Special Education Conference 2021
The time for inclusion is now.
First Class Awards
Our First Class Awards recognize and celebrate the inclusion efforts of educators, administrators, and students who demonstrate inclusion of students with disabilities in all facets of education. Learn more about First Class Awards.
Well-known professionals in the community will cover a variety of high interest topics for parents, FCPS educators, and administrators. The presentations will be synchronous (live) and available to watch on the FCPS live stream channels. Meet our guest speakers and view their presentation descriptions.
Presentations by FCPS Staff and Community Partners
This year presentations will be asynchronous (pre-recorded) and posted on this webpage on the day of the conference. Recordings of the presentations will be available at a later date on the Parent Resource Center (PRC) website. View presentation titles, descriptions, and recordings.
Student Strand: Employment Bootcamp
Our virtual student strand on job seeking strategies and skills will be led by FCPS Career and Transition Services (CTS) staff. FCPS students with disabilities ages 14-22, will learn techniques for developing a good resume, self-advocacy related to disclosure and accommodations, and the job search in today’s labor market. Learn more about our Employment Bootcamp
Inclusive Schools Hall
Rachel Bailey is a parenting specialist that has helped hundreds of parents bring out the best in their children. In addition to her master’s degree in clinical psychology, she has been an ADHD coach, an in-home mentor, a therapist, and a teacher of positive parenting techniques. Over the past decade she has taught hundreds of parents and children tools for improving behavior, motivation, resilience, and self-esteem.
Tame the Drama: Addressing Big Emotions In Your Family by Rachel Bailey
When some kids don't get their way, their behavior not only becomes irrational, but often it becomes quite dramatic. In this workshop, you'll learn why certain children have such big emotions and behavior. You'll also learn how to reduce the frequency and intensity of these behaviors when they're happening... and just as importantly, what you can do to foster resilience so that they don't occur as often in the first place.
Dr. Lisa Bateman
Dr. Lisa Bateman is a clinical psychologist who specializes in working with children, adolescents, and adults with OCD and other anxiety disorders. Dr. Bateman uses “Positive Psychology” and builds on individuals strengths utilizing positive reinforcement for engagement. She has presented many workshops on school refusal and strategies for families to help children deal with anxiety and stress.
Is it Over Yet? How to Help your Child Cope with the Pandemic and the Eventual Return to Normalcy by Dr. Lisa Bateman
This presentation will focus on parenting strategies to help children cope with the challenges of the pandemic. Strategies include:
- Coping with general stress, changes in daily life/routine, uncertainty about the future, loss of regular activities and social interaction, virtual school, etc.
- Executive functioning to assist with the challenges of virtual school
- Managing anxiety about health and safety
- Building resilience in children to reduce risk of separation anxiety, social anxiety, etc. once the pandemic ends
Ann Dolin, a mother of two, former public school teacher, and founder of Educational Connections Tutoring, knows firsthand how stressful parenting a K-12 student can be. She brings both empathy and experience that makes parents feel understood and supported. Parents describe her presentations as fascinating, helpful, informative, and practical. Ann is widely trusted as an educational and virtual learning expert. She regularly appears on a wide variety of media outlets, and has written award-winning books, including her latest, titled Getting Past Procrastination.
Hybrid Hurdles: Keeping Kids Focused, Motivated, and Engaged on a Hybrid Schedule by Ann Dolin
Last March, the shift to virtual learning was fast and furious. As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, Governor Northam ordered a statewide closure of all K-12 schools in Virginia. As a result, students and families transitioned to at-home learning, which was overwhelming for most. This spring, we face another significant change. We’re going from virtual schooling to a hybrid schedule! We’re all excited for this step towards normalcy, but every transition brings new challenges. This year, however, you don’t have to be unprepared. We’re here to help you foresee the unique hurdles of hybrid learning so you can overcome them with ease.
- Boost your child’s ability to focus during both teacher-led and independent learning
- Set your child up for a successful back-to-school transition
- Encourage your child to ask questions that keep them engaged at school and home
- Learn tips to help your child get “unstuck” after the setbacks of a virtual year
- Improve communication for a more open relationship with your child at any age
Dr. Amy Fortney Parks
Dr. Amy Fortney Parks is the Executive Director of WISE Mind Solutions, LLC, a Northern Virginia-based group psychotherapy practice focused on children, teens and families. Dr. Parks brings over 30 years of experience working with children, adolescents and families as both an educator and psychologist. She holds a Doctorate in Educational Psychology, and is known for her humor, real-world wisdom and brain-based approach in her workshops.
On the Bubble: Examining the Definitions and Differences Between Social Emotional Learning and Mental Health by Dr. Amy F. Parks
Our students are coming to school with greater emotional needs, and faculty and staff have found themselves stretching for strategies to meet these needs alongside academic goals. Our social emotional learning (SEL) curriculum is an integral part of education and human development. When students are “on the bubble” or between the need for SEL scaffolding and mental health support, sometimes things get fuzzy. Often SEL and the definition and supports for mental health get blurred by students, parents, faculty and staff in our sincere desire to help students navigate emotional challenges. This workshop will help tease apart the definitions of ‘social emotional learning’ and ‘mental health’ and provide concrete supports and strategies for students both in school and at home within each domain.
Kirk Martin, father and founder of Celebrate Calm, has helped parents and teachers tackle challenging behavioral issues with children. He provides adults specific, concrete, and practical strategies to help stop the yelling, defiance, and power struggles. Kirk’s practical, life-changing, and laugh-out-loud funny strategies can help kids listen the first time, create stress-free routines, and help stop meltdowns or tantrums.
ADHD & SPD: Stop Power Struggles, Start Building Confidence by Kirk Martin
Do you need help calming your explosive household? Tired of yelling at, negotiating with and bribing your child? Do you want your child to take responsibility for his school work, chores and attitude? It’s time to stop the yelling, arguing and power struggles with toddlers and teens. How can you expect your kids to control themselves...if you cannot control yourself? Moms and Dads it’s not your job to manage everyone’s emotions and make everyone happy! We’ll show you how to create stress-free mornings, school, dinner and bedtime. We promise you will laugh and leave with a dozen practical strategies that really work.
Julianna Miner has twenty years of experience in the field of public health. She is an adjunct professor and a freelance writer and blogger. Ms. Miner is the creator of the popular parenting blog Rants from Mommyland and was named one of Babble‘s 10 Best Humor Bloggers. She is the author of Raising a Screen Smart Kid: Embrace the Good and Avoid the Bad in the Digital Age.
Dr. Clifford Sussman
Dr. Clifford Sussman is a child and adolescent psychiatrist who evaluates and treats individuals with internet and video game addiction. He has been featured as an authority on screen use related issues throughout the media and peer reviewed literature. Dr. Sussman is dedicated to helping people achieve a more balanced relationship with digital technology.
Kids Love Screen Time, What Could Possibly Go Wrong? Hybrid Schooling and Technology Use by
Julianna Miner and Dr. Clifford Sussman
As digital technology rapidly evolves, it becomes more stimulating and distracting. During a lockdown, the learning environment becomes less structured and more dependent on this technology, with the burden on teachers to adjust to a hybrid teaching model while preventing students from falling through the virtual cracks with little hope of getting help. This event is designed to educate teachers on the risk of excessive use of digital technology in students, both in a classroom and distance learning setting. What are some effective teaching strategies and interventions for surviving what is left of this pandemic without completely surrendering to this stimulating virtual world that is more accessible than ever?
Adjunct professor of Public Health and author of "Raising a Screen Smart Kid: Embrace the Good and Avoid the Bad in the Digital Age," Julianna Miner and child and adolescent psychiatrist and nationally recognized expert on healthy screen use, Clifford Sussman, MD, will share their knowledge and answer your questions.
Below are titles, descriptions, and links to presentations by FCPS Staff and Community Partners. Presentation titles link to the asynchronous (pre-recorded) presentation. Recordings of the presentations will be available at a later date on the Parent Resource Center (PRC) website. Information on our guest speakers and their presentations is available in the Guest Speaker section above.
Accommodations and Modifications: Planning for Instruction
Wendy Boehm and Gina North
Have you ever heard the words accommodation and modification and been confused? While the two words sound similar, they mean different things. In this session participants will determine if provided supports are considered accommodations or modifications to the curriculum, and explore how to scaffold the curriculum to plan for instruction.
Adapting Books and Materials for Students with Vision Impairments and Other Disabilities
This session will focus on how to adapt books for students with Cortical Visual Impairment (CVI) and students with multiple disabilities including a vision impairment. Participants will learn how to create books with adapted visuals, tactile visuals, and story bags/boxes. Attend this session to learn more about supporting students with vision impairments and other disabilities.
Assistive Technology (AT) Ambassadors: Accessibility, Assistive Technology, and Student Voice
Mollie Kropp and Caitlin Radek
This year has been exceptional for educators and students alike. New challenges and opportunities have arisen around accessibility, inclusion, integration of technology tools, and the need for student self-determination. FCPS AT Ambassadors shared their experiences with virtual learning, assistive technology, and what they wish educators knew about accessibility and the importance of student voice. Attend this session to hear what these student leaders had to say and learn how to kick off your own conversations around these important topics.
Beyond the Buzzwords: Creating Trauma Sensitive Schools for All
Kelly Henderson, Beth Spivack and Jenna White
COVID has increased attention to childhood trauma and its impact on families and schools. This parent-led session offers families and educators practical and proven strategies that build resilience of students, staff and families that apply during challenging times. Participants will also examine how schools can successfully foster inclusive classrooms and schools that really work for all, especially those impacted by trauma and traumatic stress.
Beyond the School Day-Access to Extracurricular Activities 2021
Dawn Schaefer and Kathy Murphy
This session will cover the requirements for providing access to after school and extracurricular activities for students who are eligible for special education and Section 504. Participants will gain an understanding of how to navigate requests for accommodations and access for students and ways to address students' needs in these environments.
Building Self-Healing Communities
Elizabeth Vater and Kelly Henderson
This session highlights the impact of childhood adversity and the building blocks of resiliency. Scientific breakthroughs reveal that what is predictable is preventable. Participants will encounter the transformative power of communities to improve their health and well-being across the lifespan.
Jaclyn Hiller, Casey Ryan and Elizabeth McHatton
A concurrent model for instruction is one which is accessible by students in school and at home at the same time. This session is designed to provide school teams with an understanding of best practices and models for effective concurrent instruction. Throughout this workshop, participants will have the opportunity to explore concurrent teaching resources and models.
Considerations for Students with Disabilities in the College Search and Beyond
Maggie Contreras and Naomi Martinez-Jones
Join FCPS Career and Transition Services and George Mason University Disability Services to learn about postsecondary concerns for students contemplating college. Highlights of this session will include disclosure, accessing accommodations, disability support services, and understanding the differences between high school and college.
Developing Inclusive Practices through the Implementation of High Leverage Practices (HLPs)
Elizabeth Bacon and Priti Sublok
Teachers and families will develop an understanding of inclusive instructional strategies for diverse learners through the utilization of high leverage practices (HLP’s). Participants will gain an understanding of the following HLP’s for diverse learners: scaffolding instruction, adapting curriculum tasks and materials, implementing explicit instruction, promoting student engagement and providing immediate positive and corrective feedback.
Diploma Options for Students with Disabilities
Ellen Agosta and Ellie Stack
Elementary and Secondary
This presentation will explore diploma options for students with disabilities. Information regarding credit accommodations, Locally Awarded Verified Credits (LAVC), and Special Permission Locally Awarded Verified Credits Accommodation (SPLACV-A) will be shared.
Essential Executive Functions: Helping Students Build Study and Organizational Skills
Lindsey Thoms and Debbie Rosen
Elementary and Secondary
Executive Functioning (EF) skills, such as time-management, materials organization, planning, prioritizing, and initiating and completing work, are critical for student success in school and in life. In this session, presenters will share proven and straightforward techniques for building the executive function skills to help children overcome their struggles with homework, and prepare them for middle school, high school, and beyond. Participants will learn specific strategies to help a child push through their frustration and encourage independence.
Facilitating Communication in the Home and Community
In this session, participants will learn ways to encourage and create opportunities for communication in both the home and community. This session is for individuals seeking to address the communication needs of learners with the low incidence disabilities of Autism and Intellectual Disabilities.
FCPS At-A-Glance for Preservice Teachers
Julie Curran and Lena Cohen
Fairfax County Public Schools (FCPS) is a great place to work! This session invites preservice teachers to learn more about the advantages of working in FCPS, the resources available to novice teachers, and living in the Northern Virginia area.
Google Keep: The Secret to Making Executive Function Easy at Any Age
Kim Malinowski, Diana Ree-Reeder and Sara Husein Bazar
In this session, participants will discover how to use Google Keep to easily support students’ executive functions. Using this inclusive technology tool, participants will learn how to create checklists, graphic organizers, reminders and more. With Google Keep notes, you can share information with just one person or many; the creative and organizational opportunities are endless!
How Parents Can Promote Executive Function in a Crisis
Ryan Jeffery and Sonia Cornish
In this session participants will identify the connections between the crisis cycle, brain function, and executive functions. Presenters will share tools to help understand how your child's brain functions throughout the crisis cycle. Participants will be guided through practical exercises to help reduce escalated behaviors with students that struggle with executive functioning skills.
How Screen Time and Sleep Impact Early Childhood Development
Amy Sheldon and Anne Brosnan
The topics of both screen time and sleep are two subjects commonly referred to within the area of early childhood development. This session will look at how these areas may impact early learning, as well as physiological and mental health functioning. Information will be provided on the differences between learning through screens versus interpersonal experiences, as well as how screen time usage may contribute to overall health and development. This session will also explore the mechanisms of sleep, how it impacts our mental and physical health, and how we can help parents develop better sleep habits for their children.
Improving Parent and Teen Relationships: An Overview of Dialectical Behavior Therapy as a New Tool in your Toolbox
Rachel Cherian and Elizabeth Vater
Do you find yourself wanting more tools in your parent toolbox for what to do when your teen is having trouble coping, navigating changes or having trouble managing intense emotions? Do you sometimes feel like you wish you knew how to respond or be more effective? You are not alone! This session will tap the collective expertise of a school psychologist and school social worker who specialize in Dialectical Behavioral Therapy. This is a skills-based and evidence-based therapy to support more positive coping for you and your child. Participants will leave the session with practical tips on managing distress, strengthening relationships, regulating emotions, and utilizing mindfulness.
Inclusive Technology Tools for All Learners
Jeff Sisk, Jennifer Carr and Meaghan Tracy
Universal Design for Learning (UDL) is a set of principles for curriculum development that give all individuals equal opportunities to learn. In this session, participants will explore quick and easy student technology tools that can accommodate learning in diverse instructional settings.
Infusing Trauma Informed Considerations into the Individual Education Program (IEP) Process
Jenna White and Katie Basinski
Building a collaborative and effective IEP team can be a challenge in any circumstance. The principles of the trauma informed care movement can help guide the IEP process and collaboration. Participants will learn these principles, how to apply them to the IEP process, and how to develop a common language around trauma that will support all stakeholders.
Learning to Read and Instructional Strategies
Tracy Puckett and Eileen Mazzone
Have you ever wondered how to teach a child to read? Learning to read is a complex process. In this session, participants will find out how we learn to read, explore the five components of literacy and instructional strategies to improve student learning. Attend this session to learn practical information and strategies to support and enhance your knowledge of reading.
Helen Rose and Angeli Tempel
Preschool and Elementary
Math matters for all young children: young children with special needs, young children who are learning English, and young children from all economic backgrounds. Research demonstrates that early math skills are important for later school readiness and future academic success. In this session, participants will learn about the basic math principles and ways to incorporate these math concepts into fun everyday home and school activities. No prior math experience necessary!
Mindfulness and Well-Being
Mindfulness practice is bringing full, non-judgmental attention to what is happening in the present moment. This session introduces mindfulness as a means to help understand the practice and its benefits more fully. Participants will explore research, neuroscience, and engage in experiential practices to optimize general well-being.
Moving Learning Outside: Activity Ideas for Outdoor Learning
Erin Snell, Joni Smith and Christie Johnson
Outdoor learning is fun and engaging for young children and it is not just for getting the wiggles out! In this session participants will learn more about the benefits of outdoor learning and what fun activities you can incorporate into the day. Outdoor learning is essential because it fulfills basic needs of movement necessary for growth, lowers stress and anxiety and supports development in all areas.
A Parent’s Guide to Building Independence at Home and in the Community
Aimee So, Heather Padgett, Mat Kovalich and Mo Chi
This session will provide strategies for fostering independence at home and in the community for students who are accessing an adapted curriculum. Topics will include how to create and use visual schedules, providing reinforcement, and using/fading prompts to teach self-help and communication skills and manage challenging behaviors.
Post-Covid Emotional Reentry: An ADHD-Friendly Model for Developing and Improving Emotional Intelligence
Jon L. Thomas and Pam Barton
Covid has underscored the importance of emotional intelligence, especially among young people who have ADHD. Emerging from the cocoon of the pandemic, students will understandably encounter social emotional difficulties as they re-engage with each other in the new normal of post-pandemic experience.
In this session, participants will obtain strategies to help students with ADHD return to school.
Prevention of Prescription Medication Misuse
Kelly Rankin and Jessica Giffin
Virginia’s overdose rate for all drugs and substance misuse was at an all-time high in 2020. This session will guide participants on how to recognize common signs of prescription medication misuse; what are protective and risk factors; and prevention tips for parents.
Providing Equity Through Easy Low-Tech Means
Amanda J Walter, Diana Houston and McLaine Sheehy
Preschool and Elementary
In this session, participants will learn low tech solutions and strategies to support students with a variety of needs following an adapted curriculum. Highlights include specific accommodations for students with low vision, no vision, and physical limitations in order to gain access to evidence-based programming used in FCPS. Participants will also have an opportunity to learn about adapted play through switch toys and how to make simple accommodations.
Ready for Work: Four Activities to Practice at Home
Connie Johnson and Todd Utter
In this session, an adapted physical education teacher and physical therapist partner to discuss evidence-based, practical strategies to incorporate fun and functional fitness activities at home. These key skills target long term health! Functional skills and activities also support your child’s independent living skills and ability to work after graduation from high school.
School Refusal, Anxiety, and Special Education Supports
Noreen Hill, Whitney McDonough and Lisa Vanlahr
This session will address how anxiety and school refusal often go hand-in-hand, and the supports available to students who receive special education services. Participants will gain insight into these complicated issues. Participants will learn tips for working with school staff to ensure that children have what they need to transition back to and feel supported at school.
Sibshops! Supporting Children Who Have Siblings with Special Needs
Andrea Bylykbashi, Erica Bettwy, Katie Carroll and Laura Cook
Elementary and Secondary
Attend this informational session to learn more about Sibshops and the supports the program can provide. Sibshops are workshops offered by FCPS social workers for children who have siblings with special needs. In this presentation, participants will learn more about the Sibshop program and how to access this support in FCPS. Parents will receive information and tips on how they can support their children of siblings with disabilities.
Social Emotional Wellness Strategies for Families
Lisa Phifer and Jeanne Veraska
This family-focused presentation provides practical strategies to support social emotional learning (SEL) in the home. The main objective is to review key SEL concepts and relatable examples that occur naturally at home. Practical activities will be introduced to encourage and strengthen emotional communication and help make stress more manageable as families transition back to school and work.
Strategies to Diffuse Unexpected Behavior
Jennifer Blasko, Sarah Schmitt, Reggie Mitchell, Ashely Lotfabadi and Sheryl Schneider
This session will focus on key components of unexpected behavior. Participants will understand why behavior escalates and how to use proactive strategies to prevent behaviors from escalating further. Participants will also walk away with proactive strategies on how to respond to unexpected behavior using relationship-based skills.
Strategies to Promote Successful Transitions from Elementary to Secondary
David Lojkovic and Erin Woodward
Elementary and Secondary
In this session, participants will gain information on how to promote successful transitions from elementary to middle and middle to high school. Strategies and resources for preparing students for the transition to the secondary level will be shared.
Strategies to Support Self-Regulation Skills in Preschoolers
Annie Klockner Gonzalez
In this session participants will learn about self-regulation (SR) skills and how SR difficulties affect a preschooler’s functioning during daily tasks. The relationship between SR skills, executive functioning skills, and sensory sensitivities will be explained. Parents, caretakers, and teachers will learn about what important skills preschoolers can acquire to support their self-regulation difficulties and how adults can support the practice of those skills.
Amber Ong, Susan Waring, Ori Onazi, Kara Landefeld, Becky Harris, Ashley Enright, and Lori Kraden
In this session participants will be provided information to identify stress in children and adults. Participants will learn strategies for stress reduction and creating balance. Join us to obtain information on supports provided within the school environment and accessible resources that can be utilized outside of school.
Substance Use Prevention and Encouraging Healthy Brain Development
Carrie Glasgow, Elizabeth Knudson and Beth Mohaupt
During this session, participants will learn about teenage brain development including how and why the adolescent brain is particularly vulnerable to substance use. Participants will learn about the latest drug trends and potential warning signs of drug use/abuse among adolescents. Brain-based parenting strategies and information about prevention/intervention strategies will also be provided during the session.
Technology Tools to Support Reading for All Learners
Karen Hom, Jessa Boehm, Rachel Connelly and Karen Hawley
Elementary and Secondary
In this session participants will explore FREE strategies and resources to support students with reading difficulties in the virtual environment. Learn how to implement accessibility tools within Google Apps for Education and Microsoft Office, electronic screen readers and online tools to support reading. Highlights will include common tools, strategies and features which can be useful to support students of all ages who struggle with reading.
THC Oil: What We Know to Date
Heather Price, Anna Teeter and Ally Jacobi
In this session, Substance Abuse Prevention Specialists will present the most recent information about THC Oil. Graphics, data and videos with the most updated information will be shared including information related to student usage. Participants will gain strategies for how to prevent students from using THC oil and intervene if they have already started.
Three Ways to Help Youth be Ready for Work
Amanda Iannotti and Connie Johnson
In this session, participants will discuss three ways that families and educators can help youth to have the key skills that they need to be ready for work. These include physical activity, self care/independent living skills and having high expectations for children. Presenters will discuss evidence and key resources to support physical activity and self care/independent living skills at home. Participants will access a “Skills Toolkit” with strategies they can use immediately at home.
Understanding the Criteria for the Virginia Alternate Assessment Program (VAAP)
Ellen Agosta and Amber Terry
Elementary and Secondary
In this session, an overview of the Virginia Alternate Assessment Program (VAAP) will be provided. Participants will gain an understanding of the Virginia Department of Education (VDOE) VAAP guidance document in determining a student's participation in the VAAP assessment. Eligibility criteria and the impact for participation in the VAAP will be discussed.
Who Needs Captions Anyway?
Mollie Kropp and Kate Adams
Have you ever tried to listen to a video in a loud environment? Or struggled to understand a TV show with rapid speech or accents? Do your students struggle to attend to spoken information? Do you know anyone with autism who prefers visual access over auditory input? Are any of your students English language learners? Is there specific curriculum vocabulary your students are learning? Yes, captions are invaluable to individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing, but they can also be an important accessibility feature for all of us. Come to this session to learn more about how captioning can support universal design for learning, what tools are available within FCPS, and how to integrate them effectively into your daily routines.
For general conference information or if you need help in accessing conference materials or presentations, please email SpecialEdConf@fcps.edu.
- 5 Recertification Points available for FCPS Educators
FCPS Educators should complete the attendance form by May 1st to request recertification points. You do not need to sign-up in MyPDE.
- Certificates of Attendance available for Non FCPS Educators
Non FCPS Educators should complete the attendance form to request a certificate of attendance.
Thank you for attending the 2021 Special Education Conference. We value your feedback and want to hear from you. Please complete this evaluation form to share your opinion with the FCPS Conference Planning Committee.