I must confess that being a mother of an African American young man — specifically, a 12-year-old Black boy with a disability — I am gravely concerned with the disparities in discipline practices that children with disabilities, particularly children of color with disabilities, experience. This breaks my heart and simultaneously makes me very angry.
Voices From the Field: Scholars’ Journey
We invite you to read our interviews with Fanica Young, Julianna Kim, and Danica Moise, doctoral scholars and former OSEP interns. They each share what brought them to the field and how their doctoral programs have shaped their practice.
A White House Roundtable With Young Black Leaders With Disabilities
By Valerie C. Williams Director, Office of Special Education Programs
On Feb. 23, 2023, I participated in a Black History Month roundtable hosted by the White House and the Biden-Harris Administration.
During the roundtable, I had the opportunity to meet with five representatives of the next generation of young Black disability leaders and advocates.
The purpose of the event was to not only reiterate the Biden-Harris Administration’s commitment to diversity, equity, accessibility and disability inclusion, but to also hear from young Black leaders about their experiences and challenges.
Discipline Discussions: Informal Removals Matter
When my cell phone rings in the middle of the day and I see my son’s school is calling, I immediately have a moment of unease: did Matthew get hurt, is he sick, what happened that warrants this call in the middle of the day? Matthew is a sixth grader with Down syndrome, but I know these feelings are shared by parents of children with and without disabilities alike.
I count myself lucky that with each of these calls I am relieved to hear about situations that, while important enough to call, are typically intended to share information about my son’s day or report on a minor issue. I am thankful that the school staff overcommunicate and keep us informed, as well as share potential solutions if a problem arises. In short, they are proactive, so after a brief chat with school personnel, I resume my day.
Voices From the Field: Interview with Kara Georgi
Kara Georgi is a parent to two children in New York and is a Member of the Children’s Trust Fund Alliance Birth Parent National Network. She is an Alliance Certified Trainer for the Bringing the Protective Factors Framework to Life in Your Work.
What do you remember most about your experiences with early intervention?
Early Intervention was a game changer for me and my family. It was where I got the help and support I needed most for helping my child with some of the challenges we were facing. The best part is we went from being strangers to a family team to working to build on strengths and skills for long term success for not only for my child, but for us as parents too.
Discipline Discussions: Our Discipline Policies Reflect Our Priorities
This is the total number of disciplinary removals students with disabilities experienced over the 2019-20 school year. Each removal represents a child’s time away from their typical learning environment: time away from their teachers, their peers, and their friends. For many children with disabilities, particularly those who find comfort in routines, it can be an uprooting and distressing experience. It is hard for a child to learn when they are removed from their class.
Voices From the Field: Interview with B. Gerard Woodrich
B. Gerard Woodrich is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker and Board Approved Clinical Supervisor. He obtained his Master of Social Work degree from Southern University, New Orleans, and a Bachelor of Arts in History from Southern University A&M College in Baton Rouge. Mr. Woodrich specializes in treating depression and trauma-based anxiety due to emotional, sexual, and physical abuse. His greatest passion is centered around helping young African American males and at-risk youth using innovative and relatable techniques.
Improving Outcomes for Native American Students With Disabilities While Respecting and Honoring Native Culture
By Thomas Delaney, EdS School Psychologist, Interagency Partnership Supervisor and State Personnel Development Grant Director for the Minnesota Department of Education
When I was in high school in the mid-1980s, I got a copy of Richard Bach’s book “Illusions” into my hands. I can’t remember how that came to be, or who put it there, but there is a quote in that book that can always help you look in the mirror and recognize who you see, and it reads, “Remember where you came from, where you’re going, and why you created this mess you got yourself into in the first place.”
The Biden-Harris Administration Promotes Access to Early Intervention Services for Infants and Toddlers with Disabilities
Katherine (Katy) Neas, Deputy Assistant Secretary, Department of Education
Sherry Lachman, Associate Director for Education, Income Maintenance and Labor, White House Office of Management and Budget
Bert Wyman, Program Examiner, White House Office of Management and Budget
The Biden-Harris Administration is committed to improving the lives of young children with disabilities and their families. We are working to ensure that every child who needs individualized and high-quality early intervention services receives them as early as possible. We have called on Congress to double funding for these services and we have made strategic investments to expand the number of early intervention providers, including in underserved communities. We are also developing user-friendly resources and technical assistance on expanding access to early intervention for early childhood state and local administrators and service providers, families, and advocates. As part of this effort, on December 14, the Department of Education, in partnership with the White House and the Department of Health and Human Services, hosted a webinar where we released informational guides for early childhood stakeholders to promote innovative and effective strategies for identifying and serving all children eligible for early intervention services.
Discipline Discussions: The Impact and Harm of Exclusionary Discipline
Over seven million children with disabilities and their families rely on the effective, high-quality implementation of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) to support a lifetime of success.
Make no mistake about it, IDEA — and the rights and protections it affords — impacts a child’s future, how they view themselves as learners today and leaders tomorrow. In fact, the National Center for Educational Outcomes estimates that 85–90% of children with disabilities can be expected to achieve at grade-level when they are provided with the best instruction, supports, and accommodations. Indeed, the promise of IDEA rests with the full implementation of the law.