Author Archives: dlt

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Utah Teacher Receives CEC Graduate Student of the Year Award

heather-raithelCongratulations to Heather Raithel, selected as the 2017 Council of Exceptional Children (CEC) Graduate Student of Year Award Recipient! She is a teacher at Utah Virtual Academy and in the Transition Masters Program at Utah State University. Heather will be honored at the CEC 2017 Convention & Expo in St. Louis, during the Student Forum on Thursday, April 20, as well as recognizes on the CEC website.

Family plans for autistic daughter’s adult life article

CHESTER SPRINGS – Like a typical mother, Marie Louise Ludwig was thrilled to hear her daughter, Stephanie, say the word Mommy. The fact that it happened when Stephanie, who is autistic, was 15, made the milestone even sweeter.

“I think it’s a word a lot of mothers take for granted,” said Ludwig, who lives in Phoenixville with her husband, Andy, and Stephanie Keir, now 21.

But Stephanie, who graduated in June from Devereux in West Chester, can’t live with her parents forever. So Ludwig bought a house in Chester Springs for her daughter Oct. 10 with money raised through the nonprofit she started four years ago, Stephanie’s House.

Read more here.

New website launched to help families with children with disabilities article

Chris Durance seems to have no doubts about his future.

The Grade 12 student at Alexander Mackenzie high school knows he wants to study to become a comic book artist in Toronto after he graduates, and he has the confidence to see it through.

“I just want to tell stories,” said the 18-year-old, who has mild autism.

“Whatever happens, I’m sure I can do it.”

Read more here.

Disability effort takes flight: Diversity Matters

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette article

Giant Eagle has a long history of hiring and training workers with disabilities. For decades, the O’Hara-based supermarket chain has counted among its employees people who are deaf, blind or have other physical or mental challenges.

So the company was an ideal place to pilot a recently launched initiative with United Way of Allegheny County that will tap high school students with disabilities for jobs, and provide coaching to help them transition from school to the workforce.

Read more here.

New agreement aims to find jobs for students with disabilities

Mansfield News Journal (Ohio) article

A new agreement Monday among local schools and developmental disabilities services in Richland County aims to help find students with disabilities jobs.

Read more here.

Librarian’s Love of Books Began in Her Struggles to Read

New York Times Article

This article chronicles the journey to adulthood of a woman who struggled throughout school with emotional and reading disabilities.

Patricia Ann Kettles did not read her first book until she was 10. She knows what it is to struggle with the very act of reading, trying to make sense of words on a page long past an age when other children can polish off a thick Harry Potter or Twilight novel as quickly as a wedge of cake.

Now 40, at the library on Staten Island where she presides and where patrons know her fondly as “Miss Patty,” she talked recently about what it was like to be illiterate while others around her were devouring entire worlds.

Read more here.

Learning Center graduate heads toward great ‘Opportunity’

Learning Center graduate heads toward great ‘Opportunity’

Product of PCSD special education program makes transition to independence
Alexandria Gonzalez, The Park Record

NICHCY Loses Its Funding

The National Dissemination Center for Children with Disabilities (NICHCY) is no longer in operation. Our funding from the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP) ended on September 30, 2013. Our website and all its free resources will remain available until September 30, 2014.

This is the message the appears when entering the NICHCY website. Organizers of the site encourage everyone to collect anything from the website they would like to be able to use during that time.

Charter Schools and LRE: Thinking Outside the Box

When considering transition needs for students with disabilities, the entire picture needs consideration. Here is a post about Least Restrictive Environment (LRE) especially written for charter schools which face many areas for “thinking outside the box”.

by Deanna L. Taylor


An abbreviated version of this article is published in the spring 2012 issue of the Utah Association of Public Charter Schools magazine Charterology.


ImageCharter schools face many challenges in special education. Placing a student in their Least Restrictive Environment, or LRE, is one of those challenges. While charter schools often lack access to some of the resources available to their larger district counterparts, they also have the ability to be more creative and to “think outside the box”, particularly since LRE is not a “one size fits all” approach to educating students with disabilities.

Understanding the law: Continue reading