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Whitworth Hosts DREAM Conferences

Whitworth partnered with the Spokane Guilds' School to host four regional conferences for professionals from an array of disciplines who provide services to infants and toddlers with disabilities. The DREAM conferences (Designing Research in Early Intervention and Assessment Models) were a part of a Spokane Guilds' School federal project that is directed by Betty Fry Williams, professor and coordinator of Whitworth's Special Education Program.

The Spokane Guilds' School has provided services to children with disabilities for more than 40 years. Under the direction of Dick Boysen, the school received a DREAM grant from the federal government to develop plans that will establish new goals for the future and improve services for very young children with disabilities.

The DREAM conferences gathered more than a dozen of the best minds in the U.S. and Canada, including Ann Turnbull, professor of special education and senior scientist with Kansas University's Life Span Institute, and Michael Regalado, MD, director of developmental pediatrics at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center and associate professor of clinical pediatrics at UCLA. Participants engaged in four interdisciplinary conversations on research and practice in the areas of identification and assessment, educational treatment, pediatric therapies and family involvement. Each conference also featured an evening presentation open to the public so that the wider community could take part. The last conference was held at Whitworth on June 3.

"The DREAM conferences offered a rare opportunity for people involved in serving very young children with disabilities to learn from each other's experiences," Williams says. "We shared knowledge of cutting-edge developments, learned new paradigms for service, and benefited from the expertise of practicing clinicians, who articulated directions for future research."

Located in Spokane, Wash., Whitworth is a private, liberal arts college affiliated with the Presbyterian Church (USA). The college enrolls 2,200 students in more than 50 undergraduate and graduate programs.

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