Division Showcase Sessions

Division Showcase Sessions

Divisions are organizations within the Council whose members are interested in a particular aspect of special education. Division Showcase Sessions are planned and selected by CEC’s Divisions and address critical issues and substantive trends related to the mission of each division.

CEC’s Special Interest Divisions


90 tips in 120 minutes

Leader: Julie Weatherly, Resolutions in Special Education, Inc., Mobile, AL

This fast-paced session will provide you with 90 practical tips on all things legal, from A to Z, in the field of special education.  Topics covered will include child-find/identification, evaluation, eligibility, IEP/placement, procedural safeguards, discipline, extended school year, and Section 504.

After attending this session, you will be able to:

  • Identify common areas where legal issues arise in the education of students with disabilities.
  • Provide practical tips to school staff for avoiding legal disputes in the area of special education.
  • Be more familiar with the overall legal requirements of the IDEA and Section 504.


Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Behavior Supports, But Were Afraid to Ask

Leader: Timothy LewisUniversity of Missouri, Columbia
Presenter: Joseph Wehby, Vanderbilt University, Nashville, TN

We will provide an overview of current evidence-based practices for supporting children and youth with challenging behavior. Specifically, applying a function-based logic with data-based decision making for intervention design, instructional strategies and adaptations, and environmental supports will be highlighted. In addition, time for questions and discussion among participants will be allocated.

After attending this session, you will be able to:

  • Know about evidence-based practices for addressing problem behavior in schools.
  • Understand a function-based logic approach.
  • Know how to apply the function-based logic approach across multiple settings.


Can Reforms to Academic Publishing Improve the Validity of Special Education Research?

Leader: Bryan Cook, University of Hawaii at Manoa, Honolulu
Presenter: Bill Therrien, University of Virginia, Charlottesville

Bias threatens the validity of research findings that are the basis of policy and practice. Reforms to academic publishing (e.g., disclosure, open data, preregistration, reviewer guidelines, registered reports, open review) have been proposed to address sources of bias in research. We discuss pros and cons of these reforms and describe the Transparency and Openness Promotion guidelines.

After attending this session, you will be able to:

  • List sources of bias in special education research.
  • Describe proposed reforms in academic publishing for addressing sources of bias.
  • Summarize pros and cons related to reforms in academic publishing.


Parent and Student Engagement Through Interagency Collaboration: Triad for Success

Leader: Joan McDonald, CEC Pioneers Division, Scottsdale, AZ
Presenters: Ida Malian, Arizona State University, TempeMichael RemusCottonwood/Sedona School Districts, AZ

Our panel represents school district staff, university faculty (teacher training and research), and parent support agencies to improve student outcomes. Join us as we address how to improve parent and student engagement through interagency collaboration, build student self-advocacy using strategic skills, and activities to improve parent participation.

After attending this session, you will be able to:

  • Improve student outcomes (academic and postschool) by bringing the strengths from school staff, university faculty, resources, and parent organizations together in a collaborative process.
  • Address curriculum content for students with exceptionalities from preschool through high school, especially by working with university faculty.
  • Support teachers and parents in moving forward to increase student involvement and program development.
  • Advocate for a child for best practice programs and services to lead to student self-confidence and self-esteem.


Autism Assessment to IEP: Navigation and Best Practice Between Systems

Leader: Norman Geller, Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond

Autism assessment varies from the use of checklists to a comprehensive assessment using the Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule-2. Assessment data is either from a clinical practice (physician or psychologist) or school personnel.  Depending on the format of the evaluation and report, the application of data directly related to program planning (i.e., IEP) is not necessarily apparent since the evaluation practitioner is not always familiar with the application of data to the IEP.  It is necessary to provide the link between assessment and IEP development to assure effective outcomes for the student.

After attending this session, you will be able to:

  1. Identify discrete behaviors associated with autism and apply them to a present level of performance for the purpose of comprehensive conceptualization of a child.
  2. Develop strategies to navigate between various disciplines and facilitate best practice instructional strategies for the child being evaluated.


Celebrating Autism: Expressions of Neurodiversity in Art

Leader: Elizabeth Stringer Keefe, Lesley University, Cambridge, MA

Embracing neurodiversity provides a unique opportunity for repositioning education/transition support for students with autism in PK-22 schools in the U.S. This shift in thinking can support special educators to design authentic academic experiences, driven by student voices and interests. Our panel includes three accomplished artists with autism who will detail their experiences.

After attending this session, you will be able to:

  1. Define neurodiversity as it applies to PK-22 education.
  2. Utilize student interests/strengths to redefine academic supports.
  3. Rethink attitudinal perceptions of autistic students with limited communication ability.


The Role of Art in Reaching Students Who Have Suffered Trauma

Leader: Beverley Johns, MacMurray College, Jacksonville, IL
Presenter: Adrienne Hunter, NAEA/Special Needs In Art Education, Reston, VA

With the increasing population of students entering  the schools having suffered some type of psychological trauma, educators need to understand effective interventions to help children cope and thrive through the use of art. We will provide an array of effective teaching techniques to reach students who have suffered psychological trauma.

After attending this session, you will be able to:

  • Understand the role of art for enhancing learning for children living in crisis.
  • Recognize students living in crisis and design effective instruction and classroom management to meet their needs.
  • Identify successful models of art education for diverse K-12 classrooms with specific attention to youth who face emotional, mental, behavioral, and physical challenges.

DCDD_Color_ComboItinerant Teachers of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing as Facilitators of Inclusion

Leader: Nancy Norman, University of the Fraser Valle, Abbotsford, BC, Canada

Learn about the role itinerant teachers of the deaf and hard of hearing play in facilitating social-emotional well-being and social inclusion for deaf and hard of hearing students at school. We discuss specific support strategies that itinerant teachers use to promote healthy social-emotional development and identity formation.

After attending this session, you will be able to:

  • Identify specific strategies used by ITDHHs that support social-emotional development and foster resilience for DHH student in inclusive school settings.
  • Understanding of the role of ITDHHs play in supporting inclusive practices in the kindergarten to grade 12 school system.


What Do We Know About Secondary EBPs and Predictors of Postschool Success? NTACT Findings and Implementation Fidelity in Secondary Transition

Leader: Valerie Mazzotti, University of Oregon, Eugene
Presenters: Dawn Rowe, National Post-School Outcomes Center/University of Oregon, EugeneBradley Stevenson and David Test, National Secondary Transition TA Center/University of North Carolina, Charlotte

We provide information about secondary transition EBPs and predictors of postschool success (EBPPs), including considerations for implementation fidelity. We highlight new EBPPs, including the importance of implementation fidelity; and share resources to support implementation of EBPPs and assess fidelity at school and local level.

After attending this session, you will be able to:

  • Understand newly identified secondary transition EBPPs.
  • Understand the importance of assessing implementation fidelity related to secondary transition programs and practices.
  • Identify resources to support implementation of secondary transition EBPPs and assessment of fidelity at the school and local level.


Disproportionality in Student Discipline: Identifying Root Causes and Potential Strategies for Reducing Disparities

Leader: Kristine Larson, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD
Presenters: Catherine Bradshaw, University of Virginia, CharlottesvilleCody Gion, University of Oregon, Eugene

Disproportionality in special education and discipline are a significant concern and appear to be increasing. We focus on vulnerable decision points, culturally responsive classroom management strategies, and frameworks for schoolwide approaches for improving teachers’ cultural proficiency in an effort to reduce disproportionality.

After attending this session, you will be able to:

  • Understand that disproportionality is a complex issue, and as such may need to be addressed using several approaches.
  • Understand how to prioritize the most important areas using the Vulnerable Decision Points model.
  • Identify culturally responsive strategies that are associated with improved student behaviors.


Solutions and Strategies to Support Access to Natural and Inclusive Environments for All Children

Leader: Erin Barton, Vanderbilt University, Nashville, TN
Presenters: Elizabeth Steed and Barbara Smith, University of Colorado, Denver

High quality inclusive environments are correlated with positive outcomes for children, including children with disabilities. We will outline the current state of preschool inclusion and highlight common strategies and solutions that support the Division for Early Childhood Environment Recommended Practices (2014).

After attending this session, you will be able to:

  • Identify current challenges related to high quality preschool inclusion.
  • List solutions and strategies that ensure children with disabilities, at risk for developmental delay, and with typical development have access to educational services in high quality natural and inclusive environments.
  • Identify critical components of the high quality inclusive environments and strategies for intentionally implementing these components.

DISES_Combo_ColorA Look at the Past, Present, and  Future

Leader: Vicky Spencer, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD
Presenters: Clayton Keller, Qatar University, Doha, Qatar; Thomas Gumpel, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem; Alice Farling, DISES Past President and International Consultant, Estero, FL; Eileen Raymond, Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University, Port Elizabeth, South AfricaTodd Fletcher, University of Arizona, Tucson

We will highlight how globalization has changed the role of DISES in addressing the special educational needs of children and youth with disabilities over the last 15 years.  A representative panel of former DISES Presidents who have lived and worked abroad will discuss their own experiences involving international special education.

After attending this session, you will be able to:

  • Describe the role that DISES has in addressing the needs of children and youth with disabilities who are culturally and/or linguistically diverse.
  • Describe the influences of globalization on international special education.


Intensive Instruction in Reading, Writing, and Mathematics: Who Should Teach and Where?

Leader: Douglas Fuchs, Vanderbilt University, Nashville, TN
Presenters: Lynn Fuchs, Vanderbilt University, Nashville, TN; Margo Mastropieri and Tom Scruggs, George Mason University, Fairfax, VA

Our Showcase session consists of multiple presentations concerning research efforts to develop intensive instruction for students with serious learning problems. The first discusses quantitative and qualitative syntheses of research relevant to the inclusion of SWD.  A second describes studies on adolescents with severe behavior problems.  A third  describes ongoing work to improve fraction performance and pre-algebraic thinking among students in Grades 3-5 with or at risk for math disabilities.The fourth presents current research to develop a comprehensive reading comprehension program for students in Grades 3-5 with or at risk for reading disabilities.

After attending this session, you will be able to:

  • Understand current research efforts to develop intensive instruction in reading, mathematics, and writing for intermediate grade and middle school students with serious learning problems.
  • Understand that, whereas “intensive instruction” does not require a particular location (e.g., general education class vs. resource room), it does require special knowledge and skills, which are infrequently taught in colleges and universities.


Teaching Students With Chronic Medical Conditions: Examining Teacher Preparation and Training Programs

Leader: Mary Kay Irwin, Nationwide Children’s Hospital, Columbus, OH
Presenters: Ashley Merianos and Laura Nabors, University of Cincinnati, OHChristel Murphy, Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, OH

Teachers express feeling ill-prepared to support the educational needs of students with a chronic medical condition (CMC). This session will feature results from a mixed-methods study that examined how teacher preparation programs prepare educators to meet the needs of this growing student population. Implications for future practice will be discussed.

After attending this session, you will be able to:

  • Describe current teacher preparation practices relative to school support for students with a chronic medical condition (CMC).
  • Understand the importance of incorporating instruction regarding best practice for students with a chronic condition into teacher training programs.
  • Identify 1-2 examples for feasible program improvement in this area.


Identifying Preferences for Learners With Severe/Multiple Disabilities and Visual Impairment Including Deaf Blindness

Leader: Sarah Ivy, Florida State University, Tallahassee

In this session, the presenter will review the evidence-base supporting the assessment and inclusion of preferences for instructional planning for learners with severe/multiple disabilities. Learn strategies for embedding preferences to promote communication and functional skills and how these methods can be used to improve the quality of learning for students with severe/multiple disabilities and visual impairment.

After attending this session, you will be able to:

  • Describe the correct implementation of preference assessment methods.
  • Describe strategies for embedding the use of preferences to promote communication and functional skills.
  • Describe how these methods can be used to improve the quality of learning media assessments for learners with severe/multiple disabilities and visual impairment.


The School-Based Social and Emotional Needs of Students With Gifts and Talents

Leader: Julia Roberts, The Center for Gifted Studies/Western Kentucky University, Bowling Green 
Presenters: Tracy Cross and Jennifer Cross, William and Mary, Williamsburg, VA 

Schools serve many critical roles. They are our country’s vehicle for providing a free and appropriate education to all students. In this panel discussion, we will explore what research has taught us about the relationship of school contexts and the social and emotional needs of students with gifts and talents.

After attending this session, you will be able to:

  • Understand about supporting the social and emotional needs of students with gifts and talents in their school settings.
  • Engage students in heterogeneous classrooms to minimize stress on the students with gifts and talents.
  • Recognize distress among these students and receive advice about supporting their well-being.


Universal Design for Learning Through the Lens of Cognitive Flexibility Theory: Implications for Teacher Professional Development

Leader: Rand Spiro, Michigan State University, East Lansing
Presenter: Cynthia Okolo, Michigan State University, East Lansing

Despite its prominence, UDL has yet to reach its potential. We contend that the lack of a theoretical framework for applying UDL principles contextually has constrained its impact. We examine UDL through the lens of cognitive flexibility theory and present a model for preparing teachers to better implement UDL principles.

After attending this session, you will be able to:

  • Describe limitations in current views of and approaches to UDL and its implementation.
  • Describe cognitive flexibility theory and its application to UDL.
  • Conceptualize more appropriate and effective approaches to PD that supports the implementation of UDL.


Practice-Based Teacher Preparation: Using Research and Partnerships to Prepare More Effective Teachers

Leader: Mary Brownell, CEEDAR Center, University of Florida, Gainesville
Presenters: James McLeskey, Erica McCray, Margaret Kamman, Paul Sindelar, and Amber Benedict, University of Florida, Gainesville; Deborah Ziegler, Council for Exceptional Children, Arlington, VA; Lynn Holdheide, Center on Great Teachers & Leaders, American Institutes for Research, Washington, DC; Suzanne Robinson, University of Kansas, Lawrence; Brian Barber, Kent State University, OHCara Richards-Tutor, California State University, Long Beach

CEEDAR Center leaders and state partners will provide information about how practice-based approaches to preparing special and general education teachers can be operationalized and supported through effective partnerships with school districts. Teacher educators engaged in practice-based preparation will lead small group discussions about their clinical opportunities and partnerships with schools.

After attending this session, you will be able to:

  • Understand how high leverage practices and research on practice can be used to develop more effective teacher education programs.
  • Understand how to develop effective practice-based approaches to teacher education in school settings.
  • Understand how partnerships can be developed to support practice-based approaches.

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