MCDD’s Annual Summer Learning Series was a Success

tags: Maryland Center for Developmental Disabilities

From June 1 to July 29, the Maryland Center for Developmental Disabilities (MCDD) hosted its fourth annual Summer Learning Series, consisting of 17 virtual, live, interactive workshops across a range of topics for psychologists, social workers, educators, counselors, nurses, medical staff, clinical and other community providers, parents, caregivers, students and young adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD), and many others. In partnership with Mirian Ofonedu, PhD, LCSW-C, MCDD training director, experts from across the United States served as presenters and shared their knowledge and expertise with attendees.

Twelve of the workshops were approved for continuing education units (CEUs) for psychologists and social workers on topics such as transition planning for students with IDD, social media and online networking for individuals with IDD, disability across the lifespan, suicidal behaviors in people with IDD, disability and aging, sexual health and IDD, telehealth services, support for college students with disabilities, and anti-ableist strategies to reduce healthcare inequities experienced by people with IDD.

In addition to CEU sessions, the MCDD offered five free sessions for community members. Self-advocates from across the state attended a two-hour session on sexual health and healthy relationships. Mat Rice, former People On the Go Maryland public policy advocate, provided a brief history of the disability rights movement and how knowing one’s rights relates to safe relationships.

Kiely Law, MD, MPH, and Cheryl Cohen, MS, from the MCDD’s Autism Research and Engagement Core, hosted a one-hour session on engaging communities in research implementation and dissemination. Representatives from the Maryland Technology Assistance Program gave attendees a virtual tour of the state’s assistive technology (AT) library, and Lauren Tooley, MS, CCC-SLP, provided an overview of the Assistive Technology Clinic at Kennedy Krieger Institute and discussed how to best use AT to support people with disabilities.

Dr. Ofonedu, in coordination with MCDD trainees Vineet Sidhu and Andrea Garrido, invited Rene Averitt-Sanzone, executive director of The Parents’ Place of Maryland, and Melanie Pinkett-Davis, MSW, LCSW-C, assistant vice president for clinical services at Kennedy Krieger, to serve as guest speakers for a session dedicated to helping clinicians learn about evidence-based strategies for supporting parents at the time of their child’s disability diagnosis and beyond. This resource guide was developed and shared with attendees and others. More resource guides and handouts can be found on the MCDD’s training webpage.

To conclude the Summer Learning Series, Dr. Ofonedu hosted a workshop for parents and caregivers on how to best advocate for their children in school and in the community. The virtual format of this year’s Summer Learning Series allowed participants and speakers from across the United States, including Texas, Delaware, Ohio, Illinois, California, Kentucky, Florida, Maryland and Washington, D.C., to join or host a session. The MCDD and its training staff are grateful for their partners and presenters who shared their time and expertise with our community this summer.