Dr. Yusuf Akamoglu
Assistant Professor of Early Childhood Special Education at the University of Alabama. His research focuses on supporting parents in facilitating the acquisition of language and communication skills of their young children with autism spectrum disorder and/or other developmental disabilities.
Leslie Allen, Esq.
Partner in the Birmingham, Alabama office of Resolutions in Special Education, Inc., where she represents and advises public school districts and other education agencies on special education law matters.
Lead parent educator and supervisor for United Ability’s Parents as Teachers home visiting program. She graduated from Tuskegee University with a degree in Political Science and Business and has Child Development Associate (CDA) credentials. She is the former lead teacher at Hand in Hand Early Learning Program, working with toddlers and preschoolers with special needs in an inclusive classroom setting. She will soon be seeking a Master’s Degree in Public Health.
CEO at Alabama Association of Nonprofits. The Alabama Association of Nonprofits, headquartered at Samford University in Birmingham, represents almost 500 organizations across Alabama and is a statewide membership organization dedicated to uniting Alabama’s nonprofits for a stronger Alabama, along with strengthening the sector and members.
Director of the University of Alabama in Huntsville’s Early Learning Center and RISE School. She has a Master’s in Early Childhood Special Education from the University of Alabama and a Bachelor’s in Elementary Education from UAH. She has over 20 years of experience teaching in 3-5-year-old inclusive classrooms in the public school systems.
She is with the Alabama State Department of Education in Special Education Services, focusing on preschool special education. Sheila holds a bachelor’s degree of education (speech communications disorders) and a master’s degree in Special Education from Auburn University at Montgomery. She has worked as a school based speech language pathologist for twenty-five years with six years of experience in the field of assistive technology.
coach with the Early Head Start Child Care Partnership Program. This program is a partnership with The Department of Early Childhood Education and The Department of Human Resources. She serves as a coach working with public, private and home-based programs. She enjoys educating others about brain development and teaching how we use brain development in our everyday lives.
Rehabilitation Specialist II at the AEIS State Office. She obtained her undergraduate degree in Psychology from Jacksonville State University and her Master’s degree in Family and Human Development from Arizona State University. She worked with the Alabama Department of Mental Health prior to joining Early Intervention as a Special Instructor with East Central AL UCP in Anniston.
Is in her 25th year of teaching preschool. She worked for United Cerebral Palsy of West Alabama as well as the Jefferson County School District before coming to Vestavia Elementary School East. She is a graduate of the University of Alabama where she earned her Bachelor’s Degree in special education. She also graduated from Samford University with a Master’s Degree in Early Childhood Education and a certificate of Educational Administration.
Has a BS from Auburn University in Special Education. I have taught for 25 years, 19 of those with the WeeCats Preschool. I have attended this conference as a parent, teacher and now presenter. I have two children ages 23, and 19, and live with my husband in Enterprise.
Dr. Jennifer Carpenter
A Nationally Certified School Psychologist currently employed by the Tuscaloosa City Schools. She received a Master of Arts degree in Clinical Psychology from Western Kentucky University and a Doctor of Philosophy degree in School Psychology from The University of Alabama. In August 2018, she will begin her 8th year working in an Alabama school system. Dr. Carpenter is the Immediate Past-President of the Alabama Association of School Psychologists, and she served as an adjunct faculty member in the School Psychology program at the University of Alabama from August 2013 until May 2017.
Dr. Megan Carpenter
Is an occupational therapist with 10 years of experience and 8 of those have been in pediatric practice. Megan has earned her doctorate degree in OT and the AOTA Specialty Certification in Feeding, Eating, and Swallowing. She has experience working in early intervention, preschool, and outpatient settings. She currently works in the feeding clinic at United Ability in Birmingham, Alabama.
Is a professional speaker who is committed to sharing her journey as a disability advocate, media professional and mother of a 4-year-old son diagnosed with autism. Joining these passions together, Tametria motivates and educates parents, teachers, administrators, healthcare professionals, service providers and advocates on diverse topics including disability advocacy, professional/personal development and communication strategies throughout the state of Alabama, nation and beyond.
A coach with the Early Head Start Child Care Partnership Program. This program is a partnership with The Department of Early Childhood Education and The Department of Human Resources. She serves as a coach working with public, private and home-based programs.
Special Education Coordinator for Chilton County Schools.
Has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology, certification as an Infant, Toddler, and Family Specialist by the state of North Carolina, and teaching certification in Early Childhood Special Education in Tennessee. She has worked in early intervention for 27 years in both home and center-based early intervention programs as a service coordinator, special instructor, and/or classroom teacher. She also worked on the administrative team of a corporate child development center. Stephanie is currently the Early Intervention Director at Community Service Programs in Tuscaloosa.
Currently serves as a District Early Intervention Coordinator (DEIC) with AEIS in Huntsville. She attended the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa and received her Bachelor’s degree in Human Environmental Sciences: Child Development. She taught preschool for eight years before starting in Early Intervention at UCP of Huntsville and Tennessee Valley. During her time at UCP Huntsville she served as a service coordinator, preschool playgroup teacher and special instructor. She has been a DEIC for one year.
Dr. Charla DeLeo
Director of Special Education, 504, Curriculum, Library/Media, Counseling and Guidance, Nursing and Health, College and Career Readiness Standards (CCRS), Alabama Reading Initiative (ARI), Alabama Math, Science, and Technology (AMSTI), Response to Instruction (RtI), and Textbooks for Clay County Schools. With the aforementioned eleven titles, Charla serves Clay County with her whole heart and whatever other gumption she can muster. Charla is also a governing board member of the Alabama Parent Education Center (APEC).
Dr. Tiffany DeLeonard
Earned a Bachelor’s of science from the University of Alabama at Birmingham in 2007 and a Doctorate in Physical Therapy from UAB in 2014. She earned a Certification of Pediatric Vestibular Diagnosis and Treatment in 2017. Dr. DeLeonard currently works in the outpatient clinic at Children’s of Alabama (COA). Prior to working at Children’s of Alabama, she worked in Sport’s medicine where she became interested in post-concussion treatment in adolescents. Since transitioning into Pediatric PT at COA, she has continued to work with children diagnosed with concussions and other vestibular dysfunctions.
Retired from the Alabama State Department of Education after serving in several capacities for over 15 years. While at ALSDE, she was an Education Specialist and later Education Administrator with duties in Preschool, Indicators 6 (preschool LRE), 7 (preschool outcomes), and 12 (EI-to-preschool transition), Preschool Standards, ELPP, SLI, ELL in special education, procedural safeguards (mediation, state complaint, and due process), and served as a Team Leader for monitoring. Prior to joining the ALSDE, she served as Director of Special Education in the Montgomery Public Schools, Director of the AUM Speech and Hearing Program, Instructor at Wayne State University, and in LEAs in Alabama, Tennessee, and Georgia as an SLP.
Dr. David Finn
Professor, Samford University, Early Childhood Special Education. Dr. Finn has held a variety of positions including directing centers for children who have severe/multiple disabilities, has directed research programs that focused on young children with disabilities at the University of Washington in Seattle, the University of Alabama at Birmingham and the University of Hawai’i at Manoa. Currently he serves as the President of the Greater Birmingham Chapter of Phi Delta Kappa supports several state-wide committees for early intervention services, and is faculty sponsor for Parent Advocates Down Syndrome (PADS). David is a frequently national speaker on issues pertaining to autism, ADHD and inclusionary practices. His international work has included guest lectures, assessment clinics and keynote addresses in the Pacific Basin, Italy, England, Hungary, and Mexico.
Is with the Alabama State Department of Education in Special Education Services, focusing on preschool special education. Stephanie holds a bachelor’s degree in English and a master’s degree in communicative disorders from the University of Alabama. She also holds a master’s degree in instructional leadership and an education specialist degree in collaborative K-6 special education from Auburn University at Montgomery. She has worked as a school-based speech-language pathologist for nineteen years.
Pau studied early intervention and the Routines-Based Model for six years. Initially, his undergraduate in school teaching helped him to deepen the importance of child engagement and the different levels of sophistication. In addition, he has worked as a preschool teacher for two and a half years in an inclusive school which implements the engagement classroom model in Valencia, Spain. His dissertation focused on early intervention, especially with the Routines-Based Model, which focuses on child engagement and functionality in both school and home environments, and where professionals also deliver services in the child care and preschool.
Currently a preschool teacher for the Muscle Shoals City School System. She has worked in special education for 17 years, 10 of which have been in pre-k. She holds a Master’s Degree from the University of North Alabama and has earned a National Board Certification in the area of Special Education.
Dr. Vanessa Hinton
Received her Ph.D. in 2011 from Auburn University in Rehabilitation and Special Education; M.Ed. in 1999 from Auburn University in Early Childhood Special Education, and B.A. in 1997 from Samford University in Human Development and Family Studies. She is currently a Lecturer for Early Childhood Special Education at Auburn University, Early childhood special education program area, member of Graduate Faculty, practicum supervisor, provided instruction for graduate and undergraduate classes, mentored and provided assistance to students, conducted and published research, and participated in committees and outreach
Dr. Janelle Hodges
Instructional Design Specialist through UAB in the School of Education, but she is a wife and mom first. She and her husband, Chris have two daughters Lindsey and Caitlin “Cati”. Cati over the last 2 years of her life experiences extreme anxiety and appears to experience sensory integration dysfunction. Recently, she was tested for seizures and found to have silent seizures.
Janet Horras oversees administration of Iowa’s MIECHV program including the provision of evidence-based home visiting services and home visiting system coordination. She serves as the family support policy advisor to the Early Childhood Iowa (ECI) state board and provides policy guidance to the ECI state board. Ms. Horras is a founding member and facilitates the Family Support Leadership Group (FSLG) that coordinates Iowa’s state and federally funded home visiting programs. She has worked for 17 years for the state of Iowa administrating publically funded home visiting programs, and has a total of 27 years of experience in administering home visitation programs at both the community and state level. She was awarded a Golden Dome award by Governor Thomas J. Vilsack for significant cost savings to the state and excellence in program administration. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Human Services and has completed additional graduate study in Public Administration.
Graduated from Jacksonville State University with a degree in education. She has worked in Early Intervention for 16 years. She began her early intervention career in 2002 at East Central Alabama United Cerebral Palsy as a special instructor and service coordinator. In 2005, she was promoted to Program Director over Early Intervention, Outpatient therapy, and Adult Day Habilitation services. In September 2017, she began working for ADRS as one of the District Early Intervention Coordinators for District 3.
Has a Bachelor of Social Work degree and have been a licensed social worker since 2001. Since becoming a social worker, she has worked with people with drug and alcohol addictions, hospice patients, foster and adoptive families as well as families with children who have special needs. She has 12 years of experience as a service coordinator with the Early Intervention program at East Central Alabama United Cerebral Palsy Center. In August 2017, she became employed by the Alabama Department of Rehabilitation Services as a District Early Intervention Coordinator in District III-Anniston.
Has been serving the entire Cullman Community area as a parent educator since October 2015. She is a retired special education teacher of 31 years with specialties in intellectual disabilities, autism, and orthopedic/health impairments. She is a former foster parent and has taught high school level students 20 of her 31 years.
Dr. Morissa Ladinsky
Associate Professor of Pediatrics at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) in the Division of General Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine. She attended Brown University, and Baylor College of Medicine. She completed her pediatric residency at Texas Children’s Hospital and a Fellowship in General Academic Pediatrics at Johns Hopkins Hospital. She has held faculty positions at Sinai Hospital of Baltimore, The Ohio State University/Nationwide Children’s Hospital and Cincinnati Children’s Hospital. However, she is also a “fluid academic” and has had extensive front line experience in general pediatric practice working in Houston, Baltimore, and Cincinnati. Her particular passion is providing primary care for youth with complex medical and behavioral conditions. More than ever, as a full time faculty member at UAB and Children’s of Alabama, she is committed to improving health outcomes for children with chronic conditions, LGBTQ identified youth, substance exposed infants, and teaching the next generation of front line providers while addressing health care disparities and equal access for all.
Certified Speech-Language Pathologist, received Masters of Education in Speech-Language Pathology from The University of West Georgia in 2014 and undergraduate education from The Florida State University in 2011. Owner of Speech Easy Rehab Services, Inc. and employed through East Central United Cerebral Palsy as Early Intervention speech therapist and outpatient clinician.
Graduated with Bachelors of Science in Occupational Therapy from Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU)/Medical College of Virginia in Richmond, VA in 1982 and Masters of Business Administration from VCU in 1986. She earned her Certified Hand Therapy credential in 2001. She currently works as a Clinical Team Leader at Children’s of Alabama. Over the course of her 35-year career, she gained experience in inpatient, school system, sports medicine, and outpatient settings while treating patients with a variety of diagnoses including hand conditions, vestibular/balance, concussion dysfunctions.
State Autism Coordinator, working with and coordinating a legislative Council, the Alabama Interagency Autism Coordinating Council (AIACC), and also working with the Regional Autism Networks, which are housed in universities across the state. She earned a Master’s in Social Work from the University of Alabama and a Master’s in Public Health from the University of Alabama at Birmingham, and has a strong background in administration and coordination for the Autism Spectrum Disorder population. Anna’s work on AIACC centers around developing a system of care for the Autism in Alabama, working with state agencies, self-advocates, parents, and other stakeholders to set objectives and achieve goals outlined by the AIACC.
Dr. Becky Odell
Served in various roles in her 34 years in education. Dr. Odell began her career as a special education teacher and has served students of all disabilities and age levels in various school districts in North Alabama. For several years, she served as the Parent-Infant Preschool Parent Coordinator for AIDB in North Alabama. In addition, she has served as an educational consultant for several North Alabama school districts. Administrative roles have included: Disabilities Coordinator for Head Start; Head of School at a private school (PreK-12); Assistant Principal; and currently serves as Director of Special Education for Florence City Schools.
Dr. Carrie Overschmidt
Statewide Audiology Program Specialist for Children’s Rehabilitation Service, a division of Alabama Department of Rehabilitation Services. She obtained her Doctorate of Audiology from A.T. Still University in 2017 and her Master’s degree from the University of South Alabama in 2001. Dr. Overschmidt is currently a board member of the Alabama Academy of Audiology and serves on the Alabama Newborn Hearing Screening Advisory Committee, the Alabama Newborn Screening Advisory Committee, and the Council of Organizations Serving Deaf Alabamians. She is the Audiology Quality Consortium representative for the national Directors of Speech and Hearing Programs for State Health and Welfare Agencies. Her areas of expertise include pediatric audiology, hearing aids, and auditory evoked potentials.
Native of Enterprise, Alabama and has a BS from Auburn University in Special Education. She has taught for 25 years, 19 of those with WeeCats Preschool. She has attended this conference as a parent, teacher and now presenter. She has two children ages 23, and 19, and lives in Enterprise, Al.
Bilingual speech-language pathologist at Bilinguistics. Over the past decade, she has worked as a public school SLP, a district lead SLP, education specialist at Region 13 Education Service Center, and researcher at UT-Austin and UW-Madison. Her work has been featured in the Communicologist, American Journal of Speech-Language Pathology, and the ASHA Leader.
Brings 35 years of experience working with young learners from birth through 6 years of age. As a speech-language pathologist who has traveled throughout the country with her husband, she has acquired extensive knowledge and teaching strategies while working with developmentally diverse young children in homes, hospitals, therapy centers and classrooms. To date, Julie is the Early Childhood Developmental Resource Specialist and Lead Speech-Language Pathologist for the Madison County School System.
Service coordinator with the Alabama Institute for the Deaf and Blind. She has been trained in the Routines-Based Interview model by Dr. Robin McWilliam and is in the process of being certified as an Alabama trainer.
District Early Intervention Coordinator (DEIC) with AEIS in Huntsville. She received her Bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education and was a teacher for seven years in Tennessee and North Carolina prior to Early Intervention. She was a service coordinator with UCP Huntsville for seven years and recently transitioned to becoming a DEIC. In addition to service coordination, she has worked hands-on with families as a special instructor and lead play group teacher. She has a total of 9+ years of experience in Early Intervention in the states of Alabama and Texas. She enjoys being a mentor to other service coordinators and special instructors.
Licensed Professional Counselor and holds an Infant Mental Health Clinical Mentor Endorsement® through First 5 Alabama. She is currently the State Coordinator for Infant and Early Childhood Mental Health at the Alabama Department of Early Childhood Education and Endorsement Coordinator for First 5 Alabama where she works to advance the Competencies for Culturally Sensitive, Relationship-Focused Practice Promoting Infant and Early Childhood Mental Health® across all disciplines in the infant/young child-family field.
Dr. Dani Rich
Has been a speech language pathologist for over 20 years. As she says, her interests are womb and tomb. For almost 15 years, she taught at the University of Montevallo in Communication Science and Disorders Department teaching undergraduate and graduate classes and supervising clinicals of children ages birth to preschool. Recently, she started her own business Atlas Speech and Language Therapy serving birth to 5 years through the State of Alabama as well as providing private speech and language therapy. She is married and has three crazy dogs and two nieces and a grandniece that she dotes on.
Currently an Education Specialist with the Alabama State Department of Education (ALSDE), Office of Learning Support, Special Education Services. She holds a bachelor’s degree of education (mild learning handicaps), a master’s degree in Special Education, and an Ed. S. degree in Special Education from Auburn University at Montgomery. She has worked over 30 years with children with behavioral needs in resource classrooms, self-contained classroom, detention facilities, and as a behavior specialist. She is an advanced certified CPI trainer and presents frequently on positive behavioral supports and de-escalation strategies.
Program Supervisor of the Parents as Teachers Program with TCR Talladega and Clay Randolph Childcare Corporation. Over the past years, she has worked with the Calhoun County Public School System, East Central Alabama United Cerebral Palsy, and the Alabama Institute for the Deaf and Blind. Lakeeshia currently holds a MA Degree in the field of education with a specialization in family and community services.
Occupational therapist with 10+ years of pediatric experience. She currently works at Child’s Play Therapy Center in Huntsville as the Director of Program Development and OT/PT Supervisor where she provides therapy at the center and fulfills multiple early intervention contracts. Additionally, Laura has worked at Children’s Hospital for 9 years as a flexi-pool weekend therapist. She enjoys serving as a leader within the field of early intervention and consulting re: best practice.
Shelley Sharp earned her Bachelors in Social Work from Freed-Hardeman University. She has worked in the areas of foster care, adoption, and intensive in-home services. She has worked with Childhaven a total of 5 1/2 years and has been able to work in each program there. Currently she works with the teen mom program which houses 8 moms and 8 babies. She feels so blessed to work with these young ladies every day! They teach her something new continuously!
Board Certified Behavior Analyst and is employed by Florence City Schools. She received a B.S. in Special Education from Mississippi University for Women and a M.Ed. in Instructional Leadership from the University of North Alabama. She received her board certification as a behavior analyst in 2016. She has been in education for 25 years with many years working with children with autism and behavior disorders.
Dr. Stacy Snead
Is an Infant and early Childhood Mental Health Consultant with Project LAUNCH at the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa. Project LAUNCH promotes the wellness of young children ages birth to 8-years by addressing the physical, social, emotional, cognitive, and behavioral aspects of development. In addition to her work as a clinical psychologist and IECMH consultant, Stacey’s professional background also includes experience as an educator, counselor, and Head Start Education Coordinator. Dr. Snead holds a BS in Human Development and Family Studies, an MS in Forensic Child Psychology, an MA in Clinical Psychology, and PhD in Clinical Psychology, specializing in Child Psychology. Young children’s social-emotional health and development is a primary focus of Dr. Snead’s work.
Executive Director at The Arc of Shelby County. She has worked with individuals with developmental disabilities and their families for over 35 years. During her 16-year tenure with The Arc of Shelby County, she has served on multiple state and local committees and work groups, including the ICC, Financial Planning Subcommittee, Children’s Policy Council, Department of Mental Health Children’s Task Force, Department of Mental Health Developmental Disability Subcommittee. She currently serves as the President of Alabama Conference of Executives of The Arc and is a member of the Department of Mental Health’s Transformation Work Group. In 2015, she became an Administrative Surveyor for CARF International, an independent, non-profit accreditor of health and human services. She is a graduate of Auburn University with a degree in Family and Child Services.
Attended Auburn University and received a BS in Early Childhood Education, and the University of South Alabama where she received her M.Ed. in Early Childhood Special Education. She has completed the Applied Behavior Analysis Program through F.I.T.
has degrees in Special Education/Visual Impairments; Instructional Leadership and Orientation and Mobility. She has been a teacher of students with visual impairments for 13 years. She is a certified Braille Transcriber with the National Library of Congress and a National Board Certified teacher of the visually impaired.
Service coordinator with the Arc of Madison County. She has been trained in the Routines-Based Interview model by Dr. Robin McWilliam and is in the process of being certified as an Alabama trainer.
Has been a teacher of individuals with visual impairment for 20 years. She is a certified Teacher through the National Board of Certified Teacher – Exceptional Needs Specialist. She is a trained psychometrist and a certified Braille transcriber through the National Library of Congress.
Is with the Alabama State Department of Education in Special Education Services, focusing on preschool special education. Denise holds a bachelor’s degree of education (Elementary and Early Childhood) and a master’s degree in Specific Learning Disabilities (P-21) from Auburn University at Montgomery. She has worked as a special education teacher for 23 years.
Early Learning Best Practice Coordinator for the Alabama Department of Early Childhood Education supporting the Alabama Voluntary Pre-k classrooms statewide. Having spent twenty-four years in the field of early childhood education, Joy has served in every position from assistant teacher to director in all classrooms from birth to 5. She has worked in the private and public sector, including teaching and serving as an Education Specialist for Head Start. Joy now serves the Alabama Department of Early Childhood Education supporting teachers with strategies in challenging behaviors, building a strong resilient classroom, dual language learner support and works with other state departments to advocate and promote the importance of high quality early childhood education.