Institute for Innovative Transition Launches Annual Conference on Transition

Conference Focuses on Campus-based Options for Students with Developmental Disabilities

The Institute for Innovative Transition, a partnership of the University of Rochester's Strong Center for Developmental Disabilities and Warner School of Education and the Golisano Foundation, will host its first annual conference on transition issues, options, and innovations for young adults with developmental disabilities on Thursday, July 30 in Rochester, N.Y. The conference will present educators, disability agencies, colleges, families, and students with thoughtful discussions on opportunities, issues, and emerging trends facing campus-based programs for people with developmental disabilities.

This year's program will include sessions from nationally-acclaimed leaders on postsecondary transition options for students graduating from high school. Those participating will walk away with a better understanding of local and national opportunities available to these individuals. Keynote presentations and panel presentations will cover an array of topics, including access to campus-based programs, parent and student perspectives, employment success of students who have attended campus-based programs, and more.

Janice Fialka, a nationally-recognized author, lecturer, and trainer, will present the first keynote address, “Dreaming the Impossible: Higher Education for Students with Developmental Disabilities.” During her lecture, she will focus on risk taking and parents’ perspectives on building a Circle of Support and advocating for higher education opportunities.

Deb Hart, project director of college career connection at the University of Massachusetts’ Institute on Community Inclusion, will present the second address, “A National Movement for Postsecondary Opportunities for Students with Developmental Disabilities.” Hart, who brings more than 20 years of experience working with children, youth, and adults with disabilities and has directed over 20 federal and state projects, will focus on how universities provide postsecondary opportunities and impact the employment outcomes for people with developmental disabilities.

The third address, “Inclusion Includes College,” will be presented by Micah Fialka-Feldman and Sharon Howell, Ph.D., and will feature the documentary Through the Same Door: Inclusion Includes College. Micah Fialka-Feldman, who is a national board member of KASA (Kids as Self Advocates), has published articles and is a national speaker on inclusion and inclusive post secondary experiences. Howell is a faculty member at Oakland University in Michigan.

The 2009 conference will be held from 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on Thursday, July 30 at the RIT Inn and Conference Center. Registration is $45 for professionals, $25 for family members, and $15 for students/young adults, and includes materials, refreshments, breakfast and lunch.

The Institute for Innovative Transition, which is funded by a grant from the Golisano Foundation and housed at Strong Center for Developmental Disabilities at Golisano Children’s Hospital at the University of Rochester Medical Center, aims to improve the quality of life for individuals with developmental disabilities and their families as they transition from school age to adulthood. The annual conference is one of several initiatives launched out of the Institute for Innovative Transition.

The Institute provides support to Monroe County community members, including young adults with developmental disabilities, family members, local education institutions, and agencies, to effectively address transition issues for individuals, ages 14-25, with developmental disabilities. The Institute is under the leadership of Martha Mock, Ph.D., who has joint appointments at the Warner School of Education and in the Department of Pediatrics in the Medical School where she is an assistant professor of clinical pediatrics and education.

To register or to learn more about the annual conference, call (585) 276-3657, or e-mail transition@urmc.rochester.edu.