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2023 OPWSA Mini Conference, Family Gathering & AGM

Join us for OPWSA's Mini Conference, Family Gathering and AGM taking place in Toronto on Saturday, December 2, 2023.


It's sure to be great day of learning, information sharing, networking, peer support, and fun including wonderful programming for individuals with PWS of all ages and their siblings. 


Kelly Casey, Developmental Services Consultant

Kelly Casey has been working in the Developmental Services Sector for over 30 years. Over the past 12 years, Kelly has been a Developmental Services Consultant for people, families, and organizations, spending much of her time focusing on supporting people plan and create housing models (Homes of their Own) in their chosen community and with their chosen supports. 

Over the years, Kelly has actively engaged with several private and public sector partners who are dedicated to the transformation of our communities into places where everyone belongs.

Kelly is on the Board of Directors for Microboards Ontario and believes in community partnerships to support full inclusion.

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9:30am - 10:00am


Cindy Szpacs, M.Ed. BCBA, Behaviour Analyst

Cindy Szapacs is a Board-Certified Behavior Analyst who has a Master’s Degree in Education from the University of Virginia. She has been working in the field of special education, mostly using applied behavior analysis, for many years. She has worked both as a direct service provider to individuals with a variety of diagnoses between the ages of 1 and 21 as well as a consultant providing individual, small group and large group trainings to families and professionals.  Currently, Cindy works as a Behavior Analyst, supporting classrooms run by the Bucks County Intermediate Unit #22 in Pennsylvania. She also is a mother of two boys, one of whom happens to have PWS. Since joining the PWS family, she has learned a lot about this unique population and has made a point of educating herself, professionals and parents on how to best meet the behavioral needs of those with PWS. 

Rob Pividor, OPWSA Co-Chair

Rob is an Honor Graduate of Brock University in the field of Recreation and Leisure Studies, in addition to having received his Occupational Therapy Assistant certification from Humber College. Rob has worked in the field of rehabilitation, health care and support for individuals with Prader-Willi Syndrome and Traumatic Brian Injuries (TBI) since 1991 within the public and private sector.


Since 1996 Rob has volunteered at the annual OPWSA conference and coordinated the OPWSA Youth Program portion of the conference. Rob has also presented at the OPWSA conference with respect to innovative fitness programming for people with PWS.

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Saturday, December 2nd, 2023 

Welcome Remarks

Jennifer Coens, OPWSA Executive Director; Rob Pividor, OPWSA Co-Chair

10:00am - 10:15am

10:15am - 11:15am

Understanding Behaviour and Functional Behaviour Assessments

Cindy Szapacs, M.Ed. BCBA, Behaviour Analyst

Behaviour is communication. The environment a person is in influences the behaviour that that person will engage in. Knowing what the person is trying to communicate and how variables in their environment effect that behaviour is key in changing that behavior. During the session, participants will learn these basic principles of behaviour and how they relate to individuals who have Prader-Willi Syndrome. Additionally, participants will be provided with information on what should be included in a functional behaviour assessment (FBA), a formal way to determine why someone engages in a behaviour. 

11:15am - 12:15pm

Planning for Your Best Life - One Step at a Time

Kelly Casey, Developmental Services Consultant

This session will provide you with some tips and tricks to support a good life in the early years, as well as provide you a glimpse of the adult world. Learn how a person-directed approach, building a network of support and friendship, practicing in place, as well as maximizing your resources and tapping into funding sources that might help your loved one and family prepare for the future. This session will benefit both parents of children and adults.


12:15pm - 1:00pm

1:00pm - 3:00pm

Family Gathering

For the Family Gathering portion, we will split the group up based on the age of their child with PWS. We will aslo have a group for Agency Staff. The Family Gathering is an informal discussion time for parents and caregivers to ask questions, and to share experiences and tips. Cindy Szapacs and Kelly Casey will also be participating in the Family Gathering.

Jennifer Coens, OPWSA Executive Director

Jennifer obtained her Bachelor of Physical and Health Education from the University of Toronto, and Bachelor of Education from the OISE/UT, where she also played varsity basketball. She has over eighteen years of experience in project management and coordination with non-profit organizations in developing and supporting the delivery of learning opportunities and resources. Jennifer has enjoyed supporting families and individuals in the OPWSA community for the past 8.5 years.



Jennifer Coens, OPWSA Executive Director; Rob Pividor, OPWSA Co-Chair

3:00pm - 3:30pm

Learn more about OPWSA, the work we’ve been taking part in throughout 2023, and our plans for the future.


Date: Saturday, December 2nd

Time: 10:00am - 3:30pm


Location: Central YMCA - 20 Grosvenor St., Toronto, ON, M4Y 2V5

Lunch will be provided for the general conference, and lunch and snacks will be provided for the Fun Friends Program. You may indicate dietary restrictions in the registration form.

Registration Fees:

General Conference Admission

Early Bird - $50*

Regular Price - $60

Fun Friends Program for Individuals with PWS & Siblings**

Early Bird - $15*

Regular Price - $20

* Early bird pricing will be in effect until 11:59pm EST on Friday, November 10th

**Please note that for kids under 6, it is expected that families provide their own volunteer (parent, grandparent, friend, etc.) to look after their child in the Kids Program.

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