2017 News Archive

12/31/2017

“On Demand” FREE Inclusion Webinar Series





Have you checked out Tennessee’s State Personnel Development Grant (SPDG) “On Demand” Webinar Series on

Increasing Access to Core Instruction and Inclusive Opportunities for Student’s with Disabilities

This four-part webinar series is a great tool for parents and teachers.  The free webinars can be viewed anytime on your computer, smartphone or tablet.  This is great information to kick off 2018!

Please share with parents and families or feel free to use it as part of professional development for teachers and administrators.

Click on the following topics to view each webinar, download handouts, and resources.  Be sure to give your feedback by completing the brief evaluation at the end of each webinar.

This webinar series is a collaborative project of the TN Department of Education State Personnel Grant (SPDG) and their family partner Support & Training for Exceptional Parents (STEP, Inc.).

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12/21/2017

Sign-Up Links for All Tennessee Department of Education Newsletters

The Tennessee Department of Education publishes nearly forty newsletters geared toward the interests and work responsibilities of various district and school stakeholder groups. 

Please click here for a comprehensive list of newsletter sign-up links. 

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12/20/2017

IEA Program Update: Dec. 20, 2017

Parent Information Sessions

In January and February, the IEA Team with the Tennessee Department of Education will provide a series of information sessions for parents on the IEA Program.  Parent information sessions are designed to help parents who are interested in enrolling their student in the IEA Program learn more about what the IEA Program is, including student eligibility, amount of funding, approved expenses, and parent responsibilities. Parents will also learn how to complete the application process to enroll their child in the IEA Program. These sessions are not for parents of students already enrolled in the IEA Program.

For a complete list of the dates, times, and locations of the parent information sessions, and for instructions on how to register, click here. Space is limited, and parents must pre-register to attend the in-person information sessions. Registration closes Dec. 29.

Please note: Childcare will not be provided at the information sessions. Children may attend the information sessions but must be under parent/guardian supervision at all times.

If you are unable to attend an in-person session, there will be live webinars for parents on March 8 from 9–11 a.m. and 6–8 p.m. CDT. Instructions for how to access the webinar are available here. Pre-registration is not required for the webinar.  

All the information from the sessions and a recording of the live webinar will also be posted on the department’s IEA web page (here).   

Private School Information Sessions

The department will conduct a live information session webinar on the IEA Program for private school principals interested in applying to participate in the IEA Program for the 2018-19 school year. Private school information sessions are designed to help private school principals learn more about what the IEA Program is, including school eligibility, school responsibilities, and approved expenses. Private school principals will also learn how to complete the application process to become a participating school in the IEA Program.  

The webinar will be held on March 12 from 1–3 p.m. CDT. Instructions for how to access the webinar are available here. School principals do not need to pre-register for the webinar.  

The recording of the live webinar will be posted on the department’s IEA web page here.

Schools principals can also submit a request for the IEA team to come and speak to their group by emailing IEA.Questions@tn.gov.

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11/17/2017

TN Council on Developmental Disabilities Update

The latest update is out from the Tennessee Council on Developmental Disabilities.

In this issue:

? 2018-19 Application Deadlines for TN College Programs for Students with Disabilities

? Ned Andrew Solomon Trains Knoxville Youth with Disabilities

? Leadership Academy for Excellence in Disability Services - Year 2 Begins

? Submit your TN Disability MegaConference Proposals by 11/30

? Save the Date: Feb. 14, 2018 TN Disability Day on the Hill

? Council Scholarship Fund

? Upcoming Tennessee Events

? Upcoming National / Out of State Disability Events & Webinars

? 2018 Council On Developmental Disabilities Meetings

? Other recent news from the Council

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11/9/2017

TN Special Education Director Update

The latest Special Education Director Update is out from the Tennessee Department of Education.

In this issue:

? Alternate Assessment Regulation Information for Districts

? Writing IEP Services to Reflect the Use of Special Education Aides

? Governor’s Advisory Council for the Education of Students Disabilities

? TNReady Sign Language Interpretation Survey

? WIDA Writing Field Test

? Inclusive Higher Education Opportunity

? MSAA Writing Rubrics

? Project SEARCH®

? Call for Tennessee Promise Mentors

? Young Soloist TN is Open

? Public Feedback on the Alternate Academic Diploma Policy

? WBL Recertification Update

? Advisory Council for Children with Disabilities

? Spring 2018 District Training for the IEA Program

? TRIAD’s Special Education Autism Evaluation Webinar Series: Getting the Team on Board

? Webinar: TRIAD Social Communication Support Network Online PLC

? TRIAD Training and Resources

? Tennessee Association for Assistive Technology Conference

? TRIAD’s 2017-18 Professional Development and Training Opportunities

? Special Groups of English Learners Training Series

? Professional Development for Special Populations

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11/6/2017

STEP is Lighting Up the Season with Music


Join us for a holiday benefit concert hosted by STEP, Inc. “Lighting Up the Season with Music.” 

DATE:        December 3, 2017

PLACE:      Longview Heights SDA Church, 685 E. Mallory Avenue, Memphis, TN 38115

TIME:         5:30 PM  Artisan Crafts and Gift Bazaar Shopping Open 

                   6:30 PM  Concert Begins

Help us ring in the holiday season in a spectacular way, this EXCEPTIONAL evening will include musical renditions from a variety of Memphis artists such as:

    • Nick Black - Soul Artist
    • Randy Harris and the Gifted Singers - Gospel Quartet
    • The Chinese Memphis Choir, directed by Huimin Hu - Chinese Cultural
    • SDA Conglomerate of Singers led by Wendell Weathers, Jr.
    • Paul Taylor - Spoken Word Artist
    • Darryl Sanford and Tim Griffin - Myriad of Genres

      PLUS there will be Praise Dancers and a Holiday Shopping Bazaar where community vendors and entrepreneurs will showcase their artisan crafted items and gifts just in time for holiday gift shopping.

       

      Our goal is to raise $50,000 to extend our reach to those who need our services.  Last year alone, STEP’s staff made over 30,000 contacts and used their family-to-family model to provide services at no cost.  That’s right:  Services were freefor families, many of those from our West TN region. Yet, there are SO MANY families yet to be reached!

      ALL the details for STEP’s star-studded holiday benefit concert, how to sponsor including benefits of each sponsorship level, and information on how to donate are on the enclosed flyers. 

      If you can't join us for the concert and would like to make a monetary donation, you can do so through the STEP website (www.tnstep.org) by PayPal or via mail.  Make checks payable to STEP, Inc. at 712 Professional Plaza, Greeneville, TN 37745.  You will receive a receipt for your tax-deductible donation. For questions please call 423-639-0125, ext. 10 or visit www.tnstep.org.

      Thank you in advance for supporting our cause!

      Click here to visit our donation page

      Click here to download the flyer 

      Click here to download the sponsorship information

      Click here to register for a vendor table (reserved for selling locally-made products suitable for gift giving - space is very limited)


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      10/26/2017

      Public Feedback on the Alternate Academic Diploma Policy

      The Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) has made available to states a diploma option for students with significant cognitive disabilities who are assessed on the alternate assessment. In order to take advantage of this option, the Tennessee Department of Education proposed the adoption of an alternate academic diploma at the October State Board of Education meeting. In order to receive an alternate academic diploma, a student must participate in the alternate assessments; earn the prescribed 22-credit minimum required by the state board; receive special education services or supports and make satisfactory progress on an IEP; have satisfactory records of attendance and conduct; and complete a transition assessment(s) that measures, at a minimum, postsecondary readiness in the areas of postsecondary education and training, employment, independent living, and community involvement. Students who earn an alternate academic diploma within four years plus a summer will be included in graduation rate.

       

      The current high school policy can be viewed on the state board’s website (here). Members of the public may submit written comments and feedback prior to the second and final reading of the proposed diploma adoption by emailing them to Elizabeth.Fiveash@tn.gov and copying Kristen.B.McKeever@tn.gov. To ensure consideration, feedback must be received by Dec. 15, 2017.

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      10/25/2017

      CDC's "Learn the Signs. Act Early." Program Launches New Milestone Tracker Mobile App


      CDC’s “Learn the Signs. Act Early.” program is pleased to announce the launch of its newest resource– the Milestone Tracker mobile app!

       



      This new app makes it easy for parents and other care providers to track, support and celebrate young children’s developmental milestones, as well as share this important information.

      Although it is packed with parent-friendly features, this app isn’t just for parents! Healthcare providers can use the app to assist with developmental surveillance as recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics, and early care and education providers can use the app to better understand their students’ skills and abilities and to engage families in monitoring developmental progress.

       

      The Milestone Tracker app features

      Ø  parent-friendly, interactive milestone checklists for ages 2 months through 5 years,

      Ø  photos and videos that illustrate milestones,

      Ø  personalized milestone summaries that can be easily shared with the child’s healthcare provider and others,

      Ø  tips and activities for supporting early development, including what to do if there’s a concern, and

      Ø  reminders for appointments and recommended developmental screening.

      Download the app today from the App Store or Google Play (search “CDC’s Milestone Tracker”) and learn more about the app by visiting https://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/actearly/milestones-app.html .

       

      To hear more about the app’s unique features, receive tips on how to use the app to boost family engagement around developmental monitoring and screening, and get ideas for promoting the app in your community, register for the fall Act Early Webinar “CDC’s New Milestone Tracker: There’s an App for That!” , taking place on November 29th from 3pm to 4pm ET.

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      10/24/2017

      New Materials and Information Available from OSERS on Regulatory Reform

      OSERS Acting Assistant Secretary Kim Richey, OSEP Acting Director Ruth Ryder, and RSA Acting Commissioner Carol Dobak hosted a call today to provide further information regarding the announcement on Friday, October 20, 2017 that 72 guidance documents relating to the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act and the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 have been rescinded due to being outdated, unnecessary, or ineffective. 

      In advance of the call, OSERS issued additional information (available here) relating to each of the 72 identified guidance documents, adding a column to their grid explaining why each document was rescinded.

      On the call, the leadership of each agency underscored multiple times that "there is no change in policy" at OSEP or RSA and that the deletion of these 72 documents "will not impact" children and youth with disabilities served by OSEP or people with disabilities served by RSA.

      STEP staff participated in the call and our take away is that Phase 1 (the batch of retired documents announced on October 20, 2017) of the process involved documents that were "so plainly outdated" that the federal agency leadership was surprised that they caused any controversy.

      The rescinded documents from OSEP fall into 5 broad categories: 
      1. Annual Programmatic Memos
      2. Specific Grant Requirements
      3. Guidance Issued in the times between Reauthorizations of IDEA and Issuance of Regulations
      4. Transmittal Memos (Public Notices)
      5. Memos that Addressed other Statutes that were time limited or those laws have since changed
      On the call stakeholders were told that OSEP has not done this kind of purge in the past, but RSA does it every time there is a reauthorization of the Rehabilitation Act and that is why the RSA only found 9 documents to OSEP's 63.

      The agencies committed to a transparent process as they move through the remaining phases of Regulation Reform and assured listeners that they would follow the requirements of the Administrative Procedure Act as they do their work.

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      10/20/2017

      OSERS Regulation Reform Update


      Below you find an update on the Department's Regulatory Reform process. This statement was issued today (October 20, 2017) by OSERS Acting Assistant Secretary Kimberly M. Richey. 

      ***

       

      United States Department of Education

      Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services

      On February 24, 2017, President Trump signed Executive Order 13777, “Enforcing the Regulatory Reform Agenda,” which established a Federal policy “to alleviate unnecessary regulatory burdens” on the American people. In accordance with the Executive Order, the U.S. Department of Education (Department) published a notice in the Federal Register on June 22, 2017, seeking input on regulations and guidance that may be appropriate for repeal, replacement, or modification. The deadline for submitting input was September 20, 2017. I am pleased to provide an update on the work that the Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services (OSERS) has been doing since the President’s Executive Order, and the closing of the public input period. 

      OSERS is currently reviewing regulations and guidance in phases, which includes analyzing the input submitted by the public. The first phase involved reviewing guidance that OSERS has published on the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), and the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (Rehab. Act), as amended. Initially, we evaluated the guidance to determine those that were outdated, unnecessary, or ineffective. At this time, OSERS has a total of 72 guidance documents that have been rescinded due to being outdated, unnecessary, or ineffective—63 from the Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP) and 9 from the Rehabilitation Services Administration (RSA).

      Available at this link is a chart that includes the guidance OSERS published on the IDEA and the Rehab. Act., which have been rescinded due to being outdated, unnecessary, or ineffective.

      I encourage you to visit the Department’s website to review the Department's Regulatory Reform Task Force's progress report. The Department is committed to an open and transparent process, and I will send periodic updates on the progress OSERS is making with the regulatory reform efforts

      Thank you for the work you do every day to improve the lives of individuals with disabilities.

       

      Kimberly M. Richey
      Acting Assistant Secretary



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      10/20/2017

      TN Council on Developmental Disabilities Update

      The latest update is out from the Tennessee Council on Developmental Disabilities.

      In this issue:

      ? The Council's Ned Andrew Solomon Trains College Students on Disability Sensitivity, Public Policy

      ? 10/31 Deadline for Submitting Artwork for Breaking Ground

      TN Disability MegaConference Call for Proposals, Artwork Now Open

      ? Join #HireMyStrengths Social Media Campaign for Disability Employment Awareness Month

      ? TN Inclusive Higher Education Programs Accepting Student Apps for 2018-19

      ? In Case You Missed It: Autism Council Recently Launched

      IEP Meeting Research Study

      ? VSA TN is now "Borderless Arts Tennessee", hosting Young Soloist competition

      ? Save the Date: Feb. 14, 2018 TN Disability Day on the Hill

      TN Disability Community Job Openings

      ? Article on Dementia Among Individuals with Disabilities

      ? Upcoming Events for Self-Advocates, Families & Professionals

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      8/25/2017

      TN Council on Developmental Disabilities Update

      The latest update from the Tennessee Council on Developmental Disabilitiesis out.

      In this issue:

      ? Council Presents to Ensworth Students on Disability Sensitivity

      ? From Your Letters about Proposal to Eliminate Council Funding

      ? Register Today! Think Employment Summit

      ? Breaking Ground Arts Issue: Call for Artwork, Writing

      ? Input Requested: Disability Rights TN Goals, Priorities

      ? Boundless: Fashion is for Every Body - Nashville Inclusive Fashion Show

      ? Call For Families from Rural Communities: Kindred Stories

      #ABLEtoSave: Celebrate ABLE During August!

      ? TennesseeWorks Employer Survey

      ? Add Disability Events to Pathfinder's Calendar

      ? Upcoming Events for Self-Advocates, Families & Professionals

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      7/31/2017

      Traumatic Brain Injury Targeted Family Support Program



      The Tennessee Department of Health has partnered with The Arc Davidson County & Greater Nashville to administer the Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) Targeted Family Support Program effective July 1, 2017. The intent of the statewide program is to benefit the individual with disability due to traumatic brain injury. This program will assist those individuals and their families to remain together in their homes and community. The program is modeled after the DIDD Family Support Program as described in the Family Support (TCA 33-5-201). The statewide program will enroll 119 individuals and grant a $2000.00 allocation per fiscal year. Persons currently enrolled in the ECF and CHOICES waivers are eligible to apply. One cannot be enrolled on both the Tennessee Family Support Program and the Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) Targeted Family Support.

      Please refer interested individuals/families to the county assigned TBI Service Coordinator. The coordinator will assist the individual/families with completing an intake and gathering required documentation related to the nature of their disability. 

      Click here to download complete list of the Traumatic Brain Injury Program Tennessee Service Coordinators.

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      7/31/2017

      Young Children in Immigrant Families

      The latest edition of the Division for Early Childhood’s (DEC) Resources within Reason (July 2017) explains how those in early childcare can support young children in immigrant families, a population that has grown 36% since 2000. Included are resources for understanding the new immigration orders, for facilitating activities designed to support the child's culture and language, and for mentoring undocumented and unaccompanied refugee children living in the U.S.

      Click here to download a copy.

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      7/31/2017

      Tennessee Department of Education releases guide to help students with characteristics of Dyslexia

      The Tennessee Department of Education released Thursday the Dyslexia Resource Guide, which offers assistance to schools for identifying and supporting for students showing characteristics of dyslexia. This guide provides districts with information related to screening procedures for dyslexia, specific interventions, professional learning resources and reporting requirements.

      “For all students to make academic gains, we must make sure that we are recognizing areas of need and providing relevant and focused supports,” Commissioner of Education Candice McQueen said. “This resource guide provides districts a comprehensive view on the characteristics of dyslexia and how to appropriately align interventions that are tailored to individual student needs.”

      The resource guide provides the tools needed to support students showing characteristics of dyslexia through Response to Instruction and Intervention (RTI2), the state’s framework designed to meet the needs of all students through increasingly intensive interventions. For example, schools implement procedures for identifying characteristics of dyslexia through the screening process required by the existing RTI² framework.

      Department leaders worked in partnership with the Dyslexia Advisory Council to develop the resource guide over the past year. The advisory council, which was established in fall 2016, includes a broad spectrum of stakeholders, including educators, parents, and school psychologists with expertise in dyslexia from across the state. A draft guide was released in March, and through rounds of internal and public feedback, the guide was revised to be more specific and actionable as school teams work to align interventions in a way that responds to individual student needs.

      Moving forward, the department will work with the council to provide professional learning for educators, as well as more guidance for districts and families. Additionally, the advisory council will annually submit a report to the General Assembly with their findings and associated recommendations as they continue to review and monitor dyslexia screening and intervention practices across the state.

      The guide came to fruition through Public Chapter 1058, which was sponsored by Sen. Dolores Gresham, R-Somerville, and Rep. Joe Pitts, D-Clarksville, and was approved by the Tennessee General Assembly during the 2016 legislative session. In addition to the creation of the resource guide, the law also established the advisory council and requires all students to be screened for the characteristics of dyslexia and provide appropriate interventions for students who are identified as having those characteristics.

      The full Dyslexia Resource Guide is available on the department’s website at www.tn.gov/education/article/dyslexia-advisory-council. To learn more about Public Chapter 1058 and the Dyslexia Advisory Council, visit the department’s website.

      For more information about the Dyslexia Resource Guide, contact Theresa Nicholls, assistant commissioner of special populations and student support, at Theresa.Nicholls@tn.gov.

      Click here to download the Dyslexia Resource Guide: Guidance on Public Chapter 1058 from 2016

      Click here to download Understanding Dyslexia: A Guide for TN Parents and Educators

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      7/27/2017

      TN Special Education Directors Update - July 27, 2017

      The current Special Education Directors Update is out from the Tennessee Department of Education.

      Please note the updated TN Special Education Eligibility Definitions and Standards that went into effect on July 1, 2017.  Click here to review the comparison document disability standards.

      In this issue:

      ? Educational Disability Definition and Standards Training

      ? IDEA Parentally Placed Private School Students Evaluation of Services

      ? FY17 Discretionary Grant End-of-Year Evaluation Report

      ? 2016-17 State/Local Special Education Expenditure Report

      ? Update from OSEP

      ? STEP, Inc. Special Education Transition Academy Sept 27 & 28

      ? Save the Dates for the 2017-18 WBL Professional Learning Communities (PLCs)

      ? Professional Development for Special Populations

      ? Special Education Supervisors Conference

      ? 2017-18 TRIAD Professional Development and Training Opportunities

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      7/27/2017

      Tennessee Becomes First State To Adopt Safety Ratings For Youth Sports Leagues

      This week, Tennessee becomes the first state to adopt an official safety ratings system for youth sports leagues.

      The program hopes to corral a wild west of safety standards across all sports. It will award levels like Bronze and Gold to organizations based on their level of compliance.

      One of the minds behind the new Safe Stars system says the idea came from a discussion about a different state initiative — one that rates the safety of daycares.

      Dr. Alex Diamond of Vanderbilt’s Injury Prevention in Youth Sports program says that effort set minimal safety and health requirements for daycares across the state. Since it was performing so well, he says they thought “You know what? We should do something around sports.”

      Dr. Diamond compares the current situation to dropping your kid off at a pool that has no lifeguard.

      The new program would set sports safety standards for potentially life threatening issues by requiring things like AED machines at all facilities and venues. To meet the the Bronze level, organizations would need to check off a number of items on the list, like performing background checks and having an emergency plan.

      But there’s one move they wish all leagues could make, which would earn a top rating.

      “In an ideal world, we could solve a lot of these problems by having every youth league and organization have an athletic trainer,” Diamond says. “An athletic trainer can take care of all of these issues and take the burden quite honestly off parents and coaches who are absolutely well meaning — but volunteers.”

      But hiring a trainer is an expensive proposition. To have one trainer appear at games alone, it recently cost one Middle Tennessee youth football program nearly $1,700 for the season. Safe Stars would like to see trainers at every activity, including practice, which would greatly increase that cost.

      The other hurdle for some communities is internet access. Most of the certification courses for things like concussion safety and heat awareness are online only. That will likely limit the participation from some rural and lower income leagues.

      Diamond says the group behind Safe Stars is aware of “the resource factor” faced by some leagues but believes if their efforts mean saving the life of just one child, it is worth doing.

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      7/21/2017

      Long-Term STEP Staff Member, Donna Jennings, Honored by OSEP

      As part of the 2017 Office of Special Education Leadership Conference in DC, Parent Center staff from across the country were recognized for their years of service.

      During the Parent Center Plenary, STEP’s Business and Personnel Manager, Donna Jennings was awarded a certificate honoring her for 18 years of dedicated service to families of children with disabilities in Tennessee!

      We are thrilled to share this accomplishment with you and express our thanks to a STEP team member who has demonstrated her commitment and passion for families and youth by giving  using her expertise for 18 years creating a brighter future for children and youth with disabilities in Tennessee.

      Donna is a Tennessee native and she joined the STEP team as an employee in 1999 after serving on the STEP board. As a parent of a young adult who experiences different abilities,she has had the opportunity to learn and grow in the in her knowledge of special education through her journey with him. She has been a guest lecturer at King College and is a TN Partner in Policymaking Graduate. 

      Donna enjoys volunteering and helping with community projects, sharing her son’s journey with other families to help give them hope and make them familiar with resources. Her interests include horseback riding and motorcycle riding with Cody in the sidecar, outings with family and friends, camping, cookouts, picnics, swimming, going to the beach, and doing home improvement projects. 

      Her area of focus in special education is ensuring students with significant disabilities have to access to the general curriculum with supports, assistive technology, adaptations and modifications. Donna resides in Greeneville in East TN.

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      7/12/2017

      Rosa’s Law: Federal Regulations Updated to Reflect Intellectual Disability Terminology Changes

      Rosa's Law (Pub. L. 111-256), signed in 2010, amended sections of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), and the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended (Rehabilitation Act), by removing the words “mental retardation” and replacing these outdated terms with the words “intellectual disability” or “intellectual disabilities.” Final regulations, published on July 11, 2017, implement these statutory changes in applicable Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services regulations.

      The law is named for Rosa Marcellino, a girl with Down Syndrome who was nine years old when it was signed into law. Then-President Barack Obama underscored Rosa's influence at the signing ceremony by pointing out that she "worked with her parents and her siblings to have the words 'mentally retarded' officially removed from the health and education code in her home state of Maryland."

      You may read the final regulations implementing this statutory change in applicable Department of Education regulations in the July 11, 2017 Federal Register notice.

      You may read President Obama's signing remarks in the October 8, 2018 White House Archives.

      IDEA Statute:

      Rosa's Law amended IDEA by substituting “intellectual disabilities” for “mental retardation” in sections

      IDEA Regulations:

      As stated above, the final regulations published on July 11, 2017 in the Federal Register implement Rosa’s Law. Because Rosa’s Law amended IDEA, The Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP) has made conforming changes to the IDEA regulations (34 CFR part 300). The term “mental retardation” has been changed to “intellectual disability” in the following Part B regulations:

      • §§300.8(a)(1) and (c)(6), (c)(7), and (c)(10)(ii) (Child with a disability);
      • §300.309(a)(3)(ii) (Determining the existence of a specific learning disability); and
      • §300.311(a)(6) (Specific documentation for the eligibility determination).

      Rehabilitation Act:

      Rosa's Law amended the Rehabilitation Act by

      • substituting “intellectual disability” for “mental retardation” in section 7(21)(A)(iii) (29 U.S.C. 705(21)(A)(iii));
      • substituting “intellectual disabilities” for “mental retardation” in section 204(b)(2)(C)(vi) (29 U.S.C. 764(b)(2)(C)(vi)); and
      • substituting “President's Disability Employment Partnership Board and the President's Committee for People with Intellectual Disabilities” for “President's Committees on Employment of People With Disabilities and on Mental Retardation” in section 501(a) (29 U.S.C. 791(a)).

      Rehabilitation Act Regulations:

      In the regulations implementing the Rehabilitation Act, “intellectual disability” replaces “mental retardation” and “having an intellectual disability” replaces “mentally retarded” in the following definitions:

      • "handicapped person" in §104.3(j)(2)(i)*;
      • "individual with a severe disability" in §385.4*;
      • "individual with a significant disability" in §361.5* and §373.4*;
      • "individual with handicaps" in §105.3*; and
      • "physical or mental impairment" in §361.5*.

      *Indicates section is within Title 34 CFR.

      “Intellectual disability” replaces “mental retardation” in Appendix A to part 104, Title 34 CFR.

       


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      7/9/2017

      TN Council on Developmental Disabilities Update

      The latest update from The Tennessee Council on Developmental Disabilities is out.

      In this issue ... 

      ? Special Note re: Council E-newsletters*

      ? Participate in the #WithoutMedicaid social media campaign

      ? Council & T.A.R.P. Host Academy for Transition-Age Youth

      ? Greene Valley Developmental Center, TN's Last Institution, Closed May 26

      ? TN Leadership Academy for Excellence in Disability Services 1st Class Graduates

      ? Youth Readiness Days

      ? Council Trains DCS Staff

      ? Start-Up Grants for New Inclusive Higher Ed Programs - Apps due 7/15/17

      ? Vocational Rehabilitation Public Comment Ends 7/13/17, TRC Summer Programs

      ? "Sharing Our Voices" Video

      ? New SILC of TN Exec. Director Hired

      ? Disability Rights TN's Client Assistance Program, Pre-ETS Resource

      ? Surveys & Study Opportunities from our Disability Partners

      ? New website content available (IDEA, ECF, VR & more!)

      ? "Crisis Response and Intervention" article on DSPs, Law Enforcement

      ? ABLE TN Celebrates 1 Year!

      ? Upcoming Events for Self-Advocates, Families & Professionals

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      7/6/2017

      How to Talk About Bullying

      Parents: help prevent bullying by being a positive role model for treating others with kindness and respect. Click here to read more

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      7/5/2017

      New Resource: The Essential Elements of Customized Employment for Universal Application

      The US Dept of Labor Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP), the Youth Technical Assistance Center (Y-TAC), and the Workforce Innovation Technical Assistance Center (WINTAC (two Technical Assistance Agencies) have collaborated with experts on Customized Employment to create a new 12-page guide on the subject.

      This document articulates the essential elements of Customized Employment (CE) almost exclusively from the perspective of working with individuals with significant disabilities, but it is an approach that can be used for any individual with barriers to employment in need of the service.

      The Guide is organized in four sections:

      1. Overview of Customized Employment

      2. Conducting Discovery and Creating Discovery Documents

      3. Planning for Customized Employment

      4. Employment Development Representation

      This link opens a PDF of the Guide: http://bit.ly/2tILweP

      This link opens the ODEP page about Customized Employment: http://bit.ly/2tMqVWJ

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      6/29/2017

      IDEA Regulations Technical Changes

      The U.S. Department of Education has published final regulations (as of today, June 30, 2017) under Parts B and C of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) in the Federal Register.

      The final regulations make technical conforming changes needed to implement statutory amendments made to the IDEA by the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) as amended by the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), and can be found in the June 30, 2017 issue of the Federal Register (linked below).

      To assist with your review of the regulations, the U.S. Office of Special Education and Rehabilitation Services (OSERS) developed a chart (linked in comments) that summarizes each change included in the final regulations.

      https://www.federalregister.gov/…/assistance-to-states-for-…

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      6/29/2017

      TN Special Education Director Update

      The latest issue of the Special Education Director Update is out from the Tennessee Department of Education.

      In this issue:

      ? Special Education Course Code Revisions FAQ

      ? Dyslexia Resource Guide

      ? Effective Tier I Instruction: Responding to All Students' Strengths and Needs

      ? Department Proposing to SBE New Pathway to Several Special Education Endorsements

      ? Phase III Quarterly Update

      ? WIDA Screener Update

      ? ePlan User Communication

      ? Reminder About Statewide Dual Credit 

      ? Save the Dates for the 2017-18 WBL Professional Learning Communities (PLCs)

      ? Professional Development for Special Populations

      ? Special Education Supervisors Conference

      ? 2017-18 TRIAD Professional Development and Training Opportunities

      Click here to read

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      6/28/2017

      STEP's Transition Guides to Adulthood

      Did you know that you can access all 10 of STEP's Transition to Adulthood Guides on our Website?

      The titles are:

      • Self Advocacy: Empowering Students to Request Assistance & Support
      • Self Directed IEPs: Take a Leadership Role and Guide Your Own Future
      • Further Education: College & Post-High School Educational Opportunities for Students with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities
      • College: So Now You’re a Freshman: Self Advocacy on a College Campus
      • Job Seeking: All Eyes on Me: How to Build a Great Resume and Have an Awesome Interview
      • Employment: Take this Job & Keep It! Making a Good First Impression in the Workplace
      • Dropout Prevention: Engaging Students in Planning for the Future
      • Parent’s Role: How Parents Can Support Their Young Adult During Transition
      • Community: Everybody Knows My Name in My Community
      • Supported Decision Making: Getting Help with Choices (new in 2017)

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      6/27/2017

      First Tennessee Foundation Awards STEP, Inc. Grant

      Pictured left to right:  Jennifer Keller, First Tennessee VP Community Banker, Karen Harrison, STEP, Inc. Executive Director, and Donna Jennings, STEP, Inc. Business Manager

      Helping youth with disabilities prepare for life after high school and achieve their goals is what STEP, Inc. does through our transition services.

      Helping non-profits in Tennessee accomplish their mission is what the First Tennessee Foundation does through their community grants.

      "We are so grateful to the First Tennessee Foundation for their generous donation of $3,000. STEP, Inc. will use these funds to purchase iPad's and iTunes cards to give away at our transition events across the state," said Karen Harrison, Executive Director at STEP, Inc.

      The check was presented to STEP today by Jennifer Keller, VP Community Banker and was received by Karen Harrison, STEP Executive Director, and Donna Jennings, STEP Business Manager.

      Michelle Huffman with the First Tennessee Foundation in a letter to STEP wrote: "The First Tennessee Foundation is honored to be part of the good work and success of STEP, Inc. and pleased to provide this grant of $3,000."

      STEP's next Transition Academy will be held September 27th and 28th in Nashville at Lipscomb University where one lucky teen will win an iPad!    Click here to register today.

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      6/20/2017

      Getting Started: Help Your Child With a Learning Disability Be More Independent With Assistive Technology (AT)

      This guide can help your child with a learning disability take important steps towards independence for high school, postsecondary education, and employment. Topics covered include: setting priorities and goals, working with your child’s IEP team, and exploring assistive technology.

      CLICK HERE to download the PDF resource guide.

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      6/19/2017

      How Technology Can Help Your Child With a Learning Disability Be More Independent

      This guide provides parents a brief overview of the ways assistive technology can help grow their child’s independence. Topics covered include: examples of assistive technology for managing schoolwork, reading and writing, and focus and time management, as well as helpful strategies for encouraging their child’s independence.

      CLICK HERE to download the PDF resource

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      6/15/2017

      Policy Drafts, State Plans and Public Hearings

      Four Vocational Rehabilitation draft policies are currently available for public review and comment, listed below:

      Comments on these policies can be sent to Joel Blackford by email at Joel.Blackford@tn.gov, by phone at (615) 313-4898, or by mail to 400 Deaderick Street, 12th Floor, Nashville, TN 37243. Comments will be received until close of business July 13, 2017. Public hearings on the draft policies are also being held across the state, as listed below:

      Memphis

      June 27, 2017

      Memphis Center for Independent Living

      1633 Madison Avenue

      Memphis, TN  38104

      4:00 pm – 6:00 pm

      Jackson

      June 28, 2017

      Lowell Thomas State Office Building

      225 Martin Luther King Blvd

      Jackson, TN  30301

      4:00 pm – 6:00 pm

      Nashville

      June 29, 2017

      Department of Human Services

      1000 2nd Avenue North

      Nashville, TN  37243

      4:00 pm - 6:00 pm

      Johnson City

      July 11, 2017

      Department of Human Services

      103 East Walnut Street

      Johnson City, TN  37601

      4:00 pm – 6:00 pm

      Knoxville

      July 12, 2017

      Langley Building

      520 West Summit Hill Drive

      Knoxville, TN  37902

      4:00 pm – 6:00 pm

      Chattanooga

      July 13, 2017

      Eastgate Center

      5600 Brainerd Road

      Chattanooga, TN 37411

      4:00 pm – 6:00 pm

      FY 2015 State Plan for the Vocational Rehabilitation Program - WORD  PDF

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      6/7/2017

      School Suspensions Take a Toll on Kids With IEPs and 504 Plans

      Kids with IEPs are more than twice as likely to be suspended. And a lot of those suspensions involve kids with learning and attention issues. How come? Explore the answers in The State of LD, recently released by NCLD. Discover five ways to use information from the report. Plus read one family's story about unique IEP goals for a child with both special education needs and giftedness.

      Click here to read more.

      Click here to review Understanding the 1 in 5:  Snapshot of Learning and Attention Issues in the U.S.

      Click here to review Understanding the 1 in 5: Executive Summary

      Click here to review Understanding the 1 in 5: Tennessee State Snapshot

      Upcoming Expert Chat: Advocacy & The State of LD: What Parents Need to Know

      Thurs Jun 8 at 12:00pm ET 

      Lindsay Jones

      Vice President and Chief Policy & Advocacy Officer, National Center for Learning Disabilities

      The National Center for Learning Disabilities released its latest report, The State of Learning Disabilities: Understanding the 1 in 5.  Join Lindsay Jones, chief policy and advocacy officer for NCLD, to learn how the report can help parents understand key policy issues at the state and federal levels and give you tools to advocate for your child.

      Simply go to live.understood.org at the time of the chat.

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      6/6/2017

      First Lady's Statewide Summer Reading Competition



      I'm excited to announce a Statewide Summer Reading Competition to encourage all Tennessee children to read more and visit our state libraries over the summer! 


      Rising kindergarten through rising 4th grade students can qualify as one of Tennessee's Top 100 Readers (and have a chance to attend a Kids State Dinner at the Tennessee Residence!) by tracking the number of minutes they read over the summer and turning their information into their local library. 

      Visit your local library or www.tn.gov/firstlady to get started. Keep up the great reading!


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      6/6/2017

      STUDENT VOICE: They told me I’d never go to college but I just finished my freshman year — what about all the other students with autism?

      Article from The Hechinger ReportI

      t's time to prepare all learners for the future.

      A few years ago, I was on track to receive a modified high school diploma. I was spoken to using basic English with minimal words and taught in separate facilities. 

      I was unable to express most of my thoughts verbally; so many professionals such as teachers and doctors were unable to see how intelligent I was. 

      Then at 18 years old, I had a communication breakthrough when I began to use an iPad. I was finally able to express my personal thoughts and share what I know, graduating from high school at age 21. 

      After years of being told I would never go to college, I just finished up my freshman year. But what about all of the other students with autism?  

      Click here to read more


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      6/5/2017

      TN Special Education Director Update

      The latest issue of the Special Education Director Update is out from the Tennessee Department of Education.

      In this issue:

      • Supplemental IDEA Funds Available
      • Disability Standards Policy Change
      • Dyslexia Resource Guide
      • ePlan User Communication
      • SAMHSA Family Educational Materials
      • Change to Special Educator Credential Requirement Under ESSA
      • Save the Dates for the 2017-18 WBL Professional Learning Communities (PLCs)
      • Tennessee STEM School Designation
      • Professional Development for Special Populations
      • Inclusive Higher Education Conference for Students with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities 
      • 2017-2018 TRIAD Professional Development and Training Opportunities
      • Gifted Educator Newsletter
      • Special Education Supervisors Conference

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      6/5/2017

      2017 Wayne Parker Advocate of the Year Award Announced


      STEP is thrilled to honor Christi Rice with the 2017 Wayne Parker Advocate of the Year Award.

      Christi Rice volunteers at Menchie’s, works a full-time job, is a wife to Jamie and a mom to four young people, two on the autism spectrum. Christi took a registered nurse position working on the weekends in order to dedicate her time and energy to starting up the Menchie’s employment project. Everything she does at Menchie’s is voluntary because, in her words, “I want to see every penny we earn go back to the store or to other ventures to promote employment of folks with disabilities in our community.”

      Advocating for a job for her son, Wesley, is how she began helping other young people with disabilities find employment opportunities through training at Menchie’s. She said, “I saw what a difference a job made in my son's life and wanted that for all his friends. I love this community and have an overwhelming sense of urgency to make a way for folks like Wesley.”

      Christi honed her advocacy skills striving for educational success for her two sons with IEPs in the school system. Her efforts at Menchie’s forced her to change her focus and direction. She said, “I began looking toward the future realizing there is so much more out there for our friends than high school. I realized that my focus needed to expand past today and work towards their future - towards a time when I am not here to advocate for them to have every opportunity anyone else may be given.”

      Christi believes the Menchie’s initiative has given folks, and the community at large, hope. She said, “It shows us every day that we can never put limits on our friends with disabilities. We are proving every day that a business can thrive if only they give folks a chance.

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      6/5/2017

      The Inaugural STEP Youth Advocate of the Year Award Winner Announced


      STEP is delighted to announce a new opportunity, starting this year, to honor a young person who has embodied the positive character traits of being a strong self-advocate by demonstrating leadership and accepting responsibility in speaking up for themselves and others. 

      The Wesley Rice STEP Youth Advocate of the Year Award is named after a young man – Wesley Rice, of course – who wanted a job and was willing to persevere until he landed one; and, in so doing, raised up an entire community. With that simplest of desires, Wesley set in motion the creation of an employment initiative that has enabled numerous youth with disabilities to train for work in an inclusive community setting, and then go on to become employed, skilled, responsible, tax-paying individuals. We are all inspired by Wesley and his straight-forward advice, “If you want something, like a job, just ask.” 

      Wesley asked for a job, and countless others have benefited, and will continue to benefit. STEP is thrilled and proud to present this premiere award, to name it after Wesley and his accomplishments, and to see what other youth will walk in Wesley’s shoes in years to come. 

      It looks like Wesley is pretty happy about it, too! We'll be sharing more throughout the week about Wesley, his awesome mom, Christi Rice, and their work toward inclusive employment in Knoxville.

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      6/5/2017

      News From TEIS (TN Early Intervention System)

      The latest issue of the TEIS (TN Early Intervention System) Update is out from the Tennessee Department of Education.

      In this issue:

      • TEIS Direct Services Coordinator
      • EIRA Quarterly Meeting Notes April 2017
      • Building Best Practice Conference
      • Fiscal Services Team Highlights
      • "Does Your Child Need an Intervention? TEIS Can Help."
      • Federal and State Reports Posted on TEIS’ State Website  
      • Association of Infant Mental Health in Tennessee (AIMHiTN) 
      • Upcoming Dates of Interest

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      6/5/2017

      IEA (Individualized Education Account) Program Update

      The latest issue of the IEA (Individualized Education Account) Program Update is out from the Tennessee Department of Education.

      In this issue:

      • Revised IEA State Law
      • 2017-18 IEA Program Applications Update
      • 2017-18 IEA Parent Handbook
      • Resources

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      6/1/2017

      STEP 2017 Advocate of the Year Winner Announced

      Christi Rice and her son Wesley

      Christi Rice from Knoxville, TN was awarded the 2017 Wayne Parker Advocate of the Year award with the Tennessee MegaConference in Nashville. 

      Christi volunteers at Menchie’s works a full-time job, is a wife to Jamie and a mom to four young people, two on the autism spectrum. Christi took a registered nurse position working on the weekends in order to dedicate her time and energy to starting up the Menchie’s employment project.  Everything she does at Menchie’s is voluntary because, in her words, “I want to see every penny we earn go back to the store or to other ventures to promote employment of folks with disabilities in our community.” 

      As you’ve already heard, advocating for a job for her son, Wesley, is how she began helping other young people with disabilities find employment opportunities through training at Menchie’s. She said, “I saw what a difference a job made in my son's life and wanted that for all his friends. I love this community and have an overwhelming sense of urgency to make a way for folks like Wesley.”

      Christi honed her advocacy skills striving for educational success for her two sons with IEPs in the school system. Her efforts at Menchie’s forced her to change her focus and direction. She said, “I began looking toward the future realizing there is so much more out there for our friends than high school. I realized that my focus needed to expand past today and work towards their future - towards a time when I am not here to advocate for them to have every opportunity anyone else may be given.”

      Christi believes the Menchie’s initiative has given folks, and the community at large, hope. She said, “It shows us every day that we can never put limits on our friends with disabilities. We are proving every day that a business can thrive if only they give folks a chance.”

      For her advocacy efforts focused on promoting employment for young people with disabilities. We applaud her for dedicating her time and energy the Menchie’s employment project—for looking past today and working toward a future where all young people have an opportunity to become productive and contributing members of their community.

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      6/1/2017

      STEP 2017 Youth Advocate of the Year Announced

       

            Wesley Rice at Work      •  Wesley Accepting Award   •  Wesley and his mom Christi

      Wesley Rice is an employee and a student. He attends Carter High School in Knoxville. He will be 20 years old on May 28, and has three siblings: a sister, McKenzie who is 21, and brothers Patrick (18), and Christian (16).  

      According to his mom, Christi, “Wesley is genuine. What you see is what you get. He is kind, trusting and compassionate. I think what I love the most is his gift to appreciate the little things that we all take for granted. He is always polite and quick to give a compliment even on days when he’s not feeling well. He always tries and never gives up.”  

      Wesley participated in an employment event through Open Doors TN, where a local business provided an opportunity for individuals with disabilities to work a few hours and earn cash for those efforts. In that time, Wesley realized he liked to work and earn money.

      Wesley and Christi began asking “anyone who would listen” if Wesley could work for them. Fortunately, Alan Sims, the owner of two Menchie’s frozen yogurt shops, said “yes”, which has a great deal to do with why we’re standing here today, presenting Wesley and Christi with these special advocacy awards. As a dedicated employee who has had to learn to speak up for himself, learn numerous new tasks and accept a great deal of responsibility, he has been an excellent role model for other young people with disabilities in the community who would like the same opportunities as any other young adults.

      The experience has been endlessly rewarding.  Wesley’s job has given him self-esteem, a feeling of independence and autonomy, a sense of accomplishment and being a productive and contributing member of his community. The job provided Wesley with a paycheck, life lessons in saving money, budgeting and opening a checking account, getting a debit card, learning not to give out that debit card number, learning how to bank and use an ATM, and independence in being able to purchase desired items without having to get parental approval.  Christi said, “I have watched Wesley grow into a much more confident young man through his job and all the social skills and experience that go with his job, all because Wesley wanted a job.”  

      Wesley has become a community leader “by example”. At a recent transition fair where Wesley took part in a panel discussion about transitioning from high school to adulthood, Wesley said, “If you want something, like a job, just ask.” According to Christi, It never occurs to him that he can’t do something, and I think that’s one of the traits that projects leadership in Wesley.”

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      5/31/2017

      New modified toy car designs offer children with disabilities more options

      --Article from News and Research Communications at Oregon State University--

      Researchers at Oregon State University have developed two new modified toy car designs for children with disabilities in an effort to encourage them to further explore, play, and engage in physical and social activities.

      The new cars were developed under the umbrella of the “Go Baby Go” program at OSU, which provides modified, ride-on toy cars to young children with disabilities so they can move around independently. Independent movement has been linked to a wide range of developmental benefits in young children. 

      The sit-to-stand car is a modified version of the original Go Baby Go car, but encourages the child to stand up in order to activate the switch that makes the car move. The goal is to encourage the physical skills of pulling up to stand, bear weight and balance, while also fostering more interaction with peers.

      The “Throw Baby Throw” car is a modified toy car that uses a toy pitching machine to throw foam balls. The goal is to provide a way for children who have upper extremity limits to participate in throwing, a fundamental motor skill, while also facilitating socialization.

      Click here to read more 

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      5/30/2017

      From Words To Images: Understanding The Dyslexic Mind

      -- Radio show hosted by WNPR News who offers extensive local and national news coverage for the citizens of Connecticut as the radio service of The Connecticut Public Broadcasting Network.--

      Dyslexia is considered the most common learning disorder and yet it is often undiagnosed and rarely understood.

      This hour, we look to better understand the dyslexic mind.

      We explore what it’s like to live with dyslexia and we learn how to best support children who have difficulty reading -- and what could happen when they don’t get the right supports.

      We hear from a journalist about her reporting on and her personal experience with dyslexia. We learn from leading researchers and educators in the field. And we talk with an actor about his struggles with the learning disability and his journey from prison to behind the camera.

      Click here to read more and to listen to the broadcast.

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      5/29/2017

      Dad With Autism Creates Autcraft, a Safe Minecraft Server for Those on the Spectrum

      --Article from The Mighty Autism Newsletter - Real People. Real Stories--

      When Stuart Duncan started Autcraft, a private Minecraft server for people on the autism spectrum, he had no idea it would become the community it is today. With more than 8,200 members, Autcraft lets children and adults on the autism spectrum play Minecraft in a judgment- and troll-free space.

      Autcraft started in 2013 after Duncan noticed parents of children on the spectrum were looking for safe spaces where their children could play the game. “It turned out that their children were being bullied on public servers2 because they behaved a little differently and were easily angered,” Duncan, who goes by the username AutismFather, told The Mighty. “So, having a background in web development and a love for Minecraft, not to mention the fact that I have Asperger’s myself and my oldest son has autism too, I decided to get my own server and give those people a safe place to play.”

      Click here to read more

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      5/15/2017

      Work-Based Learning (WBL) Leadership Council Application

      The application deadline for the WBL Leadership Council for Special Populations has been extended to May 19.

      The division of special populations, in partnership with the division of college, career and technical education, is reaching out to interested and qualified candidates who wish to serve on the WBL Leadership Council during the 2017-18 school year. Those interested should have experience working in secondary special education, familiarization with WBL programs of study, and an ability to lead professional development sessions for teachers and directors. Candidates should complete the application (here) by May 19. Following the completion of the application, selected candidates will complete a phone interview process. If chosen to be on the WBL Leadership Council, members will be provided a stipend to receive training on updated WBL policies and labor laws and will provide training and support in their CORE region for six WBL PLC meetings as well as two WBL certification trainings. Further questions about being on the WBL Leadership Council for special populations can should be addressed to Blake.Shearer@tn.gov.  

      For more information regarding WBL Leadership Council responsibilities, please read the WBL Leadership Council job description.

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      5/15/2017

      TN Special Education Director Update

      The latest issue of the Special Education Director Update is out from the Tennessee Department of Education.

      In this issue:

      ? Supplemental IDEA Funds Available

      ? Disability Standards Policy Change

      ? Dyslexia Resource Guide

      ? ePlan User Communication

      ? SAMHSA Family Educational Materials

      ? Change to Special Educator Credential Requirement Under ESSA

      ? Save the Dates for the 2017-18 WBL Professional Learning Communities (PLCs)

      ? Tennessee STEM School Designation

      ? Professional Development for Special Populations

      ? Inclusive Higher Education Conference for Students with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities 

      ? 2017-2018 TRIAD Professional Development and Training Opportunities

      ? Gifted Educator Newsletter

      ? Special Education Supervisors Conference

      Click here to read

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      5/10/2017

      Resource: Complex Trauma Fact Sheets

      This series of fact sheets describes complex trauma and provides recommendations for a variety of audiences on how to support youth. Developed by the National Child Traumatic Stress Network’s Complex Trauma and Developmental Trauma Disorder Work Group, the fact sheets include:

      1. Complex Trauma: Facts for Directors, Administrators, and Staff in Residential Settings (PDF, 6 pages) — Gives information for staff in Residential Treatment Centers on how to understand behavior through a trauma lens and provides recommendations on trauma-informed residential policies, staff training and self-care, and the developmental and educational needs of youth.
      2. Complex Trauma: Facts for Treatment Staff in Residential Settings (PDF, 4 pages) — Provides general guidelines for treatment providers on using a holistic, multidisciplinary, multi-level approach to address the needs of youth with complex trauma in Residential Treatment settings.
      3. Complex Trauma: In Urban African-American Children, Youth, and Families (PDF, 4 pages) — Describes the specific barriers that African Americans face in obtaining needed services and offers ideas for providers on building supportive relationships with African-American children and families who have experienced complex trauma.
      4. Complex Trauma: In Juvenile Justice System-Involved Youth (PDF, 7 pages) — Describes the path from complex trauma exposure to involvement in the juvenile justice system and presents recommendations for judges and juvenile justice program administrators, parents and family members, and adults who supervise youth.

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      5/9/2017

      Department of Education Seeks Comments on New IDEA Website

      U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos has expressed her commitment to ensuring that infants, toddlers, children and youth with disabilities and their families receive support and services they are entitled to under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). Recently, the Department of Education’s IDEA website, IDEA.ed.gov, which provides information and resources related to the IDEA 2004 reauthorization, was unavailable due to a technical malfunction from an external hosting service provider. Once the IDEA website became functional again, the Secretary directed the Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services (OSERS) to create a new and improved IDEA site and include stakeholder input as part of the development process. The current IDEA.ed.gov site will remain available to users during and after the development of the new IDEA website.

      OSERS is seeking input from users of the IDEA.ed.gov website as part of our effort to provide updated, easy-to-navigate IDEA resources to children with disabilities and their families, teachers, administrators, advocates, and other stakeholders.  

      To help us facilitate this effort, we ask that you address the following items in the comment section below:  

      1. What are the resources you use most often at IDEA.ed.gov?
      2. What additional information and/or functionality would you like to see included in the new IDEA site?
      3. Your title or role/designation (such as student, parent, educator, advocate, counselor, etc.), to help us gain a better understanding of who uses IDEA.ed.gov.

      OSERS appreciates your support and suggestions as we continue efforts to improve our online resources as part of our commitment to ensure that infants, toddlers, children and youth with disabilities and their families have the supports and services guaranteed under the IDEA.  

      To protect your privacy and the privacy of others, please do not include personally identifiable information, such as a name of a child or school personnel, a Social Security number, an address, a phone number or an email address in the body of your comment. Comments containing the aforementioned information will not be allowed to remain on this site.  

      If you have a child-specific complaint or issue, please contact our customer service line at 202-245-7459.

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      5/1/2017

      TN Rehabilitation Center Summer TBI Programs

      This program is open to participants in Wilson, Rutherford, Davidson, Williamson, and Sumner Counties.

      Click here for Pre-Employment Transition Services Summer Programs Frequently Asked Questions

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      5/1/2017

      Governor Haslam signs bill establishing Tennessee Council on Autism Spectrum Disorder

      On April 5, Governor Bill Haslam signed legislation passed by the Tennessee General Assembly that creates the Tennessee Council on Autism Spectrum Disorder to establish a long-term plan for a system of care for individuals with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and their families.

      The Council will make recommendations and provide leadership in program development regarding matters relating to all levels of ASD services, including, but not limited to, health care, education, and other child, adolescent, and adult services.

      “Tennessee has long needed a focal point for a comprehensive, coordinated system of care for children and adults on the autism spectrum,” said Tyler Reimschisel, M.D., M.H.P.E., co-chair of the Tennessee Autism Summit Team, associate professor of Pediatrics and Neurology, and director of the Pediatrics Division of Developmental Medicine at Vanderbilt University Medical Center.

      In 2014, the Tennessee Autism Summit Team proposed a Tennessee Autism Plan. Parents, individuals with ASD, educators, social service professionals, state agency representatives, autism researchers and clinicians, all contributed time and expertise to recommendations in this plan.

      “The plan was a culmination of the ideas, discussion, data, and talents of a diverse group of Tennesseans dedicated to improving quality of life for individuals with autism and their families,” said Carol Westlake, executive director of the Tennessee Disability Coalition.

      The plan was developed as part of an Autism State Planning Grant awarded to the Tennessee Disability Coalition from the Maternal and Child Bureau, HHS. The Tennessee Autism Summit Team served as a planning and advisory council for the Planning Grant.

      “To move forward, it was essential that the State of Tennessee committed itself to developing and implementing a coordinated system of care,” Reimschisel said. “Now with the establishment of this Council within the Department of Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities, we have a path forward.”

      The Council will include not only representatives from other State agencies and disability organizations but also six representatives who are impacted by autism, either adults on the autism spectrum or family members or primary caregivers.

      “Codifying the inclusion of individuals with autism or family members ensures ‘a seat at the table’ for those most deeply vested,” Westlake said.

      The legislation charges the Council (1) assess the current and future impact of ASD on Tennessee residents; (2) assess the availability of programs and services currently provided for early screening, diagnosis, and treatment of ASD; (3) seek additional input and recommendations from stakeholders, including, but not limited to, families, providers, clinicians, institutions of higher education, and those concerned with the health and quality of life for individuals with ASD; (4) develop a comprehensive statewide plan for an integrated system of training, treatment, and services for individuals with ASD; (5) ensure interagency collaboration as the comprehensive statewide system of care for individuals with ASD is developed and implemented; (6) coordinate available resources related to developing and implementing a system of care for individuals with ASD; and (7) coordinate state budget requests related to systems of care for individuals with ASD based on the studies and recommendations of the Council.

      “The Tennessee Autism Summit Team is grateful not only to the Governor and legislators who supported this vital legislation but also to the many advocates who have helped us arrive at this point where we can truly advance a comprehensive, coordinated system of care for all Tennesseans affected by autism,” said Toni Whitaker, M.D., co-chair of the Tennessee Autism Summit Team and Director of the Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental Disabilities (LEND) training program at the University of Tennessee Boling Center for Developmental Disabilities.

      The Tennessee Autism Summit Team is coordinated and supported by the Vanderbilt Consortium LEND, the Vanderbilt Kennedy University Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities, and the University of Tennessee Boling Center for Developmental Disabilities.

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      4/27/2017

      TN Special Education Director Update

      The latest Special Education Director Update is out from the Tennessee Department of Education.

      In this issue:

      ? Change to Special Educator Credential Requirement Under ESSA

      ? WBL Leadership Council Application

      ? Reminder to run Early Childhood Outcomes (ECO) Report

      ? Early Childhood Transition Reminders

      ? Instructionally Appropriate IEPs: Building District-level Capacity

      ? Disability Criteria and Evaluation Process



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      3/13/2017

      TN Special Education Director Update

      The latest issue of the Special Education Director Update is out from the Tennessee Department of Education.

      In this issue...

      ? Updates on Dyslexia and Resource Guide

      ? IDEA Part B Application for Federal Funds: Notice of Public Comment

      ? High School Math Course of Study for Students with Disabilities

      ? Transition Tennessee: Blueprint for Student Success

      ? Application to Participate in Gifted Programming Consortium

      ? NASP Find-a-Mentor Program

      ? LEAD 2017 Conference Call for Proposals

      ? Training Opportunities for Safe and Supportive Schools

      ? Integrated Leadership Course Session Three: Leadership Standards Training

      ? TRIAD Early Childhood Para-educator Workshop

      ? 2016-17 TRIAD Professional Development and Training Opportunities

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      3/1/2017

      TN Special Education Director Udate

      The most recent issue of the Special Education Director Update is out from the Tennessee Department of Education.

      In this issue:

      -- New Team Member: Intervention Specialist

      -- New Team Members: Office of Targeted District Support

      -- Seeking Applicants: Superintendent Positions for State Special Schools

      -- MSAA Updates

      -- 2017-18 Special Course Application

      -- 2017-18 Special Program of Study Application

      -- 2016-17 TRIAD Professional Development and Training Opportunities

      -- Sign-Up Links for All Department Newsletters

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      2/10/2017

      Tennessee Department of Education's Special Education Director Update

      The most recent edition of the Tennessee Department of Education's Special Education Director Update is out.

      In this issue...

      -- Announcing New Assistant Commissioner

      -- Training Opportunity: Five Tips for Avoiding Procedural Violations within Tennessee’s RTI² Framework

      -- Medicaid Survey

      -- Use of Visual Representations for Math Accommodation

      -- Survey: Need for Orientation and Mobility Specialists in TN

      -- WIDA Scaffolding Academy

      -- Early Learning Model Chapter 3 Registration Open

      -- Read to be Ready Year Two: Building the Framework

      -- Revisions to Special Courses Policy

      -- 2016-17 TRIAD Professional Development and Training Opportunities

      Click here for the full update

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      2/7/2017

      About College (DPI Autism Interviews) – YouTube

      Thinking about college for your child or students with autism and other developmental disabilities?

      The Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction has an amazing series of 400 videos on the topic!

      Here's one of our favorite playlists that includes of 14 of those videos.

      These videos of students, families, educators, and disability resource center staff at colleges around Wisconsin were collected to provide ideas around how to prepare students with autism and other developmental disabilities for college.

      Click here for playlist.

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      2/7/2017

      STEP Team Attends the 2017 Partners in Education (PIE) Conference in Nashville

      The STEP Staff participated in the Tennessee Department of Education's 2017 Partners in Education (PIE) Conference in Nashville earlier this month.

      Staff attended seminars, networked with other agencies and presented our resources and information to Special Education Teachers and Supervisors across the state.

      Pictured: Patricia Valladares at the STEP Booth.

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