Holistic Approach to Inclusivity



8:00-8:30 am Registration

8:30-10:00 am Speaker: Georgia Stevenson Holmes

10:00-10:15 Break

10:15-11:15 Speaker: Dr. Margaret Flores

11:15-12:30 pm Lunch in Café (Please pick up voucher to receive your free meal)

12:30-1:00 Speaker: Margaret Flores

1:00-2:30 Speaker: Sonia Martin

2:30-3:30 Speaker: Dr. Nick Derzis & Crystal Smith




Georgia Stevenson Holmes

Georgia Stevenson Holmes is a native of Montgomery. She received her undergraduate degree in Early Childhood Special Education (birth-8) from Auburn University and obtained a Master’s degree from Auburn University in Montgomery in the area of Elementary Special Education. Georgia has been an employee of the Montgomery Public School system for 13 years. She began her career teaching a self-contained Language unit (K-3) for seven years. These classrooms focus on assisting children with Autism Spectrum Disorders. She then became the Transition Coordinator for the Special Education central office staff, where she oversaw all self-contained classes K-12; she assisted all MPS teachers and staff working with students with Autism Spectrum Disorders. After the birth of her second child, she began teaching as an itinerant special education preschool teacher, for children ages 3-5. Her passion is working with students and families with Autism Spectrum Disorders and advocating for inclusive programs within the community. She lives in Montgomery with her husband Dustin, and three children: Suzanne (7), Burton (6), and Vreeland (1).


Presentation Title: Inclusive Strategies for Preschool Students

Abstract: Current trends in the education of individuals with special needs acknowledge the importance of inclusion of the student in the general education system. Needs of preschool students are completely individual at any age, particularly in the areas of cognition, language and social development. It is especially evident in the cases of children with special education needs. Preschool teachers face serious challenges when they teach children with diverse abilities in the same environment. Teachers are the most important component in the success of inclusive services and should be prepared to teach in general education environments that include children both with and without special needs. Effective and functional inclusion strategies are provided to assist teachers working in an inclusive classroom.

Dr. Margaret Flores

Margaret Flores is a professor at Auburn University in the area of special education. Before earning her doctoral degree at Georgia State University, she taught students with disabilities in resource and self-contained settings in the Atlanta area. Her research interests include mathematics interventions for students who struggle.


Presentation Title: Teaching Beginning Fraction Standards with Conceptual Understanding

Abstract: Fraction knowledge predicts later mathematical development and success in areas such as algebra. Therefore, It is critical that students develop form conceptual knowledge of fractions including understanding and identification of fraction magnitude. This presentation will demonstrate interventions found to be effective for teaching fraction concepts to elementary student who struggle or have disabilities. These include: (a) decomposition of fractions into units to solve word problems, (b) multiple representations of equivalent fractions and decimals in tenths and hundreds, and (c) showing how to make and use equivalent fractions. Session attendees will learn how to use manipulatives, pictures, drawing, and number lines to engage students and assist them in their development of conceptual understanding.


Sonia Martin

Sonia is a licensed clinical social worker, PIP, a TBRI Practitioner and holds a Bachelor’s and Master’s degree in Social Work. Her clinical focus is on helping parents and professionals understand the role of the brain in behavior, and how to adopt therapeutic parenting techniques to help mitigate negative behaviors. Additionally, she trains family court judges, GAL’s, and DHR attorneys on measuring bonding and attachment and how to decide best placement for a child in care. She has been invited to speak at the International Symposium on Child Abuse by the National Children’s Advocacy Center, the Judicial Summit on behalf of Casey Family Programs, the Alabama Conference of Social Workers, and DHR Directors Conference.  In addition, she has provided keynote addresses at various other conferences in the southeast using a blend of humor and poignancy as she addresses current best practice for the players in the field of child welfare. She also authors a monthly parenting column for five mainstream publications in Alabama. Florida and Georgia. Her current role is the Director of Central Alabama for Lifeline Children’s Services.


Presentation Title: Behavior 101- A Practical Guide to Lying, Cheating, Stealing, Manipulation/Need for Control, Violence, Aggression and Hoarding

Abstract: Training will explore both biological and behavioral causation of “typical” trauma behaviors in children and give participants practical evidence based strategies to mitigate negative behaviors. Training will identify basic brain structure and their accompanying role in behavior. Demonstrate sensory components that can be effectively implemented into a child’s environment. Analyze individual behavior and offer evidence based strategies to mitigate negative behaviors based on the work of Dr. Dan Siegal and Dr. Karyn Puvis and the work of the Dr. Karyn Purvis Institute of Child Development. Participants will be able to identify and understand basic brain structure and function and understand the role of the brain in behavior. Participants will begin to understand therapeutic parenting and how it differs from parenting children that have not been exposed to trauma. Participants will understand sensory components and their role in helping to biologically treat children from hard places. A full-simulated sensory child’s bedroom will be on display.


Dr. Nick Derzis

Dr Derzis is the Interim Director at Auburn Transition Leadership Institute and holds the rank of associate clinical professor in the rehabilitation counseling program at Auburn University. Dr. Derzis earned his bachelors degree from Troy University in Troy Alabama, a masters degree in rehabilitation counseling from Auburn University, and a PhD in rehabilitation and special education from Auburn University.


Crystal Smith

Crystal Smith is the outreach coordinator for Auburn Transition Leadership Institute. She holds a master’s degree in rehabilitation counseling from the University of Kentucky, with over nineteen years of experience counseling and providing transition services to youth and young adults with disabilities. Crystal is passionate about building brighter futures for youth and young adults with disabilities through the improvement of transition practices, programs and policies in Alabama and beyond.


Presentation Title: Transition Unlimited Initiative in Alabama

Abstract: This Alabama pre‐employment transition services (Pre‐ETS) initiative was designed to build capacity and connect services to appropriately implement pre‐employment transition services throughout the state. Session attendees will learn more about the initiative and transition resources that are utilized throughout the state.

This is a free event. You must register to attend.
A meal will be provided in the cafeteria in the Student Commons building on Faulkner’s campus.

Contact Mrs Nichole Fussell, Director of Disability Services for any questions at nfussell@faulkner.edu.