Our 2021 Convention lets you explore more ways to remain Resilient! Navigate through innovation ideas in advocacy, technology, communications, and more during Breakout Sessions led by subject experts from across the state. Check out what each session has to offer below.
Breakout Session I – 10 to 10:50 AM
The Future of Remote Community Connections
While the pandemic has caused many hardships for Marylanders, it has also created an opportunity and an environment for providers to turn to technology and to develop and implement remote supports to meet the needs of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD)! As vaccine immunizations pick up and providers chart re-opening plans, many of these remote service discoveries can be used going forward to supplement in-person supports while maintaining and even improving the quality of life for many. This panel of provider community leaders offers insight into the developments they have found to be effective. Learn about how they have pivoted their models of support to embrace hybrid or fully remote supports that people they support (and their families) desire as they look to the future. The panelists will also address the hurdles they met along the way and offer creative solutions they employed to help them overcome challenges in their quest to support people to live their best lives.
Leaders of Tomorrow: Advocates of the Future
While we aim to build a better future for our youth, emerging young leaders have taken their futures into their own hands! Each year, more advocates are inspired to create a better world for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. During this panel, we highlight some advocates and the work they have done to achieve their vision. Discover what inspires them, how they began their advocacy work, and their plans going forward as they work to create a world where children and adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities have and enjoy equal rights and opportunities.
Legislative Wrap Up and Plans for Year-Round Advocacy
Join Legislative experts in a panel discussion on the Maryland state budget for developmental disabilities services and hear about the successes and disappointments of this past legislative session. The panel will also provide insight into what we might expect next January. While the legislative session is a key time of year to further the rights and improve the community for Marylanders with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD), there is also plenty of work to be done outside of it! Participants can learn about what steps can be taken during the other 275 days of the year to advance mission, achieve equity, and strive for “Community for All!”
Breakout Session II – 11 AM to 12 PM
Diversity, Equity & Inclusion: Everyone Has a Role
This session will offer participants a framework for engagement and the creation of environments that are welcoming to all. Participants will discuss diversity, equity, and inclusion, using four keywords; Acknowledgement, Authenticity, Accountability, and Action. Sara will share examples of challenges and successes with launching or advancing DEI in your organization. Participants will have a chance to identify steps and different roles in creating and supporting a diverse, equitable, and inclusive environment.
Sharing Your Story in a Changing World
We live in a fast-paced country where things are always changing! As advocates, we have to constantly adapt the way in which we advocate: sharing our stories and devising new ways to ensure that our voices are heard in the crowd. There are resources at our fingertips to help make this happen! In this breakout, learn from people who have found effective ways to advance their advocacy in exciting ways! Whether you have a knack for writing, public speaking, or making videos, there is an avenue for you to succeed.
Breakout Session III – 1 to 1:50 PM
Adaptive Technology for Independence
With the constant innovations made in technology, there are amazing products and services out there that can be handy to increase connectedness and communication to improve the lives of Marylanders with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD)! The Maryland Technology Assistance Program (MDTAP) is joining us for this session to guide us through what is available across the state in the realm of assistive technology. Assistive Technology encompasses a wide variety of items and techniques, from low-tech, such as a cane or adaptive spoon, to high-tech software operated through eye gaze. Whatever your need, assistive technology options should be investigated!
MDTAP offers four assistive technology (AT) libraries across the state, AT demonstrations, AT consultations, short-term device loans, a high-tech AT Reuse Center (to access gently used equipment for free), trainings, webinars, and a low-interest financial loan program. They also provide one-on-one information & referral to help consumers find the exact AT services needed.
Supported Decision Making
Supported Decision Making (SDM) is a growing movement in the United States that offers people a legally recognized option to make their own decisions with assistance from a person they trust and identify as their supporter. Including SDM in our toolbox of viable alternatives to guardianship, for many, will provide just one more option for people to utilize in living their best lives! In this session, subject matter experts will introduce and lead a discussion on Supported Decision Making and how it is being employed in several other states. Attendees will have the opportunity to ask questions and learn about ways to get involved in advocacy to make SDM a legal option in Maryland.
SpArc Tank: Igniting Innovations for Change
What innovative practices are going on in Maryland right now? SpArc Tank is a grant initiative from The Arc Maryland that aims to ignite change through new products, resources, studies, projects, training, or other initiatives to enhance the lives of children and adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities. In this session, hear from recent grantees about their projects and outcomes, and learn how you too may apply for SpArc funding in the future to advance your creative idea for the benefit of many!