Preconference Sessions

Tuesday, August 4

9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.


There are 2 All Day Preconference Sessions to Choose From:

 David Geslak


President Exercise Connection

Exercise is the Gateway to Build Self-Esteem,

Relationships and Well-Being


Exercise, one of the most under-utilized and cost-effective treatments for individuals with autism and other special needs, can build social skills, improve academics, increase self-esteem and enhance language while improving fitness levels.

Coach Dave, who has trained professionals across the world, will teach participants various exercises and routines that can be implemented in a child’s and adults daily routine and establish routines in group homes.

Through the education of the Exercise Connection (EC) Five Components of Physical Fitness for Individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorders, professionals will learn the structure and visual supports necessary to setting up an exercise routine for an individual and group.

Coach Dave and the EC protocols have transformed individuals, organizations and professional’s lives. Participants should be ready to move, have fun and leave with the tools, protocols, and confidence to immediately implement exercise with the individuals they serve.



Susan Dlouhy and Patty Mitchell

Norwich Consulting Services

The Creative Abundance Model: A Revolutionary Approach to Transforming Services for Individuals with Disabilities

The Center for Medicaid Services (CMS) and the United States Department of Justice are sweeping the country and demanding a change in the way services are delivered to individuals with disabilities. Services must be provided in integrated, community settings. This session is a wake-up call that offers a new and creative approach to society’s responsibility to its citizens with disabilities.  The presenters offer a 12 Stage (Creative Abundance) Model for changing traditional sheltered workshops into community centers. It is an approach to providing integrated services that turns the sheltered workshops into the community!  The presenters believe that everything needed to make this change already exists:  abundance and creativity.

The Creative Abundance Model turns sheltered workshops and day programs away from routine to creativity, and from staff-directed activities to participant-directed activities.  The Creative Abundance Model seeks to do away with the busywork or repetitive tasks that are often the only activities offered to people in workshop environments. It presents a structured but more open program, one that incorporates art, music, and other creative pursuits to free participants to explore their own interests and to develop their skills and talents. The presentation consists of two sections: advocacy for the model and a practical, how-to plan for implementation.    The presenters will include numerous and well-tested examples of activities that workshop staff can use to introduce the Creative Abundance Model; after this initial phase, the participants themselves help steer the program in the direction of their interests. The presentation includes a visual explosion of photographic images that have been captured by Patty Mitchell during her years of photographing people with disabilities and their creative talents. The presenters will utilize examples from their book, Upcycling Sheltered Workshops: A Revolutionary Approach to Transforming Workshops into Creative Spaces (Ohio University/Swallow Press, 2015).