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September 5 1999
Tourette Syndrome Association, Inc. Archive
Detroit-East Michigan Chapter

Committee for Exceptional Children (CEC) Conference
Art Abbott

This Michigan body held its annual educational conference and state meeting in Grand Rapids in Early March. Its membership is open to all educators, but its major focus is special education in public schools. It is the single largest gathering of special education teachers, teacher consultants, school nurses, psychologists, social workers and any other teacher with an interest or need in special education, learning difficulties, etc.

For the second straight year, the 1,800 attendees were offered the chance to attend workshops and gain valuable information in dealing with and facilitating the learning process of children with Tourette Syndrome, ADHD, OCD and related disorders. Due to the high level of interest in TS, as witnessed by the SRO crowd at our first workshop in 1998, we were given a larger room and time for two workshops.

We also had the privilege of being assisted by Dr. Bernie Travnikar, Coordinator of Graduate Studies in Learning Disabilities at Madonna University. He is very highly respected in the special education field.

Your Chapter's presentation team included Vice-President Barb Schmatz, Support Director Michelle Bumbalough and President Art Abbott. The program was billed as a how-to, hands-on workshop for the classroom.

We used Dr. Travnikar to, literally, open the eyes and ears of this audience to hear the TS message from the presenters as parents. His remarks introduced and endorsed our presentation. He made a strong case for the expanding needs in special education and the role each teacher plays in the success of each child. Thank you, Dr. Travnikar.

Our two hour long workshop played to standing room only. We had to turn away crowds again and the only complaints we heard were "Not long enough." and "Not a large enough room." Conference organizers noted the zealous interest in TS by the teachers and we can hope that next year will find us in an even larger room with more time to educate the educators in the special needs of the TS child.



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