The Impact of DLD and CEC on my Teaching: The Reflections of Preservice DLD Members

Sydney Stevens


Current Role:

7th Grade Support Teacher

Granger Middle School

Indian Prairies School District 204 (Aurora, IL)


Attending the national CEC conference for two consecutive years as an undergraduate student was invaluable in preparing for my first year of teaching. Learning educational theory, evidence-based practice, and how to write lesson plans in our required courses is necessary and important. However having the opportunity to learn from current special educators and discuss real situations that arise in today’s teaching climate is something that is unique to the CEC conference. Moving from learning about being a teacher to tackling your first year of teaching is a huge jump. The transition was made a little more comfortable when I was able to rely on resources and relationships from the CEC conference. Now entering my 5th week of teaching, I have looked back on notes from the conference, reached out to friends I attended sessions with and posted on the CEC discussion board numerous times. Another benefit of attending the CEC conference as an undergraduate student is understanding the importance of professional development and having a framework to enter the profession with. For many special educators, this is another new concept in the overwhelming “to do” list that hits you once you accept a job. I felt fortunate to be comfortable talking about my past experiences at CEC, at a time when almost everything is feeling awkward and new.

Sydney, second from left, with her undergraduate cohort.


Kimberly Johnson


Current Role:

High School Special Education Teacher

Miner High School

Northwest Suburban School District


Attending the Council for Exceptional Children conference during my undergraduate career gave me great insight into the world of education. I attended and presented at the Division of Learning Disabilities Student Poster Session in 2015. Presenting allowed me the opportunity to share my research of the Math Reasoning Inventory. Throughout the presentation, I conversed with many other professionals and shared ideas on educational topics. The DLD presentations and social events motivated me to become a lifelong learner, eager to better myself as a professional educator. I look forward to attending many more Council for Exceptional Children conferences and Division of Learning Disabilities events in my professional career.

Kimberly presenting at the DLD Student Poster Session and Reception, with adviser Sarah Watt.

PDF Back