On August 5, 2016, attorneys Margaret Heiser Fulton and Ashley Clower attended UC Davis Mind Institute’s Summer Institute on Neurodevelopmental Disorders. Over 200 people attended the conference. Participants included medical professionals, social workers, parents of children with disabilities, and educators. Ms. Fulton and Ms. Clower were the only attorneys to attend as guests. The keynote speaker was Andrew Imparato, the Executive Director of the Association of University Centers on Developmental Disabilities. He spoke about disability policy on a national level and his work to create bipartisan support for improving education and employment opportunities for people with disabilities and moving people with disabilities into integrated settings in the community. One of the workshops we found especially interesting was a discussion of “supported decision making” as an alternative to conservatorships.
Attending this MIND institute conference allowed us to get invaluable insight into the policies and changes occurring in the disability community, and helped us to better understand the issues faced by special needs families.