POSTPONED: ELIJA Conference- Parachute off the Services Cliff April 4th 2020


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On April 4th, 2020 ELIJA will bring the Autism Community together!

The transition from school age into adulthood for people with Autism, when support and services are severely limited, often feels like falling off a cliff. ELIJA is here to help you navigate through this “new world.” Join us at our inaugural “Parachute Off the Services Cliff” conference and learn from the experts about Navigating Transition and Adult Services.
This conference is great for Advocates/ Attorneys, Educators, Agencies, School Professionals, Parents, Grandparents and Siblings, with discussion topics including information on Transition Processes, Self-Direction, Housing (self directed and certified group homes), Special Needs Trusts, Guardianship and more!
April Autism Awareness Month is the perfect time for ELIJA to bring the Autism Community together to discuss this critical topic!
Lastly, our special networking lunch is a great time to share with others in the Autism community.


Self -Direction / IDGS funding May be applicable email

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Saturday April 4, 2020


IEP & Your Transition Rights

Christina D. Thivierge Esq. Parnter from Thivierge & Rothberg P.C. will…

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Guardianship and Special Needs Trusts

Genser Cona Elder Law will disucss the imporance of Guardianship , Special…

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Re-Calibrating Priorities and Becoming Informed: Preparing for Transition into Adult Life and Services

Jason Watson, Nassau Suffolk Services for Autism will discuss the OPWDD…

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Creative Self Direction Solutions

What Happens to ABA (Applied Behavior Analysis) when the school bus stops…

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A Parents Perspective- Group Home Living

A select group of Parents from Life's Worc will discuss the emotional process…

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Financial Planning for Special Needs Adults

James Traylor James is a sibling, advocate and professional who has focused…

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Creative Housing Solutions Self Direction

"Where are we today with housing?" Patricia Calandra Region 5 Master…

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OPWDD and the Front Door

What you need to know...


Luv Michael- Social Enterprise

Dr. Lisa Liberatore was two big hats: one as a board-certified ENT- otolaryngologist…

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Navigating Self Direction

Presented by: Alison Giangregorio

Parachute Co-Sponsor - $2,500 (1 available)
Premier Signage for Conference, Full Page Ad, Logo on ELIJA Website, Listing in ELIJA Newsletter, Vendor Table, Item in conference tote bag

Agency Sponsor- $1,500

Signage for Conference, Full Page Ad, Logo on ELIJA Website, Listing in ELIJA Newsletter, Vendor Table, Item in conference tote bag

Friend of ELIJA Sponsor - $1,000
Signage Displayed at Lunch and During Conference, Full Page Ad, Logo on ELIJA Website and Listing in ELIJA Newsletter

Vendor Table (Only 5 Available)- $525

Includes one 6-foot table with tablecloth and two chairs, plus one conference registration

Resource Table $50 (per pile)

Place your valuable resources in the form of pamphlets, business cards or flyers on our resource table

Special Invited Presenter: James Traylor, CLU,ChFC, ChSNC

Founder of Upstate Special Needs Planning

James is a sibling, advocate and professional who has focused his entire professional career in becoming the organization of choice for families planning for a family member with a disability. James regularly provides continuing education for legal, financial and tax professionals on planning for an individual with a disability and also speaks at several national disability conferences. He currently serves as Chair for the NYS Developmental Disabilities Planning Council, a member of the board of directors for the ARC of Monroe, a graduate of Partners in Policymaking and is a 2009 Rochester Business Journal 40 Under 40 recipient. He has also been honored as one of our nation's top advisors under 40 by Investment News magazine. James has also earned the professional designation of a Chartered Special Needs Consultant (ChSNC) in addition to his other financial credentials.

Invited Presenters

Christina Thivierge Esq.- Thivierge & Rothberg, P.C.- Special Education Law and the Transition Process

Christina Thivierge is a co-founding partner and principal in the law firm of Thivierge & Rothberg, P.C., a private law firm in New York City that concentrates on special education cases. Christina Thivierge is an award-winning member of the New York State Association for Behavior Analysis, Inc. She also belongs to the Council of Parent Attorneys and Advocates and the New York County Lawyers Association. Additionally, she has presented on IDEA/IDEIA and other special education law topics for a number of organizations in the Tri-State area. Prior to attending law school, Christina spent nine years working with adults diagnosed with autism and other disabilities through the Central Connecticut ARC.

Dr. Lisa Liberatore - Luv Michael, Social Enterprise a Creative Solution

Dr. Lisa Liberatore is a board-certified ENT- otolaryngologist in private practice in New York City, and the founder and President of Luv Michael.  Dr. Liberatore works non-stop to ensure the success of Luv Michael in providing training, education and the opportunity of employment to other young Autistic persons, like her son Michael, all of whom she regards as her children. Dr. Liberatore continuously attends medical conferences and collegial forums in order to keep abreast of the most current research on the autism disability with an emphasis on approaches and programs directed toward providing a meaningful life and career for persons on the Autism Spectrum.

Patricia Calandra-Region 5 Master Housing Navigator, Start up & Support Broker

Patricia Calandra works with the The New York Housing Resource Center (HRC) for People with Intellectual / Developmental Disabilities. The HRC acts as a clearinghouse for information and resources for the housing professional across the state and helps to foster collaboration between and among the housing industry and related professions, service provider agencies and people with I/DD. The HRC provides all housing stakeholders with technical assistance on housing matters and community training for people with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities and their families.

Mary Rafferty COO & Janet Koch CEO Life's Worc

As the Chief Operating Officer at Life’s WORC, Mary Rafferty oversees Residential Services with oversight of nursing and clinical services, community services, day habilitation and The Family Center for Autism. She has been with Life’s WORC for over 28 years.

Mary holds Bachelor of Science degree from St. John’s University, with a concentration in Health and Human Services, as well an MBA in Strategic Healthcare Management from Hofstra’s Zarb School of Business.


Jason Watson, BCaBA, CBAA NSSA

Jason has been working with children and adults with autism since his graduation from Quinnipiac College where he received his Bachelor of Arts in Sociology in May of 2000. In July of 2000, he began his employment with Nassau Suffolk Services for Autism at the Martin C. Barell School as an instructor and was then promoted to Lead Instructor. After several years as a Lead Instructor, Jason was promoted to the position of Coordinator of Adult, Vocational, and Family Support Services in 2004.

Jason successfully completed his BACB course work through the University of North Texas and became a Board Certified Assistant Behavior Analyst, BCaBA, in September of 2010. He is a member of NSSA’s Human Rights and Peer Review Committees and a participant in the Long Island Task Force for Aging Out and the LI Quality Assurance Task Force. He is also a member of the Long Island Informed Consent Committee.

He has presented at autism conferences and agency/school workshops on issues related to transition, vocational skill development, adult services program development, and community integration for students and adults with autism.

In February of 2014, Jason was promoted to his current position as NSSA’s Director of OPWDD Services.

Alison Giangregorio

Self Direction

Stacy & Jon Zauderer

Parents of an adult child


Robin Havens

Robin is the proud mom of Ryan and Jake, who is a 23 year old mostly nonverbal young man with autism. Jake moved into a residence run by Life’s Worc in September and with the help of caring and dedicated staff, he has adjusted well to his new home. After Jake’s diagnosis at 20 months, Robin devoted her time to learning about educating people with autism and to advocating for services. Her family was one of the founding families of the Elija School, as well as one of the initial supporters of the Elija Farm. She continues to volunteer her time and efforts to various worthwhile organizations that support people with developmental disabilities and hopes to become more involved in advocacy efforts. "The last few months have been an incredible transition for both Jake and I and I am incredibly in awe of and grateful for all the support we have received from so many on this journey."

Genser Cona Elder Law

Genser Cona Elder Law is an award winning law firm based in Melville, Long Island. Our practice concentrates in the areas of elder law, estate planning, estate administration and litigation, special needs planning and health care law.


Matthew has been a member of the ELIJA team since late 2011. After 5 years as a Clinical Supervisor within in the School program, he began working in the Transition and Program Services department in January 2017. Matthew has a BA in psychology from Lehigh University and MA in liberal studies from Stony Brook University. In 2010, Matthew became a Board Certified Behavior Analyst, he received his New York state licensure in 2015. Matthew has extensive experience in ABA and has been working in the field since 2003. 

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