By the Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services
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.
NOTE: May is Better Hearing and Speech Month
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.
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.
Deputy Assistant Secretary
(Delegated the Authority to Perform the Functions and Duties of the Assistant Secretary, Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services)
Supporting Children’s Mental Health
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.
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.
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.
Supporting Military Families with Young Children
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.
Promoting a Healthy Smile for Young Children
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.
Valerie C. Williams
Director, Office of Special Education Programs
Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services
Valerie C. Williams joins the Department as director in the Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP) within the Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services. In this role, she is responsible for overseeing the administration of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA).
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.