Wednesday, September 30, 2015

The Importance of Belonging

Registration is open for an upcoming conference with Dr. David Pitonyak.  Dr. Pitonyak is known around the world for his work with people who experience disabilities and with the people who support them.  His conference, "The Importance of Belonging," will be held in Athens on Thursday, October 15, from 9 AM – 4 PM and include light breakfast, lunch and refreshments.  The meeting will be at the Richard B. Russell Library, on the campus of The University of Georgia.

The conference is based on the premise that being connected to the people we love is critical to our emotional and physical well-being, and the observation that people with disabilities are often isolated from loving relationships and instead interact with a series of persons who are paid to do so. Loneliness is one result. When people are lonely their actions are often experienced by others as “challenging behaviors.”  Participants will learn about topics that include: the importance of belonging; seeing difficult behaviors as intentional communication; and understanding behaviors that result from unmet needs. There will also be a discussion on opportunities for people with disabilities to lead meaningful, fulfilling lives in their homes and communities.  More information about Dr. Pitonyak’s work can be found at his website:

This workshop is open to 100 people and is designed for people with disabilities and their families, direct support providers, citizen advocates, and other professionals working with people with disabilities. 
The costs are: $50 for people with disabilities and their families; $75 for professionals who work with people with disabilities. Limited scholarships will also be available.  To register, visit this link: 

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