By the Office of Special Education Programs
OSEP released a new OSEP Fast Facts: Educational Environments of School Aged Children with Disabilities, which explores our IDEA, Section 618 data.
This OSEP Fast Facts takes a closer look at the environments where children with disabilities are receiving special education and related services.
NOTE: May is Better Hearing and Speech Month
By Donia Shirley, Vice President of the National Family Association for Deaf-Blind and parent of Jaxson, a child who is deaf-blind.
When a baby is added to a family, invisible bonds often quickly form with others who have children the same age. For families who have children with complex support needs, that community can seem out of reach, especially when they have a child with a low incidence disability such as deaf-blindness.
A few days after our 6-week-old son Jaxson was transferred to our local children’s hospital, we started receiving diagnoses. We learned he was deaf-blind; he was profoundly Deaf and had colobomas (an eye condition that cannot be completely corrected). The medical team eventually informed us that Jaxson had CHARGE Syndrome.
The disability community lost a giant yesterday with the passing of Paula Goldberg, a co-founder of the PACER Center, a leading parent training and information center. She was instrumental in advocating for the establishment of parent training and information centers and that they be a vital component of discretionary grant funding under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). Paula’s dedication to children with disabilities and their families, not just those in her home state of Minnesota, but around the country and around the world, was legendary.
Paula was a friend and mentor to me and to many of us in the special education advocacy community. Paula often played the role of the parent no child wanted to disappoint. As such, she pushed policymakers to take actions that would advance high expectations for students with disabilities. She made us stronger, better, and unified.
I know her memory will be a blessing.
Deputy Assistant Secretary
(Delegated the Authority to Perform the Functions and Duties of the Assistant Secretary, Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services)
Supporting Children’s Mental Health
Amy Hunter is a Licensed Independent Clinical Social Worker (LICSW) who earned her Masters of Social Work degree at Boston University. Amy has a post graduate certificate from the University of Maryland School of Medicine in Early Childhood Mental Health. She currently serves as an Assistant Professor at Georgetown University’s Center for Child and Human Development. In her capacity at Georgetown she co-leads the post-graduate clinical certificate program on infant early childhood mental health and co-directs the mental health section of the Head Start National Center on Health, Behavioral Health and Safety. Additionally, Amy serves as a lead on the National Center for Pyramid Model Innovations (NCPMI), a training and technical assistance center funded by the Office of Special Education Programs. Amy has worked in the field of infant early childhood mental health for over thirty years.
By the Office of Special Education Programs
OSEP is excited to release a new OSEP Fast Facts: Students with Disabilities who are English Learners (ELs) Served under IDEA Part B, which explore our IDEA, Section 618 data with the specific lens on one of the fastest-growing populations of students with disabilities served under IDEA.
Promoting a Healthy Smile for Young Children
Katrina Holt is the director of the National Maternal and Child Oral Health Resource Center where she works to improve oral health services for pregnant women, infants, children, and adolescents, including those with special health care needs, and their families. The center collaborates with federal agencies and professional organizations to provide technical assistance, training and resources.
Valerie C. Williams
Director, Office of Special Education Programs
Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services
Valerie C. Williams joins the Department as director in the Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP) within the Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services. In this role, she is responsible for overseeing the administration of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA).
While most coverage of Helen Keller freezes her as the “eternal child” in that “aha” moment at the water pump with teacher Anne Sullivan (immortalized in The Miracle Worker), this new documentary American Masters: Becoming Helen Keller shatters that disability myth, transcends that image, takes back the narrative, and unlocks multifaceted aspects of her life and commitment to social justice, disability rights, veterans with disabilities, women’s rights, voting rights, civil rights, early support of the NAACP and ACLU, her involvement with setting up State Commissions for the Blind, “talking books,” and her work as an international goodwill ambassador … to name a few.
In fiscal year 2021, OSERS’ Rehabilitation Services Administration (RSA) provided over $134.9 million to fund programs that help to assist state and other agencies in providing vocational rehabilitation (VR) and other services to individuals with disabilities to maximize their employment, independence and integration into the community and the competitive labor market.
In fiscal year 2021, OSERS’ Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP) provided over $70.3 million to fund programs that help educate children and youth with disabilities to assist states and local districts to improve results for infants, toddlers, children, and youth with disabilities ages birth through 21.