Looking Forward: A Midwest Spina Bifida Conference


At the request of families, we are sharing these educational sessions from the Looking Forward: A Midwest Spina Bifida Conference in Mason, OH November 11 and 12. Only one is a recording and the others are links to the Powerpoint presentations. Click on the images to open each presentation.

Although The Spina Bifida Coalition, Inc. and presenters have made every effort to ensure that the information shared at the conference and posted here were current and correct on the date presented, the SBC and the noted presenters assume no responsibility for errors, inaccuracies, omissions, or any other inconsistencies herein and hereby disclaim any liability to any party for any loss, damage, or disruption caused by errors or omissions, whether such errors or omissions result from negligence, accident, or any other cause.

These webinars are meant as a source of valuable information, however it is not meant as a substitute for direct expert assistance. If such level of assistance is required, the services of a competent professional should be sought.


Anxiety and Depression Across the Lifespan: Signs and Strategies

November 12, 2023

Presented by: Aurora Rivendale, MD, Psychiatrist at the Timothy Freeman Center for Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities at UC Health and Nicholas Hartley, PsyD, Psychologist in the Division of Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center

Aurora Rivendale, MD, and Nicholas Hartley, PsyD, will share behaviors and symptoms that might indicate anxiety and/or depression in people with spina bifida from childhood through adulthood. They will also discuss strategies to implement at home to help address these symptoms and when it might be appropriate to seek professional treatment.


Transition to Independence: What We Learned From You

November 11, 2023

Presented by:  Jason Woodward, MD, MS, Director of the Spina Bifida Center at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, Rhonda Horick, MSW, the Executive Director of The Spina Bifida Coalition, Inc, and Amy Wix, OTD, OTR/L, Assistant Professor of Occupational Therapy at Radford University.

In this session, Jason Woodward, MD, MS and Rhonda Horick, MSW, will share what we have learned in five years of talking with adolescents and adults with spina bifida, their parents and caregivers, and the professionals that care for them about the facilitators and barriers to independence in self-management, self-advocacy, and supportive relationships and inclusion in the community. Occupational therapist and mom, Amy Wix, OTD, OTR/L will discuss strategies for building skills and supports to maximize independence in these areas.







Bowel and Bladder Management in Spina Bifida

November 11, 2023

Presented by: Brian VanderBrink, MD, Pediatric Urology Clinic at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center

Neurogenic bowel and bladder may be the single most challenging and time-consuming health-related issue to manage when living with spina bifida. Top Doctor in Cincinnati for pediatric urology, in 2019 and 2020, Brian VanderBrink, MD, from the Pediatric Urology Clinic at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center will walk through the basics of neurogenic bowel and bladder followed by a discussion of the surgical, medical, equipment and product options that are available to help achieve social continence of the bowel and bladder.









Special Needs Estate Planning

November 11, 2023

Presented by: Derek Graham, Resch, Root, Phillips & Graham

Parent to 3 daughters, one with Down syndrome, Derek Graham is passionate about his work. As a principal at Resch, Root, Phillips & Graham, Derek enjoys helping families like his own find resources and solutions to difficult decisions for the future with special needs estate planning. Come learn how to put a plan in place that makes the most sense for your family.








What Happens After High School Graduation?

November 11, 2023

Presented by:  Wendy Ray, MRC and Jenny O’Brien, LSW, Vocational Education Coordinators in the Disability Services Department at Cincinnati Childrens

Having a job is a developmental milestone that can teach responsibility, connect people to others, improve self-esteem, increase independence, and provides some income.  Wendy Ray, MRC and Jenny O’Brien, LSW work with teens and adults with chronic conditions and disabilities to create a path to meet their vocational, educational, training, and employment goals. Both having past experience from Opportunities for Ohioans with Disabilities (OOD), their presentation will focus on the resources and supports that are available for assessment of vocational interests and skills, career coaching, post-secondary education services, technologic and ergonomic adaptations in the work environment, and more.