Program Chair Featured Sessions

Program Chair Featured Sessions

Claudia Rinaldi and Cindy Perras, CEC 2018 Convention Program Chairs, have planned a rich and substantive invited program. Join experts in the field of special education and related disciplines and participate in the dialogues on current and relevant topics.

WEDNESDAY, February 7

Challenges to Equity in Assessment, Placement, and Outcomes in Special Education
Leader: Wendy Cavendish, University of Miami, FL
Presenters: Beth Harry, University of Miami, FL

This session presents research findings from national-, district-, and community-level approaches to reducing overrepresentation of students of color in special education. We discuss national trends in disproportionality and highlight parent and teacher voices related to assessment and placement practices to examine the intent of equity-based policy versus implementation.

After attending this session, you will be able to: 

  1. Discuss strengths and challenges identified in 3 research studies related to the implementation of policy to create more equitable outcomes for often marginalized students and families.

Intensive Interventions and the Future of Learning Disabilities
Leader: Sharon Vaughn, The Meadows Center for Preventing Educational Risk/UT, Austin

Presenter: Rebecca Zumeta Edmonds, American Institutes for Research, Washington, D.C.

A primary aim of special education is to improve academic and behavioral outcomes for students with disabilities. Yet many of these students currently receive inadequate treatments that do not support their full access to the general education setting or adequate learning opportunities for the future. This session provides specific guidance on improving academic and behavioral outcomes through the provision of intensive interventions for students with disabilities.

After attending this session, you will be able to: 

  1. Understand how intensive intervention may be used to provide specially designed instruction to students with and at risk for disabilities, especially learning disabilities.

Self-Determination and Students With Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities
Leader: Michael Wehmeyer, University of Kansas, Lawrence      
Presenter: Stelios Gragoudas, University of Massachusetts, Boston

This session will provide an overview of the ‘state of the art’ with regard to the importance of and the evidence-base for measuring and promoting the self-determination of youth with intellectual and developmental disabilities.  Information provided will be based upon research, practice, and personal experience with disability.

After attending this session, you will be able to:

  1. Understand self-determination.
  2. Understand the importance of promoting self-determination from research and personal experience.
  3. Identify evidence-based practices to measure and promote self-determination.

THURSDAY, February 8

Integrating Mindfulness Into Education and Healthcare: The Science and Practice
Leader: Elli Weisbaum, University of Toronto, Canada/The Hospital for Sick Children (SickKids)

Explore the scientific perspective that is driving the current interest and popularity of mindfulness practice in education and healthcare settings. Participants will experience hands-on foundational mindfulness practices to gain practical understanding of the potential impacts that mindfulness can have on their personal and professional daily life.

After attending this session, you will be able to: 

  1. Understand the connection between neuroscience and mindfulness-based interventions.
  2. Explore the connection between mindfulness practice, resiliency, and self-regulation.
  3. Identify practices to combat workplace burn-out and stress.
  4. Develop and experience foundational mindfulness tools that can be applied in personal and professional settings.

Getting to the STEM of Co-Teaching
Leader: Lisa Dieker, University of Central Florida, Orlando

Presenters: Claudia Rinaldi, Lasell College, Newton, MA; Matthew Taylor, University of Central Florida, Orlando

This session will focus on co-teaching in STEM content reflecting best practices with an emphasis on second language learners, students with intellectual disabilities, and students with a range of learning and behavioral challenges. Come enjoy this session filled with practical ideas.

After attending this session, you will be able to: 

  1. Understand the unique challenges and ways teams are meeting the needs of students in STEM.
  2. Gather strategies for second language learners and a range of students with varying abilities.
  3. Create a plan to use at least 3 of the numerous practical ideas in your STEM co-teaching.

Voices From the Field: Educators With Disabilities
Leader: Jennifer Diliberto, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill

Presenters: Mary Ruth Coleman, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill; Susan Osborne, North Carolina State University, Raleigh; Marge Terhaar, Meredith College, Raleigh, NC; Kathryn Haselden, Francis Marion University, Florence, SC

The panel includes educators with disabilities. Session facilitators lead discussions surrounding strategies used to breakdown barriers related to their disabilities and how their disability supports their teaching. The facilitators will ask structured questions and take questions from the audience. We end by summarizing insights gained based on themes presented.

After attending this session, you will be able to: 

  1. Generate ideas to support individuals with disabilities in overcoming the challenges they face in school and professional lives.
  2. Identify strategies to strengthen the capacity of their school, professional development, and/or program to support educators with disabilities.

FRIDAY, February 9

Exceptional Lives, Exceptional Stories
Leader: Jennifer Diliberto, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill
Presenters: Mary Ruth Coleman, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill; Marge Terhaar, Meredith College, Raleigh, NC; Kathryn Haselden, Francis Marion University, Florence, SC

The panel includes YIC Award recipients and their families. Session facilitators lead discussions surrounding life with a disability. The facilitators will ask structured questions as well as take questions from the audience. In closing, we will summarize insights gained from discussions and reserve time for informal conversations with the panelists.

After attending this session, you will be able to: 

  1. Understand the ways a disability affects an individual’s daily life.
  2. Identify strategies for working with parents of individuals with disabilities.

Making Educationally Appropriate and Legally Sound Placement Decisions
Leaders: Mitchell Yell, University of South Carolina, Columbia

Presenters: Antonis Katsiyannis, Clemson University, SC; Mickey Losinski, Kansas State University, Manhattan

A foundational principle of the IDEA is that students with disabilities receive a FAPE in the LRE. Unfortunately, placement issues can be difficult for IEP teams to navigate.  We will offer guidance and suggestions to ensure that IEP teams make educationally appropriate and legally sound placement decisions.

After attending this session, you will be able to: 

  1. Understand the three most important decision points in making student placements.
  2. Understand legal requirements in placement determination.

Research to Practice: Tips and Tools for Beginning Special Educators
Leader: Timothy Landrum, University of Louisville, KY

Presenters: Chris Sweigart, University of Louisville, KY; Lauren Collins and Bryan Cook, University of Hawaii at Manoa, Honolulu; Timothy Lewis, University of Missouri, Columbia; Jennifer Freeman and Michael Coyne, University of Connecticut, Storrs; Diane Myers, Texas Woman’s University, Denton; Tom Scruggs and Margo Mastropieri, George Mason University, Fairfax, VA; Sharon Vaughn, The Meadows Center for Preventing Educational Risk/UT, Austin; Angelique Aitken, Arizona State University, Tempe; Ashley Barkel, Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College, Arizona State University, Tempe; David Allsopp, University of South Florida, Tampa

Authors from a 2017 special issue of Teaching Exceptional Children offer specific guidance for beginning special educators in classroom management, intensive reading interventions, writing, mathematics, and co-teaching.  Each panelist describes (a) two empirically supported practices, (b) three reliable resources, and (c) one final thought for the beginning special education teacher.

After attending this session, you will be able to: 

  1. Learn about key, empirically validated and recommended practices from expert scholars in reading, mathematics, classroom behavior, writing, and co-teaching.
  2. Learn about key resources for evidence-based practices across these areas.
  3. Take away final thoughts from these scholars on how beginning special educators in particular, can be successful in their early years of teaching.

Implementing Job-Embedded Professional Development to Meet the Instructional Needs of English Learners/English Learners With Disabilities
Leaders: Leticia Grimaldo, Meadows Center for Preventing Educational Risk at UT, Austin; Linda Cavazos, American Institutes for Research, Austin, TX; Julie Esparza Brown, Portland State University, OR

Presenter: Grace Zamora Duran, OSEP, U.S. Department of Education, Washington, D.C.

Educators struggle with effectively serving English learners (ELs), with and without disabilities. Effective job-embedded professional development (JEPD) is crucial in ensuring that ELs receive high-quality instruction from special education and general education teachers. This panel will discuss ‘how tos’ of JEPD provided to teachers in their OSEP-funded model demonstration projects.

After attending this session, you will be able to: 

  1. Understand the ‘how tos’ for implementing effective job-embedded professional development, coaching, and recursive follow-up for teachers in order to prepare them to adequately serve ELs/ELSWDs.

SATURDAY, February 10

UDL, Design Thinking, and Makerspaces: An Innovative Approach to Curriculum Design
Leader: Elizabeth Hartmann, Lasell College, Newton, MA
Presenter: Jose Blackorby, CAST, Inc., Wakefield, MA

In this interactive session, participants will be introduced to two important approaches to improving inclusive education through thoughtful curriculum design: Universal Design for Learning (UDL) and design thinking.

After attending this session, you will be able to: 

  1. Understand how UDL and design thinking can be used to move beyond curriculum access to provide all learners with engagement in the general education curriculum.
  2. Create a simple circuit in the context of a makerspace activity to apply UDL and design thinking to the process of developing curriculum for all learners.