Beat the Heat 2017 Full-Day Speakers


Take your learning to the next level with these full-day sessions for Beat the Heat Day 1, June 21st!

Setting Up Classrooms for Students with Autism Like a Ninja – Christine Reeve, Ph.D., BCBA-D

Teaching Grade Level Standards Across the Curriculum – Cindy R. Miller, MS

Building Sustainable Adult Schedules: The Life Plan with a Focus on Diversity – Dr. Vickie Mitchell 

Strategy to See: Strategies for Students with Cerebral/Cortical Visual Impairment – Diane Sheline, TVI

Managing Challenging Behaviors – Joanna Ryan, MEd, BCBA

Incorporating Core Vocabulary to Promote Academic Progress: Getting to the Core of Core Vocabulary – Shannon Paige, MA, CCC-SLP

PE and Motor Activities for Students with Severe Disabilities – Randy Foederer, CAPE & Vicki Mason-Foederer, CAPE

Read about their informative sessions.

Summer is coming! Temperatures are rising!  Registration is filling up!
Join us for cool, summer learning!
Beat the Heat 2017—Register now!

Beat the Heat 2017: Registration is Open!

Pictures of students with disabilitiesBeat the Heat 2017
Workshop #SU1734208 – 
June 21 & 22, 2018
ESC Region 13

Register now for this exceptional learning opportunity designed for educators, parents, and others who work with children ages 3-21 with significant disabilities.

Wednesday ♦ June 21, 2017 ♦ 9 am – 4 pm

Full day, in-depth workshops on topics including: challenging behavior, communication/AAC, individualized instruction, transition and more!

Thursday ♦ June 22, 2017 ♦ 9 am – 4 pm

Here’s why you should attend!

  • Attend one of the largest conferences in the state focusing on students with significant disabilities
  • Learn first-hand from experts in the field
  • Improve outcomes for your students by learning new strategies and tools from other classroom professionals
  • Network with your colleagues
  • Lunch provided each day

Beat the heat! Spend these summer days with cool people and sizzling hot ideas!

Bonus for ESC Region 13 Parents and Paraeducators!

Receive a discount code to attend Beat the Heat for $10 by contacting Maria Daniel (


Announcing Beat the Heat 2016 Keynote Speakers: Kristin Neff, Sarah Barnes & Jesse Trocino!


We are delighted to announce our keynote speakers for Beat the Heat 2016.

Thursday, June 30

Dr. Kristin Neff  – The Science of Self-Compassion
Be good to yourself!  Dr. Kristin Neff  will discuss self-compassion.  Learn practical strategies for maintaining emotional well-being in a stressful work environment.   Find out more about Dr. Neff on her Self-Compassion website.

Friday, July 1

Jesse Trocino – My Life on the Range
Jesse will describe the path he took to achieve his dream of becoming a cowboy.  He comes to us from Project SPEAK, a training program for people with developmental disabilities who want to become public speakers.

Sarah Barnes – Meredith & Me
Sarah will speak on the joys, frustrations and sorrows of raising a daughter with intellectual disabilities.   For the Austin American Statesman, she writes a column titled “A Different Road” about raising Meredith. Read more about Sarah and Meredith on her website.

Bet you can’t wait to register!  Stay tuned, we’re almost there.

Resource to pass along to parents

Have you discovered the website yet? This website is designed for parents of a child with learning and attention issues. The website has great resources for anyone wanting to know more about learning disabilities and attention deficit and hyperactivity disorder. For example, it can take you through simulations of these different disabilities, helping parents and other adults understand more about the child’s disability. It offers information to help with school work and tips for how to have a great IEP meeting. It offers suggestions for assistive technology and how to empower children to better understand their own disability. We really enjoyed the personal video interviews of students with disabilities and the families who support these children.


We think you will find this website useful and we hope you will share it with the families in your school.


Free tool for using visual representations to solve word problems

In Mathematics Instruction For Students with Learning Disabilities or Difficulty Learning Mathematics: A Guide for Teachers (2008) put out by the Center on Instruction, recommendation #4 states, “Teach students to visually represent the information in the math problem.” Research shows that students with learning disabilities benefit from using visuals that correlate to specific problem types.

thinking blocks

This recommendation is the reason we’re suggesting a free website and app for just such visuals. Thinking Blocks provides students with a virtual tool to create strip or tape diagrams to represent a word problem. This is great modeling of the math to help students visually understand what the problem is asking.

If you are looking to learn more about helping students with math word problems and the use of visuals in math word problems, attend our Explicit Instruction for Math Word Problems workshop. For more details on the workshop go to and search for the workshop by name or by #SU1532437. Hurry, spaces are limited.

Accessibility Options for High Stakes Testing- Dec 3 webinar

View Online

Accessibility Options for High Stakes Testing

AbleNet University FREE Professional Development

Wednesday, December 3

School districts across the country use a computer-based platform, such as Pearson’s TestNav, to deliver high stakes tests to students, including those with disabilities. Find out which technologies (keyboards, mice, switch interface devices, etc.) have been tested and found to be compatible to successfully interact with the latest version of this test, as well as discuss the latest built-in technology available to students with these accommodations.

• Time: 1:00 PM to 1:45 PM CST
• Presenter: Cindy Richardson, M. Ed.

Limited space available. Register Today!

Should you miss the live webinar, AbleNet will post the recorded version on their website within several days.

Sped Teachers, Don’t Miss Caroline Musselwhite’s iWrite! Workshops for Emergent and Early Conventional Writers

Region 13 is fortunate to have Caroline Musselwhite, Ed.D, CCC/SLP with us for 2 days of professional development!  Dr. Caroline Musselwhite is a specialist with more than 30 years of experience working with children and adolescents with severe disabilities, in a variety of settings, including Head Start, developmental day programs, and the public schools. Additionally, she has taught courses at several universities, including West Virginia University, and Western Carolina University, and has authored a number of textbooks on the topic of literacy and communication for children with significant cognitive disabilities. If you are a special educator or therapist who:

  • works with students at an emergent or early conventional  developmental literacy level
  • has access to an ipad
  • needs ideas for best practices in literacy instruction for students with significant disabilities
…you will not want to miss this opportunity on November 12 & 13, 2014!  See flyer for additonal details.  Seating is limited.

2014-15 Free Assistive Technology Trainings

Need current information on Assistive Technology?  Here are resources to get your year off to a great start!

Learning Ally is sponsoring a free webinar entitled on Wednesday, September 24 @ 11:30 am entitled “Assistive Technology for Reading Accommodations:From Low Tech to High–Tech”

Check out details and register at:
Additional FREE AT training opportunities for 2014-15

Guiding Document- Including AT in the IEP (How are YOU documenting AT?)

QIATWhat’s happening out there?  I’ve recently received a lot of questions from all over about how to document AT in the IEP. I wondered about why I was getting this question so frequently this year but hadn’t in previous years?  Well, after a little digging, it looks like some of the ARD/IEP software programs districts are using have updated their pages regarding AT consideration and need.  What’s nice is that they’re using IDEA language related to AT thereby increasing our chances for compliance and clarity.  What’s confusing is that this is different than we’ve been used to. Fortunately, the gurus at QIAT have developed a guidance document on this issue of documenting AT in the IEP to meet IDEA mandates.

Do I think we need to document exactly as the QIAT examples indicate?  No.  But, I do think that this does a nice job of differentiating the types and purposes of AT available.  How is your district documenting AT?  As we move towards the discontinuation of STAAR M in 2014-15 the appropriate selection and implementation of accommodations/AT will be ever the more important as more students will need supports.  Having good documentation about what, when and how supports will be provided will be critical.

IT – AT Shared Knowledge on Legal Issues

Here are four resources for consideration as you try to provide technology to meet the needs of ALL students!

  1. Legal Issues Impacting Student Device Programs
  2. Providing Assistive Technology: A Legal Perspective
  3. Top 10 Technology-Related Issues in Special Education
  4. Purchasing Accessible Instructional Materials- Quick Reference Guide

Take aways- Curriculum coordinators, instructional materials purchasers, IT, and assistive technology teams MUST collaborate.  It’s a matter of preventing legal/compliance issues;  being fiscally responsible; addressing civil rights (accessible materials) and working smarter!