Regina Skyer is the founding partner of Skyer Law, a leading special education law firm in New York, which she established in 1992 after a career as a social worker and special education administrator. Her life’s passion has been working with special needs children and their families. Her recently published book, How to Survive Turning Five, is considered required reading for New York City parents of preschool aged students with disabilities. Regina’s full biography is available here.
Dr. Stephen Shore
Diagnosed with "Atypical Development and strong autistic tendencies" and "too sick" for outpatient treatment Dr. Shore was recommended for institutionalization. Nonverbal until four, and with much support from his parents, teachers, wife, and others, Stephen is now a professor at Adelphi University where his research focuses on matching best practice to the needs of people with autism.
In addition to working with children and talking about life on the autism spectrum, Stephen is internationally renowned for presentations, consultations and writings on lifespan issues pertinent to education, relationships, employment, advocacy, and disclosure. His most recent book College for Students with Disabilities combines personal stories and research for promoting success in higher education.
A current board member of Autism Speaks, president emeritus of the Asperger's Association of New England, and advisory board member of the Autism Society, Dr. Shore serves on the boards of the Asperger Syndrome and High Functioning Autism Association, The US Autism and Asperger Association, the Scientific Counsel of OAR, and other autism related organizations.
Learn more about Dr. Shore, his work, and his published works at www.autismasperger.net.
★ What does a developmental pediatrician do? ★ What services does my toddler really need? ★ How do I choose the right preschool?
PANELISTS: Greg Cangiano (Skyer Law; moderator), Chantal Aflalo (educational consultant), Michael Boardman (ABA supervisor, NYLEL Lifestart), Dr. Jennifer Cross (developmental and behavioral pediatrician, New York-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center), Michelle Finkelman (Director, Harlem Center for Child Development).
If your child is recently diagnosed or if you are scratching your head about preschool and kindergarten applications, this workshop is for you. We will discuss the early years: From infancy to 3 years old, when a child is eligible for Early Intervention (EI) services, and the years from 3 to 5 years old, when a child transitions to the Committee on Preschool Special Education (CPSE).
It’s normal for parents to feel very overwhelmed during this time—there is a lot to take in; lingo to learn and behemoth bureaucracies to navigate. This panel will try to help everyone in the room place one foot in the front of the other.
★ What is the difference between ABA, DIR/Floortime, and RDI? ★ How does behavior affect learning? ★ What’s right for my child?
PANELISTS: Jesse Cole Cutler (Skyer Law; moderator), Dr. Amy Davies Lackey (Education Director, Manhattan Childrens Center), Tina McCourt (Director, Rebecca School), Margaret Poggi (Head of School, LearningSpring), Dr. Susan M. Vener (Director, New York Child Learning Institute)
Autistic children may have challenging or interfering behaviors that get in the way of their ability to learn, communicate, stay well, and be part of their communities. Schools that specialize in teaching autistic students use different methods to address these behaviors and grow young learners.
Our distinguished panel of school directors run programs that are based in Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA), DIR/Floortime, and Relationship Development Intervention (RDI) with a Social-Cognitive-Behavior approach. Learn more about these methodologies and how they address behavior as you consider the most appropriate fit for your child.
featured youth speaker
Rachel H. Sanders
Rachel H. Sanders is a junior at Oberlin College majoring in History and (hopefully) Disability Studies. At the age of five, she was diagnosed with Asperger (now Autism Spectrum Disorder), ADHD, OCD, Anxiety, and Depression. These labels became a part of her identity, allowing her to find a place in disability justice activism. When her school budget cut funds for Disability Resources, she organized marches and protests against the administration. This led to her creating and chairing the student-run organization Obility, which focuses around disability justice and facilitating disabled community at Oberlin. She also co-created a disability related newsletter on her campus: Obility Newsletter. Furthering the effort to create more disabled safe spaces, she also founded the first disability themed hall on a liberal arts campus: Dis/Ability Solidarity Hall.
Rachel is originally from New York. She is a graduate of The Summit School, a state-approved private school in Queens.
★ How is autism diagnosed? ★ What are all these different tests for? ★ Which specific evaluations will my child need?
PANELISTS: Diana Gersten (Skyer Law; moderator), Dr. Rebecca Doggett (Clinical Director, ASD Service at NYU Child Study Center), Iris Fishman (Director, Department of Communicative Sciences and Disorders at NYU), Dr. Cecelia McCarton (developmental pediatrician; founder, The McCarton Center), Dr. Laura Tagliareni (neuropsychologist, Pediatric Assessment Learning & Support).
No matter at what age autism is first suspected, understanding how to obtain a valid, clinical diagnosis and securing the appropriate educational assessments are unfamiliar hurdles. Unfortunately, just when you’ve brushed up on some light reading from the DSM-V, along comes the GARS-3 and CARS-2, the ADOS-2, and the WPPSI-IV or WISC-III... Throw in an AAC assessment and sharpen your #2 pencil for your first ABAS-III parent questionnaire and you might just tear your hair out.
Luckily, New York City is blessed with many of our nation’s finest professionals to guide you. Four of the best in their fields are on this panel and will demystify the acronyms. Come learn why specific tests and assessments are appropriate and necessary along your child’s school journey.
★ What is transition planning, really? ★ When is the right time to begin? ★ How can we help our children decide what to do next?
PANELISTS: Alex Abend (Skyer Law; moderator), Lauren Gallo (Director of College Placement & Transition Planning, Winston Prep), Dr. Francis Tabone (Head of School, Cooke), Julie Russell (Educational Director, Brooklyn Autism Center), Allison Graham Brown (Director of Professional Development, NYU ASD Nest Support Project).
For many parents the idea of their child turning 21 years old or graduating from high school with a diploma feels very far off, too far off to even consider—aren’t there other, more pressing things to think about? But formal transition planning with the Department of Education begins with a vocational assessment when a child turns 12, and some private schools and programs will begin even earlier than that.
The unknowns are what freeze most parents in their tracks. Is “the plan” independent living, finding employment, pursuing volunteer interests, going to college, or adjusting into a new adult day program? How can you help your child choose and plan for the next step along their lifelong path?
Our panel of experts support or administer transition planning at schools that serve a wide variety of student profiles and their families. Come learn about all the ways your family and your child’s school can work together to support your child’s readiness for the big transition to adulthood.