February 2024


2024 AHEAD Management Institutes

(3 days) DoubleTree by Hilton, San Diego Mission Valley7450 Hazard Center DriveSan DiegoCA92108

Continuing its tradition of in-depth professional development programming each winter, AHEAD is excited to announce its 18th annual Management Institutes!  This year’s four in-depth, 14-hour Institutes cover a range of topics for disability service professionals, ADA coordinators, student affairs staff and administrators, and anyone working toward equity in higher education. AHEAD’s Management Institutes are facilitated by nationally-recognized faculty and offer opportunities for networking and individual support.

AHEAD’s Management Institutes offer an intimate setting, hands-on learning, networking opportunities, and experienced faculty that bring attendees back year after year. Each attendee chooses ONE two-day Institute for an in-depth focus on a specific topic, and all attendees are included in the 2-hour Saturday morning workshop: Responding to Self-Injurious Students: Respecting Civil Rights while Acting with Compassion and Equity.


Northern California Neurodiversity & Disability Symposium

Chico State400 W 1st StChicoCA959929

Disability prevalence throughout the United States continues to increase, with current disability rates hovering at almost 13%. Families who support loved ones, and disabled individuals themselves, in rural areas are impacted by a lack of access to services and knowledge more than those in more urban areas. The aim of the Neurodiversity and Disability Symposium—formerly the Northern California Autism Symposium—is to amplify the voices of those who identify as neurodivergent and/or disabled, and educate families, educators, and service providers in our region and beyond. 

The symposium started with a specific focus to improve knowledge and acceptance of those who are autistic/on the autism spectrum. Recent conference presenters and topics have drifted toward a broader neurodiversity perspective. Knowing that there are still many families and disabled individuals/individuals with disabilities within our region that need support, the conference focuses are branching out to provide a variety of topics and presenters that will help inform and support our whole community.


Tulsa Educators Conference

Holland Hall Tandy Dining and Wellness Center5666 East 81st StreetTulsaOK74137

Practical in nature, this conference will engage participants in identifying and implementing strategies applicable to K-12 classrooms. The National Down Syndrome Congress Educators Conferences offer hands-on, research-based strategies that general education and special education teachers can implement immediately to best support their students with Down syndrome and intellectual disabilities.

Attendees will leave equipped with ideas, tips, strategies, tools and solutions that they can implement in the classroom.

  • Addressing behavior through effective strategies
  • Literacy strategies to facilitate reading development
  • Proven practices for inclusion
  • Strategies for access for all
  • Transitioning the ages and stages
  • Planning and designing curriculum


2024 Winter RISE Virtual Conference

(8 days)

Literacy instruction in Tennessee fundamentally changed with recent legislation. The 2024 Winter RISE Virtual Conference will provide a virtual opportunity for students, teachers, parents, and practitioners to engage with and learn about key issues surrounding language learning differences, including dyslexia.

Saturday, February 3, 2024

  • Opening Keynote: Josh Clark, Landmark School (8 am – 9:30 am CDT)
  • Concurrent Sessions (9:45 am – 10:45 am CDT)
  • Closing Keynote: Dr. Jessica Dainty, TN Dept of Education (11 am – 12:30 pm CDT)

Saturday, February 10, 2024

  • Opening Keynote: Dr. Karen Kehoe, Middle Tennessee State University (8 am – 9:30 am CDT)
  • Concurrent Sessions (9:45 am – 10:45 am CDT)
  • Closing Keynote: Dr. Susan Smartt, Former TNIDA President (11 am – 12:30 pm CDT)


Panel Discussion: 504s, IEPs, and School Evaluations

Join the TAA for a panel discussion on 504s, IEPs and School Evaluations, led by Amanda Coffman and Marissa Smolinsky of the TAA Education Advisory Board and Katrina Hermetet, PhD of the TAA Medical Advisory Board. Come prepared to take notes and ask questions on appropriate school accommodations, services and evaluations for students with Tourette Syndrome, other Tic Disorders, and co-occurring conditions such as ADHD, OCD and anxiety.


A.I. Unleashed

How can you improve the quality of your alt text while reducing the amount of time spent writing it? This webinar guides accessibility professionals, digital content creators, and educators through using AI to generate accurate and intricate alternative text (alt text) (an accessibility requirement for all informative images). It will provide examples of standard prompts created for Bard and Chat GPT 4 that can be uploaded with an image to quickly create high quality text, reducing the time spent on manual writing. These prompts work for a wide range of images, including but not limited to: infographics, diagrams, charts, figurative images, general images, art appreciation images, tables, scatter plots, graphs, math, and complicated equations. Finally, participants will explore best practices for using AI in accessibility work. Ultimately, this webinar can empower participants to speed their accessibility processes and enhance their online course and web accessibility, making digital content more inclusive for those with visual, learning, and cognitive disabilities, as well as those with limited internet bandwidth.


How to Begin and Grow an Adaptive Sports Program and the Resources Needed

The Founder of the Great Lakes Adaptive Sports Association (GLASA), a non-profit organization, saw there was a need for physical activity and health promotion programs and wanted to provide a place where no one was left sitting on the sidelines due to a disability. Almost 25 years later, GLASA has impacted 3,000 youth and adults with outreach programs, served over 1,000 individuals, offers nearly 600 programming sessions, serves athletes in over 30 states, and has over 20 adaptive and paralympic sports. During this session, the founder of GLASA will provide an overview of the resources and planning needed to build an adaptive sports program from the ground up. The overview will include information on defining the mission, the target population to be served, key volunteers/stakeholders, building a budget, setting goals, a timeline, evaluation, and sustainability. There will be time for participants to ask questions of the speaker following the presentation.

Participants may submit questions for the presenter in advance during the registration process.

This session will have human generated real-time captioning available.


Employment (Title I) offered as part of the ADA Coordinator Training Series

Per the ADA people with disabilities have the right to participate in all programs, services, and activities, including employment. Employees and applicants with disabilities have the right to participate in all aspects of employment (applying, training, the job, insurance, and wellness programs). During this training, participants will learn about the 3 stages of employment and the disability-related questions that can and cannot be asked during each stage.

This training is offered as a part of the ADA Coalition of Connecticut’s ADA Coordinator certification series for CT ADA Coordinators. Credits can be applied toward the national certificate.


AI Demystified: What Special Education Practitioners Need to Know

This webinar will provide an overview of Artificial Intelligence (AI), examples of the various AI models, common classroom AI tools, as well as legal and ethical issues using AI.

Come prepared to get answers to your questions about AI including:

  1. What is AI?
  2. Should I be scared of it?
  3. Is AI already in my classroom?
  4. What are some tools that use AI that I might want to use?
  5. What are some resources for the ethics and legality of AI?

This webinar is focused on the basics of AI in special education for practitioners.


Day of Dyslexia, A Structured Literacy Symposium

Hill Learning Center3200 Pickett RdDurhamNC27705

IDA NC will host Elsa Cárdenas-Hagan for the annual Day of Dyslexia, a Structured Literacy Symposium. Elsa Cárdenas-Hagan is the author of the book, Literacy Foundations for English Language Learners. Join this event to learn more about English language learners and Structured Literacy on February 12, 2024 from 8:30-1:30 at the Hill Learning Center in Durham.


Instrument Selection for the Evaluation of Children with Specific Learning Disabilities

Selecting an instrument is a complex activity that should be based on a number of criteria. The important question is to ask what is the reason for referral and the characteristics of the child and if the instrument chosen is a good fit. That said, no single instrument can address the complexity of most referral questions.

The purpose of this webinar, presented in partnership with the Council for Educational Diagnostic Services (CEDS), is to help participants in selecting instruments and the importance of using multiple sources of data when evaluating children with specific learning disabilities. This webinar will review a case study example of a child with dyslexia that includes the use of multiple sources of data.


Finding Their Way: Communities for Native Youth Transition

In collaboration with tribal, state, and community partners, the Sonoran Center for Excellence in Disabilities (the Sonoran Center) has created Finds Their Way.  The project addresses unique needs and challenges experienced by Native American youth with disabilities by utilizing a multifaceted and indigenous approach. The goal is to increase access for Native students with disabilities to skill development, knowledge, services, and supports to participate in long-term competitive integrated employment careers.


DSAIA Annual Leadership Conference

(3 days) Doubletree Dallas near the Galleria4099 Valley View LnDallasTX75244

DSAIA's Annual Leadership Conference is a tremendous gathering of leaders who work in local, state, and regional Down syndrome organizations. It's the place to be if you want access to the resources and tools you need to be successful. It is an opportunity to learn from experts--and from each other. This is an unprecedented opportunity to network with national leaders. This year's theme is What is Your Why? 


Breaking Barriers: Enhancing Self-Advocacy Skills & Navigating the Grievance Process

This webinar is your ultimate guide on dealing with college disability services offices. Get ready to learn effective strategies for self-advocacy. It will cover when and how to make formal complaints about accessibility issues and the entire process involved. From exploring various accommodation options to effectively requesting support from disability services, NDC has got your back. This is your chance to grab invaluable insights and tools for supercharged advocacy. Join NDC for this webinar and unlock the secrets to advocating for yourself like a pro!


61st Learning Disabilities Association of America International Conference

(3 days) Renaissance Orlando Hotel at SeaWorld6677 Sea Harbor DrOrlandoFL32821

Sixty-one years ago, at LDA’s very first conference, Dr. Samuel Kirk coined the term “learning disabilities,” which would spark a national movement for progress for individuals with learning disabilities, including legislation, programs, services, and funding for LD research. Ever since, LDA has been proud to offer annual conferences that aim to raise awareness about LD, and provide individuals, educators, families, and professionals with the latest information in learning disability topics. Celebrate their 61st anniversary in Orlando!


Axe-con 2024

(3 days)

Axe-con is the world’s largest digital accessibility conference that welcomes developers, designers, business users, and accessibility professionals of all experience levels to an accessibility conference focused on building, testing, and maintaining accessible digital experiences. Building accessible digital experiences requires a team effort, across design, development, management, testing, accessibility experts, and of course, legal. Axe-con is the first of its kind, dedicating topics to each of these key players. This is not an assistive technology convention.

Talks at axe-con will include case studies from enterprise companies leading in large-scale accessibility efforts, as well as best practices and updates from technology leaders around the world. Attendance of axe-con sessions can also be used towards continuing education (CE) towards IAAP certification.

Topics of focus will include accessibility in development, accessibility in design, organizational success with accessibility, and a wildcard track. Join to learn how to build, test, monitor, and maintain digital accessibility.


When the Employer Requests Documentation of Disability

When the Employer Requests Documentation of Disability: Key Considerations for the Employment Service Professional

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) states that employers may request medical documentation as verification of disability, as long as it is “job related and consistent with business necessity.” What exactly does this mean? What are the guidelines for these requests? Who can provide this information and what should it say? This session will answer these questions.


Parent Whisperers: Tips for Fostering Positive Partnerships

Parents of current students are often staunch advocates, and most are not well versed in higher education disability laws and reasonable accommodations. How do we educate parents to better serve students and prepare them for adult life? Our administrations are often quick to look for resolutions for parents who complain, often to the detriment of our policies. What can we do to increase administration's support and simultaneously work with students and educate parents? This panel, which includes participants from two-year, four-year and professional schools, will discuss creative strategies to address the issues, including de-escalation techniques.


A Four-Step Method for Developing Measurable, Meaningful, and Legally Sound IEP Goals

Join the CEC for their first quarterly IEP webinar of 2024. Want to write IEP goals that are laser-focused on student progress? During this webinar you will learn a four-step method for developing measurable, meaningful, and legally sound IEP goals that will help your students reach their full potential.

The purposes of this webinar are to:

  1. Teach a process for developing annual goals during an IEP meeting.
  2. Present a simple four-step method for ensuring that goals are actually measurable.
  3. Discuss the importance of graphically monitoring student progress toward the goals.


Amplifying Voices of Disability

A new Virtual Day of Learning focused on timely, hot-button issues presented by disability activists & self-advocates.

Of-the-moment disability topics:

  • Person-first vs. identity-first language
  • How to embrace disability as a culture
  • Best practice do’s and don’ts when meeting persons with disabilities
  • How to be an effective ally and advocate
  • The internal process of change when one fully embraces their disability identity


Special Education: Transition Planning for Students with Disabilities: Pathways to a High School Dip

This training will focus on the requirements of transition out of high school, review the new “diploma for all” approach in California, and discuss advocacy strategies that families can use to ensure that students receive the individualized help they need to earn their diplomas and be ready for the adult world.

Hablaremos sobre los requisitos de la transición después de la escuela secundaria, revisar el nuevo enfoque del ¨diploma para todos” en California, y discutir las estrategias de promoción que las familias pueden utilizar para asegurar que los estudiantes reciban la ayuda individualizada necesaria para obtener sus diplomas y estar listo para la vida adulta.

This webinar will be offered in both English and Spanish in breakout rooms.


2024 Americans with Disabilities Act Virtual Conference

(2 days)

Join this online conference to learn how to comply with the ADA, be more inclusive, and provide higher quality services to people with disabilities. Hear from a variety of experts in the field and enjoy opportunities to network with your peers. This year, organizers have added a Healthcare and an Employment Track.


39th Annual Pacific Rim International Conference on Disability and Diversity

(2 days) Hawaii Convention CenterHonoluluHI96815

We all live to belong, to be part of something greater than ourselves. What can we do to help create such a culture of belonging, where each of us can fully contribute to the communities we are part of, while receiving the support and accommodations we need to flourish?'

Gather the global community of friends, scholars, practitioners, folks with disabilities, advocates, policymakers, public health and disability service providers, educators, parents, students and business people, the Center on Disability Studies invites you to lend your voices to this discussion at the 39th Annual Pacific Rim International Confrence on Disability and Diversity as they gather again in person in beautiful Honolulu, Hawai'i for the Premier International Gathering on Disability on Tuesday, February 27 and Wednesday, February 28, 2024.


Enhancing Workplace Effectiveness: Technologies for People with Hearing Loss

Those with hearing loss know that it can be difficult to operate in workplaces where everyone assumes normal hearing. Join HLAA for an insightful webinar exploring new technologies that can help even the playing field. This webinar will be discussing assistive listening devices, captioning, video conferencing, and other tools that the presenters – all with hearing loss – have found most useful in a range of workplace situations, including office, travel, restaurant, classroom, and factory floor.


Building Community Capacity to Meet the Needs of People with Disabilities as they Age

This webinar will discuss findings from a national study that sought to identify the areas where capacity building is most needed in the long-term supports and service network to effectively serve people with life-long disability or long-term disability experience as they age. The greatest capacity building needs were identified in the areas of professional skills, organizational operations, service/care models, and public policies to effectively serve older adults with long-term serious mental illness, intellectual and developmental disabilities, and physical and sensory disabilities.


Accessible Campus Events: Tools and Considerations

From small performances to large commencement ceremonies, and all the guest lectures and hackathons in-between, higher education institutions strive to ensure events held on campus are accessible to anyone who wants to attend. However, coordinating among the multiple entities responsible for putting on events and determining who should be responsible for the various aspects can be challenging. This webinar will address multiple aspects of event access, including communication needs, physical spaces, digital mediums, and more. Focus will be placed on reducing the institution's reliance on the disability professionals to create access, and will provide actionable tools and processes for other campus entities to increase their comfort and ability to create events with meaningful access for all attendees, no matter their disabilities.


Council for Exceptional Children Arizona State Conference

(2 days)

Join the Arizona CEC on February 27 + 28, 2024 for their Virtual Annual State Conference from 2:00 - 6:00 PM MST. This online format means that more educators can attend because the Keynote address is scheduled for 3:45 PM when most teachers are finished teaching and therefore substitutes are not necessary.


84th Annual Michigan Council Exceptional Children Conference

(3 days) Amway Grand Plaza Hotel187 Monroe Ave NWGrand RapidsMI49503

As the largest gathering of special education stakeholders in Michigan, the 84th annual conference will be held February 28, 29 and March 1, 2024, at the Amway Grand Plaza Hotel in Grand Rapids. This year’s conference theme, An Exceptional Celebration, will uplift learning while highlighting the work and achievement of special education students, educators, and parents. It will accomplish this by delivering an array of carefully curated content to foster improved outcomes for students with exceptionalities. It also serves as a premier source for relevant and timely training and information from the Michigan Department of Education, Office of Special Education.


Spotlight Sessions on Special Education: Transition Planning for Post-School Success

NYS Council for Exceptional Children and Greater Capital Region Teacher Center are again continuing their support of teachers, special education staff and families this year by providing a series of online discussions of current trends impacting the educational environment. Meet online with a leader from the field to discuss the most pressing challenges: working with students with autism in inclusive spaces, implementing special education services for students learning English, and more. Between meetings, engage with the latest guidance documents including high leverage practices for students with disabilities and culturally responsive sustaining practices in order to maintain our professional knowledge. This course is an opportunity to build a network with other educators, or an opportunity for general educators and families to deepen their understanding of the changing landscape of special education services.