IDEA45: Our Continued Passion

Michael Norman
IDEA 45th Anniversary logo

IDEA Deserves our Continued Passion, Advocacy, and Support

By Michael Norman


When I began an internship at the National Association of State Directors of Special Education (NASDSE) in 1976, I knew little about special education and even less about state educational agencies (SEAs). I was a thirty-year-old doctoral student and former middle school principal. I had no idea that internship would change the entire trajectory of my professional life.

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OSEP Releases Fast Facts on Children With Disabilities Aged 3 through 5

OSEP Fast Fact on Children With Disabilities Aged 3 through 5

By the Office of Special Education Program

OSEP is pleased to introduce our newly released Fast Fact focusing children with disabilities aged 3 through 5 served under Part B, section 619 of the IDEA.

For the OSEP Fast Facts: Children 3 through 5 Served Under IDEA Part B Section 619 we present data from the data collections authorized under IDEA section 618 including that collected through child count and educational environments.

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Oregon Commission for the Blind Client Retires After 43-Year Career

NOTE: October is National Disability Employment Awareness Month

Oregon Commission for the Blind

After 43 years, Carl Belnap retired in August 2020, from his position at A-dec (Austin Dental Equipment Company), a Newberg, Oregon, manufacturer of dental office equipment.

Carl began his job at A-dec in May 1977. Blind since birth, Carl began as a client of Oregon Commission for the Blind (OCB) in 1973. As a high school Junior, Carl attended OCB’s Portland Training Center for the Blind, a summer job training program. After high school, he attended the Oregon Rehabilitation Center for Development at the Oregon School for the Blind for several months, receiving vocational counseling and training. Carl also attended Clackamas Community College for additional training in the machine shop.

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Voices From the Field: Interview with Barbara Cooper

Alabama’s Support for Dual Language Learners

Barbara Cooper

Dr. Barbara Cooper is Secretary of Alabama Department of Early Childhood Education

ED: How did you begin your career in early childhood?

I was called to serve as an educator over 30 years ago and have worked across the entire birth to workforce continuum. On July 1, 2020 I was appointed Secretary of the Alabama Department of Early Childhood Education (ADECE) by Alabama Governor Kay Ivey. Previously, I served as the ADECE Director of the office of school readiness where I administered the nationally recognized high-quality Alabama First Class Pre-K program, which has been recognized by the National Institute for Early Education Research as the highest quality state-funded pre-kindergarten program in the country for 14 consecutive years.

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Teamwork to Make the Dream Work

NOTE: October is National Disability Employment Awareness Month

Michelle Novak

By Michelle Novak, Community Liaison for Tradewinds


The relationship between the vocational rehabilitation counselor, employment specialist and the job seeker are important when it comes to finding successful employment. The support and encouragement on the road to a successful employment placement can make a positive impact for everyone involved. In this case, an Employment Specialist shares her perspective on the VR client and her determination to succeed after five years on the employment search.

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Sharing My Story to Inspire Advocacy in Others

NOTE: October is Learning Disabilities (LD)/Dyslexia/Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder Awareness (ADHD) Month.

Michaela Hearst

By Michaela Hearst, an advocate, writer, and a social worker.

I was diagnosed with nonverbal learning disorder (NVLD) and learning disability not otherwise specified (LD-NOS) when I was 14 years old. I share my personal story with the hope it will inspire or help others.

Every experience I’ve undergone in the past has led me to where I am now.

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OSEP 2020 New Discretionary Grant Awards

In fiscal year 2020, OSERS’ Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP) provided over $71.7 million to fund programs that help educate children and youth with disabilities to assist states, local districts and other organizations to improve results for infants, toddlers, children and youth with disabilities ages birth through 21.

Please read about these programs below.

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Ability for Hire in South Dakota

NOTE: October is National Disability Employment Awareness Month

Caitlin

Originally posted by the South Dakota Department of Human Services Rehabilitation Services

To shed a little more light on the real people impacted by businesses championing everyone’s right to be employed regardless of their disability status, Ability for Hire is highlighting stories from South Dakotans who have benefited from the vocational rehabilitation (VR) program and who are experiencing the many benefits — both emotional and financial — of being employed.

Meet Caitlin, a Vermillion resident who is currently employed by Aramark out of University of South Dakota (USD).

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Charting the Path to Every Child Reading

NOTE: October is Learning Disabilities (LD)/Dyslexia/Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder Awareness (ADHD) Month.

Amy and Olivia Traynor

Amy Traynor, OTR, M.A., ATP, National Center for Learning Disabilities Texas Parent Advisory Council Lead

“Livvy speak” is the endearing term coined for the innocent one-off names or descriptions spoken by my daughter, Olivia, when she was in preschool. We adored it and rarely corrected her.

As a pediatric occupational therapist (OT), I recognized that all children, even siblings, develop differently. It didn’t surprise me that she has done things differently than her brother and they have approached “life” differently from the other.

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RSA 2020 New Discretionary Grant Awards

In 2020, OSERS Rehabilitation Services Administration (RSA) provided over $17.1 million to fund programs that help to assist state and other agencies in providing vocational rehabilitation (VR) and other services to individuals with disabilities to maximize their employment, independence and integration into the community and the competitive labor market.

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