PA Community on Transition Conference

2017 Session Descriptions & Handouts

  • May 30th, 2017
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(Click here to download the 2017 PA Community on Transition Conference Brochure)

Please note: Session handouts will be posted as they become available.

Wednesday, August 9, 2017 – Pathways to Success: The Power of Community Connections

Opening Keynote Address: 8:30 a.m. – 10:00 a.m.

AA1. It Starts With Us

These are difficult and changing times. It seems almost impossible that people might hold their own beliefs without destroying each other. We crave a more compassionate world, and we long for a return to an environment of public civility and language that unites rather than divides, yet everything we see causes us to lose hope. The message to be communicated loudly and clearly in this presentation, however, is that all is not lost. While differences in ideas may appear to tear apart friends, families, coworkers, and community members, we can refuse to let that happen. Embracing simple, profound actions can have transformative consequences. In fact, we can create the decent and civil world all of us want by each of us focusing on the simple things that bring people together – demonstrating empathy, listening, and finding common ground. We are not helpless in the face of heartbreaking brokenness we see around us. This is a call to action. We can create a better world, and it starts with us.

James Knight, University of Kansas Center for Research on Learning

Breakout Session 1 – (10:15 a.m. – 11:45 a.m.)

A1. Implementing Evidence-Based Practices to Increase Graduation Rates in Pennsylvania

Participants will study the phases for identifying students with disabilities who are off-track for graduation. The five phases include: 1) establishing a team and Early Warning System, 2) analyzing attendance, behavior, and course performance data, 3) identifying appropriate interventions, 4) developing an action plan, and 5) implementing an evaluation plan.

Mike Minor, PaTTAN Pittsburgh

A2. Transition Assistance within the PA Medicaid Program

This session provides an overview of the PA Medicaid HealthChoices (HC) program and the role the Special Needs Units play within the program. The presentation will focus on the Special Needs Units themselves and then the actual assistance the Units play in the transition of HC members into adult services and state programs.

Katrina Becker, Office of Medical Assistance Programs
Eric Ulsh, Office of Medical Assistance Programs

A3. Supporting People and Families to Achieve Their “Good Life”

How can we support people and families to discover their vision for a “good life”? In this session, the presenters will discuss how Person-Centered Skills, from the Learning Community on Person-Centered Practices and the LifeCourse tools from the National Community Of Practice for Supporting Families of Individuals with Intellectual/Developmental Disabilities (I/DD), work together to support people and families.

Melissa Mecke, Tuscarora Intermediate Unit 11
Lisa Meyer, Tuscarora Intermediate Unit 11

A4. The Power of Early Work Experiences – Utilizing Braided Funding to Maximize Opportunities

Work experiences are an optimal way for transition age youth to learn employment skills. Community Integrated Services (CIS) works with over a dozen school districts across Southeastern Pennsylvania with a goal of paid employment prior to graduation for each and every student served. This session will present information regarding how CIS uses a variety of funding sources to maximize employment opportunities for students. In addition to funding resources, the presenters will discuss the many tools CIS uses to help get students work in their communities.

Alexandra Heller, Community Integrated Services
Colleen Purcell, Community Integrated Services
Susan Schonfeld, Community Integrated Services
Meghan Stephens, Community Integrated Services

A5. OVR’s Early Reach Initiative: Reach-Out Early and Seize the Pre-Employment Transition Opportunities

Early Reach began as an outreach endeavor to increase student employment outcomes. It has since transformed into a vital component of OVR’s Pre-Employment Transition Services. Meet the Early Reach Coordinators and discover the possibilities for students by learning about the components of the Early Reach Transition curriculum and workshop services.

Amy Engbarth, Office of Vocational Rehabilitation
Sarah Vogel, Office of Vocational Rehabilitation

A6. Pennsylvania’s Employment First Executive Order, Plan & Policy

Key agency partners will present an overview of the concept of “Employment First”, the status of the Employment First Executive Order and Plan, and the services being developed to facilitate an “Employment First” culture within education, state government, and the provider community.

Devon Grant, Governor’s Cabinet for People with Disabilities
Matthew Krupp, Office of Vocational Rehabilitation

A7. How to Run a Youth-Led, Youth-Driven Leadership Group: The Pennsylvania Youth Leadership Network (PYLN)

Want to know how your school/agency can get involved in PYLN? In this session PYLN affiliates will describe their experience in the Network, how they make youth leadership work within their school or agency, and how you can apply to be a part of the Network today!

Ali Hrasok, Lehigh Valley Center for Independent Living

A8. DREAM Partnership’s Creating a Successful Path to College Transition Curriculum

Post-secondary education programs for students with intellectual and developmental disabilities has evolved from a dream to an expectation. Planning early is the first step in preparing for college. This session will present information regarding how the DREAM Partnership has developed a transition curriculum which will assist educators and students in having a successful transition to post-secondary education.

Grace-Ann Alfiero, Arts in Action
Jordan Knab, ETC Consulting
Sherri Landis, DREAM Partnership

A9. Connecting with Small Businesses to Create Long Term Partnerships

Learn how to use local small businesses in rural areas with transition aged youth by partnering for Work Base Learning Experiences, Job Shadows, Co-Operative education opportunities and mentoring youth, by partnering with local transition councils, business and education councils, CareerLinks, and your local OVR office. Presenters will discuss techniques that have succeeded and failed and will have an open discussion on what could be improved on the failures to create success. Several success stories of partnerships with local small businesses will be shared during this presentation.

Jarred Dressler, Juniata County School District
Kimberly Williams, Office of Vocational Rehabilitation

A10. Career Development Opportunities for Students with Disabilities

During this interactive session, presenters will explore evidence-based predictors of post-school success in the area of career development. Learn how these predictors were used to collect data within one rural school districts to plan for and implement expanded career development opportunities for students. Be prepared to share your knowledge and expertise to expand career development opportunities!

Joan Kester, George Washington University
Amanda Szczerba, Yough School District

A11. Creating a Vision for Life After High School

Family members and students with disabilities need to be encouraged to think about a vision for their future after high school and plan for full lives in the community. Individuals and families need to have high expectations and be encouraged to think about what a good life means to them. The PA Family Network is teaching individuals and their families to use the LifeCourse Framework and Tools to help develop a vision for a Good Life. During this session, presenters will show families how to use tools designed specifically for transition age young adults to help them think about the six life domains (Community Living, Employment and Daily Living, Social and Spirituality, Healthy Living, Safety and Security, and Citizenship and Advocacy) as they are developing a broad vision for their future. Individuals and families will be prepared to share their vision with all members of their planning teams and the professionals who may be supporting them during this important time in their lives.

Lisa Butler, Vision for Equality
Lisa Tesler, Vision for Equality

A12. Better Conversations: Habits and Beliefs

Effective communication strategies are essential for professional success. Coaches, leaders, and educators who make an impact communicate their message clearly, build healthy emotional connections with others, and maneuver through emotionally complex situations in ways that allow them to speak the truth in way that will be heard. This breakout based on Jim Knight’s book Better Conversations: Coaching Ourselves and Each Other To Be More Credible, Caring, and Connected (2016) offers an exploration of six better conversation beliefs and ten better conversation essential communication habits that can help anyone communicate more effectively at work or at home.

James Knight, University of Kansas Center for Research on Learning

Breakout Session 2 – (12:45 p.m. – 2:15 p.m.)

B1. STARS – Students Transitioning to Achieve Realistic Success

STARS is an innovative program that allows youth and young adults with disabilities to have real life experiences in the working world. This presentation will cover what is needed to design a program that not only provides experience, but also includes an assessment that allows parents, students, and school districts to have further information that they can use when planning for transition. The presenters will discuss how they formed collaborations with community partners, the different types of collaborations that were made and the outcomes that have occurred because of the collaborative relationship. The assessment that is used by the STARS program facilitators will be shared and the presenters will provide details on how they have built in to the program travel training and social skills.

Jaclyn Nagle, Abilities in Motion
Julie Skovera, Abilities in Motion

B2. Been There Done That

A panel made up of young adults, family members, and support personnel will provide insight into young peoples’ journeys through the transition years, where the students are now, and their future plans. Audience participation is encouraged to gain knowledge, information and understanding of real life transition experiences.

Amy Engbarth, Office of Vocational Rehabilitation
Paula Schmitt, PaTTAN Pittsburgh

B3. Collaboration in Practice – WIOA and Local Cross-System Partnerships That Work

Berks County Transition Coordinating Council (BCTCC) strives to develop collaborative strategies that work for transitioning youth. Changes associated with the Workforce Innovation Opportunity Act (WIOA) create opportunities and challenges for cross-system collaboration at the local level. This presentation will explore what BCTCC is learning as they develop processes, partnerships, and practices in response to WIOA changes.

Mary Mazzoni, Berks County Intermediate Unit
Andrea Merrick, Office of Vocational Rehabilitation
Allison Smale, KenCrest EmployNet
Lynn Zale, Youth and Family Advocate

B4. The Impact Cycle

For more than a decade, Jim Knight and his research colleagues in Kansas have been working to identify best practices for instructional coaching. The result is the impact cycle, a simple and powerful way coaches can help teachers improve teaching to improve student learning. In this session, participants will learn how to identify and implement the process; learn and improve components of the impact cycle; receive free tools to use while coaching; and, be one of the first people to see the new videos illustrating the entire cycle for Jim’s upcoming coaching book, The Impact Cycle.

James Knight, University of Kansas Center for Research on Learning

B5. The Essential Elements of Customized Employment

This session will describe Customized Employment and how it is used to facilitate community integrated employment for individuals with significant disabilities. The essential elements that should be included in any customized employment program will be described and success stories will be shared with attendees.

Anthony Chan, The Arc of Pennsylvania
Nicole Turman, The Arc of Pennsylvania

B6. Let’s Speak Up! Speaking Up for Yourself and Others

Let’s Speak Up is an interactive session written and presented by people with disabilities facilitated by a family member. The Self Advocacy Power Network for All is funded by the Pennsylvania Office of Developmental Programs to teach about and promote self-advocacy skills across the state. All presenters are people with developmental disabilities. Participants in this session will be actively involved using the information learned in a real or hypothetical situation of their choice.

Kaye Lenkner, Self-Advocates United as 1, Inc.

B7. Pennsylvania’s Inclusive Post-Secondary Education Programs-Inspiring Success

College is increasingly a reality for students with intellectual disabilities and post-secondary education programs are GROWING in Pennsylvania. Participants will learn about Pennsylvania’s six inclusive programs: Arcadia University, Drexel University, Mercyhurst University OASIS Program, Penn State-Harrisburg, Slippery Rock University, and West Chester University. Each panelist will outline their program with information on admission requirements, the role of peer mentors, academic supports for students, residential living, developing a path to competitive employment, and tuition. The DREAM Partnership will also provide a brief update on emerging programs in Pennsylvania.

Robert Arnhold, Slippery Rock University
Katie Huba, Mercyhurst OASIS Program
Sherri Landis, DREAM Partnership
Dianne Malley, AJ Drexel Autism Institute
Linda Rhen, Penn State Harrisburg

B8. The Impact of Implicit Bias on Decisions Impacting Youth with Disabilities

Have you ever been worried that people who are unaware of their bias are making decisions that affect your future? For youth with disabilities preparing to transition into post-secondary settings, worry and fear that decisions made may be tainted by bias can be overwhelming. For leaders in education and in industries employing people with disabilities, it is critical to understand 1) implicit bias, 2) the impact of bias, and 3) strategies for interrupting bias. Participants will learn how to consider bias through the Ladder of Inference – a mental model to help interrupt implicit bias. Participants will also walk through the Continuum of Proficiency, and the five Essential Elements of Cultural Competence.

Sielke Caparelli, PaTTAN Pittsburgh

B9. Ensuring Successful Outcomes for Transition-Age Youth in PA

During this session, learn about the Pennsylvania Bureau of Special Education’s secondary transition projects, programs, and activities designed to ensure the success of middle and high school students receiving special education services and supports throughout Pennsylvania.

Hillary Mangis, PaTTAN Pittsburgh
Michael Stoehr, PaTTAN Pittsburgh

B10. Sexuality VS Disability

Society already has a stigma where people with disabilities shouldn’t be sexually active and/or shouldn’t have a sexuality. People with disabilities should have the right to develop relationships and to explore their sexuality just like everyone else. This session will discuss issues related to relationships and sexuality for youth and young adults with disabilities.

Zarifa Roberson, Individuals with Disabilities Express About Life

B11. Transition & Career Assessment to Achieve Post-Secondary Goals

Transition and career assessment drive the transition planning process, but are often misunderstood. This interactive session focuses on participants’ building core knowledge of assessment practices to promote a holistic approach to transition planning. Be prepared to learn about and share various assessment tools and strategies, as well as how to interpret data. Most importantly, participants will discuss synthesizing assessment data so youth can be empowered, through the assessment process, to achieve their post-secondary goals.

Pam Leconte, George Washington University

B12. Digital Inclusion: Let’s Brainstorm!

During this interactive session learn about current research focused on the status of digital inclusion of individuals with disabilities. Information and technology are ever-present in U.S. society and across the world, yet individuals with disabilities often face exclusion in their participation in digital environments. This may especially affect individuals of transition age, which is a time when the use of technology as a tool increases, especially in education and employment outcomes. In this presentation, questions about identity, social capital, community participation, human rights, opportunity, poverty, risk, and other areas of concern for students of transition age will be discussed. During this session participants will engage in a lively discussion about how youth are using digital technology, as well as how we might expand these opportunities to support transition to adult life.

Joan Kester, George Washington University
Jullie Stella, George Washington University

Breakout Session 3 – (2:30 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.)

C1. Transition and Access to Augmentative and Alternative Communication: Devices and Services

When a student with disabilities turns 21 and graduates from high school, they are no longer entitled to services under the Individuals with Disabilities Act (IDEA). They face a new world of adult services and waivers in the state of Pennsylvania. For students who rely on augmentative and alternative communication (AAC), this period of transition can be especially perilous. This session will target information on creating AT-related transition goals in the IEP, planning for adult services, and will provide an overview of AT-related services available in Pennsylvania.

Kathryn Helland, Temple University

C2. Engaging Employers and Educating Students: Outreach and Events to Encourage Working Relationships

Presenters from the Reading OVR office will provide suggestions and strategies on how to conduct outreach to the business community as well as highlight events and activities incorporating local employers that can be used to prepare youth with disabilities for successful employment outcomes.

Carole Kalinowski, Office of Vocational Rehabilitation
Traci Kowalick, Office of Vocational Rehabilitation
Trish Lapotsky, Office of Vocational Rehabilitation
Andrea Merrick, Office of Vocational Rehabilitation
Lavinia Ritter-Garcia, Office of Vocational Rehabilitation

C3. Transition Skills for Young Adults: Building a Premiere Program with Sustainability

Disability presents lifelong challenges and yet options for support services sharply decline after high school. Realizing that continued services are integral to personal success, the Center for Independent Living is transforming current trends through an innovative “bridge program” that develops workplace social skills in adolescence and builds on them through adulthood.

Joseph Ross, The Center for Independent Living
Michael Williams, The Center for Independent Living

C4. Transition GPS: Choices and Data that Drive Success

The Transition Program at Elwyn Davidson School provides opportunities for more than 250 students of all levels to reach their maximum potential. This includes work activities, exposure to extracurricular activities, social interactions, and leisure skills. This session will provide an overview of the Elwyn Davidson School’s Transition Program and will provide examples of three unique students’ progress, guided by their choices, preferences and feedback.

Philip Freed, Elwyn Davidson School
Carol Lauser, Elwyn Davidson School
Rich Tinley, Elwyn Davidson School

C5. OVR Exec Team: Sifting through the Changes and New Programs Created by WIOA

The OVR executive team will review and explain the new alphabet soup of pre-employment transition programming for students with disabilities and the innovative programs that have been and continue to be developed to meet their needs as they transition from school into the world of competitive integrated employment.

David DeNotaris, Office of Vocational Rehabilitation
Ryan Hyde, Office of Vocational Rehabilitation
Jill Moriconi, Office of Vocational Rehabilitation
Joe Strechay, Office of Vocational Rehabilitation
Denise Verchimak, Office of Vocational Rehabilitation

C6. Successful Journeys in Employment

The session will incorporate an open panel discussion involving community employers and individuals with disabilities who have found employment success. Join these panelist to hear how working with a community provider made a difference in their workplace and lives.

Kathy Couch, AHEDD
Stacy Kyle, AHEDD

C7. Youth-Led IEPs – Tools for Youth and Family Involvement

This session will provide youth with the tools they need to lead their own IEP meetings. The presentation will include a panel of youth and families who will share their experiences, provide examples and engage participates to share their successes, concerns, and questions.

Kelly King, PEAL Center
David Perry, PEAC
Diane Perry, PEAL Center

C8. New Visions for Youth with Disabilities: Impact and Perceptions

Penn State Harrisburg’s Career Studies Program is providing new visions and expectations for youth and adults with intellectual and other developmental disabilities. Students combine coursework in an inclusive setting, campus activities, and career exploration. Student, family, and peer mentor perceptions of the program and its impact will be provided along with a brief program overview.

Rachel Eby, Student
Linda Rhen, Penn State Harrisburg
Noah Rinehart, Student
Jenny Slatt, Penn State Harrisburg

C9. Becoming My Own Advocate

Self-Advocacy is an essential quality that all people need to possess. Young Adults with disabilities have the same need to express themselves, but sometimes do it differently, according to individual need. This session will challenge youth to accept themselves, work to the best of their abilities, and learn a more effective way to have their personal working needs met.

Mary Beth Morgan, Liberty Resources Inc.

C10. PACTT and Pre-Employment Transition Services- Summer Programs with Adjudicated Youth

The Pennsylvania Academic & Career/Technical Training (PACTT) Alliance, in collaboration with the Office of Vocational Rehabilitation, provided Summer Academies at state-operated juvenile placement facilities. PACTT-guided soft skills instruction and exposure to CTE provides at-risk youth the opportunity to learn new skills through vocational exposure which prepares them for meaningful employment and family sustaining wages. This session will provide information regarding this braided funding initiative.

Daniella Care, Bureau of Juvenile Justice/PACTT
Melony Gaudlip, Bureau of Juvenile Justice/PACTT
Carolyn Stubler, Bureau of Juvenile Justice/PACTT
Kelly Williams, Bureau of Juvenile Justice/PACTT

C11. Entrepreneurship on a Budget

The rationale behind this presentation is that students with disabilities do not have to fit into an employment box. Working for a business gives excellent experience, although, it is not the only option for transitioning youth. Entrepreneurship is a viable option that lets students be truly independent and explore alternative ways of creating income for themselves. This session with present information regarding how youth with disabilities can become entrepreneurs without having a lot of money and can use creativity to find opportunities to build their own businesses.

Eric Duer, Fairfax County Public Schools

C12. Implications of 339 for Special Education Administrators

A comprehensive guidance plan is required as part of Pennsylvania School Code under Chapter 339 with Academic Standards for Career Education and Work, which address the importance of career planning for all students related to labor market projections and workforce needs. This session will explore the 339 plan requirements and considerations for special educators, with the goal of improving the collaborative partnerships between school counselors, special education administrators, teachers, and transition coordinators.

Hillary A. Mangis, PaTTAN Pittsburgh
Gerald Pepe, Carlynton SD
Carlynton SD Guidance Counselor, TBD

Breakout Session 4 – (4:15 p.m. – 5:30 p.m.)

D1. Youth Leadership: The Inclusion Project – We’re All in This Together

Do we allow youth with disabilities to become leaders? We did! Join us to learn from youth leaders about the inception of The Inclusion Project. The presenters will share tools and processes used to support their engagement in developing the skills needed for future success in post-secondary education and employment settings.

Jack Brandt, Virginia Commonwealth University Partnership for People with Disabilities
Annie Downing, Student
Aaron Miller, Student
Marianne Moore, Virginia Department of Education

D2. Engaging Employers to Increase Work-Based Learning Experiences for Students with Disabilities

Under the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA), Pennsylvania is focused on increasing opportunities for all youth to participate in work-based learning through summer employment, pre-apprenticeships, apprenticeships, internships, and other similar experiences. Initiatives within the PA Office of Vocational Rehabilitation (OVR) emphasize working with students with disabilities, engaging employers, and competitive integrated employment. This session is designed to help those who support students with disabilities understand the unique employment considerations involved with hiring minors based on direct input from employers. The presenters in this session will provide suggestions to communicate more effectively with employers to increase paid work-based learning experiences for students with disabilities and will share a variety of supplemental resources.

Sara Gales, Office of Vocational Rehabilitation
Vondol Hammond, Office of Vocational Rehabilitation
Rob Hodapp, Office of Vocational Rehabilitation

D3. The PETS Continuum Toolkit

The Pittsburgh Pre-Employment Transition Services (PETS) Continuum Model was developed to bridge the gaps between schools, employers, and OVR’s priorities. This model is a guide to ensure students with disabilities are given the opportunity to receive the services necessary in order to increase community integrated employment outcomes. The presenters will go into detail on the collaborative process including: scheduling of meetings with all the team members, assessing existing services and processes first, and filling in the gaps with current business needs. The results of the first year will be reviewed and participants will be provided with a toolkit on how to replicate the continuum.

Shannon Austin, Office of Vocational Rehabilitation
Kim Robinson, Office of Vocational Rehabilitation

D4. Real Work in the Real World: Paving Your Path to Success with Self-Advocacy, Resources and Rights

This workshop will empower youth and others with disabilities who want to work in the community. Hear from a member of the National Organization “Self-Advocates becoming empowered” (SABE), about self-advocacy strategies for real work. Gain knowledge from disability rights professionals about benefits planning, reasonable accommodations at work, and more!

Jean Searle, Disability Rights PA
Dale Verchick, Disability Rights PA
Koert Wehberg, Disability Rights PA

D5. Planning For Your Future–On Your Smartphone (The Pennsylvania Checklist App!) & 21 and Able Updates

With so many different meetings at school and in the community, it’s critical that youth, family members, teachers, and community supports are talking about what is most important to the young person’s future, and how to achieve his/her goals. This presentation will focus on the Pennsylvania Planning for the Future App developed by 21 and Able at United Way of Southwestern Pennsylvania with the Pennsylvania Department of Education and the Pennsylvania Office of Vocational Rehabilitation with students, parents, teachers, and advocacy and agency professionals across Pennsylvania. In addition, 21 and Able will share their latest regional and statewide efforts and engage in an open discussion with the audience.

Josie Badger, PEAL Center
Megan Grabski, United Way
Mary Hartley, United Way
Heather Sedlacko, United Way
Nick Sinagra, Sintek Solutions

D6. OVR: An Opportunity for Success!

This session will help all participants including: students, parents, educators, and providers to understand how OVR can help youth transition from high school to post-secondary education and/or employment. An overview of OVR transition services, as mandated by the Title IV of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunities Act will also be discussed.

Lynn Heitz, Office of Vocational Rehabilitation
Gail Steck, Office of Vocational Rehabilitation

D7. Partnerships to Promote Smooth Transitions to Adulthood

The goal of this session is to share one team’s experiences in bringing agencies together to best support individuals with autism and intellectual disabilities as they transition from school-based to adult services. The team will explain their pathway of forming partnerships, collaborating and creating a successful best practice program for individuals with disabilities.

Kelly Carroll, Community Integrated Services
Jane Cordero, Philadelphia City School District
Taryn Fogarty, Office of Vocational Rehabilitation

D8. A Teen and Young Adult’s Guide to Medical Transition

Physicians from the Divisions of Adolescent and Young Adult Medicine and Pediatric Rehabilitation Medicine of Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh will review the process and need for self-advocacy of youth with special healthcare needs in the transition from pediatric to adult healthcare systems. The physicians will discuss how to approach important but sensitive topics that are unique to adolescents and young adults in the healthcare world, particularly mental health needs and sexual-reproductive health. This session will also involve an interaction with our Children’s Hospital Advisory Network for Guidance and Empowerment (CHANGE) advisers, who are youth ages 14-26 that have received care at the Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh for various medical needs. During this part of the session, youth can engage with the advisers of CHANGE and review a booklet titled “Guide to Medical Transition” which is a tool designed to help youth advocate for their needs as they navigate the healthcare system transition from pediatric to adult medical providers.

Unoma Akamagwuna, Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine
Jessica MacCormac, Division of Adolescent and Young Adult Medicine, Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC
Susan Saule, Division of Adolescent and Young Adult Medicine, Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC

D9. Community Participation for Young Adults with Autism: What’s Important?

This session will present some new perspectives on community participation for young adults with autism. Community participation is an important aspect of the transition to adulthood, particularly for individuals with autism who struggle with socialization. Research has shown that once out of high school, participation in social activities often decreases for individuals with autism, although these individuals often want to be active and engaged in their communities. This session will focus on preliminary data on ways to track and measure community participation, with a strong focus on being person-centered. The session will focus on practical strategies for individuals, families and support staff to plan and help individuals be as active and engaged in their community as they want. Information will also be provided regarding opportunities and resources for community participation for young adults with autism.

Sierra Brown, Penn State Hershey/ASERT
Amanda Pearl, Penn State Hershey/ASERT

D10. Transition Dialogue for Educators

This facilitated session is designed for teachers, transition coordinators, counselors, career technical education personnel, intermediate unit staff, and other related educational personnel to discuss effective practices and strategies that are occurring in schools and communities. This is a closed session designed specifically for education related staff.

Paula Schmitt, PaTTAN Pittburgh
Diane Sobolewski, Indiana University of Pennsylvania
Michael Stoehr, PaTTAN Pittsburgh

D11. The STREAM Factory: Students Developing Digital Job Skills

The STREAM Factory is a strategic initiative to help students become aware of emerging technology in industry, and develop digital job skills through a work-to-learn program. Students engage multiple disciplines (Science-Technology-Robotics-Engineering-Arts-Mathematics – “STREAM”) as applied knowledge. Students engage the basic process of product concept, product design/engineering, and product manufacturing. The STREAM Factory has developed an actual customer base for which students make products such as T-shirts, posters, brochures, graphic logos, wood plaques, and laser engraved signage. Furthermore, students acquire basic soft skills such as teamwork while producing products as well as basic communication skills needed to interface with customers.

Ray “Rick” Choley, Carbon Lehigh Intermediate Unit
Daniel Fisher, Carbon Lehigh Intermediate Unit

D12. Using Poetry to Enhance Transition Goals

In order to develop a transition plan that is responsive to student needs, assessments, and data, it must reflect student performance in a relevant and age appropriate way. Student expression through poetry provides meaningful, age-appropriate data that can ensure the transition plan is reflective of the student as an individual. The first half of the presentation provides participants with an opportunity to use poetry to enhance the transition plan. Participants will assess and discuss poems written by an adolescent with a disability who is transitioning to post-secondary activities. The second half of the presentation will use data obtained from the poems to create transition goals. The purpose of this presentation is to teach practitioners how to use informal assessments to create and/or track progress on transition goals within the transition plan.

Bridget Green, George Washington University
Christopher Nace, District of Columbia Public Schools

Thursday, August 10, 2017 – Utilizing Resources, AT, and Supports to Guide Transition Pathways to Success

Breakout Session 5 – (8:30 a.m. – 10:00 a.m.)

E1. Healthy Transitions: Pathway to Adult Healthcare

Healthy Transitions is a program designed to empower adolescents and families through the process of medical transition. The goal of the program is to help educate adolescents and families on the core principles of medical transitions and to equip them with the tools necessary to transition well.

Andrew McCormick, Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC

E2. Increasing Independence through Person-Directed Supports and Services

As adults with developmental disabilities look for more opportunities to be fully included in community life, it is incumbent on the service system to change how supports are delivered. Efforts to increase the availability of person directed models of support have been implemented across Pennsylvania to help provide people with more options and greater control over their lives. The availability of more options is a benefit to many, and it is important that people are supported to navigate the system and hire, train, and manage their own staff. This session will describe the basic principles of person-directed supports and services, the benefits of supports brokerage, and how these supports can assist people in leading self-determined lives.

Colleen McLaughlin, Institute on Disabilities at Temple University
Marian Saulino, Values into Action

E3. Our Network of Supports and Pathways to Success: Sharing Our Journeys!

Psychological Services Associates from the Hiram G. Andrews Center will present a variety of behavioral, communication, sensory, and social strategies related to the autism spectrum compiled through our work with young adults. The presentation will emphasize approaches that have been found most beneficial in empowering young adults with skills for their paths ahead.

Kelly Dumm, Hiram G. Andrews Center
Cherylann Falsone, Hiram G. Andrews Center
Kimberly Seigh, Hiram G. Andrews Center

E4. Assistive Technology for Transitioning Students

This session will discuss some issues transitioning students face when going to higher education and technologies that can assist in their success. The Access Planning & Strategies (APS) Academy, held at the Hiram G. Andrews Center, will also be introduced.

Kate Kohn, University of Pittsburgh/HGAC
Roger Little, University of Pittsburgh/HGAC

E5. A Multifaceted Approach to Transition for Students with Complex Needs

Students from HMS School for Children with Cerebral Palsy require a variety of supports to allow them to be as independent and engaged in their environment as possible. In this engaging session, information will be provided regarding the school’s multidisciplinary transition curriculum and the varied approaches utilized to ensure successful post-secondary outcomes of education/training, employment, and independent living.

Christina Coia, HMS SCHOOL for Children with Cerebral Palsy
Cheryl Leask, HMS SCHOOL for Children with Cerebral Palsy

E6. A Whole New World: Peer Support Services and Psychiatric Rehabilitation Services for TAYYA

This session will provide an overview of Peer Support Service and Psychiatric Rehabilitation Services for transition age youth and young adults that are currently being developed by the Office of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services (OMHSAS).

Doris Arena, Department of Human Services (DHS), Office of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services (OMHSAS)

E7. Cancelled – MY LIFE, Our Community: Supporting Community Integration for Young Adults

Learn about strategies for improving community inclusion with MY LIFE (Magellan Youth Leaders Inspiring Future Empowerment)? MY LIFE is a youth leadership initiative for youth ages 13 – 23 who have experience with mental health, substance abuse, and/or foster care-related issues in Bucks, Delaware, Montgomery, Lehigh and Northampton Counties.

Shawn Carroll, Magellan Behavioral Health of Pennsylvania
Emily Ferris, Magellan Behavioral Health of Pennsylvania

E8. Pennsylvania’s Employment First State Leadership Mentoring Program

Pennsylvania is committed to improving Competitive Integrated Employment (CIE) outcomes for all people with disabilities and making the Commonwealth a leading Employment First state. Hear providers share their experiences as they transform to support more youth and adults in CIE through participation in the Employment First State Leadership Mentoring Program (EFSLMP).

Devon Grant, Governor’s Cabinet for People with Disabilities

E9. It Takes a Village

This is a panel discussion with the Office of Vocational Rehabilitation, Vocational & Psychological Services and Disability Options Network (DON) Services describing an Innovation Expansion Contract to increase parent/family engagement. The session will address “school to work transition” relevant topics such as benefits planning, difference between eligibility and entitlement based programs, how parents/family members can assist their child in developing self-advocacy, independent living, and work readiness and employment skills.

Melissa Allen, Disability Options Network Services
Glorianna Pionati, Vocational Psychological Services
Gail Steck, Office of Vocational Rehabilitation

E10. Civic Engagement: How Youth and Young Adults Can Make it Happen!

PYLN Governing Board members will facilitate a panel discussion with youth and young adults from their affiliate groups. The youth and young adult panelists will discuss how they have been the driving force behind giving back to their local communities through their PYLN affiliated group.

Ali Hrasok, Lehigh Valley for Independent Living

E11. Cancelled – Learn about the New Pennsylvania Achieving a Better Life Experience (PA ABLE) Savings Program

A PA ABLE Savings Program account gives individuals with qualified disabilities (Eligible Individuals), and their families and friends, a tax-free way to save for a wide range of disability-related expenses, while maintaining government benefits. The state and federal tax-free investment options are offered to encourage Eligible Individuals and their families to save private funds to support health, independence, and quality of life.

Charley Gelb, PA Treasury Bureau of Savings Programs

E12. Transition College to College for Students on the Autism Spectrum

The population of students on the Autism Spectrum who are headed to college is increasing. Students on the Spectrum have unique needs in preparing for post-secondary education. The transition process for students and parents must begin early and be designed appropriately in order to encourage a successful transition. Preparation and skill building are essential for the student, the family and the school team. In this session, the presenter will discuss skills needed for higher education, the development of plans for students and parents, how to build resiliency in students on the Autism Spectrum, technology supports these students may need, and appropriate transition goals for high school.

Jane Brown, Yale University and College Autism Spectrum

E13. Transition Considerations for Educational Administrators

Although the coordination of secondary transition services is essential to students’ success both during and post high school, administrators have a unique and complex role in coordinating those transition services for students with disabilities. This session will explore the role of the administrator when it comes to balancing how to manage compliance and exhibit leadership when it relates to transition services for students with disabilities. Areas that will be addressed include understanding students moving from entitlement of services while in school to eligibility of services when out of school, coordinating a continuum of transition services for students, exploring best practices when working with outside agencies, and overcoming barriers to effective transition programming for students with disabilities.

Hillary Mangis, PaTTAN Pittsburgh
Paula Schmitt, PaTTAN Pittsburgh

E14. Cleaning with a Cause” Program with South Middleton School District and UniqueSource Products & Services – Helping Students with Special Needs

In a collaborative effort to find meaningful opportunities for students with disabilities, UniqueSource and the South Middleton School District partnered to develop a program which hires students to work on cleaning crews in the district. UniqueSource is a non-profit which sells products and services, the fulfillment of which, puts people with disabilities to work across the Commonwealth. South Middleton is able to help some of their students with special needs as well as save the district significant funds by participating in the UniqueSource program…and the students learn soft skills while getting paid for their efforts. The “Cleaning with a Cause” program is a win-win for all involved.

Brenda Bonafair, UniqueSource
Connie Connolly, South Middleton School District
Andy Glantz, South Middleton School District
Michael Snook, UniqueSource
Susan Wenning, The ARC of Cumberland and Perry Counties

Breakout Session 6 – (10:15 a.m. – 11:45 a.m.)

F1. Building My Social Capital to Achieve My Goals with RENEW

Rehabilitation for Empowerment, Natural Supports, Education, and Work (RENEW) is a structured school-to-career transition planning and individualized wraparound process for youth with emotional and behavioral challenges. This session will review the principles and goals of RENEW and also highlight student voice. Youth and school staff that have participated in RENEW will share their experiences and insight. The RENEW process will be described and data shown to support the implementation of this evidence based practice.

Lance Hank, Youth Advocate
Mike Minor, PaTTAN Pittsburgh

F2. Special Needs & Estate Planning: What Every Caregiver Needs to Know

This session provides an overview of financial & estate planning for families that have dependents with disabilities. The presenter will address critical areas of concern, such as navigating and maximizing government benefits through an overview of programs such as Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI), Supplemental Security Income (SSI), Waivers & Social Security. The session will also address important estate planning considerations such as Wills, Special Needs Trusts, and the differences between Guardianship and Powers of Attorney. Participants will learn how special needs financial planning is different than traditional financial planning. Strategies will be presented to address funding of special needs trusts, tax planning considerations, and ensuring quality of life and lifetime care are maintained for loved ones.

Patrick Bergmaier, 1847 Financial

F3. Urban Youth – Providing Customized Employment for Culturally and Racially Diverse Students

Students from culturally diverse backgrounds in urban areas face unique barriers to employment. Community Integrated Services (CIS) has been awarded specialized grants through Office of Vocational Rehabilitation (OVR) and the Department of Education to serve youth in the underserved School District of Philadelphia. The challenges, strategies, and outcomes of successful projects will be discussed.

Susan Schonfeld, Community Integrated Services
Meghan Stephens, Community Integrated Services

F4. Begin Your Journey to Success Now; Hiram G. Andrews Center’s Pre-Employment Transition Programs

Staff from the Hiram G. Andrews Center and Commonwealth Technical Institute will highlight programming initiatives now available at the Center to students currently enrolled in high school. These pre-employment transition services give students an opportunity for enhanced self-advocacy and work readiness, whereby increasing the likelihood of successful transition.

Stacie Andrews, Hiram G. Andrews Center
Karen Bilchak, Hiram G. Andrews Center
Cynthia Martin, Hiram G. Andrews Center

F5. Implementing an Accessible Online Career Transition Planning Program for Teens and Young Adults

This session will demonstrate how to create and implement a highly accessible online career planning portfolio to support transition age students to improve their academic and functional achievement as they prepare for post-secondary employment.

Lisa Krystofolski, Pa Virtual Charter School
David Mosey, Smart Futures

F6. What’s Next? Finding the Right Post-Secondary Education Program

Inclusive post-secondary education programs provide students with intellectual and developmental disabilities with an opportunity to attend college. This session highlights the process of choosing the right program and navigating the application process. Information and student perspectives on applying to, financing, and transitioning to university life will be shared.

Jan Bechtel, Millersville University
Jessica Mattis, Arcadia University

F7. Authentic Work Experience Using Local Resources in a Rural Setting

Riverside Beaver County High School’s Career, Life, And Work Skills (CLAWS) program will be explored and explained in detail. The process consists of screening the students’ interests and skill level to determine appropriate career exploration by taking advantage of onsite staff and resources due to limitations of Riverside’s rural setting. Participants will walk away with an understanding of the overall goal of the program which is to gain real world work experience within the district setting.

Meredith Cooper, Riverside Beaver County School District
Emily Smith, Riverside Beaver County School District
Bret Trotta, Riverside Beaver County School District
Michael Walmsley, Riverside Beaver County School District

F8. Collaborative Final Year Transition Program – The Next Program at Manheim Central School District

The Next Step program at Manheim Central provides students with disabilities job experiences, community awareness skills, and independent living skills in a house setting. Through the non-traditional classroom setting, students receive functional academics to increase the skill sets needed for a job. With supports available, students are assisted on the job to monitor safety and assure tasks at hand are being successfully completed. Representatives from Manheim Central School District and OVR will showcase the successful completion of the first year of the Next Step Program. Information will be shared about the development, challenges, and individual accomplishments of students and staff.

Jennifer Clemons, Manheim Central School District
Diane Heistand, Manheim Central School District
Traci Stauffer, Manheim Central School District
Kayce Stoffa, Office of Vocational Rehabilitation
Sarah Stuckey, Office of Vocational Rehabilitation

F9. How to Lead and Let Lead!

This youth and family partnership session focuses on the power of letting youth be leaders of their own lives. Youth participants in this session will focus on finding and developing leadership skills within themselves, while families will learn how to best support this development.

Ali Hrasok, Lehigh Valley Center for Independent Living

F10. Section 511: Limitations on the Use of Subminimum Wage: What Families and Educators Need to Know

Section 511 of Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) provides limitations on the use of subminimum wage for students still in high school and youth under the age of 25. Educators and families need to know what requirements need to be met in order to be compliant with the new law. OVR’s Section 511 Specialists will provide an overview, how the law impacts students/youth with disabilities, their families, and local school districts as well as how the local OVR Office can help to be assessed for “competitive integrated employment”.

Dana Baccanti, Office of Vocational Rehabilitation

F11. CTE, OVR, Special Education Dialogue

This is a follow-up presentation to the April 2017 regional sessions entitled: Successful Practices in Secondary Transition: A Focus on Competitive Integrated Employment. During this session, the presenters will continue the discussion of how Career Technical Education, Office of Vocational Rehabilitation, and Special Education can support students with disabilities in gaining the skills needed for Competitive Integrated Employment. Effective practice programs, activities, and strategies currently being utilized in Pennsylvania will be discussed.

Patty Bicanich, Penn State Greater Allegheny
Amy Engbarth, Office of Vocational Rehabilitation
Linda Rambo, York County School of Technology
Diane Sobolewski, Indiana University of Pennsylvania
Michael Stoehr, PaTTAN Pittsburgh

F12. Preparing Transition Age Youth with Autism for Employment

This presentation will cover neurodiversity’s definition of Autism, challenges, and opportunities, as well as the role the Office of Vocational Rehabilitation plays in Secondary Transition, Early Reach, and Pre-Employment Training for youth with Autism. Presenters will engage participants in sharing the specifics of the new Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act. Information regarding how to access resources and understand Pre-Employment Transition Services will also be discussed.

Tanya Regli, The Arc of Philadelphia
Jose’ Velasco, Systems, Applications and Products (SAP)

F13. Preparing for Transition: A Focus on Assistive Technology

Participants will examine transition planning with a particular focus on assistive technology (AT) by considering questions that might be asked throughout the IEP planning process. An emphasis will be placed upon developing a student’s independence with and self-advocacy for individual AT tools.

Susan Gill, PaTTAN East
Justin Laffey, Office of Vocational Rehabilitation
Lisa Tesler, PA Family Network
Bill Ziegler, Bucks County, IU 22

Breakout Session 7 – (12:45 p.m. – 2:15 p.m.)

G1. Changing the World of Work: Coordinating Community Partnerships and Local Transition Councils

This session will provide a working model of how county and state stakeholders, employers, educators, parents, and job coaching agencies can work collaboratively to achieve a goal of helping high school students with disabilities transition from high school to competitive integrated employment.

Anna Hare, Mt. Pleasant Area School District
Mindy McMahen, Westmoreland Intermediate Unit 7
Janet O’Dell, Office of Vocational Rehabilitation
Brian Schroder, Westmoreland Case Management and Supports, Inc.
Amanda Stewart, Behavioral Health/ Developmental Services Program

G2. MY Work Initiative: OVR, Municipalities and Schools Collaborating to Create Paid Work Experiences

The MY Work Initiative model is a pilot program developed by the Pittsburgh Office of Vocational Rehabilitation that will likely be duplicated throughout the state. This proven model provides paid summer work experiences for students with disabilities within their own community through their local government. In addition to providing students with paid work experiences, the model also emphasizes soft skills and understanding of work which enhances the student’s social capital as they transition into adulthood. Lastly, the MY Work Initiative model promotes disability awareness among government leaders and staff and promotes diversity and inclusion in the workplace as a result of positive professional relationship with the student employees.

Denise Mayes, Office of Vocational Rehabilitation
John Miller, Office of Vocational Rehabilitation

G3. Think Big! Introducing Work Options Early

This session will provide participants with an overview of the development of the ThinkBIG! ‘tool box’. The ThinkBIG! project is the result of a consortium of community organizations and local education agencies that encourage students of all abilities to explore career options and begin planning for life “after the school bus stops coming”, with a focus on third and fourth grade students. ThinkBIG! provides a ‘tool box’ of time-limited activities to 3rd & 4th grade teachers in order to help their students identify early vocational interests by connecting career exploration lessons to Career Education & Work (CEW) standards in an effort to meet 3rd grade benchmarks.

Vicki Bricker, Lancaster Co. Behavioral Health/Developmental Services (BH/DS)
Traci Stauffer, Manheim Central School District
Kayce Stoffa, Office of Vocational Rehabilitation
Sarah Stuckey, Office of Vocational Rehabilitation
Maureen Westcott, The Arc of Lancaster County

G4. Cancelled – Who I Am: Disability Awareness

This presentation will explore disability awareness through the eyes of students with disabilities. Participants will be shown a video sponsored by the Office of the State Superintendent of Education in collaboration with the DC Youth Leaders Peer Network. This video was completely driven by youth leaders and the reason for creating this video was to raise disability awareness through the stories of youth with disabilities. This session is relevant for students, parents, and educators and will be interactive and engaging for all participants.

Angela Spinella, Office of the State Superintendent of Education, Washington DC

G5. Passing Beyond Inclusion: Analyzing Quality for Typical Campus Life

“It depends on how you define inclusion” is a statement that has done harm to typical lives and integrated services. An objective quantitative measurement of a fully integrated and inclusive post-secondary education at Millersville University reveals the power of valued roles and the strength of foundational values. The session serves as a showcase of evidence-based practice for Inclusive Postsecondary education. Presenters will provide an overview of the analytical tool PASSING and the outcome for Millersville’s Career and Life Studies. The session concludes with a dynamic dialogue engaging the questions and insights of participants. Opportunities will be plentiful for participants committed to typical lives and full inclusion.

Jan Bechtel, Millersville University
Ann Marie Licata, PA Inclusive Higher Education Consortium
Kathy Miller, Institute on Disability at Temple University
Thomas Neuville, Millersville University
Ross Whiting, Temple University

G6. The Lehigh Valley Employment Coalition: Collaboration that WORKS

The Lehigh Valley Employment Coalition (LVEC) is a collaboration of agencies and educators committed to enriching the lives of individuals with intellectual disabilities through employment opportunities. This session will provide a history of LVEC’s accomplishments with focus on enhancing opportunities for high quality transition services to students starting at age 14.

Andrea Consigny, SPIN
Corey Cook, Office of Vocational Rehabilitation
Vicki Henshaw, Via of the Lehigh Valley
Joe Mancini, Arc of Lehigh and Northampton Counties
Kim Roselli, SPIN

G7. Project MAX: It’s Not Just Elementary!

The Project MAX tenets — presuming competence and fostering high expectations for all students — have been implemented in many schools across the state over the past five years. In this session, the presenters will explore how these same tenets can be extended to provide the strongest opportunities for students transitioning to the work place, secondary education, and independent living.

Lorie Brew, PEAL Center
Jeannine Brinkley, PEAL Center
Tammi Morton, PEAL Center

G8. Partnering with OVR for Paid Work Based Learning Experiences

Lincoln IU 12 has recently become a provider with OVR which enables students to experience paid Work-Based Learning Experiences (WBLE). In this session, information will be shared on establishing your organization as an OVR provider, connecting with businesses, and supporting students on the work site.

Brenda Bowersoz, Office of Vocational Rehabilitation
Lorrie Hrycek, Lincoln IU 12
Melinda Krebs, Lincoln IU 12

G9. Alternate Eligible Content: The Cornerstone for Effective Instruction and Life Long Learning

Alternate eligible content is the cornerstone of content, instruction and assessment for students with significant cognitive disabilities. This session will provide participants an opportunity to examine practices, content, and assessment updates that lead to meaningful, challenging yet attainable targets for life-long learning and success for students eligible for the Pennsylvania Alternate System of Assessment (PASA).

Linda Franchock, EdKinetic
Audrey Kappel, Western PA School for the Blind
Sharon Leonard, PaTTAN Harrisburg
Lynda Lupp, PaTTAN East

G10. Take Care of Yourself: It Matters!

Developing and maintaining a healthy lifestyle is a key factor in successful post-secondary outcomes for transition age youth. No matter what your age or where you are in your life today, it is important to make the most of your health and well-being. Youth and family members who attend this session will be separated into two groups so that they can each learn strategies and techniques for developing and maintaining healthy lifestyles. Allowing yourself to make your own health a priority will enhance your abilities to work as a team and to maintain positive relationships throughout the transition process.

Ali Hrasok, Lehigh Valley Center for Independent Living

G11. PA State System of Higher Education (PASSHE) and PA Dept. of Education Autism Collaboration Project

Research has shown that the best way to address the needs of students on the Autism Spectrum is with early intervention, such as working on college and adult skills beginning early in high school. Increasing social skills and independence improve the transition from high school to college. Pennsylvania is a pioneer in the country in providing unique services for students on the spectrum who are going to college. Information regarding the PaTTAN/PASSHE model to support transition to college for students on the Autism Spectrum will be presented.

Jane Brown, Yale University and College Autism Spectrum

G12. JobGateway: Get Started on Finding Your Career

This workshop will teach the basics of the JobGateway website. The presenters will demonstrate how to create and upload resumes, conduct job searches, and apply for employment positions. They will also explore the job searching tools that are available including the Virtual Job Shadowing and Big Interview.

Sharon Angelo, Pathways by Molina
Sharon Tropp, Pathways by Molina

G13. Tech SmackDown 2017: Learn, Share, and Add to Your Technology Tool Belt

In this session for youth and families, apps and other assistive technology will be demonstrated and discussed as part of a structured conversation. Staff from OVR and PaTTAN will highlight some of the tools used at the recent Summer Academy at Pennsylvania State University. Participants will learn new and interesting tools, discuss ways to use them, or share an AT tool that they have found to be helpful. Come prepared to talk briefly about your favorite AT. A list of the featured resources will be compiled for sharing during this fast-paced, interactive session.

Susan Gill, PaTTAN East
Justin Laffey, Office of Vocational Rehabilitation
Bill Ziegler, Bucks County, IU 22

Breakout Session 8 – (2:30 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.)

H1. PA Dept. of Education Employment Grant Showcase

During the 2016-17 school year, eleven competitive employment grants were awarded by the Pennsylvania Department of Education, Bureau of Special Education to educational entities across the Commonwealth. The purpose of these grants was to plan, develop, and implement transition goals that would assist at-risk students in completing school and community-based assessment(s) and instruction leading to competitive integrated employment. This presentation will showcase the grantees’ projects by providing participants with an overview of program goals and student data related to assessment(s), instructional techniques and strategies, resources, and professional development that were proven effective.

Michael Stoehr, PaTTAN Pittsburgh
2016-17 Employment Grantees

H2. Supporting Students in Transition: Developing PLANS for College

In this session, participants will learn about ways to support youth and young adults with mental health disabilities in developing PLANS for attending a post-secondary college or training program.

Kristopher Koberlein, Montgomery County IU 23

H3. Working with Adolescents with Disabilities Who Identify as LGBTQI

The presenters will describe research that explored the lived experiences of adolescents with disabilities who identify as a sexual or gender minority and beliefs about the future. Participants will learn strategies to support these youth during the transition process.

Laurie Kahn, Moravian College

H4. I’m A Leader PA – What It Is and How You and Your Students Can Benefit from It!

This session will provide participants with an overview of how the I’m A Leader PA project has been able to promote leadership for students with and without disabilities over the past few years. Presenters will explore the website and discuss how its 100+ resources can be used to support leadership skill development with your school, agency, and community.

Everett Deibler, Lehigh Valley Center for Independent Living
Ali Hrasok, Lehigh Valley Center for Independent Living

H5. Cancelled – Building Transition-Focused Education Pre-K – 8th Grade: A Parent and Self-Advocate Perspective

Witnessing the first-hand impact of educating students and families about self-determination, this presentation will share family perspectives and resources on how to achieve a Pre-K – 8th grade transition continuum. Through a shared vision, student and family engagement can be a reality! Debunking the myth that transition is an ‘extra’ thing, this session will show how transition is the impetus for driving the education for ALL of our students from day one! Transition is not a special education initiative but a mindset that every student needs so they can fulfill their career dreams! During this session, educators will learn how to train elementary and middle school case managers to start building a transition foundation for students and families.

Chris Coulston, Youth
Ellen Coulston, Family Member
Cheryl Fortunato, Family Member
Kevin Fortunato, Youth

H6. ABLE: All You Want to Know about Pennsylvania’s New ABLE Program – A Safe Way to Save!

PA’s new Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) program gives individuals with disabilities the opportunity to establish savings accounts to help maintain their independence without jeopardizing government benefits. Presenters will discuss the ABLE program and detailed information will be available about how to set up and use an account.

Charley Gelb, PA Treasury Bureau of Savings Programs
Susan Tachau, Pennsylvania Assistive Technology Foundation

H7. Community Partner Collaboration: Promoting Employment Among Youth Receiving SSA Benefits

Social Security provides Work Incentives to support a pathway to work for those receiving Social Security benefits, but the rules are individual and complex. Learn about how Community Work Incentive Coordinators (CWICs) can assist youth and their families successfully navigate these rules. CWICs will describe their special role in the community among those professionals who work with youth with disabilities.

Colleen Donovan, AHEDD
Cathy McGough, AHEDD

H8. Seamless Transition = Student Success: P.E.T.S. Partners in Progress- UCP, OVR and Mid-State Schools

A revolution in how we support students with disabilities to achieve independence and pursue meaningful competitive employment is underway! This session will highlight a cross section of Pre-Employment Transition Services programs developed thanks to a partnership between United Cerebral Palsy (UCP) Central PA, Mid-State School Districts, and PA Office of Vocational Rehabilitation. During this session learn about how this program, currently active in 26 schools across central PA, focuses on creating connections, individualized experiences, active engagement, and transferring ideas to action. The presenters will discuss the many strategies used to develop and implement the pre-employment program.

Cody Cox, United Cerebral Palsy, Central PA
Diana Steel, United Cerebral Palsy, Central PA

H9. Work Based Learning Experience at Fenner Drives: A Panel Discussion

A panel presentation focused on the work-based learning experience program will feature a partnership between the Office of Vocational Rehabilitation (OVR), Manheim Central School District, and Fenner Drives manufacturing. This session will highlight how these three partners came together to provide Work Based Learning Experiences (WBLE) for students within a local business.

Jameson Collins, Office of Vocational Rehabilitation
Kara Donatucci Pham, Fenner Precision Polymers
Traci Stauffer, Manheim Central School District

H10. Exploring Social Skills for Successful Transitions for Youth on the Autism Spectrum

Through on the job experiences, staff and managers’ feedback has provided the framework to develop critical social skills resources for the transition of youth to successful employment. Learn about these exciting new materials available through the Pennsylvania Training and Technical Assistance Network (PaTTAN) website developed in a collaboration with Dr. Stephen Shore, Dr. Robert Naseef, the Arc of Philadelphia, and Systems, Applications and Products (SAP’s) Autism@Work. Learn about the content of the Successful Transitions for Youth on the Autism Spectrum program that includes a focus on self-disclosure, navigating electronic communications in the workplace, discussing unwritten and unspoken rules of society often referred to as “hidden curriculum,” and stress busters.

Tanya Regli, The Arc of Philadelphia

H11. Transition Discoveries: Tools & Resources to Improve Transition Practices

During this interactive session, learn about the tools available to evaluate what’s happening in transition, as a young person, family member, or transition stakeholder. Through the PA Development Disabilities Council project, a transition quality indicator survey package is now available to evaluate transition, based upon research grounded in the dreams and goals expressed by youth and families in statewide focus groups. Free resources such as infographics or “how to” guides and youth stories will be shared. Participants will be encouraged to provide input and to showcase practices. This information will be available to everyone through the website in the near future.

Celia Feinstein, Temple University, Institute on Disabilities
Sally Gould-Taylor, Temple University, Institute on Disabilities
Ali Hrasok, Pennsylvania Youth Leadership Network
Joan Kester, The George Washington University
K. Eva Weiss, Temple University, Institute on Disabilities

H12. History & Progress of a Transitional Age Psychiatric Rehabilitation Clubhouse

Threshold opened a transitional age psychiatric rehabilitation clubhouse program in December 2015. The program is currently funded by the Healthy Transitions Grant and will transfer to Managed Care Organization (MCO) funding in October 2017. During this session, presenters will discuss the unique components of a psychiatric rehabilitation program for the transitional age youth and young adults. Presenters will also explain how to develop an advisory board, formulate policies and procedures, and engage young adults. Partnering with agencies that serve this age group will be highlighted.

Vila Daddario
Linda Groff, Threshold Rehabilitation Services, Inc.
Lauren Heydt, Berks County MH/DD
Alyssa Newmoyer, Threshold Rehabilitation Services, Inc.

H13. Resources & Supports to Help Youth Find a Job: Job Gateways

Youth and family members are encouraged to attend this session to learn about the resources and supports provided by the PA Center for Workforce Information and Analysis including: Occupational Data Sets, High Priority Occupations, PA Career Guides and Pennsylvania’s Job Gateway system. Included in this interactive session will be a description and demonstration on the basics of Job Gateway including: how to set up a profile in Job Gateway, how to create or upload a resume, how to search for and apply for jobs, and how to use the system to locate employers, or suitable internship or apprenticeship opportunities.

Kim DeLellis, Workforce Information and Analysis
Ed Legge, Workforce Information and Analysis
James Martini, Workforce Information and Analysis

Friday, August 11, 2017 – Pathways to Success: The Power of Self Determination and Youth Engagement

Keynote Presentation – (8:30 a.m. – 9:30 a.m.)

BB1. In Dreams Begin Responsibilities

In this session Colin O’Donohoe outlines examples of his own personal dreams and how he has been able to achieve them. He explains, in detail, how to go from concept to concrete and how to implement steps to achieve a goal. He speaks to the audience not only as a dream seeker, but also to the supportive staff who may know persons on the quest of achieving their dreams. Whether it be in the arts, science, public or private sector, or even within the family; we all have dreams and there are ways we can act on them. Colin uses examples and exercises in the presentation to engage the audience and get everyone thinking and participating. Colin’s presentation is hands-on. Attendees are encouraged to bring a notebook and pen with them, ready to write and do brief exercises to begin working on their own ideas of how to achieve their goal, or help others to achieve theirs.

Colin O’Donohoe, Conductor, Composer Pangean Orchestra

Breakout Session 9 – (9:45 a.m. – 11:15 a.m.)

J1. SEED, An Inclusive Higher Education Program Promoting Equity

Legislation has opened the door for ALL individuals interested in college. Institutions of higher education now are racing to find ways to provide equitable programming for students with all types of abilities, leading to wonderful collaborations and universally designed curriculum. Join us to explore one such journey as a community college and center for independent living partner to plant and harvest the SEED (Success, Engagement, Education, Determination) program.

Michelle Mitchell, Lehigh Carbon Community College

J2. Emergencies, First Responders, and Planning

Independent/community living comes with certain safety risks. During this session, participants will learn how those risks can be reduced with appropriate planning, communication, and education, starting during transition in high school. Individuals with disabilities, their families and local First Responder entities need to be on the same page when it comes to living safely in the community which requires thoughtful planning and open communication. Participants will leave the session with the knowledge of what help might be needed in an emergency, along with the transition skills that should carry over into community living – both at home and on the job.

Francine Hogan, ARCIL
Diana Morris Smaglik, ARCIL

J3. Apprenticeships: Exploring This Underutilized Pathway to Employment

In terms of career paths, apprenticeships are often over looked, misunderstood, and underappreciated. This presentation will provide participants with an overview of the definition of apprenticeships, how they are applicable to the 21st century job market, and how students with disabilities may be a part of this equation for employment.

Jason Fincke, Builders Guild of Western PA
Rob Hodapp, Office of Vocational Rehabilitation
Eric Ramsay, PA Department of Labor & Industry
Jeff Seabury, Office of Vocational Rehabilitation

J4. Moving to a Different Beat Part One: Disability Awareness for Families and Students

An awareness of one’s own disability is critical to developing self-advocacy skills and independence. In session one, students will have the support of OVR and their families to learn and participate in activities to explore their own disability, while gaining an awareness about their own “UNIQUENESS”. Families will benefit from being prepared to provide supports to help youth develop these skills.

Michael Berchok, Office of Vocational Rehabilitation
Erin Brown, Office of Vocational Rehabilitation
Danielle Miller, Office of Vocational Rehabilitation
Shanae Stallworth, Office of Vocational Rehabilitation
Angelica Webster, Office of Vocational Rehabilitation

J5. Pre-Employment Transition Services: Year One in Review

The Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act, which amended the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, allows for the Office of Vocational Rehabilitation (OVR) to provide Pre-Employment Transition Services to students with disabilities. This presentation will provide participants with an overview of the definition of pre-employment transition services, and how PA OVR has implemented services in the last year. Success stories will be highlighted, as well as the vision for the future of Pre-Employment Transition Services.

Amy Engbarth, Office of Vocational Rehabilitation
Sarah Vogel, Office of Vocational Rehabilitation

J6. What’s the Dilly with Philly? Hear What Philadelphia OVR Has to Say About Youth Pursuing Employment

Presenters will share the current Philadelphia Office of Vocational Rehabilitation (OVR) office’s efforts to work with high school/college-aged students with disabilities in finding competitive integrated employment. As a bonus, participants will have an opportunity to make their very own video resume to share with employers!

Jill Grosbert, Office of Vocational Rehabilitation
Tamani Love-Molett, Office of Vocational Rehabilitation
Alexander Shay, Office of Vocational Rehabilitation
Mia Zafarino, Office of Vocational Rehabilitation

J7. So You Want a Job? Step by Step Guide to Employment

So you want to find a job or help someone find a job? This session will provide participants with a guide through Discovery, job finding, application, and interviewing process, and how to negotiate conditions for success. Hear from a panel of hiring agents and job seekers that will present and answer questions. Participants will leave with resources to find DREAM jobs!

John Seely, Empowering Lives Foundation

J8. Ensuring Quality Financial Education for Students with Disabilities

Are you interested in making sure students receive quality financial education in school and transition with at least basic financial knowledge and skills? This session will introduce participants to a new resource for educators, share ways to advocate for financial education for students, and introduce other resources.

Hilary Hunt, The Making Cents Project
Becky MacDicken, PA Department of Banking and Securities

J9. Community Supports and Barriers: How to Identify and Engage Natural Supports

This session will explore Youth and Family Services and Supports Planning Process through the PA System of Care Partnership. The program meets the cultural needs of youth and family while building relationships that will be sustained long after educational and professional services have stopped working with youth and family.

Mark Durgin, PA System of Care Partnership
Crystal Karenchak, PA Family Inc.
Corey Ludden, PA System of Care Partnership

J10. Overview of the Office of Developmental Programs

The mission of the Office of Developmental Programs (ODP) is to support Pennsylvanians with developmental disabilities to achieve greater independence, choice and opportunity in their lives. The office seeks to continuously improve an effective system of accessible services and supports that are flexible, innovative and person-centered. This presentation will provide participants with a general overview of the Office of Developmental Programs services and supports. Participants will learn about the waivers, the application process, eligibility process, and services and supports available to eligible individuals.

Julie Mochon, Division of Policy, PA Office of Developmental Programs

J11. Preventing Youth Suicide by Promoting Healthy Lifestyles and Resilience

The transition years are filled with constant change and uncertainty; however, they are also filled with exploration, inspiration, and growth. Learning techniques to lower stress and build resiliency are crucial to leading a healthy lifestyle. Presenters will examine patterns of stress and provide hands-on techniques to help young people build resilience.

Perri Rosen, Office of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services
Marisa Vicere, Jana Marie Foundation

J12. Pathway to Transition: The Cyber Connection

Have you thought about post-secondary or employment options for your students? Do you provide opportunities for them to explore their community or access resources within their community? During this presentation, hear highlights of some of the tools and discoveries we have made during the development of our transition program, for our online learners!

Angela Bruecks, Achievement House Cyber Charter School
Sherri Markiw, Achievement House Cyber Charter School

Breakout Session 10 – (11:30 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.)

K1. Making It Work in a Rural Community

This session will focus on the employability of all students, regardless of the severity of their disability, and the process that is taken to successfully transition students into their adult lives. The presenters will discuss two aspects from the school district’s comprehensive transition program called Warrior Run Internship Network (WIN), including the inception of Defenders’ Café, as well as Warrior Run’s Career Readiness Program.

Cathy Grow, Warrior Run School District
Julie Petrin, Warrior Run School District

K2. Psychological Counseling as a Related Service

This session will introduce participants to a new guidance document from the PA Bureau of Special Education. The session will address assessment, identification of need, implementation of service, and monitoring for continued need for eligible students. Also, the presenters will explore how to create partnerships with community providers.

Mike Minor, PaTTAN Pittsburgh
Amy Smith, PaTTAN East

K3. What Happens When the Bus Stops Coming? Merging Community, Government and Financial Supports

Learn how to help youth with disabilities and their families engage in life-long goal setting. Participants how the community (circle of support, person centered planning), government benefits (SSI, SSDI, Medicaid, Medicare, OVR), and financial supports (Special Needs Trusts, ABLE Act, working, housing) can be integrated into these planning efforts. The presenter will also discuss choices such as power of attorney (POA) vs. guardianship which may impact the person with a disability’s life.

Michele Leahy, M. Leahy & Associates

K4. Moving to a Different Beat Part Two: Disability Disclosure to an Employer

Youth and their families will learn about and participate in activities to explore disability disclosure and reasonable accommodations when applying for jobs. Students will also learn about the what, when, where, and how of disclosing their disability to an employer. In addition, families will gain insight on how to support their students through this process.

Daniel Cho, Office of Vocational Rehabilitation
Linda Horton, Office of Vocational Rehabilitation
Stephanie Perry, Office of Vocational Rehabilitation

K5. R.E.A.C.H: Readiness for Employment & Career Happiness – 8 Day PETS Program

Presenters will discuss R.E.A.C.H. with families, schools, and agencies. Participants will learn about the mission of the REACH program, wherein students participate in the early stages of the transition process. Learn about how the students develop the knowledge and experiences necessary to achieve competitive integrated employment outcomes.

Jennifer Divins, Office of Vocational Rehabilitation
Hillary Hubbell, Office of Vocational Rehabilitation
Jessica Johnson, Office of Vocational Rehabilitation
Erica Krasinski, Office of Vocational Rehabilitation

K6. The Cognitive Skills Enhancement Program (CSEP) and Promoting Youth Leadership

This interactive session will provide an overview of the Cognitive Skills Enhancement Program (CSEP) at the Hiram G. Andrews Center and the ways it focuses on fostering leadership in transition-age individuals. An overview of the Work Readiness Academy, a week-long summer leadership experience for Pre-Employment Transition Services (PETS) customers, will also be discussed.

Caitlin Burkett, University of Pittsburgh/HGAC
Kate Kohne, University of Pittsburgh/HGAC
Tommy Johns, Hiram G. Andrews Center

K7. Using Resources to Advocate and Make Informed Decisions to Promote Successful Transitions

Self-advocates and family members will learn how to effectively find resources and evidence-based research related to Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), to inform treatment planning and decision making during and throughout transition periods. Presenters will discuss the pros and cons of participating in a research study, including how to effectively ask questions and understand the rights of a research participant. Presenters will also share how to create, organize, and find transition resources that are both accessible and informative for individuals with autism and their families.

Kaitlin Koffer Miller, ASERT Collaborative and the Philadelphia Autism Project
Pamela Piscitelli, ASERT Collaborative and the Philadelphia Autism Project
Paul Turcotte, ASERT Collaborative and the Philadelphia Autism Project
Mi-Yeet Wong, ASERT Collaborative and the Philadelphia Autism Project

K8. Finding Your Voice in Your Health

This session will focus on the unique qualities of adult medicine and explore ways to find appropriate healthcare services for transitioning youth with disabilities. Participants will learn strategies to be prepared for transition in healthcare. The discussion will provide opportunities for open dialogue with other youth, professionals, and families who had been through the transition process.

Josie Badger, PEAL Center
Kelly King, PEAL Center
Katie Smith, PEAL Center

K9. Cancelled – Peer Connections: Exploration in Life Skills

Peer Connections is a Pre-Employment Transition Services program for students with social communication difficulties. Participants will learn about the key elements of the Peer Connections program and how those relate to transition into adulthood. A discussion will be focused on adolescent development and strategies to support teens through this challenging time.

Crystal Emery, Easter Seals-Goodwill Northern Rocky Mountain
Janet Wade, Easter Seals-Goodwill Northern Rocky Mountain

K10. Comprehensive Transition Planning: OPTIONS

During this session, learn about the Delaware County Intermediate Unit (DCIU) OPTIONS program. OPTIONS provides a comprehensive array of transition services for students to prepare them for employment and community living once they exit school. Presenters will discuss how OPTIONS provides the new Pre-Employment Transition Services Program for school-aged students through the Office of Vocational Rehabilitation (OVR) implementing PA Act 26.

Stephanie Bruskin, Delaware County IU
Scott Cardoni, Delaware County IU
M. Kim Rosati, Delaware County IU
Jean Wigo, Delaware County IU

K11. School’s Over, Now What? How to Get the Assistive Technology (AT) You Need

There’s a lot of information that’s crammed into the last few years of high school. However, one thing that’s often not talked about is assistive technology (AT). This presentation will help participants unpack what may have been missing! Speakers will talk about the full range of AT and ways to pay for it.

Tracy Beck, Pennsylvania Assistive Technology Foundation
Susan Tachau, Pennsylvania Assistive Technology Foundation

K12. Office of Developmental Programs Employment Services

In an effort to comply with the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Final Settings Rule and the Workforce Innovations and Opportunity Act, the Office of Developmental Programs created new employment and community engagement service definitions and revised existing service definitions. Participants will receive an overview of these service definitions and their impact on helping individuals with disabilities work in competitive, integrated employment as well as to engage in their communities.

Julie Mochon, PA Office of Developmental Programs

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