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CEC Awards and Programs

At the Council for Exceptional Children (CEC), we know special educators rarely receive the overwhelming appreciation they deserve.

From groundbreaking research to exemplary teaching practices, our award programs are a chance to celebrate the educators—and students—who are making a difference in special education.

Contact information for questions about any of the award categories can be found in the relevant section below.

Learn about the prohibition on the use of AI tools in our awards and related programs.

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Professional Awards

professional awards

Our Professional Awards recognize special educators who have advanced the field and the quality of special education service, as well as CEC members whose contributions have moved the Council forward in significant ways.

Yes I Can Awards

red shirt and smile

The Yes I Can Awards recognize the accomplishments of children and youth with exceptionalities (ages 3-21) in six categories: Academics, Arts, School and Community Activities, Self-Advocacy, Technology, and Transition.

Student Awards

two people and award

Our Student Awards recognize CEC student members who have made outstanding contributions to the organization and to children with exceptionalities.

Emerging Special Educators of Color Leadership Travel Award

A group of 6 African-American woman standing and smiling in the CEC 2020 Expo Hall

CEC invites CEC members to submit an application for the Emerging Special Educators of Color Leadership Travel Awards to attend the annual convention.

The CEC Impact Award

Building Resilience in Special Educators

The CEC Impact Award recognizes an individual or community/corporate organization that has had an impact on CEC’s strategic work.

CEC’s Diversity Leadership Academy

Co-Planning: The Key to Student Success in the Co-Taught Classroom

The Diversity Leadership Academy is a substantive professional development program established for special education professionals who share a commitment to promoting diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) in the field of special education. 

Legacy Proclamations

Photo of a legacy proclamation 2024 recipient

CEC Legacy Proclamations honor outstanding CEC members who have led and notably contributed to The Council’s various components (chapters, units, divisions, subdivisions), and national governing bodies and have significantly influenced the field throughout a lifelong career.

© 2024 Council for Exceptional Children (CEC). All rights reserved.