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F-5.2 Trauma Informed Advocacy, Programming and Representation


Hafl Day Session

Friday, March 9th

1:30 pm - 5:00 PM


Audience Category: All   *New optional offering, an advanced advocate certificate program.  Attend this pre-conference AND F-5.1 Neuropsychological Assessments of Students with Complex Trauma: Helping Developing Brains  AND T-1 - Thu Full Day - To IEP and Beyond: Using Your Advocacy Skills & Tools Before, During and After the IEP, then select sessions of interest to you on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. You will receive an advanced advocate training certificate for 24 hours of training. Must have at least 5 years of advocacy experience to participate in the certificate program. 

Audience Level of Expertise: Intermediate


Brief Session Description:

Participants engage in an in-depth examination of trauma and its impact on education. We explore the importance of developing a trauma informed practice, so that advocates and attorneys can learn how to recognize students with a history of trauma, how to appropriately program for their needs at any stage and age, and how to distinguish among different types of trauma. We also cover special considerations for students who were never identified and students who end up in the juvenile justice system or in residential treatment.


Joshua M. Kershenbaum, Esq.
Frankel & Kershenbaum, LLC
1230 County Line Rd.
Bryn Mawr, PA 19010
T: (610) 922-4200
F: (610) 646-0888


Maria Vetter 

Education Consultant & Advocate

Frankel & Kershenbaum, LLC

1230 County Line Road

Bryn Mawr, PA 19010

T: (610) 922-4200

F: (610) 646-0888

Direct Line (610) 922-4207




Presenter(s) Biography(ies):

A determined advocate for children and their families, Josh Kershenbaum brings a unique combination of passion, intellect, and experience to his comprehensive education- and family-focused practice. Josh’s clients benefit not only from his extensive litigation experience, but from the valuable perspective and knowledge he gained in his previous career as a teacher in a public elementary school. Today, Josh represents children and families in matters ranging from special education law, school discipline and truancy, bullying and discrimination, child-centered personal injury, and the Constitutional rights of students.  He also represents college and graduate students in disputes with institutions of higher education. Josh’s work on behalf of children with special needs and their families includes counseling and representation with respect to all forms of disputes over the provision of educational services, such as those arising under The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), Section 504 and other federal and state statutes. Accordingly, Josh represents clients at IEP meetings and administrative due process hearings, in settlement negotiations with school districts and in state and federal litigation. In addition to maintaining his busy practice, Josh is a frequent author and lecturer. He is a contributing writer to MetroKids magazine; developed and taught a Special Education Law Seminar as an adjunct professor at Temple University Beasley School of Law; and trains parents, attorneys, and other advocates in all aspects of special education law. Josh has also appeared on WHYY’s “Voices in the Family” with Dr. Dan Gottleib and WOGL’s “Philadelphia Agenda” with Brad Segall. An active member of the community, he is a member of the Council of Parent Advocates and Attorneys (COPAA). Prior to co-founding Frankel & Kershenbaum, Josh was a litigator at the Philadelphia law firm of Montgomery, McCracken, Walker & Rhoads, LLP. He has also served as an advocate with the Pennsylvania Health Law Project, where he represented children with disabilities in disputes with Pennsylvania’s Medicaid HMOs. Josh is admitted to practice in Pennsylvania and New Jersey. He is a cum laude graduate of Temple University Beasley School of Law and a magna cum laude graduate of Amherst College. From 2010 to 2016 he has been recognized by Thomson Reuters, published annually in Philadelphia Magazine, as a Super Lawyers Rising Star. He resides in Bucks County with his wife and son.


Maria Vetter is a versatile and devoted education consultant and child advocate, she has dedicated her career to children and their educational needs. She possesses a wealth of experience working with children who are challenged by special needs, with a primary focus on children who have Autism Spectrum Disorder, Asperger’s Syndrome and language-based learning differences.  Maria also has considerable expertise in addressing a wide range of other needs and disabilities, including gifted support, traumatic brain injury, Fragile X Syndrome, Pervasive Developmental Disorder, Bipolar Disorder, Down Syndrome, Seizure Disorder, Reactive Attachment Disorder, Physical Disabilities and various behavioral issues. She is accomplished in developing programs to accommodate the needs of children in private, public and parochial schools, camps, colleges and home settings, including training staff and family members. Maria has developed countless IEP and ESY programs and created innovative social outlets for children with special needs. As a provider of autistic support services for Lower Merion School District in Pennsylvania, she helped design and implement the first full Asperger’s classroom program for the district’s elementary schools. As an advocate, Maria works with families of students with special needs, from diagnosis and early intervention, to school age and transitioning out of school into independent living. She helps families understand the educational process and aids them in securing the specialized services their children require. She also supports parents and students by attending IEP meetings, conferences, mediations and team meetings to advocate for the students’ rights. As an independent consultant, Maria assists with the implementation of programs in homes, schools, colleges and camps. She coordinates with families, home team members, school and camp staff to provide youth with an environment conducive to learning and supporting each child’s individual needs. Maria places a large focus on educational diversity in schools with inclusion. She has provided inclusion support to many students over the years and has trained paraprofessionals on the inclusion model and in the execution of that training. Maria is an active member of her community.  she currently focuses her volunteer efforts on several children-centered organizations, including Alex's Lemonade Stand, Autism Speaks and Variety club.  She founded a non-profit to help children who had difficulty socializing with others.  Maria is active in Cub Scouts, and School Board President of a private co-op preschool in her area.  She resides in Delaware County with her husband and four children.


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