Early Intervention Technical Assistance Portal

Pennsylvania 2021 Early Intervention and Family Support Program Virtual Event

Information for Families

Tips for Choosing Sessions

When you register for the conference, you will have the ability to register for both Keynote Sessions and Breakout Sessions. The conference will feature three Keynote Presentations. Keynotes will enable you to learn from some of the best voices in the field of Early Intervention and Family Support. We encourage you to join all of the Keynote Sessions. Of particular interest to families will be Bethany Van Delft, a parent advocate, comedian and storyteller who will be sharing her story.  

Over the two-day conference there will be four opportunities to for you to choose from a variety of sessions. When you register they will be labeled as “Breakout” Sessions. So, you may be wondering what are the best sessions to choose? That is an excellent question! The best way to address this question is to first say all of the breakout sessions were carefully chosen to support the overall goals of the conference and all will be great sessions! As you think about choosing sessions here are some things you may want to consider:

  • Your goals/reasons for participating in the conference
    • Are you interested in learning about a specific topic? Look for sessions that match your interests.
    • Are you interested in hearing from other families about their experiences? Look for sessions that have a family presenter or co-presenter.
    • Are you an “up for anything” kind of learner? You may want to choose sessions that cover a variety of different topics to get a little taste of a variety of topics.
    • Are you a “focused” learner? You may want to choose sessions that focus on similar topics. For example, the conference will have multiple sessions that focus on equity, several that focus on tele-intervention as well as family engagement.
  • Who is presenting?
    • Several of the sessions include family members as presenters/co-presenters, this may be of interest to you.
    • We have numerous presenters from both within Pennsylvania and outside Pa- and many sessions include both!  All sessions are designed to support those involved in EI and/or Family Supports in Pennsylvania. But, presenters from different areas can provide different perspectives. 
  • Choose what feels right for you! There are no “wrong” choices. Know that once the conference begins, if you find yourself in a session that is not a great fit for you, you can leave and find a different session on the schedule that better fits what you are looking for.
  • Check out the Conference Session descriptions before you register.

Tips for Registration

  • To register you will need to either log in or sign up for a PATTAN account. If you do not have an account, check out this document: Account sign up/Registration Instructions.
  • When you register please make sure you choose “Parent” as your position. This will allow us to be in touch with you about specific offerings we will have for family members!  (More information about these special opportunities below)

Have the Best Conference Experience

Tips on Using the Conference Platform

We will be using a conference platform called Chime. Registered conference participants will receive log in information about a week prior to the conference.  Keynotes will be streamed live in this platform. It is also where you will find the conference agenda, session materials, networking opportunities, social media feed as well as links to all of the breakout sessions.  Breakout sessions will use the Zoom platform. 

To assist families in navigating the conference platform, a Virtual Pre-Conference Orientation session for families will be held on Thursday April 22nd from 1-2.  Families that have registered as parents in the PaTTAN registration system were emailed an invitation and link to this meeting.  If you did not receive the link by email please email Sarah Holland saholland@pa.gov.

Throughout the conference a help desk will be available to assist participants. 

If you are typically able to view videos on your device you should be able to access the conference platform and view the keynote presentations.  Breakout sessions will be using Zoom as their platform.  To test your device and connection to Zoom you can join a zoom test meeting. If you have not joined a Zoom meeting before it may be helpful to review this tutorial.

Set Yourself up for Success!

  • Set up a space for you to participate that provides you enough room for you to set up your device to watch and listen and whatever else you need to feel comfortable. It doesn’t have to be fancy! But, feel free to make it your own. Bring your own paper/pens for notes or doodles, a favorite fidget to keep your mind focused and don’t forget room for your favorite beverage and a snack.
  • Cameras will not be on during keynotes and most breakouts. So, wear what makes you feel most comfortable to learn. Feel free to show up in your comfy clothes or bring out that new spring outfit that you would wear if we could be in person together!  Wear those fancy shoes, slippers or go full on spring and don those flip flops. This is your conference experience, make it your own.

During the Conference/Participating Sessions

  • We are anticipating 1,000 participants at the conference…in other words 1,000 options for new friends/contacts! Take advantage of opportunities to connect with other conference participants!  (more on that below)
  • Because we are expecting a full virtual house, you will be muted and your camera will be off during most of the sessions.
  • Even though you will be muted during most breakouts, you will still be able to ask questions. Participants will be encouraged to ask questions- that means you family members!! Families often offer a different and welcome perspective to sessions.  We welcome your voice.
  • The conference platform contains a note taking option. You can save notes that you add during the conference for later.
  • Sessions will not be recorded, or be able to be accessed later. So, get your seat for the sessions that you don’t want to miss.
  • Session PowerPoints and resources will be posted on the conference platform. They will remain available for two weeks after the conference. Make sure you save any information from the session materials that you will want to revisit later.

Taking Care of Yourself and Your Own Learning

  • Participating in the conference may be different than what a typical day looks for you. There will be numerous breaks throughout the conference, look at the conference schedule to find the spots where you can fit in other responsibilities-including taking care of yourself!
  • Take breaks! Even if you are a pro at spending your days online, conference days can feel different. Your brain needs breaks to function at its best. So, take breaks and get away from the screen.  Move a little, grab a drink, a snack, complete a different task that uses a different part of your brain. Even a very short micro break helps to reset your mind and body to be prepared for more learning.
  • Look for offerings on the schedule over lunch for some fun ways to take breaks, but still stay in conference mode.
  • The conference platform contains an integrated note taking section. You can save notes that you add during the conference for later. Learn more about some of the features of our conference platform in the Ways to Connect with other Conference Participants/Families.
  • Just like other learning events so much of the good stuff at conferences happens outside of sessions. You might be wondering how this is going to happen in a virtual setting?  Look at our “ways to connect with other conference participants/families” below.  Making connections is a great way to extend your learning and make the experience more fun!  Yes, we said it fun!  We want you to have fun while you are learning!

Ways to Connect with other Conference Participants/Families

The conference platform has numerous built in features to assist you connect with others. After you receive your login access the conference platform (about a week before the conference), we encourage you to start to become familiar with the platform features.  A key feature to allow you to network and connect with others is the eBusiness card feature.  You will be able to edit your profile, including adding a picture, add a biography and add to your eBusiness Card. From this networking section of the conference platform you can use tools to search for other attendees, read their biographies, start chat conversations and exchange eBusiness Cards.

In addition to these networking features, we encourage you to join our twitter feed for the conference, which you will be able to do directly from the conference platform.  We encourage you to share you’re a-ha moments, what you are learning, what is connecting with you.  Throughout the conference there will also be some prompts to help you participate in some fun ways to connect with each other!

There will also be two opportunities to families to connect with other families at special events for this conference.

  • A Preconference orientation session from Thurs. April 22nd from 1-2 pm.
  • A Virtual Dinner/Meet and Greet after the first day of the conference, April 27th from 6-7:30 pm.
  • Conference participants that have registered as “parents” will receive the links to these opportunities via email. If you are a family member and wish to participate and did not receive the link to join, please email Sarah Holland saholland@pa.gov
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