Monday, January 30, 2017
The Shining Starr Learning Academy (SSLA), a private school for children with dyslexia, processing disorder, and anxiety as well as regular education students, recently opened in Rockledge. SSLA plans to provide a hands-on, interactive learning environment with no homework but recommended reading time at home. Linda Starr decided to establish the school to help children like her daughter have a better educational experience. SSLA is currently accepting students in grades three through seven with a plan to accept K-12 students in the future. To learn more about this school, go to shiningstarrlearningacademy.com.
Monday, January 23, 2017
Today, Google is honoring disability rights activist Ed Roberts with a Doodle at the top of its homepage. Born 78 years ago, Roberts contracted polio when he was 14, leaving him paralyzed. He used a wheelchair and respirator during the day and slept in an 800-pound iron lung at night. Roberts was the first person with severe disabilities to attend the University of California, Berkeley, where he led its Center for Independent Living and obtained his bachelor and master's degrees in political science. He served as the director of the California Department of Vocational Rehabilitation and co-founded the World Institute on Disability before dying in 1995. To learn more about Roberts, go to http://www.upi.com/Top_News/2017/01/23/Google-honors-disability-rights-leader-Ed-Roberts-78th-birthday-with-new-Doodle/8751485170028/.
Sunday, January 22, 2017
Bishop Grady Villas, a ministry of the Diocese of Orlando established in 2004, is a residential community for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities in St. Cloud. This non-profit organization, named after the second Bishop of Orlando Thomas Grady, also provides vocational, employment, respite, and companion services services for those who live in Orange, Osceola, Polk, and Seminole Counties. Bishop Grady Villas gives a tour and lunch to interested people once a month. Its main fundraisers are the "Achieving Their Dreams" Breakfast and the Harvest Ball in October. For more information, go to http://www.orlandodiocese.org/ministries-offices/bishop-grady-villas/.
Sunday, January 15, 2017
Four days ago, oral arguments were heard by the United States Supreme Court in Endrew F. v. Douglas County School District. This case is significant because the Supreme Court justices will decide what level of educational benefit schools must provide to K-12 students with disabilities under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). The plaintiff Endrew F. (also known as Drew) is a boy with autism and attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder. After having problems in public school through the fourth grade, Drew went to a private school that helped him improve academically and behaviorally; however, he didn't meet most of his educational goals. Drew's parents want to be reimbursed for the private school tuition, but lower federal courts ruled the Douglas County School District in Colorado met the minimum IDEA requirements in providing education and services. For more details about this case, go to http://www.bazelon.org/In-Court/Current-Litigation/Endrew-F.-v.-Douglas-County-School-District.aspx.
The Supreme Court Building
Monday, January 9, 2017
As of New Year's Day, high school students with disabilities will more likely be granted accommodations for College Board tests such as the SAT and ACT. Last year, there were many complaints about requests for test accommodations being denied, making the tests more difficult and stressful for those taking them. Under College Board's new policy, students can ask for accommodations such as extended time and the use of a computer to type essays and short-answer responses, provided they are included in their IEP or 504 plan. Now, students with disabilities have a better chance of scoring well on tests. For more information, go to http://www.edweek.org/ew/articles/2016/12/14/college-board-expands-test-supports-for-special.html.
Monday, January 2, 2017
Happy New Year! Perhaps one of your New Year's resolutions is to make new friends with disabilities. Dale Reardon, who has been blind for almost 30 years, recently created a social network for people with handicaps called My Disability Matters (https://mydisabilitymatters.club/). This site allows individuals with vision impairments to adjust the font size and other settings, making the site more accessible than Facebook and Instagram. My Disability Matters also contains news and information on disabilities. For more details, go to http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-12-05/my-disability-matters-social-site-created-by-disabled-people/8092230.