Vanderbilt Kennedy Center

VKC Faculty and Staff Present at the 2010 Special Education Conference

VKC Faculty and Staff Present at the 2010 Special Education Conference

VKC Faculty and Staff Present at the 2010 Special Education Conference

Updated on 5/10/2011 11:09:14 AM.

Source: Vanderbilt Kennedy Center

A number of Vanderbilt Kennedy Center faculty, staff, and students participated in the 2010 Tennessee Special Education Annual Conference on February 24-26 at the Nashville Airport Marriott.

For more information on the Conference see: www.state.tn.us/education/speced/announcements.shtml.

Keynote Presentation:

Special Education: Our Current and Future Role in School Reform

Doug and Lynn Fuchs, Vanderbilt University
This presentation focused on the future role of special education within the context of the RTI education reform. After an RTI framework was presented, current and future roles of special educators were discussed, with a focus on reforms to enhance outcomes for students with disabilities. This session provided an opportunity to explore the changing role of special educators and related services personnel. Increased accountability for student results were also discussed and some of the latest research in the field was presented.

Breakout Sessions:

Disability Services and the Hispanic Community

Cecilia Melo-Romie, DIDS Hispanic Outreach Specialist, Tennessee Disability Pathfinder
An overview was presented of the Tennessee Disability Pathfinder Hispanic Outreach Project, which includes: a statewide HELPline in English and Spanish; website resources on local, state, and national levels; Camino Seguro, an online database of providers who have Spanish-speaking staff; family support groups; and community trainings. Practical tips on accessing the online databases, working with families in the Hispanic community, and other disability resources were provided. Disability Pathfinder is a project of the Vanderbilt Kennedy Center and Tennessee Council on Developmental Disabilities.

Help Is On the Way: Serving Students with Autism Spectrum Disorder

Kelly Wendel, Educational Consultant, Vanderbilt Kennedy TRAID
Students with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) present a unique set of characteristics that impact teaching and learning. Educators who work with this population require autism-specific training and ongoing support. Through this presentation, participants learned about the recommended practices for educating students with ASD and the resources available both locally and statewide to address the needs of students, educators and families.

High School Social Interaction Program for Students with Autism Spectrum Disorders and Intellectual Disabilities

Carolyn Hughes, Professor of Special Education, Nicolette Brigham, Director of Outreach, Joseph Casey Cosgriff and Amy Mueller, Graduate Assistants, Vanderbilt University

Presenters described their innovative program for increasing social interaction among high school students with ASD and ID and their general education peers. Unique features of this program are: (a) teaching social interaction skills in students? everyday high school settings, (b) having peers serve as mentors to facilitate social inclusion and help students with ASD and ID to “fit in” socially and (c) supporting peer mentors in their interactions with students with ASD and ID.

Overview of Postsecondary Program Expansion

Elise McMillan, Co-Director, Vanderbilt Kennedy Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities, John Harris, Director, Disabled Student Services, MTSU, Elizabeth Fussell, Director, Center on Disability and Employment, UT and Alice Kim, Coordinator, Next Steps at Vanderbilt, Vanderbilt University
Across the nation, the landscape of postsecondary education opportunities for students with intellectual disabilities is changing rapidly. To ensure that Tennessee keeps up with that pace, the Tennessee Task Force for Postsecondary Education for Students with Intellectual Disabilities has been working to raise awareness and encourage the development of postsecondary options on Tennessee University and college campuses. This presentation offered an overview of postsecondary program expansion, information on changes to the Higher Education Opportunity Act that will provide funding for students with intellectual disabilities, and information on a Capacity Building Institute sponsored by Think College taking place in April 2010 in Nashville.

Finding Disability Resources Related to Transition

Megan Hart, Transition & Outreach Coordinator, Tennessee Disability Pathfinder
Tennessee Disability Pathfinder is a statewide project of the Vanderbilt Kennedy Center and the Tennessee Council on Developmental Disabilities that includes: information and referral services provided through a bilingual phone Helpline, Hispanic Outreach Project, community training program and an internet community of local, state, and national resources. Information provided included practical tips on accessing disability resources related to the three main transitions in education - early intervention services, early intervention to school services, and school services in adult life.

I have an Intellectual Disability, BUT I’m also a College Student at Vanderbilt University

Tammy Day, Next Step Program Director, Alice Kim, Next Steps Program Coordinator, Elise McMillan, Co-Director, UCEDD, Vanderbilt Kennedy Center, Elizabeth Story, Student and Edward Nesbitt, Student, Vanderbilt University
Attendees heard from some of the first students in the Next Step at Vanderbilt Postsecondary Education Program. The students spoke about their college classes, their internships, and their social activities. The presentation also provided details on eligibility, applications, tuition, and funding. Attendees learned what middle and high school students should be doing to prepare for college now.

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