- Shawn Crawford (President)
- Dwaine Souveny (Treasurer)
While the weather in Boston was less than stellar, my experience at CEC this year certainly was. It started with my reconnection with Dr. David Koppenhaver, who is returning to Alberta this summer with Dr. Karen Erickson for a one week intensive course on Comprehensive Literacy for Students with Complex Communication Needs. I attended Dave’s talk ‘Reconsidering Reading Instructional Needs for Students with Intellectual Disabilities’ where I was reminded again on the importance of understanding where students who struggle with reading really struggle and creating a plan that focuses on those particular parts of the whole.
One highlight, of course, was the presentation that Dianne Butler and I did on the work I have been supporting in Black Gold – ‘Communication and Literacy for Every Student’. The session was very well attended (we had a packed room!), there were many great questions and people seemed genuinely interested in the work we have done to date. Very rewarding experience.
Another highlight was seeking David Rose get a lifetime achievement award! I have known David for many years and had the great pleasure of working with him and others in 2011 make the Alberta UDL Summer Institute a reality (http://www.erlc.ca/resources/resources/udl/index.php ). I was happy to connect with David in person as well at one of the many UDL sessions that were highlighted at the Convention.
My final highlight was, I feel my best take-away from this years convention, and one that I kind of stumbled into more by accident than by design. On Friday there was an all day strand on Maltreatment of Persons with Disabilities. As this was something that came up in my doctoral studies (although I was not looking for it) I found these sessions compelling. CEC has created a working group focusing on the creation of policy and practices that will enhance student safety and success. I have been following up with this group and plan on being actively involved in this work, as the students that I work most closely with (those who require augmentative and alternative communication supports) are one of the most vulnerable groups of students. As a result of this follow I have been invited to present my research at the Illinois CEC convention next November. Something I am very excited about.
So to sum up my CEC experience this year… a wonderful mix of connecting with colleagues, sharing and receiving learning, and making exciting new connections to compelling work! A success for sure!