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U.S. Education Department Awards $4.4 Million to Improve Literacy and Education Outcomes for Students with Disabilities

October 3, 2016

The U.S. Department of Education today announced more than $4.4 million in grants to improve literacy skills, outcomes and results for children with disabilities.

“When we improve literacy skills for children with disabilities, including those with dyslexia, we are not just teaching them how to read, we are opening doors to a lifetime of more positive opportunities, such as improved academic skills, reduction in behavioral incidences, increased school completion, and lifelong learning,” said U.S. Secretary of Education John B. King Jr. “These awards will continue to address inclusion, equity and opportunity for all children, including those with disabilities.”

The Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP) awarded the following:

Tutty: Teaching Children the History of Society’s Treatment on the Disabled

Independent Free Press
By Andrew Tutty

Recently, one of my Facebook friends had a very upsetting incident in a B.C. restaurant.

She was refused service because she had her guide dog with her. The staff refused to recognize the official documents identifying her dog as a guide dog.

It is difficult to believe that in 2016 there are still people who do not know what a guide dog is and the rights of the blind under Canadian law.

UN Releases General Comment on the Right to Inclusive Education

By Kerri Joffe, Staff Lawyer

The UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) is the first legally binding international law to discuss the right to quality inclusive education. Article 24 of the CRPD provides that all persons with disabilities have a right to education. In order to realize the right to education without discrimination and on the basis of equal opportunities, States Parties have an obligation to ensure an inclusive education system at all levels.

This is significant since millions of persons with disabilities around the world are denied an education, and many others receive inferior education or segregated education in spaces where they are isolated from their peers.

Virtual Schools Need to Serve Students With Disabilities – Education Officials

The Education Department released a letter to states addressing the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act to protect kids with disabilities in virtual schools. By Darlene Aderoju
August 11, 2016 6:00 PM

Students with disabilities who attend virtual public schools should get the same quality education they would find in a traditional school, Education Department officials warned.

The agency’s Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services on Thursday released a Dear Colleague
letter addressing the rights of students with disabilities who attend public virtual schools, which are exploding across the country. Many students with impairments choose to enroll because the virtual schools offer the flexibility of learning at home.

U.S. Department of Education Releases Guidance On Civil Rights of Students with ADHD

July 26, 2016

The U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights (OCR) today issued guidance clarifying the obligation of schools to provide students with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) with equal educational opportunity under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973.

“On this 26th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act, I am pleased to honor Congress’ promise with guidance clarifying the rights of students with ADHD in our nation’s schools,” said Catherine E. Lhamon, assistant secretary for civil rights. “The Department will continue to work with the education community to ensure that students with ADHD, and all students, are provided with equal access to education.”

Financial Status Affects Success of Students With Learning Disabilities

Study finds students with means to pay for special accommodations perform better than those with fewer resources Date:May 17, 2016
Source:University of Iowa

Summary:Only one third of undergraduates from 11 universities who reported having a learning disability were receiving accommodations, a new study has discovered.

College students who receive special accommodations because of a learning disability say they have less difficulty completing assignments and more contact with faculty outside of class than peers who don’t receive extra help.

A new study by the University of Iowa, however, found that only one third of undergraduates from 11 universities who reported having a learning disability were receiving accommodations.

Mobility Plays Important Role In Development for Toddlers With Disabilities

Michelle Klampe

CORVALLIS, Ore. Typical toddlers simultaneously spend about three hours a day in physical activity, play and engagement with objects such as toys, while their peers with mobility disabilities are less likely to engage in all of those behaviors at the same time, new research from Oregon State University shows.

The study shows the marked differences in play and activity among toddlers with and without disabilities. It also underscores the need for young children with disabilities to have opportunities to play and explore in the same manner as their peers, said the study’s lead author, Sam Logan.

Study: Most K-12 Online Learning Content Does Not Meet Needs of Students With Disabilities

Wed, 04/06/2016

LAWRENCE Online education is growing rapidly, reaching millions of students every day. However, a Center on Online Learning and Students with Disabilities at the University of Kansas study has found the majority of online educational products are not designed to meet the needs of students with disabilities and struggling learners.

Sean J. Smith, professor of special education and a co-principal investigator with the center, has authored “Invited In: Measuring UDL in Online Learning.” The report analyzes how six popular vendors of online learning products meet the principles of Universal Design for Learning, or UDL, the concept that education should be designed to meet the needs of all students. It also provides a tool that K-12 school districts across the country can use to evaluate online education programs they are using or considering for their students.

National Federation of the Blind and Amazon Join Forces to Improve Accessible Reading Experiences for Blind and Low-Vision Students

BALTIMORE, March 2, 2016 /PRNewswireUSNewswire/

The National Federation of the Blind (NFB) and Amazon announced today that they will be working together to increase selection, enhance accessibility, and improve reading experiences for blind students, including those who have low vision or who are deaf-blind.

Amazon and the National Federation of the Blind will collaborate on improvements to Amazon’s education content, platforms, and applications, and will meet on an ongoing basis to review progress and exchange ideas and feedback. Initial results of this collaboration are expected this year and beyond.

Justice Department Reaches Settlement with Kent State University to Resolve Allegations of Discrimination in University-Operated Student Housing

Monday, January 4, 2016

The Justice Department announced today that Kent State University (KSU) has agreed to pay $145,000 to settle a civil rights lawsuit alleging that the university had maintained a policy of not allowing students with psychological disabilities to keep emotional support animals in university-operated student housing.

Under the settlement agreement, which must still be approved by the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Ohio, KSU will:

  • pay $100,000 to two former students who sought and were denied a reasonable accommodation to keep an emotional support dog in their university-operated apartment;
  • pay $30,000 to a fair housing organization that advocated on behalf of the students;

Badeyes Launches Second Online Book in Its “WordPress for Badeyes” Series!

Learn how to build your own Personal or Business website.
by Geof Collis

After putting the finishing touches on my second Book: Build an eCommerce, Membership site with Community Forum it can now be purchased as a standalone or as part of a number of Discounted Bundles.

For more details visit

Campus Group Works to Enhance Statewide Instructional Accessibility Goals

November 24, 2015
Tennessee Today

The University of Tennessee(UT) System recently adopted a policy that reiterates its commitment to providing and supporting a teaching and learning environment that is accessible to all.

The policy requires that all campuses and institutes provide information, materials, and technology that are accessible to individuals with disabilities, including those who use assistive technologies. The Accessibility Policy went into effect on October 16.

Chancellor Jimmy G. Cheek has charged a team of faculty, staff, and students to develop a strategy to exceed policy requirements and further the campus’s accessibility goals. Heather Hartman, summer sessions coordinator is chairing the accessibility implementation team. The team has worked to launch a new website to promote awareness and provide resources for the campus community.

Blind Girl, Seven, Banned From Using White Stick at School as it is ‘Health and Safety Risk’

Bristol primary school says seven-year-old pupil can no longer use her walking cane because it could trip up teachers and other children By Agency
17 Nov 2015

A blind girl has been banned from bringing her white walking stick to school because of “health and safety” reasons.

Lily-Grace Hooper, seven, suffered a stroke when she was just four days old, leaving her with virtually no sight.

But her school, Hambrook Primary School in Bristol, has told the youngster she can no longer use her cane because it could trip up teachers and other pupils.

Inclusion More Common At Charter Schools, Report Finds

By Shaun Heasley
November 12, 2015

Kindergarten students line up for lunch at a charter school in Los Angeles. Findings from a new report suggest that special education enrollment is on the rise at charters.

Long derided for welcoming too few kids with disabilities, a new report finds that a growing percentage of charter school students qualify for special education.

About 10.4 percent of students at charter schools have disabilities compared to 12.5 percent of those attending public schools. Children with disabilities at charters, however, are far more likely to attend classes alongside their typically-developing peers.

Deaf Metis Woman Wins Human Rights Case Against UBC, St. Pauls Hospital

Tribunal awards lost wages and $35,000 for loss of dignity and self-respect by Brian Morton of the Vancouver Sun and published on July 8, 2015.

A B.C. Human Rights Tribunal has awarded a deaf Métis woman lost wages and $35,000 for injury to her dignity and self-respect for not being provided with sign language interpreters during her University of B.C. medical residency.

The discrimination entirely undermined her optimism, brilliance and efforts, said tribunal member Marlene Tyshynski in a written decision released June 30.

Opening the Web to the Disabled

Sunday, October 04, 2015

WE CAN. Raising digital literacy among persons with disability (PWDs) is not just equipping them to benefit from the limitless opportunities for personal advancement available on the Internet. Web accessibility can also empower PWDs to share the stake and move society.

DOMINATING current public discourse is the viral controversy stirred up by college students who failed to recognize Apolinario Mabini. The Sublime Paralytic and the brains and conscience of the Philippine Revolution was a major character in the popular and critically accepted film, Heneral Luna.

Overshadowed were events like the 2015 Apolinario Mabini Awards, which recognized outstanding persons with disability (PWDs) and advocates promoting the rights and welfare of PWDs during a Sept. 29 ceremony held at the Malacañang Palace.

DOJ Puts Pressure on Schools and Ed Techs to Provide Accessible Educational Technology

Nancy Anderson, Michael Goldstein, Paul Thompson | Cooley LLP

In our last alert on the growing interaction between ed tech and disability law, we noted that the Department of Justice (“DOJ”) appears to be moving to extend the provisions of the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”) to reach entities other than schools that provide online educational programs and services.

Another recent DOJ enforcement effort in the education space serves as an important reminder to schools and colleges that they must carefully consider their obligations under the ADA when adopting new learning technologies.

Blind Parent Wins Battle for Access to Online Seattle School Resources

Seattle Public Schools will hire an accessibility coordinator as part of a consent decree between the district and a blind parent of a Seattle student.

By Paige Cornwell
Seattle Times, September 23, 2015

Seattle Public Schools will make its website and other online resources more accessible to blind students, faculty members and parents as part of an agreement tied to a lawsuit filed by a blind parent last year.

The Seattle School Board voted Wednesday to enter into a consent decree to settle the lawsuit, which alleges the districts websites and an online math program werent accessible to those who are blind.

MUN Prof Refuses to Wear Device for Hearing Disabled Student, Cites Religious Reasons

Ranee Panjabi was involved in a similar situation about 20 years ago

By Todd O’Brien and Geoff Bartlett
CBC News
Posted: September 16, 2015

History major William Sears of Memorial University in St. John’s depends on an FM transmitter to hear instructors in the classroom. (Todd O’Brien/CBC)

A Memorial University student with a hearing disability is upset that one of his professors refused to wear a sound-transmitting device last week during a lecture, and he said she told him it was because of religious reasons.

William Sears, 20, says Ranee Panjabi would not wear an FM transmitter system that he needs to hear lectures at the school in St. John’s.

UT Arlington Libraries Become First in Texas to Digitize Disability History

Monday, August 31, 2015
Media Contact: Bridget Lewis, Office:817-272-3317, Cell:214-577-9094,

In the early 1970s, University of Texas at Arlington students who used wheelchairs had their choice of majors: history or accounting. Those two degrees were the only ones whose classes were held in wheelchair-accessible buildings.

Since then, the University has steadily improved access and opportunities for students with disabilities and become a model campus for adaptive sports.

UT Arlington Libraries are set to continue this legacy with a $25,000 TexTreasures grant from the Texas State Library and Archives Commission to digitize and publish disability history relating to UTA and Texas.