5 Professional Developments for Special Education Transition TeachersSep 01, 2021
There are roughly 34,891 different conferences, professional developments, and training opportunities for special education teachers, but most don’t cover the best niche in special education- transition!
Our young adult students aren’t ‘kiddos,’ we don’t need any guidance on implementing accommodations for state testing, and we definitely won’t benefit from trainings on ACT/SAT prep. Our needs as transition teachers are unique and thus, opportunities can be limited.
Below is a list of 5 professional development opportunities specifically for special education transition teachers:
1. ARC of (insert your state) Annual Conference
I reside in Illinois and our ARC chapter is very active with trainings and conferences. They hold 1 hr lunch-break learning style sessions for via webinars throughout the year and a variety of annual conferences. Many of these opportunities cover topics specific to the transition population as they often work closely with statewide adult agencies. The best part, many sessions are FREE Check out your state’s ARC chapter and be sure to check out their upcoming trainings, events, and annual conference!
2. State Transition Conference
Conduct a basic Google search to see if your state has a state-wide transition conference. The Illinois Statewide Transition Conference is held each fall and typically spans 2 days. Topics usually include improving student advocacy, success stories from around the state, college level supports, updates from the Medicaid wavier, and more!
3. Division on Career Development and Transition (DCDT)
DCDT holds an annual multi-day conference in a new city each year. Session topics include independent living, employment, mental health, self determination, post secondary education, and a whole lot more! If travel is an option for you, then this may be worth the time and investment.
4. Confused to Connected Professional Development
I may be biased because I created this opportunity myself, but I designed it after seeing a gap in education for our high school and transition special education teachers.
Helping students and families get connected with government and community benefits, like SSI, Medicaid, Medicaid Wavier, public transportation, housing, guardianship/supported decision making/power of attorney and more, can feel like learning a foreign language! Thankfully, these benefits, services, and supports CAN be learned and educators can get connected with local experts and providers to best support their students and families in applying. These benefits will often provide opportunities for young adult students to use the skills they learned in school long after they exit from special education services.
I also offer an introductory FREE training, to help get you in the Benefit Taskmaster Mindset!
5. Virginia Commonwealth University- Work Incentive Planning and Assistance
If you are interested in learning more about federal benefits, such as SSI, SSDI, Medicaid, and more, then consider completing the FREE training session from Virginia Commonwealth University. Register for an upcoming session and once the training opens up, be ready to learn! I completed this program during spring break one year and came away feeling far more confident answering families questions and being able to guide them in next steps. While the training may not be specifically geared towards teachers, I promise you will learn a wealth of information and have a healthy list of videos, resources, and websites to reference in the future.
What other professional development opportunities do you enjoy attending as a transition teacher? Drop them below in the comments so others can learn what’s available in their area and nationwide.