The Association for Successful Parenting (TASP) proudly presents the

2019 Chance to Parent Conference

Turning the Tide : Improving Outcomes with Inclusive & Interdisciplinary Practices

October 28-29, 2019 in Seattle, WA

Over the past decade much has been discovered about parenting with learning differences and/or intellectual disabilities. As more has been learned through research and practice, policy and practice has shifted in positive ways.

The TASP 2019 Chance to Parent Conference offers social workers, legal professionals, policy makers, researchers, direct service providers, parents, and others, an opportunity to learn about new and innovative practice, policy and research taking place at local, state, national and international levels.

The conference will include plenary sessions highlighting inclusive and interdisciplinary practices to create positive outcomes for families. Sessions will focus on a wide range of topics, including the application of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) in relation to child welfare cases.

Through a parent panel presentation, breakout sessions, keynote presentations, and a reception, attendees will be able to share knowledge and network among a broad scope of stakeholders,  gaining knowledge and connections that can be applied across all disabilities.

Save the Date flier: TASP 2019 Conference

Schedule of Events

Monday 10/28/19 Tuesday 10/29/19
8:00 – 9:00 Breakfast Breakfast
8:00 – 9:00 Registration Registration
9:00 – 9:15
Keynote Address
Welcome Welcome
9:15-10:00 Monika Mitra, PhD
Monkia is the director and associate professor at the Lurie Institute for Disability Policy at the Heller School for Social Policy and Management at Brandeis University.
Ivanova Smith
Ivanova is a Self-Advocate leader in Washington State. They work as an activist advocate for Atwork! and University of Washington LEND program Self Advocacy Faculty.
10:00 – 10:15 Break Break
Breakout 1
Virginia Cruz and Julie Clockston
Introducing TASP’s Nationwide Curriculum for Professionals Working with Parents with ID

Carla Carter and Molly Burgdorf
Promoting the Rights of Parents with Disabilities:  How Do the ADA and Section 504 Apply to Child Welfare Practices*

Tom Robinson
Reflections on Providing Direct Services to Parents Who Have Intellectual Disabilities in Isolated Communities

Susan Yuan and Bernadette Irwin
Successes & Challenges Working with Parents with ID and the Systems that Support Them

Lisa Simmons, Lori Wathen  and Janet Wilson
Supporting Parents and Providers in their Moment of Need


Nicole Brisson
Toward the Fair and Equitable Assessment of Parents with Intellectual Disabilities*


12:00 – 1:30 Lunch at Marriott Lunch on your own
1:30 – 3:15
Breakout 2
Deborah Bluestein, Janet Vogt, and Alicia Gonen
Supporting Parents with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (IDD) – A Canadian Perspective

Liz Lightfoot and Sharyn DeZelar
Parent Centered Planning: Adapting the Person-Centered Planning Model to Help Parents Plan for Parenting


Leah Salerno
Advocating with parents when the State is involved *

Annie-Claude Villeneuve
Exploring innovative practices to support parents with intellectual disabilities: what about using technological devices?

Lise Schellman and Linzy Jones
Pearl Buck Preschool and Family Supports Programs


Traci LaLiberte
Gaps in Child Welfare Training Impacting Parents With IDD

3:15 – 3:30 Break Break
3:30-5:00 Parent Panel: Nothing About Us Without Us
Despite the popularization of the slogan, “Nothing about us without us!” as a reminder that people with disabilities know what is best for themselves, decisions are being made for parents with disabilities all the time without consideration of their thoughts, beliefs, wants, or needs. Parents on this panel will offer thoughtful, revealing, and sometimes heart wrenching descriptions of their personal journeys. Gain insight from their struggles and successes and leave with a new perspective on what it means to be a parent with a disability and how you can help.
Breakout 3

Catherine Wade (video presentation)
Perspectives from Australia: Who are parents with intellectual disabilities in Australia and how are they being supported?

Coalition Building Workshop: Make Change Happen
The over-representation of parents with disabilities involved in child welfare is a problem that is too difficult for any single organization to address alone. Collaborative efforts are sorely needed to solve this seemingly intractable issue. This workshop provides guidance for coalition building, including identifying allies, breaking down silos, and mobilizing the community. This action-orient workshop will help participants find creative ways to bridge gaps in services as identified by parents themselves and will offer strategies for sustainability.

The schedule is still being finalized and is subject to change.

*Indicates the presentation is geared towards parents/self-advocates and professionals

The 2019 Alexander J. Tymchuk Awards Presented at the 2019 TASP International Conference

These awards were handed out at the TASP 2019 Conference in honor of Dr. Tymchuk, Emeritus Professor of Psychiatry, UCLA School of Medicine.  Dr. Tymchuk was a pioneer in the field of supporting parents with intellectual disabilities.  These awards honored individuals who have demonstrated excellence in their work in supporting parents with intellectual disabilities and other learning difficulties at the 2019 TASP International Conference – Turning the Tide:  Improving Outcomes With Inclusive and Interdisciplinary Practices.

The 2019 recipients of the 2019 Alexander J. Tymchuk Awards were:

LEADER for her vision, dedication, advocacy and leadership in the field of supporting parents with intellectual disabilities

EMERGING LEADER for her vision, dedication, advocacy and leadership in the field of supporting parents with intellectual disabilities

CHAMPION for his vision, leadership and guidance to the TASP Board of Directors as they explore the advancement of their Mission

The Carrie Ann Lucas Disability Rights Legal Advocate Award for her vision, dedication, advocacy and leadership in on-going systems change and best practices for parents with disabilities


Below is a brief overview of the accomplishments of each Award Winner.

Dr. Susan Yuan (Susan) – LEADER AWARD

Dr. Yuan is retired Professor Emerita from the University of Vermont – many of those years as a member of Vermont’s University Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities, Center on Disabilities and Community Inclusion.

Dr. Yuan is the owner of Yuan Associates, LLC.  Contracts include external evaluations of Family Support projects in the state of Georgia and the territory of Guam; training for Saipan, South Dakota, Georgia, Oklahoma, Delaware, Michigan, Pennsylvania, preparing materials for Open Doors for Multicultural Families, Seattle, consulting and training with Vermont Child Welfare Training Partnership, 2009 to present.

She also serves as a member of the Parenting Assessment Team with Save Haven Associates to do Competency-Based Parenting Assessments for use in court hearings.

Dr. Yuan has 24 Professional Appointments that include:

  • Invited Participant, White House Summit on the Rights of Parents with Disabilities, August 2016
  • Consultant to US Department of Justice and the Office of Civil Rights, Health and Human Services, helping prepare technical assistance guidance for child welfare agencies around serving parents with intellectual disabilities, 2015
  • External Evaluator, VI Federation of Families for Children’s Mental Health, 2016-present

Susan is current Peer Reviewer for the following Journals:

  • Journal of Public Child Welfare
  • Child and Youth Services Review
  • Rural Special Education Quarterly

Susan has authored and co-authored numerous publications; she is active in several National and International Professional Organizations and lastly Susan serves on many organizations governing bodies for organizations that include the University of Vermont, the state of Vermont and National and International Boards and Committees.

Susan was one of the founders of THE ASSOCIATION FOR SUCCESSFUL PARENTING and served as President for the past three years.

Susan is definitely deserving of the ALEXANDER J TYMCHUK LEADERAwardfor her vision, dedication, advocacy and leadership in the field of supporting parents with intellectual disabilities.


Betsy for the past two years has been the Program Manager for The United Arc’s Positive Parenting Program. She oversees the day to day operation of one of the agencies satellite offices in Holyoke MA.  She supervises 7 staff and oversee and management’ services for  40 + parents through referrals from 3 different Department of Children and Families offices. Through her hard work referrals have increased allowing the program to be available to more families. Through her work with each of the offices she has increased the awareness of social workers of the needs of families headed by a parent with an intellectual disabilities or other learning difficulties.

Betsy as sister of an individual with I.D. has a strong commitment to all individuals living with a disability be given the opportunity to live their lives to the fullest and not be limited by their diagnoses. Regarding parents, Betsy has been involved in the early TASP conferences and facilitating parenting groups for parents with I.D.  She was an integral member of the team for several conferences for professionals and parents held within MA.

Betsy day to day work is fulling the mission of TASP. She oversees in home parent education, supervised visitations, and parent education groups. Her offices is the first within our service area that is receiving funding from The Department of Developmental Disabilities funding an ongoing parenting group.

Betsy has given presentation throughout the state of MA. Presentations have included UMASS/Amherst, New Social Worker Training for Department of Children and Families, The Department of Disability Services and local community programs. She has recently been nominated to The Association for Successful Parenting Board.

Through her work with the DCF offices Betsy works tirelessly on ensuring the families she works with are given a chance to demonstrate their parenting abilities and not be judged on the assumption of incompetence.

Throughout her day to day work and training of her own staff, community staff, workshops across the State, Betsy is a strong voice for parents and their families.

Betsy’s role is changed over the years. She is now in a management role and is known throughout her service area as a strong champion for parents and families. She is emerging as a leader in the state of MA when working with parents with disabilities. She is also part of a committee in MA working with Department of Developmental Disabilities on developing a conference across agencies on how to best support parents.

NICOLE BRISSON (Nikki) – The Carrie Ann Lucas Disability Rights Legal Advocate Award

Nikki has become the recognized “national expert” on parenting assessment for parents with intellectual and other disabilities.  She first became interested in the early 2000’s when she requested an assessment for a family she served in her role as case manager with a developmental service agency. She then participated in training with Maurice Feldman and partnered with me in the creation of the Vermont Parenting Assessment Team.  She formed her own company, Sagehaven LLC, and the quality and fairness of her assessments has resulted in her leadership in the field, training several others to conduct these assessments. Her work on the Sara Gordon case, resulted in that case extending the application of the ADA further over parenting.  She worked with Carla Carter to give input into the 2015 guidance to child welfare agencies from the Office of Civil Rights of Health and Human Services.

Nikki was instrumental in the resolution of the ground-breaking Sara Gordon case in MA, was i was invited and participated in the President’s Summit on the Rights of Parents with Disabilities under President Obama, and this year, 2019, was chosen to be a Fellow of AAIDD in recognition of her service to people with intellectual disabilities and to parents with disabilities.

In addition to her assessment work, Nikki served as Clinical Director of NCSS, her local Developmental Service agency, and provided counseling services for individuals and families.  Nikki also has served on the Human Rights Committee for Developmental Services in Vermont, where she upholds the ethical treatment of people with disabilities.

In addition to advancing the field for the protection of rights of parents with disabilities, Nikki has served on the board of directors of TASP, where she chairs the Education Committee.  She is chairing the Conference Committee and is largely responsible for the quality of the 2019 conference held in Seattle.

Nicole has also served people with intellectual disabilities who have co-occuring mental health concerns.  Her advocacy for their rights is both effective and unending!


Aaron met with the TASP Board of Directors and stakeholders in the summer of 2017 to facilitate the exploration of how TASP could best serve parents with disabilities.

The TASP Board of Directors once again come together for a one-day retreat before the 2019 TASP International Conference and Aaron graciously agreed to facilitate this TASP Futures Action Planning Day.

We are very pleased that we have Aaron’s experience, skills and knowledge to lead us in this important endeavor.

Aaron’s professional experience includes:

  • Association of University Centers on Developmental Disabilities.
  • Executive Director of the National Council on Disabilities — Aaron was the Executive Director of the National Council on Disabilities when the ground-breaking report           ROCKING THE CRADLE; ENSURING THE RIGHTS OF PARENTS WITH DISABILITIES AND THEIR CHILDREN was written and submitted to the President and Congress (2012)
  • Commissioner — Administration on Disabilities within the Administration for Community Living (ACL) at the U.S. DHHS

Currently, Aaron is Associate Executive Director, Public Interest Government Relations at American Psychological Association

Aaron is certainly TASP CHAMPION for his vision, leadership and guidance to the TASP Board of Directors as they explore the advancement of their Mission.