I had the opportunity to talk with Cathy Pantelides, Transition Specialist for the Long Island Regional Special Education Technical Assistance Support Center (LI RSE-TASC) and President of New York State DCDT, this week. Wow! They are doing some energetic and innovative things to promote self-determination and student-directed IEPs for students with disabilities throughout their region. Over the past five years, they have had a comprehensive effort to provide teachers with professional development and access to resources to encourage student self-determination. Beyond providing teachers with existing resources, they have also supported teachers to be self-determined and develop their own curricula to promote student self-determination. A strong sense of community has evolved that enables teachers to share ideas and information while having fun together at the same time.
A few quotes from participating teachers illustrates the initiative’s impact:
“The end result was so rewarding and empowering for the student and everyone in the room.”
“There was a different energy in the room by having them take the lead, rather than talking about them in front of them. I also learned that we need to add more positives when writing the IEPs and not just focus on the needs-based goals.”
“I will continue to select students to experience this every year! It’s been amazing!”
Would you like to learn more? Contact Cathy Pantelides at firstname.lastname@example.org or 631-218-4197.