Five Don’t-Miss Special Education Conferences in 2020

Female school administrator writes dates of special education conferences in her 2020 daily planner while consulting calendar.We’re already more than a month into the new year! But if you’re like most school administrators we at Pediatric Therapeutic Services (PTS) work with, it hasn’t taken long for your calendar to fill up with commitments, including professional development opportunities.

Choosing the right special education conferences in 2020 can make a huge difference—not only for you, but also for the students you serve. A good event can:

  • Inform you about the latest pedagogical, therapeutic, and legal issues in special education.
  • Introduce you to thought leaders in the field, as well as colleagues with whom you make critical professional connections.
  • Inspire you with new energy and enthusiasm for helping students with special needs access their education.

Five 2020 Special Education Conferences to Consider

Here are five opportunities in PTS’ area we think may be of particular interest to special education professionals.

New Jersey Council for Exceptional Children (CEC) Spring 2020 Annual Conference
“Embracing the Whole Child: Promoting Social Emotional Learning”
March 16 (Mahwah, NJ)

Group of female and male special education administrators applaud speaker at a professional development conference.As the CEC’s website says, the organization is “the recognized leader for special education professional standards.” Its New Jersey chapter will gather at Ramapo College for a day of professional development focused on helping students manage feelings and forge positive relationships with others.

Haley Moss will keynote. You might have seen her on The Today Show. She’s the first openly autistic attorney to practice law in Florida. She’s sure to share an inspiring message about how, in her words, “anything is possible with support, guidance, and acceptance.”

2020 Pennsylvania Department of Education Conference
“Making a Difference: Educational Practices That Work!”
March 9-11 (Hershey, PA)

Billed asthe Bureau of Special Education’s signature event,” the annual PDE conference ranks high on any administrator’s list of must-attend special education conferences this year.

The conference will feature three noteworthy keynoters:

  • Dr. Adam Saenz, bestselling author, will speak about supportive, transformative relationships with students, their families, and colleagues.
  • Dr. Tyrone Howard, bestselling author and founder and director of UCLA’s Black Male Institute, will showcase best practices for equitably serving society’s most vulnerable students. 
  • Hamish Brewer, the unconventional principal who’s turned around some of Virginia’s toughest public schools, will challenge attendees to become educational disruptors for their students.

Attendees will also network with colleagues and related services providers from across region—including PTS. (In fact, stop by our booth, and we’ll have our photographer snap a free professional headshot… while you’re there grab a drink ticket for the PTS Happy Hour event.)

Special Education Law Conference
May 8 (Bethlehem, PA)

Female special education administrator smiles at women sitting next to her as group applauds speaker at a conference.Keeping up with the latest court decisions and regulations is to your program’s success. 

Lehigh University’s College of Education hosts this one-day event. The schedule includes a keynote reviewing the year’s case law developments and break-out sessions covering such issues as:

  • School-home considerations in developing appropriate IEPs
  • Legal obligations to children with disabilities in relation to ideated, attempted, or actual student suicide
  • Section 504/ADA after the student transitions to postsecondary education
  • Technology and instructional access issues for students with disabilities
  • Physical restraint and seclusion of students with disabilities

PA Community on Secondary Transition Conference
July 15-16 (State College, PA)

Take a trip to Happy Valley for this conference offered by the Pennsylvania Training and Technical Assistance Network (PaTTAN).

The event will help schools and other agencies connect with employers, post-secondary schools, and community stakeholders to help students who receive special education enter a productive, satisfying life after high school.

At PTS, we’ve always been passionate about helping students with disabilities and disorders find work and other opportunities after they leave school, so we’re glad PaTTAN is highlighting this important topic. 

PTS’ Administrator Retreat
October 8 (Audubon, PA)

Not all of 2020’s “must-attend” special education conferences mean major investments of time, travel, or money for you.

n group of special education conference attendees, a male and a female administrator raise their hands to ask questions.

One of the most valuable events you can come to is close to home, free of charge for PTS clients, and packs more practical and immediately actionable information into seven hours than some conferences do over several days!

PTS’ annual Administrator Retreat always offers administrators up-to-the-minute insights into our constantly changing field, as well as ample time to make valuable connections with your colleagues from across the greater Delaware Valley. (You also get to enjoy great food in comfort at Chadwick’s Club in Shannondell!)

In 2019, our Retreat examined the nature and significance of trauma-informed care for special education. In 2018, we focused on behavioral health, exploring proven ways to decrease school refusal behavior and increase the fidelity with which therapy teams implement behavior intervention plans (BIPs).

We’ve already confirmed two presenters for this year’s Retreat (see, you’re not the only one planning ahead!):

  • Katherine Dahlsgaard, PhD, ABPP
    Recipient of a National Science Foundation Fellowship and an in-demand guest speaker, Dr. Dahlsgaard spoke at our 2018 Retreat. We’re delighted she’s returning. Dr. Dahlsgaard specializes in evaluating and treating children, adolescents and young adults with anxiety disorders. She is also Director of the Food Allergy Bravery Clinic at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia’s (CHOP) Food Allergy Center.
  • Amy Lynch, PhD, OTR/L, SCFES
    An Occupational Therapist for outpatients and a program coordinator for CHOP’s International Adoption Health Program, Dr. Lynch specializes in post-institutionalization, as well as children with sensory integration problems, feeding/oral motor dysphagia, and cerebral palsy. She has presented regionally, nationally, and internationally on her specialties, and we’re thrilled she’ll be sharing her expertise with us in October.

Watch this space—and your inbox!—for even more details about PTS’ 2020 Administrator Retreat as they develop!

Why Wait to Meet Us at a Conference? We Can Help You Now!

We hope you won’t wait until our Administrator Retreat, or any other special education conference in 2020, to find out more about how PTS can help you and your program.

If you’d like precise insight into how your program is using its resources and immediately actionable steps for improving its quality and efficiency, contact us now to claim a free related services audit

All of us in special education can learn a lot at conferences. But PTS can help you start making data-driven decisions that yield better results for your budget and your students right away!

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