Auburn hosting transition conference to explore ways to help young people with disabilities gain independence

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The Auburn Transition Leadership Institute will host the 25th Alabama Transition Conference March 2-4 at Auburn Marriott Opelika Hotel and Conference Center at Grand National in Opelika.

The conference brings together parents, students, agencies, businesses, educators and policymakers who will gather to share ideas and work toward the goal of preparing young people with disabilities to live independently.

The Auburn Transition Leadership Institute, established in 2000 at Auburn University, is affiliated with the College of Education and the Department of Special Education, Rehabilitation and Counseling.

This year's conference theme is "Transition – Soaring to New Heights" and will highlight the city of Auburn in recognition of how both the city and the university support transition students developing and growing through various challenges.

The keynote speaker will be Jonathan Mooney, a nationally renowned author and disability advocate. Mooney will discuss disability rights and inclusive educational movements.

Other featured presenters are Teresa Grossi, a faculty member in the School of Education at Indiana University and author of "Teaching Transition Skills in Inclusive Schools;" Michael Wehmeyer, the director of the Kansas University Center on Developmental Disabilities and a professor of special education at the University of Kansas; Paul Wehman, the director of the Rehabilitation Research and Training Center on Employment for People with Physical Disabilities and the director of the Virginia Commonwealth University Autism Center for Excellence; Lauren Bethune, a doctoral student at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte; Bill East, the executive director of the National Association of State Directors of Special Education; and Stephen Wooderson, the CEO of the Council of State Administrators of Vocational Rehabilitation.

Conference events include seven workshops and 51 concurrent sessions on a variety of transition topics. In addition, the conference will include a poster session competition.

Speed conferencing, a popular event that provides attendees an opportunity to quickly circulate through three informative transition-related sessions, will include presenters Crystal Richardson, Alabama State Department of Education; Courtney Tarver, Alabama Department of Mental Health; and Karen Jenkins and Bedarius Bell Jr., Alabama Department of Rehabilitation Services.

For conference updates, go to and click on the conference logo. Continuing Education Units, or CEUs, and CRC credits are available. For conference and registration questions, contact Tiffany Frasier-Rocker at (334) 844-5927 or

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