Sharing My Story to Inspire Advocacy in Others

NOTE: October is Learning Disabilities (LD)/Dyslexia/Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder Awareness (ADHD) Month.

Michaela Hearst

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.

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OSEP 2020 New Discretionary Grant Awards

In fiscal year 2020, OSERS’ Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP) provided over $71.7 million to fund programs that help educate children and youth with disabilities to assist states, local districts and other organizations to improve results for infants, toddlers, children and youth with disabilities ages birth through 21.

Please read about these programs below.

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Charting the Path to Every Child Reading

NOTE: October is Learning Disabilities (LD)/Dyslexia/Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder Awareness (ADHD) Month.

Amy and Olivia Traynor

Amy Traynor, OTR, M.A., ATP, National Center for Learning Disabilities Texas Parent Advisory Council Lead

“Livvy speak” is the endearing term coined for the innocent one-off names or descriptions spoken by my daughter, Olivia, when she was in preschool. We adored it and rarely corrected her.

As a pediatric occupational therapist (OT), I recognized that all children, even siblings, develop differently. It didn’t surprise me that she has done things differently than her brother and they have approached “life” differently from the other.

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Reservation, Risk, and Relief: Finding My Way to Advocacy

NOTE: October is Learning Disabilities (LD)/Dyslexia/Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder Awareness (ADHD) Month.

Lia Beatty

By Lia Beatty, Whitman College student

My self-advocacy is a choice. Not a choice I wanted to make, but one I had to make and continue to make every day.

The journey was provoked by a defining moment in my first year of college. A psychologist told me, referring to my recently diagnosed attention deficit disorder (ADD)—and not-yet identified dyslexia—that I would “just have to settle with being less than,” a feeling I had already felt for so long.

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The Unexpected Lesson COVID-19 Taught Me About LD & ADHD

NOTE: October is Learning Disabilities (LD)/Dyslexia/Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder Awareness (ADHD) Month.
Susan Reynolds

by Susan Reynolds, National Center for Learning Disabilities field organizer

Like many parents, I woke up on March 13 with a notification from my son’s school district: school was canceled for the day. As I read through the news that morning, I had a strange feeling wash over me. My instincts were telling me that schools were getting ready to close for in-person learning for an undetermined amount of time.

I remember saying to my husband, “I’m ADHD and so is our son, and we both have learning disabilities. I work from home, and now our son will be learning from home, too. We need to sit down and figure out a better schedule.”

We started to plan as best we could.

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Laying Educational Foundations

NOTE: October is National Down Syndrome Awareness Month

Rebecca Newlon

Rebecca Newlon

By Chris and Rebecca Newlon

When Rebecca, my daughter who has Down syndrome, began kindergarten, I never dreamed that the day-to-day hammering out of details with her general education teacher would lay the foundation we would continue to utilize to this day now that Rebecca is a junior in high school.

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Impact Stories — Joe McFadden

Throughout June we will celebrate the graduating high school class of 2020. This final blog in the series highlights a student from a private high school in Maryland.


Congratulations Graduate! A Spotlight on Joe McFadden.

Joe McFadden

By Pauline Peticlerc and Joe McFadden

Joe was diagnosed with autism when he was two years old. He did not speak until age five, and we were told he may never learn to potty train. Fortunately, he was born with great fortitude and never let his disability stand in his way.

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OSEP Releases Fast Facts: Infants and Toddlers With Disabilities

Header: OSEP Office of Special Education Programs. Title: OSEP Fast Facts: Infants and Toddlers With Disabilities. Body: Percent of percent of the population, ages birth through 2, served under IDEA, Part C in the United States: 2018-19. Image shows U.S. map. Separate text box reads: The percent of the population, receiving early intervention services under IDEA, Part C, for the United States and Outlying Areas is 3.48%. Source: U.S. Department of Education, EDFacts Metadata and Process System (EMAPS): "IDEA Part C Child Count and Settings," 2018-19. https://go.usa.gov/xd6j9. These data are a snapshot count collected by states in the fall of the identified year. U.S. Bureau of the Census. "2018 State Population Estimates by Age, Sex, Race, and Hispanic Origin". Data accessed July 2019 from http://www.census.gov/popest

By the Office of Special Education Program

In 2018–2019, 409,315 Infants and toddlers, birth through age 2, with disabilities and their families received early intervention services under IDEA Part C.

Our new Fast Fact: Infants and Toddlers With Disabilities takes a closer look at what our 618 data tells us about this population. For this Fast Fact, we present data from the data collections authorized under IDEA Section 618 on Infants and Toddlers with Disabilities who receive early intervention services under IDEA Part C. Data presented includes that collected through child count, settings, and exiting data collections.

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Education Department-funded Center Helps Families Adjust to Schooling’s “New Normal”

IRIS Center Resource Module: Resources to Assist Parents, Educators, Service Providers and Stakeholders During the COVID-19 Pandemic. Parent: Supporting Learning During the COVID-19 Pandemic.

Kristen Kushiyama, Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services


Most schools in the United States shut their doors almost two months ago and switched from traditional classrooms to distance learning environments.

Families moved to adapt to at-home school settings while also having to shift their own work schedules and environments. Teachers, many of whom also had to account for their own children’s schooling, raced to prepare learning packets and modify in-classroom instruction to support their students from afar.

U.S. Department of Education grant-funded centers started to release resources and materials specific to helping support families, educators and service providers during a pandemic.

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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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