Skip to main content


11th Annual Fashion Show for All Abilities

Join us on the evening of Friday, April 21, 2017 at the Monona Terrace Community and Convention Center for the 11th Annual Fashion Show for All Abilities!

Tickets are $5 at the door.

Supporting a Person with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

Presenter: David Pitonyak

Tuesday, June 13, 2017
Morning: 9:00 AM – 12:00 PM
Afternoon: 1:00 PM – 4:00 PM

Full Day: $75
(reduced fee for Dane County DD Support Providers: $50)
6 Continuing Education Hours for Social Workers

Morning Only: $50
(reduced fee for Dane County DD Support Providers: $30)
3 Continuing Education Hours for Social Workers

Lunch is on your own (12:00 – 1:00 PM) if attending the full day: The Pyle Center is located one block from Madison’s State Street, with dozens of dining options.

Go HERE and follow the prompts to register.

Flyer (PDF)

This workshop examines the impact of trauma in the lives of people who experience disabilities.  Many experience Post Traumatic Stress Disorder as a result of early loss of family (institutionalization), medical procedures, treatment procedures, sexual and physical abuse.  This workshop explores strategies for helping people to heal, even in the aftermath of extraordinary suffering.

The morning session will lay a foundation and framework focus on supporting people with PTSD including specific physiological changes that overcome a person in distress, and strategies that make sense for the person and his or her caregivers. Late morning will bring in discussion on concrete strategies to support a person with PTSD and physiological changes that occur in people who have experienced trauma.

The afternoon we will build upon this discussion and address specific questions about the people you support, work through scenarios, talk about practical strategies, and share additional material on supporting individuals with PTSD.

HANDOUTS (Found on David’s website:

Recommended: Supporting A Person with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.  Optional: Discovery Workbook with Support Plan Forms (abbreviated and extended). Upside Down and Inside Out: Supporting a Person in Crisis and Jumping Into the Chaos of Things.


The largest part of my work involves meeting individuals who are said to exhibit "difficult behaviors."  Most of these individuals exhibit difficult behaviors because they are misunderstood and/or because they are living lives that don't make sense.  Often they are lonely, or powerless, or without joy.  Often they are devalued by others, or they lack the kinds of educational experiences that most of us take for granted.  Too often their troubling behaviors are the result of an illness, or even a delayed response to traumatic events.

You might say their behaviors are "messages" which can tell us important things about their lives.  Learning to listen (see Herb Lovett) to an individual's difficult behaviors is the first step in helping the individual to find a new (and healthier) story.
I also believe, to paraphrase Jean Clark, that a "person's needs are best met by people whose needs are met."   Supporting a person with difficult behaviors also involves an honest assessment of and attention to the needs of a person's supporters.  

Another part of my practice involves training. I provide workshops and seminars on a variety of topics, including supporting people with difficult behaviors and supporting the needs of a person's friends, family, and caregivers.

In the recent past, I have provided consultation and training for individuals, families and professionals throughout the United States, Canada, Puerto Rico, England, and the Republic of Ireland.  I have worked with people in a variety of settings, including: home and professionally-staffed residential settings, schools, supported competitive job sites, sheltered workshops, and day activity programs.

The best, and most important, part of my life is my family.  I live in Blacksburg, Virginia with my wife Cyndi.  We have two boys, Joe and Sam.

InfoShare: The Journey Up Till Now And Into the Future — The Force for Positive Change

Wednesday, March 8, 2017
Alliant Energy Center Exhibition Hall

Registration Fee: $15 per person

Click here for the AGENDA

InfoShare is a gathering of people with developmental disabilities, their friends and families and those who work for and with them. It is a place of learning, of sharing, of telling stories, of listening to one another, of renewing old friendships and making new ones. Join us for a day of thoughtful discussions, seeing old friends and fun activities!

Program Questions:

Contact: Rachel Weingarten
Phone: 608-890-0777

Registration Questions:

Contact: James Mulder
Phone: 608-265-9440 Ext. 0

InfoShare is funded by the UW-Madison Waisman Center Community Training and Consultation Program, Dane County Human Services and Group Health Cooperative - South Central Wisconsin.

Taste of Dane County

A Practical Orientation to Services for Adults with Developmental Disabilities in Dane County

Participants will receive a Certificate of Completion for 6 hours at the end of the workshop

Date and Time: TBA
Location: Community Outreach Wisconsin: 122 E. Olin Ave., Ste. 100, Madison WI 53713
Registration Fee: $15 per person

Go HERE and follow the prompts to register.

The Taste of Dane County explains the framework of the Dane County Adult Developmental Disability System and is especially relevant for new agency staff and brokers. Information on the history and philosophy of services, communication, health, abuse and neglect, and a general overview of developmental disabilities is presented to promote sensitivity and insight into the lives of persons with developmental disabilities. Participants will learn from presentations, small group activities, and informal discussions with individuals who have disabilities and their families.


  • A History of Services, Paul White
  • An Overview of Developmental Disabilities, Paul White
  • Philosophy and Description of Services in Dane County, Monica Bear
  • Overview of Health Considerations and Healthy Living, Waisman WIN
  • Dane County Abuse/Neglect Policies, Maya Fairchild
  • Communication: The Key to Self-Direction & Full Community Membership, Abygail Marx
  • Panel: Consumers of Services

Additional Resources

The Self Determination or Self-Directed Supports (SDS) program for adults with developmental disabilities is how Dane County provides services for consumers who have an individual budget and a Support Broker. For more information, visit:


Monica Bear is the Developmental Disabilities Program Manager for Dane County Adult Services.

Maya Fairchild is the mandated contact for Dane County contracted residential and vocational service provider agencies when abuse is suspected.

Abygail Marx is a speech-language pathologist and augmentative communication specialist in the Communication Development Program (CDP) and the Communication Aids and Systems Clinic (CASC) at the Waisman Center. She provides augmentative communication support to individuals with complex communication needs and their families. Services are provided to both children and adults with a wide range of developmental and acquired disabilities including autism, cerebral palsy, genetic disorders/syndromes, ALS, Parkinson's Disease, and TBI. Abby received her BS and MS degrees at the University of Wisconsin -- Madison, with additional graduate level training through the Maternal and Child Health -- Leadership in Neurodevelopmental Disabilities (MCH-LEND) program.

Marcia Stickel and Joanne Law, Waisman WIN (Wellness Inclusion Nursing) Program: WIN nurses serve as consultants to residential and vocational team members, families and health care providers focusing on restoring, maintaining and promoting maximal health and independence for adults with developmental disabilities so they can achieve the best life possible.

Paul White has extensive experience in supporting children and adults with developmental disabilities and has been on staff at the UW Waisman Center since 1986. Paul is the director of the program Community TIES. TIES provides positive supports to persons with developmental disabilities and emotional/behavioral challenges. Paul has developed a series of seminars on subjects related to positive behavioral supports.