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: Current Scholars in Orientation and Mobility Preparation Programs

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

Paths into the Profession: Current Scholars in Orientation and Mobility Preparation Programs

Every year on Oct. 15, we celebrate White Cane Safety Day. Have you ever wondered how someone who travels with a white cane learns techniques and strategies to know where they are, where they want to go, and how to get there safely?

Orientation and mobility (O&M) is a high-demand professional practice focused on instruction and support for learners who are blind/visually impaired in early childhood settings, schools, and beyond! According to the Academy for Certification of Vision Rehabilitation and Education Professionals, a Certified Orientation and Mobility Specialist (COMS) is an “expert who specializes in working with individuals who are blind, low vision or who have functional visual limitations, and empowers them to achieve their life goals for education, employment, avocation and independence.” O&M specialists prepare learners with visual impairments to move, engage, and travel in a range of environments with safety, confidence, and independence.

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Paths into the Profession: Current Orientation and Mobility Specialists and a Cane User

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

Current Orientation and Mobility Specialists and a Cane User

While we are celebrating Oct. 15, White Cane Safety Day, and bringing more focus to the field of orientation and mobility, we asked two orientation and mobility (O&M) instructors about the highlights of the profession. Meredith Grace and Joe (who is also a cane user) provide their personal insights into what it is like to be an orientation and mobility instructor and why it is such a unique and wonderful job.

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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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Lead with LD: Honoring Yourself and Becoming an Effective Leader

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

Kayla Queen

By Kayla Helm-Queen

The Young Adult Leadership Council, a community of young adults aged 18-30 with learning disabilities and attention issues, unite their experiences and voices to advocate for the learning rights community.


My biggest leadership journey has been learning to let go of the idea that there is an archetype of a leader. I’ve had leadership opportunities in my life, from working in my university’s student government, to being an ambassador on National Center for Learning Disabilities’ Young Adult Leadership Council. I’ve learned that honoring yourself and discovering your own leadership style comes before influencing others; you don’t have to be a certain type of leader to be effective.

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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. 

Lucia

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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Voices from the Field: Interview with Toni Whitaker

Supporting Children and Families

Toni Whitaker

Toni Whitaker, MD, is a Professor of Pediatrics and the Division Chief of Developmental Pediatrics at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center (UTHSC) and Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital in Memphis, Tenn. She directs the UTHSC Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental Disabilities (LEND) program funded by the Maternal and Child Health Bureau and serves as consultant and Ambassador to Tennessee for CDC’s Learn the Signs. Act Early. program.

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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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