Location: Ocotillo B

Elevate Impact: Foster a Future of Self-Determined Successful Blind Children

As educators, we are entrusted with the important task of preparing our students for their journey ahead. Each of us are filled with the hope that at the end of their academic studies, they will become valued members of their communities and will be afforded the opportunity to live out their dreams.

Unfortunately, many blind and low vision children are not reaching those milestones as adults. Long held negative attitudes about blindness still persist in creating Internal and external barriers to taking part in all aspects of community. This interactive seminar will provide realistic strategies that are proven to strengthen their belief in themselves and their full potential. Each technique is designed to elevate our ability to positively impact the trajectory of their lives.

Key Learning Outcomes

1. Understand the impact that connection, belonging, and inclusion has on the mindset of the blind child and how to ensure they view themselves as important voices to be heard and welcomed as full participants in society.
2. Identify and remove patterns of low expectations to prepare students for their future through the use of non-visual techniques and confidence building activities.
3. Learn how to create opportunities to foster problem solving and critical thinking skills at all age and ability levels.

Developing the Self in a Community through Poetry and AI

Individuals with Intellectual disabilities often live without having control within their lives. Using AI technologies allow individuals with ID the opportunity to create a world where they have a voice within a community. One example of this use of AI is Friday Poets group, where adults with ID convene around the ideas of creativity, mutual respect, inclusion, and an appreciation for diverse perspectives.

Within the context of creative expression, AI provides a platform where any participant has the ability to present themself however they choose. This sense of empowerment allows individuals with ID to enter an equitable space with peers of any ability. It is our expectation that this new sense of empowerment will be reflected across a variety of environments for adults with ID.

Key Learning Outcomes

1) Participants in this presentation will learn skills to integrate artificial intelligence into their practice.
2) Participants in this presentation will learn about different artificial intelligence tools that will support individuals in developing language, descriptive skills, and images that are representative of their ideas.
3) Participants in this presentation will have the opportunity to see how artificial intelligence tools were used with individuals to create poetry and visualizations of that poetry to enhance their individual expression, connections to one another, and to a greater community.

Analysis of Vocational Rehabilitation Services for Transition-age Youth with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities in Arizona

This presentation will describe the results of the report Analysis of Vocational Rehabilitation Services for Transition-Age Youth with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities in Arizona that was written for the Arizona Developmental Disabilities Planning Council by the Institute for Community Inclusion at UMass Boston. This presentation will detail how the report was created including the methodology, discuss the interviews held with Arizona VR stakeholders, and present the findings regarding what is working well and what can be improved in Arizona’s VR system as well as highlight strategies for better serving Arizona’s transition-aged youth with IDD and strengthening VR’s relationships with other state service systems. Strategies to increase overall VR participation as well as cultural competence will also be discussed.

Key Learning Outcomes

1. Participants will understand the methodology behind the report and how the authors came to their conclusions.
2. Participants will learn about both the current strengths and weaknesses of Arizona’s VR system in serving transition-aged youth.
3. Participants will learn about effective strategies to better help Arizona VR serve transition-aged youth, including youth from culturally diverse backgrounds, that they can promote in their communities.

Inclusive Pathways: Enhancing Higher Education for Individuals with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities

Individuals with intellectual and/or developmental disabilities have the desire to attend college for a variety of reasons. The passage of the Higher Education Act (2008) created funding that enabled the development of Transition and Postsecondary Education Programs for Students with Intellectual Disability (TPSID) that now exist across 319 colleges nationwide. Students in these programs have the opportunity to enroll in traditional college courses for credit and earn a degree/ professional certificate. This presentation will give an overview of the Supporting Inclusive Practices in College (SIP-C) TPSID program located at Northern Arizona University. A recent graduate of the Early Childhood Education program and SIP-C student at NAU will also share their college experience and explain how supports from SIP-C made college more accessible.

Key Learning Outcomes

1. Understand the significance of inclusive higher education for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities, including its impact on employment, community integration, and independent living.

2. Explore effective peer support strategies, such as peer mentoring, in fostering positive outcomes for students with disabilities in post-secondary education.

3. Gain insights into the challenges and opportunities of inclusive practices in higher education, focusing on the SIP-C program in Northern Arizona and its role in supporting student success.

Flirting Beyond Barriers: Cultivating Romantic Relationships within the IDD Community

While sexuality is a key component of human development, people with intellectual disabilities are often excluded from formal and informal conversations around romantic and sexual relationships. This research provides a space for adults with IDD to share their perceptions, experiences, and desires with interpersonal relationships. To disrupt harmful assumptions about people with IDD and sexuality, researchers will share recorded interviews asking individuals with IDD to share their experiences and expectations around romantic relationships. Sharing the lived experiences of adults with IDD will provide an opportunity for them to voice their desires, thus encouraging the inclusion of people with disabilities in conversations concerning sexuality.

Key Learning Outcomes

1. Participants will gain an accurate understanding of the attitudes, experiences, and desires of individuals with IDD centering around relationships: Video-recorded interviews will provide an opportunity for the voices of individuals with IDD to be heard. These first-hand narratives will offer participants a new perspective of sexuality development among individuals with IDD. Participants will further their understanding of the nature of sexuality development and disrupt negative societal stereotypes.
2. Participants will be encouraged to include individuals with IDD in discussions concerning sexuality development: Adults with IDD are commonly excluded from conversations around sexual and romantic relationships. Amplifying the voices of adults with IDD will cultivate healthy environments for discussions regarding sexuality development. Accurate depictions of lived experiences among adults with IDD will encourage inclusion in formal and informal conversations concerning sexual and romantic relationships.
3. Participants will learn to disrupt harmful assumptions around human development for individuals with IDD: Participants will be encouraged to de-stigmatize societal beliefs that people with IDD are asexual or incapable of participating in a romantic relationship. Recognizing adults with IDD as sexual beings will create an environment for healthy sexuality development.

Including a Co-Teacher with an Intellectual Disability in a University Class: Meet Justice and John

John is a full-time staff at IHD and has been teaching for 15 years. Justice is a 20 year old high school student participating in a community transition program. Together, they co-teach DIS 201: Introduction to Disability Studies at Northern Arizona University. In this presentation, John and Justice talk about how they got started co-teaching, how they structure their class, how they involve Justice in the class and what lessons and modification they have made to make the co-teaching work better for themselves and their students.

Key Learning Outcomes

1. Participants will be encouraged to think outside-the-box in what kinds of jobs people with intellectual disabilities can do during work transition programs and beyond.
2. Participants will learn specific strategies on how to co-teach with someone with an intellectual disability in a university setting.
3. Participants will understand that including a co-teacher with an intellectual disability helps the teacher with ID learn valuable work and leadership skills while also helping to enrich the classroom and give the students direct access to the lived disability experience.

Building Capacity for Diverse Voices in Disability-Related Research

In 2023, the National Institute of Health designated people with disabilities as a population with health disparities. This decision responded to a call to action pushing for more disability research to mitigate health outcomes (Bailie, 2023). Imperative to the advancement of disability-related research (DRR) is the inclusion multiply marginalized communities (MMC) or communities comprised of individuals who experience an axis of oppression from more than one marginalized identity. Mainstream approaches to DRR often exclude MMCs resulting in underrepresentation. Mitigating these disparities requires an intersectional approach to restructure capacity building and outreach strategies. This panel discussion will explore strategies to cultivate inclusion. Participants will explore how to identify systemic barriers to DRR in MMCs, incorporate empowering methodologies, and conduct culturally-responsive DRR within MMCs.

Key Learning Outcomes

1. Attendees will be able to identify systemic barriers (racism, sexism, ableism, etc.) that negatively impeded implementation of culturally-responsive disability-related research projects in multiply marginalized communities.
2. Attendees will explore varied empowering methodologies and theories that support culturally-responsive disability-related research that focus on capacity building and outreach in multiply marginalized communities.
3. Attendees will explore pragmatic, evidence-informed strategies for conducting culturally-responsive disability-related research within multiply marginalized communities.

Discovery for Students (A Bridge to Employment and Adult Lives)

MG&A’s Discovery for Students (DFS) empowers education teams with the strategies of Discovery, adapted to the classroom, for students with significant disabilities. This session acknowledges a stark reality — that typical transition programs do not always result in a bridge to employment for students who encounter significant complexities in their lives. Therefore, there must be another way to assist in building the bridge to help as many students as possible achieve a successful transition into their adult life and the world of work. DFS is a holistic, strengths-based approach to understanding a student, setting transition objectives and achieving employment goals. Through DFS education teams can weave information from school, home, and community – anywhere they see the student at their best – into education activities.

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