Registration Opens for 36th Annual Challenge of Children Conference!

March 27, 2018

BRAINS is excited to be serving on the coalition for the 36th Annual Challenge of Children Conference. Aside from volunteering hours to plan the conference, BRAINS has committed to sharing it’s expertise in the field of Autism Spectrum Disorders, ADHD, behavioral health, executive functioning, and assistive technology. We invite you to join our presenters in workshops throughout the morning and afternoon. Registration is open until Monday, May 14 but spaces are limited. The day-long conference is completely free and is held on the beautiful campus at Hope College. For more information on workshops and conference details, please use the links at the bottom of page to visit the website and Facebook.


Liane Holliday-Willey, EdD, autism consultant for BRAINS, will be providing a FREE opportunity for parents and caregivers to attend a morning workshop on Safety Skills for People with Asperger Syndrome. People with Asperger syndrome typically struggle with interpersonal relationships and emotional health. This workshop will present Liane’s personal experiences with botched safety, recovery and skill sets that are helpful for people on the spectrum interested in developing healthy relationships, safe socializing and emotional well-being. Liane Holliday Willey, EdD is an internationally-renowned author; autism educator, consultant and advocate; and keynote speaker on ​autism spectrum challenges and supports, females with autism, and adults with autism.

Bradley Bridges, LMSW, Clinical Director and behavioral therapist at BRAINS, will be facilitating a workshop on Using Virtual Reality and Technologies into the Treatment of ASD. Learn about how modern technology, such as virtual reality, biofeedback and other interventions are used to facilitate intervention and skill development of high functioning autism and Asperger syndrome. This workshop will include research, demonstrations of how technology can be used and strategies for implementation at home and in a professional setting.

Geoffrey Stevens, LMSW, behavioral therapist at BRAINS, will be facilitating a workshop on Engaging your Adolescent with ADHD as a Partner when Addressing Behavioral Health Issues. This workshop will help parents and professionals understand the challenges students with ADHD face at school and its impact. Attendees will learn strategies to help students with ADHD achieve success in all levels of education as they move into adulthood.

Alisha Lauchie, LMSW, CPS-R, behavioral therapist at BRAINS, will be facilitating a workshop on Executive Functioning: Cognitive Skill Building for ADHD. Everyone knows a child who has difficulty paying attention to a particular task. An extrordianry amount of teens have challenges with organizing their school work and getting started on assignments. This workshop focuses on providing education and tips on strengthening the frontal lobe skills needed to be successful in daily functioning and in achieving goals.

Raising and caring for children is a demanding job. In 1981, a dedicated group of health and human service professionals in Allegan and Ottawa Counties recognized this challenge. They subsequently identified the need to offer parent education, support and a network where parents and caregivers could talk with one another about family life management. The Challenge of Children Coalition was born and in the following year, 1982, the very first Challenge of Children Conference was held. Fifteen years later, an invitation to serve on the coalition was extended to Muskegon County professionals. Another 20 years have passed since then and the coalition remains strong. In 2017, Kent County professionals excepted the opportunity to serve. The conference continues to draw hundreds of parents and caregivers annually from West Michigan and throughout the state. What is more important is that over 30,000 parents and caregivers bettered themselves for the children whose lives they touch.

Save the date for next year! The 37th Challenge of Children conference is scheduled for May 16, 2019, registration will open March 26, 2019.