Illinois Teachers of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing
56th Annual Conference - Springfield, Illinois
March 5th-7th, 2020
For a downloadable link for the Keynote Summaries and Breakout Summaries, click HERE
Keynote Speaker Friday March 6, 2020
Donna Morere, Phd. Gallaudet University
Language and Literacy through Multiple Pathways
Donna Morere, Ph.D. has been involved in research and services with deaf and hard of hearing
individuals for over three decades. She has been a faculty member in the Clinical Psychology
Program at Gallaudet since August, 1990. In addition to her teaching and research activities, Dr.
Morere offers Clinical Neuropsychology services to individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing
with a focus on children with complex special needs, primarily those affecting language
development. These include deaf children with primary language disorders, nonverbal learning
disabilities, and/or ADHD. She also serves deaf children with learning disabilities and other
complex sets of needs, such as those with multiple sensory, physical, and/or cognitive
challenges. Dr. Morere provides consultative services to schools, families, and professionals
from a range of fields on the above topics, and has offered workshops at professional meetings,
outreach conferences, and schools on neuropsychological assessment of deaf individuals, reading
skill development of deaf children, and the assessment and management of deaf children with
Keynote Speaker Saturday March 7, 2020
SIGNing the Song: You Have Changed My Life
Bio: A native of Denver, William Martinez earned his Bachelor Degree in Musical Theatre from
the University of Northern Colorado. After graduating, he moved to Los Angeles, to pursue his
acting/singing career. He has stayed in LA to enjoy the sunshine ever since! He is currently
touring the educational market with his presentation SIGNing the Song: You Have Changed My
Life inspiring teachers to remember how incredible their impact is on their students. SIGNing the
Song combines American Sign Language (ASL) with song and shares his inspirational story of
growing up in a deaf household, discovering music, and celebrating the massive impact that one
teacher had on his life. He also introduces how ASL in the classroom can create a new and
effective way for teachers to communicate with their students. He is extremely honored to have
SIGNing the Song: You Have Changed My Life be the DVD companion to one of the most
successful educational books on the market: The First Days of School: How to Become an
Effective Teacher (Fifth Edition) by Harry and Rosemary Wong. In fact, the DVD has won many
awards including two Telly Awards for ‘Motivational Non-Broadcast Video’ and multiple AVA
Digital Awards including the platinum award for ‘On-Camera Talent’ award for William as a
Motivational Speaker! The highest award given!
In addition to his speaking engagements, William is also a professional actor/singer with many
impressive credits and awards under his belt. His theatrical version of SIGNing The Song won a
Broadway World award in 2018! He toured Thank You for The Music: A Modern Tribute to
ABBA across the nation and sailed the high seas as the Lead Male Singer on Silversea Cruises
performing Opera, Broadway, Pop, Jazz, and other musical styles (along with showcasing
SIGNing the Song). Previous to those productions, William originated the role of Bean’s Dad in
Ivy and Bean at South Coast Repertory and Jason in Ordinary Days at the Victory Theatre in LA.
He has also performed in Hunchback of Notre Dame (Sacramento Music Circus, La Mirada
Performing Arts Center), Parade, Little Mary Sunshine, No No Nannette, Superman, Street
Scene, Blood Brothers, High Fidelity, Titanic (Musical Theatre Guild), Secret Garden, Once
Upon a Mattress, City of Angels, 110 in the Shade, Bells Are Ringing, Kismet (Musical Theatre
West Reiner), Big River (Taper), Big River and Oliver! (Deaf West Theatre), Back to Bacharach
(Sierra Rep), Forever Plaid (Little Theatre of the Rockies), Plaid Tidings (Laguna Playhouse),
Sweeney Todd (Gold Coast) and many other musical shows. He has performed for countless
award shows, honor galas and charity events (including the Paul Newman’s SeriousFun for
children). He has done film, TV, voiceovers, and sings backup for Kristin Chenoweth whenever
she is in the Los Angeles Area. He loves to give back to the community by performing for
elementary school kids with Musical Theatre West, Musical Theatre Guild, and New West
Symphony and is a proud member of Actors Equity. William thanks his wonderful family for
their endless love and support. ILY!
Breakout Session Summaries
Experiencing School as a "Whole" Student
The purpose for my presentation is to share about my son’s hearing loss as he was born with full
hearing and then a decline in his early years and how this made an impact in his school setting
experience transitioning from a hearing student to a student with hearing loss in the public school
mainstream setting during his pre-k through kindergarten years (5 total) which eventually led
into enrollment at the Illinois School for the Deaf, now in his 6th year. Impact of experiences
will include areas such as social, academic, and communication.
Thanks McCue, I Can't Get This Song Out of My Head!
This Make and Take session will allow participants to work in groups to create lyrics, props and
movements to familiar childhood tunes to use in EI sessions and school lessons. These songs will
be shared on a Drive document for all participants to use in their daily work. This fun and
interactive breakout session will incorporate Early Intervention Principles, Early Learning
Standards in the Arts and research on music and learning.
A Vision of Best Practices for Itinerants
Cheri Sinnott, ISRC
This session provides itinerant teachers with an opportunity to connect with other itinerants to
discuss best practices. Interest groups will include High School/ Transition; Elementary; Deaf
Plus; Self Advocacy; and Early Childhood. Participants will join discussion groups of their
choice to identify what's working and what's needed for students who are Deaf and students who
are Hard of Hearing.
Utilizing Credentials in CTE & Student Work Experience Programs for Transition Students
Jill Bruington, Penny Sagez, James Hatfield, Sherie Trace
This presentation will give educational professionals an understanding of how to utilize
credentials with students related to Career & Technical Education courses, work experience
programs, and transition planning. Various credentials are implemented into the Nutrition &
Culinary Arts, Care and Service Occupations, and Introduction to Technology and Engineering
(Industrial) courses at the Illinois School for the Deaf (ISD). These credentials are then applied
to the Student Work Experience (SWE) program at the Illinois School for the Deaf (ISD) and to
student transition plans.
Socialization Skills for Students who are Deaf/Hard of Hearing
Because of delayed language and fewer opportunities for incidental learning, social skills don’t
just happen for students who are D/HH. Even mild or temporary hearing loss can delay the
development of social skills. Ways of approaching socialization and social skills training will be
discussed. Strategies for achieving social inclusion in a variety of settings are offered, including
community activities, school activities, peer groups, recreation opportunities, etc. The value of a
mentor or role model who is D/HH is discussed. The presenter’s daughter is now a senior in
high school. Personal accounts of socialization successes/struggles are included in this session.
A Day in the Life of a Parent: What’s it really like Raising a Deaf Kid?
There are reality shows about dance moms, bachelors, bachelorette's, Models, even Kardashians.
Where is the show about Raising a Deaf kid? It could be a show with a running time of 18 years.
This session will give you a peak at the day in the life of a parent who has walked this walk for
18 years! Did the parent make the right choices, do the right things, advocate enough, push
enough, model enough, or just do enough? Only time will tell, come and learn what it’s like for
IDEA & Advocacy, Protecting the Parent/School Relationship
What makes a parent a successful advocate for the Deaf/HH child? What helps a professional
understand what a parent is going through? Legal protection is available for parents of children
with disabilities; sadly not all parents are aware of it. This presentation offers both parents and
professionals the basics to successfully work with schools for their child’s educational future.
Protection of the parent/school relationship is the most important aspect of successfully
advocating for a child with disabilities. Professionals can easily educate parents in this model of
parent/school relationship building without jeopardizing their position.
Bait 'Em, Hook 'Em and Reel 'Em In
A masterpiece of art! RK Day! Playdough! American Revolution battlefields! Bugs! Are you
“hooked” yet? Learn how to grab your students’ attention and keep it by thinking a bit outside
the box when it comes to your lessons. As Dave Burgess says, “Don’t plan a lesson. Create an
Foundations of Literacy for Students Who are Deaf/Hard of Hearing
This presentation will introduce participants to the Foundations for Literacy curriculum for Deaf
and Hard of Hearing students. Foundations for Literacy is a one-of-a-kind curriculum developed
specifically for preschool and kindergarten aged students who are deaf or hard of hearing. It is
designed to be implemented in a self-contained setting. I will discuss strategies for
implementation in an itinerant model and will share information regarding available resources as
Planning for the Future After High School
Tina Childress, Au.D.
Transition Planning is a part of every student’s IEP. Whether they go straight to the military,
workforce or continue with post-secondary education, a plan must be set in place so they can
succeed. This workshop will look at options, resources and questions to ask to ensure that our
students are on the right path.
Making an impact: Inservice ideas for educators and families
Tina Childress, Au.D.
Designing an impactful inservice is an art. You have a limited amount of time to help others
understand how being deaf or hard of hearing affects your student at home and in the classroom
setting. What tools and resources are out there? This workshop will demonstrate activities to
engage families, students and educators. You will also learn about some online resources
including sound simulations, pre-made templates and other printables. We will end the
workshop with an opportunity for you to share any resources not discussed.
"What's the Problem?" - Integrating SEL All Day, Everyday
Robin Cullen, Shannon Bohnert, and Ellie Trunk
Do you struggle with students who have challenging behavior? Our EC team has found that by
having a philosophy as to why students having challenging behavior drives not only how we
respond to challenging behavior but guides us in building classrooms that embed SEL all day
every day. Learn how to create proactive strategies by building structure, creating expectations,
and skill building. Your classroom will become calmer, and students will become more
empathetic and caring allowing more academic teaching to occur. When the occasional
meltdown happens, learn specific techniques for how to respond so that it resolves quickly.
Tried & True: Assessments That Work In the World of an Itinerant Teacher
Dana Lamkin, NBCT
Do assessments for EDCs make your head ache? Not sure which tests to use? This workshop
will help you to develop an eligibility report that will accurately reflect the student’s strengths
and weaknesses. Having accurate assessment information is crucial in order to develop an IEP
that will have a positive impact on your student’s growth in auditory skills and knowledge of
compensatory strategies that he/she can utilize when in a difficult listening situation. This
presentation will discuss assessments that can be used with students from Pre-K through high
school and how data from those assessments can inform your goal writing.
Trauma Symptoms Versus Disability
Have you noticed some odd behaviors in your students? Is it hard to know what these behaviors
stem from? We are ready to break down what trauma is and how to identify it in your students.
DHH students may present challenges with self regulating and positive social behaviors. The
root cause of these behaviors often have roots in traumatic experiences. Many negative behaviors
can be misinterpreted. We will discuss what to look for in a student and strategies to help with
student behaviors. The more we understand our students, the better we can serve them!
Tele-Itinerant Services for Children who are Deaf and Hard of Hearing
Uma Soman, Ph.D.
Many children who are deaf and hard of hearing (DHH) continue to require support from teacher
of DHH students in the school-age years. However, there is a critical shortage of teachers who
are specially trained to teach content areas while developing listening, language, and speech
skills that are essential for helping these students keep up. Our program implemented a pilot
project in which a teacher of DHH students provided language based academic support to school
age children via tele-conferencing platform. In this presentation we will share our experiences
with this project along with the perceptions of the students and families.
Cooking in the Classroom
Savannah Staff, Jamie Stone, Andrea Vazquez
Come join three special educators to learn about integrating cooking in the classroom and what it
can do for your students! During the presentation, we will discuss what academic and functional
skills can be targeted, share a variety of recipes, and brainstorm ways to fund the projects!
All Eyes on Student Identity and Self-Awareness
Emily Kulacz, Michelle Kendzora, Megan St. Peters, Christina Dalton
Where do you enVISION your students in 5 years, 10 years, 20 years? Do you want them to
LOOK BACK at their time with you and be able to confidently say they have a strong sense of
awareness and identity? Come take a LOOK at what a DHH program has to share related to
strategies, resources, and curricula (targeted for students from kindergarten through sixth grade).
Beyond DHH: Using UDL Strategies to Make the Classroom Accessible for All
Mainstream schools, by simple nature, tend to be restrictive for students who are deaf and hard
of hearing. Curricula, instruction, assessments and teaching tools tend to be developed without
all learners in mind. Educational, supplemental and extracurricular content must be equally
accessible to all students, but did you know that what may benefit students who are deaf and hard
of hearing may just benefit everyone? Universal Design for Learning (UDL) principles can be
incorporated to give all students an equal opportunity to learn. This presentation will provide
multiple UDL strategies within the physical classroom space, curriculum and instruction to
create flexible learning experiences to benefit a variety of learners.
Tech Tools for Everyone
Are you looking to add technology to your teaching? These tech tools are for everyone:
itinerants and classroom teachers. Learn how to improve communication with students and staff,
enhance your lectures, create interactive assessments, provide students a platform for
collaboration and discussion, and so much more.
Deaf with Disabilities in Preschool
Molly Herman, Ed.D., NBCT
As DHH student populations have changed over the years, self-contained classrooms have
adapted to meet the needs of students. This year I have taught 5 students who are deaf with
disabilities in a self-contained preschool setting. This presentation will share my experiences as
a professional who did research to decide how to set up a curriculum of what to teach and how to
teach students to best meet their needs in this diverse classroom. Implications for the birth to
three population related to how play and classroom structure intersect in a school setting will be
discussed. Practical strategies will be shared.
Illinois State Board of Education: Informational and Q&A Session
This session will provide educators on the role of the Low Incidence Principal Consultant with
ISBE, services and resources provided by ISBE, and a chance for educators to engage in a
question and answer dialogue. The goal of the presentation is to make educators aware of
information and support offered by ISBE and to help clarify questions or concerns brought forth
Vocational Rehabilitation in 2020 and Beyond
DHS-DRS is a state agency that provides vocational rehabilitation (VR) services in Illinois. VR
is funded by the U.S. Department of Education. VR agencies throughout the country are
required to comply with the Workforce Innovation and Opportunities Act (WIOA). This
requires us to invest in youth of transition age. We will be going over the WIOA and Pre-
Employment Transitions Services (PTS). General information about VR services will also be
Bone Conduction Devices for Children with Microtia and Aural Atresia
Lurie Children's Audiology Team
Jen Haney, MA, DT-H, Denise Thomas, Au.D., CCC-A
This presentation will include information regarding appropriate bone conduction hearing
technology, management of hearing loss, and device wearing options. Surgical technique and
workup will be briefly described. Emphasis will be on understanding devices and how to
maximize hearing potential for patients with aural atresia with maximal conductive hearing loss
Interactive Troubleshooting How to for Cochlear Implants
Lurie Children's Audiology Team
Jen Haney, MA, DT-H, Denise Thomas, Au.D., CCC-A
Members of the Lurie Children's Cochlear Implant Team will provide a brief overview of each of
the three cochlear implant manufacturers and their most current devices. The fundamental parts
of each device and basic function of a cochlear implant will also be discussed. Participants will
then be instructed on troubleshooting procedures and have an opportunity to practice on live
cochlear implant systems. Representatives from each company will be on hand to answer any
questions. This interactive workshop is a double breakout session.