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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Ability for Hire in South Dakota

NOTE: October is National Disability Employment Awareness Month

Caitlin

Originally posted by the South Dakota Department of Human Services Rehabilitation Services

To shed a little more light on the real people impacted by businesses championing everyone’s right to be employed regardless of their disability status, Ability for Hire is highlighting stories from South Dakotans who have benefited from the vocational rehabilitation (VR) program and who are experiencing the many benefits — both emotional and financial — of being employed.

Meet Caitlin, a Vermillion resident who is currently employed by Aramark out of University of South Dakota (USD).

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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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RSA 2020 New Discretionary Grant Awards

In 2020, OSERS Rehabilitation Services Administration (RSA) provided over $17.1 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.

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What’s Your Vision?

NOTE: October is National Disability Employment Awareness Month

What's Your Vision PSA

By David D’Arcangelo, Commissioner, Massachusetts Commission for the Blind


As part of National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM), the Massachusetts Commission for the Blind (MCB) launched a new campaign emphasizing the importance of ensuring all Massachusetts residents, including those who are blind or visually impaired, have the opportunity to put their skills and talents to work, for the benefit of themselves and the Commonwealth’s employers and economy.

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Learning to Earn

NOTE: October is National Disability Employment Awareness Month

Kevin Urban

From Nebraska Vocational Rehabilitation

Kevin Urban has strong math and foreign language skills, earned several college credits while still in high school, and loves creating visual art. Through his participation in Nebraska VR Pre-Employment Transition Services, he also learned a lot more about himself. He learned how to speak up for himself, knows he is not a fan of chaos or change, and says he is a hands-on and visual learner.

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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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We Can Do Virtually Anything

Courtney Hansen

NOTE: October is Down Syndrome Awareness Month

A guest blog by Courtney Hansen, Special Education Advocate

Courtney is a non-attorney special education advocate. She advocates at the local, state, and national level for disability rights, and blogs about it at www.inclusionevolution.com


I first shared our family’s story on this blog two years ago. A lot has changed since then, although many things remain the same.

My now 8-year-old twin boys, one who has Down syndrome and the other typically developing, are still included in the same general education class. They still love playing sports together, and our family still leans on our “village” of teachers, therapists, and friends to move forward. Still, this year’s COVID-19 pandemic has set us on a trajectory of change and uncertainty that often feels unsustainable.

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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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