Undergraduate students, Michael Jefferies, Raiann Rosier and Alex Trejo-Sanchez, along with Dr. Susan Hedges, an assistant professor in Reich College of Education’s (RCOE) Department of Reading Education and Special Education (RESE), and doctoral student, Bronwyn Harris ‘16, gave presentations at the 2019 North Carolina Council for Exceptional Children conference (NC-CEC). Dr. Aftynne Cheek, assistant professor of special education, also attended. The conference was held January 13-25, 2019 in Wilmington, North Carolina.
In addition, eight members of Appalachian’s Student Council for Exceptional Children (SCEC) club attended and served as volunteers. They were the largest student group in attendance of all those representing North Carolina colleges and universities.
Members of Appalachian’s Student Council for Exceptional Children club attended the conference and served as volunteers. Photo submitted
About the experience, SCEC president, Katie Lamb, said, “The NC Council for Exceptional Children conference allows members to attend professional development sessions that we would not have been able to attend without our club. It's our big event for the year and we all look forward to it. This year did not disappoint!”
“The NC Council for Exceptional Children conference allows members to attend professional development sessions that we would not have been able to attend without our club. It's our big event for the year and we all look forward to it. This year did not disappoint!”
NC-CEC is the state professional organization for special educators and others interested in supporting students with disabilities.
About the Conference Presentations
How to Develop Cultural Competence in Light of the Changing Demographics of NC Schools
Presented by Alex Trejo-Sanchez, Raiann Rosier and Dr. Susan Hedges
Pictured left to right: Alex Trejo-Sanchez, Dr. Susan Hedges and Raiann Rosier. Photo submitted
Trejo-Sanchez is currently pursuing his undergraduate degree in special education. He is originally from Lincolnton, North Carolina and plans to continue his master’s work in special education at Appalachian through the Accelerated Admission program.
Rosier, originally from Concord, North Carolina, is a senior elementary education major. Last semester, she participated in a Disney College Program internship (Two Students Receive Disney College Program Internships), and Rosier plans to pursue a master’s in special education at Appalachian through the Accelerated Admission program.
About the presentation, Trejo-Sanchez said, “NC schools are becoming increasingly diverse. White students now represent less than 50% of the student population. As educators, we must create a fair and welcoming learning environment for students who identify with a different culture."
Therapeutic Recreation and the Implications for Individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder
Presented by Michael Jeffries
Special education major, Michael Jeffries, presents at the 2019 North Carolina Council for Exceptional Children Conference. Photo submitted
Jeffries is currently pursuing his undergraduate degree in special education. He is originally from Monroe, North Carolina and plans to continue his master’s work in special education at Appalachian through the Accelerated Admission program.
According to Jeffries, "Recreational therapists work with schools to develop adaptive physical education and create adaptive sports camps for longer breaks, like winter or summer vacation. Extracurriculars are created with the aid of recreational therapists, for example, adaptive cheer-leading is a common extracurricular activity."
Inclusive Literacy for All Students
Presented by Bronwyn Harris
Doctoral student, Bronwyn Harris, presents at the 2019 North Carolina Council for Exceptional Children Conference. Photo submitted
Harris, originally from Hendersonville, North Carolina, earned a master’s degree in reading education from Appalachian in 2016. She is currently a doctoral candidate focusing on literacy in exceptionalities.
Harris worked with mentor Dr. David Koppenhaver, a professor of reading education in RESE, on the presentation. It explored teaching that is inclusive of all students’ learning. For example, setting reading purposes before student reading is inclusive since it focuses attention of all students on important aspects of text.
She shared that one of Koppenhaver’s comments stuck with her as she researched and prepared: "Inclusion is best practice, but not all best practice is inclusive."
About the North Carolina Council for Exceptional Children
The worldwide mission of The Council for Exceptional Children is to improve educational outcomes for individuals with exceptionalities.
The Council for Exceptional Children (CEC) is the largest international non-profit professional organization dedicated to improving educational outcomes for individuals with exceptionalities, students with disabilities, and students who are gifted.
CEC advocates for appropriate governmental policies, sets professional standards, provides continual professional development, and advocates for newly and historically under served individuals with exceptionalities.
CEC also helps professionals obtain the conditions and resources necessary for effective professional practice.
We [NC-CEC] provide state and local support in the way of an annual conference, regional trainings, and an electronic newsletter. We offer awards to recognize outstanding K-12 students with disabilities, leaders in the field of special education, and K-12 teachers. Scholarships are available for preservice teachers, and mini-grants are available for current NC-CEC members.
Contributed by Dr. Susan Hedges