We are excited to welcome the following speakers to our 2017 conference:
Thursday, November 2, 2017
Keynote Speaker:  Dr. Luis Columna
Physical Activity For All

Dr. Luis Columna, a native of San Juan Puerto Rico, is currently an Associate Professor in the Exercise Science Department at Syracuse University. Throughout his doctoral studies, he taught adapted physical education in the Denton, TX public schools.  His research focuses on ways to increase the participation of families (especially Hispanic) of children with disabilities into physical activity and also his research focuses on ways to better prepare teachers to work with diverse populations. 

The purpose of this presentation is to provide APE and PE teachers with a spectrum of developmentally appropriate activities and games for school-aged students with physical disabilities and other health impairments. The audience will be actively involved in a variety of physical activities to accommodate students with varying ability levels and diverse backgrounds in individual and integrated settings. In addition, this workshop will provide participants with strategies, activities, and documents that can be easily modified and implemented in a variety of physical activity settings.. We will discuss the general characteristics of the physical education programs, rights of children and parents, individualized education plan, and more.

Dr. Ron Sandison         
Effective Methods for Educating Students with Physical/Cognitive Disabilities 

Ron Sandison, author, professor, and advocate with autism, presents on effective methods of teaching students with disabilities including physical, and other health impaired (POHI), severely multiply impaired (SXI), and autism tendency. Educators and parents will learn how to assess a student with disabilities’ learning style and his or her strengths and weaknesses. Methods to help students comprehend material and interact with peers. Some other topics: 

1. Forming a structured classroom environment 
2. Assessing students’ abilities for developing social skills
3. Fun classroom learning activities for communication development
4. Helping students develop appropriate boundaries 
5. Handling sensory issues and meltdowns

Holly Heath & Jessica Onkka
ConnectUS-A Place to Give What Others Need

Holly Heath is the Transition Coordinator for Cooke School & Chair of ConnectUS.  Jessica Onkka is an SXI Postsecondary Teacher & ConnectUS Director.  ConnectUS is a nonprofit 501c3 developed by the parent of a young adult with severe multiple impairments to assist him in achieving a high quality transition outcome during his post school years..  Come hear about this cutting edge example of how students with severe multiple impairments engage in meaningful, productive, and adaptive activities while giving back to their community.

Carmen Cook, Mike Jones, Rachel Nichols, Lisa Pierce
Say More With Core

Carmen Cook is an Elementary SXI Teacher,  Mike Jones is a Middle school SXI teacher.  Lisa Pierce is a High School SXI Teacher.  Rachel Nichols is Preschool SXI Teacher.  This is an introduction to core vocabulary and the implementation process used at Wesley School. This presentation will show examples of communication devices, lesson plans, books, and data collection ideas as related to core words and LAMP (Language Acquisition Through Motor Planning). 

Dr. Luis Columna
Physical Activity For All Part 2

Dr. Columna continues his keynote presentation with strategies, activities for school-aged students with physical disabilities and other health impairments.

Megan Grattan and Lauren Grulke
SeeSaw App Portfolio for Students

Megan Grattan is a Special Education Teacher from Jackson Intermediate School District.  Lauren Grulke is also a Special Education Teacher from Alpena, MI.  Are you are effective at your job, but feel like you are being pulled in every direction? Too often we are being asked to do more, with less time and resources. The free Seesaw app allows teachers to work smarter and organize students work, by create a digital portfolio. Seesaw allows students and teachers to showcase a variety of student work digitally. This session will address strategies, organization ideas for most effective Seesaw use in your classroom. Please bring a device to use in the session, as we will walk through how to download and use.

Chris Savoie, ATP, CRTS, SMS
Our Equipment Needs

Chris Savoie, of University of Michigan Wheelchair Seating Program, gives an interactive presentation of some of the possible equipment needs of individuals with special needs.

Joe Gulino
Behavior Management

To change behavior in a healthy way we need to understand the belief behind the behavior. This presentation will use excerpts from the ground breaking insight from Dr. Ross Greene’s book, “The Explosive Child”. We will talk about a new approach in dealing with challenging children.

Friday, November 3, 2017
Keynote Speakers:
Cynthia Barker and Lynn Pensari
Introduction to Cortical Visual Impairment

Cynthia Barker is a Special Education Teacher/Classroom teacher of students with severe multiple impairments at Traverse Bay Area Intermediate School District.  Lynn Pensari is an Education Consultant with the Michigan Department of Education-Low Incidence Outreach Division. Cortical Visual Impairment (CVI) is the leading cause of visual impairment in children.  This presentation will introduce the medical conditions associated with CVI, identify the 10 characteristics common in students with this diagnosis, and demonstrate materials and accommodations that can be used in the SXI classroom by all teaching staff. 

Katherine Mekis and Alison Rene
Music Therapy Techniques with Children with Special Needs

Katherine Mekis and Alison Rene are both music therapists with Detroit Public Schools Community District.  In this workshop we will demonstrate different music therapy techniques that are used with children with special needs. This will be a hands on presentation. Participants will leave with music activities and songs they can use. 


Mary Sunisloe
Adulthood, Here I Come

Mary Sunisloe is Special Education Teacher with Ypsilanti Community Schools.  With the goal of independence, helping students begin to think about life after they finish high school. One method of this is relevant Community Based Education paired with working internships to allow students to explore their interests. Utilizing the community resources around them, this is a way for students and their families to explore the scary, but wonderful, world of learning to be an adult. 

Kayla Dadswell
Advocating for an Invisible Disability

Kayla Dadswell is the Program Supervisor: Public Information of CARE of Southeastern Michigan.  This presentation will bring awareness to FASD (Fetal Alcohol Syndrome Disorder) and provide preventative measures to take to prevent FASD, and also strategies for success and advocating for your child for IEP's and gaining services. 


Derrick Graves and Christine Skoglund 
Making "App" Selections for SXI/SCI

Derrick Graves and Christine Skoglund are both AT (Assistive Technology) Coordinators with Detroit Public Schools Community District.  Looking for the right App for your challenging students to foster communication and independence?  This workshop will feature both iPad accessibility and free / low cost apps to help improve access and communication for SXI / SCI students.


LeKisha Franklin-Shorter and Miriam Dzandu-Phillips
Transition-Supported Decision Making
LeKisha Franklin-Shorter and Miriam Dzandu-Phillips are both Transition Specialist from Detroit Public Schools Community District.  Individuals with disabilities are entitled to have their individual needs accommodated in a way that allows them to perform the essential duties of their job. However, adults with disabilities are often lacking in career development and are ill-prepared to negotiate workplace accommodations. This has led educators to seek workplaces that can accommodate the needs of adolescents with disabilities, so these adolescents can learn to negotiate accommodations and enhance their career development through work-based education. 
Nicole Bondsteel, Joanne Janicki, Stacy Lantzy, and Richelle VanBogelen
Utilizing the MOVE Program in Your Classroom

Nicole Bondsteel and Joanne Stacy Lantzy are both Early Childhood SXI Teachers with Heartwood School, Ingham ISD.  Joanne Janicki is a physical therapist and MOVE International Trainer.  Richelle VanBogelen, also a MOVE trainer, is an SXI Teacher at Lyle A. Torrent Center, in Jackson, Michigan.  An introduction to the International MOVE Program. The presenters will discuss what it is, how to access it, and ways to incorporate it into the everyday classroom for students with severe to profound needs. Special topics will include: an overview of the top down data collection system, how to make activities functional and beneficial during academic, tolieting, and leisure times, how to get classroom staff on board, how to establish multidisciplinary goals and cooperation, and ways to incorporate the MOVE tasks into student growth data. 


Lynn Pensari
Cynthia Barker