WV TBI Conference-2022 Session Descriptions

Keynote Speaker: Jonathan Martinis, J.D., Esq.

Supported Decision-Making: Protecting Rights, Ensuring Choices

Study after study has shown that when people with disabilities have more control over their life and make more decisions for themselves – when they have more self-determination – they have better lives. People with disabilities who are more self-determined are more likely to live independently, work, be integrated into their communities, and avoid abuse.

This session will introduce the audience to the theory and practice of Supported Decision-Making (SDM). When people with disabilities use SDM, they work with friends, family, and professionals so they can understand their choices and make their own decisions. As a result, SDM can help people be self-determined, have better life outcomes, and avoid unnecessary guardianship.

Exploring Alternatives to Guardianship and Supported Decision-Making Options

Speaker: Christina E. Smith, Director, Astrive Advocacy, Inc.

This workshop is designed to provide basic and fundamental information on Alternatives to Guardianship and Supported Decision-Making Options for individuals with disabilities and those who may provide long-term supports to an adult with a disability.

The target audience includes individuals with disabilities, as well as anyone who could possibly have contact with a person with a disability: agency staff, agency directors, volunteers, family members, guardians or kinship providers, community members, etc.

As a result of this course, participants will be able to:

  1. Understand the importance of Futures Planning and the key areas that include Financial, Estate, and Support components.
  2. Understand programs, plans, and actions that are considered alternatives to guardianship and access tools that can be used to complete them.
  3. Understand the process of Supported Decision-Making and access tools and information that can be used in developing a comprehensive agreement for individuals with disabilities

Mindfulness Interventions and TBI Speakers

Speaker: Julie Brefczynski-Lewis, PhD

In this presentation, led by a neuroscientist who has been studying mindfulness-based interventions for over 15 years, we will explore the use of mindfulness techniques to assist not only with the symptoms of TBI, but potentially aiding in the brain’s healing process itself. This session will review some of the most ridiculous and time-tested studies of mindfulness interventions, examine the latest TBI-specific interventions, as well as lead attendees in several exercises to give a taste of experiential understanding.

As a result of this course, participants will be able to:

  1. Learn what mindfulness is and the science behind it for use in the general population
  2. Learn and experience several examples of mindfulness including a guided mindfulness, relaxation and a compassion meditation exercise
  3. Learn what adaptations are used for patients with TBI and examples of mindfulness-based programs for TBI patients
  4. Learn the science behind why it might be helpful for TBI patients

Lived Experience Panel

Speakers: Wes Alexander, David Duke, Suzette Hardy, Joel Robinson, and Becky Spaulding
Moderated by: April Fincham, Rodney Smith

Nobody understands TBI more than those who have lived experience. This is why were are thrilled to have a panel of thoughtful and insightful individuals who can speak to their journey’s with a TBI. Join us for a fruitful discussion among those with lived experience as they tackle the myriad of topics that pertain to their daily lives.

Brain Injury and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA): Disclosure, Documentation, and Workplace Accommodations

Speaker: Melanie Whetzel

Job accommodations can be vital for the successful employment of individuals with brain injury. Knowing how, when, and why it might be necessary to disclose a disability is the first and often most difficult part of the accommodation process. This session will provide information on the disclosure of brain injuries in the workplace, the limitations associated with these injuries, and the accommodations that might be needed. Real-life accommodation situations and solutions will be interspersed throughout the session. A question-and-answer session will be included at the end.

Participants will be able to:

  1. Describe the how, when, and why of disclosing a brain injury in the workplace
  2. Recognize limitations in the workplace associated with brain injuries
  3. Identify accommodations for these limitations
  4. Discover real-life accommodation situations and solutions

Return to driving following a Traumatic Brain Injury – Clinical and Practical Implications

Speaker: Jacob Greenfield, MOT, OTR/L, ATRIC, CSRS

This course will present clinical and practical implications for TBI survivors whose goal is to return to driving. Treatment interventions will be discussed as well as resources available. Videos and case studies will be used to facilitate discussions.

As a result of this course, participants will be able to:

  1. Recognize common residual cognitive, perceptual, physical, and visual impairments associated with traumatic brain injury.
  2. Recognize the impact of TBI related impairments on successful return to driving and community participation.
  3. Identify resources available for TBI survivors whose goal is to return to driving.

Supported Decision-Making From Theory To Practice

Speaker: Jonathan Martinis, J.D., Esq.

This session will provide the audience with practical strategies to explore and implement Supported Decision-Making in supports and services people with disabilities use every day including Vocational Rehabilitation, Person Centered Planning, and Benefits Planning. By accessing appropriate supports, people with disabilities will be more likely to be self-determined, employed, and live independently to the maximum of their capabilities.

As a result of this course, participants will be able to:

  1. Learn about self-determination and how it is the key to an enhanced quality of life for people with disabilities
  2. Learn about ways to incorporate Supported Decision-Making and enhance self-determination through Vocational Rehabilitation supports and services
  3. Learn about ways to incorporate Supported Decision-Making and enhance self-determination in Person Centered Planning and other health care supports.
  4. Learn about ways to incorporate Supported Decision-Making and enhance self-determination through Benefits Planning and other money management strategies
  5. Learn about strategies to link supports and services, ensuring greater effectiveness and efficiency, through Supported Decision-Making

West Virginia Division of Rehabilitation Services (WVDRS)

Speaker: Richard Ward

A Program Overview will provide participants with a general overview of what vocational rehabilitation is, what the process of vocational rehabilitation is, and an understanding of how to access vocational rehabilitation services in West Virginia. The presentation will cover the mission of WVDRS, the steps of the vocational rehabilitation process, and information on accessing services. The presentation will also highlight DRS accomplishments for program year 2021 and will feature a recent success story of an individual with a TBI.

As a result of this course, participants will:

  1. Understand what vocational rehabilitation is
  2. Understand the process of vocational rehabilitation
  3. Understand how to access vocational rehabilitation

Legislative Advocacy Without Going to the Capitol

Speaker: Ann Watts McDaniel

You don’t have to go to the Capitol to be a good legislative advocate! You can talk to legislators, attend committee meetings, watch the floor session, and track legislation all from your own home using the legislative website and Zoom, FaceTime, Google Meet, or other apps using your phone or computer. This session will help you learn to use the legislative website and will prepare you to meet with legislators virtually. It will also help you to avoid pitfalls that end up hurting your issue rather than helping.

As a result of this course, participants will be able to:

  1. Identify strategies for getting to know legislators.
  2. Identify steps to prepare for advocating during the legislative session.
  3. Navigate the legislative website effectively to identify legislators, bill status, schedules, and other information needed for effective advocacy.
  4. Identify how and which legislator(s) to contact on specific issues.
  5. Recognize appropriate ways to address legislators and key information to share.
  6. Identify why and how to share your personal story.

Engaging Our Legislators: TBI Policy and Advocacy

Speakers: Leslie E. Tower, PhD, Michelle Richmond, BSW

This course will present political advocacy relating to traumatic brain injury policy. Participants will be given the opportunity to practice their political advocacy skills during the session. Video demonstrations will be used to illustrate and expand upon TBI advocacy strategies.

As a result of this course, participants will be able to:

  1. Recognize recent bills and their potential impact on people with TBI and their families.
  2. Identify one’s state and federal legislators.
  3. Understand and participate in common forms of political advocacy (e.g., letter-writing campaigns, citizen lobbying, signing up for and responding to e-alerts or political action alerts).

Resilience in the face of Adversity: The Power and Importance of effective (Self) Advocacy

Speaker: Eric Thompson

This course will present how detrimental experiences are educational opportunities focusing attention on previously unnoticed needs and potential strategies for achieving future improvements and how frustrations and difficulties experienced facing serious adversity can be channeled and transformed into effective (self)advocacy focused on bringing about positive change for oneself and others.</p.

As a result of this course, participants will learn:

  1. The power and importance of effective (Self)Advocacy
  2. Unique Perspectives and Needs are vital for building effective (self)advocacy Strategies
  3. Resiliency… utilizing frustration, determinedness, and difficulties experienced overcoming obstacles as a Motivation
  4. Overcome Adversity with Scarce Resources
  5. Ways to: (self)advocate, get involved, take action, improve quality of life within our communities, and motivate others to join and follow your example