I/DD Topics & Trends 2022

I/DD Topics & Trends 2022

Back by popular demand, we’re thrilled to welcome back I/DD Topics & Trends 2022! This summer, we have a brand new set of speakers that will provide you with free resources to better understand options for your developmentally disabled friends and family. Each webinar will be a 1-hour fireside chat with LSA’s Executive Director, Dana Hooper, and a professional within the I/DD community. 

I/DD Topics & Trends webinars will take place on Tuesday’s from July 5th – August 16th, as well as Thursday, August 25th. Save your spot by registering for each session below!

Kalisha Webster

Identifying Systemic Inequities & Areas for DEI Opportunities Within the Housing/Placement Process for the I/DD Community

Tuesday, July 5th, 2022, 6:30-7:30PM PST

Kalisha Webster, Senior Housing Advocate at Housing Choices

Kalisha is the Senior Housing Advocate at Housing Choices, an organization serving people with developmental and other disabilities wanting to live independently in their communities. Kalisha trains and organizes self-advocates to educate local elected officials, city and county housing staff, and housing developers about opportunities to plan for and include people with developmental and other disabilities in their local housing plans. Her advocacy has focused on getting cities to adopt more inclusive housing policies as part of their Housing Elements as well as advocating to affordable housing developers to include preferences in a certain number of units in their projects for people with developmental disabilities who would benefit from on-site supportive services.  

Prior to taking on her role as Housing Advocate, Kalisha was a Housing Coordinator at Housing Choices, working directly with individuals and families with children with developmental disabilities to help them find and retain housing in San Mateo County. She uses her experience working as a Housing Coordinator to guide her advocacy. Kalisha earned a B.A. in Social Work with a minor in Human Rights from San Jose State University and has worked in a variety of educational and social service organizations in her career. 

Jill Escher

Housing & Care Obstacles of Severely Autistic Individuals

Tuesday, July 12th, 2022, 6:30-7:30PM PST

Jill Escher, President of National Council on Severe Autism & Past President of SF Autism Society, Manager of Claradon Properties LLC

Jill Escher has many roles in the autism world. She serves as President of the National Council on Severe Autism and Past President of Autism Society San Francisco Bay Area. She is the founder of the Escher Fund for Autism, which funds innovative research on potential causes of autism, as well as autism-related programs. She is actively involved in promoting research and is a member of the governing council of the Environmental Mutagenesis and Genomics Society. She is also an owner of Claradon Properties, LLC, which provides low-income housing to adults with autism and other developmental disabilities. A former lawyer, she and her husband are the parents of two children, ages 23 and 16, with idiopathic nonverbal autism.


Providing Resources & Employment Opportunities to I/DD Individuals

Tuesday, August 2nd, 2022, 6:30-7:30PM PST

Chip Huggins, President & CEO of Hope Services

Charles “Chip” Huggins, JD is the President and CEO of Hope Services. When Chip joined Hope in July of 2018, he brought with him a trove of business development and managerial experience from his 45-year career leading in both non-profit and for-profit sectors. He also brought a deep connection to Hope’s mission, having previously worked with other nonprofits serving people with disabilities.

Chip’s career in corporate management began at See’s Candies, Joseph Schmidt Confections, and later, San Francisco Chocolate Company, a social enterprise company owned by the California Autism Foundation. Chip’s commitment to the local nonprofit and Behavioral Health community has earned him numerous awards, including ‘Volunteer of the Year’ for his long and valued record of service to the community, formal Resolutions for his transformative leadership at Caminar, and a Proclamation by San Mateo County which established May 25, 2016 as “Chip Huggins Day.”

Chip received his J.D. from John. F. Kennedy University and an MBA from Stanford University. He is a lifelong resident of the Bay Area, and has served his community for over 40 years, holding board leadership roles in non-profit organizations such as Peninsula Community Foundation, Boys and Girls Club, Coyote Point Museum, Guardsmen, Portola Valley School Foundation, Silicon Valley Community Foundation, Easter Seals Society, and more.

Scott Mendel

Advocacy & Choice for I/DD Individuals

Tuesday, August 16th, 2022, 6:30-7:30PM PST

Scott Mendel, Board Chairman of Together for Choice

Scott M. Mendel is a parent of a daughter with a developmental disability who lives at Misericordia. He is a retired partner of the international law firm K&L Gates. At K&L Gates, Scott concentrated his practice in complex antitrust litigation, including class actions, the antitrust aspects of mergers, acquisitions, and joint ventures, and counseling clients on antitrust compliance with respect to pricing, distribution and other matters. He also counseled the firm’s healthcare clients on antitrust matters. During his 40 years of practice, Scott has been involved in a number of pro bono matters involving individuals with disabilities, indigent clients and incarcerated individuals.

Lawerence Fung

Neurodiversity Trends in Companies and Jobs

Thursday, August 25th, 2022, 6:30-7:30PM PST

Lawrence Fung, Director of the Stanford Neurodiversity Project

Dr. Lawrence Fung is a scientist and psychiatrist specialized in autism, and the father of a teenager on the autism spectrum. He is the director of the Stanford Neurodiversity Project, which strives to uncover the strengths of neurodiverse individuals and utilize their talents to increase innovation and productivity of the society as a whole. He directs the Neurodiverse Student Support Program, Neurodiversity at Work Program, and Adult Neurodevelopment Clinic at Stanford. Dr. Fung is an assistant professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at Stanford University. His lab advances the understanding of neural bases of human socio-communicative and cognitive functions by using novel neuroimaging and technologies. His team devises and implements novel interventions to improve the lives of neurodiverse individuals by maximizing their potential and productivity. He is currently conducting a study to demonstrate that specialized employment programs such as Neurodiversity at Work program will result in higher retention rates and quality of life.