Today, I’m in Scottsdale, Arizona, speaking at the Talking Stick Resort, as part of the Fourteenth Annual Transition Conference put on by the Arizona Department of Education to assist educators in helping students with special needs transition successfully into post-secondary education, the work force, and their communities. I delivered the keynote to the conference on the topic of Neurodiversity in the Classroom, where I encouraged special educators to focus on the strengths of their students and celebrate the diversity of minds represented in this population of students. I also gave two breakout sessions, one on assessment approaches for identifying strengths in students, and another on applying the ideas embodied in my keynote to Arizona’s College and Career Ready Standards, to the writing of IEP objectives, and to using Appreciative Inquiry as a way of encouraging the discussion of strengths and positive goals for students during IEP meetings. I am making the handouts for these three sessions available to the participants (and anyone else who is interested) via Slide Share.
I want to thank Dr. Angela Denning, Deputy Associate Superintendent of Exceptional Student Services at Arizona Department of Education for introducing me before my keynote address, Susan Voirol for her help in facilitating my appearance at the conference, Karen Freiman for assisting me with logistics related to the conference, and all the many fine individuals at the conference who are making a positive difference in the lives of students with special needs!