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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IRIS Center Resources Take Educators Back to Basics

IRIS Center Logo - landscape

If 20 years of serving educators has taught us anything, it’s that a return to the fundamentals of sound practice is always a worthwhile pursuit. As schools and teachers enter into a new school year marked by uncertainty and the ever-present possibility of sudden change, this foundational approach feels especially relevant.

In this spirit, the IRIS Center has just posted one new module and completed significant updates to two others that personnel in schools and districts can use for professional development and personalized learning. And, yes, these resources emphasize a back-to-basics method.

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Voices From the Field: Interview with Lillian Durán

Lillian Durán

Lillian Durán has a Ph.D. in Educational Psychology from the University of Minnesota and is currently an Associate Professor in the Department of Special Education and Clinical Sciences at the University of Oregon and an Associate Dean of Academic Affairs in the College of Education. Her research is focused on improving instructional and assessment practices with preschool-aged multilingual learners. She delivers presentations focused on recommended practices in assessment and intervention with young children of Color with and without identified disabilities who are immigrants and/or speak languages other than English

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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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Voices From the Field: Interview With Rebecca Vitelli

Rebecca Vitelli is a preschool special education teacher at the Colonial Early Education Program in New Castle, Delaware. Rebecca earned a Bachelor of Science in early childhood education with minors in human development and family studies and disabilities studies and a Master of Education in exceptional children and youth with a concentration in autism and severe disabilities from the University of Delaware. Most recently, she was named the 2020 Delaware Teacher of the Year.

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