Promoting Self-Determined Futures / Schedule

Back to Event Description

Wednesday, September 10, 2014
Loudermilk Center
Atlanta, Georgia
CRCs have been applied for

Promoting Self-Determined Futures is a one-day TASH regional conference with a specific focus on evidence-based practices in facilitating and supporting self direction as a tool for improved transition processes and results for youth with significant disabilities.

Online registration is now closed. On-site registration will be available. To save time, please print and fill out the paper registration form by clicking the button below and bring it with you to the conference.

Download Paper Form

Event Schedule

7:30 a.m.
Registration & Badge Pick Up

Join fellow conference-goers for a networking hour. Coffee and breakfast will be served.

8:30 a.m.

8:45 – 11:30 a.m.
Elements of Transition Overview

Presenters will each provide basic tenets of their areas of expertise and suggest ways other stakeholders (parents, adult service providers, self advocates and state agencies) can work together to improve transition outcomes:

  • Using Discovery to Improve Transition Employment Outcomes.
  • Using Discovery to Promote Career Development.
  • College as a Pathway to Employment
  • Rethinking Guardianship: Facilitating Life-Long Self Determination
  • Integrated Employment Alone Is Not Enough
  • Transition: It’s a Trip. Are We there Yet?

11:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.

12:45 – 2:15 p.m. & 2:30 – 4 p.m.
How-To Workshops

The design of the workshops is to provide an opportunity for participants to gain insights and develop skills they can apply immediately. Participants will select one workshop during the 12:45-2:15 p.m. time block, and another during the 2:30-4 p.m. time block. You can view additional details for each session below.

4:10 p.m.
Closing Session

At the end of the day, participants and presenters will come together and discuss what they’ve learned, and how they can commit toward a more equitable future.


Using Discovery to Improve Transition Employment Outcomes
Charlotte Guy

Discovery is the process wherein information is collected through a series of interviews, activities, and observations. Information is collected from family members, friends, teachers and neighbors.

It serves as the foundation of all person-centered planning that seeks to customize outcomes for students. Through discovery questions will be answered about the student, discovering student’s strengths, needs, contributions and interests. It provides a substitute to comparison based testing procedures; existing information is utilized rather than information developed through traditional assessment methods. The student’s entire life experiences are taken into account rather than single instances of performance

This workshop will demonstrate how discovery can serve as a guide for making appropriate transition decisions including future employment outcomes. And, how to use the information captured to create a profile. The presenter will explain how to use a profile to implement a plan resulting in meaningful life outcomes such as jobs, community activities, residences and relationships.

As a result of the presentation, participants will be able to:

  • Distinguish how discovery is different from traditional assessment procedures.
  • Identify the strategies to gather information in discovery.
  • Implement planning based on things an individual is motivated to do rather than a plan based on fears, skill deficit or traits.

Using Discovery to Promote Career Development
Norciva Shumpert

Career Development Discovery is a non evaluative process that offers a capacity picture of the youth that is used to guide career development.

This session will offer a brief overview of discovery. And, how to use the discovery information to strategically develop a career plan and an employment plan for a specific youth. The presenter will discuss work experiences and their role in career development. She will also demonstrate examples of schools and VR counselors working together to create a coordinated set of employment transition activities. Participants will take part in a planning session that sought work experiences, further training, jobs, or a combination of all of these.

At the end of this workshop, attendees will be able to:

  • Create a job development plan for students.
  • Use Discovery to guide a career plan.
  • Develop a coordinated set of vocational transition activities.

College as a Pathway to Employment
Meg Grigal

As more students with disabilities receive transition services in higher education settings, the issue of how to integrate employment experiences becomes paramount. College can be an ideal setting for youth to expand their vision of employment options through internships, job tryouts, and by engaging them in paid employment both on and off campus.

This workshop will include an overview of effective field-tested post secondary education strategies that can be used to engage students in meaningful internships and paid community-based employment. These strategies can be implemented both during and after their college careers. Participants will also have a chance to share examples of successful college program employment experiences for students with disabilities.

At the end of this workshop, attendees will be able to:

  • Explain the importance of paid employment as part of the transition process.
  • Analyze access to and outcomes of unpaid work experiences, internships, and paid employment.
  • Reflect on their own thoughts and actions about employment capacity of the youth they serve, and determine if some barriers are internal.
  • Utilize field-tested strategies that engage students in meaningful internships and paid community-based employment both during and after their college experience.

Rethinking Guardianship: Facilitating Life-Long Self Determination
Jonathan Martinis

Despite study after study finding that people who exercise more independence and self-determination live longer, have better jobs and more community integration, young adults with disabilities continue to be placed in unnecessary or over-broad guardianship that deny their rights and limit their potential. Even when well-meaning, guardianship takes away self-determination.

In this workshop Jonathan Martinis will use the “Justice for Jenny” case as a backdrop to discuss Supported Decision-Making and other alternatives to guardianship. Jenny Hatch’s landmark case is particularly relevant to young adults with disabilities preparing to exit high school. In 2013, a judge rejected a guardianship request from Jenny Hatch’s parents that would have kept her in a group home against her will. Martinis was Jenny’s attorney for the case. Supported Decision-Making can be defined as a set of connections, actions, and plans developed to foster persons rights to exercise their legal capacity.

At the end of this workshop, attendees will be able to:

  • Identify alternatives to guardianship, including Supported Decision-Making.
  • Increase self-determination and empower people with disabilities to direct their own lives to the maximum of their capabilities.
  • Access services and supports that can help people with disabilities gain the knowledge, skills and abilities they need to live independent lives, free from over-broad or undue guardianship.
  • Implement special education transition planning that can decrease the “need” for guardianship.

Integrated Employment Alone Is Not Enough
Abby Cooper

This year marks the 50th anniversary of the War on Poverty, yet a significant percentage of individuals with disabilities live either at or below the poverty line. While we have made strides, we have missed the mark. We still do not secure employment that provides a pathway out of poverty.

Integrated employment alone is not enough. Financial stability occurs on a wide array of levels and is impacted by a host of factors ranging from individual choices, to resources available, to public policy. Students with disabilities and their families may be or feel more restricted by public policy and have fewer options due to dependence (or the belief of dependence) on public benefits. The transition process needs to include conversations on how to use public benefits as an asset building tool so students and their families have full options. Being on a pathway to financial stability must be viewed as a component of transition.

This workshop will address the complex issue of aligning employment to economic self-sufficiency. The presenter will examine the different perspectives that need to change so that transition students today will not have a life of poverty; explore what we need to change in the short and long term, from how we think, to how planning occurs, to what supports need to be in place; and present innovative models being developed across the country, highlight successes and note implementation barriers.

At the end of this workshop, attendees will be able to:

  • Make a case for financial stability strategy as part of transition planning.
  • Take steps to support people in becoming financially stable.
  • Adopt innovative transition models being developed across the country.

Transition: It’s a Trip. Are We There Yet?
Pat Nobbie and Mia Nobbie

Pat Nobbie and her daughter Mia, who is 29 and has a great life in the community, will tag team a presentation on their journey from childhood to high school to life after high school. Pat will share some of the road blocks and breakthroughs they encountered along the way as a parent and as a policy professional who has worked on many aspects of transition along the life span of individuals with disabilities.

Mia’s entire life, like the life of any child, was a series of transitions, and Pat and Mia will share a slide show of Mia’s life history as Pat talks about some of the key things she learned along the way. Pat approaches her work in policy through the lens of Mia’s life. For every transitional phase, Pat looked around for what Mia needed, and if it wasn’t there, she worked on trying to create it, with friends and colleagues. Mia doesn’t realize how great a teacher she has been, she just “is who she is!” She has enormous confidence and gumption, and an uncanny way of knowing who is on her side. Mia will commentate along the way, since she is never at a loss for words!

At the end of this workshop, attendees will be able to:

  • Identify transition phases.
  • Develop strategies to create supports for transition if there are not many available.
  • Promote transition policy that is effective.

You can download a registration form or register online.