Vermont Family Network’s annual conference approaches: Conference for parents and professionals caring for children with special needs

For immediate release
March 20, 2012

Jeff Morton
Director of Development & Communications
Vermont Family Network
Phone: (802) 876-5315, ext. 248
Email: [email protected]

Join Vermont Family Network (VFN) on Wednesday, April 11, 2012 at the Hilton Hotel and Conference Center in Burlington for a day filled with workshops, awards, networking opportunities, and much more.

This year’s annual conference will focus on creating a culture of belonging in a community of individuals with different needs. This day-long conference will also focus on building and strengthening relationships between parents, health care providers, educators, and legislators to meet the needs of children and families across the Green Mountain State.

“Vermont Family Network’s Annual Conference provides families and professionals with a great opportunity to come together and talk about ways to improve services and supports for children and families across Vermont,” said Pam McCarthy, President/CEO of Vermont Family Network. “We are very fortunate to be able to bring community partners, parents, and other professionals together to share new ideas and find creative ways of collaborating together.”

This year’s keynote speaker will be Dan Habib, who is the creator of Including Samuel and the new film Who Cares About Kelsey? Habib is the Filmmaker in Residence at the Institute on Disability at the University of New Hampshire.

Including Samuel was broadcast nationwide on public television stations in 2009. The film has been screened at universities, national conferences and independent theatres across the country. Including Samuel has also been featured on NPR’s “All Things Considered”, “Good Morning America”, as well as in the Washington Post and the Boston Globe. The film won the Positive Images in Media award from TASH, an international group committed to the full inclusion of people with disabilities. The DVD is now available with 17 language translations, closed captioning and audio description.

Until joining UNH in April of 2008, Habib was the photography editor of the Concord (NH) Monitor. In 2006 and 2008, he was named the national Photography Editor of the Year for papers with a circulation under 100,000. He has been a judge of the Pulitzer Prizes, Pictures of the Year, Best of Photojournalism and White House News Photographer’s Association. He is a six-time New Hampshire photographer of the year and his freelance work, including extensive documentary work in China, has appeared in numerous publications, including Time, Newsweek, Yankee, Life and the New York Times.

Workshops topics at this year’s conference include: When and How to Disclose Your Child’s Disability, Developing Family Leadership and the Power of Personal Stories, Transitioning to Adulthood, Nuts and Bolts of an Individualized Education Plan (IEP), Navigating the Health Care Financing System, and Effective Ways to Prevent and Respond to Challenging Behaviors, to name a few.
In addition, Vermont Family Network will hand out three of its most distinguished awards including the VFN Outstanding Youth Award, the Connie Curtin Award for Outstanding Professional, and the Nancy DiVenere Award for Outstanding Parent /Caregiver.

An Agenda of the day’s activities is attached to this press release. To register for the conference, or for more information, call Vermont Family Network at (802) 876-5315, or visit our website:

Thanks to our Platinum Sponsors: Vermont Department of Health, Children with Special Health Needs, the Vermont Developmental Disabilities Council, and the Vermont Department of Education.

Press Release

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