Sleeposium 2019

3-in-1 Pediatric Sleep Education Bundle

Advanced Training for Sleep Consultants, Doulas, Perinatal and Childcare Professionals

Topics Include:
Pediatric Sleep
Infant Mental Health
Working with Anxious Parents
Overcoming Challenges in Business
Impacts of Tethered Oral Tissues & Airway focused issues
Supporting Parents at Night


Find out more about our amazing expert Sleeposium2019 speakers and their topics here.

Dr. Alison Sigal

Dr. Alison Sigal graduated from McMaster University with an Honours degree in Kinesiology before attending the University of Toronto, Faculty of Dentistry where she earned her Doctor of Dental Surgery and Masters of Science Degree with Specialty training in Pediatric Dentistry. Between programs, she completed a hospital-based residency at Mount Sinai Hospital (Toronto).

She is currently practicing in Milton, ON at Little Bird Pediatric Dentistry, which she opened in 2017 to provide comprehensive oral care to all children from birth onwards and persons with special needs of all ages. Dr. Sigal designed Little Bird with sensory integration at the forefront and the goal of bringing the natural rejuvenating outdoors, inside. In addition to the provision of patient care, Little Bird is focused on multidisciplinary research, educating and training.

In 2008, she founded the Federal Non-Profit Organization, Oral Health, Total Health (OHTH; dedicated to advocating, educating, and improving access to oral health care for persons with special needs. Since 2008, she has expanded OHTH, launching and overseeing the establishment of 15 chapters across Canada, including all of the Canadian dental schools. She is also the primary dental consultant to Special Olympics Ontario – “Healthy Smiles” initiative.

She has dedicated herself to intensive research, studies, learning and collaboration with global leaders in pediatric, airway focused healthcare. During this journey she received additional training in Orofacial Myofunctional Therapy (OMT), frenum assessment/care and Buteyko Breathing. Dr. Sigal has developed a comprehensive assessment and approach to optimize the growth, development and function of all children from birth onwards that is based on the foundation of anatomy and physiology.

She has led and delivered several workshops, symposiums and presentations on the topics above. Teaching and collaborating with multidisciplinary health care providers that include nurses, lactation consultants, physicians, bodyworkers, and more. She has presented and been invited as the keynote speaker for future meetings on both airway centric pediatric health care and dental care for persons with special needs of all ages.

Introduction to Airway Centric Pediatric Health Care: Optimizing craniofacial growth and development from birth onwards highlighting tethered oral tissues and their impact on sleep

During this 2.5 hour presentation we will review:

  1. The essential components of baby’s head and neck anatomy for optimized growth, development and function
  2. Tethered oral tissues (tongue and/or lip ties) - signs and symptoms and how they relate to an increased prevalence of habitual mouth breathing
  3. How mouth breathing and/or tethered oral tissues can negatively impact sleep quality

Nelia DeAmaral

Nelia DeAmaral is a Counsellor, Registered Psychotherapist & published author, and supports women at all life stages. In addition to her experience as a Labour Doula, for over 20 years, she has counselled women through birth, motherhood & beyond. Her practice includes individual & group support, as well as training for professionals. Nelia creates a warm, creative, & focused space, where self-compassion & personal growth can occur.  She is a passionate advocate for women's mental health & well-being. She can be reached at

Strategies for Sleep Consultants:  Working with Anxious, Over-informed Clients

Working with families around infant sleep is a challenge! As a sleep expert, you have lots of good information & experience to share, but anxiety, worry or doubt can make it difficult for clients to know how or when to apply your advice. New parents worry & second guess every decision. Despite your assurances that “this is normal,” “give it time”, “we can work with this”, it can feel as if you are missing something. Conversations can feel like they go in circles, or you might have a sense that a client has needs beyond your scope.

So what do you do? How can you help?

In this unique session you will learn:

  • The prevalence, as well as signs and symptoms of anxiety
  • To identify a client who needs more than sleep strategies, tips, & encouragement
  • How to understand the roots of resistance & hesitation
  • Tools to remain open & present, even when a client isn’t able to implement plans or expresses ongoing doubts, concerns, or unrealistic expectations
  • Some simple questions for a supportive, solution-focused dialogue to better understand client concerns while helping them make decisions for their baby
  • How postpartum coaching & sleep consulting can be an optimal support team to help clients reduce overall anxiety and increase confidence

Sarah Turl

Sarah is the Owner and Lead Mediator at Empowered Results Mediation, where she offers a range of services all aimed at improving conflict resolution. She's passionate about working through disputes with kindness but with a keen eye on being solutions focused. After 20 years in the Corporate world, Sarah was feeling the heart tug to do something that made a difference in the world. Mediation is an excellent extension of her experience and personality, so she went back to school and completed the Conflict Management and Mediation program at the University Of Waterloo Conrad Grebel. She now helps individuals and businesses manage and create opportunities from difficult conversations.

Managing disputes and difficult conversations; how to navigate an unhappy client before they write a bad review

This 60 minute talk will focus on conflict management and offer tools and strategies for participants to employ when dealing with unhappy customers. Often we want to avoid a confrontation, so we hope that whatever is making someone unhappy with us will just solve itself or go away. Unfortunately avoidance rarely works and can create even more frustration for both sides. We'll talk about how to approach a difficult conversation, the pitfalls to avoid, and tools to use to help you work on finding solutions when you seem completely at odds. Conflict, when addressed well, can lead to practical solutions, and at the very least shows your clients that you care enough to make the effort to dig into the problem they are having.

Mary Strachan

For the longest time, Mary Strachan tried to downplay her engineer-like super-powers. Now, she combines her love of logistics with her intuition to help heart-centred entrepreneurs and creatives step into aligned action and do business in a way that feels natural to them. Ever the optimist, Mary sees the possibilities where others see problems. Her worldviews have largely been shaped by her career in social services, her experiences raising two highly sensitive kids, and most recently as an entrepreneur who isn't so great at following the rules. She believes that anything is possible when you take it step by step. Meet her virtually at

What's Really Going On When You've Got 3D Clients (Difficult, Driaining, & Dissatisfied)

No one enjoys working with clients that make their life miserable. These are the clients that don’t pay (or don’t hire you after you’ve spent LOTS of time with them.) They don’t follow through on what you teach, and just never seem happy with you. And then they go and leave a bad review - even though it feels like you’ve worked extra hard to help them. In this interactive talk, Mary will help you understand why these types of people have entered your world, and what you can do differently to attract the kind of clients that are a true joy to support.

Nikki Taylor

Nikki Taylor, RECE has been working with children and families for almost 40 years. She has been a childcare educator, supervisor, parent educator, and currently holds the role of Senior Manager of Early Years and Family Support at Oakville Parent-Child Centre. She is passionate about helping families to be the best they can be starting with understanding the importance of relationships for healthy child development. Using a combination of experience, research, and humor, Nikki strives to build on the strengths and curiosities of others and offers a perspective that is often new and unexplored. She is the mother of 3 grown children and grandmother of 4, loves gardening and nature, and looks forward every day to meeting new people and sharing stories and experiences.

Collecting the Hearts of Children

We all need someone to love and who loves us. The research on the impacts of healthy and secure attachments is clear and the results last a lifetime. Together we will explore Dr. Gordon Neufeld's work and peek into the world of attachment from the child's perspective. You will discover the 6 stages of attachment, how "right relationships" protects children from stress and helps develop self-regulation and resilience. We will also explore some of the indicators of healthy adult/child attachment and the inherent risks to attachment created by fostering independence too early in children. Join us and be part of the conversation!

Andrea Strang

Andrea is the mother of three, a trained Gentle Sleep Consultant, Educator and author. She did her training in variety of programs, including;  Holistic Sleep Coaching, Gentle Sleep Coach, Naturally Nurturing, Infant Sleep Educator, Infant Mental Health Training, CBT for Insomnia, and Sleep:Neurobiology & Society.

She has also spent the past 7 years training and mentoring Sleep Consultants and Night Coaches around the world and has written 3 books related to infant and child sleep.

Andrea started her sleep practice in 2004 after supporting families as a Birth and Postpartum Doula. In that time, she has helped over 10,000 families get better sleep. She also has extensive hands-on experience working with babies throughout the night which has given her unique learning experiences and perspective that many sleep experts lack. Read more about Andrea’s training, experience and philosophy here. Andrea is the author of Gentle Night Weaning the Kinder Way, The Kinder Method, and co-author with Jen Varela of Loved to Sleep. 

In-home Night Coaching

Sleep Coaching Challenges

Tracy Spackman

Tracy Spackman is a trained and certified Gentle Sleep Coach for parents of babies, toddlers and children ages 4 months to 8 years old. She is featured as a Best Sleep Consultant in the US through Tuck and leads trainings for the Infant Toddler Mental Health Coalition of Arizona (ITMHCA). A compassionate and empathetic mother of five, Tracy has been helping thousands of families all over the world get better sleep since 2013. Using non-invasive, non-CIO (Cry It Out), evidence-based methodology and training, Tracy offers a blend of sleep coaching techniques that support infant mental health and has proven a 97% success rate. She specializes in alert temperaments and is highly experienced with singles, twins, reflux, sleep apnea and the pitfalls of sleep deprivation and postpartum depression.

Tracy is originally from Canada and currently loves the Arizona sun. Residing in Phoenix with her husband and five children, she has personally experienced most of the scenarios she consults, and can therefore empathize with sleep deprivation and the desire to offer your baby a gentle and responsive solution. Tracy is passionate about all things family and it is her goal to help mothers be the best parents they can be. Afterall, sleep is foundational to successful parenting.

Supporting Clients with Online Resources

Tracy will discuss practical aspects of Sleep Coaching and her experience with running online classes and workshops as well as using the Child Sleep Institute Toolkit with families.

Jen Varela

Sleep coaching expert Jen Varela has helped more than 3,750 sleep-deprived families have sweet sleep since 2010. These families have benefited from her expertise at workshops and on phone consultations — and 700+ have partnered with Jen as private coaching clients across the U.S. and around the world achieve their sleep goals with private one-on-one coaching through her company, Sugar Night Night.


She got her “on-the-job training” while teaching her son and daughter how to self-soothe and learn good sleep habits, and through her experience she aims to provide other parents with solutions that bring hope and strategies that work with each child’s temperament. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Human Services with an emphasis in Counseling from California State University, Fullerton.  She is a member of the International Association of Child Sleep Consultants, a Certified Gentle Sleep Coach® trained by Kim West, The Sleep Lady®

and received training from Infant Mental Health Community Training Program–Hospital for Sick Kids. Jen Varela has co-authored a book with Andrea Strang titled “Loved to Sleep.” The Loved to Sleep Method is a nurturing strategy in which you invest your time to reduce the amount of crying and improve sleep. Essentially, you are trading tears for time. The “Loved to Sleep” e-book is available on Amazon. For more information, visit or

Loved to Sleep: The Mindset Behind the Method and Quick-start Steps 

Case Study: Transitionary Floor Crib – “The Little Vomiter”