Registration is Open!

Autism A-Z: Beyond the Puzzle Conference on September 30, 2016



Thanks for joining us at our 4th Annual Family Resilience Conference

4th_2015_ MB_PK_PCOM

Patrick Kennedy pictured with Dr. Marilyn Benoit, Senior Vice President & Chief Medical Officer.

We were thrilled to have Patrick Kennedy, New York Times best-selling author of “A Common Struggle” as our keynote speaker this year. Patrick’s talk was inspiring and received a standing ovation. We thank him for joining us.

Tomorrow is the Big Day!

We are thrilled to welcome Patrick Kennedy this Saturday at the 4th annual Family Resilience Conference sponsored by Devereux. For those who have registered you will find additional information below to help you plan your day.


Our conference is at PCOM (Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine), located at 4170 City Avenue, Philadelphia, PA 19131. Doors open at 8:00 a.m. The program begins at 8:45 a.m. and is in Evans Hall. Childcare is at the Activities Center. Both buildings can be seen in this map.


Limited street parking is available. There is plenty of parking in PCOM’s garage. Please note there is a $5.00 fee to park for the day. Payment can be made with cash or debit/credit cards. Evans Hall and the Activities Center are a short walk from the garage. If taking the elevator, get off on level #2 and follow the green/white signs.

Shuttle Service:

Krapf Bus Co. has again graciously donated their services to assist those traveling by train. The shuttle will pick up at SEPTA’s Overbrook Train Station located at 2195 N. 63rd Street (off of City Avenue), Philadelphia, PA 19151. Look for the green and white signs. Pick up times are approximately 8:00 a.m., 8:30 a.m., 9:00 a.m., and 9:30 a.m.

At the end of the conference, the Krapf shuttle will depart PCOM at approximately 3:15 p.m., 3:30 p.m., 4:00 p.m., and 4:30 p.m. to return to the Overbrook station. Please note: All pick-up and drop-off times are dependent upon traffic on City Avenue.


If your children are attending our free, onsite, child and youth care, please go directly to the Activities Center (green/white signs will mark the childcare location) to check them in.  Children will be outdoors and doing arts and crafts, so please make sure they dress accordingly.  Jackets, tennis shoes, and sunscreen are encouraged. 


All facilities within PCOM’s educational complex are specially equipped to be accessible to all. Evans Hall has elevators for easy access to its upper floors.

 See you Saturday!


“A Common Struggle” will be released on October 5, 2015

A Common Struggle

On October 5, 2015, Patrick Kennedy’s book, A Common Struggle, will be released. The book details his personal and political battle with mental illness and addiction, exploring mental health care’s history in the country alongside his and every family’s private struggles.

A Common Struggle weaves together Kennedy’s private and professional narratives, echoing Kennedy’s philosophy that for him, the personal is political and the political personal. Focusing on the years from his ’coming out’ about suffering from bipolar disorder and addiction to the present day, the book examines Kennedy’s journey toward recovery and reflects on Americans’ propensity to treat mental illnesses as “family secrets.”

Patrick’s new book will be available for purchase at the 4th Annual Family Resilience Conference. He will do a book signing following his keynote address and audience Q&A.

Patrick Kennedy and Dr. Marilyn Benoit

Former Congressman Patrick J. Kennedy and Dr. Marilyn Benoit

Devereux’s Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Marilyn Benoit poses with Former Congressman Patrick Kennedy before Kennedy addressed a standing-room only crowd at Bryn Mawr College on April 27, 2015. Kennedy’s remarks focused on mental healthcare parity and the stigma surrounding brain disorders and addiction.

We are delighted to welcome Mr. Kennedy as the keynote speaker for our 4th Annual Family Resilience Conference on Saturday, October 17, 2015.

4th Annual Family Resilience Conference

Devereux Family Resilience Conference Save the Date 2015

Upcoming Autism Conferences and Events

  1. Autism Public Health Lecture – The A.J. Drexel Autism Institute invites you to attend The Third Annual Autism Public Health Lecture featuring Dr. Brooke Ingersoll, who will present “Parent – Mediated Intervention in ASD: Challenges and Opportunities”. Lecture is being held on Wednesday, March 25th, 2015 from 9:00am – 11:00am at Nesbitt Hall: Ruth Auditorium (33rd & Market Streets). Continental breakfast is from 8:30am-9:00am. Please visit the Autism Institute events website: for more information. To RSVP for The Third Annual Autism Public Health Lecture please click here. RSVP is preferred but not required.
  2. REACH FOR THE FUTURE – Free CHOP Workshop for kids in grades 7-12 who have an autism spectrum disorder, autism, PDD-NOS, or Asperger syndrome on April 16, 2015 from 6-8:30 pm. It is designed to cover topics to prepare them for life beyond high school including: community participation, higher education, physical health and well being and vocational planning. Both students and parents are encouraged to attend. For more information- RSVP TO 267.426.5569 or by April 10, 2015.
  3. Philly Aims Autism Conference – Penn Behavioral Health & Philly Aims is holding a free conference entitled, “It Takes a Village: Creating Positive School Experiences for your Child with Autism” on Friday April 24th from 8:30am-3:00pm at the Sheraton in University City (3549 Chestnut Street). To learn more about the conference and to register go to: or call 215-573-8472.
  4. LaSalle – Autism Conference – Building Bridges through Self-Advocacy Across Lifespan at LaSalle University- Union Building, 1900 West Olney Avenue on Friday May 1st, from 8:00am-3:00pm. Registration information available online at or call 609-518-1259.
  5. School District of Philadelphia 8th Annual Autism Expo – hosted by School District of Philadelphia, Office of Specialized Services, The Julia Ward Howe School and Hill Freedman World Academy on Friday May 8th at 9:30am at the Education Center, 440 N Broad Street. More details will be available soon.

Our participants are raving!

“I just wanted to thank you and all involved on another excellent family conference this past Saturday.  I greatly enjoyed it.  … The information freely given is worth its weight in gold… a blessing to me and my family.  Outstanding!!!”

“ …thank you for all the great sharing of inspirational stories from our speakers & so much great information. I hope to be in attendance next year & I’ve already spread the word. It was great!” 

“We had a great time last Saturday, so my husband and I are definitely participating in the next workshop… ” 

“Please let everyone know that we truly appreciate your effort for planning and presenting such a wonderful conference for all of us.”  

“What a wonderful conference you put together!   I have been to many barebones conferences for family to know how special your efforts were…. We family members especially appreciate a respite and the feeling of being cared for.  Thank you so much.  I look forward to next year.”

“Thank you for having us at the conference.  It was very inspiring and packed with great information.” 

Thank you to the following organizations

A heartfelt thank you to the following organizations for their generous support of our 2nd Annual Family Resilience Conference:


Attainment Company, Clay’s Creative Corner Bakery, Conlin’s Digital Print & Copy Center, Heartline Press, and Krapf Bus Companies.

Finalized Conference Schedule

2nd Annual Devereux Family Resilience Conference:
Supporting Families with Special Needs

Saturday, October 19, 2013 9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.

Rosemont School of the Holy Child
1344 Montgomery Avenue, Rosemont, PA 19010


8:30 Registration Opens
9:20 – 9:30 Welcome – Bob Kreider, President and CEO, Devereux
9:30 – 10:15 Keynote Speaker – Robert Naseef, Ph.D.
“Being Present: The Family Journey to Acceptance and Resilience”
10:15 –10:30 Break
10:30 – 11:50 Workshops:    About the Conference Speakers

  1. Guardianships and Special Needs Trusts – Ira M. Fingles, Esq.
  2. Understanding and Managing Medication – Marilyn Benoit, M.D.
  3. The IEP Process: What Families Should Know – Tanya Alvarado, Esq.
  4. Managing Challenging Behaviors at Home

a. FLIP IT: Transforming Challenging Behavior – Nefertiti Poyner, M.Ed.

FLIP IT is an interactive session that teaches participants to use a four-step strategy that helps young children identify their feelings, learn healthy self-control, and reduce challenging behavior. In this session, participants will learn the importance of the four steps of FLIP IT (Feelings, Limits, Inquiries, and Prompts) as they relate to the healthy social and emotional development of young children. Families who attend this workshop will receive one complimentary copy of “FLIP IT: Transforming Challenging Behavior” by Rachel Sperry.

b. Parenting from Childhood to Adulthood – Barry McCurdy, Ph.D. & Stewart Shear, Ph.D.

This session is designed to provide parents with simple strategies for success across the developmental lifespan, including children and adolescents with and without disabilities as well as adult children with disabilities.

12:00 – 12:50 Luncheon and guest speaker – Vernick Smith, M.S.: “Healin’ the Child Within”
1:00 – 1:50 Town Hall – Building a Support System – Facilitated by Amy Kelly & Paul LeBuffe, M.A.
Community of Hope Award – Frank and Colleen Foti
2:00 – 3:20 Workshops:

  1. Guardianships and Special Needs Trusts – Ira M. Fingles, Esq.
  2. Understanding and Managing Medication – Marilyn Benoit, M.D.
  3. The IEP Process: What Families Should Know – Tanya Alvarado, Esq.
  4. Managing Challenging Behaviors at Home

a. FLIP IT: Transforming Challenging Behavior – Nefertiti Poyner, M.Ed.  *See description above.

b. Parenting from Childhood to Adulthood – Barry McCurdy, Ph.D. & Stewart Shear, Ph.D.  *See description above.

3:30 – 4:00 Resilience Activity – Building Your Bounce – Nefertiti Poyner, M.Ed. The attitude you have as a parent is what your kids will learn from more than what you tell them. They don’t always remember what you try to teach them. They remember what you are.  Building Your Bounce: Strategies to Support Adult Resilience is a training designed to explore the importance of taking care of and promoting the resilience of adults. Participants will learn how the social and emotional well-being of adults has an impact on our ability to care for children as well as simple, inexpensive strategies to reduce stress and promote resilience in adults.
4:00 Reception

Members of the community who are caring for a loved one with special needs are invited to this conference. You will have the opportunity to speak to professionals in a variety of fields regarding how best to support your loved one. This year’s conference will feature Dr. Robert Naseef, author of  “Autism in the Family: Caring and Coping Together“. Breakfast and lunch will be provided. Please RSVP/Register.

A free shuttle courtesy of Krapf Bus Companies will be available from SEPTA’s Rosemont Station to the Conference for those taking public transportation. The shuttle will run every 15 minutes from 8:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m.

Supervised child care for children ages 2-13 of all abilities will be available on site*. Please mention any child care needs, including special needs, when registering.

For siblings of children with special needs a workshop will be offered. Sibshop: This workshop is designed for school-age siblings of children with special needs to create a fun, relaxed atmosphere. Trained leaders share information through games, cooking, craft activities and other other creative techniques.

From 1:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m. Merrily the Clown will entertain the children with face painting and balloon sculpting.

* Child care will be supervised by Devereux staff, each of whom has had all appropriate screenings including child abuse clearances and background checks. Children should wear rubber-soled shoes so they can participate in activities inside the gymnasium. Arts and crafts will be part of the day’s events, so please have children dress appropriately. Meals will be provided, so please be sure to mention food allergies when registering. A First Aid station will be available in case of emergency.