The Daily Item
MILTON — An annual Transition Conference was held recently for students with disabilities from Northumberland, Snyder and Union counties to prepare them for the transition to life after high school.
Last month, more than 240 students attended the conference at Bloomsburg University which included a keynote speaker and breakout sessions.
The keynote speakers were Diana Morris Smaglik, Gabriel Smaglik and Everett Deibler. Diana Morris Smaglik has been an advocate for disability rights, and is the marketing director for the Anthracite Region Center for Independent Living (ARCIL). Her son, Gabriel, developed a life-threatening seizure disorder and became developmentally disabled. Gabriel, who spoke about living with a disability and overcoming obstacles, is a volunteer with ARCIL.
Deibler is a community building coordinator at the Lehigh Valley Center for Independent Living and assists people with disabilities in finding community services. He spoke to the attendees about what it means to live with a disability and his involvement with the Pennsylvania Youth Leadership Network, a team of youth and adults with disabilities that promotes successful post-school outcomes.
Sixteen breakout sessions also provided attendees with additional learning opportunities. Some of this year’s topics were employer expectations, job coaching, social media, assistive technology and information about higher education opportunities.
The Dr. Cynthia Schloss Transition Education Award was presented to Tina Hans, a senior attending SUN Area Technical Institute. The award, created to honor the memory of Dr. Schloss, is awarded annually to a student who is nominated by his or her teacher and has “a strong work ethic and commitment to preparation for adult life.”
Students from the CSIU’s Work Foundations + program joined their peers from Lewisburg Area, Midd-West, Mifflinburg Area, Milton Area and Selinsgrove Area school districts, as well as SUN Area Technical Institute. Work Foundations+ is a program that provides hands-on vocational training in real work surroundings for students with special needs. Students attend on a full-time or supplemental basis and develop work ethic and employment skills, and receive assistance with transition from school to work.
The Central Susquehanna Intermediate Unit (CSIU) has been co-sponsoring the annual conference since 1999. This year’s conference was co-sponsored by the Union-Snyder Transition Coordinating Council.