Conference Presentations

Pre-Conference Session

Changing Our Perspective on Indigenous People with a Disability
Oyate' Circle

South Dakota has nine Native American Reservations and six Tribal Vocational Rehabilitation Programs. There is also a high percent of Indigenous people who live off the Native American Reservations. This presentation will provide the audience with new and innovative approaches in working with Tribal members with disabilities and their family members.

Fall Conference Presentations

Rethinking how we Discuss Disability

Haley Moss

Stereotypes, stigmas, and notions of ableism can make disability a sensitive topic to discuss. Nuances in the language surrounding disabilities make the discussion even more difficult for non-disabled support professionals, friends, colleagues, and community members to join or to unlearn some of our existing biases. Too often, those best equipped to teach the language of disability — people with disabilities themselves — are silenced and unheard, rather than empowered to lead the conversation on disability inclusion in society. This session addresses our discomfort, gives tools to move forward, and aims to build a bridge between people with and without disabilities by facilitating effective, real conversation in a meaningful and productive way.

Redefining Neurodiversity at Work

Haley Moss

Neurodiversity at work is a growing trend, and adults on the autism spectrum are often the candidates recruited for these programs. Who is neurodivergent, and how can we support neurodivergent and autistic people as the future of work? This session aims to provide context about neurodiversity, the return to work and considerations for remote work, and the nuances surrounding and supporting neurodiversity at work, including why businesses should be hiring people on the spectrum, issues surrounding disclosure of a diagnosis, and ensuring a workplace is accessible. The session will also incorporate personal perspective as Haley is an openly autistic attorney.

Exploring Neighborhood & Community Resources in Discovery: How we can Dig a Little Deeper and Why it Matters!

Tricia Jones-Parkin

Participants will understand the importance of identifying resources and connections in a person's neighborhood and community and how it strengthens the Discovery and Customized Job Development process.

Adverse Childhood Experiences & Resiliency Interface Training

Tracy Palecek

This training covers the impact of trauma on the brain and how because of brain development training, behavior is greatly impacted. You will gain an understanding of the ACE study, brain science and epigenetics of trauma and how you can utilize this information in your work or community to help those impacted, build resiliency. You will learn how to respond to people in a trauma informed way and even how you can change agency systems to support greater outcomes with those you work with.

Innovative Services for Native American Youth with Disabilities

Oyate' Circle & Lakota Tech High School

This presentation will cover the support services at Lakota Tech High School and other unique and innovative methods of providing support services to Native American youth with disabilities.

Innovative Services for Native Independence Through Technology


This presentation will explore the possibilities of using digital assistants to gather unlimited information for home, school or work. Using digital assistants can also help someone communicate with family and friends. These smart devices can also be used to controls someone’s environment including lights, appliances, doors and an ever-growing list of other things in your home. Digital assistants can be used as an integral part of a security system for you and your family. Come and see how these universally designed products are being used to keep individuals with disabilities and the elderly independent and productive.

Employer Engagement: Building Stronger Business Relationships

Russell Thelin

Through the lens of service delivery to both participants with disabilities and the business community (the dual-customer approach), this training will focus on the essential elements of engaging with employers to build and sustain business relationships for long-term benefits to customers with disability, business customers, and the VR agency.

Bridging Discovery to Customized Job Development

Tricia Jones-Parkin

Participants will learn the importance of connecting discovery to customized job development. Strategies that can be implemented to improve the transition from discovery to job development will also be discussed.

Three Levels of Disclosure

Tracy Palecek

Communication is important for connection and trust building. What happens when our clients, kiddos or students share too much or even disclose abuse, neglect or other concerning issues? You will learn the 3 levels of disclosure and how to maintain healthy boundaries around communication. You will learn how to model this behavior to those you serve and help foster connection while maintaining professional roles. You will receive pre-made scripts to use in tough conversations and feel more confident in addressing, referring, and documenting incidents that occur. Best of all, you will feel more connected and respected to those you serve!

WINDMILLS: The Rumor Game

Kimberly Ludwig, Vicki Stewart, & Catherine Greseth

The WINDMILLS training is a disability awareness training program designed to change attitudinal barriers and create a new perspective on the skills and abilities of individuals. How many of you have heard rumors at work before? Join us for an interactive session that will illustrate how rumors can affect the employment and return to work for people with disabilities. Participants will also have an opportunity to learn about practical strategies for avoiding rumors that may arise when employing people with disabilities.

Challenging Ethical Thinking in Rehabilitation Pt. 1

Russell Thelin

In this part one of a “not your usual ethics presentation,” we will be looking at this topic specifically from a rehabilitation and related human services perspective. After a review of the foundational elements of ethics, the first 6 of 12 principles for sound integrity will be shared, inclusive of scenarios for discussion on how reputable professionals in rehabilitation can find themselves ethically compromised.

Customized Employment and Other Provider Initiatives

Tricia Jones-Parkin & SD Panel

Customized Employment has been present in various areas of South Dakota for over two years-let’s talk about how that’s going! This session will include an informal Q and A led by Jordan Trumbo from DRS and Tricia Jones-Parkin from Griffin Hammis and Associates to discuss what’s working, what’s not working, what questions everyone has, and what help or resources are still needed regarding CE services. Please come prepared to share successes, struggles, and any questions you have about Customized Employment. Information will also be shared on other Customized Employment and provider-related initiatives.

Calling All Hope Dealers! Everyone has a Story, Every Story Deserves Heroes

Hasan Davis

Hasan Davis will share his experience of often interrupted transitions through education, justice, and social support systems. Hasan was lucky to find that on his journey there were, within each system, outliers and resisters who found a way to engage, encourage and empower him. With the support of these “Hope Dealers,” Hasan was able to transcend his mounting list of “failures” to become an advocate for himself and eventually a champion for others experiencing difficult times.

Hasan will share some of the core strategies and creative thinking that his champions (Hope Dealers) employed to help him complete the “JD shuffle” going from Hasan Davis, Juvenile Delinquent to Hasan Davis, Juris Doctor. Come ready to celebrate, recharge and recommit to being the Hope Dealers that you are, the Heroes their stories deserve.

Pages from the Hope Dealers Handbook

Hasan Davis

Hasan believes that each person in the community has the opportunity, and the responsibility, to influence and change the way youth encounter the education, justice, and social service systems. With the help of courageous and committed “Hope Dealers” Hasan has managed to navigate many challenges and overcome major social, emotional, and physical challenges. Hasan will share the framework of the five strategies his personal champions (Hope Dealers) employed to help him complete the “JD shuffle” and go from Hasan Davis Juvenile Delinquent to Hasan Davis Juris Doctor.

Opening the Can of Worms: Digging Through the Dirt to Find the Right Winner

Dr. Thom Flamboe

What are the obstacles that we are facing with going back to school; masked or unmasked; making up for on-line education and possible further developmental delays; what about the parents- what do they need; do the people with whom we work need more and what would those needs be? Dr. Thom will facilitate discussion about these questions, the challenges we face, the roadblocks in the way, and the resources identified to accomplish a successful year. There may be no obvious answers, but we have each other and our abilities and talents to get started in the right direction.

Abuse, Neglect, and Exploitation of Vulnerable Adults

SD LTSS & Division of Criminal Investigation | Cassie Lindquist & Brett Spencer

This session will include a review of mandatory reporting of abuse, neglect and exploitation of elders and adults with disabilities. They will include discussion on what to look for, where to report, and what Division of Criminal Investigations and Adult Protective Services do when a report is received.

Challenging Ethical Thinking in Rehabilitation Pt. 2

Russell Thelin

In this part two of a “not your usual ethics presentation,” we will continue looking at this topic specifically from a rehabilitation and related human services perspective. In this session the second 6 of 12 principles for sound integrity will be shared, inclusive of scenarios for discussion on how reputable professionals in rehabilitation can find themselves ethically compromised.

Supporting Learners in the Classroom and Beyond

Tracy Palecek

This training dives deep into the often "high crisis" lives of many of our adult learners. We will explore the impact of trauma on the brain and this impacts learning. You will learn what research tells us about designing or modifying classroom interventions to maximize success. We will look at how to have difficult conversations, how to leverage Small Picture/Big Picture goal setting using the Charting the Lifecourse materials. We will offer an emotional regulation plan that can be used in a variety of ways. We will also touch on setting boundaries in the classroom that promote healthy social skills.

Let's Take a Breath for a Moment: Finding Ways to Take Care of Ourselves Before We Take Care of Others

Dr. Thom Flamboe

As human service providers, we are great at taking care of our clients, kids, and others. But as Jimmy Valvano, former basketball Coach of North Carolina State, was fond of saying - "Every day you have to think a little, cry a little, and laugh a little, every day. And when you do all three, you've got one heck of a day!" Dr. Thom is going to try to have all of us have one of Jimmy V’s "one heck of a day". Come prepared!!

Jobs for Veterans State Grant Program

SD Department of Labor and Regulation

This session will cover the staff and roles of the Jobs for Veterans State Grant Program as well as the processes of the program such as priority of service and eligibility. It will provide information on the Guided Group Discovery course and the HIRE Vets Medallion award.

Gaining an Employer's Perspective: An Employer Panel

Workforce Diversity Network

The audience will have an opportunity to directly hear from and have an opportunity to interact with a diverse group of employers from the Black Hills area, and acquire an their perspective and experiences with hiring, training, and having employees with disabilities. Discussion will also occur on how individuals with disabilities can grow to their full potential with an employer.

Linking Achievement with Basic Psychological Process
Anneke Nelson

Students who receive Special Education often have difficulty learning, but have you ever wondered why? In this session we will review the psychological processes that research indicates have the most impact on learning. We will connect these processing areas to the disabilities that are most likely to be affected including Specific Learning Disabilities, Autism and ADHD. We will also review which areas can be remediated and in which areas students will need to learn compensation strategies.

Can I Say that at Work?
Tim Gard

Connecting with others in the workplace can be challenging today. Humor has been proven to be a positive connector if used correctly. Although almost everyone will agree how very positive humor can be at work, misused, humor can have an equally damaging effect. Harnessed positively, good humor can be a strategic skill and act as a positive factor in communication, morale and stress reduction. However, bad humor can, not only negatively affect morale and communication, it can also result in complaints, civil rights violations, employee dismissal and lawsuits. In this laughter filled class discover how with a few simple precautions humor can be your most useful tool in dealing with the challenges of an ever-changing workplace. In this session discover what’s appropriate and what’s not and how to always make “the farce” be with you. A section of this workshop also explores expanding your ability to be a good listener.

Focus on the Funny: Becoming Resilient
Tim Gard

Covid 19 has changed the world and left devastated employees in it's wake. In many cases we replaced boring in person meetings with never ending zoom calls. Today, most need help in letting go of past anger and stress while they work to become more resilient when faced with future challenges. Tim's rejuvenating and immediately applicable message teaches audiences how to increase morale while enhancing productivity and everyday enthusiasm in three short, and easy to adopt, steps. His unique yet practical ideas help people diffuse routine or extreme stress by insulating themselves against negativity. He shows audiences how to "refresh and renew" themselves simply by using and sharing his techniques. His terrifically funny, unique stories (and of course, extraordinary visual props) make this keynote address one you won't want to miss.