contact us

Use the form on the right to contact us.

You can edit the text in this area, and change where the contact form on the right submits to, by entering edit mode using the modes on the bottom right.

7725 W 87th Street
Overland Park, KS 66212


At The North Star Academy, our mission is to make a meaningful difference by assisting individuals and the families who support them.  We are committed to individuals reaching fulfilled and independent lives through the acquisition and retention of skills in an enriched environment

Conference Program and Abstracts

Thank you for making the 2nd ANNUAL NORTH STAR ACADEMY
LIFESPAN Conference a huge success!

CLO's Northstar Academy would like to thank everybody who came to the Conference and made it a huge success. We thank our distinguished speakers for their inspiring and timely insights. We also thank our faculty partners at the University of Kansas for their wonderful response and continuing support. Big thanks to the amazing performers from "The Rents Comedy Show" and to the incredible and dedicated staff and volunteers who worked tirelessly behind the scenes to make sure every little detail is taken care of. Most of all we wish to thank all of the participants,  without whom, the success of the conference would not have been possible.

We all look forward to seeing all of you again soon in future exchanges and at our 2017 Conference!

(The North Star Academy Lifespan Conference Steering Committee)



Time: 9:00-10 AM

Presenter: Keenan Stump

Title: We All Speak the Same Language: Multidisciplinary Approach to Promoting Communication

Learning Objectives: Participants will a) gain a better understanding of the inherently collaborative relationships that exist among service providers, educators, and families working to improve communication for individuals with ASD, and b) participate in an interactive discussion about the similarities and differences that exist among the evidence-based practices from various fields (e.g., speech, occupational, and behavioral therapies) that focus on communication development.

Biography: Keenan is a licensed speech-language pathologist with more than a decade of experience providing services to individuals diagnosed with autism spectrum disorders and various developmental delays.  In addition to his clinical experiences, Keenan teaches courses about autism spectrum disorders to graduate students in the speech pathology programs at Bloomsburg University in Bloomsburg, Pennsylvania, and Rockhurst University in Kansas City, Missouri.  Keenan also provides training to families of children diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder as part of a program through Children’s Mercy Hospital’s Department of Developmental and Behavioral Sciences.  The focus of the training is to maximize opportunities for communication in naturally occurring home and community environments.

Speaker Disclosure: 
1. Relevant Financial Relationships: Keenan Stump is the owner of New Balloon Therapy Services, the company subcontracted by Community Living Opportunities to provide speech and occupational therapies at North Star Academy.
2. Relevant Nonfinancial Relationships: None

Time: 10:00-11:00 AM

Presenter: Florence DiGennaro Reed, PhD, BCBA-D

Title:  Treatment Integrity:  Current Status and Future Directions

Learning Objectives:

Treatment integrity is the extent to which interventionists implement treatment procedures as prescribed. Treatment integrity errors can adversely affect treatment effectiveness and impede learning for individuals with disabilities such as autism spectrum disorder. It is important to develop and refine methods of identifying treatment integrity errors and teaching staff to implement procedures consistent with their prescribed protocols. This session focuses on describing procedures for assessing treatment integrity, and for teaching staff to implement procedures as prescribed. At the conclusion of this presentation, attendees will be able to

-       Define treatment integrity and considerations for measurement

-       Discuss barriers to measuring treatment integrity in research and applied settings

-       Describe the results of parametric analyses evaluating the impact of integrity level on learner outcomes

Identify challenges to educator training and strategies to promote educator integrity

Biography: Dr. Florence DiGennaro Reed, a board certified behavior analyst, received a doctorate in school psychology from Syracuse University. She also completed a clinical post-doctoral fellowship at the Institute for Child Development and a pre-doctoral internship in clinical psychology at the May Center for Education and Neurorehabilitation and the May Center for Child Development. Presently, Florence is an Associate Professor in and Chairperson of the Department of Applied Behavioral Science at the University of Kansas where she directs the Performance Management Laboratory. Her research examines effective and efficient staff training and performance improvement practices. She also conducts translational research in on-campus laboratory facilities. Florence has published articles and book chapters on a variety of topics including training, performance management, assessment, and intervention. She has served on the editorial boards of Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis, Journal of Behavioral Education, Behavior Analysis in Practice, and School Psychology Review and is an Associate Editor for Journal of Behavioral Education. Florence is co-editor of two books published through Springer titled Handbook of Crisis Intervention for Individuals with Developmental Disabilities and Bridging the Gap Between Science and Practice in Autism Service Delivery.

Speaker Disclosure:
1. Relevant financial relationships:
Consultant to Community Living Opportunities

2. Relevant non-financial relationship: Serves on the board of CLO and is a collaborating researcher

Time: 11:00 am – 12:00 pm

Presenter: Mallory Drake, OTD, OTR/L

Title: Sensory Supports – Sensory Processing Approach vs. Sensory Integration

Learning Objectives: This session will provide information on the sensory system and interventions to address sensory differences among individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder as well as other developmental disabilities. The presentation will address the differences between a sensory processing approach versus a sensory integration approach, and will explore best practices based on current research.

Biography: Mallory Drake is a licensed occupational therapist in Kansas and Missouri, and is a registered therapist through the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy. She graduated from the University of Kansas (KU), earning both Master and Doctorate level degrees in the field of occupational therapy. Mallory has worked in school, clinical, and home settings with children ranging from 2-21 years of age. Throughout this time, she has worked collaboratively with teachers, parents, and other therapists to address sensory needs of children in various environments, and has done extensive research on the most effective strategies for helping individuals with sensory differences. She is the owner of Functional Foundations Pediatric Occupational Therapy, a local therapy practice that primarily works with children and their families in home and community settings.

Speaker Disclosure:

1. Relevant financial relationships:  Mallory works for New Balloons therapies, the company subcontracted by Community Living Opportunities to provide speech and occupational therapies at North Star Academy. 

2. Relevant non-financial relationship: None 

Time: 1:00-2:00 pm

Presenter: Claudia Dozier, PhD, BCBA-D

Title: Assessment and Treatment of Severe Problem Behavior

Learning Objectives: Functional analysis methodology is a well-established standard for assessment in applied behavior analysis research.  This session will focus on ways to adapt functional analysis easily in many situations to facilitate the treatment of severe problem behavior.  Practical aspects of FA methodology will be described and ways that it can be incorporated into routine work will be described.

Biography: Dr. Claudia Dozier conducts applied research at the Edna A. Hill Child Development Center with her students on the University of Kansas campus. Her  research interests are in applied behavior analysis and early childhood education and intervention for children with and without developmental disabilities, and specifically in the assessment and treatment of inappropriate behavior (e.g., aggression, property destruction, self-injury, stereotypy, noncompliance), evaluation of procedures to increase appropriate behavior (e.g., language and communication skills, social interaction skills, self-help skills, academic skills), and determination of variables that may affect preference and reinforcer efficacy. She serves on the editorial boards of the Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis and Behavior Analysis in Practice. In addition, she is a guest associate editor for the Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis. She has been asked to provide guest editorial reviews for Education and Treatment of Children, Journal of Autism and Developmental Disabilities, Exceptional Children, and Teaching of Psychology. Currently, Dr. Dozier is a member of the Kansas Center for Autism Research and Training (KCART)/Life Span Institute Task Force. In addition, with her students, she provides training and clinical services through KCART. She is also the founder of the Functional Analysis Clinic for Children with Problem Behavior.

Speaker Disclosure:
1. Relevant financial relationships: Consultant to Community Living Opportunities

2. Relevant non-financial relationship: Serves on the board of CLO and is a collaborating researcher

Time: 2:00-3:00 pm

Presenter: Jan Sheldon, PhD, JD

Title: Legal and Ethical Issues in Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities

Learning Objectives: This session will explain legal issues that must be considered in the operation of any program serving individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Recommendations will be included to help ensure that programs operate in a legally safe and ethically humane manner.

Biography: Jan Sheldon is a graduate of the University of Kansas School of Law, where she served as Articles Editor of the Kansas Law Review and was a member of Order of the Coif. She also holds a Ph.D. in developmental and child psychology. After finishing law school, Sheldon began teaching at the University of Kansas. She is currently a professor in applied behavioral sciences and director of the Edna A. Hill Child Development Center. Sheldon works closely with personnel in the juvenile justice system and has been co-director of the Truancy Prevention and Diversion Program for more than 25 years. Sheldon and her colleagues also developed a community-based program that provides residential and day services for more than 350 children and adults with developmental disabilities and autism. Sheldon has received numerous teaching and advising awards including the W.T. Kemper Fellowship for Teaching Excellence (1998), the Steeples Service to Kansas Award (2002), and the J. Michael Young Academic Advising Award (2009). She has published three books and more than 60 articles and chapters.

Speaker Disclosure:
1. Relevant financial relationships:
Consultant to Community Living Opportunities

2. Relevant non-financial relationship: Serves on the board of CLO


Saturday, April 16


Time: 10:00-11:00 am

Presenter: Sarah Mead, EdM, BCBA, LBA-MO

Title: Introduction to North Star Academy: Components of a Private School Program Serving Students with Autism and Severe Problem Behavior

Learning Objectives: This session will focus on providing specific, introductory information about North Star Academy and explaining how an applied behavior analytic approach is integrated in a private school setting to address the unique needs of students with autism (and other intellectual and developmental disabilities) and severe problem behavior.

Biography: Sarah Mead received her undergraduate degree at Dartmouth College (2005), her master’s degree in education at Harvard University (2009).  She is currently in the final stages of completing a doctoral degree in behavior analysis at the University of Florida.  Currently, she serves as the clinical director of the North Star Academy.  The majority of her professional life has been spent in clinical settings, as a licensed educator and Board Certified Behavior Analyst, and has worked within a wide variety of populations (e.g., typical education in public schools, special education in public and private schools, early intervention in autism-focused programs, introductory and advanced undergraduate courses, etc.).

Speaker Disclosure:
1. Relevant financial relationships:
Employee of Community Living Opportunities
2. Relevant non-financial relationship: None

Time: 11:00 am – 12:00 pm

Presenter: Scott Adams, CFP®, ChFC, ChSNP

Title: Life Planning for Your Family with Autism

Learning Objectives: This workshop brings together several key issues that families with a child with special needs face regarding their financial goals as well as the legal planning needed to make the transition from one generation to the next. In this comprehensive workshop, we’ll dive into these three topics:

•   Financial Planning: Adjusting the traditional financial planning and investment process to focus on the long-term care needs for your  loved one with special needs.

•    Legal Planning: A discussion on special needs trusts and other legal documents necessary for the transition of your estate to beneficiaries and heirs.

•    Transition Tools: An overview of software used to help organize and transition your plan to the next generation of care.

Biography: Scott’s personal experience of planning for his own children led him to acquire the specialized knowledge required to plan for their unique legal and financial future. This discovery inspired him to co-found The Special Needs Planning Center which is focused 100% on special needs planning. And it is what drives him to share the information and knowledge he’s learned with the special needs community. His career was built on a strong financial foundation starting in the financial services industry in 1991. He’s also earned the designation of Chartered Financial Consultant (ChFC®), Certified Financial Planner (CFP®) and Chartered Life Underwriter® (CLU®) and Certified Special Needs Consultant (CHSNC). His financial background paired with his personal experience gives Scott a solid foundation in which to educate families on their options so they can ensure the continuity of quality care for their loved ones.

Speaker Disclosure:
Scott is an Advisor with CommunityAmerica Financial Solutions. Securities and advisory services offered through CommunityAmerica Financial Solutions, LLC ("CAFS"), Member FINRA/SIPC.  CAFS is a SEC registered investment advisor.  Products offered through CAFS: are not NCUA/NCUSIF or otherwise federally insured, are not guarantees or obligations of the credit union, and may involve investment risk including possible loss of principal.  CAG\FS is a wholly-owned subsidiary of CommunityAmerica Credit Union

Signed Disclosure Form

Time: 1:00-2:00 pm

Presenter: Stephanie West

Title: Student Rights and Transition Planning

Learning Objectives: iTransition is an app that was created by DRC to help assist high school students develop their transition plan. We will discuss what the student’s rights are in transition planning, the timeline of transition planning as well as a step by step guide to the app.

Biography: Stephanie West is a disability rights advocate for the Disability Rights Center (DRC) of Kansas. She is a state board member and advocate with NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness) Kansas and NOW (National Organization for Women).  Ms. West has been a panelist on several discussions about mental health.  She has also presented workshops on her own personal experiences and passion to fight the stigma around mental illness. In addition to her mental health advocacy, Stephanie has coordinated educational and motivational events surrounding female empowerment. Stephanie is active in the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Topeka and serves as a board member.

Speaker Disclosure: 
Stephanie has no financial or non-financial relationship to disclose

Time: 2:00-3:00 pm

Presenter: Pamela Neidert, PhD, BCBA-D

Title: Assessment and Treatment of Feeding Disorders

Learning Objectives: This session will focus on several types of behavior that might pose a feeding problem for children with autism (and other intellectual and developmental disabilities), the functional behavior approach to determining why such behavior occur, and function-based treatment strategies to achieve successful increases in appropriate feeding behavior.

Biography: Dr. Neidert is an associate professor of Applied Behavioral Science at the University of Kansas (KU) and a Board Certified Behavior Analyst.  She is also the faculty supervisor for a toddler program and an early intensive behavioral intervention (EIBI) program at the Edna A. Hill Child Development Center at KU.  She has a Masters degree (Special Education, Johns Hopkins) and a PhD (Psychology, University of FL).  She teaches courses in research methods, ABA, early childhood education, and developmental disabilities.  Her clinical and research interests involve skill acquisition and prevention of challenging behavior in both typically developing children and those with IDD.  Dr. Neidert has published over 35 empirical articles and conducted over 60 presentations of her work at local, state, and national conferences. She has served on the editorial boards of Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis and Behavior Analysis in Practice and as a guest reviewer for Journal of Organizational Behavior Management, Research in Developmental Disabilities, and Education and Treatment of Children. Dr. Neidert is heavily involved in the department, the University, and the community at large.  She serves on the Board of Directors for both the Douglas County Child Development Association and Community Living Opportunities, as well as the Advisory Board for the Kansas City Autism Training Center.

Speaker Disclosure:
1. Relevant financial relationships:
Consultant to Community Living Opportunities
2. Relevant non-financial relationship: Serves on the board of CLO and is a collaborating researcher

Stephanie has no financial or non-financial relationship to discloseTime: 3:00-4:00pm

Presenter: Jennifer Smith

Title: Stop, Look, and Listen: Setting a Plan With Your Loved One with Autism

Learning Objectives: This presentation will focus on how caregivers can create the right plan for their loved one with autism, including – how to know and work with their child on goal setting, communication, and determining what the individual with autism wants when they are growing and advocating.

Biography: Jennifer Smith is the Executive Director of the Autism Society of the Heartland (ASH).  Ms. Smith has two children, Corinne, 22, and Cameron, 21, both with autism. Jennifer has been advocating for individuals with autism and their families for over 18 years, and has served on many community Board of Directors. She has a degree in Hospitality Management and has Marketing and Event Planning experience.  Ms. Smith is excited to work with so many families, services providers, businesses and donors that support Autism Society - The Heartland and to be able to bring together the community to collaborate on the issues that touch the lives of those with autism and the organizations that serve them.

Speaker Disclosure: 
Jennifer has no financial or non-financial relationship to disclose

An Evening With the Rents Comedy Show from 4-5pm