain Building Moments - Jackie Cowell, Early Learning NH    Vroom inspires parents and caregivers to turn everyday moments into brain-building moments for their infants through five year olds.  Whether it's mealtime, bath time or anytime in between, there are always ways to nurture our children's growing minds.  Vroom was developed by scientists, community organizations and families to provide us fun and easy ways to boost early learning.  Every parent has what it takes to be a brain builder, and all of the creative Vroom tools and activities are free. 

Afternoon Break Out Sessions -  Choose one

  • Enhancing Access to Services Through Technology - Judy Audette, RN., Stephanie Mourkahos-Wilkinson, Richard Morse, MD.  A conversation to explore the options and emerging ways technology is being used in NH to enhance and promote access to health care services.  Come learn about telehealth consultation and visits, and direct service provision using a variety of techiques.  
  • Parent Writers Parent Voices - Rachel Adams  Long before the passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act in 1990, parents were advocating for their children with disabilities.  Today, parents continue to be a vital resource for representing the needs and desires of individuals who might not be able to speak for themselves.  In today's world, parent writers are making their voices heard through blogs, websites, and videos, as well as more traditional magazines, newspapers, and books.  This breakout will feature author Rachel Adams, who will speak about her recent memoir and journalism about raising Henry, and then join the audience in conversation about how they have used writing as a tool for self-discovery, communication, and advocacy. 
  • Asking the Right Question - Maureen Callaghan, MS CCC-SLP, PIC Volunteer Advocate  Despite their significance, skills to develop focused questions around important issues are rarely taught.  This simple, straightforward, strategy helps all individuals learn how to produce, improve and prioritize their questions, to increase communication and shared decision-making.
  • Is Homework Taking Over YOUR Life?  Stategies to Reduce Homework Headaches - Charlene Mayo, Parent Information Center   "I can't do this!  There's too many problems!  I don't know how to do this!  I don't know what I'm supposed to do!  I don't think I have any homework, do I?"  Sound familiar?  Sometimes as parents our children's homework becomes our struggle as well.  In this workshop, participants will learn strategies to help manage your children's homework and to advocate for supports to help them learn the skills as well.