Yojanna Cuenca-Carlino, a professor in the Department of Special Education at Illinois State University, presented at the Australian Association of Special Education National Conference on September 17–18.

The focus of the conference was on effective teaching practices. Writing instruction is a focus in the Australia curriculum, and it is an area of need for teacher education. Cuenca-Carlino presented a workshop on writing instruction about an evidence-based practice called Self-Regulated Strategy Development (SRSD).

She provided this workshop with two other colleagues from different universities (Sara Mills from Macquire University, Sydney, Australia; and Clara Hauth from Marymount University, Arlington, Virginia). Cuenca-Carlino, Mills, and Hauth completed their doctorate degrees together at George Mason University. Mills now lives in and works as a special education teacher in Australia.

Over the last seven years, Cuenca-Carlino and many of her colleagues have conducted multiple studies examining the effectiveness of SRSD to teach writing skills to adolescents with emotional and behavioral disorders (e.g., Cuenca-Sanchez et al, 2012; Mills, 2012; Cuenca-Carlino & Mustian, 2013; Hauth, 2013), and students with autism (e.g., Allen-Bronaugh, 2013). The session/workshop they provided included results of all their studies and practical applications from each of these studies in which SRSD was used to improve the writing skills of students with EBD and ASD.

During her visit, Cuenca-Carlino also had the opportunity to visit the Macquarie University Special Education Centre and lab school. The lab school serves primarily students with autism.

Special education in Australia covers the education of children who exhibit behavior disorders and learning, physical, hearing or vision impairment. In Australia, The Education Standards in the Commonwealth Disability Discrimination Act 1992 set out the rights of students with a disability and how education providers, such as schools and universities, must help students with a disability. The Disability Standard of Education was passed in 2005.