Michigan Occupational
Special Populations Association
Giving an Individual’s Needs Special Attention Since 1975

Regions 4, 5 & 6 Remember 2014

Regions 4, 5, & 6 came together Friday, February 28, 2014 for their annual professional development day at the Genesee Area Skill Center in Flint, Michigan.

Kimberly Bell-Mocini, author of “My Child Wasn’t Born Perfect” presented A Parent’s Educational Perspective. The Quest and Success of an Autistic Child. Kimberly provided insight on the importance of educators, therapists, and parents in working together while influencing the outcome of a child’s life. Kimberly was the advocate for her son who is on the Autism Spectrum. She has faced social and educational challenges head on to ensure her son received an equal, quality education. Kimberly may be contacted via email Her book is available on Amazon for

The second session of the day on ASD and Employment was from Jennifer VanTol, OTRL, ASD Support and START Representative out of the Bay-Arenac ISD. Jennifer spoke about the socialization skills and development of students with autism including social challenges and characteristics. START serves as a coordinating and supporting entity for regional sites across the state of Michigan to increase access to local resources, training and support for students with autism spectrum disorder. She may be contacted via email


Regions 4, 5, & 6 Remembering 2012

Regions 4, 5, & 6 held their annual professional development day on Friday, March 2, 2012 at the Genesee Area Skill Center in Flint, Michigan.

Bridging the Gap between Students and Adults: David McGhee, a lifelong resident of Flint, He has a Bachelor of Science degree in Public Administration and Public Policy and a Master of Science degree. He had an internship with Governor Granholm. After his internship, he returned to Flint to work with at-risk youth. To learn more about David McGhee visit

New Trends in Bulling: Heady Gist is the Prevention Supervisor from Catholic Charities of Shiawassee and Genesee Counties. Her presentation revolved around the “5 Reasons Bullying is Getting Worse.” The focus for bullying continues to be a constant in our society but today it is increasingly anonymous due to the many avenues a bully can take to reach its victim(s). The bottom line is it is real and it is not getting better. Rumors can go viral in a matter of micro-seconds across the internet and by cell phone. Scars from bullying cannot be seen but are long term and cause severe psychological damage causing depression, anxiety, and may lead to suicide or other harmful activities. To contact Heady Gist call 810-232-9950

A Lesson in Bullying by Gabrielle Ford: Gabrielle (Gabby) Ford is from Fenton, Michigan. If you hear her story you will find she is a very inspiration young woman. She has appeared on the Animal Planet’s A Pet Story, Cosmopolitan Magazine, The Today Show, Guideposts Magazine, and MDA’s Quest Magazine. Her story brings much inspiration about how a disease took over her body but a long-eared coonhound named Izzy changed her life for the better. She is taking her message on the road with speaking engagements all over the country. To learn more about Gabrielle Ford visit

Regional awards were presented to: Xak Kdunic, XYZ Landscaping, Durand, Outstanding Business; Kurt Chrysler, Tuscola, Outstanding Professional; Joan Loney, Tuscola; Robin Wolanin, Durand; and Terri West, Lapeer, Outstanding Support Staff; and Sylicia Saenz, Flint and Logan VanKuren, Durand, Outstanding Students


Regions 4, 5, & 6 Remembering 2011

Regions 4, 5, and 6 hosted a spring professional development day entitled, "Creating Healthy Options Initiated by Choices to Empower Students (CHOICES)" on March 4th at the Genesee Area Skill Center.

Gloria Sherman from Parenting and Teaching with G.L.O., LLC presented "Neutralizing Arguing and Power Struggles," Building Positive Relationships and Problems Ownership," and "Developing the 3 Perceptions and 4 Life Skills Needed by Youth Today" using the Love and Logic philosophy.

Gloria is a licensed professional counselor with over 30 years experience working with children as a parent and as a counselor. Her goal is to provide parents and educators with the tools necessary to empower children to make better choices and to take responsibility.

To learn more about Love and Logic visit


Regions 4, 5, & 6 Remembering 2010

Regions 4, 5, and 6 hosted a spring professional development day entitled, "Seeing the Big Picture" on March 5, 2010 at the Genesee Area Skill Center.

Susan Burton-Hoyle from the Eastern Michigan University Department of Special Education started the day with an excellent presentation on Autism. She says, "A person with autism: Every day to them is like the first day on a new job for you." She explained the characteristics of autism including sensory disorders, universal accommodations, visual supports, autism and employment and the MDE's definitiion of Autism Spectrum Disorders. She recommended several books, one "A Thorn in My Pocket" by Eustacia Cutler is the story of a mother raising her daughter, Temple Grandin. To learn more about autism visit

Regional awards were presented to: Andre Nichols, Samantha Fall, and Justin Mathews all received awards for Outstanding student. Support award went to Deb Adams and Professional awards went to Cindy Olson and Sharon Gannsley