Youth & Parent Summit

The Youth and Parent Summit is a three-day event held each June and sponsored by the Virginia Department of Education and the Partnership for People with Disabilities. Youth with disabilities from across the Commonwealth meet to network and discuss issues of importance to youth and young adults with disabilities.

This year, due to the travel restrictions and guidelines put in place by the governor, the event was moved online. This Virtual Summit followed a similar feel to the face-to-face events in that it included a welcome from VDOE representatives, sessions for youth which were prepared with the help from our state youth leaders, sessions for parents, a keynote address, an assistive technology lab, and exhibitor information focusing on Virginia resources for youth with disabilities.

The Virtual Summit took place during the week of June 8-12. All sessions and information will remain available through the summer to allow those who could not attend during the scheduled week to still access the information. The event is open to all who wish to participate, as self-determination skills are beneficial to all youth and adults. We hope you can participate in this exciting event!

***This event has now ended. However, all content and sessions are still available for you to participate if you weren’t able to go through them during the week of June 8-12. We encourage you to add to the discussion!

Youth Sessions

Monday – A Personal Exploration

Come explore your strengths, interests, preferences, and needs to learn more about you and self- determination. Youth leaders will engage you in interactive activities to help you gain a better understanding about yourself, and your finished product will be a tool you can share with teachers, parents, employers, and other students.

Tuesday – Good Day to Plan for a Good Day

Ever find yourself singing along to a song and it gets stuck in your head? Well in this session we are hoping to connect a song that will be the beginning of some fun ways to take a bad day and turn it around. We will share some tricks and tips on how to work through the ups and downs of a day knowing that you can change the outcome if you have the right tools. Join us as we share tools to identify what is in your circle of control and how a Good Day Plan can help you turn a day around. Hum along and explore how choices you make, people who care, and everyday routines can help you have a good day.

Wednesday – Speak into the Solution

Being able to advocate for your needs in complex social situations is an important part of being self-determined. In this virtual session, watch a video case study and interact with the thoughts, perspectives, and problem-solving skills of 6 different characters. You will be asked to become a part of the story while learning ways self-advocacy can influence problem-solving in challenging social situations. The hope is that you begin to develop a deeper understanding of self-advocacy and ways to communicate that positively impact problems occurring in social interactions.

Thursday – The Future is Yours

The future is yours and goals are what drive you there. Take a trip with the Youth Leaders and discover how to identify a goal and the steps necessary to reach that goal. We will explore a variety of tools designed to help you grow your goal-setting skills. Visualize the path to your future and continue your journey toward self- determination.

Every day – Explore a Virtual Assistive Technology (AT) Lab

Discover possible assistive technology tools for students in the areas of reading, writing, math, organization, sensory, and general AT. Learn where to go to find more resources.

Parent Sessions

Parent sessions will be available every day of the week. Feel free to decide which ones you go to. We encourage you to get to all of them at some point but realize it might be a challenge to go to a certain one on a specific day.

Alternatives to Guardianship

Dana Traynham, Senior Staff Attorney, disAbility Law Center of Virginia

Is guardianship the best or only option for individuals with disabilities as they enter adulthood? Come explore this topic and learn about alternatives to guardianship and why we should look at alternatives first. We will discuss different types of decision-making options for individuals who may need some assistance now or in the future (hint—this means everybody!)


VDOE Welcome to the I’m Determined Parent Summit

Hank Milward, VDOE  | (804) 301-1171

This presentation is a welcome to the I’m Determined Parent Summit and will include a few comments related to special education requirements during “distance learning” and a closing inspirational remark.


Supporting Self-Determination at Home

Dr. John McNaught, Principal Investigator-I’m Determined Project, James Madison University

John will discuss each of the 3 essential components of self-determination, offer the IMD youth leader’s perspective on each component, and discuss IMD tools and other strategies for parents to help support the development of each component at home and in the community. Video 1: Autonomy Video 2: Competence Video 3: Relatedness


Transition University – Who? What? When? How? and Why?

Tammy Burns, Family Support Specialist, PEATC | 800-869-6782 |

Life is full of transitions. For families of children with disabilities thinking about the future can bring mixed emotions. Some families are just trying to make it through day-to-day challenges and might not feel they have the energy to think about what happens after high school. Others may want to plan for that transition but are confused by unfamiliar language, complex steps, and the many agencies that may be involved in adult services. Transition University is a highly successful free online course that focuses on providing parent-friendly transition information to help make transition planning easier. This presentation will cover the Who? What? When? How? and Why of Transition University.


Comprehensive Transition Planning: Building the Trifecta

Sarah Bazemore, School Counseling Specialist and Student Assistance Systems Coordinator, Office of Student Services, Virginia Department of Education

Marianne Moore, Secondary Transition Specialist, Virginia Department of Education

A comprehensive transition plan is much more than just another page in your student’s IEP, it is a road map to their future. Learn about the components of this essential tool and how to increase its impact on your student’s education and beyond.


Lighting the Way – The Journey With Change

Mary Beth Walsh, Director of Children and Youth Programs with NAMI Virginia |

Becky Silvey parent, Virginia Family Network Parent Advisory Board Member, Family Navigator with VCU’s Center for Family Involvement/ Family To Family Program

Wade Rosado, Peer Recovery Specialist

Transition is just a fancy way of saying “change is happening” and for those who are living with disabilities, and their families, these times can be filled with excitement but also lead to anxiety due to stressors around the unknown. You are not alone! Join us for a conversation with a parent and young adult with lived experience who have walked this journey. Learn about resources and tips as well as challenges met along the way. Sometimes the best resource is hearing from someone who has navigated transition and can offer a guiding light.

Explore a Virtual Assistive Technology (AT) Lab

Discover possible assistive technology tools for students in the areas of reading, writing, math, organization, sensory, and general AT. Learn where to go to find more resources.

Keynote Address

Friday – Kantis Simmons

We highly encourage everyone to come on Friday to hear Kantis Simmons. Check out his bio here.

When: June 8-12, 2020 (All sessions are asynchronous, meaning, you can access them when it suits your schedule. You do not need to be online at a particular time of day to attend the sessions.)

Where: Online! Go to 

Who: Anyone! The Youth Sessions are created for youth 13-21 years old, and the parent sessions are created for parents, but all of the information is open to anyone.

There is no need to apply in order to participate in this Virtual Summit. To attend, head to the Virtual Summit site and go through any sessions that you are interested in.

Who can participate in the Virtual Youth and Parent Summit?


Do I need to apply?

There is no application for the Virtual Youth & Parent Summit. Simply head over to the Virtual Summit site to access the sessions.

What do I need in order to participate?

Enthusiasm, energy, and the willingness to get involved. Each session has an opportunity for you to learn new self-determination skills. Along with learning, there are opportunities to respond and share how you are putting what you learned into practice. We encourage you to participate as much as possible so that others can learn from you as well!

Make sure if you respond on social media, you add #IMDSummit to your response so that we receive it! There will be other ways to respond as well.

What time do I need to show up?

Anytime you want! The sessions are pre-recorded and do not require you to be online at a specific time. You can choose when you want to go through the sessions.


For all other questions, feel free to send a message to

What is the I’m Determined Parent Summit?
The I’m Determined Parent Summit is normally a three-day networking and learning event for parent(s)/guardian(s) of youth who apply and are accepted to attend the I’m Determined Youth Summit. This year, the Parent Summit is taking place online, as part of the Virtual Summit. The Parent Summit has been hosted by the Center for Family Involvement since 2008. Nickie Brandenburger, director of the Family to Family Network, works with a team of Parent Leaders to plan sessions for parents of youth with disabilities. Make sure you watch the video below that she put together.

When and where can I access the Parent Sessions?
The Parent Sessions are housed on the Virtual Summit website under the “Parent Sessions” menu item. You do not need to be online at any particular time. All sessions have been pre-recorded so that you can go through them when it suits you.

Who can attend the Parent Sessions?

Does the Parent Summit cost anything?
No. This event is free for all who participate.

What do I need in order to participate in the Parent Sessions?
The main thing you need is some time set aside to work through the sessions. Each session is unique, so be sure to look at the topics and go to the ones that work for you! We encourage everyone to participate as much as possible and take advantage of any opportunities to respond virtually. Also, this is an opportunity to connect with other parents. If you wish, invite your spouse or call up another parent and go through a session together so that you can discuss some of the topics and questions together!


For all other questions, feel free to send a message to


How do I apply?
You do not need to apply to the Virtual Summit. All are welcome to participate.


For more information or questions, please contact: or reach out to us on Facebook or Twitter.

Days Until 2020 Virtual Youth & Parent Summit!