Category Archives: Uncategorized

Lots of news to share!

This is a long post, so please read all the way through!

I have great news! I have been in touch with Dr. Jimenez, the Program Coordinator of Intellectual Disabilities at Georgia State University, and he and his team are strongly considering re-opening a certification only program in the area of physical and health disabilities. This would be a wonderful opportunity for those who are interested in seeking their OI certification. The classes would be a hybrid of online classes as well as occasional in-person meetings.

Dr. Jimenez will be at our May 12th consortium meeting to discuss this more in detail! 

The catch: We need your help!!!

If you know of anyone that would be a great candidate for becoming an OI teacher, please complete the survey below. This will provide some initial data to Georgia State so that they can determine the level of interest for beginning the program. So, if there is ANYONE that you could recommend to the program, please complete the survey and include their contact information in the comment field provided.

Also, please invite your coordinator/supervisor to the meeting so that they can explain the need for additional OI certified staff in your district. 

The survey also asks you if you can attend the OI Consortium Meeting on May 12th at GSU from 12:30-3:30. 

Here is the link to the survey:

Other news!

1. Tools for Life has created a Student Advisory Council. Please read the information below and forward to anyone that might be interested in this opportunity! 

Hi All,

I am writing this email on behalf of Tools For Life, Georgia’s Assistive Technology Act Program located at the Georgia Institute of Technology.  The Tools For Life Advisory Council recently voted to start a Student Advisory Council. This council will be composed of college-bound high school students and current college students who are avid assistive technology users and would be willing to share their opinions of assistive technology. While the Tools For Life administrative staff is still finalizing the details of this council, the team would like to start collecting nominations for the council. If you know any one who would be a good nominee for this council, please contact me at or Liz Persaud at . Also, please send any questions to Liz Persaud. Finally, Tools For Life would greatly appreciate it if you forwarded this email to your special education colleagues to spread awareness of this new council throughout the state.

Thank you!

Trey Quinn

2. Registration for the 2016 IDEAS Conference has opened!

2016 IDEAS Conference


If you haven’t heard yet, here’s the big news. The 2016 IDEAS registration is open!  There is no registration fee for the conference again this yearhowever, there will be a $35.00 registration fee for pre-conference sessions.

Conference (June 7th through June 10th, 2016)

IMPORTANT!  When registering, choose the number “1” on the IDEAS Conference Registration if you plan on attending the conference.

Information and Registration

Registration for IDEAS 2016 is available only online at the IDEAS webpage.  Registration for the conference is free for all attendees, however everyone must register to attend. Seats for the conference are limited and will be allocated on a first registered, first-served basis. Due to the limited space, on-site registration will not be permitted. Once capacity has been reached for the conference, registration will be closed and no waitlist will be available.  Attendees will be responsible for their own transportation, lodging and meals for the duration of the conference.  For detailed information about the 2016 IDEAS Conference, please refer to the IDEAS Conference Brochure on the IDEAS webpage.

Concurrent Sessions

There are approximately 120 concurrent sessions throughout the week. The draft agenda is scheduled to be published on the IDEAS webpage in early May.

Pre-conference Sessions (June 6th and June 7th, 2016)

Don’t wait to register! These are limited slots and they are filling up fast.

These pre-conference sessions are great small group training opportunities.  There will be a $35.00 registration fee for each session.  Pre-conference sessions are limited to one session per each attendee. Due to limited space, on-site registration will not be permitted. Seats for the pre-conference sessions are limited and will be allocated on a first registered, first-served basis.  Once capacity has been reached for each pre-conference session, registration will be closed for that session and no waitlist will be available.

Attendees should plan to attend both days of these 2-day pre-conference sessions. As these sessions are in high demand and have limited seating, attendees should ensure they are able to attend both days of the session prior to registering. This will enable the maximum number of participants to attend the pre-conference session of their choice.

Find out more about the session you would like to attend by reading about them on the IDEAS Pre-Conference Session Descriptions on the IDEAS webpage.

Exhibit Hall

Meet with vendors to explore products and technology that help with student achievement and maybe a little extra for you as well.

Exhibitors should register for exhibiting at IDEAS 2016 and attending the conference online at the Georgia Tools for Life Eventbrite – IDEAS 2016 Exhibitor Registration. Exhibitors do not need to register through the link on the IDEAS webpage in addition to the Tools for Life registration.

If you have any questions or needs additional information, please contact the 2016 IDEAS Exhibit Hall Coordinator, visit the IDEAS Exhibitor Information page or the official 2016 IDEAS Conference website.

3. Interesting job opportunity for a student with a hearing impairment! 

A friend of mine is making a film that is centered around a young woman with a hearing impairment. She is seeking two actors to play the role of the teenager and her mother. The requirement is that both actors need to know ASL. If you know of anyone that might be interested, just let me know. Here is more information about the project: 

FILM TITLE: Composing Anna

Award winning student filmmaker is casting  for a short fiction film.


ANNA : (Lead) Female, ages 14-18, Caucasian or Mixed Race, Deaf, ASL fluent a MUST, creative, willing to take chances; discovers freedom to be herself.

NOTE: We are not casting hearing actresses for this part, only deaf actresses, please. Thank you.

Pay: $300 a day, plus meals

JENNY: Female, ages 34-45, must be fluent in ASL, a Deaf teen’s hearing mother, an overprotective single parent, realizes that her daughter needs freedom to grow up.

Pay: $200 a day, plus meals

Location: East Atlanta and Downtown Atlanta

Contact: casting@composinganna. com


Thank you for reading through this information. Please let me know if you have any questions, and please take the survey! 🙂 

Judy Bytheway 



Resources for Adapted Driver Education Programs in Georgia:


Susan Baker, an OI teacher in Floyd County Schools, has provided us with some valuable information regarding adapted driver education programs for our students with physical disabilities. I have also spoken with a parent who has had direct experience with this process and would be happy to help with any additional information if needed.

While driver’s education is required for an actual license, there are options available to them other than participating in a certified driver training course.

The Department of Driver’s Services has put together a 40 hour parent/teen program that can be completed at home.

More information on obtaining a permit or license can be found at the Department of Driver Services website:

This is a comprehensive list of adapted driver programs in Georgia:–11-7-11_-revised.pdf

Other options include:

Shepherd Center Adapted Driving Services (Atlanta)

Siskin Hospital Rehabilitation Program Driving Services (Chattanooga)

Freedom and Mobility Driver Services (Marietta)

Please contact Susan Baker with any additional questions.

May Meeting 2015


Firstly, we have a new e-mail address for the OI Consortium:

I will be sending out all of our e-mails and meeting notices from this address, so please just e-mail me at this address if you have any questions for the group. 

It’s been too long since my last blog post! This school year has been very busy for me, as I’m sure it has been for everyone else! We had a great turnout at the panel discussion at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta in January. We had over 100 people in attendance, and I have received a lot of good feedback as a result. I am hoping we can plan a similar event for next spring.

Our March meeting included a presentation by Susan Ruediger of the Charcot-Marie-Tooth Association, which is a national organization that raises awareness for CMT, as well as provides support for persons living with CMT. Susan is a huge resource in this area, and is available at any time for support regarding a student with CMT. Here is a link to the CMTA website:

We will have our last meeting for the year tomorrow at Georgia State University. Kyle Pease, of the Kyle Pease Foundation, will be speaking with us about the KPF, and it’s goal of providing adapted athletic equipment and community building for persons with physical disabilities. This is an incredibly impacting organization as it provides free adapted sports equipment to people across the state, as well as providing a support system to persons with physical disabilities that encourages athleticism and positivity. I am really looking forward to hearing more about this organization and the people behind it!

Here is a link to the Kyle Pease Foundation:

We will also have a discussion led by Elise James of the GADOE regarding OI certification needs in Georgia. As there is currently no certification program in the state, Elise wants to generate input regarding the need for OI certified teachers in Georgia, and possible ways that we can bring a viable certification program back to life!

We are also going to be able to Skype the meeting for tomorrow, so if you would like to join the meeting via Skype, please e-mail me your username at:

Thank you and I’m looking forward to seeing everyone at the meeting tomorrow!


Meeting Minutes October 2014

Below are the minutes for the October 2014 Consortium Meeting and the link to the materials that were given to us at the meeting from Laurie Smith of Parent 2 Parent of Georgia. Please share these materials to parents and teachers who need additional resources for students that are approaching their post-secondary transition.

Parent 2 Parent of Georgia-Transition to Adult Healthcare Materials

Georgia OI Consortium Meeting Minutes

October 16, 2014

Parent 2 Parent Presentation by Laurie Smith:
Transition to Adult Healthcare: Learn what health has to do with transition; who makes up the transition team and their roles, how to incorporate health transition into a medical home, healthcare financing, legal issues and timelines.

More information: (handout Alphabet Soup) P2P supports Georgia families and individuals from birth to age 26 with disabilities or health care needs.  Statewide training agency required by IDEA in GA.  Also Family to Family Health Information Center.  Special Needs Database online to help find services. Supporting Parent Program can help parents feel less isolated.  Provide one-on-one assistance for parents that would rather call than look online.  Free trainings (2 or 4 hours) all parent friendly.  Facebook page for youths transitioning to adulthood to connect with others who have gone through the transition.  Also have a parent FB page to connect.  Monthly e-blast to highlight upcoming events and news from P2P.

What is Health Transition?  Moving from pediatric to adult healthcare; moving from dependence on family to independence.  A plan is important because it breaks down tasks, ensures continuity of care, fosters independence, and helps them maintain better health as an adult.  Health transition plan differs from IEP transition plan.  It is not mandatory and is a parent/caregiver/youth responsibility, not an IEP team decision.  The health transition team members may never meet physically during the development of the plan.  (see Planning WS)  Members of the transition team include: youth, parent/caregiver, pediatrician, primary care doctor, adult providers, and educators.  Role of the child is to find their voice and learn self-advocacy and self-management.  Laurie discussed self-advocacy and self-management and barriers to them that youth may face.  Parent/Caregiver plays the role of the coach or spokesperson (non-verbal students) for their child.  Parents should help their child develop the skills they need to manage their medical care (if appropriate) such as: scheduling appointments, refilling medications, documentation, insurance knowledge, and medical decision making.  Website: Primary care doctors can continue seeing children in the practice after they transition to adults.  If they are a pediatrician, they may have good recommendations for finding a new adult doctor.  They can provide a health summary for the child transitioning to an adult doctor.  Educators/Teachers can help make the health transition plan become a part of the IEP transition plan and embed some health related goals into their IEP or transition plan to help them get ready for this transition (i.e. calling in a prescription, process to obtain power of attorney).  Medical home (handout)- not a physical place but is a family centered approach to care, coordination, and partnership.  All health related services and supports are engaged to keep the welfare of the youth in mind.  All providers are aware of the plan of care for the youth.  If child has a chronic condition, make sure they understand how the condition can/will impact them in the future.  Renee suggested using an ICE/medical alert app for students.  She suggested the ICE Standard app that creates an emergency alert on the phone’s home screen.  If the child has a mental health need, then there needs to be a circle of support in place for the child once they are away from home.  If the child has a developmental disability, the scaffolding of support needs to be in place before going away from home.  Healthcare financing- age 26 = off of parents’ healthcare, Medicaid could end after 18 depending on disability- apply for SSI (automatically receive Medicaid).  Katie Beckett and Peach Care expire at 18 years old.  Medicare only covers certain disabilities.  Help youth understand the age of majority- signing contracts, free credit cards, register to vote.  Send parents to P2P for information on guardianship and power of attorney.  Transition timeline (WS on back of Parent Health Transition WS)

Check out the agenda for our October Meeting!

Georgia OI Consortium Meeting Agenda OctoberPumpkin-Face 5