2011 Program

We're excited to announce an excellent line up of 2011 Courage to Risk conference keynote and invited speakers.

Click here to see the 2011 Handouts

Click here for the Program Schedule

Keynote Speaker:

Christi Kasa-Hendrickson, Ph.D.
Christi Kasa-Hendrickson, Ph.D. is an Associate Professor in the Department of Education at the University of Colorado. Her teaching, research, and consulting are guided by her passion to create successful inclusive schools. Christi teaches both graduate and undergraduate classes focusing on differentiated instruction, best practice for inclusive schooling, and communication strategies for people with significant disabilities. Christi began her career teaching in the public schools of California as a general education teacher, special education teacher, and an inclusion facilitator. Her expertise is in the area of supporting students with significant disabilities to access general education curriculum and engage in meaningful participation in the inclusive classroom.

Christi's published works have appeared in The Journal of the Association for People with Severe Handicaps, The International Journal for Inclusive Education, and the American Education Research Journal. Christi has also co-produced the 2002 documentary Inside the Edge: A journey to using speech through typing. She is the recipient of the TASH Image Award and the University Book and Supply Outstanding Teacher Award.

Invited Speakers:

Wilson Buswell
Wilson Buswell is a co-instructor with Christi Kasa-Hendrickson at the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs in the Education Department. Wilson is a self-advocate with cerebral palsy who primarily uses his eyes and typing to communicate. Wilson particularly likes teaching at the university because "Being influential in college lets me kill lies about disability," (Wilson Buswell, 2007). He is passionate about justice and equality issues and regularly participates in leadership activities and conferences related to these topics. Wilson loves adventures, especially things like river rafting, traveling, provocative lectures, and art and music festivals, including the annual Burning Man Festival in Black Rock City, Nevada. Wilson is also a son, a brother, and a great friend.
Judi Dodson, M.A.
Judi Dodson, M.A., is a national LETRS trainer, who works with teachers and administrators of primary, intermediate, and secondary students. She served for 20 years as a special education teacher, primarily with children with reading problems, and as an educational consultant performing diagnostic assessment of learning disabilities. Judi is currently working on writing activities that can help classroom teachers develop and enhance their students' oral language skills.

Judi consults with schools, state departments of education, and school districts on issues related to school change, teacher knowledge, and literacy achievement. She speaks at conferences and gives workshops on topics related to reading intervention and activities that support increasing student achievement. Judi believes that working to empower teachers with knowledge about literacy can make a real difference in their work and help them change and enrich the lives of the children they teach.
Dan Florell, Ph.D.
Dr. Dan Florell is an Assistant Professor in the School Psychology Program at Eastern Kentucky University. He has a Ph.D. in School Psychology from Illinois State University and is a licensed psychologist. Dr. Florell has worked for several years as a school psychologist in the public schools and as a licensed psychologist in private practice. He has significant experience with bullying interventions in schools at all age levels and is a nationally known presenter on cyberbullying.
Diane German, Ph.D.
Diane German is a Professor at National-Louis University, Chicago, Illinois. She is holder of the Endowed Chair in Special Education; funded to support her research in Word Finding. She is an ASHA fellow and a fellow of the International Academy for Research in Learning Disabilities. She has conducted research in Word Finding, published many articles, presented many technical papers, and conducted numerous state, national, and international seminars in the area of Word Finding. She is the author of the standard in Word Finding assessment: the Test of Word Finding - Second Edition (TWF-2), the Test of Adolescent/Adult Word Finding (TAWF), and the Test of Word Finding in Discourse (TWFD). Further, she has authored the Word Finding Intervention Program, Second Edition (WFIP-2 ), a book that provides intervention procedures in Word Finding and a user friendly trades book, It's on the Tip of My Tongue, Word Finding Strategies To Remember Names and Words You Often Forget.
Jane Healy, Ph.D.
Teacher and educational psychologist, Jane Healy has worked with students' learning differences from autism to dyslexia to giftedness (and often more than one of these per child!). Her research has sought practical applications of brain research for teachers and parents. Experience includes classroom teacher, reading/learning specialist, elementary administrator, college professor, and clinician. International media coverage highlighted her ideas about how technology, media and culture affect children's brain development and learning.

Award-winning books include: Your Child's Growing Mind, Endangered Minds, and Failure to Connect. Her newest book is Different Learners: Identifying, Preventing, and Treating Your Child's Learning Problems.
Mary E. Morningstar, Ph.D.
Dr. Mary E. Morningstar is an associate professor in the Department of Special Education at the University of Kansas and Director of the Transition Coalition, a research and training center for the transition to adulthood and secondary special education for youth with disabilities. The Transition Coalition is designed to maximize transition professional development at national, state and local levels through online training and technical assistance.

She directs the KU TranCert, (an online graduate certificate program in transition) and teaches several classes related to secondary education and transition including vocational training and employment, and interagency and community services,. Her research interests have focused on teacher education, online instruction, and supporting young adults with disabilities and their families during the transition to adult life.

Prior to moving to Kansas, she worked as a teacher for students with moderate and severe disabilities. Through the active involvement of families, her programs have reflected functional, community-based practices with an emphasis on inclusion in the mainstream of school life. Mary has been an active advocate for all persons with disabilities based on her experiences as a sibling of a brother with disabilities.
Ed Steinberg, Ph.D.
Ed Steinberg, Ph.D. is Assistant Commissioner of Education for the Colorado Department of Education and the State Director of Special Education. A clinical psychologist by training, Ed's experience includes working as a school psychologist and as a consultant to courts and county human service departments. He has also served as a 16 year school board member for Kiowa Schools. a rural district in eastern Colorado. Prior to joining Colorado state government in 2006, he was most recently the Executive Director of Special Education for the Cherry Creek Schools.
William Van Cleave
Currently, William Van Cleave is in private practice as a teacher trainer and educational consultant. A nationally recognized speaker, he has presented across the country on teaching strategies for students with language-based learning difficulties. Since 1995, William has conducted presentations and workshops at a number of public and private schools and conferences around the country. He has trained teachers in the Orton-Gillingham Approach, written expression, morphology, and spelling strategies. Because of his high level of enthusiasm and energy, William particularly enjoys working with groups, whether it is visiting a school and sharing with its faculty or presenting at a national conference. His particular passions are written expression and morphology.

In 2004, William published the first edition of Everything You Want To Know & Exactly Where To Find It, a reference manual for Orton- Gillingham teachers and tutors. That publication was followed by a number of multisensory teaching materials.

During his career as a teacher, William tutored, taught literature and math, and held several administrative posts in the private school arena. He now tutors students using the Orton-Gillingham Approach. William received his B.A. in English and Women's Studies from The College of Wooster and earned his M.A. in English from S.U.N.Y. New Paltz.
Bradley S. Witzel, Ph.D.
Bradley S. Witzel, PhD, is an award winning professor and teacher. As a classroom teacher and before that as a paraeducator he worked in multiple secondary settings teaching mainly math and science to high achieving students with disabilities. Dr. Witzel received his B.S. in psychology and special education from James Madison University and his M.Ed. and Ph.D. from the University of Florida. He currently serves as an associate professor and coordinator of three special education programs at Winthrop University, South Carolina's flagship teacher preparation university. In higher education, Dr. Witzel has taught undergraduate and graduate courses in special and general education methods as well as a variety of other courses from transition to behavior support. He has written multiple research and practitioner articles, books and book chapters and performed on several research and practitioner videos on improving education. Recently, he served as a reviewer of the final report of the National Math Panel and served as a panelist on the IES RtI Math Practice Guide.