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P-5. My Child has a Diagnoses, Now What?
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TWO DAY Skill Building Session

Thursday, March 9th and Friday, March 10th

9:00 am - 5:00 PM

 

Audience category: Parent/Related Professional

Audience Level of Expertise: Novice

Brief Session Description:

Parents are blindsided when they learn their child has a disability diagnosis.  Once the news is processed, parents are inevitably left to answer the question "Now What."  This session provides participants with resources to learn more about their child's diagnosis, navigate Special Education, and explore the lifelong joys (and hurdles) they will face in parenting a child with special needs.

 

Presenters:

David Jefferson

Parent Support Arizona

1815 E. Queen Creek Rd

Suite 1

Chandler, AZ 85286

david@parentsupportarizona.com

 

Alexis Casillas

Law Offices of Alexis Casillas

510 S. Marengo Avenue

Pasadena, CA 91101

917-420-0962

acasillas@edrightsattorney.com

 

Sophia Bliziotis

Newman Aaronson Vanaman

14001 Ventura Blvd.

Sherman Oaks, CA 91423

818-990-7722

sbliziotis@navlaw.net

 

Jennifer Gatt, Ph.D
Southwest Neuropsychology
1515 E. Missouri Ave.
Phoenix, AZ 85014
SWNPoffice@gmail.com


Presenter(s) Biography(ies):

David Jefferson, as a parent of special needs children, David understands and appreciates all of the difficulties parent’s face as they try and navigate the special education maze.  David formed Parent Support Arizona to ensure parents have a local resource and the tools they need to ensure their children’s educational needs are met. Over the past few years, David has sought administrative remedies through the State Department of Education, Office of Administrative Hearings OCR and FERPA.  David uses these experiences to provide civil rights advocacy, educational advocacy, parent training and represent parents in IDEA due process hearings in the State of Arizona.  In addition he offers self-help tools and resources that allow parents to advocate for themselves and on an equal footing with schools as they advocate for their children’s rights. 

 

Alexis Casillas has been committed to special education advocacy since her brother was first diagnosed with autism. She has volunteered with organizations like Best Buddies and Autism Speaks. While attending Columbia Law School she was trained to work with special-needs families by Advocates for Children of New York, volunteered with the Autism Legislation Project, and also worked at the New York City Taxi and Limousine Commission where she participated in a forum on disability access for public transit, and at the Department of Health and Human Services where she worked on Medicare access issues. She also spent a summer working for the ACLU in Orange County on issues of educational equity and discrimination. Alexis spent her final year as a law student at Stanford where she participated in YELP, a clinic devoted to providing free legal assistance to low-income special-needs students. After law school Alexis worked for the Santa Clara County District Attorney’s office, where she was a post-bar clerk and conducted research on the admissibility of testimony by individuals with language disorders and disabilities. Alexis also served as an extern to the Honorable Kim Wardlaw on the Ninth Circuit. After this externship, Alexis began practicing special education law in Northern California. Having grown up with a developmentally disabled sibling and deciding to go to law school specifically to practice disability rights law, Alexis has a strong commitment to helping children with special needs and a unique perspective on the special education process. She has experienced firsthand many of the emotions her clients confront every day, and approaches her cases with that experience in mind.

Sophia Bliziotis joined Newman Aaronson Vanaman practicing special education law in December, 2005.  She is a graduate of U.C. Berkeley with a degree in English. While at Berkeley, she was a co-recipient of the President’s Undergraduate Fellowship and with those funds she co-produced and directed a documentary about the homeless women of San Francisco. After college, Sophia worked in Los Angeles then Australia in film and television. 
While living in Australia, Sophia decided to become an attorney. She began her legal studies at the University of Adelaide, South Australia. Upon her return to the United States, she received her J.D. from Southwestern Law School.  Sophia wakes up each day grateful to have work that is meaningful.  Sophia is married to cinematographer Bruce Ready and they have one son, Luke.

Dr. Jennifer T. Gatt is a neuropsychologist specializing in children, adolescents and young adults presenting with developmental, academic/occupational, interpersonal and emotional differences. Dr. Gatt received her Ph.D. in Educational Psychology from Arizona State University, after which she completed a postdoctoral fellowship in neuropsychology. Her early experience as a school psychologist and subsequent specialization in neuropsychology have led to a broad understanding both educational, community, and medical models.
Dr. Gatt is passionate about helping families identify the strengths in their child to build upon, as well as, determine an accurate diagnosis that will drive developmental and educational goals. She believes her early history of observing and intervening with her own family member’s struggles has played a critical role in her desire to help families navigate this journey.


 

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