A Parent’s Perspective: What To Do If Your Child Is Diagnosed With A Rare Disorder

BY LAUREN AGORATUS, M.A. It’s hard enough on family caregivers when their child receives a new diagnosis. The challenge is made even more difficult when the condition is rare. “Rare disorders” are conditions that are rare or unusual, affecting small numbers of children. This could make it even more challenging to find information from good sources. Genetic resources may also be helpful in gathering information on rare diseases, particularly to help determine whether there is […]

New Challenges For Introducing People With Disabilities Into The Workforce

BY MARILYN HOYSON, PH.D October marked National Disability Employment Awareness Month, which traces its origins to 1945. Much has changed since that time. Today our nation recognizes the needs and contributions of individuals with all types of disabilities, and legislation is continually evolving to protect the rights of individuals with disabilities in the workplace. Integrated employment for individuals with disabilities has become a priority over the past several years, bringing with it significant changes to […]

Dealing With The Dyslexia Paradox

Students with dyslexia are often not identified until they are older and are not offered proper services and intervention until someone notices there’s a real deficiency, which often happens after the ideal time for intervention (kindergarten and 1st grade) has passed. BY SHANTELL THAXTON BERRETT When the diagnosis of dyslexia – and later dysgraphia – came to light with my son, I felt overwhelmed and afraid. I was unsure of how to help him, or […]

Senate Confirms New Chief for Federal Special Education Office

By Christina Samuels Johnny Collett, a former state director of special education for Kentucky, was confirmed by voice vote Thursday to be the assistant secretary for the office of special education and rehabilitative services. The confirmation was expected: Collett is respected in the special education community and his confirmation hearing was uneventful, despite efforts by Democrats on the Senate HELP committee to pin him down on some hot-button issues, such as vouchers for students with disabilities. Students […]


BY MELISSA HOWARD AND LAUREN TURIELLO How often do members of this WONDERFUL SPECIAL NEEDS POPULATION have the opportunity to GO SOMEWHERE, after school or work, where they can be as COOL AS THEY WANT, or as GOOFY AS THEY WANT, and still be COMPLETELY ACCEPTED? It is 3:00. The door chimes and members start to come in. As they find a place for their things and grab a snack, we see them begin to […]

Engaging Students With Career Pathways

One successful high school employment initiative is Bridge to Employment – an innovative, early intervention career program developed by JEVS Human Services and funded by Kessler Foundation that helps high school students with disabilities transition successfully into employment. BY LAURA VIGLIONE, M.S. Around the U.S. organizations are creating and implementing employment programs for youth with disabilities that focus not only on job readiness and skills training, but also on transitional skills necessary for students moving […]

Incidental Learning & The Deaf Child

To fully comprehend the crucial need for access to incidental learning,one must investigate the learning environment of the hearing child apart from the time spent in formal schooling. BY J. FREEMAN KING, ED.D. Incidental learning might be defined as what a person learns through informal communicative interactions with others in public and educational settings. For children who can hear, incidental learning constitutes a major portion of their social development and world knowledge. However, for the […]

Alabama’s Special Camp for Children & Adults

The impact that a Camp ASCCA experience can have on increasing confidence and the level of independence often remains long after the camp session has ended. BY GLENN ROSWAL AND DANA RICKMAN With more than 25 different activities from which to choose, Camp ASCCA is an exciting place to visit. Each activity area offers a unique experience and allows the camper to succeed on his or her own, as well as in an environment of […]

Job Coach Helps Build Pride & Professionalism

BY LARRY LANDAUER The kitchen in the café at First American Financial Corporation where Elizabeth Martinez serves as job coach for Brian Hirayama, Daniel Martinez, and Alfonso Ponce—three young men with developmental disabilities—is a showcase for true integration of people with disabilities into the work force. Alongside co-workers without disabilities, these men perform their duties with pride and professionalism, helping the First American Café serve more than 1,000 people per day. The support, encouragement and […]

Youth Empowerment Groups Encourage Self-Advocacy

Groups for youth and young adults may provide opportunity for building a foundation of skills to address core concepts that enable youth to have meaningful participation in the process of planning for their own futures. BY ERIN SEIGH AND LAUREN AGORATUS, M.A. Students with disabilities need to learn how to advocate for themselves in order to foster independence when transitioning to adult life. Groups that encourage the voices of youth and young adults can help […]