tags: Maryland Center for Developmental Disabilities

 Alyssa Thorn.

Alyssa Thorn, Esq., a staff attorney for Project HEAL (Health, Education, Advocacy, and Law), was named to The Daily Record’s 2021 “Successful by 40” VIP list.

On July 20, Maureen van Stone, Esq., MS, director of the Maryland Center for Developmental Disabilities (MCDD), and Kara Ayers, PhD, co-presented a live, interactive webinar, “Employing Anti-Ableist Strategies to Reduce Healthcare Inequities Experienced by People with Disabilities,” as part of the MCDD’s Summer Learning Series. Dr. Ayers is the associate director of, and an assistant professor at, the University of Cincinnati Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities. She is director of the Center for Dignity in Healthcare for People with Disabilities, and co-founder of the Disabled Parenting Project.

On July 22, the MCDD’s Summer Learning Series sponsored a live, interactive webinar, “Diverse Pathways to Inclusion and Support for College Students with Autism and Intellectual Disabilities,” presented by Brian Freedman, PhD. Dr. Freedman is the director of adult transitions at, and co-director of, the University of Delaware’s Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental Disabilities program, which provides training to students and professionals. He is a former clinical director at Kennedy Krieger Institute’s Center for Autism and Related Disorders (CARD).

Mirian Ofonedu, PhD, LCSW-C, presented “Parent Workshop: Being the Best Advocate for Your Child at School and in the Community” as part of the MCDD’s Summer Learning Series. The live, interactive webinar was held on July 29.

On August 7, the International Society for Autism Research published an article co-written by Kiely Law, MD, MPH, research director of MCDD’s Autism Research and Engagement Core. The article, “Psychological distress among caregivers raising a child with autism spectrum disorder during the COVID-19 pandemic,” was co-authored by Luther G. Kalb, PhD; Elena Badillo-Goicoechea, MS; Calliope Holingue, MPH, PhD; Kira E. Riehm, PhD; Johannes Thrul, PhD, MS; Elizabeth A. Stuart, PhD; Emily J. Smail, PhD; Casey White-Lehman, MA, MS; and Daniele Fallin, PhD.

On August 10, van Stone participated in the 5th annual Autism Awareness Virtual Conference, sponsored by Atlantic General Hospital, and presented “Return to School during the COVID-19 Pandemic for Students with Disabilities.” Deepa Menon, MBBS, assistant medical director at CARD, presented “School Re-Entry Post COVID: Supporting Families and Children with Autism.” Katie Dorsch, RD, CSO, LDN, a registered dietician at Atlantic General Hospital, presented “Autism and Nutrition.”

Mallory Legg.

Thorn and Mallory Legg, Esq., JD, also a staff attorney for Project HEAL, gave a virtual presentation, “Guardianship and Less Restrictive Alternatives,” on August 17. The event was sponsored by Baltimore City Public Schools’ Office of Special Education.

Van Stone participated in two live television interviews on August 22. On WBFF-TV Fox 45 morning news, as part of Kennedy Krieger’s “Back to School” series, van Stone explained what an Individualized Education Program (IEP) is, why a child might need an IEP, and how parents and caregivers can advocate for children in need of an IEP. Watch the interview here. On WBAL-TV morning news, van Stone was interviewed as part of the station’s “Special Needs Students Transitioning Back to School” segment.

On September 2, Jenny Jones, Resource Finder coordinator, gave a virtual presentation, “MCDD Overview,” to nurse case managers representing five Kennedy Krieger departments.

Jenny Jones.

On September 13, van Stone and Legg collaborated with Kennedy Krieger faculty members to participate in the Sussex County Health Coalition (Delaware) virtual forum “Best Practices in Meeting the Academic, Medical, Social, Emotional, and Behavioral Needs of Children and Youth with Autism Spectrum Disorders.”

The MCDD was a sponsor of Room to Grow: Journey to Cultural and Linguistic Competency Conference, an annual continuing education seminar held virtually this year on September 14. This year’s theme was “Truth and Reconciliation.”

On September 21, Legg gave a virtual presentation, “Compensatory Education/Recovery Services during the COVID-19 Pandemic,” to members of the Extension for Community Healthcare Outcomes (ECHO).

People On the Go Maryland and Project ACTION! (Advocacy, Change, Training, Information, Organizing and Networking) joined forces for a biannual conference on September 23. The conference theme was “ALL Means ALL: Inclusion, Diversity, Acceptance.” Project ACTION! is a regional coalition of self-advocates and self-advocacy groups from Maryland, Virginia and Washington, D.C.

On September 30, van Stone presented a virtual, interactive health equity training session for disability emergency preparedness specialists with a panel of colleagues to the Association of State and Territorial Health Organizations. Other presenters were Kara Ayers, PhD, director of the Center for Dignity in Healthcare for People with Disabilities; Stephanie Meredith, Lettercase medical outreach director of the Human Development Institute at the University of Kentucky; and Leah Smith, MPA, project coordinator at the Center for Dignity in Healthcare for People with Disabilities.

On October 1, the MCDD, Kennedy Krieger’s Maternal and Child Health Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental and Related Disabilities (LEND) program, and the Institute’s Office of Health, Equity, Inclusion, and Diversity co-sponsored a virtual special lecture, “Ableism, Health, and Health Outcomes,” by Dr. Ayers.

On October 6, Legg and Thorn participated in a virtual Council of Parent Attorneys and Advocates roundtable discussion, “Working Collaboratively with School Teams to Serve Students with Disabilities.”