Continuing Education
Endless Possibilities

Endless Possibilities Virtual Conference 2020: A Closer Look at Invisible Disabilities

Save the date: Friday, August 6, 2021  

Check back soon for MORE 2021 details!

Questions or need help on the day of the event? Please call 262-472-3165 or email

Conference for educators, parents, and others to gain information related to special education, family supports and mental health. Sponsored by WI FACETS - Wisconsin Family Assistance Center for Education, Training & Support, Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction, UW-Whitewater and Southern Regional Center - CYSHCN.

Sessions Include:

  • Communicating About Hidden Disabilities: Tips and Tools
  • NAMI Mental Health & Verbal De-escalation Training
  • Compassion Resilience
  • Breaking the Phonics Code for Struggling Readers
  • Basics of Autism within Special Education
  • Making Sure Your 504 Plan is Not Invisible
  • Supporting Neurodiversity
  • Success Stories Panel
  • A Comprehensive Approach to Bullying Prevention: Creating Supportive and Responsive Environments to Address Bullying

Date:  Friday, August 7, 2020 | 8:20 a.m. - 1:30 p.m.

Register Online Closed

Registrations accepted online has been extended to 8/6/20, at noon.  We do NOT accept day of registrations.

Conference Registration: $20

CEU: Additional $15 fee (optional)

Fees Include

Fee covers instruction.   The CEU fee includes Continuing Education Units.  

Course Credit

Current UW-Whitewater Graduate students seeking graduate credit please contact Shannon Stuart before registering at  Non UW-Whitewater students seeking graduate credit please contact Carrie Lencho before registering at

Parent Scholarships

Parent scholarships are available to cover conference registration.  Contact Lori Karcher with questions or 414-374-4645.


No refunds for this event.

Keynote Session: Navigating Unfamiliar Spaces with an Invisible Disability

Christina Irene

Christine Irene

Christina Irene is a diversity and empowerment author and speaker who teaches invisible disabilities awareness for corporations, colleges and community groups. Previously, she was a high school English and theatre teacher, with a background in show business. Her travels have taken her to all 50 states and 20 countries, contributing to her passion to empower everyone to not only be ourselves, but to be the best version of ourselves – independent, inspired and making remarkable contributions to our communities and the world.

Title Presenter Description

Keynote: Navigating Unfamiliar Spaces with an Invisible Disability

Christina Irene

This keynote begins with overview of the range and nature of hidden disabilities, then steps behind the scenes with profiles of real people navigating school, work, and life with chronic conditions. There is a special focus on what disability is like “away from home,” leading into the topic of universal design and touching upon intersectionality. Ultimately, discover new ways to support, advocate, communicate, and create inclusive environments through this “light approach to a heavy topic.”

1A: Communicating about Hidden Disabilities: Tips and Tools

Christina Irene

Take a deeper dive into how to communicate with people with invisible disabilities in ways that are supportive and foster self-advocacy. Get hands-on practice with a new system of communication and its easy tools that optimize understanding, encourage success, and help you help!

1B: NAMI Mental Health & Verbal De-escalation Training

Jake King, NAMI Dane County (National Alliance on Mental Illness)

Training on the signs and symptoms of mental illnesses, how to recognize the early warning signs, and available support services in the community. This workshop also provides scenarios that offer specific techniques to help deescalate a mental health crisis.

1C: Compassion Resilience

Sarah J. Reed. Rogers Health and WISE

Imagine a consistently caring culture in your school or organization; one where, each day students/clients and staff are able to make the transition from home and community into the school/organization environment and demonstrate a high level of compassion for each other. In this presentation, learn about a flexibly implemented set of individual, small group and whole staff activities to build compassion resilience and stave off burn-out.

2A: Breaking the Phonics Code for Struggling Readers

Amy C. Stevens, UW - Whitewater

Struggling readers most frequently lack the strong neural connections required to associate sounds of language with printed symbols. This results in delayed and deficient reading for students with Learning Disabilities and Dyslexia. With intensive intervention, struggling readers can develop this foundational reading skill of phoneme/grapheme association. In this session, practical strategies to facilitate word segmentation and decoding skills will be taught.

2B: Mental Illness and Support

Anna Moffit, NAMI Dane County (National Alliance on Mental Illness)

This presentation covers the basics of mental illness. You will learn what it IS and IS NOT, common causes of mental health issues, how to support and communicate with a loved one experiencing mental health challenges, and addressing what self-care is.

2C: Basics of Autism Within Special Education

Jessica Nichols, CESA 5, and Eva Shaw, WI DPI

This session will familiarize participants with characteristics of autism spectrum disorder and its connection to special education services. Participants will be walked through the process from comprehensive evaluation to the creation of an IEP. Resources will be provided so that participants can continue their learning around strategies that are supportive to people with neurological differences.

3A: Making Sure Your 504 Plan is Not Invisible

Monica Murphy, Disability Rights Wisconsin

What do you do when a student needs accommodations for a disability, but does not require special education? This session will discuss when a 504 plan is appropriate, what rules apply, what it might include, and how to make sure it does not become invisible.

3B: Supporting Neurodiversity

Jessica Nichols, CESA 5

This session aims to serve educators and families supporting children with disability-related needs, in the area of social and emotional learning (SEL). The goal of this session is to give an intro to skill-based approaches to challenging behaviors that will improve social understanding and self-management of neurodiverse students. Learning opportunities with a focus on self-regulation, social communication, flexibility, resilience, sensory processing, and executive functioning will be provided.

3C: Success Stories Panel

Al Schultz, Jeremiah Swisher, Britt Van Asbach, Nicki Vander Meulen

We have all been guilty at times of focusing on what people with disabilities cannot do. Our presenters will share their stories of hard work and self-advocacy as they journey toward success in school, work and community participation.

Learning Objectives: Participants will learn how individuals with diverse needs advocate for themselves and others as they deal with challenges presented by their disabilities.

Participants will learn how families, educators and other professionals can effectively support individuals with disabilities lead productive and self-determined lives.

3D: A Comprehensive approach to Bullying Prevention: Creating Supportive and Responsive Environments to Address Bullying

Beth Herman, WI DPI

Bullying is a prevalent behavior. Nearly a quarter of students surveyed on the 2019 YRBS reported being bullied on school property. Addressing bullying is challenging for schools and can be frustrating for parents and students. Being involved in a bullying situation increases risks for negative outcomes for all students involved; the bully, the bullied and the bystander. Addressing bullying requires a comprehensive approach that includes prevention and climate building strategies as well as clear and consistent adult responses. This session will clarify what bullying is, how schools can develop comprehensive approaches to preventing bullying and recommendations for responding to reports of bullying.

Confirmation Emails

Once you register a confirmation email will be sent to your email account. Contact if you do not receive this confirmation email. Historically email accounts used from and are blocked from receiving notifications from us or may end up in your spam folder. You are able to register using these accounts; however, you will not receive emails from us. Please make sure you have a working email address on file with us to be able to receive important announcements and updates about this event.

Questions asked:

  • Name, address, email
  • Participant Type
  • Parents - What is the age of your child (optional)
  • Parents - What is the disability of your child (optional)
  • Company
  • School district with which you are connected (work or home district)
  • Race/Ethnicity (optional)
  • I understand the refund policy
  • How did you hear about this event
  • I have met all the minimal technology requirements to participate in this event
  • I understand CES is not responsible for troubleshooting technology software; other than the registration system software

What You Will Need to Attend

  • A computer, tablet, or smartphone
  • A reliable internet connection 
  • If you have an external microphone or webcam, plan to use them, but these are not required.

Web Ex will be the hosting platform for this event.  All sessions will be recorded.  Meeting links for joining your select sessions will be available a week prior to the event.  We will email you and provide the link to access sessions.   We will be tracking registrants attendance and providing to WI FACETS. Tracking will include a list of those that attended a session and how long they were in attendance.

Beth Herman is an Educational Consultant with the Wisconsin Department of Instruction and is a member of the Student Services/Prevention and Wellness Team. She is currently supporting state-wide implementation of Youth Mental Health First Aid, the School-based Mental Health Services Grant and Social and Emotional Learning at the department. Beth served as the state Coordinator of the Safe Schools Healthy Students grant from 2013-2017. As a school psychologist for over 20 years, she provided training and implementation support for teachers in classroom management, bullying prevention, and social and emotional learning.

  Christina Irene is a diversity and empowerment author and speaker who teaches invisible disabilities awareness for corporations, colleges, and community groups. Previously, she was a high school English and theatre teacher, with a background in show business. Her travels have taken her to all 50 states and 20 countries, contributing to her passion to empower everyone to not only be ourselves, but to be the best versions of ourselves – independent, inspired, and making remarkable contributions to our communities and the world.

  Jake King is the Program and Outreach Coordinator for NAMI Dane County. He is responsible for coordinating the educational and support programming for the affiliate that are provided for individuals impacted by mental health issues."

  Anna Moffit is the Executive Director of NAMI Dane County, the founding chapter of the National Alliance on Mental Illness. Prior to her work at NAMI Dane County, Anna served on the Madison Metropolitan School District's Board of Education and always worked as a Parent Peer Specialist at Wisconsin Family Ties.

 Monica Murphy is an attorney with over thirty years of experience representing people in civil rights, employment, and discrimination matters.  As an attorney with Disability Rights Wisconsin she represents people with disabilities in a variety of civil rights matters including special education, employment, housing, and transportation. She advocates for the rights and needs of people with disabilities both individually and with systems and public policy makers. She has spoken frequently on the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).  In addition, she has served as an adjunct professor in the Department of Special Education at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater, teaching special education law and theory.

  Jessica Nichols CESA 5

 Sarah Reed, PhD, is a Community Psychologist by training and the current Program and Evaluation Manager for Rogers InHealth, the education and advocacy department of Rogers Behavioral Health .Through InHealth, she works through partnerships to reduce the stigma associated with mental health challenges, trauma, and substance use. She is also the staff to the Wisconsin Initiative for Stigma Elimination (WISE), a state-wide coalition focused on building inclusion, support and hope for individuals and families living with mental health challenges.

 Al Schultz, Self-Advocate - I live in Waukesha. I am 21 years old. I love to bike around, play card games, and practice archery. I have a high-anxiety disorder, but do my best not to let that stop me from doing anything in life. I never really liked school, but it helped me get where I am. I am an employee at The Waukesha Food Pantry and Buffalo Wild Wings. I like my work, have made many friends, and feel wanted. And I get to make other people happy at work by showing them that someone cares about them, no matter what.

  Eva Shaw is an Education Consultant on the Special Education Team at the WI Department of Public Instruction. She has been working in the field of special education for over 25 years, in various roles and several states. Eva has served as a special education teacher, diagnostician and program support teacher, PBIS External Coach, NVCI instructor, and Special Education Supervisor. She has a strong passion for supporting students with social emotional needs and behavioral challenges, and with creating positive and proactive behavior interventions, the use of evidence-based practices, and functional behavioral assessments.

  Dr. Amy C. Stevens is Professor of Special Education and Department Chair at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater. Before teaching at university, she educated students with learning disabilities, intellectual disabilities, autism, fetal alcohol syndrome, and emotional and behavioral disorders and was an educational diagnostician. She teaches courses on learning disabilities and reading interventions and is trained as an Orton-Gillingham Reading Interventionist. She is the recipient of the 2019 COEPS Outstanding Service Award, 2018 SSEPC Nasim Dil Service Award, 2014 Inaugural John Rufus Williams Educational Trust Distinguished Lecturer, 2012 Audrey Z. McClellan Endowed Teacher of Distinction, and 2011 COEPS Outstanding Undergraduate Academic Advisor. Dr. Stevens has more than 20 publications to her name and many more refereed presentations on topics related to reading interventions, educational reform, and special education.

  Jeremiah Swisher is a very motivated young man with high-functioning Autism. He has a passion for learning and earned Bachelor’s degrees in Business Administration, General Management and Political Science at UW-Whitewater, followed by a Master’s degree in Public Administration and a certificate in Health Care Management from UW-Oshkosh. He is equally passionate about advocating for himself and others. He is a frequent presenter at conferences and has been asked to share his story with many diverse audiences of youth, families and professionals. He successfully completed two internships with national disability organizations which focus on improving independent living and employment outcomes, respectively, for people with disabilities. Jeremiah has worked for the last five years at the US Department of Veterans Affairs- Veterans Benefits Administration offices in Milwaukee. He has held several positions there and currently serves as a Financial Administrative Specialist.

  Britt Van Asbach graduated in May 2020 with a Master’s degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling at Mount Mary University in Milwaukee. As an individual with a learning and physical disability, Britt is a passionate advocate for youths with special needs and has turned that passion into activism in her local community. She serves as a member on the Wauwatosa Committee for Citizens with Disabilities and the WI Youth Leadership Forum Board of Directors Committee. She is an experienced presenter at self-advocacy workshops. Britt currently works part time at Total Spectrum Care, assisting low-income individuals, homeless families, and clients with various mental health issues and drug addiction issues. Her past and present professional experiences continue to aid her in conceptualizing and understanding the complex nature of trauma, addictions, and other co-occurring mental health disorders that often result in children and adults. Britt’s graduate coursework and training has fueled her interest specifically in grief, trauma, and bereavement as well as play therapy. She volunteered and worked in the past as a small group facilitator, family service coordinator, and a grief respite camp volunteer for grief and trauma-stricken children, teens, and families.

  Nicki Vander Meulen is a Juvenile attorney with a passion for special education law. When Nicki was elected to the Madison Metropolitan School District Board (MMSD) in 2017, she became the first autistic school board member in the United States. On the board she has fought to make MMSD more inclusive, reduce seclusion and restraint, and improve outcomes for all marginalized students. She is also the first school board member to visit every school in the district during her first term in office. Nicki experienced a lot of exclusion in school and learned from a very young age she would need to work harder than most to achieve her goals. With the help of her supportive parents she became and remains a dogged self-advocate. She has made it her mission in life to fight tirelessly for those who cannot fight for themselves. She is currently running for State Assembly in District 76.


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Please email Shannon Stuart at

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The University of Wisconsin-Whitewater is committed to equal opportunity in its educational programs, activities and employment policies, for all persons, regardless of race, color, gender, creed, religion, age, ancestry, national origin, disability, sexual orientation, political affiliation, marital status, Vietnam-era veteran status, parental status and pregnancy.

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