OCTOBER 3 - 5, 2019

Featured 2019 Speakers

Elisabeth Dykens
Elisabeth Dykens
Professor of Psychology
Nirbhay N. Singh
Nirbhay N. Singh
Professor of Psychiatry
Patrice Carroll
Patrice Carroll
PWS Behavior Specialist
Ashley Waguespack
Ashley Waguespack
Occupational Therapist
Jessica Boudreaux
Jessica Boudreaux
Occupational Therapist
Katy Chambers Updated
Katy Chambers
School Principal
Jessica Duis Headshot square
Jessica Duis
Asst. Professor of Pediatrics
Theresa Strong
Director of Research Programs, FPWR

Conference Speaker Biographies

Jessica Bohonowych, Ph.D.
Associate Director of Research Programs, FPWR

Jessica Bohonowych is a graduate of Duke University, and holds a PhD in Pharmacology and Toxicology at the University of California, Davis. Incorporating her research background, knowledge of pharmacology and drug development, and teaching experience, Jessica works with Theresa Strong in managing FPWR’s grant portfolio, communicating research results and breakthroughs to our community, aiding in special projects such as the Clinical Trials Initiative and Molecular Resource Center, and is heading the development of the Global PWS Registry.


Jessica Boudreaux, MOT, LOTR
Occupational Therapist, Sensory Solutions Therapy

Jessica Boudreaux,  has always loved children and has a passion for helping them to succeed in their home, school, and community environments. She attended Nicholls State University for her undergraduate degree, where she graduated Summa Cum Laude in Allied Health Sciences in 2013. She then began the Master of Occupational Therapy program at Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center, New Orleans, where she graduated at the top of her class in 2016. Prior to beginning graduate school, Jess was a tech at Sensory Solutions and was overjoyed when she had the opportunity to return to the clinic for her last clinical rotation. Jess has gained invaluable experience in pediatrics and thoroughly enjoys helping children with a variety of conditions.  She has received additional training in feeding interventions and in the Handwriting Without Tears® program.  In 2017, she also completed the University of Southern California Continuing Education Certificate Program.

Jess cherishes the opportunity to build lifelong relationships with the children and families that she serves. Jess lives with her husband and two children in Chackbay, Louisiana. 


Patrice Carroll, LCSW
Director PWS Services, Latham Centers

Patrice Carroll is the director of PWS services for both children and adults at Latham Centers in Massachusetts, USA. Patrice received her MSW from Simmons College, Boston, MA 2008. Patrice is the co-chair of the PWSA-USA professional providers board of directors as well as the United States delegate for IPWSO and has over 18 years of experience working with children and adults diagnosed with PWS. Patrice is a co-author of the book Living Healthy with Prader-Willi Syndrome. In addition to her experience with developing person-centered vocational programming for people with PWS, she has specialized in the multi-modal management of skin and rectal picking using intensive, non-contingent, sensory stimulation.


Katy Chambers
Principal, Ferguson Middle School

Dr. Katy Chambers holds her doctorate degree in educational administration from Lindenwood University, a master’s degree in educational administration from Saint Louis University, and a Bachelor of Arts in Secondary Education from Arizona State University. She is certified as a school district superintendent in the state of Missouri. Katy has served students and families in public schools for the last 14 years as a teacher and school principal. Katy also served as a school and community resource volunteer for the United States Peace Corps from 2003-2005. She spent two years in Cassel Village, South Africa, where she supported the development of schools and the community.

Katy is committed to ensuring every child –regardless of ability, gender, or race- has the skills, the confidence, and the opportunities to explore endless possibilities in life. She is a passionate educator and a dedicated mom to a four uniquely amazing children, one of whom lives with Prader Willi Syndrome - Daniel, age 7. 


Elisabeth M. Dykens, Ph.D.
Director, Vanderbilt Kennedy Center for Research on Human Development

Co-Director, University Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities

Dr. Dykens' research examines psychopathology and areas of strength in persons with intellectual and developmental disabilities, especially those with genetic syndromes. Her studies focus on the development and correlates of psychopathology and behavioral problems in Prader-Willi syndrome, Williams syndrome, and Down syndrome. These include marked obsessive-compulsive behaviors in Prader-Willi syndrome, heightened anxiety in Williams syndrome, and increased withdrawal and depression in Down syndrome. Dykens also examines profiles of neurocognitive and adaptive strengths and weaknesses in these disorders, and how these unusual profiles refine treatment and shed light on normal development.

Current studies include: (1) physiological and neurological mechanisms of compulsive behavior in persons with Prader-Willi syndrome; (2) visual-spatial strengths in persons with Prader-Willi syndrome; (3) relations between musical strengths and anxiety in persons with Williams syndrome; (4) the trajectory of adaptive skills and maladaptive behaviors in syndromes, including in older adults; (5) families of persons with intellectual and developmental disabilities, including stress, coping, and positive outcomes for family members; and (6) contributions from positive psychology to research and intervention in intellectual and developmental disabilities.


Nirbhay N. Singh, Ph.D., BCBA-D
Clinical Professor of Psychiatry and Health Behavior

Medical College of Georgia, Augusta University

Dr. Singh is a Clinical Professor of Psychiatry and Health Behavior, Medical College of Georgia, Augusta University. His research interests include mindfulness, behavioral and cognitive behavioral treatments of individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities, and assistive technology for supporting individuals with diverse abilities. His work covers a broad range of psychological, mental and emotional disorders in diverse populations. Dr. Singh has over 700 publications, including 25 books. He is the Editor of three journals: Journal of Child and Family Studies, Mindfulness, and Advances in Neurodevelopmental Disorders. His most recent books include Buddhist Foundations of Mindfulness (with Shonin and Van Gordon), Handbook of Evidence-Based Practices in Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities, Handbook of Positive Psychology in Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (with Shogren and Wehmeyer), and Handbook of Ethics in Mindfulness (with Stanley and Purser). He is the developer of Mindfulness-Based Positive Behavior Support (MBPBS) for assisting parents, paid caregivers, and teachers in reducing their own stress, burnout, and compassion fatigue that arises from prolonged caregiving, and to successfully help those in their care to better manage their maladaptive or challenging behaviors.


Theresa Strong, Ph.D.
Director of Research Programs, FPWR

Theresa V. Strong, Ph.D., received a B.S. from Rutgers University and a Ph.D. in Medical Genetics from the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB).  She performed postdoctoral studies at the University of Michigan in the laboratory of Francis Collins, M.D., Ph.D., studying the molecular basis of cystic fibrosis and Huntington disease. After her postdoc, she returned to the faculty at UAB, where her laboratory focused on developing gene therapy approaches for cancer. She became the Director of UAB’s Vector Production Facility and a Professor in the Department of Medicine.  Theresa is one of the founding members of FPWR and has directed FPWR’s grant program since its inception. In October of 2016, she transitioned to a full time position as Director of Research Programs at FPWR.  She remains an Adjunct Professor in the Department of Genetics at UAB.  She and her husband Jim have four children, including a son with PWS.


Ashley Waguespack, MS, LOTR
Occupational Therapist, Sensory Solutions Therapy

Ashley Waguespack, holds a B.S. degree in Occupational Therapy from LSU Health Sciences Center and a Master of Health Care Management (M.S.) degree from the University of New Orleans. Ashley has been in private practice in Thibodaux since 2004 and has worked in private pediatric facilities in New Orleans, Baton Rouge, and Torrance, California. She was an owner of The Center for Pediatric Therapy until December 2012 when she transitioned from working in a large practice to working in a smaller, more intimate environment in order to better serve the unique needs of children and their families.

Ashley is certified in administration & interpretation of the Sensory Integration and Praxis Tests (SIPT), PECS® – Picture Exchange Communication System, and Therapeutic Listening.  In the Fall of 2002, Ashley completed the 4 month master level course, Sensory Integrative Dysfunctions, through the University of Southern California, where she was trained and mentored by the colleagues of Dr. A. Jean Ayres, the developer of Sensory Integration theory. Ashley utilizes sensory integration techniques with children and adolescents (birth-16) with Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD). In addition to her sensory integration experience, Ashley is also trained in the Handwriting Without Tears® program and provides handwriting intervention to children from 4-16 years of age individually or in groups.  She is also trained in the areas of oral motor and feeding.

Ashley enjoys presenting locally on the topics of sensory processing, handwriting, and fine motor development with teachers and other school professionals. Ashley’s enthusiasm and compassion for her clients has helped to build tremendous rapport with the families of the children she treats.

Ashley is a member of the American Occupational Therapy Association and the Louisiana Occupational Therapy Association.


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Registration Details


Standard Conference Pricing

Research Symposium: October 3-4
Standard Registration - $235

Family Conference AND Research Symposium:
Standard Registration - $584
Parent/Family Rate - $450

Family Conference Only: October 4-5
Standard Registration - $349
Parent/Family Member Rate - $225
Childcare (children 1 year and older) - $225

Register Now!


Refund Policy: discounted tickets are not refundable. Regular priced tickets may be refunded up to 30 days prior to conference, less a $25 processing fee.



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