Navigating the world of intellectual and developmental disability (I/DD) services is never easy, but ADAPT Community Network aims to simplify it with our annual Virtual Family Connect Summit. The day-long virtual summit consists of five easy-to-understand informational sessions, each led by I/DD experts and tailored to assist families of people with disabilities.
This year’s summit took place on Thursday, October 5th, 2023, and kicked off with a panel discussion titled, “The Future of Healthcare for People with Disabilities.” During this session, the experts discussed how the healthcare field can better serve patients with disabilities. Shaniqua Freeman, a self-advocate and person supported by ADAPT, specifically stressed the need for accessible exam rooms where her wheelchair can move and turn comfortably.
Other sessions included “Addressing Parents’ Fears of Early Childhood Education,” which implored parents to take advantage of disability services early in their child’s life to set them up for success. Next, a session titled “Preserve Benefits and Protect Funds to Enhance Quality of Life” discussed the changes to Medicaid and SSI benefits and the different ways people with disabilities can save money without impacting their benefits.
The following session, entitled “Adulting: Effectively Preparing Individuals with ASD,” gave parents tips on helping their children with ASD develop the skills they need to enter the adult world. Finally, “The Power of Peer Support for Siblings of People with Disabilities” specifically addressed the experiences of siblings of people with disabilities. It explained how they can connect with and advocate for their brothers and/or sisters with disabilities during their childhood, teen years, and adulthood.
After the day’s last session was complete, Edward Matthews, CEO of ADAPT, thanked all the speakers for participating in the Family Connect Summit and all those who contributed to making this program a success.
“It is our pleasure always to do all that we can to help the people of the city of New York and beyond to navigate the service system from birth through elder care,” said Matthews.
Tracy Pickar, Vice President of Family Support Services who organized the Summit with the Family Support Services team discussed new developments to the conference, “We are continuously looking for ways to best meet the needs of those we support. After reviewing feedback from last year’s participant surveys, we made it our priority to include new topic areas based on the suggestions made.” Pickar continued, “We were also happy we were able to make the conference more interactive this year, offering additional sessions for participants to ask questions and learn more about programs and resources that are available to them and their loved ones. “
This year, a record number of 1,026 people registered for the summit. Participants were sent a survey asking feedback on the events, and the response was overwhelmingly positive. “This event was put together very well; it was very informative and made very complex topics easier to understand,” said one respondent. Many others echoed this sentiment, even sometimes asking for an expansion of the summit to include more workshops.
If you missed the Summit or would like to review the material, recordings are available here with subtitles in English, Spanish, and simplified Chinese. Thanks to the organizers, panelists, sponsors, and all who attended for making the Summit a success!
If you have any questions about ADAPT’s services or general questions relating to I/DD services, please contact Project Connect, ADAPT’s information and referral service for people with disabilities and their family members and loved ones. You can email Project Connect at email@example.com or call (877) 827-2666.