Tom Hehir: A Champion for the Inclusion of Students with Disabilities

Thomas Hehir

We at the Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services (OSERS) mourn the loss and celebrate the extraordinary life and contribution of Tom Hehir, Ed.D. Throughout his decades-long career in special education, from special educator in Massachusetts, to director of the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP), and faculty member at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, Tom was a tireless advocate for children with disabilities and their families.

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Voices From the Field: Interview with Gregory Facey

Celebrating Fathers

Gregory Facey and Family

Gregory Facey is a husband and father of children with hearing loss. Gregory is also a special education resource consultant and literacy advocate for students with disabilities. He serves on the Citizens’ Commission on Public Service and Compensation and is a member of the National Alliance of Black School Educator’s Parent Commission. Gregory lives by a quote from Booker T. Washington: “Success is to be measured not so much by the position that one has reached in life as by the obstacles which he has overcome.”

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OSEP Releases Fast Facts on Educational Environments of School Aged Children with Disabilities

OSEP Fast Facts: Educational Environments of Children with Disabilities, Ages 5 (in kindergarten) through 21, Served under IDEA Part B. Percentage of Students with Disabilities, Ages 5 - 21, Receiving Services Inside a Regular Class 80% or More of the Day, in the US, Outlying Areas, and Freely Associated States: SY 2020-21. The map demonstrates the ranges of the percent of Students with Disabilities, Ages 5 through 21, Receiving Services Inside a Regular Class 80% or More of the Day in 2020-21 by State. Educational environments are defined in the IDEA Part B Child Count and Educational Environments for School Year 2020-2021, OSEP Data Documentation.

By the Office of Special Education Programs

OSEP released a new OSEP Fast Facts: Educational Environments of School Aged Children with Disabilities, which explores our IDEA, Section 618 data.

This OSEP Fast Facts takes a closer look at the environments where children with disabilities are receiving special education and related services.

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Thriving Through Connections

NOTE: May is Better Hearing and Speech Month

Jaxson and Donia

By Donia Shirley, Vice President of the National Family Association for Deaf-Blind and parent of Jaxson, a child who is deaf-blind.

When a baby is added to a family, invisible bonds often quickly form with others who have children the same age. For families who have children with complex support needs, that community can seem out of reach, especially when they have a child with a low incidence disability such as deaf-blindness.

A few days after our 6-week-old son Jaxson was transferred to our local children’s hospital, we started receiving diagnoses. We learned he was deaf-blind; he was profoundly Deaf and had colobomas (an eye condition that cannot be completely corrected). The medical team eventually informed us that Jaxson had CHARGE Syndrome.

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Paula Goldberg: A Drum Major for Justice

Paula J. Goldberg

Paula Goldberg

The disability community lost a giant yesterday with the passing of Paula Goldberg, a co-founder of the PACER Center, a leading parent training and information center. She was instrumental in advocating for the establishment of parent training and information centers and that they be a vital component of discretionary grant funding under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). Paula’s dedication to children with disabilities and their families, not just those in her home state of Minnesota, but around the country and around the world, was legendary.

Paula was a friend and mentor to me and to many of us in the special education advocacy community. Paula often played the role of the parent no child wanted to disappoint. As such, she pushed policymakers to take actions that would advance high expectations for students with disabilities. She made us stronger, better, and unified.

I know her memory will be a blessing.

Katy Neas
Deputy Assistant Secretary
(Delegated the Authority to Perform the Functions and Duties of the Assistant Secretary, Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services)

Voices From the Field: Interview with Amy Hunter

Supporting Children’s Mental Health

Amy Hunter

Amy Hunter is a Licensed Independent Clinical Social Worker (LICSW) who earned her Masters of Social Work degree at Boston University. Amy has a post graduate certificate from the University of Maryland School of Medicine in Early Childhood Mental Health. She currently serves as an Assistant Professor at Georgetown University’s Center for Child and Human Development. In her capacity at Georgetown she co-leads the post-graduate clinical certificate program on infant early childhood mental health and co-directs the mental health section of the Head Start National Center on Health, Behavioral Health and Safety. Additionally, Amy serves as a lead on the National Center for Pyramid Model Innovations (NCPMI), a training and technical assistance center funded by the Office of Special Education Programs. Amy has worked in the field of infant early childhood mental health for over thirty years.

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OSEP Releases Fast Facts on Students with Disabilities who are English Learners (ELs) Served under IDEA Part B

Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services Office of Special Education Programs. OSEP Fast Facts: Students with Disabilities who are English Learners (Els) Served under IDEA Part B. Approximately 1.6% of students enrolled in public elementary and secondary schools are dually identified as a student with a disability under IDEA Part B and an English Learner. 13.74% = national percentage of school aged children served under IDEA, Part B. Pie Chart Shows 11.85% of students served under IDEA, Part B are English Learners while 88.2% of students served under IDEA, Part B are non-English Learners. Source: U.S. Department of Education, EDFacts Data Warehouse (EDW): “IDEA Part B Child Count and Educational Environments Collection,” 2020-21. Source: U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics, Statistics of Public Elementary and Secondary School Systems, 1980-81; Common Core of Data (CCD), "State Nonfiscal Survey of Public Elementary/Secondary Education," 1985-86 through 2019-20 and 2020-21 Preliminary; and National Elementary and Secondary Enrollment Projection Model, through 2030.

By the Office of Special Education Programs

OSEP is excited to release a new OSEP Fast Facts: Students with Disabilities who are English Learners (ELs) Served under IDEA Part B, which explore our IDEA, Section 618 data with the specific lens on one of the fastest-growing populations of students with disabilities served under IDEA.

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Voices From the Field: Interview with Dee Bosworth

Supporting Military Families with Young Children

Dee Bosworth is a military spouse and mother of a twice exceptional child. Married for twelve years to an Active Duty Sailor, Dee was a Navy Command Ombudsman for six years, cumulatively. As an American Military Families Autism Support Community Leader and Florida Partners in Policymaking graduate, Dee is active in local, state, and national programs for persons with disabilities. Driven by the experiences of military families like her own, Dee is passionate about empowering military parents to advocate for a better world for our loved ones with exceptional needs. At home, she is mom, teacher, and telehealth therapy facilitator. In her work capacity, Dee supports individuals with disabilities and their families as a STOMP, Specialized Training of Military Parents Parent Instructor and Helpline Coordinator for Washington State’s parent and information center, PAVE.

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Voices From the Field: Interview with Jolynn Lee

Supporting Military Families with Young Children

Jolynn Lee

Jolynn Lee is the spouse of a Marine Veteran and a mother to three adult military-connected children. With two children still at home, Jolynn is also the mother of a child with exceptional needs. Jolynn worked as a special education teacher for 11 years. She joined STOMP, Specialized Training of Military Parents, in partnership with PAVE, Partnerships in Action, Voices for Empowerment to help bring awareness and training to families within the military community. She knows first-hand the challenges faced raising a child with exceptionalities and is motivated by a passion to support military families in need. One of her favorite mottos is, “People only know what they know,” but we can work together to expand that knowledge base as we learn and grow.

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Voices From the Field: Interview with Katrina Holt

Promoting a Healthy Smile for Young Children

Katrina Holt

Katrina Holt is the director of the National Maternal and Child Oral Health Resource Center where she works to improve oral health services for pregnant women, infants, children, and adolescents, including those with special health care needs, and their families. The center collaborates with federal agencies and professional organizations to provide technical assistance, training and resources.

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