Lisa A. Lieberman



A Stranger Among Us
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Past Presentations | Additional Talks | Professional Continuing Ed. Workshops
Co-Presentations with Family Members

Lisa Lieberman is a popular national speaker who provides workshops, presentations, consultation and training to parents and professionals in a variety of settings. She believes strongly in the importance of building a respectful bridge to children and young adults with disabilities. Her presentations range from one hour to a full-day workshop, and can be geared to a specific diagnosis or a broader range of disabilities. Presentations include lecture, group discussion, small group activities, and practical handouts. Learning objectives for each workshop are available upon request. By sharing real-life stories interspersed throughout her presentations, she will touch your heart and tickle your funny bone.

Following is a list and description of some of her past presentations:

6 Tools for Navigating the Emotional Journey When Parenting a Child with a Disability

This session explores six essential tools for managing the ongoing emotional demands involved in parenting children with disabilities. Format includes lecture, small group discussion, individual (and couple) brainstorming time and laughter. Participants will leave with concrete ideas, and a sense of renewed hope for the journey ahead. Includes concrete suggestions for professionals to effectively support parents.

My Child is Different and sometimes it hurts: Supporting Parents of Children with Disabilities

Focus on understanding the needs and concerns of parents whose children have special challenges, addressing the differences in how dads and moms cope. Discuss 6 tools parents can use to navigate this lifelong journey. To best support these parents, professionals must first grasp, on more than a conceptual level, the emotional aspects of special needs parenting. Time will be allotted for questions and discussion.

Maintaining your Intimate Relationship When Your Child Has a Disability

Provides an opportunity for couples to understand the unique challenges faced when parenting a child with a disability. Will explore differences in how dads and moms typically manage parenting, with a goal of helping couples learn to talk more positively with each other, and to gain concrete ideas for rekindling what's been set aside in addressing a child's needs.

Effective Parent-Professional Collaboration in a School Setting

Everyone wins when parents and professionals collaborate on behalf of a student with disabilities. If each person strives to respect all perspectives, team members can experience satisfying results. Workshop addresses the developmental process by which parents come to terms with a child's disability, offers concrete suggestions for effective collaboration and a description of successful collaboration in action.

• Parenting Older Teens and Young Adults on the Autism Spectrum

Parenting any adolescent is a challenge in today's world. The unique concerns of older teens with ASD add a layer of complexity that requires greater forethought and guidance for both teens and their parents. The stakes are high for parents to feel comfortable with a young adult's developmental readiness to move on. We will discuss specific issues involved in parenting older teens with ASD, and explore the necessary balance required between supporting, protecting and letting go appropriately. Session also includes suggestions for professionals on how to support parents of older teens and young adults.

Nobody survives all alone: Reaching for Help as an Essential Skill

None of us can handle everything alone! This session emphasizes the importance of gaining comfort with developing a sense of community in our lives, in a variety of ways. It covers the importance of interdependence, how to ask for help, how to foster support from family or "chosen" family, and whether to consider hiring paid providers. All discussion is based on the assumption that when we allow others to enter the circle of our lives, everyone wins!

How to successfully hire one-to-one support providers for children and young adults with disabilities

Based on her book entitled, "A Stranger Among Us"©2005, participants will receive thorough information about all aspects of hiring in-home providers. When choosing to hire in-home providers, people face the challenge of finding that "stranger" who can safely and adequately care for a person with complex needs. This session will provide comprehensive "nuts and bolts" to successfully hire in-home providers. Participants will gain concrete ideas for accomplishing all aspects of hiring: defining needs; writing a job description; advertising, screening, interviewing, training, and supervision. Hazards to avoid in hiring will also be discussed.

Additional talks

  • Adult Children of Parents with Parkinson's Disorder: Finding the Balance Between Connection and Taking Over
  • Being an MS Carepartner: Tools for the Journey
  • Cultivating Excellence: Sowing the Seeds Together
  • Embracing Children with Disabilities: Helping Your Children Reach Out
  • A Parent's Perspective on Inclusion
  • Finding Positive Meaning in the Challenge

Workshops for Professional Continuing Education

• Asperger's Syndrome and Intimate Relationships: Key Issues and Interventions

Mental health clinicians are seeing an increasing number of adults with ASD seeking counseling, both diagnosed and undiagnosed. Asperger marriages share many of the same features and challenges of regular marriages. But there are also unique aspects to these relationships. If professionals are not educated and attuned to these differences, therapy will be, at best, ineffective, and possibly detrimental to AS couples. Session summarizes pertinent themes in AS marriages as well as providing suggestions for helpful interventions.

A Positive Approach to Counseling for Adults on the Spectrum

Adults with ASD sometimes report feeling frustrated and misunderstood by mental health professionals. Counselors may try to change behavior without understanding its meaning for that client. For the relationship to work, Counselors in private and agency practice should have experience with ASD and practical knowledge of pertinent issues. Session discusses key adult issues, suggestions for choosing a good counselor, and explores best practices for professionals.

Working with Couples when there is Disability in the Family

At least one tenth of the population faces some kind of disability impacting one's quality of life in varying degrees. Work with couples who live with disability within the immediate family can be much more effective when a practitioner is tuned into unique issues that may arise within the context of an intimate relationship. Issues addressed include dependency, gender roles and perspectives, defining new dreams as a couple, and confronting barriers to asking for help.

Effective Work with Parents of Special Needs Children

One family in ten has a child with some form of disability (cognitive, emotional, and/or physical). With such a significant part of our population parenting children with special needs, mental health practitioners must be aware of the issues unique to this population, and know how to best assist parents to cope with these challenges. From a strengths perspective, participants will gain insight concerning day to day life with a special needs child, learn important areas to explore when working with parents, and identify counter-transference issues that can compromise quality of services. The course will include lecture, video, group discussion and case presentation.

Examples of co-presentations with her own family members

• Efforts towards Greater Inclusion in High School: A recent grad and his mom

Effective schools must provide programs that reflect a microcosm of the larger society in which they exist, if students are to be prepared for a meaningful life beyond high school. Jordan Ackerson, a high school graduate with ASD, and his mother outline concrete steps taken in moving from a primarily self-contained placement towards greater inclusion in the school as a whole. Suggestions are offered that are applicable to a variety of students, incorporating self-advocacy and collaborative team efforts.

Making MORE than the Most of It: Snapshots of Our Family Life

Lisa and her husband, Craig Ackerson share an uplifting and entertaining view of how they have faced numerous life challenges in their family. Craig has been living with a progressive form of multiple sclerosis for thirty-five years, gradually becoming quadriplegic. He needs help with all functions of daily life. Together they raised their son, Jordan who has a diagnosis of autism and is just about to embark on his own adult life journey. What could have been construed as mostly tragedy has been transformed into an inspiring view of creativity and courage.


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Copyright © 2011 Lisa A. Lieberman, MSW, LCSW, all rights reserved.