Barbara T. Doyle, MS
is a nationally known educator, author, trainer, keynote presenter and consultant with 50 years of experience. Her focus is on children and adults with intellectual/developmental disabilities, autism spectrum disorders, deafness, and deafblindness. She works with schools, adult services providers, hospital programs, universities, families, the child welfare system, and other agencies and professional organizations. She is an engaging trainer, noted for her practical information delivered with humor and humanity. Barbara is a family and extended family member of eleven people with disabilities, nine of whom have autism. Her website is www.barbaradoyle.com
Kelsey Carlson has been in the ID/DD field for several years. She started off volunteering at a hippotherapy clinic for children with disabilities for about two years while in college, followed by working inclusion summer camps for children and also working adult programs, such as bowling, bingo/karaoke, and fitness programs. Kelsey then worked ABA for one year for children on the Autism Spectrum before coming to Ray Graham in December 2018. Kelsey is a QIDP for 3 CILAs at Ray Graham Association.
Kristen Garcia is currently a Program Administrator for Monarch Services with Ray Graham Association. Ray Graham Association is a non for profit organization that serves more than 2000 people with disabilities. Prior to joining the team at RGA, Kristen graduated from Elmhurst College with a Bachelor’s Degree in K-12 Special Education. She used this degree to work as a Special Education Teacher for 6 years. Kristen joined the team at RGA in 2009, and since then she has served as a Life Skills Instructor, Lead Life Skills Instructor and Program Coordinator. Currently, Kristen oversees the following services at RGA: Monarch Academy, Monarch II, Life Coaching, Monarch Social Club, and Monarch Zoom.
Meg Nolan has been in the ID/DD field since 1999. Meg came to the field as an instructor in inclusion classroom for three to six year old children at Easter Seals as well creating curriculum with the in-house psychologist for young adults with developmental disabilities. Meg has worn several hats at Ray Graham Association over the last twelve years including a Life Skills Instructor for the tiered senior classrooms at RGA’s Elmhurst Community Learning Center where the classroom demographic included both active seniors and those seniors with a diagnosis of Dementia and/or Alzheimer ‘Disease, Curriculum Specialist-creating and implementing an age appropriate library of accessible curriculum, and planning of special classrooms at the Elmhurst Community Learning Center’s senior rooms, Alden Satellite, and sensory room. Meg has served as both a Community QIDP and LQIDP and is currently a QIDP in Ray Graham’s Community Living Resource Department.
Teresa Parks, MSW, NCG
is the Deputy Director of the Illinois Guardianship and Advocacy Commission as well as Director of the Commission’s Human Rights Authority. Parks holds a Master’s Degree in Social Work from the University of Illinois in Champaign/Urbana and is National Certified Guardian through the Center for Guardianship Certification. Parks is also a graduate of Illinois’ Partners in Policy Making Program and the Institute of Special Education Advocacy through William and Mary Law School. Prior to working for the Commission, Parks was a nursing home ombudsman and program director for a community mental health agency. Currently, Parks serves on the board and education committee of the Illinois Guardianship Association, is an appointed member of the Illinois Council on Developmental Disabilities and is a trustee for the Center for Guardianship Certification. She has also served on various local and regional disability-related boards and committees. Parks is the parent of two adult children, including a son with disabilities for whom she serves as guardian.
David Pufundt believes that movement changes lives; whether it’s walking, practicing yoga or simply breathing, we are all movers. In an effort to share movement with others, David has taught hundreds of yoga and spin classes as well as managed and owned fitness studios. Sharing movement with one another can form a bond that needs no language and encourages us to grow in a new and perhaps unexpected way. David is the coordinator for Adventures Unlimited, a State funded respite program. Adventures Unlimited provides free events to eligible participants in the greater Chicagoland area and beyond. Events are designed to be accessible for all participants and can include walking, rock wall climbing, cooking lunch and/or doing laundry. No matter the type of event, participation always has a motor, social and cognitive component. Adventures Unlimited strives to give caregivers respite while providing fun and engaging activities to participants.
John Raffaele is the Director of Educational Services at the National Alliance for Direct Support Professionals. John is a Master Social Worker and a highly experienced professional adult educator and facilitator. John’s graduate education is from Yeshiva University in New York City and State University of New York at New Paltz, NY. His career spans three decades and those years have been spent teaching direct support professionals and the people they support. Most of the people with whom he has worked and supported over the last 30 years are people with intellectual/developmental disabilities and at-risk youth, and people with chronic and terminal illnesses in home-care settings. Between 2001 and 2012 John worked as a Director of Training and Education for a developmental disabilities service provider in New York and gained notoriety consulting and teaching throughout the United States. John founded his own international direct support professional consulting company in 2012 and over the last several years, in contract with the National Alliance for Direct Support Professionals and in close partnership with NADSP Executive Director Joseph Macbeth, has developed many exciting and informative training programs and helped propel the NADSP into national prominence. John became NADSP’s Director of Educational Services in December of 2016. John has educated tens of thousands of people in the NADSP Code of Ethics and Competencies and most recently, our Informed Decision Making curriculum and Frontline Supervisor Train the Trainer Curriculum.
Linda Sandman, MSW, LCSW
Linda Sandman, MSW, LCSW has over 30 years clinical experience working with adults with disabilities, including mental health, intellectual and developmental disabilities (ID/DD). She is an experienced trainer and consultant to agencies and organizations working with people with disabilities and is a Co-Director with Blue Tower Solutions, Inc. Linda is a member of several local and statewide projects addressing prevention and response to sexual violence against people with disabilities. She is passionate about promoting access to sexuality education for people with disabilities and helping families navigate these conversations and life stages.
Katherine Thurston is a Case Management Coordinator/QIDP who has been working with people with I/DD since 2001. She started as a Summer Camp counselor and has worked to develop meaningful activities for people with disabilities in several environments, including assisting a group with starting their own small business. Katherine received her B.A. from Saint Mary’s College in Notre Dame, IN where she studied History, Political Science, and Secondary Education. She received additional certifications in English and Special Education from the University of St. Francis. She uses her teaching experience to develop trainings for staff and clients. She values her role in assisting people with disabilities achieve their goals of independence.
Erika Winston is a Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA) who has been working with people who have intellectual/developmental disabilities (I/DD) since 2001. She has written and managed policies and procedures, coordinated and provided continuing education and training, developed and taught curricula for participant skill development and problem behavior reduction, coordinated interagency collaboration projects, and provided clinical assessment and treatment of adults with I/DD and youth in care for program admission, behavior reduction, and skill development needs. She earned her BS in Psychology from Bradley University in 2003 and her MA in Clinical Psychology from The Chicago School of Professional Psychology in 2009. Her most cherished role is helping individuals increase their independence by gaining new skills.