View Picture Slideshow 1st Annual AMC Convention  
August 3-6, 2006
Chicago, Illinois

Thursday August 3, 2006

Hawthorne Suites
Meet & Greet 

Friday August 4, 2006

The Hanson Center / Boundless Playground

The Hanson Center is part of the family of services of the Ray Graham Association for People With Disabilities - a non profit agency founded in 1950.  It provides recreation, leisure and education programs to 1000 children and adults.  The center is inclusive, serving people with and without disabilities.  Programs offered at the Hanson Center include: Cultural Arts, Therapeutic Horsemanship, Morris Service Dogs, Montessori Pre-school, Group Respite, Gateway Special Recreation, Special Olympics, Therapeutic Horticulture, Community Learning Center and a Farm and Nature Center.  The most recent addition to the campus is a fully accessible, 11,000 square foot Boundless Playground.

Boundless Playground

The first national non profit dedicated to helping communities create extraordinary playgrounds where all children with or without disabilities, can develop essential skills for life as they learn together through play.

MetLife - MetDesk - Special Needs Trust Fund

Financial Planning for Families with Special Needs.  A description of MetDesk and what they do as well as info on the steps to setting up special needs trust with additional info on legal aspects and funding.,1674,P475,00.html

Animal Therapy - Tim Andriano 
Tim has worked with and advocated for people with disabilities and their families for 36 years. He has held positions in state governments, universities, public schools, developmental clinics and community agencies. He has been the Director of the Hanson Center for the past 12 years.  Tim received a Master's Degree from Syracuse University in Clinical Aspects of Mental Retardation and Special Education.  He received his Doctorate from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in Disability Planning and Community Organization.  IN his leisure time, Tim enjoys riding his horse, Robin, who is stabled at the Hanson Center. 

Tour Beautiful Chicago

Saturday August 5, 2006

Shriners Hospital for Children

Welcome Speech - Ani S. Vinson (founder & site administrator of &

The Pippitt Way of Life - Tom Pippitt
Born in Trenton, New Jersey in 1952 and diagnosed with Arthrogryposis - He entered Shriner's Hospital in Philadelphia, PA at the age of 24 months.  Was in and out of Shriner's until he was 16.
Some of his operations include:
Operations on hips to give more movement
Various Operations on legs to try and straighten them (unsuccessful)
Amputation of limbs at the knee - He walks with prosthetic limbs and crutches
Operations on some fingers to make them more useful.
Operation to straighten wrists
Operation to bend left wrist at 90 degree angle allowing him to eat, brush his teeth, comb his hair with left hand.
Attended James Fennimore Cooper school for Crippled children.
1972 - Graduated from Palmyra High School
1977- Obtained a BA Degree in Art from Trenton State College, NJ
1985- Earned his MBA from Temple University , PA
1995- Obtained an MS in Software Engineering from St. Thomas University, MN
Married to Alex on April 12, 1997
Loves to travel & do many outdoor activities (swimming, bike riding, etc)
Awesome public speaker - but is afraid of public singing 
WOW Can Tom Pippitt SING!!! (you had to be there!!!)  

Aquatic Therapy - Ginny Girten, PT, PCS
Ginny has over 20 years experience working in pediatrics and aquatics in a variety of settings including the rehabilitation setting, outpatient clinic, home based and school based therapy.  A graduate of Northern Illinois University's program in physical therapy, Ginny is NDT certified and has her clinical specialist certification in pediatrics.  She has helped develop pediatric aquatic programs for many clinics in northern Illinois.  Ginny has presented at conferences and seminars to various audiences including those at the university level, on both pediatrics and aquatics.  Ginny currently works with the early intervention program and at Marianjoy Rehab Hospital.

Physical Therapy - Reenee Donohoe PT, DPT, PCS

Reenee is a physical therapist who has been involved in the Arthrogryposis Clinic at the Alfred I duPont Hospital for Children for 17 years. She obtained her PT degree from Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia in 1988.  In 2006, she graduated from Simmons College in Boston with a doctorate of physical therapy.  She has written chapters on arthrogryposis in the three editions of Physical Therapy for Children ed. Suzann Campbell,  which looks at physical therapy management of arthrogryposis from infancy to adulthood.
Reenee is married to a physical therapist and they have a 6 yr old daughter.  Although she was unaware when she got involved with the AMC clinic at duPont, her future father-in-law had arthrogryposis.  Her husband's stories of the possibilities made by a man who had significant physical disability has helped her see the potential in each new baby she encounters. 

Reach for the Stars - Jennifer Keeton
AMC Pre-teens and teenagers are invited to come speak one-on one in a private setting to discuss their hopes and dreams for the future.

Paint shop with Theresa

Hopes and Dreams for the Fall - Ani S. Vinson
Moms, Dads, Grandmothers, AMC Adults are invited to share what they stress or grieve about.  Each participant is given a leaf to write what they may stress over, have fears about, worry about or what they grieve over.  Each leaf is then placed on our Hopes & Dreams Tree.  They then are asked to share their leaf and give a brief explanation of what they wrote.  

Some of our leaves from the convention included:

School/public school systems
Concern for parents
Children being made fun of
Questioning Differences
Will I find the "Right Doctor?"
Becoming and Independent Adult
Future Surgeries
How to be a grandma?
Physical & Mental capabilities
Flexibility and Strength
The Unknown 
What we cannot control


The object of this activity is first and foremost to get our members to share with one another.  Everyone was able to sit down and talk about their fears, worries, concerns and in turn others were able to provide advice, comfort and reassure them that they were not alone in this journey.  The point of the leaves - is that not every leaf is the same (color, shape, - worry, stress) - some are very different, and some are very the same.  Some worries and concerns may fade away (just likes leaves as seasons change)  & some will never, ever return.  As as spring comes, new leaves form,  some of the old leaves (stresses, worries) return.  We hope this activity has lifted some of those stresses and worries off of your mind.  It is very hard to keep them bottled up inside  - and I thank everyone for sharing their 'leaf' with us today.

"Beautiful" - A slideshow presentation by Rosalinda (Louies Mami) - showcased the pictures of our beautiful AMC family.  

Entertainment provided by the Shriner's Circus Clowns & The Magic Carpet Ride


Art Exhibit - Theresa 

A Day with Theresa - DVD 

Zonco Mobile Arm Valet
Gait Trainer
Hi-Low Chair
Adjustable Bench
Electric Wheelchair

AMC Friends Pin - Show your support for AMC & our families by wearing this pin

Connecting in Chicago T-Shirts - click here to see our 2006 Convention T-Shirts

AMCSupport Brochure - click here to see our brochure or to request copies

Read our 2006 convention attendees thoughts on the convention.

August 6 
Breakfast & Farewells

Co-Chairs for the 1st Annual AMC Connection Convention
Rosalinda (Louies Mom) & Michelle (Zoe's Mom)

Board of Directors
Carrie, Jennifer, Rosalinda, Theresa, Wendy

150 Total Attendees 
8 Adult's w/ AMC
22 Children w/ AMC


If you helped out in anyway, whether it be by contributing donations of time, money, goods, or even prayers, give yourself a Big Pat on the Back!! We could not have made this event possible were it not for all of you...Our Online AMC Family!!
We would like to take this opportunity to extend our heartfelt Thank You's And Appreciation to the following:

*Hawthorne Suites ~ for providing us a wonderful 'home' during our stay in Chicago!!

*The Hanson Center ~ Provided us the use of their facilities and access to the Boundless
                                 Playground! (Which by the way I'm not sure why but we do seem to
                                 have more pics of the adults playing rather than the children ;o) )

*MetLife MetDESK  ~ for providing our parents with information on Special Needs Trust Funds.

*Tom Andriano ~ who providing those who were unfamiliar with it a glimpse into the world of 
                              Animal Therapy!!

*Chicago's Shriner's Hospital for Children ~ for the use of their facilities ALL day Free of charge;
                                                           & providing entertainment for our children with the
                                                           Shriner's Circus Clowns & Magic Carpet Rides;
 ~To our Shriner's Guest Speakers:
      * Tom (Adult with AMC) & Alex Pippet for presenting the Pippitt Way of Life
      * Ginny Girten (Physical Therapist at Marianjoy Rehab) & her presentation on Aquatic Therapy
      * Reenee Donohoe (Physical Therapist at A.I. Dupont) for her discussion of the various types 
                                                                                of Physical Therapy available to AMC'ers
      * (((RICHARD))) Represenative for Pur Mobile & his display of the Zonco Mobile Arm 
                                  Valet, Gait Trainer, Stander, Hi-Low Chair, Adjustable Bench, & Electric
                                   Wheelchair: all forms of independent daily living aides.
      * Theresa (Adult with AMC) & her Paintshop with the Kids!

       *Jennifer - Reach for the Stars workshop for teens & pre-teens

Thank You Especially to Rosalinda & Michelle - your 2006 Convention committee!!!  You gals did an awesome job!!! would like to acknowledge and thank all the families that held fundraisers and/ made donations to make this special event possible. 

Donations were used to cover the costs of the following

Snacks/Drinks for the attendees @ The Hanson Center/Boundless Playground
Snacks/Drinks/Lunch on Saturday for 150  people
Welcome Packets
Presentation Packets
Name Tags
Donation to Hanson Center for use of their facilities on Friday
Donation to Shriners for use of their facilities on Saturday

A special thank you to Adrienne.  She donated her copy of the Arthrogryposis: A Text Atlas to our convention.  We were able to give it to a family who is new to the AMC journey.  Josy & her son Sean (5 mos old w/ AMC) are extremely grateful.  

Thank you to our supporters who donated door prizes for our AMC Families.

A very special donation of 3 night's stay at the Hawthorn Suites was donated to 2 adult AMCer's.

Every Little AMCer was given a special gift - Reach for the Stars Pillow - May Many of their little & big dreams come true and may you always "Reach for the Stars!"  

2007 AMC Convention

Our 2006 AMC Connection Convention was a huge success!! We are extremely grateful to our convention committee for making this event memorable for all of our AMC families. We would like to announce that we will be hosting another convention in Texas - July 12-15 2007. It takes a lot of hard work to put together a big event like this - so we please, ask for your patience with us as this will take the entire year to prepare for. Please fill out the form below if you are interested in receiving information & updates regarding our next AMC convention. Please also specify if you are willing to help with preparations at the convention: Are you able to participate in or conduct a workshop for our families, be a speaker (or know of anyone willing to speak), be a volunteer, or help our committee with pre-planning our event. We encourage you to feel free to leave comments or suggestions in the box below:

Please fill out the form below if you are interested in receiving information regarding our next AMC Convention. 

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