Heartspring Conference Series Interview

Heartspring campus
Heartspring campus

Katie Grover is the dedicated Director of Marketing for Heartspring who has given LoveToKnow an opportunity to explore this outstanding resource for children with special needs, including autism and related pervasive developmental disorders. The organization has many facets, and its Conference Series is among the valuable resources featured by this nonprofit organization.

About Heartspring

LoveToKnow (LTK): What is Heartspring?

Katie Grover (KG): Heartspring is a center for children with special needs that functions on a worldwide platform. The organization is celebrating 75 years of working toward the goal of helping children with special needs to reach their full potential. Heartspring has been one of the nation's top facilities serving children with disabilities since 1934.

The nonprofit organization originated in Wichita and it has helped many children around the world over the years. Our experts have traveled to Europe and Asia help organizations that requiring training. Heartspring in Wichita is an inspiration for education, and teachers worldwide find guidance through these resources as they strive to better the lives of children in countries across the globe - it is literally a worldwide center for children with disabilities.

The Heartspring School, Pediatric Services, the Hearing Center, CARE Program and World Reach strive to help children with special needs gain greater independence.

LTK: What is Heartspring Connections?

KG: Heartspring Connections is a monthly E-newsletter that shares successful outcomes from our programs, highlights our dedicated staff, volunteers and donors, and promotes upcoming events and conferences on our campus. Visitors can subscribe to receive the newsletter in their inboxes.

LTK: What is the mission of the organization?

KG: Our mission, in partnership with parents, professionals and the community, is to help children with special needs grow and learn on path to a more independent life.

The organization opened its doors in 1934, and it has been helping children around the world with multiple disabilities achieve for 75 years. But our job is not done. In fact, we're still growing.

Pediatric services

Heartspring Conference Series

LTK: Tell us about the Heartspring Conference Series.

KG: Heartspring hosts a continuous conference series, giving parents and professionals access to top presenters in the field of special education. In the fall of 2009, we will be changing the format of our conference series, no longer offering individual conferences throughout the year, instead offering two multi-day conferences, the first of which will be in October. All of these conferences take place at the Heartspring Conference Center in Wichita, Kansas. Our state-of-the-art facilities boast a 270-seat theatre-style auditorium with integrated sound, projector and a full audio/video recording studio. Speech-Language Pathologists and Occupational Therapists can also receive Continuing Education Credits for attendance. Scholarships are available for parents.

LTK: What topics are covered during the conferences?

KG: The conferences are presented by leading experts in the field of special needs, who focus on scientifically based, proven methods of educating children with special needs, primarily autism spectrum disorder. The October conference will focus on communication, social skills, inclusive classrooms and positive behavior supports.

LTK: Who are the presenters?

KG: We have a video library that includes presentations by:

  • Dr. Richard Simpson discussing Effective Treatment Methods
  • Dr. Peter Gerhardt discussing the Transition to Adulthood
  • Dr. Stephen Shore discussing What it is Like to Live on the Spectrum
  • Barbara Bloomfield discussing Visual Strategies for Teaching Children with ASD
  • Carol Gray discussing Social Stories

Our February 20th conference features Carol Kranowitz presenting Getting Children in Sync with Fun and Functional Activities. Other upcoming conferences include Linda Hodgdon, Michelle Garcia Winner and Dr. Cathy Pratt.

LTK: Can people experience a conference without going to the event?

KG: In 2008, Heartspring began offering conferences through on-line webcasting, which can be watched live the day of the event, or after the fact through video-on-demand.

LTK: Are the conferences interactive?

KG: Our new webcasting (video) platform includes an integrated real-time chat feature where remote viewers will have the opportunity to correspond with other viewers, as well as staff at Heartspring. Throughout the conference, remote viewers will be given the opportunity to ask questions of the speaker and engage in an interaction conversation with those attending the conference in person.

LTK: What special features are available to those watching?

KG: In addition to the integrated chat feature, remote viewers are also presented with a PowerPoint presentation viewer that will give the remote attendees the ability to follow along as the presenter goes through the slides. There are also copies of the conference handouts that will be available for participants to download and print. Remote viewers can also receive Continuing Education Credits through ASHA and KOTA.

LTK: Can people get access to past conferences?

KG: To access previous conferences, visit our store and click on Conference Videos. Conference videos are added to the library approximately one week after the live event. Viewers have the ability to access the conferences as full-day events or as one-hour segments. Unlimited viewing access is allowed for 90 days after the first video log-in.

LTK: How do people register for conference events?

KG: To register for a live in-person event or a live on-line (webcast) event, attendees can register on-line at Heartspring.org.

Getting Involved with Heartspring

LTK: How can people help your organization?

KG: Heartspring is a nonprofit organization. Everyone has the opportunity to make a difference in the life of a child. When you support Heartspring you contribute to successful outcomes for children with special needs. Donations make it possible for this organization to touch the lives of children and families each and every day. Learn more about how you can help.

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Heartspring Conference Series Interview