An update of the science and disabilities initiatives as well as session and meeting schedules for the 2013 NSTA National Conference has been provided by Sami Kahn, Chair of the NSTA Special Needs Advisory Board.

Dear Sci-Dis Friends,

Please allow me to update you on several exciting sci-dis initiatives and opportunities (including relevant sessions in San Antonio!!):

  1. The content for the new NSTA Science for Students with Disabilities website has been submitted to NSTA. Many thanks to all of you who contributed to this exciting project. NSTA staff are now working on the website design phase; I’ll keep you posted as I receive updates;
  2. The Science and Disability Glossary has been submitted to the NSTA publications staff who are reviewing it and considering options for its use. Again, thanks to all who contributed to this comprehensive and thoughtful document;
  3. The NSTA journal article review has been submitted to NSTA publications staff. Special thanks to Kitchka Petrova for her hard work on this project. Although a special issue on science for students with special needs does not appear to be imminent, the journal editors are highly receptive to new articles on this topic. Please consider writing and submitting articles to NSTA Journals this year…and kindly keep me posted on your submissions.
  4. If you are interested in serving as a reviewer for sci-dis articles submitted to NSTA journals, kindly send your C.V. directly to the journal editors for review. The contacts for the journals are:
      S&C –
      Scope –
      TST –
      JCST –
  1. Several wonderful sci-dis opportunities are available at NSTA’s upcoming conference in San Antonio:
    • Science Education for Students with Disabilities (SESD) Annual Pre-Conference – Wednesday, April 10, 9:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. -Grand Hyatt Hotel, 600 E. Market St., San Antonio, TX – Please contact Patti Davidson ( for registration information.
    • NSTA’s Special Needs Advisory Board Meeting – Thursday, April 11, 8:30-10:30 a.m. in the Goliad Room at the Grand Hyatt in San Antonio, TX. Please let me know if you’d like to attend (
  2. Numerous sessions on sci-dis including:
    • Thursday, April 11, 9:30 – 10:30 a.m. – First Steps in Meeting the Needs of Emotionally Impaired Students, Marriott Rivercenter, Salon J. – Carol Jones and colleagues;
    • Thursday, April 11, 12:30 – 1:30 p.m. – Severe Science: Using Science Instruction for Students with Severe Disabilities, Gonzalez Convention Center, 201, Jenna Carlson and JT Taylor;
    • Thursday, April 11, 2:00 – 3:00 p.m. – Using Purposeful Differentiated Instruction to Meet the Needs of Diverse Learners, Marriott Riverwalk, Alamo Salon F, Kristy Conkel and Sheila Clements;
    • Thursday, April 11, 5:00 – 6:00 p.m. – CESI Session: Special Ways of Teaching Science to Students with Special Needs, Gonzalez Convention Center, 212A, Mary Beth Katz
    • Friday, April 12, 8:00 – 9:00 a.m. – Equal Access to Science: Universal Design and Students with Disabilities, Marriott Rivercenter, Salon M, Rachel Zimmerman-Brachman and Lyla Mae Crawford;
    • Friday, April 12, 9:30 – 10:30 a.m. – Using a Strengths-Based Approach to Teaching Science to Students with Disabilities, Grand Hyatt San Antonio, Bowie B, Sami Kahn;
    • Friday, April 12, 11:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. – Science + Writing = Learning, Gonzalez Convention Center, 217A, Julie Alexander;
    • Friday, April 12, 12:30 – 1:30 p.m. – STEM Comes to Preschool (a special education school), Gonzalez Convention Center, 201, Sally Moomaw;
    • Friday, April 12, 12:30 – 1:30 p.m. – What Every Science Educator Needs to Know About Students with Special Needs, Grand Hyatt San Antonio, Travis A, Jennifer-Purcell Coleman;
    • Friday, April 12, 12:00 – 1:30 p.m. – A Tour for Your Inclusion Classes – How to Make it Work!, Gonzalez Convention Center, 006A, Adah Stock;
    • Friday, April 12, 2:00 – 3:00 p.m. – Adapting Space Adventures: Using Real NASA Data to Engage Students with Special Needs, Gonzalez Convention Center, 201, Ellen Reilly and Kathy Costello;
    • Friday, April 12, 2:00 – 3:00 p.m. – Bringing an Art Museum’s Forensic Science Experience into the Special Education Science Classroom, Grand Hyatt San Antonio, Texas Ballroom E, Diane Krzyaniak and Carol Jones;
    • Saturday, April 13, 8:00 – 9:00 a.m. – Addressing the Unique Needs of Diverse Learners in Introductory Biology Curricula, Particularly Those with Learning Disabilities, Gonzalez Convention Center, 201, Abigail Littlefield;
    • Saturday, April 13, 9:30 – 10:30 a.m. – NMLSTA Sesson: Science and Special Education – How to Make it Work, Grand Hyatt San Antonio, Mission B, Kathleen Brooks;
    • Saturday, April 13, 11:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. – Beyond Inquiry: How Big Ideas, Argumentation, and Visual Supports Help Students with Disabilities in Science Classrooms, Gonzalez Convention Center, 216B, JT Taylor and Jay Gorsh;
    • Saturday, April 13, 12:30 – 1:30 p.m. – Active Engagement of All Students – ELL, Gifted, and Learning Disabled, Gonzalez Convention Center, 201, Mary Sue Pruitt;
    • Saturday, April 13, 12:30 – 1:30 p.m. – Using Robotic Technology to Support Students Acquiring Language Through Science Inquiry, Grand Hyatt San Antonio, Lone Star Ballroom E, Kate Baird and Colleagues;
    • Saturday, April 13, 3:30 – 4:30 p.m. – Using Case Study Analysis as a Tool for Differentiating Science Instruction for Students with Disabilities, Grand Hyatt San Antonio, Republic B, Gregory Borman and Colleagues;
    • Saturday, April 13, 3:30 – 4:30 p.m. – Engaging Science Instruction for Special Needs Students, Gonzalez Convention Center, 201, Nicole Thomas and Colleagues;
    • Saturday, April 13, 3:30 – 4:30 p.m. – NSELA Session: No Child Left Behind in the Inclusive Science Classroom: Successful Accommodation and Modification Strategies for Children with Unique Needs, Grand Hyatt San Antonio, Travis A, Eunyoung Lee and David Wojnowski;
    • Saturday, April 13, 5:00 – 6:00 p.m. – It’s About Time: Success for the “Time-challenged” Student, Grand Hyatt San Antonio, Crockett D, Bonnie Nelson and Kaitlyn Ruvel;
    • Sunday, April 14, 9:30 – 10:30 a.m. – Including Children with Special Needs in Informal Science Learning Environments, Gonzalez Convention Center, 006B, Cathy Wissehr and Jennifer Purcell-Coleman.


    1. This month’s Exceptional Children issue is dedicated to science for students with special needs. Congratulations to Sara Aronin and Maya Israel for editing this outstanding issue.


    1. This month’s commentary in NSTA Press is co-authored by Sami Kahn and Sara Aronin and is a call for collaboration and training for sci-dis. Check it out!


Finally, thanks so much for the time, energy, and expertise you’ve given to these and other endeavors to support science for all students this year. It is always a pleasure working with you and I look forward to continued collaborations. I hope you’ll join me in supporting Zena Johnston, the incoming SNAB Chair who will begin her term on June 1, as well as new committee members, Cheryl White, Jennifer Purcell-Coleman, and Melissa Sleeper in the continued efforts of this committee.

See you in San Antonio!!


Sami Kahn
Chair, NSTA Special Needs Advisory Board
Presidential Doctoral Fellow in Science Education
University of South Florida, College of Education
4202 E. Fowler Ave.
Tampa, FL 33620
Phone: (646) 732-5389

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Disclaimer: This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant No. 0939645. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.


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