OSERS Acting Assistant Secretary Katherine Neas
The U.S. Department of Education welcomes Katherine “Katy” Neas as the new deputy assistant secretary and acting assistant secretary of the Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services (OSERS).
“The pandemic has been hard on all of us, but children with disabilities and specially those of color experienced great challenges. I am over the moon to be at the Department of Education at this historic time and to be part of the team of individuals who are working to ensure all students succeed in the upcoming school year.”
Deborah Jackson is the proud mother of Desmond Jackson, a member of the 2021 USA Paralympic Track and Field Team for the 100m event and the long jump. Desmond was born with a congenital birth defect, which resulted in an amputation when he was nine months old. He was the first above-knee amputee to run on a high school track team in the state of North Carolina. Desmond encourages other individuals with physical challenges to “get off the sideline and into the game!”
Rich La Belle is the CEO of Family Network on Disabilities, which has served persons with disabilities and their families throughout Florida and the U.S. for over 35 years. Prior to becoming CEO in 2005, Mr. La Belle practiced law for nearly 20 years, concentrating in the areas of disability law, including special needs trusts. Mr. La Belle and his wife are the parents of four grown children, including those who have disabilities.
Introducing a Supplemental Tool to Help Stakeholders Engage with New Fast Facts
By the Office of Special Education Programs
OSEP is excited to release a new Fast Facts on School Aged Children 5 (in Kindergarten) Through 21 Served Under Part B, Section 618 of the IDEA along with a new supplemental tool, Hand In Hand, which is intended to be used alongside the new OSEP Fast Fact.
ED: How did you begin your career in early childhood?
During my undergraduate work, I completed an internship at the University of North Carolina’s TEACCH Autism Program. From this experience, I knew I wanted to work with individuals with autism. I began my career as an inclusive preschool and kindergarten public school teacher. As a teacher, I was unaware of many specific interventions or resources used to support the social, language, and behavioral skills of students with autism. Fueled by my desire to support students with autism in classrooms, as well as the teachers serving those students, I began my doctoral program in 2008 at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. I was fortunate to be funded through an Office of Special Education Program leadership grant: Interdisciplinary Preparation in Teaching, Research, and Service focused on Young Children with Autism and Their Families. When I graduated, I accepted a postdoctoral research position at 3C Institute, a small business that focuses on research and development. After completing my postdoctoral work, I returned to the University of North Carolina as a Research Scientist at Frank Porter Graham (FPG) Child Development Institute. At FPG, my work focuses on supporting the use of evidence-based practices for children with autism using a variety of professional development approaches including coaching and interactive, online modules.
By the Office of Special Education Program
OSEP is pleased to introduce our newly released Fast Fact focusing children with disabilities aged 3 through 5 served under Part B, section 619 of the IDEA.
For the OSEP Fast Facts: Children 3 through 5 Served Under IDEA Part B Section 619 we present data from the data collections authorized under IDEA section 618 including that collected through child count and educational environments.
Alabama’s Support for Dual Language Learners
Dr. Barbara Cooper is Secretary of Alabama Department of Early Childhood Education
ED: How did you begin your career in early childhood?
I was called to serve as an educator over 30 years ago and have worked across the entire birth to workforce continuum. On July 1, 2020 I was appointed Secretary of the Alabama Department of Early Childhood Education (ADECE) by Alabama Governor Kay Ivey. Previously, I served as the ADECE Director of the office of school readiness where I administered the nationally recognized high-quality Alabama First Class Pre-K program, which has been recognized by the National Institute for Early Education Research as the highest quality state-funded pre-kindergarten program in the country for 14 consecutive years.
In fiscal year 2020, OSERS’ Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP) provided over $71.7 million to fund programs that help educate children and youth with disabilities to assist states, local districts and other organizations to improve results for infants, toddlers, children and youth with disabilities ages birth through 21.
Please read about these programs below.
NOTE: October is Learning Disabilities (LD)/Dyslexia/Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder Awareness (ADHD) Month.
Amy Traynor, OTR, M.A., ATP, National Center for Learning Disabilities Texas Parent Advisory Council Lead
“Livvy speak” is the endearing term coined for the innocent one-off names or descriptions spoken by my daughter, Olivia, when she was in preschool. We adored it and rarely corrected her.
As a pediatric occupational therapist (OT), I recognized that all children, even siblings, develop differently. It didn’t surprise me that she has done things differently than her brother and they have approached “life” differently from the other.
NOTE: October is Down Syndrome Awareness Month
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.