New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center | April 16 - 19, 2023 | FEATURING Special Ed Connection Users Group | Skip Ahead REGISTER NOW


Take a closer look at the major issues you face as a special educator and learn the best strategies to handle each situation while avoiding compliance missteps. In these extended-length Symposiums, nationally recognized experts will explore your biggest concerns, bringing you the case law, research and tools to make a positive impact on your students, your special education programs and your community.

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Pre-Institute Symposiums | Sunday, April 16
Full-Day Symposium | 9 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.
Pre 1

Mission Possible –
Developing Sound Behavior Management Plans

One of the most common challenges for educators is behavior management in the classroom. Whether you are a new or seasoned educator, Dr. Joseph Ryan will introduce you to a host of valuable evidence-based behavioral interventions designed to promote prosocial behaviors and decrease maladaptive behaviors with even the most challenging students. He'll share strategies to develop a personalized behavior management plan that best meets the needs of your classroom that includes primary, secondary, and tertiary level interventions. And Dr. Ryan will review the underlying behavioral concepts of what makes a behavioral intervention effective, as well as common pitfalls that can make an intervention ineffective and sometimes even dangerous. With lessons learned from this in-depth symposium, you'll return to your district with ways to reduce teacher stress and create more conducive learning environments for all students, as well as appropriate intervention strategies to change behavior in a desired direction.
Joseph Ryan
Joseph Ryan, Ph.D.,
Stanzione Distinguished Professor,
Clemson University College of Education, S.C.
Morning Symposiums | 9 a.m. - 12 p.m.
Pre 2A

Section 504: All the Things You Need to Know

With new OCR guidance, anticipated new 504 regulations, and what seems to be a steady push for an increase in students served through Section 504 plans, perhaps instead of via IEPs, it's hard to keep up. Attorney Alefia Mithaiwala will help you find your footing. She'll reconnect you with foundational Section 504 criteria, including child find requirements, proper eligibility determinations (including how to handle those prescription pad diagnoses for a “504 plan”), best practices for 504 evaluations, and 504 FAPE obligations, before moving on to discipline rules, specific approaches for mental health needs, and more. Whether you’re a 504 veteran or new to your role, this comprehensive symposium can't be missed.
Joseph Ryan
Alefia Mithaiwala,
Attorney, Atkinson, Andelson,
Loya, Ruud & Romo, Irvine, Calif.

Pre 3

Special Educators' Roadmap for Crafting Legally Defensible Goals, Objectives, and Accommodations

IEP goals and objectives are the basis for providing FAPE. They must be measurable and appropriately ambitious in light of a student's unique circumstances. That's why writing appropriate, legally defensible goals is not an easy task. Join attorney Courtney Stillman as she explores precarious IEP goal writing practices described in recent case law. Next, she'll help you sharpen your skills for drafting specific present levels of academic achievement and functional performance, measurable goals and objectives, and carefully calibrated criteria with appropriate data collection methods. Lessons learned in this symposium can immediately be put into practice this school year.
Courtney N. Stillman
Courtney N. Stillman,
Partner, Himes, Petrarca & Fester,
Chicago, Il.
Afternoon Symposiums | 1:30 - 4:30 p.m.
Pre 2B

IDEA: All the Things You Need to Know

Join attorney Geneva Jones for one of the most comprehensive examinations of the IDEA available. Referencing the law, landmark special education decisions, and real-world examples, Geneva will lay the groundwork for improved IEP content, productive IEP meetings, and increased legal compliance in your schools. With a dose of humor and motivation that only Geneva can provide, you'll learn the critical legal mandates and trends. This symposium will be lively and jampacked with opportunities for audience participation and learning the law in "user-friendly" terms.
Geneva Jones
Geneva Jones,
Attorney, Geneva Jones & Associates, PLLC,
Sugar Land, Texas

Pre 4

Louisiana Special Education Law Update!

Louisiana attorney Wayne T. Stewart will provide updates on new legislation, trends, and important decisions impacting school districts in this symposium tailored just for Louisiana public school administrators, coordinators, school psychologists, and others involved with educating students with disabilities. From cameras in the classroom, to staffing shortages, to monitoring, Wayne will address the hottest topics. Come prepared with questions.
Wayne T. Stewart
Wayne T. Stewart, J.D., Ph.D.,
Partner, Hammonds, Sills, Adkins, Guice,
Noah, & Perkins, LLP, Baton Rouge, La.

Pre 5

Dyslexia Eligibility, Goals, and Services

Dyslexia — the most common learning disability — remains one of the hottest topics in special education. Through an examination of the law, the latest guidance, and selected recent case decisions, attorney Jan Tomsky will focus on some of the most problematic issues for IEP teams in determining eligibility, drafting appropriate measurable goals, and providing services for students diagnosed with dyslexia. She'll impart important lessons for school staff and administrators, along with practical compliance takeaways.
Jan Tomsky
Jan Tomsky,
Partner, Fagen Friedman & Fulfrost, LLP,
Oakland, Calif.
Post-Institute Symposiums | Wednesday, April 19
1:45 - 5 p.m.
Post 1

Special Education Strategies to Address Truancy and School Refusal

School refusal and truancy are some of the most challenging behaviors faced by educators, and the COVID-19 school closures only compounded their prevalence and implications for students with disabilities. This unique symposium combines the expertise of a school attorney and a school psychologist, offering their insights on utilizing an ecological perspective, multi-tiered systems of support approach. Dr. Jessica Dirsmith will delve into the underlying factors of truancy and school refusal. Attorney Rebecca Heaton Hall will analyze relevant cases and pass on legal tips to keep your school district compliant with federal law. Together they'll prepare you with a multifaceted approach to address student nonattendance.
Jessica Dirsmith
Dr. Jessica Dirsmith,
Clinical Assistant Professor,
Duquesne University, Pittsburgh, Pa.
Rebecca Heaton Hall
Rebecca Heaton Hall,
School Solicitor, Weiss Burkardt Kramer, LLC,
Pittsburgh, Pa.

Post 2

All Things Autism

Since 2010, the number of students with autism receiving special education under Part B of the IDEA across the nation has steadily increased, according to U.S. Department of Education. But so too has the number to teaching strategies and services. Join attorney Pamela Leist as she explores all things autism, including tackling initial identification challenges, understanding educational versus medical diagnosis, handling IEEs, responding to demands for specific programs, and determining ESY needs. She'll provide a comprehensive summary of federal requirements under IDEA and Section 504, an analysis of recent cases and decisions, plus practical tips and approaches to working with students with autism. At the end of this in-depth symposium, you'll be on top of all the issues and trends shaping the education of students with autism.
Pamela Leist
Pamela Leist,
Shareholder, Ennis Britton Co., LPA,
Cincinnati, Ohio
Attendees in a Session
Attendees in a Session
Attendees in a Session