The Next Generation of Freedom and Self-Determination: Youth in Transition

Date: Thursday, April 16, 2015
Special Education Transition Services are designed to facilitate the movement of the child from school to post-school activities based on the individual child’s needs, taking into account the child’s strengths, preferences and interests.
20 USC 140(34) The individualized transition plan is an opportunity to not only focus on development of employment and independent living skills but also to build and practice self-determination. Why then are so many parents being told to consider guardianship and deny their child’s right to fully participate in the IEP development?

Supported Decision-Making and Youth in Transition Presentation Presentation
Supported Decision-Making and Youth in Transition Presentation Handouts
Supported Decision-Making and Youth in Transition Transcript
Pamela Downing-Hosten, Office of Specialized Instruction, District of Columbia Public Schools
Jonathan Martinis, Legal Director, Quality Trust for Individuals with Disabilities
Dr. Pamela R. Downing-Hosten holds a B.A. in Elementary Education, a M.A. in Human Development/Special Education and an Ed.D. in Educational Leadership. She has over 35 years in the field of both general and special education serving as a Teacher, Coordinator, Director of Special Education, and Assistant Superintendent of Student Services. She has served taught Master’s and Doctoral level students and served, as an expert witness for both general and special education matters.

Pamela is knowledgeable of research-based practices used to teach students with disabilities while closing the achievement gap. Managing a $340 million dollar budget for Special Education, Dr. Downing-Hosten led students toward double-digit gains in both reading and mathematics by utilizing innovative strategies and blended resources.

Currently, Dr. Downing-Hosten is leading major reform in the District of Columbia Public Schools with a targeted focus on Secondary Transition, the Transfer of Educational Rights, and Supported Decision Making. She has also designed Secondary Transition curricula that are aligned with Common Core State Standards. Her work on modifying the standards for students to earn a Certificate of Individualized Education Program Completion has increased the number of students earning a Standard High School Diploma.

Jonathan Martinis, is the Legal Director for Quality Trust for Individuals with Disabilities and the Project Director, National Resource Center for Supported Decision-Making. He has over 20 years’ experience representing people with disabilities in cases under the Americans with Disabilities Act, The Rehabilitation Act of 1973, The Social Security Act and other civil rights laws. In 2013, he represented Margaret “Jenny” Hatch in the “Justice for Jenny” case, which held that Ms. Hatch has a right to use Supported Decision-Making instead of being subjected to a permanent, plenary guardianship. He also represented the plaintiffs in Brinn, et al. v. Tidewater Regional Transportation District, the first case to hold that people with disabilities have a right to paratransit transportation on a next-day basis, and Winborne, et al. v. Virginia Lottery, which held that the Lottery must ensure that premises selling Lottery tickets, including private businesses, are accessible to people with disabilities.