In an age of budget cuts, staffing shortages and oversized classes, students with special needs don’t always receive the necessary support to facilitate their learning. The implications are especially troubling given today’s increased focus on college and career readiness. Lack of parity for special needs education initiatives in K-12 can have devastating consequences for both affected students and for society at-large. How can equal opportunities for academic and social development be offered to children and young adults with disability? How can the right to be part of the national mainstream education system from elementary and middle school through high school be granted to students with sensory and mobility conditions or to students with challenged learning capabilities--or for every student in between?
Illuminating this topic area is keynoter Torrie Dunlap, a leader in the K-12 inclusivity movement, recognized for her accomplishments that trace back to a long ago experience teaching a theater class for children that included a boy with Down Syndrome. That was enough to ignite Dunlap’s passion for inclusivity. Today she works around the globe as the CEO for the non-profit Kids Included Together to help youth programs meaningfully include children of all abilities.
Noted speaker Bryan Cook continues the discussions on the educational needs of children with disabilities. Professor of Special Education at the University of Hawaii at Manoa and co-director for the Consortium for the Advancement of Special Education Research, Cook can be counted on for an overview of evidence-based best practices in special education. Enhancing our exploration of K-12 Education for all are four interactive workshops including one designed to equip participants with valuable skills for interpreting challenging behaviors of students. With over 25 sessions, educators have huge take-a-ways at their fingertips.
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