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Kids & Dreams Autism Conference


The 3rd Annual Kids & Dreams Autism Conference will be held at the Younes Conference Center on October 6th, 2017. 
Keynote Speaker: Alex Plank

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Kids & Dreams Autism Conference


The 3rd Annual Kids & Dreams Autism Conference will be held at the Younes Conference Center on October 6th, 2017. 
Keynote Speaker: Alex Plank

Alex Plank - Founder and Creator of "wrongplanet.net"

Alex Plank - Founder and Creator of "wrongplanet.net"

2017 Keynote Speaker

Alex was diagnosed with autism at the age of nine and was bullied when he was younger. In his teen years, he searched the internet to locate others like him, but didn’t like the lack of websites for individuals with autism. At the age of 17, Alex created “Wrong Planet” which is an online community for individuals with autism to communicate. He graduated from George Mason University with a degree in Film & Video Studies. 

Alex is now an autism advocate, filmmaker and actor. He is known for his consulting work on FX’s “The Bridge” show and even made his on-screen acting debut during season one. He helped actress Diane Kruger develop her character on the show. He worked with her on set every day and played a big part with her performance and to the writers. Alex introduced a variety of tendencies for autism into her character as Sonya Cross, including stimming and awkwardness around eye contact. 

Alex also started an Internet television program called Autism Talk TV in 2010 and has traveled the world working on documentaries and spreading awareness through speaking engagements including being the keynote speaker at the Autism Society of America’s National Conference.

Kids & Dreams board member, Amy Sjoholm who has a son with autism, has even had the pleasure to hear him speak in person. She states that “Alex helped me to understand the perspective of someone that experiences similar sensory issues as my son with autism. That greater understanding helped me strengthen my relationship with my son and meet his autism needs better.” 

Who should attend?

Families and anyone who desires to understand more about Autism Spectrum Disorders and Options.  CEU's are available for professionals.  

About Our Conference

The Kids & Dreams Foundation's goal is to present a conference with a variety of resources, options, and topics related to Autism Spectrum Disorders.  Everyone's autism experience is unique and what works for one, may not work for all.  Whether you learn something for today or are able to save the information for a later time, we hope you gain something new by attending.  We hope by attending you will gain new information that will help an individual with autism progress.

Registration

Select an item below to begin registration and payment for the conference.  Clicking on the item will take you to the registration form. CEU's are offered for nurses, educators, Licensed Mental Health Practitioner "LMHP", and OT's.  PT and SLP are still in process, so please check back for updates in those fields.


2017 Conference Speakers

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Matt McNiff, PhD. – Dr. Matt McNiff is a behavior consultant with the Educational Service Unit No. 5 in Beatrice, Nebraska where he works with nine school districts to help teachers and administrators develop ways to help students with behavior concerns.  With over 20 years of experience in the field, Dr. McNiff has worked with thousands of students with behavioral challenges and grades ranging from early childhood to high school and transitional programming.  He attained his Ph.D. in special education from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, specializing in behavior disorders and autism. 

Dr. McNiff specializes in helping teachers to develop programs that will reduce problematic behaviors and increase academic time.    His presentations are known for being positive, humorous and engaging and are full of easy to use strategies and examples that can be used quickly with even the toughest to reach children.  He also speaks to groups around the nation on how to reduce rude and defiant behavior in children.

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Dr. Melissa Kimmerling EdD, MOT, OTR/L is the Program Director for the Master in Occupational Therapy Program at NMC.  Dr. Kimmerling has clinical experience in acute care, rehabilitation, skilled nursing, outpatient, and home health. Dr. Kimmerling is also the parent to a special kiddo, enhancing her knowledge of pediatric occupational therapy practice.  Dr. Kimmerling serves as the Representative from the State of Nebraska to the American Occupational Therapy Association's Representative Assembly. Dr. Kimmerling has presented her practice research locally, regionally, and nationally and has also been a speaker for community-based organizations.  Dr. Kimmerling holds her Master's Degree in Occupational Therapy and her Doctorate in Health Professions Education from the College of Saint Mary.  Dr. Kimmerling spent three years in full time academic appointment for College of Saint Mary prior to moving into the consulting role and then Program Director role for NMC.

Jennifer (Jenn) Miller Jennifer has worked at PTI for 6 ½ years where she focuses on helping parents navigate the special education process. Her areas of focus are special education law, Individualized Education Programs, positive behavior supports, bullying recognition and prevention, understanding Autism and ADHD, and strengthening partnerships between parents and school professionals. She is married and has three wonderful, funny, energetic children, and her oldest son has Autism and Epilepsy. With both personal and professional experience in the world of Autism, Jennifer enjoys supporting families and sharing knowledge with parents and professionals alike.

Jennifer Miller (B.A.-Doane University, M.A.-University of Nebraska-Lincoln)
Assistant Executive Director and Outreach Coordinator for School-Age Children at PTI Nebraska


Conference Schedule

8:30-9:00       Registration Sign-In

9:00-9:15       Kids & Dreams Welcome

9:15-10:00     Alex Plank (Keynote Speaker) - "My Personal Story"

10:00-11:00    Matt McNiff - "What Do I Do If They Don't: Behavior Strategies Everyone Should Know"

11:00-11:15    Break

11:15-12:00    Alex Plank-"Dating from the Autism Perspective"

12:00-12:45    Lunch

12:45-1:45      Jennifer Miller - "Rebuilding Dreams"

1:45-2:30        Melissa Kimmerling - “Making Sensory Strategies Part of Your Child’s Day”

2:30-2:45        Break

2:45-3:45        Matt McNiff - "Hey, I'm Part of the Team Too: Enhancing Communication with All Team Members"

3:45-4:00        Thank You - Q&A with Speakers

Conference Sponsors

Previous Autism Conference Pictures

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Kids & Dreams Foundation


Kids & Dreams Foundation



The Kids & Dreams Foundation was founded in November 2013. 

The Kids & Dreams Foundation provides support to children of all ages and their families dealing with autism, bullying and other challenges faced by today's children. We seek to enrich the lives of the kids by locating and providing the resources that will help each reach their full potential in life.

The foundation will introduce you to...

  • Importance of your child's diet
  • Neurofeedback & other therapy services
  • MAPS Doctors
  • Biomedical possibilities & treatments
  • Anti-Bullying programs
  • Social Stories
  • Other Autism & Bullying services

By providing….

  • Assistance
  • Resources
  • Educational Conferences
  • Financial Support
 
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Autism


Autism


Aaron's Story


My wife, Kerri, and I have adopted five children. Trae, our middle child, has autism. He was developmentally delayed and did not walk or talk until he was 2 ½. At the age of three, he was diagnosed as being on the Autism Spectrum. Over the next couple years, Trae began a variety of therapies to help him progress and develop. It was during this time, Trae began having intense meltdowns and pulling his hair out, which was very out of character from his laid back personality.  His pediatrician at the time told us Trae was the way he was, and that he would not change.  Well, that was not good enough for us!  After researching, we decided to remove dairy products from his diet.  One day later, Trae was a completely different child.  We were concerned about what he would eat because he was very picky. Dairy was the majority of what he ate; however, this dramatic change gave us the incentive to continue.  He is still dairy free at 10 years of age.  A couple years later, we attended a seminar about autism and nutrition. This was very timely for us because we were considering removing gluten from his diet as well. This seminar also educated us on the biomedical approach to treating autism. We were able to find a doctor that had several hundred autistic patients. We made the appointment and decided on a variety of biomedical tests, which would show allergies and food intolerances, allow the doctor to determine what vitamins and supplements his body needed, and to monitor his intestinal tract and treat accordingly.  Since we began this journey, Trae has made leaps and bounds! He is now in the fifth grade and doing excellent academically, interacting better socially, and sees the world in a refreshingly different way. The combination of therapy services, diet, and biomedical treatment has helped Trae blossom into the kid he is today!


 
 
 

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Bullying


Bullying


Amy's Story


My son, Peyton, was nine years old before he was diagnosed as being autistic.  At age five and prior to the diagnosis, I drove him to therapy weekly (two hours round trip), so he could receive hippotherapy, occupational, and physical therapy to address his sensory needs.  These services were not covered through insurance.  I was a single mother at the time, and due to lack of funds, they only lasted one summer. Since preschool, Peyton had been receiving physical and occupational therapy. Our family moved when he was in 2nd grade, and the new school would no longer provide these services to my son.  Even after the diagnosis of autism, he was not able to receive the services because he did not qualify.  As Peyton entered the fourth grade, he began to report being bullied at school.  This was discussed with staff and administration, and they seemed to be trying to help take care of the situation.  When the administration changed at the school, the bullying worsened in fifth grade after his diagnosis of high-functioning autism.  Peyton entered middle school where the bullying only increased.  He had chronic stomach aches, did not want to attend school, and withdrew even more.  The school responded to the bullying by having him be bused home early each day.  We have since moved to a new town. Peyton is now 15 and in the ninth grade, where he is thriving and doing very well.  He now receives physical therapy each week and is improving.  He enjoys school and is no longer bullied.  The school is receptive to his needs and does everything they can to ensure Peyton is safe and ready to learn. 

 

Resources


Resources


Autism Research Institute

The Autism Research Institute's mission is to meet the needs of the global autism community through research, networking, education, and support for families and people of all ages on the autism spectrum. 

Autism Society Of America

Provides information, education, supporting research, programs, and services for the autism community. More than 50,000 members and supporters are connected through a working network of nearly 200 chapters nationwide.

EnzymeStuff

This independent site is for education and information about digestive enzymes. There is a large need to provide practical and general information on enzyme therapy for a wide range of uses.

Gluten Free Casein Free (GFCF) Diet

The Gluten Free Casein Free (GFCF) Diet is one of the very first recommendations for children diagnosed with autism. This is because many of the children lack the [dpp4] enzyme that allows them to break down gluten (proteins in wheat) and casein (proteins in dairy). This can cause poor attention, odd behavior, a deficit in socialization skills and poor speech. Consequently, when gluten- and casein-based foods are removed improved behavior, better attention, at times improved speech and an increase in socialization skills can follow.

Medical Academy of Pediatric Special Needs (MAPS)

Inspired by the late Bernard Rimland, PhD., a leader in the biomedical movement, MAPS embodies his vision and direction of physician education and development in the field of ASD care. 

Special Eats

Special Eats to assist others on the healthy path toward embracing gluten and dairy free living. The site is designed to help educate and enable people to find delicious recipes.

Autism Hope Alliance

The Autism Hope Alliance embodies hope for families facing the diagnosis of Autism through education, financial support and volunteerism. It is the first non-profit foundation for Autism to emerge from the natural foods industry.

Talk About Curing Autism

Beginning in 2000, TACA began providing support services to Californians. In 2007, TACA expanded its services throughout the United States. 95% of what TACA offers to families affected by autism is free.

EEG Education & Research Inc

EEG Biofeedback is a learning strategy that enables persons to alter their brain waves. When information about a person’s own brain wave characteristics is made available to him, he can learn to change them. You can think of it as exercise for the brain.

Pediatric Therapy Center

Pediatric Therapy Center was started by two occupational therapists with a passion for helping children with special needs gain confidence and autonomy through physical, occupational, aquatic, and speech and language therapy. Candice Mullendore and Stephanie Adam drew on their vast experience in outpatient, inpatient, and school-based services to help children with special needs, developmental delays, and a variety of other diagnoses including Asperger’s Syndrome, autism, Down syndrome, ADD, and ADHD reach their fullest potential. After years of practice, they saw a great need for a pediatric based therapy center in Omaha that specialized in the unique needs of children. Their vision became a reality in 2008 when Mullendore and Adam opened Pediatric Therapy Center, one convenient location offering occupational, physical, and speech therapy.

StopBullying.Gov

Bullying is unwanted, aggressive behavior among school aged children that involves a real or perceived power imbalance. The behavior is repeated, or has the potential to be repeated, over time. Both kids who are bullied and who bully others may have serious, lasting problems

No Bully

No Bully’s mission is to bring innovative, sustainable solutions to bullying and harassment in schools. No Bully® is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization.  It began in San Francisco in 2003 as a collaboration of educators, psychologists and lawyers committed to preventing the current generation of students from enduring the bullying that they experienced when they were in school. Today, No Bully is helping schools in California and across the nation - from Hawaii to Delaware - stop bullying and transform into learning communities which are inclusive of everybody. 

PTI Nebraska

PTI Nebraska is a statewide resource for families of children with disabilities or special health care needs.  PTI Nebraska empowers parents and provides them the knowledge and capacity to improve the education and healthcare outcomes for their children.

Children's Rehab Center

Children’s Rehab Center is committed to providing outstanding care for children in combination with their primary care providers, daycare, school and community services. We are a medically based facility offering 2 locations in Grand Island and Hastings, NE. The Children’s Rehab Center offers Physical, Occupational and Speech Therapy to children on an intensive one-on-one basis. The therapy sessions are designed to allow children to play and have fun while working on developing functional abilities. At Children’s Rehab Center, we believe that children are sensory motor individuals needing complete body involvement and concrete interaction with their environment to maximize learning and mastery of skills. We are designed to assist individuals with developmental disabilities become more independent with mobility, self-help skills, fine motor, communication, vocational tasks and community skills. 

The Spectrum Center

The Spectrum Center for Autism offers behavior therapy services based on the principles of Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA). We are currently serving families in Kearney and the surrounding areas.

 

I said to the child, reach for the stars. The child replied, I am the star filled with wonder and possibility.
— Dan Wilkins