We’re so close now to our third annual conference on October 6th in Surrey! Get your tickets here:
This conference would not be possible without our sponsors and we’re so grateful – thank you!
You may also want to check out our pre-conference lightning talk event the evening before (October 5th) – click this link:
Conference Speakers and Workshops:
The power of Self-Advocates (Talk 1)
Conrad Tyrkin of BC People First
Conrad is a Board member of BC People First (BCPF), a self-advocate organization run by self-advocates for self-advocates. Conrad is a powerful speaker, using his voice at conferences, city councils and schools. He will be talking about BCPF, the benefits of being part of a group and why being a self-advocate is so important to him.
On Barriers (Talk 2)
Micaela is a 23 year old disabled woman with Spinal Muscular Atrophy, who has spent her life advocating for her needs since before graduating high school and moving across the province for University. She is passionate about intersectional feminism and activism, specifically on issues of disability policy and sexual health. Micaela currently works in the nonprofit sector with a disability organization as a Communications and Events Coordinator. In her spare time you can always find Micaela with coffee in hand, freelance writing or binge watching a new tv show.
The Power of Community (Talk 3)
Nicole has 3 school aged children in the Surrey School District. After her eldest child’s Autism diagnosis, Nicole dedicated herself to becoming a career parent committed to the caregiving and advocacy required to support her daughter. Nicole is currently focused on the volunteerism and community activism that can leverage the experience and knowledge that she has acquired in the process of securing her daughter’s right to an education. Her efforts have included advocacy from the classroom, utilising every political level, and ultimately the Human Rights complaint at the Tribunal. Nicole wishes to use her experiences to empowered parents and challenge our education system so that all children have an equitable opportunity and a safe and healthy experience in BC public schools.
Trauma & Mental Health (Workshop 1A)
Theresa Grech of TMG Consulting
Trauma and Sensory integration: looking at it from a trauma informed and neurodevelopmental lens
Children who experienced trauma early on in life, live with neurodevelopmental effects where sequential brain development is disrupted, causing an instinctive response of being alert and fearful. For those children born with sensory integration disorders, we see similar instinctive reactions to everyday life from early on. Was it sensory integration disorders that made the person more vulnerable to trauma or early trauma that disrupted the normal development of the mechanisms for sensory integration? Regardless of which came first, each impact the other significantly and a better understanding of the overlap between the two and what more recent research is telling us, can help us as parents and professionals to more effectively address the child whose brain development has been disrupted not allowing them to properly integrate their sensory experience.
Theresa Grech is presenting for the third time for BCEdAccess! She works with neurodiverse individuals, caregivers and families in the capacity of counsellor, behavioural therapist, and educator. She has a Master’s in Counselling, is a Certified Psychiatric Rehabilitation Practitioner, and is registered with the Canadian Counselling Psychotherapy Association. She operates a private counselling practice called TMG Consulting in Vancouver that specializes in the provision of counselling, behavioural, and education in the areas of neurodevelopmental disorders, complex behavioural concerns, and brain health.
Human Rights (Workshop 1B)
Laura Track of Community Legal Assistance Society
This workshop will cover human rights legislation in BC and the process of making a human rights complaint. We will look at case studies and real-world examples involving students and schools, and have small and large-group discussions where participants identify potential discrimination, discuss possible legal arguments, and ask questions.
Laura is a human rights lawyer and the Director of Education in CLAS’s Human Rights Clinic. She advocates on behalf of people who have experienced discrimination and assists complainants to navigate BC’s human rights process. Laura also has a strong interest in making legal knowledge accessible. She delivers workshops and presentations to a wide variety of audiences to help people understand their human rights and comply with their legal obligations.
Laura earned her law degree from UBC in 2006, and holds a Masters in International Human Rights Law from Oxford University.
Section 11 & Advocating to the School Districts (Workshop 2A)
Karen Nordquist & John Gaiptman of BC Confederation of Parent Advisory Councils (BCCPAC)
Karen has two school age daughters and has been involved in multiple roles on her school and district PACs for six years. A primary focus of her work has been on student rights and their welfare at school. Karen believes that parents, as the natural advocates for their children, need a stronger voice in public education to ensure that each child is learning to the best of their abilities in a safe and healthy environment. During her tenure on the Board, Karen has enjoyed working toward the goal of truly meaningful consultation and collaboration between parents, the Ministry of Education and educators for the benefit of all students.
John is presently CEO and Executive Director of the BC Confederation of Parent Advisory Councils (BCCPAC). John began his career teaching at the Tranquille Institution and then moved over to work with students from Woodlands. John’s career also comprises being a principal for nine years and an Assistant Superintendent for three years. John was the Superintendent of Schools for the Greater Victoria School District for 12 years and then finished his career in the New Westminster School District as their Superintendent. After 37 years in public education, John Gaiptman’s passion for student success has not waned.
John’s work with BCCPAC includes a strong component of advocacy. He is proud of the fact that he works for an organization that will stand up to ensure that all parents are represented and that no parents should feel disenfranchised or marginalized. BCCPAC has a strong relationship with the Ministry of Education and has met with the Minister or his staff when there is a provincial concern to parents. BCCPAC has also met with individual administrators and school boards throughout our province when there is a parent in need of representation.
John believes in a strong parent voice. As an educator, he always believed that the key to student success begins with a parent who is involved in their child’s educational program. John understands that for some parents the school act, school district’s by-laws, policies, and regulations can be at times inti how to navigate the system so they can ensure their voice is indeed heard.
Sexual Health (Workshop 2B)
Children and youth with diverse-abilities are faced with a range of sexual challenges as they develop into adulthood, and are vulnerable to sexual abuse. The absence of sexual health education that is accessible to young people with diverse-abilities puts them in the dark, and creates an additional challenge for parents. This one-hour interactive presentation will address questions, concerns, insecurities, and experiences that parents have around sexuality and their children. The MAIN OBJECTIVE of the presentation is to facilitate and encourage a dialogue around sex, and to create a safe place for parents to talk about and ask questions about sex in the context of diverse-abilities.
Airial is a graduate student currently completing a certificate in Sexual Health. Her passion lies in emotional and sexual wellness, and aims to reflect these values in her every day work. She is proud to be a woman in business and hopes to get involved with the school board and shift sex-education in a more sex-positive direction. She is so excited to have the opportunity to become an educational role-model for young people, and create an open dialogue around sexuality, so that children and youth feel more encouraged to want to learn about health sexuality. She strongly believes that the more a person knows, the more they will be motivated to learn and be knowledgeable, and truly feel empowered around their own sexuality.
IEPs & Language Matters (Workshop 2C)
Suzanne is a mother of 3 and a former Administrator of a Private Vocational School, has worked as an SEA and a TEDx Talk speaker. She currently works a Youth & Woman’s Counsellor in Langley, British Columbia, is a public speaker and the recent President of the Langley DPAC for 3 consecutive years. She has been attending various committee’s such as SD35’s Inclusive Education working committee, Emergency Preparedness and has been nominated for both the Fraser Valley Diversity Award & BC Excellence in Autism Awards. She has successfully worked alongside educators & parents creating positive changes in school climate as well as parent engagement based on focusing on the communication process as it interfaces with the journey having a child with needs. She has advised and worked on committees with the BCCPAC, the BCEdAcess Task Force and other agencies to help promote educational change in areas of Inclusion, wellness, leadership, motivation and parent engagement. Her primary focus is the success of the student by virtues of bridging educators and parents. She is currently running for School Trustee in the Langley School District.
Start with Strengths (Talk 4)
Karen Copeland of Champions for Community Mental Wellness
Karen is a mom of two from Abbotsford BC. She is a passionate advocate for curiosity and seeing our children and families through a strengths based lens. She believes in the opportunities created when families and professionals come together to learn from, with and about one another; and reminds us of the importance of honouring the champions who come into our lives to support us on our journey.
Strategies for Class & Home for School Refusal (Workshop 3A)
Gina Fernandez and Karisa Teindl of Enable Occupational Therapy
This workshop will explore the relationship between anxiety and school refusal. We will provide a minimum of 3 specific coping strategies for educators (and parents) to use with children and we will provide opportunities for attendees to practice these strategies. There will be extensive discussion and group work as we will utilize role playing and worksheets during this interactive session.
Gina is an Occupational Therapist registered with the College of Occupational Therapists in British Columbia, and is on the Registered Autism Service Providers (RASP) list for children. Gina is also a member of the Canadian Association of Occupational Therapists. She graduated from the University of British Columbia with a Master’s Degree in Occupational Therapy in 2008, after finishing her Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology from Simon Fraser University. Gina has experience in working in the public sector throughout Fraser Health and Vancouver Coastal Health, and has worked in a rural child development centre with the First Nations community. Gina’s advanced coursework has included concussion treatment, gait training, upper extremity rehabilitation, wheelchair seating, anxiety reduction skills, Social Thinking and executive functioning. In her spare time, Gina enjoys writing articles for the Canadian Association of Occupational Therapists publication “OT Now!” about her experience in private practice and volunteering abroad in various healthcare settings. Gina is passionate about providing client centered care in a unique, creative setting at her private practice, so you can often find her leading groups for teens and children in the community to work on social skills, emotional regulation, motor skills, and executive functioning, at soccer fields, swimming pools or on the water in a kayak!
Karisa is an Occupational Therapist registered with the College of Occupational Therapists in British Columbia and a member of the Canadian Association of Occupational Therapists. She graduated from the University of Alberta in 2017 with a Master’s Degree in Occupational Therapy, after completing her Bachelor’s degree in Honors Psychology at the University of the Fraser Valley. Prior to becoming an Occupational Therapist, Karisa worked with children and adults with varying physical and cognitive abilities throughout the Fraser Valley. In home and school-based settings, Karisa enabled children and their families to meet goals related to printing, scissor use, dressing, toileting, and play. This experience inspired her to pursue a career in Occupational Therapy (OT). During her OT training, Karisa continued to be passionate about working alongside children and adults with different abilities. She was involved in a number of research projects at the University of Alberta that aimed to promote social inclusion and improve meaningful employment opportunities for individuals with developmental disabilities. Karisa’s advanced coursework has included executive functioning and Social Thinking. She enjoys leading groups in the clinic setting such as anxiety reduction groups but is also passionate about providing client centered care in leisure settings, so can often be found leading social skills groups on the basketball courts or while kayaking!
Discussion on Class Action (Workshop 3B)
Michelle is a parent of a child who had a traumatic experience in public school, who is now doing Distance Learning. Michelle has an extensive background in non-profit management, community engagement, facilitation and strategic planning, and governmental policy and processes.
Join us for an exploratory discussion of common experiences across school districts which might be connected within a class action lawsuit to improve the education environment for complex learners. Prior to the session, participants will be sent general information and a short survey to assist in facilitating what is sure to be an action packed hour of sharing and hive mind planning.
Advocacy and Inclusive Education (Workshop 3C)
Tina Dam and Audry Deutschmann of Inclusion BC
This workshop will focus on advocacy with tip, tricks and things to think about as you are advocating both within the education systems and out. You will learn about the hierarchy of the school and the board of education and how to navigate your needs within it.
Tina has extensive knowledge about the supports, services and resources that exist in BC for people with intellectual disabilities and their families. She is a problem solver who is passionate about helping people. Before joining Inclusion BC in 2017, Tina spent 8 years supporting people with intellectual disabilities to live full lives in the community
Audrey is the sibling and advocate for her brother with autism. She has a degree in Health and Community Services, with a focus in disability studies. She also volunteers at UVic’s Society for Students with a Disability and represents sibling issues on Inclusion BC’s Family Advisory Council. Audrey is based in Victoria
Student Self-Advocate Panel
Elizabeth of UFV and students
Elizabeth is a consultant and instructor at UFV, who has facilitated the youth panel for more than 5 years in various schools and communities. The panel is comprised of 5-6 youth, ranging in age from 14 years to 19 years of age. Coming from various communities in the Lower Mainland and Fraser Valley, the panelists are students in both the public and homeschooling programs. Each of the panelists are active within their communities, as students or employed, their church, volunteer groups, social-recreation programming and various therapeutic activities. Students will share their stories, followed by a lively Q&A session.