Saturday Keynote Speaker

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Susan Bruce

Susan M. Bruce, Ph.D., is a Professor of Special Education

at Boston College and Chair of the Teacher Education, Special Education, Curriculum and Instruction Department at Boston College. She coordinates the Masters Degree Program in Severe Disabilities with an optional specialization in deafblindness. Susan’s primary area of research is on the development of communication and language in learners with severe multiple disabilities, including deafblindness. Her publications include 36 peer-reviewed articles and 20 additional writings specific to deafblindness. Additional areas of research are assessment, evidence-based practices, and action research. Susan has more than 25 years of experience consulting with schools and university programs about assessment and curriculum development.

Saturday Sessions

Chris Russell, MS. Ed., TVI

An Introduction to Characteristics, Phases & Assessments

9:15 - 12:00

Silver Lake Room

Event Details

Chris Russell, MS. Ed., TVI

An Introduction to Characteristics, Phases & Assessments

Coming soon!

9:15 - 12:00

Silver Lake Room

Dr. Cheryl Jorgensen, Ph.D.

"My Child Can't Wait!" Seven Proven Strategies for Families Who Want Their Child Included

9:15 - 12:00

Chesapeake Room

Event Details

Dr. Cheryl Jorgensen, Ph.D.

"My Child Can't Wait!" Seven Proven Strategies for Families Who Want Their Child Included

When schools are reluctant to include students with complex support needs in general education classes, parents/caregivers can be powerful agents of advocacy and change. This session will present seven strategies that have proven effective for parents/caregivers to get schools on board with inclusive education including: 1.Know the Research on the Benefits of Inclusion 2.Presume Your Child’s Competence 3.Develop an Inclusive Vision 4.Recruit Allies and Do Community Organizing 5.Let the Team Hear Your Child’s Voice 6.Partner to Write an Inclusive IEP 7.Share Successful Inclusion Stories & Resources.

9:15 - 12:00

Chesapeake Room

Philip Schweigert, M.Ed

Closed Session: Promoting the Communicative Competence in Learners with Significant Disabilities

9:15 - 12:00

Delaware Room

Event Details

Philip Schweigert, M.Ed

Closed Session: Promoting the Communicative Competence in Learners with Significant Disabilities

Questions? Contact Karen Robinson at  302-454-2305 or karen.robinson@christina.k12.de.us  

The Communication Matrix (1990,2004,2006) by Dr. Charity Rowland provides meaningful insights into how learners with severe and multiple disabilities are expressing themselves and what next steps to considers as you work to promote their progress as competent communicators.This workshop will briefly review the 7-level model of expressive communication as outlined in the Communication Matrix. It will then focus on strategies for instruction with practical exercises and the use of case studies to demonstrate the assessment and instruction being described. Communication-in Action (2018) will be introduced to aide in this discussion. It is a web based instructional guide for communication intervention based on the pre-symbolic levels described in the Matrix and provides goals and video examples generated by a multi-disciplinary team of therapists and educators serving learners with sensory and significant disabilities. A follow-up session will be held to allow for more in-depth and child specific discussions around strategies to further promote our learners communicative competence. Specifically this session will provide the following: Information on how to use the Communication Matrix (Rowland 2006) assessment to determine the expressive communication skill level of the child and a starting point for communication instruction. Research based instructional strategies for the child at the pre-symbolic and concrete symbolic levels of communication covering the use of gestures, microswitch technology as well as Tangible Symbol Systems Opportunities for participants to apply this information to one of their own learners for whom such assessment and intervention strategies are appropriate.

9:15 - 12:00

Delaware Room

Dr. Karen Anderson

Understanding & Effectively Sharing the Impacts with Hearing Loss

9:15 - 12:00

Diamond Room 2

Event Details

Dr. Karen Anderson

Understanding & Effectively Sharing the Impacts with Hearing Loss

Split session with: Advocating for Appropriate Educational Support for Students with Hearing Loss


The impact of hearing loss on student behavior is often similar to students with learning disabilities, speech/language disorders, or social issues, but the

educational performance differences are due to reduced access to communication and not a learning disorder. Hearing devices do not restore normal

hearing, yet these students are often assumed to perceive more of communication in the classroom than they actually can, which often ends in

frustration for the student and the teacher. Teachers and others who work with these students often require an inservice prior to working with this

population.This presentation will provide information and strategies for how to get across the various impacts of hearing loss in meaningful, effective, and

memorable ways. Individuals with limited exposure to the needs of students with hearing loss will develop a basic understanding of the impacts of

hearing loss and need for appropriate accommodations, supports, and specialized services.

9:15 - 12:00

Diamond Room 2

Dr. Karen Anderson

Advocating for Appropriate Educational Support for Students with Hearing Loss

9:15 - 12:00

Diamond Room 2

Event Details

Dr. Karen Anderson

Advocating for Appropriate Educational Support for Students with Hearing Loss

Split session with Understanding & Effectively Sharing the Impacts with Hearing Loss


As a low incidence disability, only 1 out of every 100 children with IEPs are eligible for special education services due primarily to hearing loss. The educational performance, academic achievement, social interaction, and participation of students with hearing loss is often mistaken for other, more common disability areas. Thus, it is often necessary for family members or specialists working with this population to advocate for appropriate evaluation and intervention services. This presentation will provide an overview of the framework of laws that apply to the education and inclusion of students with hearing loss. Special considerations needed by the IEP team will be provided along with strategies for successful collaboration to develop an appropriate educational plan of services, accommodations, and supports to facilitate effective student achievement.

9:15 - 12:00

Diamond Room 2

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