Previous Events hosted by CARE

Fall 2023 CARE Expert Speaker Series

My Journey as a Person Who Stutters

Ryan Cowley

  • When: Monday September 25, 2023 5-6 p.m. EST - Virtual via Zoom
  • Cost: Free!!

Since early childhood, Ryan Cowley was a person who stutters (PWS). He also loved hockey and writing. Growing up as a PWS came with its share of challenges. Ryan was bullied, mocked, doubted, and even dismissed because he had considerable difficulty speaking. These were catalysts to long-term depression, leading Ryan to doubt himself as a successful person.

As an escape, Ryan would write. While he loved writing stories and screenplays, nothing gave him more pleasure than writing about my favorite teams and players, commenting on their victories and even defeats. It wasn't until he was an adult, though, that Ryan wanted to be a regular sportswriter. Unfortunately, due to being a PWS, he couldn't conduct phone or in-person interviews. Or so he thought...

With new, creative methods, Ryan gave interviewing a try. Lo and behold, it worked. Since then, he has interviewed hundreds in the sports industry while having the privilege of covering some major events and writing for some major platforms.

Ryan will take you on his journey as a sportswriter who stutters. This includes some important people in his life who helped him achieve what he'd always wanted to -- on a journey filled with its share of sadness and frustration but also perseverance and vindication.

Ryan Cowley wearing glasses and a coat leaning against a multicolored/graffitied brick wall.

About Ryan

Ryan Cowley has been a sportswriter and is an author of three books -- including his first, All the Right Words: My Journey as a Sportswriter Who Stutters -- and is now a podcaster, having just launched his first podcast, All the Right Words on Spotify. Ryan is also a public speaker, having spoken to over 70 schools across Canada and the United States. He has also been named by the World Stuttering Network as one of 2023's Top 100 Influencers in the stuttering community.

Care Expert Speaker Series Spring 2023

Dispelling Myths: SSI, SSDI and Work

Winnie Siano, CWIC and Work Incentive Coordinator at Work Without Limits

Wednesday March 22, 2023 6-7:30 p.m. - Virtual via Zoom

This webinar will review the basics of disability benefits offered by the Social Security Administration for individuals with disabilities, such as Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI), including eligibility requirements, major differences between the two programs, and the effect of work income on these benefits. We will also review and discuss some of the most common myths associated with working while receiving Social Security and other public benefits.  Finally, we will establish that work is possible while receiving disability benefits, and review some of the community resources available to assist individuals to transition to work while successfully managing their benefits.

About Winnie Siano

Winnie is certified by the U.S. Social Security Administration as a Community Work Incentive Coordinator (CWIC) assisting individuals with disabilities to view the complex world of their Social Security disability benefits with a better understanding that work is possible. Winnie is also a certified SHINE (Serving the Health Insurance Needs of Everyone) Counselor, assisting Medicare/Medicaid beneficiaries with disabilities to better understand their healthcare options. Under Work Without Limits Benefits Counseling program, Winnie provides individualized benefits and work incentives counseling services to individuals in Massachusetts and New York. Additionally, Winnie develops and conducts training for employment specialists and case managers on how income from work affects eligibility for public benefits. Winnie has over thirty years of experience in the field of health and human services and more ten years of experience providing employment and benefits assistance to individuals with disabilities. Winnie is committed to helping Social Security disability beneficiaries realize their dreams of returning to work and supporting them throughout their journey.

Employment and Education in Neurodiversity Webinar

In collaboration with Neurodiversity Horizons

Wednesday April 5, 2023 6-7 p.m. - Virtual via Zoom

University of Massachusetts Lowell Center for Autism Research and Education (CARE) and Neurodiversity Horizons are collaborating to host an Employment and Education in Neurodiversity Webinar! We are bringing together a panel of neurodiverse advocates to talk about their experiences regarding employment and higher education. Neurodiversity is a rising advocacy, and we encourage everyone to join and learn about making our world more inclusive. Many autistic adults are unemployment or underemployment, including those with a college degree. This is an important problem that we need to fix by battling the stigma against neurodiversity. To learn more about this and make our world a better place, join us on April 5 from 6-7 p.m. EST on Zoom! You will receive the Zoom link when you register for the event.

Building the Road to Successful Supervision: Blueprints, Construction, and Maintenance Schedules

Jill Harper, Ph.D., BCBA-D, LABA, CDE®, Senior Director of Professional Development, Clinical Training, and Research at Melmark New England

Monday April 10, 2023 4:30-6:30 p.m. - Virtual via Zoom

Following a brief review of the Organizational Behavior Management (OBM) literature on systems development, this framework will be applied to the development of effective supervision systems.

Jill Harper

About Jill Harper

Jill is a director at Melmark New England, a multi-state provider of ABA services for autistic and intellectually or developmentally disabled individuals and their families. She earned her Ph.D. in Psychology from the University of Florida. Her research interests include staff training and interdisciplinary collaboration, neurodevelopmental disabilities, acquisition of daily living and health skills for autistic individuals, and functional analysis and other research methodology. Jill continues to lead Melmark in its mission to enhancing the lives of disabled people through evidence-based behavioral interventions.

Fall 2022 Expert Speaker Series

  • Brett Mulder, Psy.D., Director of Teen and Adult Programs at Aspire. "Improving Employment Outcomes For Autistic Adults." This presentations included tips for navigating the job application and interview process as a neurodiverse individual by maximizing unique strengths and minimizing challenges. It also included strategies supportive of professional development, self-advocacy, and communication with supervisors and colleagues.
  • Prof. James Lee, Ph.D., University of Washington. "Towards Culturally Responsive Behavior Interventions for Families of Autistic Children." This discussion explored how behavior analytic interventions may be culturally adapted and how the Cultural Adaptation Checklist can be used to support this.

Spring 2022 Expert Speaker Series:

  • Prof. Maria Valdovinos, Ph.D., Drake University. "Commonly Prescribed: Psychotropic Medication and Challenging Behavior." This presentation explored how using functional assessment methodology can be used to measure various dimensions of behavior including motivating operational functions of medication and will include data from a study conducted to evaluate the extent to which changes in psychotropic medication regimens altered functional relations between problem behavior and the environment for adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
  • Bonnie Rivers, Director of Employer Relations, Work Without Limits, UMass Chan Medical School / Commonwealth Medicine “Disability is a Qualification for Employment and that Matters to Business”. Discussion of how to emphasize that disability can be a unique qualification for employment and how to translate that into the value proposition for businesses to include people with disabilities on staff, as customers, and suppliers.

Fall 2021 Expert Speaker Series:

  • Chaturi Edrsinha, Ph.D., BCBA-D. “Navigating Sexuality for The ASD Population and Building a Sexuality Curriculum Across the Lifespan.” Discussion of the challenges individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) may face related to understanding their changing bodies, physical urges, and sexuality as well as discussion of sexuality curriculum and strategies to help with addressing these issues in clinical practice and educational settings.
  • Leslie Hughes, Massachusetts Advocates for Children; "Transition Training". This workshop addressed transition planning and services required for youth with disabilities ages 14-22 as well as the transition special education services needed to prepare youth for employment, independent living, and further education. It also addressed compensatory services during COVID-19 to address transition needs and how to ensure districts fully address your child’s transition needs during the recovery.

Spring 2021 Expert Speaker Series:

  • Andy Bondy, Ph.D, Pyramid Educational Consultants, Inc., "Evidence Based Communication Strategies in Autism Spectrum Disorder - A Contrarian's Perspective."
  • Amy K. Weinstock MA, Director of the Autism Insurance Resource Center at the University of Massachusetts Medical School’s Eunice Kennedy Shriver Center; Instructor, Department of Psychiatry, University of Massachusetts Medical School, “Autism Insurance: Advocacy and Beyond”.

Fall 2020 Expert Speaker Series:

  • Leslie Hughes, Massachusetts Advocates for Children, "Transition from School to Adult Life - Using the IEP to Create Success."

Spring 2020 Expert Speaker Series:

  • Evelyn Gould, Ph.D., BCBA-D, LABA, Child and Adolescent OCD Institute (OCDI-JR) McLean Hospital and Harvard Medical School "Doing What Matters: Fierce Compassion and Committed Action in ABA."

Fall 2019 Expert Speaker Series:

  • Judah B. Axe, Ph.D., BCBA-D, Associate Professor of Education and Behavior Analysis and Director of the Special Education Program at Simmons University, "Behavior Analytic Staff Training: Challenges and Strategies."
  • Maureen Crawford-Hentz (Vice-President, Human Resources, A.W. Chesterton Company), “Reducing YOUR Hiring Barriers: Job Application & Interviewing Skills for Young Adults on the Autism Spectrum."

Spring 2019 Expert Speaker Series:

  • Richard K. Fleming, Ph.D. (Professor, UMass Boston), "Behavioral Research on Obesity, Physical Activity, and Oral Health with Children with Intellectual and Developmental Disability, and a Call for Multidisciplinary Teamwork."
  • Sarabeth Broder-Fingert, M.D., MPH (Assistant Professor of Pediatrics, Boston University School of Medicine), "Innovations to Reduce Disparities in Autism Care."
  • These events were co-sponsored by the Department of Developmental Services

Fall 2018 Expert Speaker Series:

  • Ray Cebula (Program Director of ytiONLINE), “Yes, your SSI kid CAN work!”
  • Maureen Crawford Hentz (Vice-President, Human Resources, A.W. Chesterton Company), “Tapping into a Rich Talent Pool: Employer Strategies for Reducing the Barriers to Employment for Candidates on the Autism Spectrum".
  • These events were co-sponsored by the Department of Developmental Services

Spring 2018 Expert Speaker Series

  • Dr. Jean Frazier (UMass Medical School, Executive Director of the Eunice Kennedy Shriver Center), "Mental Health and Medical Challenges In Autism Spectrum Disorder."
  • Susan B. Woods, M.Ed. (Retired Associate Dean, Student Support Services, Middlesex Community College): "Transition to College: Preparing Students to Navigate the Post-Secondary Terrain."
  • Katherine Fox (Director of Training and Development, Vinfen): "Introduction to Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction."
  • These events were co-sponsored by the Department of Developmental Services.

Fall 2017 Expert Speaker Series

  • Massachusetts Sibling Support Network, "How to effectively advocate for an adult sibling with disabilities"
  • Matthew Goodwin, Ph.D., “Use of Technology to Support those with ASD”
  • These events were co-sponsored by the Department of Developmental Services

Spring 2017 Expert Speaker Series

  • Fred Volkmar, M.D., "Changing Perspectives on Outcome in Autism Spectrum Disorders"
  • Kathy Kelly, "Planning a Life for those with autism spectrum disorder"
  • These events were co-sponsored by the Department of Developmental Services.

Fall 2016: The Center sponsored UMass Lowell's Disability Studies conference

This conference focused on research being done at UMass Lowell in the field of disability by faculty and students across the campus. The keynote speaker was State Rep. Tom Sannicandro who discussed disability law and public policy. Faculty presentations included:

  • "Even after Flint: Belief’s about autism and its causes in a nationally representative sample," Doreen Arcus. UMass Lowell Department of Psychology
  • "Labor market liberalization and successful return to work for Italian injured workers," Monica Galizzi (1), Roberto Leombruni (2), & Lia Pacelli (1). 1 Department of Economics, University of Massachusetts Lowell; 2 Department of Economics and Statistics, University of Torino, Italy
  • "The effects of function-based classwide interventions on student behavior: Investigations in urban settings," John McKenna. UMass Lowell Graduate School of Education
  • "Parental mediation in the improvement of narrative skills of individuals with autism spectrum disorder," Allyssa McCabe. UMass Lowell Department of Psychology

Eighteen UMass Lowell undergraduate and graduate students presented their work during the poster session.

This event was co-sponsored by the Department of Developmental Services.

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