What’s Your Vision?

NOTE: October is National Disability Employment Awareness Month

What's Your Vision PSA

By David D’Arcangelo, Commissioner, Massachusetts Commission for the Blind


As part of National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM), the Massachusetts Commission for the Blind (MCB) launched a new campaign emphasizing the importance of ensuring all Massachusetts residents, including those who are blind or visually impaired, have the opportunity to put their skills and talents to work, for the benefit of themselves and the Commonwealth’s employers and economy.

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Learning to Earn

NOTE: October is National Disability Employment Awareness Month

Kevin Urban

From Nebraska Vocational Rehabilitation

Kevin Urban has strong math and foreign language skills, earned several college credits while still in high school, and loves creating visual art. Through his participation in Nebraska VR Pre-Employment Transition Services he also learned a lot more about himself. He learned how to speak up for himself, knows he is not a fan of chaos or change, and says he is a hands-on and visual learner.

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Reservation, Risk, and Relief: Finding My Way to Advocacy

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

Lia Beatty

By Lia Beatty, Whitman College student

My self-advocacy is a choice. Not a choice I wanted to make, but one I had to make and continue to make every day.

The journey was provoked by a defining moment in my first year of college. A psychologist told me, referring to my recently diagnosed attention deficit disorder (ADD)—and not-yet identified dyslexia—that I would “just have to settle with being less than,” a feeling I had already felt for so long.

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We Can Do Virtually Anything

Courtney Hansen

A guest blog by Courtney Hansen, Special Education Advocate

Courtney is a non-attorney special education advocate. She advocates at the local, state, and national level for disability rights, and blogs about it at www.inclusionevolution.com


I first shared our family’s story on this blog two years ago. A lot has changed since then, although many things remain the same.

My now 8-year-old twin boys, one who has Down syndrome and the other typically developing, are still included in the same general education class. They still love playing sports together, and our family still leans on our “village” of teachers, therapists, and friends to move forward. Still, this year’s COVID-19 pandemic has set us on a trajectory of change and uncertainty that often feels unsustainable.

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The Unexpected Lesson COVID-19 Taught Me About LD & ADHD

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

by Susan Reynolds, National Center for Learning Disabilities field organizer

Like many parents, I woke up on March 13 with a notification from my son’s school district: school was canceled for the day. As I read through the news that morning, I had a strange feeling wash over me. My instincts were telling me that schools were getting ready to close for in-person learning for an undetermined amount of time.

I remember saying to my husband, “I’m ADHD and so is our son, and we both have learning disabilities. I work from home, and now our son will be learning from home, too. We need to sit down and figure out a better schedule.”

We started to plan as best we could.

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Laying Educational Foundations

NOTE: October is National Down Syndrome Awareness Month

Rebecca Newlon

Rebecca Newlon

By Chris and Rebecca Newlon

When Rebecca, my daughter who has Down syndrome, began kindergarten, I never dreamed that the day-to-day hammering out of details with her general education teacher would lay the foundation we would continue to utilize to this day now that Rebecca is a junior in high school.

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Posted by
Information Technology Specialist, U.S. Department of Education

Pathways to Partnerships

South Carolina — Partnerships Making A Difference

By Kimberly Tissott, ABLE SC

 

 

ABLE logo

 

SCVRD logo

 

SCDOE logo

 

How can partnerships advance employment opportunities for individuals with disabilities?

In the July 30 webinar, The Department of Health and Human Services’ Administration for Community Living (ACL) and the Department of Education’s Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services (OSERS) brought together vocational rehabilitation (VR) agencies, centers for independent living (CILs), and special education from four states: Illinois, Michigan, Minnesota and South Carolina to discuss successful partnerships and to describe how their partnerships and collaboration are advancing competitive integrated employment for students, youth, and young adults with disabilities.

In a follow-up to the July presentation, this blog specifically focuses on South Carolina’s partnership between Able South Carolina (Able SC), South Carolina Vocational Rehabilitation Department, (SCVRD) and South Carolina Department of Education (SCDOE). All three agencies are working together to achieve better results and outcomes for individuals with disabilities relating to school, employment, independence and integration into the community and the competitive labor market.

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California Career Innovations Success Story

NOTE: October is National Disability Employment Awareness MonthCalifornia Career Innovations logo (lightbulb)


The California Department of Rehabilitation partnered with San Diego State University Interwork Institute for a work-based learning initiative, the California Career Innovations (CCi).

The CCi initiative evaluates the effects and benefits of work-based learning experiences to prepare students with disabilities to enter post-secondary education and obtain competitive integrated employment.

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Voices From the Field: Interview with Kirsten Bilderaya

A Preschool Teacher’s Perspective on the New School Year

Kirsten Bilderaya

Kirsten Bilderaya is an early childhood special education (ECSE) specialist. She works as an itinerant ECSE specialist for Adams 12 school district in Colorado at Tarver elementary school. She specializes in autism and works with two Learning Experiences—Alternative Programming for Preschoolers and Parents, for young children with Autism (LEAP) certified classrooms. In addition to working with children and teachers, she has taught parent classes for families with young children with autism, and supervises ECSE graduate students from University of Denver, and University of Colorado Denver.


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

I began as a classified Early Childhood Education (ECE) Group Leader in an inclusive ECE classroom. Students in the ECE program included those who had individualized education programs (IEP)s, or who had high developmental risk factors, such as adverse childhood experiences, poverty, family separation, or English as a second language. After the fall semester, I decided this was the career I wanted to pursue and started the Master’s program in Early Childhood Education at the University of Colorado Denver. When I completed the program, I became a licensed early childhood special educator.

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Oregon Commission for the Blind Student Honored with Dean’s Award

AmyRose

AmyRose with her “Dean’s Award of Excellence.”

AmyRose is finishing up community college and hopes to transfer to a 4-year college in the fall. In May, the dean of Clackamas Community College honored Oregon Commission for the Blind (OCB) student AmyRose Bonano with the Dean’s Award. Over 50 people — staff, family, and fellow students — gathered on May 29 for an inspiring ceremony via Zoom.

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