Learning and Leading through Innovative Assistive Technology Webinars and Resources

Athree-row a array of various AT icons

By Roba Hrisseh, Ph.D., former OSEP Scholar, former OSEP intern

Over 8 million students with disabilities ages birth through 21 in the U.S. are served under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act’s (IDEA) Parts B and C in 2022, according to the U.S. Department of Education (ED). As numbers continue to grow, it’s important to think about how to ensure the provision of accessible opportunities to all students, especially using emerging technologies, such as assistive technology (AT).

AT, as defined by IDEA, refers to any item, equipment, or system that helps improve the abilities of infants, toddlers, or children with disabilities. AT also includes AT service, which encompasses any service that directly aids infants, toddlers, or children with disabilities in choosing, obtaining, or utilizing an AT device.

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Assistive Technology 101 and the Assistive Technology Guidance

Assistive Technology Keyboard.

By Roba Hrisseh, Ph.D., OSEP Scholar, OSEP Intern

What is assistive technology?

Assistive technology (AT) includes two main components:

  • AT devices, and
  • AT services.

AT devices are defined by the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) as “any item, piece of equipment, or product system, whether acquired commercially off the shelf, modified, or customized, that is used to increase, maintain, or improve the functional capabilities of a child with a disability.”

AT services consist of “the selection, acquisition, or use of an assistive technology device.” AT services include the evaluation of a student with disability for AT, the provision of the AT for the child, the designing or customizing or adapting of AT devices, and the training about how to use the AT, among other items.

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Transition Planning to Prepare Our Youth for Success

This is the fourth blog in a series of blog posts on secondary transition from the Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services (OSERS).

Successful Transitions for All Blog Series - Post 4 - Transition Planning to Prepare Our Youth for Success!

Expect, Engage, and Empower: Successful Transitions for All!
Blog Post #4

In previous blog posts, we’ve discussed the importance of self-determination and student-led decision making as critical skills children and youth with disabilities need to develop for successful transitions to post-secondary opportunities and greater independence. In our symposia, students, young adults, and parents, and educators and vocational rehabilitation professionals shared their own transition stories — how they have successfully transitioned to life beyond high school or how they have supported youth who have made that journey.

In this post, we continue to delve into the transition planning process, to ensure that youth and their families are empowered to experience successful post-high school outcomes.

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OSERS Welcomes Danté Q. Allen as Commissioner of the Rehabilitation Services Administration

Dante Allen

In December, the U.S. Department of Education welcomed Danté Q. Allen after the U.S. Senate confirmed him as the commissioner of the Rehabilitation Services Administration (RSA) in the Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services (OSERS).

In his role as RSA commissioner, Allen will oversee an administration that provides leadership and resources to assist state and other agencies in providing vocational rehabilitation and other services to individuals with disabilities to maximize their employment, independence, and integration into the community and the competitive labor market.

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Making a Difference: Leading with LD as a Special Education Teacher

Erin Crosby in front of the U.S. Capital Building

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

By: Erin Crosby

The Young Adult Leadership Council, a community of young adults aged 1830 with learning disabilities and attention issues, unite their experiences and voices to advocate for the learning rights community.

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Paths into the Profession: Personnel Preparation for Orientation and Mobility Specialists

This is the first of three posts in a White Cane Safety Day 2023 series.
View all the posts in the series.

Personnel Preparation for Orientation and Mobility Specialists

In the fall of 2023, the Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP) awarded grants to universities to support a record number of new scholars in the field of orientation and mobility (O&M). This is a high-demand profession that provides important instruction and support for learners who are blind/visually impaired in early childhood settings, schools and beyond.

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From Diagnosis to Dreams: The Power of High Expectations and Inclusion

Victoria Hansen holding her graduation diploma

By: Dianna Hansen, Central Oregon Disability Support Network Director

Growing up in a remote part of Oregon, my high school had small graduating classes, averaging about 20 students, with no special provisions or rooms for students with unique challenges. We were like a closely-knit family, with many of my classmates being with me throughout my K-12 journey. We all meshed effortlessly, our individual differences and abilities blending seamlessly. Post-high school, I moved to a more urban Oregon setting, attended college, and started working. Over time, I gravitated towards a location reminiscent of my roots, which was more rural.

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Confronting Negative Stereotypes About Dyslexia/ADHD and Not Settling for Low Expectations 

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


By Lucia, Colorado Youth Advisory Community Member 

I am a 17-year-old senior in high school, and I have dyslexia and ADHD.  

I received my diagnosis at the age of nine. I cannot recall the details of that day, except that I was ecstatic to be missing school, to be free of the seclusion and loneliness.  

The diagnosis solved nothing; it just created a thousand more questions. Every day, I confronted many assumptions about my failure to meet educational standards in reading and writing. Every day, I struggled to comprehend and focus in school. With all my heart, I desired to be “normal.” Yet daily, I encountered the reality I was not. 

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Technologies to Support Students, Including Those with Disabilities, Showcased at the ED Games Expo 2023

ED Games Expo 2023
By the Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services

WASHINGTON, D.C. (Sept. 29, 2023) — Last week the U.S. Department of Education held its 9th annual ED Games Expo, Sept. 19-22. The annual event showcased game-changing education technology (EdTech) created through more than 50 programs across the government to the public.

During the Special Education & Technology Showcase, speakers emphasized the need for accessibility and inclusion considerations at the beginning of product development and discussed available tools and products used to help ensure accessibility.

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