October and Disability Awareness — 2019

ICYMI "In Case You Missed It!"

Throughout October, the Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services highlighted aspects of disability awareness for national disability employment, dyslexia, learning disabilities, ADHD and Down syndrome.

Check out the stories below.

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Words of Advice from a Triple Threat

NOTE: October is Learning Disabilities/ADHD/Dyslexia Awareness Month

Alyssia Jackson

This blog is written by Alyssia Jackson, a member of the Young Adult Leadership Council of the National Center for Learning Disabilities


One of the scariest experiences in life is finding a job after college. Sometimes it felt like the more I applied, the more I got rejected. I struggled with finding the right job. You see, I am a woman of color with a learning disability and society also sees me as presenting with a physical disability.

I grappled with whether I should identify myself as having a disability on applications. I did not know if checking that box would cost me an interview, and many times, it felt like it did. Once during an in-person interview, I remember being asked if I had “gotten into a car accident recently”. At that time, I explained my learning disability, and the response was “does that mean you can’t read?”

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My Ever-Evolving Journey: Mom, Advocate, Board of Education Member

Note: October is Down Syndrome Awareness Month

Dria, Mom and Sister

by Dria Law, Moorestown, N.J.


I am the mom of two teenaged girls, one of whom has a disability.

My youngest daughter, Julianna, or Juls for short, was born with Down syndrome, and like many parents of a child with a disability, I found myself thrust into a whole new world. This world revolved around early intervention services, medical appointments, and learning as much as I possibly could about Down syndrome. I was discovering early-on that not only would I need to be Jul’s parent, but also her advocate.

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Exploring Career Opportunities in Alaska

Note: October is National Disability Employment Awareness Month

Logo - Alaska Department of Vocational Rehabilitation


This spring, 65 students with disabilities from southeast Alaska participated in the Alaska Division of Vocational Rehabilitation’s (DVR’s) Explore program.

The Explore program is a hands-on career exploration opportunity in the high-demand fields of construction, power technology and healthcare.

Explore is part of Alaska DVR’s Pre-Employment Transition Services that promotes career paths in high-demand, high-wage occupations through postsecondary vocational training for students with disabilities. This program is made possible through a partnership with the University of Alaska Southeast School of Career Education.

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Vocational Rehabilitation for Individuals with Disabilities from High School and College Youth to Adults

The Maine Department of Labor’s Bureau of Rehabilitation Services works to bring about full access to employment, independence and community integration for people with disabilities.

Working with its partners in the Maine Department of Labor’s CareerCenter and the rehabilitation community, the Bureau of Rehabilitation Services works with persons with disabilities through the divisions of vocational rehabilitation, blind and visually impaired, and deaf, hard of hearing and late deafened.

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I Can Do Anything: Learning Job Basics and Preparing for the Future

NOTE: October is National Disability Employment Awareness Month

Theo Brooks

By Theo Brooks


When I lost my job in the food industry, I didn’t know what to do. Without my job, I was feeling defeated. I was frustrated that the job I enjoyed and looked forward to was gone.

I stopped by INCLUDEnyc, which my mom found, that helps young people with disabilities like me and their families. One of their youth educators spoke to me and gave me an assessment. From that point, I started to feel more optimistic that I had opportunities.

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Blue, Purple and Green: How I Color Coded my Child Into Middle School

Note: October is Down Syndrome Awareness Month

Zoe – my color coded sixth grader with mosaic Down syndrome

Zoe – my color coded sixth grader with mosaic Down syndrome

By Suzanne Wingard, Director of Training, Family Connection of SC


Color has always been a part of organization in my life – from taking notes in school to sorting training handouts at work. It has visually simplified even the most complex tasks mainly because I am a visual learner. Luckily, so is my daughter.

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Creating Access to Successful Employment

Note: October is National Disability Employment Awareness Month

Logo: Project CASE

Manufacturing, healthcare and information technology are three promising career pathways for Kentuckians seeking training and employment in in-demand jobs that pay family-sustaining wages and have opportunities for advancement.

Project CASE was created to increase the numbers of individuals with disabilities training and working in these fields by finding and/or developing flexible and innovative training and postsecondary approaches to skill attainment.

Project CASE’s six Career Pathway Coordinators help increase the capacity of Kentucky’s Office of Vocational Rehabilitation and Office for the Blind in reaching employers who can provide work experiences such as job shadowing, internships, apprenticeships and, ultimately, job placement in these pathways.

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In Pursuit of a Dream

NOTE:  October is Learning Disabilities/ADHD/Dyslexia Awareness Month

Picture of Savannah

This blog is written by Savannah Treviño-Casias, a member of the Young Adult Leadership Council of the National Center for Learning Disabilities


My dream is to be a clinical mental health counselor!

I built my whole college experience around a plan to go to graduate school right after I completed my bachelor’s degree in psychology. Achieving that dream has been filled with challenges and many ups and downs.

You see, I have dyscalculia, a math learning disability. This disability requires me to be an advocate for myself in both school and life.

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The Power of Partnerships

NOTE: October is National Disability Employment Awareness Month

Ethan - Photo 2

By Chris Pope, OSERS RSA, and Kathy West-Evans, CSAVR


Partnerships between state vocational rehabilitation (VR) agencies and the private sector have helped individuals with disabilities served by state VR agencies to meet their career goals.

Ethan, a young man with Autism, secured a paid internship with HP Inc. last spring thanks in part to a partnership between the Council of State Administrators of Vocational Rehabilitation’s (CSAVR) National Employment Team (NET), Michigan Rehabilitation Services (MRS), and Michigan Technological University (MTU).

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