Keynote Addresses, Workshop Abstracts & Presenter Bios

Morning Keynote Address 

The Importance of Belonging; We are born ready • Morning Keynote presented by David Pitonyak: Support & Behavior Specialist, Director at Imagine

Belonging is critical to our well-being, yet many people who experience disabilities are lonely or isolated. This presentation examines the importance of positive, enduring, and freely-chosen relationships. Participants will develop a basic understanding of the importance of relationships as well as specific ideas for helping someone they love to meet new people.

The bulk of David Pitonyak’s work of over 30 years involves engaging individuals who are said to exhibit “difficult behaviors.” You might say their behaviors are “messages” which can tell us important things about their lives. Learning to listen to the messages of an individual’s difficult behaviors are the first steps in helping the individual to find a new (and healthier) story.

Lunch Keynote

Inclusive Education and the Benefits for ALL students; It’s never too early for inclusion • Lunch Keynote presented by Melody Musgrove, Ed.D: Co-Director of Graduate Center for the Study of Early Learning at University of Mississippi, former OSEP Director

Students with disabilities are entitled to be free from discrimination, and are to be provided with equal opportunity to learn what other students are expected to learn. This presentation explores what high-quality inclusive education looks like and the benefits to students with and without disabilities, and how Least Restrictive Environment decisions should be made.

Dr. Musgrove’s career is distinguished by a commitment to collaborative frameworks that find creative solutions to improve outcomes for all children. She has worked as an educator at classroom, school, district and state levels. She served as Mississippi’s director of special education before being selected to lead the Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP) in the U.S. Department of Education from 2010 until 2016.

Remarks & Presentations

Spotlight Welcome Address: Premier Sponsor Portland Public Schools Superintendent Guadalupe Guerrero.

Special Presentation: Social Justice Youth Program closes out the day with “Breakdown the Barriers” award ceremony and presentation.

Closing Remarks: Steven Holland: President, NW Disability Support; Angela Jarvis-Holland: Executive Director, NW Disability Support.

Music from Newell Briggs & Mike Vanliew, celebration, mingling, and cash bar at the end of the day.

Session 1 Workshops

1a. What Works in Early Childhood; Set the launchpad for keeping kids included from the get-go

Presented by Melody Musgrove, Ed.D: Co-Director of Graduate Center for the Study of Early Learning at University of Mississippi, former Director, OSEP

This workshop explores research on high-quality early learning programs, challenges to effective early intervention, and how early decisions can change the life trajectory of children with disabilities. 

Dr. Melody Musgrove worked as a classroom teacher, school administrator, district special education director and assistant superintendent before serving as State Director of Special Education for Mississippi Department of Education until January 2007. Dr. Musgrove served from 2010 through 2015 as Director of the Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP) for the U.S. Department of Education. She is now co-director of the Graduate Center for the Study of Early Learning and professor of special education at the University of Mississippi.

1b. Intersectionality Between Race and Disability; The cost to us all if we don’t embrace the true complexity of our community

Presented by Keith Jones: Community Leader, Advocate, Soul Touchin’ Experiences

What gifts do we miss and what creativity do we lose if we do not acknowledge the intersectionality between race, disability, or any other ‘differences’. This workshop will explore the steps you can take in solidarity of others within your community, your personal responsibility to empower yourself and those within your community, and the responsibility of systems and how you can affect change.

Keith Jones is an artist, father, musician, and a man who experiences disability. He is President and CEO of SoulTouchin’ Experiences, an organization aimed at bringing perspective to the issues of access, inclusion, and empowerment. Mr. Jones is also extremely active in multi-cultural, cross-disability education and outreach, and conducts trainings with the purpose of strengthening efforts to provide services and information to people with disabilities. and .

1c. Strategies for Integrating Students for Preschool and Kindergarten through LEAP Model

Presented by Kate Barker: Principal; Max Striplin: Teacher, Cherry Park Elementary School, David Douglas School District

This presentation consists of an overview of the LEAP model as well as research-based, practical strategies to use in a preschool setting as well as school age classrooms. We will discuss how the LEAP model champions inclusion and looks at the direct and auxiliary benefits for typically-developing students. We will share the benefits of the strategies for those who have disabilities and those students who have not been identified special education but need extra help socially or behaviorally. We will also cover personal experiences, successes, and challenges of implementing the LEAP model.

Kate Barker bio coming soon.

Max Striplin bio coming soon.

1d. Assistive Technology is Everyone’s Business; Gen Ed teacher’s top ten tips for successful collaboration in inclusive classrooms

Presented by Jennifer Spencer-Iiams: Assistant Superintendent for Student Services; Jennifer Ziolko: SPED Instructional Coordinator, West Linn-Wilsonville School District

Over the past 6 years, West Linn-Wilsonville has created inclusive schools, with every student attending their neighborhood school, and deconstructing the old model of special education, emphasizing the power of belonging, diversity, and equity for every child.

West Linn-Wilsonville Schools are committed to inclusive cultures, improved instructional practices, and increasing student voice. Inclusive classrooms require many different entry points for students and for every student to have a way to participate in the learning and have their voice heard. By decentralizing the ownership and learning for assistive technology and augmentative/alternative communication, we are seeing students with more significant learning differences participate in general education classrooms and content at unprecedented levels.

Participants in this workshop will leave with new ideas for increasing the use of AT & AAC, effecting teaming strategies, and the critical roles of learning specialists, speech pathologists, parents, instructional assistants, peers, and how general education teachers can be the key to successful implementation.

Jennifer Spencer-Iiams earned degrees in general education, special education, administration, and educational leadership at the University of Oregon. She worked for Woodburn, David Douglas, and Springfield School Districts before coming to West Linn-Wilsonville Schools to lead their Special Education Department 6 years ago.

Jennifer Ziolko has a masters degree in Assistive Technology. She is a coach to teachers throughout West Linn-Wilsonville in the use of assistive technology and augmentative/alternative communication.

1e. Building Friendships, Full Lives, and Natural Supports

Presented by Alicia DeLashmutt: Founding Neighbor, Our Home Inclusive Community Collaborative; Karen Weisz: Parent; Neva & Mia: Self-advocates

What are the most important things in your life? Your family? Friendships? Work? What brings you joy and gives your life purpose? Spirituality? Play? Art? Community? The answers to these questions are more the same than different for people with and without disabilities.

As parents, we ask these questions of our children. For those of us with children who experience disability, we also ask how we can help to craft and support the lives that they want. Karen and Alicia are on the road to adulthood with their 16 and 17 year-old daughters.

Explore with us what hopes and dreams for the future means to our families and to yours.

Alicia is the proud mother of a beautiful teenage girl whose diverse interests include basketball, Fritos and opera. Her daughter experiences Mowat-Wilson, a rare genetic syndrome whose effects are widespread and significant. Alicia is the Founder and President of Our Home, Inclusive Community Collaborative; a non-profit that promotes, supports and develops inclusive, diverse communities. She is currently working with her team to develop a mutually supportive, inclusive community in the Cathedral Park neighborhood of Portland, OR. 

Karen wears several hats, the most important of which is mother to Mia, a sweet and sassy junior at Grant High School. Along with an intellectual disability, Mia has her mother’s blue eyes, her grandmother’s big hair and her father’s unique sense of rhythm. Karen works in Human Resources at Nike and sits on the board of PHAME, an organization that champions inclusive opportunities in the Arts for individuals with disabilities. She previously served on the boards of Oregon Special Olympics and All Hands Raised and was a founding member of the Portland Public Schools Special Education PTA.

1f. Having High Expectations; Transition and inclusive post-secondary education programs for students with intellectual disability

Presented by Debra Hart: Director of Education and Transition, Think College National Coordinating Center

Learn about the national movement to create inclusive college options for students with intellectual disability (ID). Learn about the requirements in the Higher Education Opportunities Act (2008) to become an approved Comprehensive Transition Program so that students with ID are eligible for Federal Student Financial Aid. Hear from college presidents, faculty, parents, and students about their experiences in supporting students with ID in going to college.

Debra Hart is the Director of the Education and Transition Team for the Institute for Community Inclusion at the University of Massachusetts, Boston. Debra has over 30 years of experience working with youths and adults with disabilities, their families, faculty, and professionals that support youth in becoming contributing valued members of their community via participation in inclusive secondary and post-secondary education, and competitive integrated employment.

1g. How to Create a Trauma-Informed Supportive School Climate

Presented by Noelle Sisk: SPED Family and Community Coordinator, Portland Public Schools; Nic Johnson: Portland Public Schools SPED TOSA, Franklin Cluster

There is a strong correlation between trauma and low academic achievement. Teaching today’s students requires alternative strategies and skills. This workshop will explore ways to create a trauma-informed, supported school climate.

Noelle Sisk works with educators and parents of children with disabilities in ways that demonstrates respect for their differing roles while simultaneously bringing them together toward the same goal: the social/emotional well-being and academic success of children with disabilities. Noelle brings many years of collaborative expertise in systems change, advocacy, and passion. She believes that creating a truly collaborative environment will only increase the successful outcomes for all students. Noelle has 3 children, the oldest of which experiences disability.

Nic Johnson's bio coming soon.

1h. (Session for Youth Group Members) Lead On! Youth working together to create positive change

Presented by Amber Smock: Director of Advocacy, Access Living

This interactive social justice workshop for youths with and without disabilities ages 15-25 will explore the idea that everyone has the power to lead and teach others. Participants will learn the value of their own voice and dreams— and the value of the voices of others— and how to combine their strengths and work together to build a better tomorrow for everyone. Strategies for using social media for social change will be explored, as well as other tools to generate conversation on important issues. Amber Smock will share lessons learned from her years of civil rights and equity advocacy for young people with disabilities.

Amber Smock is the Director of Advocacy at Access Living, a nationally-recognized CIL that enables people with disabilities in Chicago to live fully-engaged and self-directed lives. As Director of Advocacy, Amber oversees both public policy and organizing activities including leadership development initiatives; systems change in housing, education, employment, and long-term care; and advocacy to protect funding of vital services. Amber is also the co-founder of Feminist Response in Disability Action (FRIDA), Media Chair for National ADAPT, and a recipient of the 2012 Paul G. Hearne Award.

Session 2 Workshops

2a. Kindergarten Inclusion; On track for an inclusive life

Presented by Carrie Hutchinson: Teacher, PPS Learning Center; Molly Hulett: Teacher, Clackamas ESD; Raelene Gilmore: Teacher, Gaffney Lane

This workshop delves into what parents can do to prepare their children and themselves for the transition to kindergarten, and how teachers and schools can better prepare to embrace all learners. Drawing from NWDSA/ABI's successful Kindergarten Inclusion Cohort, this session will look at the skills and community connections that are necessary for advocacy and partnership at the K transition and beyond.

Participants will:

  • Understand the components of the Kindergarten Inclusion Cohort, including the web of community support that is necessary for its success
  • Understand some of the resources and strategies teachers are using to support all students. 
  • Understand the importance of accessing inclusive classrooms from a young age, and the way that this can set a life-long trajectory for a richer life in community all students.
  • Understand the need for change in education to make supported inclusive kindergarten placements universal. 

Carrie Hutchinson received her Master’s in Special Education from Concordia University. She is mother to six children, four of whom experience disability. Carrie used the tools and skills she learned in the Kindergarten Inclusion Cohort to achieve a fully-included placement for her son at his school. Carrie was a former Coordinator of the Kindergarten Cohort and now works at PPS learning center, working with students K-4th grade, where she shares her passion for family and education with other parents.

Molly Hulett lives in Oregon City and is the parent to Lilly who is six and Parker who is eight and in 3rd  grade. Parker also experiences Down syndrome. Molly is a former graduate of the KiC the year before Parker transitioned to kindergarten. Molly is also a teacher at Clackamas ESD.

Raelene Gilmore has been a kindergarten teacher for 13 years. She has three amazing children, one of whom experiences autism. Raelene recently earned her master’s degree in Inclusion. She values all learners and all they have to offer. She works to empower other teachers to embrace diversity and be willing to think out of the box to reach all learners.

2b. Think College at Portland State University; Our journey to build an inclusive college experience and things we’ve learned along the way

Presented by Debra Hart: Director of Education and Transition, Think College; Sue Bert: Co-Director, PSU-CCS; Ruth Falco, Evaluator: PSU-CCS; Rachel Esteve: Outreach Assistant, NWDSA/ABI, Self-Advocate, PSU student

This workshop explores how Portland State University is building its capacity to offer an inclusive, four-year college experience for students with intellectual disabilities. Students will share about their experiences attending college classes, working part-time while in school, managing their supports, learning to do things for themselves and explore the campus community. Project staff will share about PSU’s accomplishments and future goals in supporting student success.

Find Debra Hart’s bio in workshop 1f.

Sue Bert is the co-director of PSU’s Career & Community Studies – Think College Inclusion Oregon. She has over 20 years of experience preparing teachers at Portland State University and specializes in the areas of secondary transition, person-centered planning, self-determination, partnerships with families, as well as collaboration and consultation in secondary schools. In addition to her Think College work, Sue co-leads the Secondary Dual Educator Program, a teacher preparation program for inclusive educators at the secondary level at PSU’s Graduate School of Education.

Ruth Falco is the evaluator of PSU’s Career & Community Studies – Think College Inclusion Oregon. Ruth’s experience includes teaching students with significant disabilities, preschool through post-secondary; personnel preparation, and professional development for special and general educators; family support and advocacy for inclusive education; and research regarding effective and inclusive education for students of all ages.

Rachel Esteve is 25 years old and experiences Down syndrome. She works as New Parent Outreach Assistant at NWDSA/ABI, which gives her the opportunity to meet new families, help organize play groups, and support families with young children. Rachel is a paid community support provider, helping individuals with disabilities. Rachel is one of the first students with ID to attend Portland State University as part of the Think College Inclusion Oregon program.

2c. Assistive Technology; Tools and strategies for academic support in successful inclusive classrooms

Presented by Carrie Luse, MSR, OT/L, ATP: Co-Director, Community Vision Assistive Technology Lab; Kim Elliott, MS, CCC-SLP: Co-Director, Community Vision Assistive Technology Lab; Debra Fitzgibbons: Coordinator, OTAP/RSOI

Find out how technology, tools, and strategies can create opportunities for all students. Have you heard these terms and wondered exactly what they mean and why they are important: AEM, AIM, UDL, AT, ET?  Learn more about tools and strategies to empower all students to LEARN ABOUT relevant vocabulary, then READ ABOUT, WRITE ABOUT, and TALK ABOUT classroom content. See fun examples and hear from teachers, professionals, students, and parents through videos and photos. Then, take home a handy questionnaire about academic supports to help prepare for IEP meetings.

Carrie graduated from the Medical University of South Carolina in 2001 with a master’s in occupational therapy. She is a certified Assistive Technology Professional (ATP) and specializes in communication access, seating & mobility, and sensory integration. Her true passion is working with and learning from individuals with complex communication, mobility, and medical needs. Carrie has served children and adults through her private practice at Assistive Technology NW, as well as consulting at the Providence Neurodevelopmental Center for Children and The Child Center.

Kim Elliott completed her graduate degree in Speech Language Pathology from PSU. She worked on the AT Team at Randall Children’s Hospital. She also worked with adults experiencing ALS, Parkinson’s, stroke, neurodegenerative diseases, and developmental disabilities at OHSU. She co-founded Assistive Technology NW (ATNW), a private practice focused on communication supports for children and adults with complex communication needs. She is now Co-Director of the Community Vision AT Lab. She teaches the graduate AAC course as adjunct faculty at PSU. She is also trained as a teacher of “Dance ability”.

Deb Fitzgibbons is Coordinator for Oregon Technology Access Program (OTAP), and Regional and Statewide Services for Students with Orthopedic Impairments (RSOI). Deb earned a master’s in liberal studies with a focus on Assistive Technology through Fort Hays State University in Kansas. She supported students in the Supported-School-to-Work Program. She developed and taught study skills classes, focusing on integration of technology into student habits and curriculum. Deb served 8 years as Computer Access Facilitator with the Special School District of St. Louis County, supporting students K-21.  

2d. Lessons from the Trenches; Veteran parents sharing tips, tools, and strategies for successful inclusion

Presented by Angela Jarvis-Holland: Parent, Executive Director, NW Disability Support; Jamie Burch: Parent, Program Coordinator, NWDSA/ABI; Rachel Perry: Parent

This workshop explores the gifts and opportunities of fully-inclusive classrooms, as well as pitfalls and common myths about inclusion. Learn how to find your voice to support your child’s rights and the dreams of your family. Parents who’ve “been there, done that” share their experiences of building partnerships and supports to create the best outcomes for their children in school.

Angela Jarvis-Holland, B.A. Hon. and YCWS, is the parent of two boys and is the Executive Director of NW Disability Support. She has been a professional educational advocate and community organizer for over 20 years. Angela develops programs that empower parents and bring together partners to create success in education and promote wellness.

Jamie Burch is a disability rights advocate and activist, with fifteen years of experience supporting and collaborating with individuals with disabilities, their families, and other professionals in the field. She currently is the Project and Community Coordinator for NWDSA/ABI. She has a B.A. in Social Sciences with a minor in Sociology, Psychology, and Women’s Studies and tailored her education around disability studies.  

Rachel Perry's bio coming soon.

2e. (Session in Spanish) Hopes, Dreams and Possibilities -- Esperanzas, Sueños y Posibilidades

Presented by Maria Rangel: Bilingual Outreach Coordinator, NWDSA/ABI; Paulina Larenas: Bilingual Program Coordinator, FACT Oregon

Create and work towards a vision…

Learn to look past your son or daughter’s disability and begin building on their abilities to create a vision for their future.

Creating a vision for your son or daughter’s future will help you know where you’re heading and what you’re working towards. This workshop explores and builds on the hopes and dreams we have for our sons and daughters to create endless possibilities.

Maria Rangel is the Bilingual Outreach Coordinator for NWDSA/ABI, where she created and manages the first Spanish-speaking program for parents. She provides support, advocacy, education, and training to families of individuals who experience intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD).

Paulina is a mom with two children, including a middle school-age daughter who experiences disability. She is very passionate about her work bringing insight to cultural competence in programming for non-English-speaking families. A native Spanish speaker, she spent years teaching Spanish in a language school, and has extensive experience providing supports to individuals.

Presentado por Maria Rangel: Coordinadora de Alcance Bilingüe, NWDSA/ABI; Paulina Larenas: Coordinadora de Programa Bilingüe, FACT Oregon

Crea y trabaja hacia una vision…

Aprenda a mirar más allá de la discapacidad de su hijo o hija y comience a construir y desarrollar de sus habilidades para crear una visión para su futuro.

Crear una visión para el futuro de su hijo o hija le ayudará a saber hacia dónde se dirige y hacia qué está trabajando.  Este taller explorara y construyera alrededor de las esperanzas y sueños que tenemos para nuestros hijos e hijas y haci crear infinitas posibilidades.

2f. Molalla River School District; Paving the path to inclusion with Universal Design for Learning

Presented by Michael Salitore: Director of Supported Education, Molalla River School District; John Flavin: English Language Arts Teacher, Molalla High School

This workshop is designed to give participants an overview of the thinking, methodology and strategies involved with universally designed instruction. Michael and John will share Molalla River School District’s journey from learning to practice, and the plan to continue to grow this practice which is proven to build capacity within the general education environment. 

Michael Salitore has a background in school psychology and has been the Director of Supported Education in Molalla since 2014.

John Flavin has been a general education teacher of language arts since 2007.  John is also a regular contributing writer for both the Oregonian and Pamplin Media Group. 

2g. Disability History and Social Justice

Presented by Michael T. Bailey: Author, father, former President, National Disability Rights Network

This presentation explores the history surrounding the treatment of persons with disabilities and the legislative and civil movements related to disability awareness. Contemporary concepts of social justice are examined as the culture moves towards a vision of empowerment and disability as diversity.

Michael Bailey’s life and work is dedicated to promoting civil rights of people with disabilities. He is the father of two adult women, one of whom is a person with Down syndrome. He is the President of the board of Disability Rights Oregon and former President of the National Disability Rights Network. An active member of ADAPT he has participated in ‘actions’ and delivered trainings at dozens of national and international conferences. He is author of Special Education: A Parent’s Guide to a Child’s Success and Here to Stay: American’s with Developmental and Intellectual Disabilities.

2h. (Session for Youth Group Members) What Does It Look Like When It Works? Creating schools and communities where we all belong

Presented by Keith Jones: Community Leader, Advocate, Soul Touchin’ Experiences

This workshop is part of the Youth Track, for youths age 15 – 25 who are members of ABI’s Social Justice Youth Program. In this workshop, Keith Jones explores ways that individuals can contribute towards equity and inclusion within their communities.

See Keith Jones’ bio under workshop 1b.

2i. Classrooms that Work for Everyone: Beyond behaviors; Supporting confidence, competence, and well-being

Presented by David Pitonyak: Support & Behavior Specialist, Director at Imagine

This workshop examines ways to help individuals who experience disability to achieve a sense of confidence, competence, and a sense of well-being, as well as strategies for supporting not only the person but the needs of the person’s supporters.

David Pitonyak is interested in positive approaches to difficult behaviors. Though Imagine, his consulting practice, David has consulted with families and professionals throughout the United States, Canada, England, the Republic of Ireland, and the Netherlands. He provides workshops and seminars, and has worked with people in a variety of settings including: home and professionally-staffed residential settings, schools, supported competitive job sites, sheltered workshops, and day activity programs.

Session 3 Workshops

3a. Supporting Early Childhood Inclusion through Play

Presented by Cindy Ryan, Ed.D: Professor, Western Oregon University

Fred Rogers said, "play gives children a chance to practice what they are learning." This interactive session will showcase how to support inclusion and learning through play. Strategies and ideas will be shared to support inclusive practices in early childhood settings. Participants will leave this session with:

  • Strategies and ideas that can be implemented immediately in the classroom.
  • Talking points to support learning through play in inclusive settings that can be shared with administrators and others.
  • Resources to support play in the classroom

Cindy Ryan is an Assistant Professor of Early Childhood at Western Oregon University. She has twenty years of experience as an early childhood/early childhood special educator in inclusive programs prior to moving into higher education.

3b. College Options for Students with Intellectual Disability; How coalitions, parents, and youths are a positive force for change

Presented by Stephanie Smith Lee: Senior Policy Advisor, National Down Syndrome Congress; Angela Jarvis-Holland: Parent, Executive Director, NW Disability Support

In this interactive session, experts in disability advocacy and inclusive higher education will describe the key role family members and students have had, and are continuing to have, in developing and expanding inclusive higher education nationally and in Oregon. Tips for successful advocacy and coalition building will be shared, with an opportunity for discussion. An update on federal policy impacting students with ID, and what you can do, will be provided.

Stephanie Smith Lee is Senior Policy Advisor for NDSC and has over thirty-five years of experience in public policy, including serving in senior Congressional staff positions. Since her daughter was born with Down syndrome in 1982, Stephanie has organized and led many successful bipartisan efforts to improve special education and disability policy at state and national levels. She served as Director of the Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP) in the US Department of Education from 2002 - 2005. She chairs the Think College Accreditation work group and co-chairs the Inclusive Higher Education Committee.

Find Angela’s bio under workshop 2d.

3c. How to Use Goals in the IEP to Drive Success in an Inclusive Placement

Presented by Noelle Sisk: SPED Family and Community Coordinator; Marie Montalblano: Learning Specialist, Portland Public Schools

This workshop explores how parents and professionals work as a team to create IEP goals that will lead to successful outcomes and inclusive academic settings. Learn how to understand the child’s present levels of performance and how to write strong, inclusive goals specific to that child.

Find Noelle's bio under workshop 1g.

Marie Montalblano's bio coming soon.

3d. Preparing Youth for the Future; Education, employment, and best practices

Presented by Melody Musgrove, Ed.D: Co-Director, Graduate Center for the Study of Early Learning at University of Mississippi, former Director, OSEP

In this workshop, we will consider data relative to youth with disabilities, what works in secondary transition, and the critical importance of inclusive school and workplace culture.

See Dr. Melody Musgrove’s bio under workshop 1a.

3e. 10 Things You Can Do to Support a Person with Difficult Behavior

Presented by David Pitonyak: Support & Behavior Specialist, Director at Imagine

Supporting a person with difficult behaviors begins when we make a commitment to know the person. Sadly, it is often the case that the people who develop an intervention to stop someone from engaging in difficult behaviors do not know the individual in any meaningful sense. Instead, they see the person as a someone (or something) that needs to be fixed or modified. But attacking a person’s behavior is usually ineffective and always disrespectful.

This workshop explores 10 things you can do to support a person whose behavior is troubling you. It is not “quick fix” strategies for stopping unwanted behavior; it is a list of ideas for uncovering the real things that a person might need so that you can be more supportive.

Find David’s bio under workshop 2i.

3f. Decoding the Individualized Education Plan (IEP); Understanding rights, laws, testing and evaluation

Presented by Chris Shank: Special Education Attorney, Disability Rights Oregon 

This workshop is an introduction to special education law, from eligibility through developing a child’s IEP and determining placement.

Chris Shank received her Law Degree from Northwestern School of Law of Lewis and Clark College.  She has been practicing law, specializing in special education law, for more than 15 years. Chris has provided training on special education law and parental rights for parents and advocates around the state, and has assisted in developing DRO’s Special Education Guide for Parents and Advocates. 

3g. ABLE Act: Investing for a bright future; ABLE savings accounts, possibilities, and progress

Presented by David Bell: Managing Director, Oregon Savings Network; Steven Holland: President, NW Disability Support, Manager of Financial Planning and Analysis, Campbell Group LLC

The Oregon ABLE Savings Plan is a way to save for eligible expenses, invest in the future, and keep the benefits you rely on. Participants in this workshop will learn about the ABLE Plan and how to use it to plan for the future.

David Bell received his bachelor’s degree in Business Communications at Point Loma University in San Diego and his MBA from Concordia University in Portland. He helped develop and launch the Oregon ABLE Savings Plan as the Managing Director of the Oregon Savings Network under the Oregon State Treasury. Additionally, David is an adjunct professor at PSU in the School of Business Administration. Previously, David was Director of Operations for the Global Youth Empowerment division of Operation HOPE, an international nonprofit focused on financial empowerment and capacity building.

Steven Holland is a graduate of the University of Oregon with a degree in finance and is currently Director of Treasury and Risk for Campbell Global, LLC, and is a CFA. He has volunteered with NW Disability Support since 2002, serving at different times as board member, treasurer and president.

3h. Charting Our Life Course; Big dreams, high expectations, skinned knees (and what matters along the way)

Presented by Sharon Lewis: Disability Policy Expert, former US Department of Health and Human Services

When we think about the trajectory of each of our lives – including the journey for people with disabilities in the context of family and community – how do we discover and access the important mileposts, experiences, people, and supports that will help make real our dreams? How do we avoid our greatest nightmares? Will the decisions we make today affect the lives of our sons and daughters, our families, and/or the children and youth we teach, decades from now? Can we create opportunity for the important thinking and conversations required for true community inclusion and a chance for each of us to live, learn, work, play, love, laugh, and pursue our dreams?

This workshop focuses on examples and strategies that can help develop integrated supports for a good life – from cradle to grave – using the LifeCourse framework. Learn how this national movement fits within the broader context of policy goals of sustainable and equitable education and human services. Participants will think together about how to make it matter, individually and collectively.

Sharon Lewis is an accomplished disability policy expert who served in several Presidentially-appointed leadership roles at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services from 2010 - 2016. Currently she works as a consultant with states, providers, and advocates to advance opportunities for people with disabilities to fully participate in all aspects of community, across the lifespan. As a parent to three daughters, including one who experiences IDD, and as a grandparent, she hopes to help build accepting, diverse and inclusive communities for all.

Session 4 Workshops

4a. Transition in Education; Helping parents and teachers understand and contribute to post-secondary goals that make a difference in outcomes

Presented by Lizzie Juaniza-Saso: Transition Network Facilitator (TNF), Multnomah ESD; Kriss Rita: Transition Network Facilitator (TNF), Clackamas ESD

This workshop provides participants with tools and resources to prepare for transition from school to employment or post-secondary education. Participants will learn how to support a vision of an individual, as well as understand the roles and responsibilities of family, student, community members, school members, and agency members in transition planning. Participants will learn about student involvement in the IEP and understand how post-secondary goals drive the high school transition plan.

Lizzie Juaniza-Saso is part of the Transition Technical Assistance Network in Oregon. Her role as a Transition Network Facilitator (TNF) is to support interagency collaboration between schools and community partners, and provide resources and training related to transition services to strengthen post-school outcomes for youths with disabilities. She holds her teaching license in Secondary Special Education and has taught both in high school and an 18 - 21 year-old program.

Kriss Rita is a Transition Network Facilitator for Clackamas, Hood River, Wasco, Sherman, and Gilliam counties. Kriss was previously a Learning Specialist and Transition Coordinator for the Centennial School District working with students ages 16 - 21. She is an adjunct faculty member at Portland State University teaching Interagency Collaboration and Person-Centered-Supports. Kriss also spent two years working at the Green School Bali developing and coordinating their secondary learning support program for international students.

4b. Making General Education Classrooms Work for All Students

Presented by Sheldon Loman, Ph.D: Associate Professor, Portland State University; Melissa Pebly: Instructor/Cohort Leader, Portland State University Department of Special Education

This workshop presents strategies, examples, tools, and procedures to modify general education academic content to ensure meaningful inclusion and success for students with complex support needs. Low tech strategies as well as examples of modified curriculum for success in the general education classroom will be presented. Resources and tools that parents can use at home and in the community, will be shared.

Sheldon Loman is an Associate Professor at Portland State University. His areas of instruction and research include inclusive practices for students with severe disabilities, positive behavior supports, and educational systems change. He has helped establish inclusive processes with school districts in diverse urban settings.

Melissa Pebly is a faculty member at Portland State University in the Department of Special Education.  Her interests are related to literacy for students with significant disabilities, augmentative and alternative communication and supporting inclusive opportunities for students with complex needs.

4c. Working Together to Build Equitable and Inclusive Classrooms and Communities; Advocates, families, teachers, policymakers need to end segregation—our children can’t wait

Presented by Sharon Lewis: Disability Policy Expert, former US Department of Health and Human Services; Melody Musgrove, Ed.D: Co-Director of Graduate Center for the Study of Early Learning at University of Mississippi, former OSEP Director; Stephanie Smith Lee: Senior Policy Advisor, National Down Syndrome Congress;  Debra Hart: Director of Education and Transition, Institute for Community Inclusion at University of Massachusetts; Amber Smock: Director of Advocacy, Access Living

This special policy panel features five national policy and program experts discussing how to keep an eye on the prize, and which policies and advocacy practices are vital for inclusive education and integrated communities. Drawing upon their wide range of experiences, the panel will discuss how everyone can engage, advocate and collaborate to get their voices heard.

Find Sharon Lewis’ bio in workshop 3h.

Find Melody Musgrove’s bio in workshop 1a.

Find Stephanie Smith Lee’s bio in workshop 3b.

Find Debra Hart’s bio in workshop 1f.

Find Amber Smock’s bio in workshop 1h.

4d. Assistive Technology Tools for Reading and Writing

Presented by Sam Sennott, Ph.D: Assistant Professor of Special Education, Portland State University

Reading and writing are fundamental parts of inclusion. In this workshop, participants will learn about the new and time-tested assistive technology tools for (a) writing, (b) guided reading, reading comprehension and shared reading, (c) self-selected reading, and (d) phonics instruction. Participants will come away with the understanding of the options for assistive technology in each of these areas, a list of applications to try, and a draft of a guide to these resources. Dr. Sam and the Universal Design Lab team are excited to share this great resource set in a session specially designed for families and practitioners.

Samuel Sennott is an Assistant Professor of Special Education at Portland State University. His work focuses on augmentative and alternative communication, universal design for learning, and assistive technologies. He co-created the original Proloquo2Go for the iPhone, iPod Touch, and iPad.

4e. I’m Old Enough to Remember When Transition from School to Work was Called Graduation

Presented by Joe Marrone: Senior Program Manager, Public Policy Institute for Community Inclusion, School of Global Inclusion and Social Development

While there has been increasing emphasis on transition and inclusion for students with disabilities in the last 2 decades, employment services in schools and their outcomes have not been great. This workshop addresses topics like the health impacts of long term unemployment, creating expectations for staff, families, and consumers, special issues confronting youth with emotional/ behavioral issues and for those with IDD, role of agency collaboration, and effective internal and external advocacy strategies.

Joe Marrone is a recently-retired Senior Program Manager for Public Policy at the Institute for Community Inclusion in Boston and is involved in research and training projects at ICI. He was formerly Associate Director of the largest community mental health center in Washington State as well as having a 17-year career in public VR. He has consulted, trained, & lectured in all 50 states, Canada, Puerto Rico, Asia, and Europe. He has over 40 years’ experience delivering rehabilitation services and community mental health.

4f. Visual Supports that Work for Inclusive Early Childhood Classrooms

Presented by Cindy Ryan, Ed.D: Professor, Western Oregon University

During this workshop, presenters will share the theory behind using visual supports in early childhood settings. Participants will leave with strategies and ideas to take back and immediately use in their classrooms and Early Childhood environments

Cindy Ryan is an Assistant Professor of Early Childhood at Western Oregon University. She has twenty years of experience as an early childhood/early childhood special educator in inclusive programs prior to moving into higher education.

4g. How to Prepare for and Create a Successful Transition from Elementary to Inclusive Middle School

Presented by Kathy Versteeg: SPED Instructional Coordinator, SLP; Carly Voight: Learning Specialist, Meridian Creek Middle School; Darlene Good: Parent

This dynamic team from West Linn-Wilsonville schools focuses on successful inclusion. Parents and educators who attend this workshop will learn tools, tips, and strategies to streamline transition from elementary school to inclusive middle school placements.

Kathy Versteeg has worked in the West Linn-Wilsonville School District for many years, supporting the movement to inclusive middle school practices for the last 6 years. Her deep knowledge base and wonderful way with people have been key to creating effective and inclusive supports for children who experience disabilities in all four WLWV middle schools.

Carly Voight is in her second year with West Linn-Wilsonville Schools. She brings passion and enthusiasm to the work, going that extra mile to make sure every student experiences success and belonging. Carly's strong partnerships with general education teachers and with parents support the inclusive work in our schools.

Darlene Good has been part of West Linn-Wilsonville's Parent and District Collaboration Group for several years. A former teacher, she brings strong skills in advocacy and a deep commitment to helping WLWV schools be the best they can be for her child, and everyone's children.

4h. (Session for Youth Group Members) SJYP Planning Session

Presented by Aniko Adany: Graphic Facilitator; Megan Price: Coordinator, ABI Social Justice Youth Program; Rachel Esteve: Outreach Assistant, NWDSA/ABI, Coordinator, ABI Social Justice Youth Program

This workshop is part of the Youth Track for ABI’s Social Justice Youth Program. Members will prepare for the closing presentation in which they will share their perspectives and dreams, and bring the voice of the next generation to the microphone.

Aniko Adany has 12 years supporting people with disabilities directly through case management and support. Aniko is Certified in Person-Centered Thinking training and graphic facilitation and recording. She recently became a coordinator of ABI’s Social Justice Youth Program.

Megan's bio coming soon.

Find Rachel’s bio at workshop 2b.

4i. (Session in Spanish) IEP Basics -- Aspectos Básicos del IEP

Presented by Maria Rangel: Bilingual Outreach Coordinator, NWDSA/ABI; Paulina Larenas: Bilingual Program Coordinator, FACT Oregon

Parents are the experts of their child and their number one advocate. 

Learn how to be an effective advocate for your son or daughter in special education by fully understanding their Individualized Education Plan (IEP). This workshop begins with an overview of the IEP and the importance of parent participation – parents are the experts on their child and equal members of the IEP team. Focus will be on sections of the IEP such as parent concerns/students’ strengths, present levels, goals, accommodations/modifications and more, as well as parents’ rights to translation and interpretation in their native language.

It’s never too early or too late to be an informed decision maker for your child’s education.

Find Maria’s bio under workshop 2e.

Find Paulina’s bio under workshop 2e.

Presentado por Maria Rangel: Coordinadora de Alcance Bilingüe, NWDSA/ABI; Paulina Larenas: Coordinadora de Programa Bilingüe, FACT Oregon

Los padres son los expertos de su hijo o hija y su principal defensor.

Aprenda cómo ser un defensor eficaz para su hijo o hija en la educación especial al comprender completamente su Plan de Educación Individualizado (IEP). Esta sesión comienza con una descripción general del IEP y la importancia de la participación de los padres: los padres son los expertos de su hijo o hija y miembros iguales del equipo de IEP. El enfoque estará en las secciones del IEP tales como las preocupaciones de los padres / fortalezas de los estudiantes, niveles actuales, objetivos, adaptaciones / modificaciones y más, así como los derechos de los padres a la traducción e interpretación en su idioma nativo.

Nunca es demasiado temprano o demasiado tarde para ser un tomador de decisiones informado para la educación de su hijo o hija.

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