VKC has wide reach at the 2015 Partners in Education Conference

By: Courtney Taylor

The Vanderbilt Kennedy Center’s presence at the Department of Education’s 2015 Partners in Education Conference (Jan. 26- 29) included 16 sessions that reached just over 750 attendees. VKC faculty, staff, and students represented the Treatment and Research Institute for Autism Spectrum Disorders (TRIAD), Tennessee Disability Pathfinder, TennesseeWorks, and Next Steps at Vanderbilt. In addition, Erik Carter, Ph.D., associate professor of Special Education and a VKC investigator, delivered a keynote presentation to a room of more than 1,500 educators on the topic of promoting equality of opportunity, full participation, independent living, and economic self-sufficiency for children and youth with disabilities.

For more detailed information on breakout sessions led by Vanderbilt Kennedy Center faculty, staff, and students, see the list below.

Programming at the Partners in Education Conference reflects the belief that all students are general education students first and that the services offered through other educational areas are part of the continuum of services to meet the needs of ALL children. For more on the Conference, click here.

Breakout Sessions Led by VKC Faculty, Staff, and Students:

Aiming to Meet Education's Most Underrated Goal: Self-Management
Presenters: John Staubitz, M.Ed., BCBA (TRIAD), and Pablo Juarez, M.Ed., BCBA (TRIAD)
The acquisition of all-important self-management skills is assumed in our culture and educational system. For many students with disabilities, these skills must be carefully and methodically identified and taught in order to promote student independence and success. This presentation identified critical self-management skills as well as evidence-based strategies for teaching these skills.

All for One and One for All: Using Evidence Based Practices to Create a Classroom to Promote Universal Design for Learning
Presenters: Sarah Blumberg, Ed.D., BCBA-D ((TRIAD), and Pablo Juarez, M.Ed., BCBA (TRIAD)
The purpose of Universal Design for Learning (UDL) is to meet the needs of all students in an inclusive classroom. A UDL curriculum includes what is learned, how it is learned, and why it is learned. The physical classroom space is part of how it is learned. It is the context, the format, the environment where it all takes place. This session focused on creating a classroom environment that allows for active engagement, self-motivation, empowerment, self-advocacy, and independence of all students, and that values diverse characteristics and needs.

Bull Market in the Token Economy: Classwide Systems for Improving Student Behavior
Presenters: John Staubitz, M.Ed., BCBA (TRIAD), and Pablo Juarez, M.Ed., BCBA (TRIAD)
This presentation explored many of the specific strategies and procedures that can be used to design and maintain a successful class-wide token economy. It focused on reducing problem behavior and reinforcing pro-social behavior in classrooms serving students with emotional or behavior disorders.

Give Reinforcement Another Chance: Setting Up and Fixing Procedures for Motivating Students
Presenters: John Staubitz, M.Ed., BCBA (TRIAD), and Lauren Weaver, M.S., BCBA (TRIAD)
This presentation helped practitioners to make reinforcement a more effective strategy for changing student behavior. The presenters shared a specific process for setting up and troubleshooting 3 systems of reinforcement appropriate for students with a variety of ability levels and developmental needs. This was a useful presentation for anyone who has struggled to get reinforcement to work for their students.

Targeting Peer Supports in the Educational Setting
Presenters: Sarah Blumberg, Ed.D., BCBA-D (TRIAD), Neill Broderick, Ph.D. (TRIAD), and Catherine Herrington, Ph.D. (TRIAD)
Navigating social situations can be challenging for students with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and other developmental disabilities. There are many curricular options to choose from to attempt to meet the needs of these students. The need to focus on more effective evidence-based practices for teaching all students to navigate social situations within the natural school day is becoming more important. This session focused on identifying the needs for social skills intervention for students with ASD, strategies to use when developing peer support networks, and strategies to develop an accepting classroom community.

Building Successful Bridges from Early Childhood to Kindergarten
Presenters: Alacia Stainbrook, Ph.D. (TRIAD), and Sarah Blumberg, Ed.D., BCBA-D (TRIAD)
This presentation emphasized the roles of Early Childhood educators, Kindergarten teachers, and parents in facilitating successful transitions for students with Autism Spectrum Disorders transitioning from the Early Childhood to the Kindergarten classroom. The goal of this presentation was to provide educators and parents with strategies and tools to facilitate successful transitions for students with Autism Spectrum Disorders.

Bridging the Gap Between Schools, Families, & Community Resources During Transitions
Presenter: Megan Hart, M.Ed. (Tennessee Disability Pathfinder)
Tennessee Disability Pathfinder is a statewide project of the Vanderbilt Kennedy Center and Council on Developmental Disabilities that includes: information and referral services provided through a multilingual phone Helpline, Multicultural Outreach Program, community training program, and interactive website of local, state and national resources. Information provided included practical tips on accessing disability resources related to transitioning from school services to adult life.

Post-Secondary Educational Opportunities for Young Adults with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities in Tennessee
Presenters: Tammy Day, M.Ed. (Next Steps at Vanderbilt), Tom Beeson (University of Tennessee), Maurice Williams (University of Memphis- Tiger Life), and Mallory Whitmore (IDEAL at Lipscomb University)
Like their typically developing peers, students with intellectual and developmental disabilities benefit from a post-secondary education experience. Within the past five years, four inclusive programs have been developed for students with intellectual disabilities (IDD) in Tennessee. This session outlined the benefits of postsecondary education for students with IDD, analyzed the barriers in recruitment efforts, and provided opportunities for involvement through a statewide Alliance.

Transition Assessment: Practical Tools and Promising Approaches that Really Work
Presenters: Erik Carter, Ph.D. (VKC, TennesseeWorks), and Jennifer Rowan, M.Ed. (TennesseeWorks)
Good assessment is at the heart of effective transition planning and services. Attendees learned about best and promising practices in transition assessment, free and low-cost assessments appropriate for students, and ideas for how to use assessment findings to guide practice. Attendees left with practical tools and strategies to immediately implement in programs to improve student outcomes.

Autism Spectrum Disorder Assessment and Difficult Cases
Presenters: Whitney Loring, Psy.D (TRIAD), and Lauren Weaver, M.S., BCBA (TRIAD)
This training was geared toward school-based personnel who are directly involved in the Special Education eligibility/Educational Classification process for students with suspected Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). The presentation compared an educational classification with a medical diagnosis of ASD and provided information regarding how to use various components of the assessment process to make differential classifications between ASD and other potential classifications with similar presentations.

Helping Parents in Improving Sleep for Students with Autism Spectrum Disorders
Presenters: Whitney Loring, Psy.D (TRIAD), and Neill Broderick, Ph.D. (TRIAD)
Participants came to understand the current research regarding Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) and sleep, possible reasons why sleep challenges are more common in children ASD, components of successful sleep, and strategies to promote successful sleep for children with ASD

Introduction to Mindfulness for Educators
Presenters: Pablo Juarez, M.Ed., BCBA (TRIAD), and Catherine G. Herrington, Ph.D. (TRIAD)
The aim was to introduce educators to mindfulness, an evidence-based method of stress reduction. The Osher Center for Integrative Medicine at Vanderbilt University defines mindfulness as "a way of learning to relate skillfully to whatever is happening in your life, a way of taking charge of your life, a way of doing something for yourself that no one else can do for you-- consciously and systematically working with your own stress, illness, and the challenges and demands of everyday life." Research has demonstrated that mindfulness improves well-being, physical health, and mental health.

Last Updated: 1/30/2015 9:06:53 AM

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