Meedra Surratte is the Executive Director of Parent Information Center of Delaware, Inc. (PIC), serves as the aRPy Ambassador for Delaware and is a proud parent and grandparent. She represents the needs, concerns, and interests of children with disabilities and their families on several statewide councils. Her area of focus lies in education and capacity building, particularly in the areas of special education, family engagement, and strengthening sustaining partnerships between families and schools.
By Katherine (Katy) Neas, Deputy Assistant Secretary
Delegated the authority to perform the functions and duties of the Assistant Secretary for the Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services
This month marks 46 years since the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) was enacted. I couldn’t let this anniversary pass without sharing some reflections about the importance of IDEA, especially in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, and reaffirming the commitment of the Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services (OSERS) to upholding this landmark civil rights law.
While most coverage of Helen Keller freezes her as the “eternal child” in that “aha” moment at the water pump with teacher Anne Sullivan (immortalized in The Miracle Worker), this new documentary American Masters: Becoming Helen Keller shatters that disability myth, transcends that image, takes back the narrative, and unlocks multifaceted aspects of her life and commitment to social justice, disability rights, veterans with disabilities, women’s rights, voting rights, civil rights, early support of the NAACP and ACLU, her involvement with setting up State Commissions for the Blind, “talking books,” and her work as an international goodwill ambassador … to name a few.
In fiscal year 2021, OSERS’ Rehabilitation Services Administration (RSA) provided over $134.9 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.
In fiscal year 2021, OSERS’ Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP) provided over $70.3 million to fund programs that help educate children and youth with disabilities to assist states and local districts to improve results for infants, toddlers, children, and youth with disabilities ages birth through 21.
NOTE: October is Blindness Awareness Month as well as Learning Disabilities / Dyslexia / Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder Awareness Month.
Ella and Beth Johnson
My name is Ella, and I’m a junior at Irondale High School in Minnesota. This school year, I’m busy studying for advanced placement courses, playing percussion and coordinating audio equipment in my school’s band, and making time to read book recommendations from friends. I was diagnosed with dyslexia in fifth grade, and reading print books has always been challenging for me compared with most of my classmates. However, accessible digital books from Bookshare give me the same opportunities to learn, engage, and show what I know.
NOTE: October is National Blindness Awareness Month
In recognition of Blindness Awareness Month the National Instructional Materials Access Center (NIMAC) is pleased to share experiences of students with visual impairments and their parents and teachers, highlighting how we are expanding access to reading and learning for students across the United States.
NOTE: October is Blindness Awareness Month
NIMAC Project Director, Nicole Gaines
When typical textbooks don’t meet the needs of students with reading disabilities, visual impairments, or physical disabilities, the OSEP-funded National Instructional Materials Access Center (NIMAC) helps ensure that these students can obtain the accessible formats they need to engage and contribute alongside their peers.
by Meriah Nichols
I really thought I knew disability. I thought I knew what it feels like to have a disability; I thought I knew how it is to navigate a world that often does not understand or appreciate the presence of disability. I thought I knew the feelings that a disability can bring with it: the hurt, the pain, the joy, and the delight. I really thought I knew it all.
NOTE: October is Learning Disabilities / Dyslexia / Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder Awareness Month.
By Rachelle Johnson, a member of the Young Adult Leadership Council of the National Center for Learning Disabilities.
As a child I was diagnosed with dyslexia and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Adults told me I was “differently abled” and to not categorize myself negatively, as in “disabled.” This introduced me to a societal view of “the disabled” and how to navigate an ableist society by distancing from the term disabled. The adults wanted this so I would not be treated in the negative ways people with disabilities often were.