Special Education Conference 2022

Bringing our Inclusive Community Together: Affirming, Assessing, Advancing

Thank you for attending our live sessions on March 26!

Our Virtual 17th Annual Special Education Conference was held Saturday, March 26 from 9 a.m. to 12:15 p.m. (EST).  

You can view the recorded live stream presentations by our guest speakers and asynchronous (pre-recorded) conference presentations by FCPS staff and community partners below. The entire conference playlist is also available on the Parent Resource Center YouTube Channel

Exhibit Hall

Our virtual exhibit hall showcases the important services FCPS and local organizations offer. Exhibitors include Fairfax County Public Schools groups, local government agencies and non-profit organizations. 

Guest Speakers

Guest speakers are well-known professionals in the community and will cover a variety of high interest topics for parents, FCPS educators, and administrators. The presentations will be synchronous (live) and hosted through a zoom webinar.  Participants will receive a link after registration. 

Dr. Lisa Bateman 

Dr. Lisa Bateman
Dr. Lisa Bateman, Guest Speaker

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.

Reducing the Stigma around Mental Health Challenges and How to Support Children in Asking for Help
Inclusion is a human right for all students, including students who experience mental health challenges. Although there has been a decrease in stigma around mental illness to some extent in recent years, stigma around mental illness still exists and prohibits students from asking for help, receiving appropriate treatment, and being supported academically, socially, and emotionally both within and outside of school. In this session, Dr. Lisa Bateman talks about strategies that educators and parents can use to reduce stigma around mental illness in our schools and communities.

Dr. Lisa Cullins

Dr. Lisa Cullins
Dr. Lisa Cullins, Guest Speaker

Lisa M. Cullins, MD is an Attending Physician in the Emotion and Development Branch at the National Institute of Mental Health in Bethesda, MD. Dr. Cullins is an Adjunct Assistant Professor of Psychiatry, Behavioral Sciences and Pediatrics at George Washington University School of Medicine in Washington, DC. Dr. Cullins completed her Adult Psychiatry Residency at UCLA Neuropsychiatric Institute in Los Angeles, CA and her Child & Adolescent Psychiatry Fellowship at Columbia Presbyterian Hospital in New York City, NY. Dr. Cullins has devoted most of her career to training and education, community psychiatry and systems of care, in particular, working with children and adolescents in the child welfare system and other underserved populations. Dr. Cullins has had the privilege to be a physician leader and clinician educator in multiple treatment settings ranging from research, academic, tertiary care hospital facilities to one of the largest child community mental health providers in the State of California (Corporate Medical Director, EMQ Families First Children & Family Services). 

A Conversation about Compassion Fatigue
Educators and families have been greatly impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic and may be finding that they are experiencing weariness, lack of energy and even irritability.  In this session, Dr. Cullins will share the differences between burnout, vicarious trauma/compassion fatigue and secondary trauma. Dr. Cullins will help families and educators recognize signs of burnout and secondary trauma and help participants identify and develop strategies to promote provider well-being.

 Ann Dolin 

Ann Dolin
Ann Dolin, Guest Speaker

Ann Dolin is the President and Founder of Educational Connections, a company that specializes in helping students build confidence through virtual, one-to-one sessions. Ann is a former Fairfax County Public Schools teacher, who holds a bachelor's degree in Child Psychology and a master's degree in Special Education (from Boston College). Ann has spent more than 25 years in education, teaching and tutoring students from kindergarten to college. She founded Educational Connections in 1998. Her team now includes 125 highly credentialed and caring subject tutors, test prep tutors, and executive function coaches. 

Less Policing, More Parenting: How to Improve Your Child’s Executive Functioning Skills Without All the Arguments
If you’re tired of hearing your child respond, “I don’t know,” every time you ask about homework or tests coming up, this session is for you!  Executive functioning skills, like time management or prioritization, take time to learn. However, once a child develops systems that work for them, these strategies can help them to be successful throughout K-12 school and beyond.  In this session, Ann Dolin talks about how you can help your child develop critical executive functioning skills to finish the school year strong. 

Marlo Keller

Marlo Keller
Marlo Keller, Guest Speaker

Marlo Keller is from Saint Matthews, SC where she graduated from Calhoun County High School. Mrs. Keller went on to pursue her Bachelor of Arts Degree in Sociology/Criminal Justice Administration from Claflin University in Orangeburg, SC. Mrs. Keller arrived at Fort Belvoir in 2012 where she started volunteering at Army Community Service. Mrs. Keller has held the positions as a Systems Navigator and the Exceptional Family Member Program (EFMP) Specialist. Mrs. Keller currently holds the position as the Fort Belvoir Installation EFMP Coordinator. She has served the Directorate of Family and Morale, Welfare, and Recreation (DFMWR) for 8 ½ years. She is responsible for establishing, implementing, and maintaining the Program in coordination with installation EFMP components for active duty sponsors of family members who have physical, developmental, emotional, or intellectual impairments/disabilities. 

Exceptional Family Member Program Pathways: Navigating the Halls of a Permanent Change of Station (PCS) School Move
In this session, Mrs. Keller will provide an overview of the Exceptional Family Member Program for military connected families who have children with special needs. She will discuss the most common issues military families have experienced with the schools during their PCS transition. She will offer suggestions as to how families can collaborate with schools to make this an easier transition for children with disabilities and how the staff at EFMP can assist with the process. 

Conference Presentations

Below are titles and descriptions of presentations by FCPS Staff and Community Partners. Presentation titles link to the asynchronous (pre-recorded) presentation.  Information on our guest speakers and their presentations is available in the Guest Speaker section above.

Beyond the School Day - Access to Extracurricular Activities    
Dawn Schaefer and Kathy Murphy    
For all educators and parents  

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.

Challenging Behaviors: ABCs of Behavior and How to Respond
Janeen Waddell 
For all educators and parents
In this session, participants will be provided an overview on the basic elements of behavior to include executive functions and the conflict cycle. Participants will review strategies and general tips on how to respond to challenging behavior.

Children's Literature and Social-Emotional Learning
Amy Sheldon, Anne Brosnan, and Trinity Edwards 
For educators and parents of preschool students
In this session, participants will explore preschool books targeting specific social-emotional skills and other topics. Presenters will share simple story extension activities and participants will explore ways to use books to reinforce or introduce social-emotional concepts.

College Success for Students with Disabilities
Lynette Henry, Karen Huffman, Sarah Blake, and Maggie Contreas
For parents of secondary students
Is your child prepared for college? While a disability can be an obstacle, it should not prevent students from attending or completing college. This session will help participants understand their student’s rights and responsibilities and the process and resources available to help your child transition to college. Students that recognize their talents and strengths, learn self-advocacy skills, know how to access accommodations, and support in college and embrace new challenges as they transition from high school to college are much better equipped to succeed in postsecondary school. 

Families as Partners: Supporting Your Student’s Social and Emotional Learning (SEL)  
Lisa Phifer, Jaynie Van Sant, and Vanessa Hunter 
For all parents
Families are our student’s first teachers for social and emotional skills. They are the school's most valuable partners in supporting the academic and social emotional growth of students. This presentation will highlight key components of social emotional learning and its connection to lifelong learning and academic success. Additionally, the session will provide the audience conversation starters and strategies to support their children in building SEL skills.

Frequently Asked Questions about Special Education
Debbie Perez    
For all parents                                        
This session will define and clarify the special education process for FCPS families. The session will focus on questions/concerns that many parents have asked and will provide details on the important elements of the special education process before, during and after a student qualifies for services. This session will be recorded in Spanish.

Esta sesión definirá y aclarará el proceso de educación especial para las familias de FCPS. La sesión se centrará en preguntas/inquietudes que muchos padres han hecho y brindará detalles sobre los elementos importantes del proceso de educación especial antes, durante y después de que un estudiante cualifique para los servicios. Esta sesión será grabada en Español.

Inclusive Technology Tools for All Learners    
Jeff Sisk, Jennifer Carr, and Meaghan Tracy   
For all educators and parents
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 several quick and easy technology tools and strategies that may accommodate learning for diverse students.

Math Matters! 
Helen Rose and Angeli Tempel     
For educators and parents of preschool and elementary students               
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!

Moving Learning Outside: Activity Ideas for Outdoor Learning  
Joni Smith and Erin Snell 
For educators and parents of preschool students   
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. 

Overview of the Office of the Ombudsman
Dawn Clements
For all educators and parents
In this session, individuals will learn about the services and support available through the Office of the Ombudsman. The FCPS Office of the Ombudsman provides an independent, confidential resource for students, families, community members, and employees who are seeking informal help to answer questions, resolve concerns, and voice complaints regarding FCPS matters. Participants will learn about the role of the Assistant Ombudsman for Special Education and how they can act as a resource and provide information and support to parents and students regarding special education services. 

Parent Coaching in Early Childhood   
Denise Forrest    
For educators of preschool students
What does parent coaching look like in the early childhood program? In this session, participants will learn about the attributes of parent coaching and how to ensure a successful parent/teacher interaction.  This session shares the research-based, reiterative coaching process including coaching practices such as joint planning, observations, action/practice, reflection, and feedback. Specific examples of each coaching practice will be shared.

Promoting Well Being Through Positive Psychology
Julie L. Robinson
For all educators and parents                                       

In this session participants will be introduced to a model of positive psychology that describes five measurable elements – Positive Emotion, Engagement, Relationships, Meaning, and Accomplishment (PERMA). The PERMA+ Theory of Well Being will be introduced and connect the five components of the model to support social-emotional functioning. The model uses positive psychology interventions that help make life worth living, create wellbeing, and can be adjusted for use with any age and all populations. 

School-Based Physical Therapy (PT) and Occupational Therapy (OT) Family Support
Keena McAvoy and Vivian Swingle
For educators and parents of preschool and elementary students     
In this session participants will obtain a general overview of the roles of school-based PT and OT.  This session will explore how parents can support students by establishing home routines, creating and using a family schedule, and providing opportunities for play. This session will reflect on how the pandemic has impacted family supports at home.

Seven Tips for Behavior Success at Home
Delinda Hinnant
For all parents
This session will provide parents and caregivers with seven quick tips to earn behavioral success with their children.  If you ever find yourself saying, "How do I get my child to _______________.", the root cause is a lack of behavior management, and these tips should help.        

Strategies to Diffuse Unexpected Behavior
Sarah Schmitt, Jen Blasko, Sheryl Schneider, and Ashley Lotfabadi
For all educators and parents
This session will focus on three key components of unexpected behavior. First, participants will understand why behavior escalates. Next, proactive strategies to prevent behaviors from escalating will be reviewed. Participants will also learn strategies to respond to unexpected behavior using relationship-based skills.        

Top 10 Assistive Technology Tips for Transitioning to the Workplace
Judith Lieberman   
For educators and parents of secondary students
Come and learn about technology tools to help students transition to the workplace. This session will explore resources in the area of time management, self-regulation, workplace accommodations and career exploration. Participants will leave this session ready to try out some new tools and dust off some old resources from their toolbox. 

Understanding Adverse Childhood Experiences: Building Self-Healing Communities
Tiffany Jones and Elizabeth Knudson
For all educators and parents

In this session participants will examine human behavior utilizing the key points from the Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) study. This session is designed to engage participants who have wondered why someone “just can’t quit drinking” or why a student “always vapes in the bathroom”? Individuals will learn how human behavior can be explained by neuroscience, epigenetics, and adverse childhood experiences, and how to use this knowledge to foster resiliency and the  “power of yet”.

Understanding the Transition Individual Education Program (IEP)
Trevor Christensen
For educators and parents of secondary students
In this session participants will learn the importance of the transition IEP for effective postsecondary planning for students with disabilities during the secondary years. Transition services are intended to prepare students to move from the world of school to the world of adulthood. Topics include: building parent, guardians, and caregiver knowledge of the transition process; questions to discuss with the school team; the role that the IEP process has for increasing self-advocacy and building self-determination skills; and how IEP goals support postsecondary planning.  

Web Walk: Navigating the Online Resources Available to Families through the Office of Special Education Procedural Support
Due Process and Eligibility Team  
For all parents                                             
In this session, participants will navigate the various online resources available to families that are related to special education procedures. This session will explore where important resources are located on the web including: information on the special education process, Individual Education Program (IEP) and eligibility forms, the special education parent handbook, Procedural Support Liaison (PSL) contact information and more. Participants will leave the session with a better understanding of online resources intended to support families. 

Work Based Learning in the Community, School and Home  
Sue Eaton      
For educators and parents of secondary students                                                         
This session will provide an overview of Career and Transition Services provided to special education students through Fairfax County Public Schools (FCPS). Participants will explore the range of possibilities including paths to successful transition to a future beyond graduation, the work-based learning continuum, individualized planning, and the development of employability behaviors/skills at home.

Fairfax County Special Education Parent Teacher Association (SEPTA)

A Special Education Parent Teacher Association (SEPTA) is a PTA organization affiliated with the State and National PTA but specifically established to address the unique needs of special education, special needs, and disabled students and families. To learn more about the Fairfax County SEPTA and watch webinars hosted by their organization, visit the exhibit hall.

Event Support

General Conference Information
For general conference information, questions, or accommodations to attend/access the conference materials or presentations, please email [email protected].

Navigating Zoom
Tips for navigating Zoom for participants with may be found on the Technology Support for Families webpage.

Interpretation and Multilingual Support

Participants who require a foreign language interpreter (Spanish, Ahmaric, Arabic, and Korean), American Sign Language (ASL), or Cued Language Transliterator (CLT) interpreter for the live sessions may indicate this on the registration form. Interpreter requests must be received by March 23 to ensure an interpreter is available.

Parent Information Lines are available in eight different languages to assist participants who do not speak English as their first language.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs):

How do I change the the Zoom Registration Form Language?

  1. Click the Zoom Registration Link to open the Zoom Registration webpage.
  2. Scroll to the Language dropdown located at the bottom (footer) of the Registration webpage.
  3. Select a language from the Language dropdown. The webpage will appear in the language you selected.

How do I change the Google Form Language?

  1. Open the Google Form
  2. Right click on the form and select “Translate to English.”  A Google Translate window will appear.
  3. Click the “Translate Options” menu (indicated by 3 dots).
  4. Select “Choose another language” from the menu.
  5. Select a language from the drop down menu and hit the “translate” button. The form will appear in the selected language.

How do I access the interpreter when I log into Zoom?

  1. Log into Zoom using the link that was emailed to you when you registered. 
  2. Click on the interpretation icon, found on the bottom row of the displayed meeting tools in Zoom. 
  3. Select your preferred language. 

How do I change the language through Closed Captions (CC) in YouTube?

  1. Click on the settings icon on the bottom row of the YouTube video you wish to watch.
  2. Click subtitles/CC
  3. Click Auto-Translate. This will display a list of available languages.
  4. Select your preferred language for subtitles/CC. 

Evaluation and Feedback Form

Thank you for attending the 2022 Special Education Conference. We value your feedback and want to hear from you. Please complete the evaluation form to share your opinion with the FCPS Conference Planning Committee. The evaluation form is available in the following languages: ArabicChineseEnglishFarsiKoreanSpanish, and Vietnamese.


Educator Credit/Certificate of Attendance Form

  • FCPS Educators can receive 5 recertification points for attending 5 synchronous and/or asynchronous sessions.  
    Complete the attendance form by April 15 to request your recertification points.  You do not need to sign-up in MyPDE, credit will be awarded.

  • Certificates of Attendance available for Non FCPS Educators
    Complete the attendance form by April 15 and you will be provided with a certificate of attendance via email.

Missed Last Year's Conference?

Recorded presentations from last year's conference are available on YouTube.

Each year our Special Education conference draws an audience of parents, educators, administrators, preservice teachers, and community members eager to hear the latest research, strategies, and trends in the education of students with learning challenges, special needs, and disabilities.