Controversial Issue of the Month

November 29, 2005 marked the 30th Anniversary of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act.  In 1975, P.L. 94-142 (Education for All Handicapped Children’s Act) became the first federal law designed solely for parents and their children with disabilities.  Now, 30 years later, IDEA (The name Education for All Handicapped Children’s Act was changed to Individuals with Disabilities Education Act in 1990) still stands as the most powerful law in special education.  IDEA is the law that guides how states provide early intervention and special education services to children and youth with disabilities.
Has IDEA really affected and impacted students and educators as much as we’d like to believe? 
Are students with disabilities any better off than where they were 30 years ago?  10 years ago?  Last year? 
Are special educators better off than where they were 30 years ago?  10 years ago?  Last year? 

We look forward to hearing your professional and personal thoughts and experiences. Send an email to

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This Just In ..FDA to Review a Patch for Kids with ADHD


Noven Pharmaceuticals, Inc. announced the results of the Psychopharmacologic Drugs Advisory Committee meeting held earlier today relating to Daytrana (methylphenidate transdermal system).
Daytrana is a patch designed for once-daily use to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in children aged 6 to 12 years. An amended New Drug Application (NDA) for Daytrana(TM) is currently pending at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
The FDA asked the Advisory Committee to vote on:

  1. whether the product has been shown to be effective for the treatment of ADHD, and
  2. whether the product has been shown to be acceptably safe in the treatment of ADHD.

On the first question, the Committee voted unanimously in favor of the efficacy of the product. On the second question, the Committee voted unanimously in favor of the safety of the product, but recommended that the FDA require post-marketing surveillance and/or studies related to the product. The Advisory Committee also recommended to the FDA that consideration of oral ADHD products be given prior to use of the product, but by a vote of eleven to one rejected a proposal to limit use of the product to patients who cannot use oral methylphenidate products.
“Given the uncertain knowledge regarding the risks of sensitization, consideration should be given to prescribing oral forms of methylphenidate prior to prescribing” the methylphenidate patch, Committee Chair Wayne Goodman (University of Florida) said.
Right now it appears that the FDA will make its decision on Daytrana at some point towards the end of this month.
 To read more on the ADHD patch (Daytrana), visit FDA Advisory Committee



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Legal Issues Forum


Continuation of Social Security Benefits for Certain Youth Ages 18-21

Effective July 25, 2005, the U.S. Social Security Administration extended eligibility for continued disability benefit payments to students ages 18-21 who recover medically, or whose disability is determined to have ended as a result of an age-18 redetermination, while participating in an IEP developed under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act with an appropriate provider of services.

Special Education: Ensuring Excellence for All Students

On November 15, 2005, the U.S. Department of Education celebrated the 30th anniversary of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) by profiling researched-based early identification and intervention initiatives and showcasing successful inclusion programs in schools in this Webcast. You can view the archived Webcast with or without captioning on the Web.

Supreme Court Decides Schaffer v. Weast

In this November 14, 2005 decision, the U.S. Supreme Court held that the burden of persuasion in an administrative hearing challenging an IEP is properly placed upon the party seeking relief, whether that is the disabled child or the school district. Opinion available in PDF (26 pages, 240 KB).

Everyday Law for Individuals with Disabilities  (2005)

This book serves as a practical guide to disability discrimination law for individuals with disabilities. Covering a wide range of issues faced by individuals with different kinds of disabilities, it not only describes those individuals’ legal rights but also suggests solutions to disability discrimination issues that are more practical and less expensive than filing a lawsuit.

IDEA 2004 Topic Briefs  (October 2005)

The Office of Special Education Programs, U.S. Department of Education has developed a series of topic briefs that address high-interest areas of IDEA. The briefs, which are available in Word and PDF formats, include a summary of all relevant statutory language on the topic, citations, and cross-references, when applicable, to other related briefs.

“No Child” Closes the Gap; Harder for Special Needs, Low-Income Students to be Left Behind

This Washington Post article describes Ricki Sabia’s battle to include her son Stephen, who has Down syndrome, in regular classes, and how the No Child Left Behind Act has become an “unexpected ally” in promoting inclusion and improved achievement for children with disabilities.

Beyond Mediation: Strategies for Early Appropriate Dispute Resolution in Special Education Dialogue Guide  (October 2002)

Using CADRE's existing work on early and innovative dispute resolution processes, the IDEA Partnership has developed a Dialogue Guide for Dispute Resolution. Dialogue Guides are models for conducting interactive discussions among stakeholders in states and districts. Dialogue Guides are comprised of a common set of source materials and suggested procedures for involving various audiences in states and districts.

Disability Awareness Human Resources Management Online Seminar

This online seminar from the Rehabilitation Research and Training Center on Workplace Supports and Job Retention covers diversity training specific to disability awareness for human resources professionals. Users of this self-guided seminar will learn about topics related to employing individuals with disabilities such as the history of the disability rights movement, myths and facts about disabilities, research on disabilities, communicating with people with disabilities, interviewing people with disabilities, and disability accommodations.

Judge Dismisses National Education Association's Lawsuit Against United States Department of Education

Judge Bernard Friedman of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan today granted the United States Department of Education’s motion to dismiss in Pontiac, et al., v. Spellings, the first lawsuit filed to prevent the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) from imposing “unfunded mandates” on states and school districts.  The National Education Association (NEA) and its co-plaintiffs will appeal the decision to the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit.  To read more, visit:
and then…………..

Statement from Secretary Spellings on Dismissal of NEA Lawsuit
November 25, 2005U.S. Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings today released the following statement regarding Chief Judge Bernard Friedman's decision to dismiss the National Education Association's lawsuit against the department:

"This is a victory for children and parents all across the country. Chief Judge Friedman's decision validates our partnership with states to close the achievement gap, hold schools accountable, and to ensure all students are reading and doing math at grade-level by 2014."
NCLD Parent Advocacy Briefs

The National Center on Learning Disabilities is offering Parent Advocacy Briefs.  These briefs are designed to  help parents navigate key provisions of No Child Left Behind (NCLB) and help them understand areas of the complex law that play a direct role in their child's success in school.  These include:
Making the Most of Options for IDEA-eligible Students-- provides an overview of the school choice and supplemental educational services opportunities that might be available to students, and highlights important points for consideration and questions to ask.
Determining Appropriate Assessment Accommodations for Students with Disabilities-- provides an overview of appropriate accommodations for students with IEPs or 504 Plans, serves as a guide to choosing accommodations and suggests questions to ask when making appropriate accommodation decisions.
Understanding Assessment Options for IDEA-eligible Students-- provides an overview of the ways students with IEPs can participate in statewide tests required by NCLB, helps guide parents as the IEP team chooses the right types of assessments and offers questions to ask about the testing options.
To read more about these briefs, visit:

Updated No Child Left Behind Guide

Making the "No Child Left Behind Act" Work for Children Who Struggle to Learn  is a free publication available to the public via the web from the National Center for Learning Disabilities and Schwab Learning. These two nonprofit organizations, focused on learning disabilities, have joined forces to address the special issues, challenges and opportunities facing parents of children who struggle to learn. Whether it’s a child who as a young learner is showing early signs of difficulty or a student receiving special education services under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), it is likely that No Child Left Behind Act is already affecting millions of children’s education in important ways.

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Update from the National Institute of Health

Latest Research Consortium to Study Autism

Five institutes at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and three private autism organizations have formed a consortium to pursue their common goal of understanding a devastating disorder. This public-private partnership has funded five grants representing three projects to identify genes that may contribute to the development of autism and Autism Spectrum Disorders. The National Institute of Mental Health will administer the $10.8 million awards over the next five years. To read the full NIH News Release, visit:
For more information on Autism Spectrum Disorders, visit
*For information about similar projects in genetic research on autism, visit

Chromosomes and Genetics Research on Psychoses and Schizophrenia
A study in youth who are missing part of a chromosome is further implicating a suspect gene in schizophrenia (
Youth with this genetic chromosomal deletion syndrome already had a nearly 30-fold higher-than-normal risk of schizophrenia, but those who also had one of two common versions of the suspect gene had worse symptoms. They were more prone to cognitive decline, psychosis and frontal lobe tissue loss by late adolescence, when schizophrenia symptoms begin to emerge, found the study, which was funded by the National Institutes of Health's (NIH) National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) and the National Institute on Child Health and Human Development (NICHD). The gene version appeared to worsen symptoms of the deletion syndrome by chronically boosting the chemical messenger dopamine to excessive levels in the brain's executive hub, the prefrontal cortex, during development. The study is the first to show the long-term effects of the dopamine-regulating gene in a disorder related to schizophrenia, say Drs. Allan Reiss, Doron Gothelf, Stanford University, and colleagues at the University of Geneva, who report on their findings in the November 2005 issue of "Nature Neuroscience".    To read the full NIH News Release, visit:
New Muscular Dystrophy Cooperative Research Centers Announced

The National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (NIAMS), the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) and the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD), a part of the National Institutes of Health, have funded three new Senator Paul D. Wellstone Muscular Dystrophy Cooperative Research Centers focusing on this group of genetic muscle-wasting diseases. The late Senator Wellstone was a major champion of muscular dystrophy issues in the Congress. The center at the University of Pennsylvania, co-directed by the university's H. Lee Sweeney, Ph.D., and Kathryn R. Wagner, M.D., Ph.D., of The Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, will explore new strategies for treating a variety of muscular dystrophies (MD). Two laboratory projects are focused on ways to increase muscle growth, and another on examining compounds that may be able to inhibit enzymes involved in breaking down muscle tissue. Clinical trials will determine the safety and feasibility of a potential drug treatment for Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy (DMD). The core facility -- a muscle physiology lab -- will analyze MD mouse models. Other sites involved with this center are the University of Florida, Gainesville, and the NINDS Intramural Research Program. To read the full NIH News Release, visit:
NIDA Unveils Campaign to Send Teens the Message about the Link Between Drug Abuse and HIV

“Drug Abuse and HIV: Learn the Link” is the message of a new public awareness campaign announced November 29, 2005, by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), a component of the National Institutes of Health. “Drug abuse prevention is HIV prevention,” says NIDA Director Dr. Nora D. Volkow. “Research has shown that a significant proportion of young people are not concerned about becoming infected with HIV. In recent years, the number of young people in the United States diagnosed with AIDS rose substantially. Because drug use encourages risky behaviors that can promote HIV transmission, NIDA views drug abuse treatment as essential HIV prevention.” In addition to public service announcements distributed to television stations across the country, NIDA has launched a website, .To read the full NIH News Release, visit

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Looking for Participation


Mentors: Provide Ethical Challenges You Have Faced in Mentoring
Professors Jean Rhodes (University of Massachusetts), Belle Liang (Boston College), and Renee Spencer (Boston University) are writing a book entitled First Do No Harm: A Call for Ethical Guidelines in Youth Mentoring, to be published by Harvard University Press. The book will address ethical challenges mentors face and provide a road map for navigating these challenges. You can make an important contribution to this book by sharing the story of an ethical dilemma you (or another mentor you know) have encountered and how you handled it.

Parents of Transition-Age Youth: Participate in an Online Survey
Matthew H. Wagner, a graduate student, is looking for parents of transition-age youth to take a short online survey that will provide data for his thesis on the transition process from the parents' perspective. All responses will be kept confidential. For more information, contact


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Resources, Resources, and More Resources


LD Online Now Offering Numerous Resources in Mathematics Instruction

Less is known about the components of effective mathematics instruction than about the components of effective reading instruction, because research in math is less extensive than in reading. However, conclusions still can be drawn from some very good studies that do exist, as well as from typical grade level expectations in math. As is true for reading, there is no single "best" program for teaching mathematics. Rather, certain key abilities involved in learning math need to be addressed in instruction, with the importance of different abilities shifting somewhat across the elementary and secondary grades. 

Review of the 2005 National Leadership Summit
Over 500 state leaders and policymakers representing secondary education, transition, workforce development, vocational rehabilitation, youth, families, and others came together in Washington, DC, in June for the second NCSET-hosted National Leadership Summit on Improving Results for Youth. This teleconference call, presented by David R. Johnson, NCSET Director, and selected state team representatives, briefly outlined the purpose and format of the Summit; highlighted findings from the data; shared perspectives from two states on how the Summit has instituted change for them; and communicated Summit follow-up technical assistance strategies.

Annotated Bibliography on Dispute Resolution in Special Education
This developing and searchable database from the Consortium for Appropriate Dispute Resolution in Education (CADRE) contains literature (research-based and policy/practice) related to dispute resolution in special education. Links to full-text articles are available for some of the resources. CADRE is also interested in receiving assistance in identifying additional articles not found in the database.

Collaborative Leadership Teams Professional Development Module
The National Center for Culturally Responsive Educational Systems (NCCRESt) has developed a professional development module on Collaborative Leadership Teams. The module is comprised of three “academies”: fostering team leadership in culturally responsive systems, engaging stakeholders in culturally responsive systems, and creating culturally responsive systems. Each academy includes a manual and PowerPoint for a facilitator and other materials.

Resources from the American Psychiatric Association to Help During the Holidays
The holiday season is a time full of excitement, celebration and happiness. Families, friends and loved ones have the opportunity to come together in observance of religious holidays, family traditions and social gatherings. For most people, the holiday season is a rewarding and cherished time of year.  However, for some people, the holidays can bring a lot of stress, anxiety and feelings of depression. The extra demands of holiday shopping, expenses and travel can be overwhelming. Strained relationship between family members and other loved ones can also play a part in holiday burnout. The American Psychiatric Association (APA) would like to offer some tip sheets and other resources to help families and individuals cope and make the most of this festive season.

Health Care Transition Training Program for Youth and Families
The Florida Developmental Disabilities Council has developed an online training module on Health Care Transition. The module is comprised of five chapters: Introduction, The Consumer Perspective, Public and Private Health Care Systems, Promising Practices, and Developing Personal Transition Plans. Each chapter is comprised of 2-5 videos for viewing on the Web. A separate Resources section provides supplemental materials for each chapter. In order to view the online training module, you need to submit your e-mail address for follow-up purposes.

Helping Families By Supporting and Expanding School Choice
This new fact sheet from the U.S. Department of Education includes information on federal funds supporting school choice programs under the law, including supplemental educational services, charter schools, magnet schools, and voluntary public school choice.

High Schools: Expanding the Promise of NCLB
The U.S. Department of Education offers a monthly satellite television series focusing on NCLB. September’s show, “High Schools: Expanding the Promise of NCLB” is now archived on the Web. It explored how U.S. high schools need to change to meet the demands of the 21st century; the impact NCLB has had on younger students and how the Act can be expanded to high schools; high school strategies which are positively affecting the achievement gap; effective models of high school reform; and what parents should be doing to help their middle school- and high school-aged children succeed in the new school year.

Innovative Methods for Providing Vocational Rehabilitation Services to Individuals with Psychiatric Disabilities
The Primary Study Group for the 30th Institute on Rehabilitation Issues at George Washington University recently published this monograph, which discusses the challenges, best practices, and history of vocational rehabilitation for people with mental illness and psychiatric disabilities and also provides examples of workplace accommodations and supports. Available in PDF (165 pages, 859 KB).

Inside High School Reform: Making the Changes that Matter  (2005)
This new book from WestEd details the turnaround approaches that are preparing disadvantaged students for college. Author Jordan Horowitz and his research team followed 28 high schools, once labeled as California's lowest-performing, to uncover how teachers helped their students succeed. Full of concrete examples, transferable techniques, and insider advice, the book offers real-life solutions to common problems plaguing high schools across the country.

K-12 Teacher Professional Development Video Workshops
The Annenberg Foundation and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB) offer professional development workshops for K-12 teachers on a variety of topics, broadcast on the Annenberg/CPB Channel and also available as video files on the Web. The workshops are designed to improve participants’ teaching methods in specific subject areas: the arts, education theory and issues, foreign language, history and social studies, literature and language arts, math, and science.

Career Planning Begins with Assessment
This transcript from the NCSET teleconference “Career Planning Begins with Assessment,” which was held October 25, 2005 includes information on the domains of assessment, formal testing instruments, the organizational perspective, infrastructure issues, and the importance of accommodations and assistive technology in the assessment process. During this teleconference, presenters from the National Collaborative on Workforce and Disability for Youth (NCWD/Youth) discussed the needs of transitioning youth (with and without disabilities) and the importance of comprehensive assessment to plan effectively for transition.

What Algebra and Biology Students Have to Say About Universal Design for Learning
This brief outlines the findings of a study of whether universal design for learning (UDL) improves how students with mild disabilities perform in general education. The study's findings illustrate how students perceive individual interventions anchored by three key UDL principles--multiple ways of representing course content, multiple options for student expression and control, and multiple options for engagement and motivation. These individual interventions were used in standard-track high school algebra and biology classes.

Yes, Youth with Disabilities Can Travel to Study Abroad
During this September 29, 2005 NCSET teleconference, presenters from Mobility International USA discussed frequently asked questions about international exchange programs and provided background on how international exchange relates to youth with disabilities. They also discussed steps for incorporating global education into U.S. student plans, a school's responsibilities regarding foreign exchange students with disabilities, and international resources and activities.

A Profile of the American High School Senior in 2004: A First Look
This report from the National Center for Education Statistics summarizes the demographic and educational characteristics of the high school senior class of 2004. It also reports on the class's mathematics achievement, their expectations for eventual educational attainment, the importance to them of various institutional characteristics in choosing a college, and their values and plans.

A World Awaits You
Mobility International USA and the National Clearinghouse on Disability and Exchange (NCDE) announce that two issues of A World Awaits You (AWAY), their Web-based journal describing the successful experiences of individuals with disabilities in volunteer, internship, cultural and educational programs abroad, have been posted to NCDE's Web site. The focus of these issues are U.S. Teens with Disabilities Abroad! and International Teens with Disabilities, Study in the U.S.!, respectively.

Advancing High School Reform in the States: Policies and Programs
This report from the National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP) and the KnowledgeWorks Foundation highlights current and ongoing high school reform policies and programs in various states. Each section of the report identifies examples of state policies or state-financed programs that address the reform strategies outlined by NASSP in its previous publication, Breaking Ranks II.

Creating a Culture of Literacy: A Guide for Middle and High School Principals
This guide for school leaders from the National Association of Secondary School Principals discusses the importance of implementing literacy strategies across the curriculum and gives examples of ways to confront the deficit in literacy skills in secondary schools. The guide also includes practical, specific action steps; profiles of successful schools; additional research-based expertise; and tips to remember when building a literacy program at the school-building level.

Cultivating Leadership: Mentoring Youth with Disabilities
This brief from the Office of Disability Employment Policy of the U.S. Department of Labor describes various forms of mentoring, benefits of mentoring, and characteristics of successful mentoring relationships.
Disproportionate Representation of Culturally and Linguistically Diverse
Students in Special Education: Measuring the Problem
This Practitioner Brief from the National Center for Culturally Responsive Educational Systems details history of legal action undertaken to reduce disproportionality; language in the 1997 Amendments to IDEA which addresses disproportionality; measures of disproportionality that have been used, including the composition index and relative risk ratios; and the difficulty of defining disproportionality.

Identifying and Interpreting Educational Practices Supported by Rigorous Evidence: A User-Friendly Guide
This guide from the U.S. Department of Education seeks to help educational practitioners distinguish practices that are supported by rigorous evidence from those that are not. It includes a description of randomized controlled trials and information on how to evaluate whether an intervention is backed by ”strong“ or “possible” evidence of effectiveness.

Cultural and Linguistic Diversity: Implications for Transition Personnel
This volume in NCSET’s Essential Tools series summarizes current research about transition issues and Culturally and Linguistically Diverse (CLD) youth with disabilities. It offers information on how transition personnel can effectively support these youth by building on their strengths and enhancing natural supports available within their families and communities. Also included are numerous practical tools and information on further resources. Available only on the Web.

Access to the General Education Curriculum
The National Association of State Directors of Special Education (NASDSE) surveyed state directors of special education regarding strategies to improve access for students with disabilities to the general education curriculum being implemented in their states. This brief is based on the stages that states are in by academic area, strategies to enhance access, professional development provided, whether they have a written definition of access, and any changes they have encountered in supporting these activities. Available in PDF (9 pages, 182 KB).

Alternative Routes to Certification for Special Educators  (September 2005)
Alternative routes to certification (ARCs) enable individuals to become certified teachers without attending traditional programs. This document from the National Association of State Directors of Special Education reviews research on ARCs and provides information on ARCs for special education certification in all 50 states, including the number of ARCs, when authorized, motivation for authorization, types of ARCs, and entity responsibility for administering ARCs. Available in PDF (28 pages, 402 KB).

Deaf and Hard of Hearing: State Infrastructures and Programs  (September 2005)
This document from the National Association of State Directors of Special Education describes and compares state infrastructures and programs for serving children and youth who are deaf or hard of hearing. All states were surveyed, and ten states were also interviewed in-depth. Findings cover amount of personnel from the state and schools for the deaf, jurisdiction over schools for the deaf, governance, professional development, consultation, placement, information on states without state-operated schools for the deaf, certification options, interpreters, cochlear implants, guidelines for parents, accountability, and barriers. Available in PDF (32 pages, 348 KB).

Medically Fragile: State Policies and Procedures
This document from the National Association of State Directors of Special Education explains how states handle issues related to children who are medically fragile. State definitions, classification, guidance, placements, related services, and nursing services per IDEA 2004 are discussed based on state responses to survey questions. Available in PDF (5 pages, 131 KB).

Redesign of The Family Center on Technology and Disability News and Notes is Now Complete
The Family Center on Technology and Disability's News and Notes has been redesigned. Each issue can be read online. Past issues are available as far back as February 2002. The Family Center on Technology and Disability supports organizations and programs that work with families of children and youth with disabilities by providing a range of information and services on the subject of assistive technologies.

Addressing the Disproportionate Representation of Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Students in Special Education through Culturally Responsive Educational Systems
The Education Policy Analysis Archives has published the National Center on Culturally Responsive Educational Systems’ (NCCRESt) conceptual framework. It details NCCRESt’s approach to improving students’ educational opportunities and reducing inappropriate referrals and placements to special education.

Financing Alternative Education Pathways: Profiles and Policy 2005
The National Youth Employment Coalition has published a report containing profiles of nine alternative schools and programs that have accessed state and local education funds. It highlights innovative practices and creative state and local policy mechanisms used to finance alternative education pathways.

No Child Left Behind: A Road Map to State Implementation
This U.S. Department of Education document in the administrators’ section of their Web site describes how the Department—together with parents, educators and policymakers—is making the No Child Left Behind Act work for states, schools and students.
The Averaged Freshman Graduation Rate for Public High Schools from the Common Core of Data: School Years 2001-02 and 2002-03
This report from the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) presents the averaged freshman graduation rate for public high school students for school years 2001-02 and 2002-03, based on data reported by state education agencies to NCES. Rates are included for the 50 states, District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, Department of Defense Dependents Schools (overseas), and four other jurisdictions.

The Fate of the American Dream: Strengthening Our Education and Skills Pipeline Event Materials
In September 2005, top corporate, education, and workforce policymakers came together to address the failure to prepare the nation for the demands of the knowledge-based global economy of the 21st century at this event sponsored by Jobs for the Future (JFF). This Web page includes links to materials from the forum, including transcripts of addresses by William H. Donaldson and Patty Stonesifer, proceedings from specific sessions, and Education and Skills for the 21st Century: An Agenda for Action, which JFF released at the event.  

New Publications available from ODEP
The Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP) has added several new or updated fact sheets on the following subjects: mentoring, disability data and research resources, interviewing tips for job candidates with disabilities, recruiting employees with disabilities, emergency preparedness, and an overview of the Job Accommodation Network. These fact sheets as well as previous ODEP publications are available in PDF and html formats.
Minnesota Launches Project C3 website
Project C3 is a partnership between several organizations who offer many different kinds of services to youth and young adults. The goal of the project, funded by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP) is to help young adults in transition become successfully employed or to continue their education in high school, colleges or universities.

The website features a number of resources that other programs can replicate, such as iseek and eFolio. Iseek is Minnesota 's online information source of career, education, employment, and business information. eFolio is an electronic portfolio designed to help students showcase their education, career and personal achievements. The website can be visited at

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New Web Sites to Browse


Educators National Science Standards and Lesson Bank

The Space Foundation has developed a bank of free, downloadable science lesson plans for grades preK-12. The lesson plans, which were designed by practicing teachers, meet national science standards.

Newton’s Castle

Middle and high school students can learn about Earth's rotation, optical illusions, logic puzzles, color, and more at this interactive Web site dedicated to the discoveries of Sir Isaac Newton. The site, which also offers thought-provoking questions for teachers to use to foster further discussion, was created by students at John F. Kennedy High School in the Bronx, in collaboration with students at Thomas Hepburn School in England.

Rosalynn Carter Institute for Caregiving

Through research, education, and training, the Rosalynn Carter Institute for Caregiving “promotes the mental health and wellbeing of individuals, families, and professional caregivers; teaches effective caregiving practices; builds public awareness of caregiving needs; and advances public and social policies that enhance caring communities.” The Institute’s Web site includes many resources for professional caregivers, including downloadable publications., a new Schwab Learning resource designed for teachers of students ages 8-12 with learning difficulties, offers tools and ideas for educators to help these children build their self-esteem. The site offers free downloads, activities on developing leadership and problem-solving skills in a supportive environment, links on topics such as test-taking strategies and adapting a classroom to fit the needs of students with learning disabilities, a free newsletter, and more.

Mind Your Own Business

Mind Your Own Business is a Web site for youth entrepreneurs created by the U.S. Small Business Administration and Junior Achievement. The site walks users through five easy steps of business ownership, whether they’ve just had a brainstorm for their first business venture or they’ve been at it a few years.

The Person-Centered Planning Education Site
This Web site of the Employment and Disability Institute at Cornell University helps users enhance their awareness of and appreciation for person-centered planning by providing an overview of the person-centered planning process, self-study courses covering the basic processes involved, a compendium of readings and activities, and various downloadable resources and links.

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Funding Forecast


A.  Federal Grant Opportunities

Forecast of Funding Opportunities under Department of Education Discretionary Grant Programs for Fiscal Year 2005 and Fiscal Year 2006

This document lists virtually all programs and competitions under which the U.S. Department of Education has invited or expects to invite applications for new awards for fiscal year 2005 and fiscal year 2006 and provides actual or estimated deadlines for the transmittal of applications under these programs. The lists are in the form of charts organized according to the Department’s principal program offices and include programs and competitions previously announced as well as those to be announced.

FY 2004-06 Discretionary Grant Application Packages

This site, from the Department of Education, provides information on grant competitions that are currently open.

Accent on Architecture Community Grants Program

The American Architectural Foundation's Accent on Architecture Community Grants program supports local nonprofit design and civic organizations’ innovative public education programming. The 2006 grants competition is open to 501(c)(3) or 501(c)(6) organizations whose projects are specifically targeted to teaching children about architecture and design. Projects should illustrate an increased awareness, appreciation, and understanding of architecture and design among K-12 students. The AAF is especially interested in programs targeting underserved populations. Application deadline: December 15, 2005.

Olympus and Tool Factory Classroom Grants

Five grants sponsored by Olympus America Inc. and Tool Factory Inc. are available for K-12 educators who demonstrate creative use of digital cameras and software. Each grant recipient will win $3,500 in prizes, which include digital cameras, software, and a $500 cash award. Application deadline: December 30, 2005.

Toyota TAPESTRY Mini-Grants

The Toyota TAPESTRY program will award 50 grants of up to $10,000 each and a minimum of 20 mini-grants of $2,500 each to K-12 science teachers. Grants will be awarded in three categories: Environmental Science Education, Physical Science Applications, and Literacy and Science Education. All K-12 teachers of science residing in the U.S. or its territories are eligible to apply, as are elementary teachers who teach science in a self-contained classroom setting or as teaching specialists. Application deadline: January 16, 2006.

Youth Leaders for Literacy Grants for Student-Led Projects

Youth Leaders for Literacy is an initiative of the National Education Association and Youth Service America to help youth direct their enthusiasm and creativity into reading-related service projects. Twenty $500 grants will be awarded to applicants who conduct literacy projects during a seven-week period starting March 2, 2006, continuing through “Read Across America Day,” culminating on “National Youth Service Day”, April 21-23. Applicants can be groups or individuals age 21 or younger. Applicants must include a scheduled activity (read-aloud session, trip to the library, bookmaking, etc.) each week of the project period as part of the proposed project. Application deadline: November 21, 2005.

B.  Scholarships and Awards

Intel/Scholastic Schools of Distinction Awards Program

The Intel and Scholastic Schools of Distinction awards recognize K-12 schools in the U.S. that demonstrate excellence in implementing innovative, replicable programs supporting positive educational outcomes. One elementary-level school and one secondary-level school winner are chosen in each of nine categories: academic achievement, literacy achievement, mathematics achievement, science achievement, technology excellence, technology innovation, leadership excellence, professional development, and collaboration and teamwork. Application deadline: January 5, 2006.

Morris K. Udall Foundation Native American Congressional Internship Program

The 2006 Native American Congressional Internship Program will provide approximately 12 Native Americans or Alaska Natives with 10-week internships in Washington, D.C. Interns may be placed in Congressional offices, committees, Cabinet departments, or the White House. Eligible applicants are college juniors or seniors, recent graduates from tribal or four-year colleges, or graduate or law students with an interest in fields related to tribal public policy. Application deadline: January 31, 2006.

National School and Business Partnerships Award

Created by the Council for Corporate and School Partnerships, the National School and Business Partnerships Award recognizes exemplary partnerships between schools and businesses around the country. Partnerships between K-12 public schools and/or school districts and businesses are eligible to apply for the award. Six awards are presented per year. The schools/districts selected for the award receive national recognition and $10,000 to support partnership efforts. Application deadline: January 30, 2006.

Villers Fellowship for Health Care Justice

The goals of Families USA's Villers Fellowship for Health Care Justice are to improve access to health care for all Americans, especially for low-income and other vulnerable constituencies; to develop a network of young leaders who share a passion for social and health care justice; and to inspire Villers fellows to continue to work for health care justice throughout their lives. Fellows receive a competitive salary (approximately $35,000), health care benefits, and other employer-sponsored benefits for the duration of the 12-month fellowship. Application deadline: February 3, 2006.

Wellstone Fellowship for Social Justice

Families USA's Wellstone Fellowship for Social Justice is designed to foster the advancement of social justice through participation in health care advocacy work that focuses on the unique challenges facing many communities of color. Through this fellowship, Families USA hopes to expand the pool of talented social justice advocates from underrepresented racial and ethnic minority groups, particularly from the Black/African American, Latino, and American Indian communities. Fellows receive a competitive salary (approximately $35,000), health care benefits, and other employer-sponsored benefits for the duration of the 12-month fellowship. Application deadline: January 6, 2006.

William Diaz Impact Award

A program of the Disability Funders Network (DFN), the William Diaz Impact Award honors grantmakers who have a positive impact on the disability community and whose work encourages the foundation community to be more inclusive of disability. DFN created the award to identify and recognize grant-makers committed to disability funding, especially those whose work has a significant impact on people with disabilities who are also members of other minority groups. Eligible funders are those non-governmental entities/individuals that engage primarily in grantmaking. Award recipients will receive a monetary gift and plaque in recognition of their work. Nomination deadline: January 6, 2006.

Mockingbird Foundation Music Grants

The Mockingbird Foundation offers grants of $50-$5000 to schools and nonprofits to support music education for children. Mockingbird is interested in projects that foster creative expression in any musical form, but also recognizes needs within conventional instruction. It encourages applications associated with diverse musical styles, genres, forms, and philosophies. Mockingbird will also support the provision of instruments, texts, and office materials, and the support of learning space, practice space, performance space, and instruction. It is interested in projects that foster self-esteem and free expression, and programs which benefit disenfranchised groups, including children with disabilities. Letter of inquiry submission deadline: February 1, 2006.
State Farm Companies Foundation Grants

The State Farm Companies Foundation offers grants to K-12 public schools for teacher excellence programs that improve teacher quality, service-learning programs that integrate core classroom curriculum with service to the community, and programs that incorporate established criteria to improve the effectiveness of school systems. Application deadline: January 15, 2006.

Students With Disabilities Invited to Apply for Congressional Internship Program

The Mitsubishi Electric America Foundation and the American Association of People with Disabilities offer a summer congressional internship program for college students with disabilities. The program provides an opportunity for students to work on Capitol Hill for eight weeks. As congressional interns, participants will gain insight into congressional office operations, public policy development, and constituents’ roles in the legislative and political processes. Undergraduate students studying at a college or university who, at the time of application, are first-semester sophomores through second-semester juniors are eligible to apply. Participants will receive a $1,500 stipend. Application deadline: December 12, 2005.

Disability Funders Network Announces Rapid Response Fund for People With Disabilities in U.S. Gulf Region

The Disability Funders Network (DFN) has launched a Rapid Response Fund to help nonprofit organizations meet the immediate and long-term needs of people with disabilities in the Gulf region of the U.S. as a result of hurricanes, storms, and other severe weather conditions. DFN is a grantmakers' affinity group whose mission is to promote awareness, support, and inclusion of people with disabilities and disability issues in grantmaking programs and organizations. The Rapid Response Fund offers mini-grants to nonprofit organizations to meet specific needs that include, but are not limited to, transportation, shelter, medication, medical equipment, and assistive technology. The maximum grant amount is $5,000.  Funding is limited to 501(c)(3) nonprofit organizations, and requests from grassroots organizations will be given priority. No grants will be awarded to individuals or for general operating purposes. Visit the DFN Web site (, for complete program information and application procedures.

U.S. Secretary of Labor Elaine L. Chao Announces New Freedom Initiative Awards

U.S. Secretary of Labor Elaine L. Chao recently announced that one individual, three non-profit organizations, and three businesses have been selected to receive the Secretary of Labor’s New Freedom Initiative Award for outstanding support of employment for people with disabilities. The award recognizes exemplary and innovative efforts to train, recruit, and hire people with disabilities and to incorporate into workplaces the principles of the New Freedom Initiative, which was introduced by President George W. Bush in 2001.

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Book Reviews

Have you read a good book that you’d like to tell us about?  How about a very poor one that you want to inform of us not to read?  Either way, we want to hear from you by doing a simple book review for us.
AASEP receives a great many books from its authors or publishers for review.  We have decided to open up the review process to members who are interested.  The books available for review at this time are:
Autism in the School-Aged Child:  Expanding Behavioral Strategies and Promoting Success
Carol Schmidt, RN, BSN and Beth Heybyrne, MA
Keeping Black Boys Out of Special Education
Jawanza Kunjufu
A Small Italian Life
Jimmy Corso with Luanne Pendorf
The Memory Keeper’s Daughter
Kim Edwards
A Parent’s Guide to Special Education
Linda Wilmshurst, Ph.D., and Alan Brue, Ph.D., NCSP
Disabled & Challenged:  Reach for Your Dreams
Terry Schott Cohen & Barry M. Cohen, Ph.D.

If you are interested in doing a book review on any of these books or a book review on a literary work you have read (or are currently reading), email us at We will email you the necessary information for a book review.  We hope to hear from you.

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Portions of this month’s e-journal were excerpted from:

  • Committee on Education and the Workforce 
  • Official U.S. Government Web Portal 
  • The National Center on Secondary Education and Transition 
  • The National Collaborative on Workforce and Disability for Youth 
  • The National Dissemination Center for Children with Disabilities 
  • The National Institute of Health 
  • The National Organization on Disability 
  • U.S. Department of Education 
  • U.S. Department of Education-The Achiever 
  • U.S. Department of Education-The Education Innovator 
  • U.S. Department of Labor 
  • U.S. Office of Special Education 
  • U.S. Department of Health and Human Services 

The American Academy of Special Education Professionals (AASEP) thanks all of the above for the information provided for this month’s e-Journal

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