Transition Summit

The Transition Summit is New Hampshire’s statewide transition conference featuring high-quality professional development and family education on supporting youth with disabilities and their families with the transition to postsecondary education, employment, and independent living.

2024 Summit News

Unfortunately, due to a change in funding, there will NOT be a Transition Summit in 2024. The Statewide Transition Community of Practice is looking at other ideas to share professional development around our state.

2023 Summit Highlights

Workshops, speakers and practical tips and tools for helping New Hampshire students with disabilities achieve post-school success. 

The 2023 Transition Summit was:

Different Paths: Each Journey is Unique 
Nurturing All Students to Help Them Flourish

Thursday, November 16, 2023
Grappone Center in Concord, NH


8:00 am  Professional Path Check-in

8:30 am  Welcome and “What Works” Info Session

10:00-11:15  Spotlight sessions A

11:15-12:00  Lunch

12:00 pm  Spotlight sessions B

1:15 pm  Family Focus Path Check-in

1:30 pm  Keynote speakers – “The Movement of Imperfection”

3:30 pm  Family Focus sessions 1

3:30-6:00 pm  Refreshments available

6:00 pm  End of Summit

Spotlight sessions offer practices, topics, tips and tools for professionals involved in secondary transition planning for student with disabilities.

Family focus sessions offer access to a range of vendors and sessions related to specific transition needs a student or young person may have.

Our keynotes speakers were Gina Gallagher and Patricia Terrasi, authors of Shut Up About Your Perfect Kid: A Survival Guide for Ordinary Parents of Special Children.  Shut Up Sisters website.

Vendors from a range of services and supports were at the Transition Fair throughout the afternoon.

Registration details and link

Option 1: $100 Professional Path

This path is designed with professionals working with transition-age students in mind. It’s open to families too, but they are not the primary audience. This is the event you remember if you’ve attended in the past.

  • Check-in beginning at 8 am
  • Program 8:30 am – 3:00 pm
  • Continental breakfast and lunch
  • Afternoon keynote speaker
  • Spotlight sessions and What Works Transition CoP meeting
  • Certificates of Attendance provided for this path only.
  • Continued access to the Transition Fair after 3:00 pm
  • Optional Family Focus sessions

Option 2: $25 Family Focus Path

This path was designed for those who wanted to join the event in the mid to late afternoon and offered access to a range of vendors and sessions related to specific transition needs a student or young person may have. When families connect to these resources early in the planning process, it can help make the process smoother and more practical.

  • Arrive by 1:15 pm if you wish to see the 1:30 keynote session
  • Family Focus sessions on a range of topics
  • Transition Fair and refreshments until 6:00 pm

Other information

  • Preregistration was required, no walk-in registration. 
  • New this year: an expanded Transition Fair and afternoon workshops for families.
  • Keynote was scheduled so that both professional and family path registrants can attend. Speakers Gina Gallagher and Patricia Terrasi will bring us The Movement of Imperfection.

Professional Path A- Sessions 10-11:15AM

These were designed with transition professionals in mind. Families were welcome too, just needed to be aware the presenter had a professional audience in mind. 

A1 Transition Planning with Charting the LifeCourse with Lesley Blecharczyk, Charting the LifeCourse Ambassador and Coach with the national Charting the LifeCourse Nexus
Come to this session to learn about applying Charting the LifeCourse concepts and tools to person-centered transition planning. Charting the Lifecourse is becoming well known across the country for its application in team planning that fosters student-led practices, transition assessment, and interagency collaboration. Charting the LifeCourse’s simple visual tools enhance conversations, planning and problem solving, and promote a common language that can be used by the student, family, schools and any connected formal and informal supporters. The outcome is customized, person-centered transition plans that meet transition requirements and most importantly, lead to the student’s pursuit of a Good Life.

A2 Engaging with the LGBTQIA+ Community with Seacoast Outright’s Community Education Team

This session creates a shared language of terminology relevant to the LGBTQ+ community and explores the role of inclusion on mental health outcomes. Participants are equipped with practical strategies to engage transition-age LGBTQ+ youth and their families, as well as folks in the broader community. Questions are encouraged throughout

A3 Preparing Students with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities for Post-Secondary Education with Ariel Swartz Research Assistant Professor at Institute on Disabiltiy at UNH and Director of UNH-4U
We will discuss options for postsecondary education and how to prepare for education after high school. We will also share resources for family members.

A4 Middle School Is Not Too Early: Using PCP to Guide IEP Development & Foster Collaborative Relationships w Families with Emily Corcoran, Special Educator, Case Manager; Mary Babineau, Speech Language Pathologist; Jess Bray, Parent; Kaily Roukey, Associate Director of Student Supports and Services
It is somewhat unique to have a middle school team discussing transition which historically takes place at high school. We see value in conducting PCP to help families navigate MS/HS and help us collaborate with families – ensuring it aligns with their goals and vision for their child. We use PCP as a launching point to develop IEP goals and services and to foster collaborative relationships with families. It has also helped to identify community resources we need to connect the family with, often sooner than later. We are adjusting and learning as we go but want to share our process and help you consider using PCP for IEP development and family collaboration.

A5 Flex Time for Interagency Collaboration/Regional Networking
First come first serve, check with registration for availability. We have limited private space available during this timeframe for your regional Interagency Collaboration/Regional Networking Needs.

Professional Path B- Sessions 12-1:15PM

These were designed with transition professionals in mind. Families were welcome too, just needed to be aware the presenter had a professional audience in mind. 

B1 The future of inclusive language: Not so “special” with Kelly Nye-Lengerman, Ph.D., MSW, Director, Institute on Disability University of New Hampshire and guests

Words and language influence our perception of the world. The term “special” is commonly used to describe people with disabilities and serves as a euphemism for less than or different. “Special needs.” “Special people.” “Special education.” It’s time to reexamine the words we use to ensure respect and equality. This panel will explore the social, cultural, personal, and professional perspectives on eliminating the word special to describe people with disabilities. NH Developmental Disabilities Act Partners are developing a statewide campaign to bring attention to the term and eliminate its use in describing people with disabilities.

This session will welcome the audience for a community conversation on what NH’s next steps can be to reduce and eliminate use of the term special. This panel will not have all of the right answers of where to go from here, but it will create space and opportunity to explore what it means promote respect, equity, and justice in with our words.

B2 Basics of the Intersection of Trauma, Neurodiversity and Gender Diversity in Youth Kelly Smith, LICSW (she/her); Training Director, Project ATTAIN
This training will offer an overview of the “triple intersection” of trauma, neurodiversity and gender diversity in youth. There is growing evidence that a significant number of individuals on vthe autism spectrum are transgender or more broadly LGBTQ+. Independently, the intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD) and LGBTQ+ populations are at greater risk for exposure to trauma and adversity. Individuals at the intersection of both of these identities are at greatest risk. This presentation will address the need to attune supports and care for the unique needs of individuals who are both neurodivergent and LGBTQ+. This training will provide some tips and suggestions for working with young people who identify in this population.

B3 Post-Secondary Options Mini-Fair with an introduction from Lynne Bacon, Coordinator of Accessibility Services at White Mountain Community College and Melissa Olson of Student Support Services at Manchester Community College, and NHTI- Concord’s Community College

Take this opportunity to explore our vendors who offer post-secondary education, training, support and readiness options, with many designed specifically for student in NH with disabilities.

B4 Visual Mapping Tools for Supporting Students and Families Through Transition with Patty Cotton, Training Facilitator
The intention of transition planning is not to simply meet required planning milestones dictated by regulation and policy, but to support the student and family to create a meaningful adult routine that is sustainable after graduation. Therefore, the process needs to be customized to suit the unique circumstances, priorities, and learning needs of each student, family and team working through it. Visual mapping tools offer adaptable structures that support focused-conversations. They can be used to help people assess strengths and needs, clarify a positive vision for life after school, discover opportunities and resources, and stay focused on working toward desired outcomes over time. This session will share visual tools and facilitation strategies for guiding students and families through transition planning.

B5 How to Use the Transition Plan to Develop Effective and Meaningful IEP Goals with Dawn Breault, Dawn Breault Ed.D, C.R.C, School Counselor/Transition Coordinator, Hollis Brookline High School
This session will cover how to use information gathered for the transition plan to develop IEP goals that are relevant, meaningful and robust. Industry standards and gap analyses will be discussed. Specifically how they help to support the development of meaningful IEP goals that translate to the key supports and services students will benefit from.

These were designed with families in mind. Professionals were welcome too, just needed to be aware the presenter had a family audience in mind. 

C-1 “The Road We Travel: Youth Transition Perspectives” with YEAH Council members
Join the YEAH Council (Youth for Education, Advocacy, and Healthcare) for a discussion on healthcare and transition. We’ll start with a video collaboration of members voices and stories followed by a panel with our YEAH Council members. Audience engagement encouraged!
Bring your questions and share what you’d like to learn more about from youth who’ve traveled many roads on this journey.

C-2 Guardianship vs. Supported Decision Making with Terry Ohlson-Martin, NHFV Director
Guardianship and Supported Decision Making: What exactly are each of these things? Is there a big difference? How do I decide what’s best? If I choose one way, can it ever be changed? Who really gets to decide? How would each one of them work? There is a lot to consider when making this decision, so join us to learn more about your options.

C-3 Visual Mapping Tools to Help Families Drive Transition Plans and Activities with Patty Cotton, Training Facilitator
Families have a critical role in ensuring a successful transition from high school to adulthood. While schools and agencies play an important part in the process, it is in a supporting role, not a central decision-making role. For any young adult, decisions about which post-school options to pursue, and the types of activities and supports that will be most meaningful, need to be made by students and their families. Figuring out how to approach transition planning can feel overwhelming. Visual mapping tools offer user-friendly structures that can be used to support collaboration as plans evolve. They are designed to encourage creative thinking, plan strategic actions, and can help people stay focused and on track over time.

C-4 What is the Office of the Child Advocate? With Cassandra Sanchez, The Child Advocate, and Jennifer Jones, Assistant Child Advocate

The Office of Child Advocate is an independent agency intended to provide oversight to all child-serving executive branch state agencies, along with State-certified or -contracted child-serving providers.

Our mission is to serve the best interests of children in the state of New Hampshire, particularly those who are involved with state agencies. Our Assistant Child Advocates, who operate in an ombudsmen function, often meet directly with children in residential care, foster care, and at community events.

The Office fields inquiries from anyone who has concerns about our child-serving systems, either globally or a specific case, on a confidential basis via email or phone inquiry. Our mission leads us to serve on any number of State and community commissions, study committees, workgroups etc., as well as work with the Legislature, community leaders, and advocacy groups, to address systemic issues and change. We are also tasked with educating the public, legislature, and the governor about issues pertaining to children, how to navigate complex government systems, the research on child and brain development, and children’s best interest.
In this session we will share more about our office statute, work completed by the office in the past year, issues we are following and advocating for, and ways in which we can assist you.

C-5 Sharing Mental Health Resources and a Message of Hope for Parents and Caregivers with Deb Jurkoic, NAMI NH Family Network Coordinator
Parents you are not alone. Exiting school services is a big step. NAMI New Hampshire is a grassroots organization working to improve the quality of life for all by providing support, education and advocacy for people affected by mental illness and suicide.
This presentation will discuss the NAMI NH Children’s Department and resources, up to age 26. Whether you are looking for online resources for youth , parent connection and support, mental health training or learning more about how to be an advocate, this presentation is for you. We hope you walk away feeling inspired about what comes next on along the transition path.

C-6 Basics of the Intersection of Trauma, Neurodiversity and Gender Diversity in Youth – for Parents Basics of the Intersection of Trauma, Neurodiversity and Gender Diversity in Youth – for Parents with Kelly Smith, LICSW; Training Director, Project ATTAIN
This training will offer an overview of the “triple intersection” of trauma, neurodiversity and gender diversity in youth. Neurodivergence is when neurodevelopment falls outside of what is considered “typical” development and includes things like Autism Spectrum Disorder, ADHD, and Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities. Gender diversity can broadly include people who are transgender, nonbinary or identify within the larger LGBTQIA+ spectrum. We know that youth who are neurodivergent and gender diverse are at higher risk for trauma exposure than their peers, and they may have unique ways of experiencing those events. We also know there is a higher incidence of youth who identify as both neurodivergent and gender diverse (i.e. 1 in 4 individuals with Autism also identify as gender diverse and 1 in 4 individuals who are gender diverse also identify as neurodivergent).This presentation will cover a basic understanding of these intersections and how it applies to teens and youth. This workshop will cover some tips and suggestions for how to support the young people in your life who identify in any of these ways.

Event Partners and Table Sponsors

The NH Transition Summit is grateful for the financial contributions of our Event Partners and Table Sponsors. We wouldn’t be here without you! 

Event Partners

Bureau of Special Education Support at the NH Department of Education 

Vocational Rehabilitation New Hampshire at the NH Department of Education

Community Support Network, Inc. (CSNI)

Parent Information Center

NH Family Voices

Institute on Disability at the University of New Hampshire 

Table Sponsors


Office of the Child Advocate

Granite State Independent Living

Friends in Action

Northern Human Services

UpReach Therapeutic Equestrian Center, Inc.

Beverly School of the Deaf

Easter Seals

Community Bridges

Major Choice

White Mountain Community College, NHTI-Concord’s Community College and Manchester Community College 


Project SEARCH

Relay NH

Apprenticeship NH

Project ATTAIN


UNH Bridges

Seacoast Outright

Vocational Rehabilitation NH

Parent Information Center

NH Family Voices

Payment, cancellation and refund policies


Your registration is not fully complete until payment arrangements have been made. If you are requesting an invoice (i.e., not paying with Paypal), there is a place on the registration form to let us know where to send the invoice. If you select “Pay by check” and do not supply a specific address, the invoice will be sent to you.

Transferring a registration

Registration is transferable. Before the registration deadline, just email the conference organizer with contact information for the new person. If you experience an issue with attendance after November 6, please also email the conference organizer. We MAY be able to assist with transferring your registration to someone who was not able to register by the deadline.   


The deadline to receive a full refund (minus any PayPal fees) is 5:00 pm on November 6, 2023. Cancellations must be made in writing. Cancellations received after November 6 cannot be guaranteed, as our financial obligation to the Grappone Center is based on headcount. After the registration deadline you are responsible for the registration fee, regardless of your attendance at the event.

This summit does not have a rain or snow date. Contact the conference organizer if you do not receive your confirmation email. In the unlikely event of cancellation, registrants will be informed via the email address provided, and will receive information about options for recouping professional development hours or a rescheduled event.

Updated 4/15/24