Stop Waiting & Start Planning at ’17 Transition Symposium on 3/18

The Howard County Autism Society (HCAS) as part of the Transition Outreach Partnership will host the 2017 Transition Symposium on Saturday, March 18, 2017  for youth with disabilities as they begin their post-high school search for employment and education.  The event will be held from 8am – 4:30pm at Cedar Lane School, 11630 Scaggsville Road, in Fulton, MD.
The day-long conference offers parents, caregivers, professionals, and transitioning youth with developmental and physical disabilities an opportunity to learn about a wide variety of transition-related topics.
“This year’s event features a plenary panel of parents whose children have successfully navigated the transition from high school, and an update on Maryland State disability policy and initiatives,” said Patrick Boxall, Vice President of HCAS. “With an expanded menu of 24 different sessions designed for a general audience, or specifically for transitioning youth, the symposium will benefit novices to the transition process as well as those in need of guidance on particular issues.”

The symposium will offer a plenary session and several breakout workshops throughout the day led by experts in the areas of finance, education, law, disabilities, and healthcare. Some sessions will be geared toward a general office, some to youth, and others will target both groups.   Planned general workshop topics include: IEP Planning for Transition, Post-Secondary Vocational Training Programs, Disability Support Services on the Post-Secondary Level, DDA Eligibility and Services, Self-Employment, Assistive Technology for Transition, Social Security Benefits, Guardianships, and Supported Decision Making.   Planned transitioning youth workshops will explore such topics as Public Transportation, Dating and Relationships, Self-advocacy, Cooking, Social Media, Driving, Money Management, and Micro-Enterprises.

Guest speakers include County Executive Allan H. Kittleman and Maryland Department of Disabilities Secretary Carol Beatty.

The Transition Symposium is an event of the Transition Outreach Partnership, a collaborative effort of HCAS, Howard County Public School System, Howard County Government, and Accessible Resources for Independence, Inc. It receives support from the Governor’s Interagency Transition Council for Youth with Disabilities (IATC) and the Maryland Developmental Disabilities Council (MDDC).

The cost to attend the symposium is $25 for registration prior to March 10 and $35 per person after. Admission is $10 for transitioning youth ages 14-24.  Registration is online at  For more information, contact Janet Dabu at 410-290-3466 or

Middle School Workgroup on Autism

Report and Recommendations
Howard County Autism Society and Howard County Public School System

In June 2014, a workgroup was formed to address concerns from parents, the Special Education Community Advisory Committee (SECAC), and the Howard County Autism Society (HCAS) with regard to the middle school experience for students with autism. 

The Purpose of the workgroup was to evaluate the program needs of students with autism and related disabilities in middle school and to make recommendations for systemic change aligned with the HCPSS Vision 2018 strategic plan and the Bridge to Excellence Act. In each document, students—including those with disabilities—are to be given access to rigorous curriculum and highly qualified teachers. According to HCPSS, its vision is that “every student is inspired to learn and empowered to excel.”

The Need for this workgroup was agreed upon by the Department of Special Education and families. The increasing number of students with autism in Howard County Public Schools and the intensity of their needs were growing concerns among educators and parents. In addition to the intensity of student needs, a primary concern was improving professional
development with regard to teaching and including students with autism and related

The Goals of the workgroup were to:
1. Collect comprehensive data on the current middle school landscape;
2. Determine barriers to a successful middle school experience for students with autism;
3. Formulate recommendations for systemic change that are evidence-based and feasible.

Read the full Middle School Workgroup on Autism Report and Recommendations