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Autism Speaks Putting New Focus on Adults
After prioritizing the needs of children for years, Autism Speaks, the nation’s largest autism advocacy organization is turning its attention to expanding housing options and supports for adults. Starting as a pilot project in three states, Florida, New Jersey and Illinois, Autism Speaks is working with locally-based disability advocacy groups and policymakers to identify legislative goals and mobilize its own network to push for expanded home and community-based services.

Obama Calls for Boost to Disability Programs
President Barack Obama wants Congress to halt planned cuts under sequestration and increase funding for special education and other programs for people with disabilities. The proposals come in Obama’s $4 trillion budget plan which was released 02/16/15. The budget highlights the president’s priorities for the government’s 2016 fiscal year starting Oct. 1. Included in the plan is an added $175 million in funding for special education services for school-age children with disabilities and $115 million for programs for young kids served under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act.

Feedback to OSEP on Proposed Approach for Including Results Data in the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) Part C Determinations Process
The Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP), in the Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services (OSERS) sought feedback on a proposed approach for including results data in the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) Part C determinations process. At the request of OSEP, the Early Childhood Technical Assistance Center (ECTA) developed a proposal for using results-driven data for an accountability framework to review states’ performance results for children who receive early intervention services. The feedback received has been posted on OSERS’ blog.

U.S. Education Department Reaches Agreement with Youngstown State University to Ensure Equal Access to its Websites for Individuals with Disabilities
The U.S. Department of Education announced in December that its Office for Civil Rights has entered into an agreement with Youngstown State University in Ohio to ensure that the school’s websites comply with federal civil rights laws prohibiting discrimination on the basis of disability, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act and Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act. Youngstown State’s websites were not readily accessible to persons with disabilities, and the university was not fully in compliance with the regulatory requirements regarding the publication of a notice of nondiscrimination in relevant documents. The agreement ends an OCR investigation and commits the 13,000-student public institution in northeast Ohio to providing equal access to educational opportunities for students with disabilities and to ensuring that the school’s websites are accessible to persons with disabilities, including students, prospective students, employees and visitors.

U.S. Department of Education Announces 2014 National Blue Ribbon Schools 337 Schools Honored–287 public and 50 private
U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan has announced the recognition of 337 schools – 287 public and 50 private– as National Blue Ribbon Schools for 2014 for their overall academic excellence or their progress in closing achievement gaps among student subgroups. These schools demonstrate that all students can achieve to high levels. The Department of Education will honor the schools at a recognition ceremony on November 10-11, 2014, in Washington, D.C. The award affirms the hard work of students, educators, families and communities in creating safe and welcoming schools where students master challenging content. The Department invites National Blue Ribbon School nominations from the top education official in every state, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, the Department of Defense Education Activity and the Bureau of Indian Education. The Council for American Private Education (CAPE) nominates private schools.

Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act
“DisabilityScoop” reported July 10, 2014, in an article, “Congress Passes Bill Limiting Sheltered Workshop Eligibility,” that a bill that would significantly limit young people with disabilities from entering sheltered workshop programs is headed to President Barack Obama’s desk. The U.S. House of Representatives voted to approve the “Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act.” Included in the bill are changes to the path from school to work for those with disabilities. The measure would prohibit individuals age 24 and younger from working jobs that pay less than the federal minimum of $7.25 per hour unless they first try vocational rehabilitation services, among other requirements. It would also require state vocational rehabilitation agencies to work with schools to provide “pre-employment transition services” to all students with disabilities and require such agencies to allocate a minimum of 15% of their federal funding to help individuals with disabilities in transition under the measure.

U.S. Department of Education’s Guidance Letter on Charter Schools’ Legal Obligations to Individuals With Disabilities
The U.S. Department of Education issued a guidance letter in May 2014 outlining charter schools’ legal obligations to individuals with disabilities, regardless of whether the schools receive federal funding. Included in the letter are reminders that students with disabilities cannot be discriminated against in admissions and disciplinary actions; and that parents with disabilities must be accommodated, e.g., with sign-language interpreters or Braille materials, when communicating with the school.

Bureau of Labor Statistics Releases Youth Employment Rate Numbers for March 2014
Employment data for youth with and without disabilities is obtained from the Current Population Survey (CPS), a monthly survey of households conducted by the U.S. Census Bureau for the Bureau of Labor Statistics, and reported in the March 1914 “Youth Employment” statistics. PSAs Challenge Assumptions about People with Disabilities recently released public service announcements (PSAs) in support of the message that people are not defined by their disabilities. Each of the eight PSAs features one of’s “No Boundaries” participants. Each PSAs participant chose several words to describe him or herself to paint a broader picture of who they are. The PSAs are downloadable from the site.

AMBER Alerts Now Available on Twitter
In January, the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children (NCMEC) launched an AMBER Alert Twitter account to allow 49 million users nationwide to receive AMBER Alerts using the handle @AMBERAlert. This announcement, on AMBER Alert Awareness Day, recognized the AMBER Alert program of urgent bulletins to assist in the search for and rescue of abducted children. The Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP) administers the national training and technical assistance program, which expands and enhances the national AMBER Alert network; increases and improves law enforcement response to missing, endangered, and abducted children; and enhances public participation in the recovery of missing, endangered, and abducted children. OJJDP works closely with NCMEC and other key partners.

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This page was last updated on January 12, 2022.