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!


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.

Robert Naseef, Ph.D. will be the keynote speaker for Devereux’s 2nd Annual Family Resilience Conference

IMG_4216_edited_smRobert Naseef, Ph.D. is a psychologist and father of an adult son with autism.  His newest book released this year, Autism in the Family: Caring and Coping Together includes advance praise from Temple Grandin, “Fathers often have difficulty expressing their feelings, and this book should be required reading for all fathers who have a child with a disability.” Read a sample chapter on autism and fatherhood from this book.

Dr. Naseef is also the author of the book, Special Children, Challenged Parents: The Struggles and Rewards of Parenting a Child with a Disability which has received international recognition.  He has lectured internationally and appeared on radio and television. He is the co-editor of Voices from the Spectrum: Parents, Grandparents, Siblings, People with Autism, and Professionals Share Their WisdomLiving Along the Autism Spectrum (2009) is a DVD which features him along with Stephen Shore and Dan Gottlieb.

In 2008, he was honored by “Variety, the Children’s Charity” for his outstanding contributions to the autism community. You can visit him on the web at

2nd Annual Devereux Family Resilience Conference Program Schedule

Supporting Families with Special Needs Program Schedule 

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

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

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“. This conference is offered free of charge to the community. 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.


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

Save the Date

Save the Date 2013

2nd Annual Autism Speaks National Conference, July 26 – July 27, 2013

Registration for the 2nd Annual Autism Speaks National Conference in Columbus, Ohio closes next Monday, July 22nd at 12PM EST.  The two day event takes place next Friday and Saturday, July 26 – July 27, 2013.

Read blog post, “Countdown to the Conference: I Can’t Wait to Go Back!” by Devereux’s PA Director of Family Supports & Services, Amy Kelly about last year’s conference.

This year’s conference, “Treating the Whole Person with Autism: Providing Comprehensive Care for Children and Adolescents with ASD” focuses on medical issues and approaches to providing comprehensive and integrated care for individuals with ASD.

Recap of Devereux’s First Annual Resiliency Conference

On October 13, Devereux had the privilege of hosting a conference, “Overcoming the Odds: Promoting Resilience for Families with Special Needs.” As a leading nonprofit behavioral healthcare organization, Devereux supports many of the most underserved and vulnerable members of our communities. As part of our 100th anniversary celebration, Devereux staff and community experts shared a wealth of knowledge about family resilience with the Philadelphia community.

Paul LeBuffe, Director of Devereux’s Center for Resilient Children reflects upon the day:

Working at Devereux, I see first-hand the myriad of challenges faced by families caring for someone with special needs. This conference provided an opportunity for these families to come together and meet with a wide-range of professionals who helped them navigate their care-giving journeys.

It truly was a day of caring as my colleagues and I were able to interact with these families and offer education and support through workshops focused on critical topics like advocacy, medication management, legal issues, and social and emotional needs.

What’s more, we were thrilled to have New York Times best-selling author Judith Warner deliver the keynote address, speaking about her work with families that care for a child with special needs. We also recognized Dr. Dan Gottlieb, host of Voices in the Family on WHYY, with our first annual Devereux Community of Caring Award.

I want to thank everyone who made this conference possible, and encourage everyone to join us in our mission of providing hope and empowering lives for another 100 years to come.

Conference Program

Overcoming the Odds: Promoting Resilience for Families with Special Needs


8:30          Registration and Continental Breakfast

9:20          Welcome – Bob Kreider, President and CEO, Devereux

9:30          Keynote Speaker – Judith Warner

10:15        Break

10:30       Workshops

A.  Aging Issues for Individuals with I/DD – Pauline Adongo, R.N.

B.   Promoting Family Resilience – Paul LeBuffe

C.   Legal Issues in Planning for Individuals with Special Needs  –
Ira Fingles, Esq. & Lori McLaughlin, Esq.

11:25        Town Hall – Open Forum – Facilitated by Amy Kelly & Paul LeBuffe

12:00       Luncheon (provided) and guest speakers – Youth Voices

1. Erin Clemens

2. Kyshon Johnson

1:10          The Family’s Search for Meaning: Life with a Special Needs Child – Kelly & LeBuffe

2:00         Break

2:15          Workshops

A. Family Advocacy Gets Results – Frank Cervone, Esq.

B. Faith – Lester Weaver

C. Psychotropic Medications in Children & Adolescents– Marilyn B. Benoit, M.D.

D. Meeting the Needs of Siblings of Special Needs– Karen Brenneman

3:10           Community of Hope Award Presentation to Dr. Dan Gottlieb

3:30           Building Your Bounce – Susan Damico

4:00           Reception