Ella

NOTE: October is Blindness Awareness Month as well as Learning Disabilities / Dyslexia / Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder Awareness Month.

Ella and Beth Johnson

Ella and Beth Johnson

My name is Ella, and I’m a junior at Irondale High School in Minnesota. This school year, I’m busy studying for advanced placement courses, playing percussion and coordinating audio equipment in my school’s band, and making time to read book recommendations from friends. I was diagnosed with dyslexia in fifth grade, and reading print books has always been challenging for me compared with most of my classmates. However, accessible digital books from Bookshare give me the same opportunities to learn, engage, and show what I know.

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What’s New at the National Instructional Materials Access Center

NOTE: October is Blindness Awareness Month

NIMAC Project Director, Nicole Gaines

NIMAC Project Director, Nicole Gaines

When typical textbooks don’t meet the needs of students with reading disabilities, visual impairments, or physical disabilities, the OSEP-funded National Instructional Materials Access Center (NIMAC) helps ensure that these students can obtain the accessible formats they need to engage and contribute alongside their peers.

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I Thought I Knew It All

Moxie and Meriah

by Meriah Nichols

I really thought I knew disability. I thought I knew what it feels like to have a disability; I thought I knew how it is to navigate a world that often does not understand or appreciate the presence of disability. I thought I knew the feelings that a disability can bring with it: the hurt, the pain, the joy, and the delight. I really thought I knew it all.

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Forming a Disability Identity as a Dyslexic

NOTE: October is Learning Disabilities / Dyslexia / Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder Awareness Month.

By Rachelle Johnson, a member of the Young Adult Leadership Council of the National Center for Learning Disabilities.

As a child I was diagnosed with dyslexia and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Adults told me I was “differently abled” and to not categorize myself negatively, as in “disabled.” This introduced me to a societal view of “the disabled” and how to navigate an ableist society by distancing from the term disabled. The adults wanted this so I would not be treated in the negative ways people with disabilities often were.

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Deaf-Blind Projects Support Accessible, Virtual Connections to Transition

NOTE: October is Blindness Awareness Month

Teresa Coonts

Written by: Teresa Coonts, Project Director of Nebraska Deaf-Blind Project with input from Susan Brennan, Iowa Deaf-Blind Project

Deaf-blindness is one of the lowest-incidence of all IDEA disability categories; however, supporting students with deaf-blindness often involves a wide array of team members in many areas of expertise! To help meet the unique needs of these students, OSEP funds 53 State Deaf-Blind Projects, assisting districts, schools, and families in all States and territories as well as the National Center on Deaf-Blindness (NCDB). Collaboratively, we work to improve educational results and quality of life for children who are deaf-blind and their families. The Center and projects’ efforts include a national count of children who are deaf-blind as well as development and sharing of resources, strategies, and events.

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Self-Worth, Encouragement, Times of Value: These Kept Me Going

NOTE: October is Learning Disabilities / Dyslexia / Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder Awareness Month.Kayla Queen

By Kayla Queen, a member of the Young Adult Leadership Council of the National Center for Learning Disabilities


When attempting to draw conclusions as to why I have been spared from many of the unfavorable statistics encountered by large percentages of people with learning disabilities, I have been able to explain it in part by the self-worth I was taught to have for myself and the times I have felt valued in school.

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Youth with Disabilities Experience Better Outcomes Thanks to Vermont’s Efforts to Advance Transition Services

NOTE: October is National Disability Employment Awareness Month

A teacher and students studying at a desk

Original News item posted at Mathematica.

This blog is a cross-post from Mathematica and the Vermont Linking Learning to Careers project, which was made possible by a Disability Innovation Fund grant from OSERS’ Rehabilitation Services Administration at the U.S. Department of Education.


Youth with disabilities face many challenges as they transition from high school to adulthood. Compared with their nondisabled peers, a greater share of youth with disabilities experience higher rates of poverty, health issues, service needs, dependence on benefits, and poorer academic performance, and they face lower expectations for their education and employment achievements. More inclusive attitudes and policies, such as those promoted in the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act, recognize the value of continued education and work experience for youth with disabilities, and evidence has shown that they can succeed in the workforce with proper supports. As a result, federal and state agencies have bolstered their efforts to better serve youth with disabilities during this critical transition.

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17 Things I have Learned in 17 Years

NOTE: October is Down Syndrome Awareness Month

Emir, Eliana and Ayelen

An OSERS Guest Blog post by Eliana Tardio, a mother with two children with Down syndrome. She also wrote a Guest Blog about her and her children in October 2016.

Leer en español.

17 years ago, I was blessed to give birth to my first child, Emir. He was diagnosed in utero with Down syndrome but it was not until the moment that I held him in my arms that I realized one of the most powerful truths I share with new parents of kids with Down syndrome: He was simply perfect, and even though, I tried really hard to see the syndrome, all I was able to see was the most beautiful child of the world: my child.

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17 cosas que he aprendido en 17 años

NOTA: Octubre es el mes de concientización sobre el síndrome de Down

Emir, Eliana y Ayelen

Una publicación del blog invitado de OSERS por Eliana Tardio, una madre con dos hijos con síndrome de Down. También escribió un blog invitado sobre ella y sus hijos en octubre de 2016.

Read in English.

Hace 17 años, tuve la suerte de dar a luz a mi primer hijo, Emir. Le diagnosticaron síndrome de Down en el útero, pero no fue hasta el momento en que lo sostuve en mis brazos que me di cuenta de una de las verdades más poderosas que comparto con los nuevos padres de niños con síndrome de Down: era simplemente perfecto. Y aunque me esforcé mucho por ver el síndrome, todo lo que pude ver fue al niño más hermoso del mundo: mi hijo.

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