Arizona’s Fourteenth Annual Transition Conference
Promote Strengths & Inspire Success
August 25 – 27, 2014
Talking Stick Resort
9800 East Indian Bend Road
Scottsdale, AZ 85256
Click on the Session Title to view the session description.
+ = Session handouts are posted
Monday, August 25
7:30 a.m. Registration
7:30 a.m.–9:00 a.m. Breakfast Buffet
9:00 a.m.–10:30 a.m. * Welcome & Introduction of Keynote Speaker, Angela Denning, ADE Deputy Associate Superintendent of Exceptional Student Services
Opening Keynote Address–Dr. Thomas Armstrong
Neurodiversity in the Classroom: Strength-Based Strategies to Help Students with Special Needs Achieve Success in School and Life +
Dr. Thomas Armstrong will argue for a major paradigm shift in special education by suggesting that children with special needs (including those with ADHD, learning disabilities, autism spectrum disorders, intellectual disabilities, and emotional and behavioral disorders) be looked at in terms of their “diversities” rather than their “disabilities.” He will introduce the concept of neurodiversity (originally developed in the autism community) as a revolutionary new strength-based approach to viewing students with special needs. After presenting five basic principles of neurodiversity, Dr. Armstrong will devote the greater part of the keynote to seven practical tools that can be used to help students with special needs flourish in the classroom, including strength awareness, positive role models, assistive technologies/universal design for learning, enhanced social networks, positive environmental modifications, affirmative career aspirations, and strength-based learning strategies.
10:30 a.m.–11:00 a.m. Presentation of Secondary Transition Services Awards
11:00 a.m.–11:30 a.m. Break: Vendor/Exhibitor Hall Open; Artwork Viewing
11:30 a.m.–12:30 p.m. Lunch
12:30 p.m.–12:45 p.m. Break
12:45 p.m.–2:00 p.m. Concurrent Sessions
Whether completing job applications, working on college assignments, composing emails, or engaging in social media, people are all online all the time. But students with disabilities face some barriers while surfing the web. Chrome extensions can reduce online barriers related to vision, literacy, executive functioning, and more. Best of all, they’re all FREE, mobile, and available on any computer with a Google Chrome browser.
With the current focus on college and career readiness, how does an educator help guide students toward the goals of higher education and employment while simultaneously being told by parents, youth, and sometimes society, that college (let alone career) is not an option because of students’ disabilities? Disability Benefits 101 (DB101) will help users learn how Social Security benefits and employment go together and how to use them as tools for transition planning, regardless of a student’s eligibility for benefits. The presentation will show how to incorporate DB101 in IEPs and ECAPs, as well as discuss curriculum that supports college and career readiness. Participants will also learn how to use DB101 as a tool to explain work incentives and to evaluate conventional knowledge about Social Security benefits and programs that can assist with employment and independent living. DB101 is a must-have tool in the transition process for all educators to ease students’ fears and empower young people and their parents to make informed decisions that will lead to more financially productive lives.
Handouts: PowerPoint, Handout 1, and Handout 2
This interactive presentation will offer a review of three years of work with youth with traumatic brain injury (TBI) carried out in collaboration with the Traumatic Brain Injury Program in the Mesa Public Schools through the “Mesa Unites” educational series. The presenters will share a short overview of the parent and youth education programs (e.g., topics, format, presenters), which will be followed by a discussion with a youth panel. The panel members will share insights they gained from implementing the empowerment program in the context of “respect education.” The “Stand & Serve” model, based on positive social change theory, will be presented along with core messages from “The Guts to Be Good” campaign. Necessary resources to replicate this model with other students, both those with and without disabilities, on junior high and high school campuses will be provided.
National, state, and local efforts to improve graduation rates in the United States are beginning to show quantifiable progress, including progress for youth with disabilities. Data from the US Department of Education reflect that for the first time in history, the nation has achieved an 80% high school graduation rate for the second year in a row. There have been notable improvements in graduation rates among students of color and students with disabilities, but if the nation is to achieve its goal of a 90% graduation rate by the class of 2020, it is with those same groups of youth that some of the greatest challenges remain. This session examines the problem of high school dropout rates among males with disabilities through the lens of three ethnicities—American Indian, African American, and Latino, including root causes and risk factors, consideration of conditions that protect against dropout, and suggestions for existing programs and strategies that help these young men to stay in school.
This session will examine the evidence from a national research study on the promise of individual learning plans (ECAPs in Arizona) to support positive youth development. Based upon the research evidence and the Arizona ECAP indicators, how will educators assure that every student benefits from the ECAP process? Attend this session to validate the role that ECAPs serve in promoting academic success and encouraging students to see high school graduation not as a singular goal, but as a personal “launch pad” to the future.
Handouts: PowerPoint and PowerPoint
Providing teacher-led academic instruction in short-term settings, such as secure care facilities, must accommodate students’ different educational backgrounds and behavioral challenges and consider high turnover rates, as well as adapt to the logistical restrictions of the facilities. This session will review recent research aimed at identifying effective practices for teaching in these settings. Participants will see examples of lessons and learn about the ways in which academic instruction might be designed and delivered to have the highest impact and greatest chance of transfer.
In this working lab session, the presenter will review the modules and enhancements within the online career and college planning resource, Arizona Career Information System (AzCIS). Content will include how to use this resource to meet school ECAP requirements and also how to use the modules and resources within AzCIS in students’ educational settings or classrooms. This session is designed for current users of the AzCIS system, not for beginning users. Note: Limited numbers of computers are available; attendees are encouraged to bring a laptop or other mobile device to ensure hands-on participation.
I know what I’m good at and where I want to go career-wise after high school. Who can help me get there? Vocational Rehabilitation (VR), a federal employment program for persons with disabilities, is one of the community service providers that can work with young adults during high school to help them develop achievable career goals. One of the ways VR does this is by participating in IEP transition planning. VR services can help a young adult with a disability prepare for a successful employment experience.
Handouts: PowerPoint and Handout
Transition assessment data serves as the common thread in the ongoing transition process of providing useful, valid information to help students make informed decisions about life, both during and after high school. Special education rules mandate the use of transition assessments to help determine postsecondary goals and annual goals, but which assessment to use and when to use it are left for educators to figure out. This workshop will provide a practical transition assessment framework and also show participants how to analyze and summarize all assessment data through a transition lens. Participants will also learn how to use assessment data to develop a comprehensive course of study, specific transition services, and strongly linked annual goals that align with a student’s postsecondary goals.
Handouts: PowerPoint, Handout 1, and Handout 2
2:00 p.m.–2:15 p.m. Break
2:15 p.m.–3:30 p.m. Concurrent Sessions
The initial symptoms and diagnoses of mental illness for young people are overwhelming, life changing, and often get in the way of typical development in preparing for life after high school. Self-determination is a key to positive post-school outcomes. Learning and practicing advocacy skills is an essential component of stability and recovery for these students. Learn more about the process of moving from adversity to empowerment and advocacy that begins in the classroom and school and carries over into the community. Resources and organizations available to support young people who are struggling with depression, anxiety, OCD, eating disorders, mood and thought disorders, and other mental health conditions will be shared. (This session will be repeated on Tuesday.)
This workshop will present a new way of looking at the instruction of students with moderate to severe and profound disabilities, providing a framework for managing a classroom with the most medically and developmentally involved students. Participants will gain increased confidence and competency to work with these students by (1) reviewing the educational benefit for students who are severely disabled, (2) exploring the paradigm shift from babysitter to teacher, (3) looking at ways to engage all students in inspirational, challenging learning environments, and (4) learning to manage time and develop standards-based activities for the most involved students.
Handouts: PowerPoint and Handout
With the increase in prevalence, there has been, not surprisingly, an increased demand for appropriate and effective services for adolescents and young adults with ASD. Unfortunately, the need for such services continues to far exceed the available resources, leaving a generation of individuals with autism and their families in programmatic, financial, and personal limbo. This presentation will provide an overview of effective transition programming—at any age—with the ultimate goal being a life of dignity, competence, and quality. To this end, an overview and practical suggestions for transition planning will be presented, along with issues related to community-based instruction, social competence, sexuality and sexual safety, and quality of life concerns.
This session will begin by reviewing a number of inventories, scales, checklists, and related assessments that have been used to identify strengths in both typically developing students and students with special needs. The presenter will then present several rough-and-ready strategies for identifying strengths in these students. Participants will have the opportunity to complete the Neurodiversity Strengths Checklist included in Dr. Armstrong’s book, Neurodiversity in the Classroom, and discuss the results in terms of the practical advantages of focusing on strengths rather than weaknesses in students with special needs. Finally, a new job description in special education will be proffered that focuses on strengths’ assessments and positive interventions for students in special education.
Taking notes isn’t limited to putting pencil to paper and writing in outline form. There are plenty of other ways to take notes, especially when a student is equipped with an iPad. An iPad can help learners capture, organize, store, find, and share their notes—and those notes can be a combination of typed text, handwriting, photos, drawings, flowcharts, and audio and video recordings. The presenter will explore apps that can enable learners to capture and process information in ways that make sense for them. Some of the most useful note-taking apps for iPad will be compared, including Evernote, Notability, AudioNote, Skitch, and Pic Collage. In addition to apps, participants will learn about keyboards, styluses, and cases that can help turn an iPad into a super-duper digital notebook. Note: iPads are not necessary to participate in this session, but attendees may bring personal iPads. Loaner iPads will not be available.
For society as a whole, helping youth stay in and complete high school is a worthwhile objective. To enable schools across America to achieve this objective, practical recommendations and strategies based upon the best research evidence available are necessary. Research has identified interventions and recommendations that when implemented with fidelity, can change the trajectory of school completion for all youth, especially those with disabilities. In this session, the presenter will discuss updated research confirming these interventions and recommendations that promote school completion for students with disabilities, along with local strategies for implementation.
Are you wondering what, if any, resources might be available to help a student or family get ready for transition from school to adult life? Do you know what agencies might have services or supports to help a young adult successfully integrate into his or her community after high school? Join representatives from several state agencies who just may be the resources you’ve been seeking. Panel members will discuss their agencies’ unique roles in supporting students and families during their school and adult lives. Topics include IEP transition planning; career exploration; job placement and supports; employment; health care; family supports; and mental health services. This presentation provides information from agency representatives from the Division of Developmental Disabilities, Division of Behavioral Health Services, Office for Children with Special Health Care Needs, Arizona Rehabilitation Services Administration/Vocational Rehabilitation, Arizona Department of Education/Exceptional Student Services, Office of Special Education and Rehabilitation Services, and Raising Special Kids. Participants will learn about eligibility requirements for each program, the type of services available, the agency’s role in transition planning, and how the agencies work together to support young adults with disabilities as they move from high school to adult living. (Part II will be offered immediately following the break.)
Instill and encourage self-advocacy in someone’s life and it will change that person forever. This training is about facilitating the development of self-advocacy and self-determination skills in people with different abilities. Self-advocacy is for EVERYONE, and it is necessary for every life stage, as is knowledge of choices. The presenters will share specific examples of a creative curriculum developed in partnership with the Division of Developmental Disabilities and the Centers for Independent Living—ABIL and DIRECT, from their 16 years of experience working with individuals with different abilities, including those who are unable to read and/or speak. Elements that enhance this learning process will be presented, including the value of peer involvement in the curriculum development and training and the benefit to teachers, service providers, and employers in promoting this skill development. Group discussion to share best strategies will be encouraged so EVERY person can find their voice and get it heard. Self-advocacy skills and knowledge of choices set the tone for making the lives of individuals with disabilities more successful and satisfying.
Texts used in college and careers are considered more complex than the texts to which students usually are exposed in high school. This session will explore what makes postsecondary reading material in science and technical subjects difficult to understand. Participants will see examples of instructional strategies that can be implemented in high school classes to improve students’ abilities to comprehend these texts independently.
Think out of the box and be fearless! Invite the lunch lady, the facilities guy, and the IT dude to your next IEP meeting! This session will show participants a way to engage new, exciting people and work experiences in the journeys of students moving toward life after graduation. These champions will bring new energy to transition programs! The presenters will get participants started with a structure to make work experience sites run like a charm!
The challenges of becoming an adult are difficult enough without adding in the complexity of understanding Social Security benefits. The lack of knowledge about how Social Security benefits and employment work together can be a major barrier to employment for youth and young adults with disabilities. There is now an online tool that helps clear up the misconceptions and confusion about Social Security benefits, health care assistance, and employment—the Arizona Disability Benefits 101 (DB101). This presentation will guide participants through the user-friendly DB101 website, highlighting available resources, and will demonstrate how the DB101 calculators can show the impact a specific job may have on cash benefits and health care assistance. There are countless ways DB101 can be used to increase personal awareness about working with a disability, including a section specifically called Tips for Parents. DB101 can ease the fear of losing health care benefits and empower young people and their parents to make informed decisions that will lead to more financially productive lives.
Handouts: PowerPoint and Handout
Based on a decade of work with youth with brain injuries, families, and school districts, the presenter will share current trends from the field of neuroscience, focusing on theories and research on neurodevelopment. The most recent findings in brain development, specifics of brain scan technologies, insights into mild TBI (concussions), and those critical executive functions will be addressed. The presenter will then discuss what all this means for student assets, strengths, and competencies and for interventions related to successful transition from the school setting to postsecondary choices and adult service systems. The last half of the session will conclude with small group discussions focused on the implications of neurodevelopment on transition, with knowledge and practical suggestions being shared amongst the session’s participants.
3:30 p.m.–3:45 p.m. Break
3:45 p.m.–5:00 p.m. Concurrent Sessions
Teachers who work with students with severe and profound disabilities often have trouble identifying what students can do as they develop standards-based IEPs and then, measuring results or making changes to goals that are not met. This session will focus on identifying ways to pinpoint the specific skills a student with severe and profound disabilities needs and then on determining how to measure and adjust goals from year to year. Participants will learn how to develop more specific IEP goals that are not only based on standards but also focused on standards-based grade level content at the functioning level of students.
Handouts: PowerPoint Handout 1, Handout 2, Handout 3, Handout 4, Handout 5, Handout 6, and Handout 7
Do you have an on-campus vocational training program? Do you want it to be even more awesome than it is now? Come to this session to share ideas and strategies! The presenters will share the environments they have infiltrated in the school districts to help develop great work experience sites. They will also share the structures and strategies that help to formalize programs to meet industry employment standards and show you how to network with program/employment personnel in the community to meet student’s individual needs and address their strengths and preferences!
This session will look at the effects that a lack of support, expulsion, and special education and academic failure have on youth involvement in the juvenile justice system. The presenters will discuss how collaboration between the home school, parents, and the community can help to break the “school-to-prison pipeline,” keeping youth out of the juvenile justice system and saving millions of taxpayers’ dollars. Recurrent experiences of school failure increase a youth’s risk for dropping out, substance abuse, criminal behavior, and emotional problems. Improving school and community understanding of the facts concerning at-risk students and the disability-related characteristics of youth involved in the juvenile justice system is vital to effective interventions for these students. When a collaborative model is used, these students can be successful both in the school system and the community. Participants will learn about strategies for enhancing youth successes in school and the community that can be used to change the delinquency path for many students.
Disability Benefits 101 (DB101), a user-friendly online tool, helps youth, families, and educators work through the misunderstandings and confusion of the transition process. This session will provide a very brief look at how DB101 provides information on Social Security benefits, health care benefits, employment, and transition planning, regardless of whether benefits are being received. The main focus will be on allowing hands-on experience with DB101, as well as providing small group support on using this very helpful tool. Participants will explore DB101 to see how it can ease students’ fear and aid in their making informed decisions. Note: Limited numbers of computers are available; attendees are encouraged to bring a laptop or other mobile device to ensure hands-on participation.
There are much better ways to study than gazing at a stack of flash cards. Let’s see how technology can turn studying into a game! The presenter has collected some of the best websites and iPad apps to help students learn and retain information. Websites like Quizlet, Zondle.com, CrosswordLabs.com, and BrainRush.com allow students to search for or input what they want to study and turn information into a series of activities and games. These websites are designed for students to use on a PC, Mac, or Chromebook to create their own study aids. There are also delightful iPad apps for making study aids, including Futaba for vocabulary and Stick Around for labeling, matching, and categorizing. Participants will see why when students make their own study aids, it only aids in their studying!
This presentation will bring awareness to youth, parents, and professionals about the importance of and need to develop and cultivate healthy relationships, with the goal of supporting positive relationships into adulthood. In addition, it will give voice to the experience of relationship dynamics encountered by youth with intellectual disabilities with peers, support staff, and professionals. The following key questions will be addressed: What are healthy relationships and how do youth with developmental disabilities view them? Who plays a key role in the lives of youth to develop and cultivate healthy relationships? How do the life experiences of youth affect the development of healthy relationships? What resources are available to youth, parents, and professionals to assist with building healthy relationships of all types? Using guidance from a subject matter expert on puberty, healthy relationships, and sexual health development, this presentation will allow for open dialogue among participants and raise awareness of strategies in developing positive relationship habits for youth with developmental disabilities.
Handouts: PowerPoint, Handout 1, Handout 2, Handout 3, Handout 4, Handout 5, and Handout 6
This session is Part II of Partners in Transition. Are you wondering what, if any, resources might be available to help a student or family get ready for transition from school to adult life? Do you know what agencies might have services or supports to help with a young adult’s successful integration into the community after high school? Join representatives from several state agencies who just may be the resources you’ve been seeking. Panel members will discuss their agencies’ unique roles in supporting students and families during their school and adult lives. Topics include IEP transition planning; career exploration; job placement and supports; employment; health care; family supports; and mental health services. This presentation provides information from agency representatives from the Division of Developmental Disabilities, Division of Behavioral Health Services, Office for Children with Special Health Care Needs, Arizona Rehabilitation Services Administration/Vocational Rehabilitation, Arizona Department of Education/Exceptional Student Services, Office of Special Education and Rehabilitation Services, and Raising Special Kids. Participants will learn about eligibility requirements for each program, the type of services available, the agency’s role in transition planning, and how the agencies work together to support young adults with disabilities as they move from high school to adult living.
For several years, as part of students’ annual IEP meetings, students from Cienega High School in the Vail School District have prepared and shared PowerPoint presentations outlining their post-school goals and academic and personal strengths and indicating the accommodations that help them succeed Students will share their process of preparing for and being actively involved in their IEPs, while parents and school personnel (administration and general educators) will share their perspectives on how this process is positively affecting student engagement and success.
STAND & SERVE, a peer-facilitated program, mobilizes students, families, and communities to cultivate safety, equality, and respect as norms in hearts, homes, schools, workplaces, and communities through The Guts to Be Good (G2BG) initiative. The G2BG initiative encourages all participants to model five simple things each day to make the world a better place: (1) the guts to be honest, (2) the guts to be respectful, (3) the guts to be courteous, (4) the guts to speak up, and (5) the guts to lend a hand. STAND & SERVE presenters will discuss effective family, youth, school, and community development and mobilization strategies that address and prevent bullying before it begins. Participants will be provided with practical tools for implementing this initiative and presenters will highlight how STAND & SERVE youth have made a positive impact with weekly peer education lessons for elementary through postsecondary students, service projects, S&S coalition meetings, S&S days at the Capitol, monthly outreach campaigns, and community and family celebrations. Together we are better. We are all peers. We are all the solution.
Handouts: PowerPoint and Handout
Adaptive behavior refers to a complex set of life skills that enable an individual to achieve personal independence in a variety of domains. While much of our current instructional intervention is focused on academic competencies (e.g., reading, math, etc.), adaptive skills are (1) actually more valuable and (2) necessary for the expression of academic competencies. This talk will present an overview of adaptive behavior in autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and its relationship to community living, safety, independence, and personal competence.
The ideas behind neurodiversity and strength-based learning are intuitively appealing. But many educators may wonder whether they can be translated directly into special education practice, especially in light of the mandate that teachers focus on Arizona’s College and Career Ready Standards. This session will examine how strength-based strategies can be aligned with specific College and Career Ready Standards. It will also explore how to infuse the core components of positive niche construction directly into IEP goals and objectives. Finally, it will describe how a strength-based approach using appreciative inquiry can make a positive difference in the way that IEP meetings are conducted.
With an unemployment rate among people with disabilities reaching a staggering 14%, the need for employment is painfully apparent. While there are great challenges in obtaining gainful employment, the challenges do not end once the person is hired. Having to contend with various issues such as transportation, workplace accommodations, and the effects employment income may have on vital services received, maintaining gainful employment can be just as much of a struggle as it was to gain it. Join in on a panel discussion in which youth with disabilities discuss their experiences in finishing school and entering the workforce.
5:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m. Youth and Young Adult Event
|Arizona Department of Education, Exceptional Student Services||Arizona Department of Economic Security, Rehabilitation Services Administration, Vocational Rehabilitation|
|Arizona Department of Economic Security, Division of Developmental Disabilities||Arizona Department of Health Services, Office for Children with Special Health Care Needs|