Educational Workshops For Professionals & Parents 

Developmental, Cognitive, Mental Health &

Complex Medical Needs

Workshop #1:

Build Resilience

Understand the Five Stressors Unique to Parents of Children with Special Needs

Raising children can be stressful as parents try to meet the academic, social, financial, and emotional needs of their children. For some, this task is overwhelming at times. For one group of parents, those who have children diagnosed with a disability, there is an extra layer of stress. This unique layer of stress is something parents of typically developing children do not have to consider. Some have never even thought about it.

This extra layer is defined by five stressors that are unique to this group. Dr. Nancy illustrates the FIVE UNIQUE STRESSORS and how parents can develop resilience to manage stress and best advocate for their child.

Workshop #2:

What would you do if told your child has a disability?

Disabilities do not discriminate. Anyone’s child can be born with or develop a medical or mental health condition. Anyone’s child can be involved in an accident, resulting in a lifetime of challenges. The color of your skin, level of your education, or size of your bank account won’t make a difference.

When this happened with her child, Dr. Musarra looked for answers. In her quest, she authored the book, “The New Normal; 7 Things to Know as You Care for and Love a Child with Special Needs.” The book is based on interviews with over 500 parents and caretakers who share their collective wisdom to form the foundation of the seven things to know. In this workshop, Dr. Musarra and her co-author and daughter Giana present the Seven Things parents and caregivers must know.

Workshop #3:


Responding to the “Shocking” Things People Say and Do

Advocating for a child with a disability promotes “inclusion” and helps others understand what a child CAN do. When successful, others get to know the child as a unique individual instead of a ‘disability.’ However, parents who advocate for their child face roadblocks in the form of stigma, discrimination and rejection from others. How should a parent respond when someone asks, “What’s wrong with him?” or “Did you consider aborting her?”

When do you PUSH BACK and when do you BACK DOWN? What is the right response to disability stigma? 

This workshop identifies the origins of stigma and practical strategies generated by medical and social models. Parents and caregivers can use these strategies to advantageously respond to the shocking things people say and do to dismiss your child. Responses to stigma can be teaching opportunities that results in positive outcomes for all involved.

Workshop #4:

Working Through Grief and Loss

Helping Individuals with Autism and Other Neuro-developmental Challenges Work Through Grief and Loss

Grieving the loss of someone or something important to your life is difficult. For those individuals diagnosed with autism or other neuro-developmental challenges, working through the grief may be even more difficult. This workshop will address ways to better understand and respond to bereaved children who are also dealing with an extra set of developmental challenges.

Similarities and differences between how children with an extra set of challenges grieve as compared with how ‘neuro typical’ children grieve will be discussed. Strategies will be highlighted with regard to identifying alexithymia, emotional flooding, unexpected timing and stimming so that responses to these symptoms promote healing.

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