NYC DIR® Conference

March 5, 2021

Hosted by the Rebecca School in New York City

Live Online!

The Foundation for Interacting:

Using Relationships to Stay Connected Through Change

Hosted by the Rebecca School

Friday March 5, 2021

9:00AM - 3:30PM US EST (New York Time Zone)

Live Online

Professionals $50 USD

Parents, Students, and Self-Advocates $40 USD

* automatic transcriptions available for the opening session, keynote, and select workshop sessions (indicated with a * below)

Lydia X. Z. Brown


Lydia X. Z. Brown is a disability justice advocate, organizer, educator, attorney, strategist, and writer whose work has largely focused on violence against multiply-marginalized disabled people, especially institutionalization, incarceration, and policing. They have worked to advance transformative change through organizing in the streets, writing legislation, conducting anti-ableism workshops, testifying at regulatory and policy hearings, and disrupting institutional complacency everywhere from the academy to state agencies and the nonprofit-industrial complex.

Lydia co-leads the project on disability rights and algorithmic fairness at the Institute for Technology Law and Policy at Georgetown University Law Center, teaches for Georgetown University’s Disability Studies Program through the Department of English, and supports the Autistic Women and Nonbinary Network’s public policy advocacy. Additionally, Lydia founded and directs the Fund for Community Reparations for Autistic People of Color’s Interdependence, Survival, and Empowerment, which provides direct support, mutual aid, and community reparations to individual autistic people of color. In collaboration with E. Ashkenazy and Morénike Giwa Onaiwu, Lydia is also co-editor and visionary behind All the Weight of Our Dreams, the first-ever anthology of writings and artwork by autistic people of color and otherwise negatively racialized autistic people, published by AWN. Click here to read more.

Conference Description

When faced with change, how does one maintain physical and emotional regulation? Through the fundamental principles of DIRFloortime®, practitioners continue to utilize the power of relationships with both students and their families in order to further support developmental growth and learning through a hybrid program. During this one-day conference, participants will understand how DIRFloortime® can be used across the disciplinary domains, through virtual and in person learning with students of all ages.

Breakout sessions will address a range of themes demonstrating how the foundations of building relationships through the DIRFloortime® model support students to expand their abilities across developmental capacities. Through these trusting relationships, students are able to build a strong foundation necessary for learning and development.

Presenters from the Rebecca School, self-advocates, and the ICDL community will show how following a student’s passion can both build strong relationships and accomplish discipline-specific goals. This conference is open to self-advocates, professionals, and parents/caregivers.

Agenda and Times

9:00 - 10:00AM

Conference Opening Remarks and Presentation

10:15 to 11:30 AM

Concurrent Workshops A

12:30 - 1:45 PM

Concurrent Workshops B


Closing Keynote Lydia X. Z. Brown

Conference Opening Remarks and Presentation

Tina McCourt, LCSW, MSEd, SAS, SDA

Director, Rebecca School

Opening Remarks

Jeffrey Guenzel, MA, LPC,


"Values and Vision: DIR as a Foundational Agent of Change"


There will be two sets of concurrently running workshops during the day. You will be able to pick one from each group to attend. The choice will be made after registration is complete.

Concurrent Workshops A

Attunement as the Base of the Developmental Ladder

Colette Ryan, MSEd-DIRC, IMH-E

"Thank You for Being a Friend": How One Group Used Games to Foster Friendships and Stay Connected Throughout the COVID-19 Pandemic

June Ilowite, MS, OTR/L

Morgan Weissman, MS, OTR/L

It Was Never Really About Handwriting: Utilizing the DIRFloortime Methodology as a Foundation for Shared Experiences

Lindsay Altman, MS, OTR/L

Rebecca Fried, MS, OTR/L

Neurodiversity-Informed Care

Dr. Alex Klein, PsyD

The Power of Relationships: Thriving Amidst a Pandemic*

Coleen Vanderbeek, Psy.D., LPC

How Did I Regulate My Emotions as a Non-Verbal Autistic Child

Emile Gouws, Board of Directors of ICDL, Vice Chair of Autism South Africa

Concurrent Workshops B

Staying Connected Through Change: Supporting Relationships Through Reflective Supervision

Caroline Kaplan, MS, OTR/L

Lauren Morizi-Walsh, DPT

Using the DIR Model To Help Students Build Friendships During COVID-19 Pandemic*

Josh Noble, LCSW, Supervising Transitions Coordinator at Rebecca School

Stephanie Gillman, MSW Intern, and TA at Rebecca School

Katie Koester, MSW Intern at Rebecca School

Ryan Noack, BA. Internship Coordinator/ Head Travel Trainer at Rebecca School

Tai Chi and OT: How an Occupational Therapist Led Tai Chi Group Utilized DIRFloortime Strategies to Promote Executive Functioning, Praxis, and Sense of Self Among Neurodiverse Adolescents

June ILowite, MS, OTR/L

Rachael Donnelly, MS, OTRL/L

Melody, Lyrics, and Connection: A Musical Relationship From A to Zoom

Stacey Hensel, MA, MT-BC, LCAT Rebecca School

Following The Child's Interests to Sustain Engagement in a Virtual Speech Therapy Session

Daria Brown, MA, ICDL Senior Advisor, and Parent Advocate,

Sabrina O'Keefe, Speech Language Therapist

Enriching Sensory and Motor Experiences During COVID to Enhance Relationships and Strengthen Capacities

Robbie Levy, MA, OTR/L