2022 Symposium Speakers

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In-Person registration includes Pre-Symposium Professional Workshop. 
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LIVESTREAM ONLY (10/14-10/15) - $339

Registration DOES NOT include Pre-Symposium Professional Workshop. 


Registration DOES NOT include Symposium Ticket. 

AOTA CEUs available as an additional add-on for each ticket option. See registration page for more information.

Virginia Spielmann, PhD, OTR/L (She/Her) (Co-Host)Speaker - Virginia Spielmann
Executive Director
STAR Institute

Virginia is a well-travelled speaker, coach and educator on topics including sensory integration, DIR/Floortime, child development and infant mental health. She has conducted trainings in Kenya, Australia, the Philippines, Vietnam, Hong Kong, and the USA and leads workshops at international conferences.

Virginia is a founder and former Clinical Director of SPOT (Speech, Physical, and Occupational Therapy) Interdisciplinary Children's Therapy Center in Hong Kong, where she led a large and widely respected inter-disciplinary team.

Virginia obtained her BSc in Occupational Therapy in Oxford England (2002) and her Masters in Occupational Therapy from Mount Mary University, Milwaukee (2018). She is a DIR/Floortime Training Leader and Expert and clinical consultant for the Interdisciplinary Council for Development and Learning (ICDL). Her extensive pediatric experience includes children on the autism spectrum, as well as those with Sensory Processing Disorder, infant mental health issues, adoption, developmental trauma.

Virginia has considerable post-graduate training, she is certified on the SIPT and is currently completing her Ph.D. in Infant and Early Childhood Development with an emphasis on mental health, with Fielding Graduate University, in Santa Barbara. She is a published author and contributed to the STAR Frame of Reference as part of the 4th Edition of Frames of Reference for Pediatric Occupational Therapy, alongside Dr. Miller and Dr. Schoen.

Jenara NerenbergSpeaker - Jenara Nerenberg
Divergent Mind / The Neurodiversity Project

Jenara Nerenberg speaks widely on the future of psychology and is the bestselling author of Divergent Mind, founder of The Neurodiversity Project, and an alum of the Harvard School of Public Health and UC Berkeley. Her international reporting has appeared in CNN, TIME, Fast Company, NPR and elsewhere, and you can find her regularly at the UC Berkeley Greater Good Science Center. Jenara is also the founder of Divergent Literary, an agency championing diverse voices, with a focus on health and neurodiversity. She speaks widely at conferences on the intersections of psychology, sensory research, psychiatry, and society and is especially focused on nuanced dialogues that cut through the noise of social media.

Sarah Schoen, PhD, OTR/LSpeaker - Sarah Schoen
Director of Research
STAR Institute

Dr. Schoen is an occupational therapist with 30 years of clinical experience and a doctorate in occupational therapy from New York University (2001). She completed a two-year post-doctoral fellowship awarded by the Developmental Psychobiology Research Group at the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center, Department of Psychiatry, working with Dr. Lucy Jane Miller. During her fellowship she was awarded the Developmental Psychology Endowment Grant from the William T Grant foundation to study the Sensory Processing Scales, which she is co-developing and researching with Dr. Miller. Dr Schoen is currently an Associate Professor at the Rocky Mountain University of Health Professions and has served on multiple doctoral committees.  She also co-developed and teaches the monthly Advanced Mentorship trainings at the SPD Foundation. She is certified in Neurodevelopmental Treatment and has advanced training in Sensory Integration Therapy, Therapeutic Listening, and assistive technology. Dr. Schoen received the Recognition of Achievement Award from the American Occupational Therapy Association in 1997 and the Virginia Scardina Award of Excellence from the American Occupational Therapy Foundation in 2011.

Kris Barnekow, PhD, OTR/L, IMH-E® (she/her)Speaker - Kris Barnekow
Infant Family Specialist; Associate Professor
University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee

Dr. Pizur-Barnekow serves as associate professor in the Department of Rehabilitation Science and Technology at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. As a doctoral student, she studied under the mentorship of Dr. Gary Kraemer, author of Psychobiological Attachment Theory. The findings from her dissertation revealed that infants experience changes heart rate variability when presented with sensory stimuli that is visually and auditorily synchronous or asynchronous. In addition, the research findings identified an association between infant temperament style and maternal self-confidence and that mothers adjust their play style to support reciprocal play. These findings provided a foundation for the collaborative development of the model of co-occupation that she and Dr. Pickens disseminated in 2009, and to her subsequent interest in early childhood mental health. Since then, Dr. Pizur-Barnekow has authored or co-authored 32 papers, 9 book chapters and 70 presentations related to early childhood. In addition, she is endorsed by the Wisconsin Alliance for Infant Mental Health as an Infant and Family Specialist, serves as the CDC’s Act Early Ambassador to Wisconsin and is the founder of Families First, LLC.

Antoine L. Bailliard, PhD, OTR/L (he/him)Speaker - Antoine L. Bailliard
Associate Professor~Duke University
Adjunct Professor~ University of North Carolina

Dr. Antoine Bailliard is Associate Professor of Occupational Therapy at Duke University School of Medicine.  He is Adjunct Professor in the Department of Psychiatry and the Division of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He earned an M.S. in Occupational Therapy and a PhD in Occupational Science at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. His research focuses on exploring how sensory processing patterns affect community integration and participation in meaningful occupations. His community-engaged scholarship focuses on improving the delivery of community-based services for adults with serious mental illness. His theoretical work focuses on expanding understandings of occupational justice to enhance inclusion and understandings of how sensory processing patterns affect meaningful participation. Dr. Bailliard uses participatory methods to partner with people with lived experience with mental illness to design and implement research activities and in the development of tools and programs that improve the health, wellbeing, meaningful participation, and community integration of persons with serious mental illness. Dr. Bailliard’s clinical experience spans from working in acute inpatient mental health, chronic inpatient mental health, and community-based mental health settings. Currently, Dr. Bailliard is Co-Principal Investigator of a 5-year $2.4 million federal grant from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration to design an innovative assertive outreach team to meet the needs of adults with serious mental illness who are homeless or at risk of homelessness.  Dr. Bailliard is also a consultant for the Public Mental Health Partnership between the L.A. County Department of Mental Health and UCLA and a consultant and trainer for the Institute for Best Practices at the Center for Excellence in Community Mental Health at UNC-Chapel Hill.

Karen Pryor, PhD, PT, DPT, ND, CH, CPRCS (she/her)Speaker - Karen Pryor
Physical Therapist
Change the Brain -Body Follows

Karen Pryor PhD, PT, DPT, ND, CH, CPRCS specializes in neuroplasticity.  With a firm belief, when you change the mind the body follows.  She is a physical therapist with 43 years of experience as well as being a Naturopathic Doctor.  Integration of multiple educational avenues has helped her design advance- programs for rewiring the brain of individuals of all ages. Karen is the Author of Ten Fingers Ten Toes Twenty Things Everyone Needs to Know available from Amazon and BookBaby. She received the “Outstanding Volunteer Service Award” from President Obama in 2010 for her work in advancing treatments in children.  She received an appointment 2014-2024 from Governor Bill Haslam and Governor Bill Lee to the Leadership Interagency Coordinating Council for birth to three-year old children in Tennessee.  Karen is an advisory for the Maori Foundation in Japan.  

She has achieved great success in helping children reach their potential. Treatment includes, neuroplasticity techniques and innovations that change the way the brain functions in children with challenges and adults post stroke or accident.  Rewiring or changing the routes of information, from vision going to the occipital lobes to the auditory cortex, so children could see through their ears. Developed techniques to change cerebral palsy tone, from spastic to approximate normal, so the children could walk without bracing or walkers. Children with Down syndrome to beat the averages, walk 12 – 16 months rather than 2 – 4 years.  Karen collaborated with her daughter Mica Foster chiropractor and developed a successful dyslexia program to orient letters and numbers for those children struggling with reading.  Karen and Mica have also given seminars on pediatric pain. 

Please join Karen as she shares knowledge with tools you can use.