A Free All-Virtual Showcase of Game-Changing Innovations in EdTech
developed through ED and Programs Across Government
TheED Games Expois an annual showcase of game-changing innovations in education technology (EdTech) developed through programs at the Department of Education (ED) and across the federal government. Since 2013, the Expo has been an in-person event at venues across Washington, D.C. Because of the COVID-19 national emergency, the 2021 ED Games Expo is moving online, from June 1 – 5, for an entirely virtual experience. Hosting virtually provides the unique opportunity to engage a national audience and to present content mindful of the pandemic and useful for educational programming in the summer and going forward.
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 George Sugai
Professor Emeritus, Neag School of Education, University of Connecticut
The 45th anniversary of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) is particularly meaningful to me and to students with disabilities for four main reasons.
First, my career as a special educator began in Aurora, Colorado in the Fall of 1974. Although we were definitely “attempting to figure things out,” we developed the district’s first IDEA-shaped resource rooms for elementary, middle, and high school students with emotional and behavioral disorders; we wrote many of the first IEPs; and we created and implemented some of the first behavior intervention plans. IDEA gave us the vision, expectation, accountability, and responsibility to greatly enhance our special education efforts. For the first time, the education of students with disabilities and their families became a protected right and a reality rather than an informal afterthought. In addition, special education became an integral component and priority in general education.
The Personnel Who Deliver the Promise of IDEA into the Lives of Children and Families: A Reflection on the 45th Anniversary of IDEA
By Jane E. West, Ph.D.
I began my journey as a special educator in 1973. My first job was as a paraprofessional for students with emotional disturbance. The program was intended to transition students who had been in psychiatric hospitals back into public school. Our classroom was housed in a trailer on the playground of an elementary school in the Bronx.
Fresh out of college with a degree in literature, I was very keen on poetry. With the support of the teacher in charge of my class, I developed a curriculum on poetry. Much to my delight, the students were all in. They wrote some magnificent poems. Shortly after we finished the unit, the principal announced a school wide poetry contest. Elated, I met with him and provided the students’ work for submission to the contest. After looking at the poems briefly, he returned them to me saying, “There is no way those students could have written those poems.” I was devastated.
A Milestone for Civil Rights: Celebrating 45 Years of IDEA
By Kanika Littleton
In the United States, over 7 million children and young adults receive special education programs and services through the Individualized Education Program (IEP). These students are entitled to a Free Appropriate Public Education (FAPE) as outlined in the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). IDEA encompasses the rights of students with disabilities to have access to the general education curriculum and to the greatest extent possible, be educated with their typically developing peers.
Forty-Five Years of IDEA-Funded Research Supporting a
“Free Appropriate Public Education”
By Douglas Fuchs and Lynn Fuchs, Vanderbilt University
On this 45th anniversary of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), we reflect on the research that IDEA legislation (and its successive reauthorizations) has facilitated. More specifically, we discuss its focus, quality, and meaningfulness for children and youth with and without disabilities.
IDEA Deserves our Continued Passion, Advocacy, and Support
By Michael Norman
When I began an internship at the National Association of State Directors of Special Education (NASDSE) in 1976, I knew little about special education and even less about state educational agencies (SEAs). I was a thirty-year-old doctoral student and former middle school principal. I had no idea that internship would change the entire trajectory of my professional life.
NOTE: October is National Disability Employment Awareness Month
After 43 years, Carl Belnap retired in August 2020, from his position at A-dec (Austin Dental Equipment Company), a Newberg, Oregon, manufacturer of dental office equipment.
Carl began his job at A-dec in May 1977. Blind since birth, Carl began as a client of Oregon Commission for the Blind (OCB) in 1973. As a high school Junior, Carl attended OCB’s Portland Training Center for the Blind, a summer job training program. After high school, he attended the Oregon Rehabilitation Center for Development at the Oregon School for the Blind for several months, receiving vocational counseling and training. Carl also attended Clackamas Community College for additional training in the machine shop.
NOTE: October is National Disability Employment Awareness Month
By Michelle Novak, Community Liaison for Tradewinds
The relationship between the vocational rehabilitation counselor, employment specialist and the job seeker are important when it comes to finding successful employment. The support and encouragement on the road to a successful employment placement can make a positive impact for everyone involved. In this case, an Employment Specialist shares her perspective on the VR client and her determination to succeed after five years on the employment search.
NOTE: October is Learning Disabilities (LD)/Dyslexia/Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder Awareness (ADHD) Month.
By Michaela Hearst, an advocate, writer, and a social worker.
I was diagnosed with nonverbal learning disorder (NVLD) and learning disability not otherwise specified (LD-NOS) when I was 14 years old. I share my personal story with the hope it will inspire or help others.
Every experience I’ve undergone in the past has led me to where I am now.