State Board Revises Discipline Regulations
The State Board of Education overwhelmingly approved regulations Tuesday intended to cut back on suspensions, keep students in class and create a less-punitive culture in public schools.
The changes place Maryland among states and school systems at the forefront of a national movement to rethink how students in trouble are punished and whether too many are suspended and expelled for offenses that could be handled in other ways.
Read the Washington Post article here or read the entire report at theMSDE website here.
LISS Survey: Your Input is Needed
The Maryland Developmental Disabilities Council (DDC) is undertaking a review of DDA Low Intensity Support Services (LISS), in collaboration with the Developmental Disabilities Administration. The Council has contracted with the Maryland Center for Developmental Disabilities (MCDD) to conduct a study, including this survey, to gather input from an array of stakeholders throughout Maryland. This includes people with developmental disabilities and their families, LISS providers, services providers, DDA staff, resource coordination agencies, advocates and others.
In order for the information we gather to be useful, we encourage you to share your perspective about what is working and not working well with LISS, in addition to ideas and recommendations you may have. All responses to the survey will be completely confidential. Please click on the link below to complete this brief survey:
Unified Sports Offer Opportunities for Youth with and without Disabilities
Unified Sports joins people with and without intellectual disabilities on the same team. It was inspired by a simple principle: training together and playing together is a quick path to friendship and understanding.
In Unified Sports, teams are made up of people of similar age and ability, which makes practices more fun and games more challenging and exciting for all. Having sport in common is just one more way that preconceptions and false ideas are swept away.
One of the biggest Unified Sports leagues is in Montgomery County, Maryland, USA, where about 100 athletes with and without intellectual disabilities play basketball.
Unified Sports was recently profiled in Education Week. To find out more visit the Special Olympics website.
MITS Freedom Stick: Free Software for Students with Disabilities
The MITS Freedom Stick is a portable, use-anywhere accessibility solution. Install this software package on any 4gb USB Flash Drive (full) or 2gb USB Flash Drive (lite) and you create a set of tools for your students that they can carry in their pockets which will make any Windows computer highly accessible.
The Freedom Stick contains the full Open Office suite (comparable to Microsoft Office), the Balabolka Text-To-Speech system, an on-screen calculator which allows students to paste their math work into homework or test documents, a "mind mapper" (similar to Inspiration), the Audacity audio recorder/player, and many more supports.
The easiest way to get started with the MITS Freedom Stick is to download either of the self-unzipping files by visiting the "Downloads" link on the right-hand column of this page. Then simply copy the whole "unzipped" collection of software to a blank USB Flash Drive. Visit the MITS website for downloads and more information.
The Freedom Stick contains:
- A full version of Open Office (equivalent to Microsoft Office and all documents adapt to both software programs), including Writer (Word), Impress (PowerPoint), Calc (Excel), Base (Access), plus Scribus (similar to Microsoft Publisher).
- The Sunbird Calendar and Thunderbird Email systems.
- Fully accessible versions of the Firefox, Opera, and Chrome web browsers including Text-To-Speech options and translations. Firefox and Chrome both include pre-set bookmark folders, offering access to free Digital and Audio Texts, online calculators (including talking calculators), and a wide range of curriculum supports.
- A full scientific graphing calculator, a digital periodic table with physics and chemistry calculators built in, Converber - a remarkable unit converter, and X-mind - similar to Inspiration.
- Balabolka, a Text-To-Speech system which can convert whole digital books to audio files, read anything with word-by-word highlighting, and which allows students to write and hear their own reading read back to them.
- PowerTalk Portable, will read any PowerPoint presentation
- Audacity, a digital recorder and player.
- Software for drawing, painting, photo-editing/manipulation
- Kompozer for writing html code (for building websites) and Notepad++ for coding (and testing code) in almost any computer language.
- Screen magnifiers.
- 7-Zip for creating and unpacking Zip Files.
- Simulation software including Robot Programming and Home Design.
- Games including Chess and Sudoku.
Federal Student Aid for Students with Intellectual Disabilities
If you or your child has an intellectual disability, you may receive funding from the Federal Pell Grant, Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant, and Federal Work-Study programs if you
For more information visit the Federal Student Aid website.
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What is Bookshare?
Bookshare is the world's largest online library of copyrighted content for people with qualified print disabilities. What can you do with Bookshare?
- Access a large and diverse collection of titles for school or pleasure reading (over 156,000 titles)
- Read eBooks on computers, tablets, phones, assistive technology, MP3 players and more
- Listen to books with high quality text-to-speech voices
- Read multi-modally (see and hear words as they are being read and highlighted)
- Take notes, add bookmarks, look up word definitions, and more
- Download free reading tools for PCs, Mac, and Android devices (learn more)
- U.S. students and schools can join Bookshare for FREE through an award from the U.S. Department of Education, Office of Special Education Programs
To learn more and register, visit www.bookshare.org
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Save These Dates!
August 5-7, 2012
August 9, 2012
7:00pm - 9:00pm
September 10 -13, 2012
September 21, 2012
Allegany College, MD
October 5-6, 2012
Howard County, MD
October 9 -11, 2012
Ocean City, MD
October 18, 2012
Silver Spring, MD
October 24, 2012
Linthicum Heights, MD
October 25-26, 2012
Check the PPMD online calendar for time, location, and registration information for these and many other training opportunities. www.calendarwiz.com/ppmd
JobTIPS is a free program designed to help individuals with autism spectrum disorder and other learning differences explore career interests, seek and obtain employment, and successfully maintain employment. The site includes social skills and interest self assessment. JobTIPS addresses the social and behavioral differences that might make identifying, obtaining, and keeping a job more difficult for you. Excellent tools for transition age youth.
United Healthcare Grants to Help Pay for Medical Costs
The grants provide financial relief for families who have children with medical needs not covered or not fully covered by their commercial health benefit plan. The Foundation aims to fill the gap between what medical services/items your child needs and what your commercial health benefit plan will pay for.
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Kickin' It With College Kids
The Johns Hopkins Women's Soccer team invites disabled children from the greater Baltimore area to the JHU campus for the third annual KICKIN' IT WITH COLLEGE KIDS. This FREE program is designed to bring the opportunity of learning and playing soccer to any boy or girl, who has a mental or physical disability. Our goal is to enable some of the thousands of young athletes with disabilities to become valued and successful members of the Hopkins soccer family. Each child will be paired with a buddy. This buddy will remain with the same child all day and cater the level of play to the child's functional ability.
What has Health got to do with Transition?
Good health is an important part of being successful in work, school and other activities. Having a disability or chronic illness does not mean a person cannot be healthy. It does mean that learning how to stay healthy is an important part of learning to be independent. The Adolescent Health Transition Project connects you with resources on this important topic.