The West Virginia Council for Exceptional Children is holding a statewide special education conference,”Linking Assessment to Intervention,”from 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Oct. 9-10 at the Radisson Hotel at Waterfront Place in Morgantown.

National, state and local experts will present research findings regarding students with disabilities and current trends in special education. Some topics to be discussed include benefits of implementing positive behavior supports, decreasing physical aggression in children, inclusive classrooms and assessment, gifted education, alternate assessment and traumatic brain injury.

“This conference is designed to provide useful information for special and general education teachers, teachers training to be special educators, administrators and parents of students with disabilities,”said Ann Richards, president-elect of the West Virginia Council for Exceptional Children and chair of the WVU Program of Special Education.

Conference attendees will learn strategies to use when working with students with disabilities, Dr. Richards continued.

“The conference also provides parents who have children with disabilities the opportunity to network with other parents who may be facing the same challenges or have the same type of questions regarding education and care,”she said.”Its a great chance for parents and educators to discuss if school districts are servicing students at a level that meets their needs.”

Participants can also meet administrative staff from the state department of special education and will be able to talk with them during informal sessions, breaks and at the luncheon.

The conference presenters will also cover the No Child Left Behind Act and how students in West Virginia are being served under that policy.

The keynote speech will be given at 9 a.m. Thursday, Oct. 9, by Dr. Richard Van Acker, who has worked with many school districts in West Virginia helping to implement positive behavior supports at both the individual and district-wide levels.

“Dr. Van Acker works with school administration to determine how implementing policy changes can transform the educational environment of the school to support all children and to also ensure that national regulations are being met by the schools,”Richards explained.

Van Acker, a professor at the University of Illinois, holds a joint appointment within the College of Education (in special education) and the College of Medicine (in psychiatry). He has been involved in work with youth who present challenging behavior for the past 28 years and has more than 10 years of experience as a teacher for adolescents with behavior disorders.

He serves as an ongoing consultant for more than 20 public school districts and three state departments of education. Van Acker is a former president of the International Council for Children with Behavior Disorders, has more than 50 publications in professional journals, and has authored numerous book chapters and monographs for professional organizations such as the Council for Exceptional Children. His work has been presented at numerous international, national, regional and local professional meetings.

The conference is being coordinated by Richards and Kate Mitchem, president of the West Virginia Council for Exceptional Children and assistant professor of educational theory and practice and special education at WVU .

Pre-registration deadline is Wednesday, Oct. 1. Participants can register to attend either one or both days, and there is a significantly lower registration fee for parents and students. Contact Richards for a copy of the fees schedule and further information at 304-293-3450 ext. 1121 or arichar@wvu.edu .