UnConference for Caregivers of Children with Disabilities – proposal

I attended an event called HealthCamp a couple of years ago and was impressed by its awesomeness.  So much so that I’d like to run one too – an UnConference where the attendees decide what is most important to talk about – then talk about it.  It’s the Parent Grand Rounds idea with a modern twist.

All you have to do is show up and participate!  There’s a quick survey at the bottom of this post – please read to the end.  If interest is strong, I will plan a Toronto event for fall 2012.

Here’s how it works:

  • A large grid is taped to the wall – Rooms or Meeting Areas across the top, timeslots down the side.
  • The event starts with an orientation and ‘rules of the road’.
  • Then, whoever wants to post a topic writes it on a piece of paper and tapes it to the wall.  When all slots are filled (except for the last timeslot, which is filled later), the conference starts.
  • Participants choose which sessions to attend and can move freely between sessions.  (You must attend your own event, at least to start.)  Smaller breakouts can happen spontaneously.  There is no pressure to attend or stay.  Popular topics will be well attended, unpopular topics will not be.  Regardless of how many people are in a session, each person commits to speaking and listening proportional to the attendance – for example, if 5 people are in a session, each person speaks approximately 1/5 of the time.
  • A scribe is appointed at each session to record the conversation.
  • The full group convenes afterwards and shares salient points.
  • The last timeslot of the day is reserved for a final round of topic suggestions, based on a distillation of the day’s conversations.


Who can attend?

Anyone with an interest in talking about caring for and raising a child with disabilities.  Parents, caregivers, clinicians, physicians, therapists, educators etc.   The unconference model assumes that whoever shows up is supposed to be there.

What topics will be discussed?

No one knows until the event starts!  Bring your ideas and ‘propose’ them on the big grid.  If the topic is interesting to others, your session will be attended.  If not, well, you can join another conversation.   This is your chance to bring challenging questions, solicit ideas and share information!  It can be as general as ‘Coping Strategies’ and as specific as ‘Is X therapy actually helpful?’

Will there be a fee?

Probably, unless I can get donations to cover everything.  I will do my best to keep the fee as low as possible.

How can I help?

Funny you should ask!  Please fill this out so I can gauge interest. I’ll post the results in a couple of weeks.


(all fields below are optional)


UnConference Survey


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