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  • Jumpstarting my Brain at the DEC Conference(current)

Our training team has just returned from attending the DEC’s International Conference in Minneapolis this week and boy, did it jumpstart my brain! So many thoughts swirling around in there related to using video on intervention visits, collaborating with colleagues in other states, and building professional development resources for our providers here in VA! More to come on these swirling ideas!

Our Pre-Conference Workshop – We’re All in this Together

On Sunday, we presented a pre-conference workshop entitled “Developing Family-Centered Outcomes for Effective Implementation: From Vision to Practice.” We were fortunate to have a small group of EI providers and administrators from states such as Iowa, WVA, California, and Utah join us to talk about developing good IFSP outcomes. The similarities across states in the issues we are all dealing with was fascinating. We are all working on developing routines-based IFSP outcomes (instead of skill or service driven outcomes), using family-centered practices during visits, moving away from a medical model of service delivery, dealing with the reality of financial constraints, etc. What I gained from this group, other than some great ideas, is a sense that we are all trying to do the best we can by children and families. We hope they gained a few new strategies to take back to their states to improve their IFSPs!

My Breakout Session – A Room FULL of Like-Minded People

Conference Room with Screen ProjectionFinally, I had the great opportunity to present a breakout session entitled “Bridging the GapBetween Visits: Linking Adult Learning, Coaching, and Early Intervention” to a huge group of EI folks. Probably somewhere around 100 people joined the discussion. It was a fantastic group, with folks even plopping on the floor when seats ran out!  It’s always such a pleasure to be in a room full of like-minded people! The energy in the room was so inspiring because here we had a group of folks committed to reflecting on their practices and growing as EI providers.  I was honored to have the opportunity to share information about topics that are dear to me with folks who were so interested to learn! Michelle Gatmaitan from Kent State (an instructor there and fellow doc student) snapped a few photos of my session and posted them on the Ohio DEC site. I’ve posted one here – thanks Michelle! Check out more photos from the conference here.

Jumpstarting my Brain and Growing our Work

I love the jumpstart that comes from attending a conference like this! Of course I’m biased, but professional development is so important to evolving and improving our work and is essential to growing the resources we have in VA. What we shared and learned at DEC will help us build on our work from the great ideas we gained and the connections we made with colleagues in other states. We have lots of exciting projects coming this year from the training team related to coaching, orienting new staff, baby brain research, communication development, and implementing evidence-based practices. It’s going to be an exciting year!

There’s nothing like a great conference to jumpstart the brain and get you inspired! I can’t wait for next year’s conference! Visit the DEC’s conference website for next years’ call for proposals and more info.

4 comments on “Jumpstarting my Brain at the DEC Conference

  • Cori Hill says:

    What a great analogy to “jumpstart your brain!” I, too, came away from DEC excited and energized. As we talk with other states, the similarities are striking! The opportunity to work across our geographic boundaries will be SO beneficial.

    And…Dana was a true “HIT!”

    • Yes, the similiarities in what we are all striving to do and struggling with across states struck me too. It was reassuring that we are all on the path together. It was also great to hear what others are doing to move forward on things like writing meaningful outcomes and using recommended practices with families. That’s one of the best benefits of attending a conference like this – the networking and new ideas!

  • Patty Eitemiller says:

    This was my seventh year in a row attending DEC and one of the main reasons I attend is just that…to jump start my brain and get a little reenergized! Over the years I’ve always enjoyed hearing what other states are doing and just having the opportunity to have conversations with other EI providers like myself from across the country. Since my days are often so crazy rushing from one visit to the next, I find that it’s so easy to just stuck in my bubble, so having a few days to explore, learn and get my brain moving in a different direction (which DEC has always provided) is priceless.


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