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Posted: 5/3/2017

A Minnesota family is on a mission to spread the word about an organization that gave their son a better chance at life.

Andrew Olson was born with a rare disorder called Jaubert syndrome. It affects an area of the brain that controls coordination and balance. But Andrew has defied the odds thanks to the help of a local organization.

Andrew has come a long way. The 18-year-old was diagnosed with Jaubert syndrome as a baby.

“The outlook was scary,” Andrew’s mother Jackie said. “We were told he would never walk, never talk, most likely. We were prepared for a bleak life with this little man.”

That did not turn out to be the case. Shortly after Andrew’s diagnosis, his parents turned to the Pacer Center — an organization that helps find families resources and treatment for children with disabilities.

Read More

Posted: 4/10/2017

Sixth-grader Molly Gilbert’s health condition has meant she is out of school more often than not. But PACER’s VGo Robot has given Molly a new, virtual presence at Oak-Land Junior High in Stillwater, Minnesota. Read more about how “Gilbot” has changed things for Molly!

Posted: 3/23/2017

In a unanimous 8-0 decision issued this morning, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that schools must provide more than a “merely more than de minimis” education program to students with disabilities. Sending the case back to the 10th circuit, the Court did not define that standard but in the ruling stated, ““For children with disabilities, receiving instruction that aims so low would be tantamount to ‘sitting idly … awaiting the time when they were old enough to ‘drop out.’ The IDEA demands more. It requires an educational program reasonably calculated to enable a child to make progress appropriate in light of the child’s circumstances.”

Read the full decision | Read an article from EdWeek summarizing the ruling

Posted: 1/20/2017

The Office of Special Education Programs , of the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services (OSERS), has announced the release of three documents as part of the new Intervention IDEAs information brief series.

These documents provide information on interventions to address academic and behavioral challenges in infants, toddlers, children, and youth impacted by fetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASD) , lead exposure , and opioids .

Each brief includes a description of the issue, examples of practices associated with the interventions, quality indicators, or measures of the positive impacts that may occur as a result of the intervention, and links to additional resources.

Posted: 12/30/2016

The U.S. Department of Education recently released three new sets of guidance to assist the public in understanding how it interprets and enforces federal civil rights laws protecting the rights of students with disabilities. These guidance documents clarify the rights of students with disabilities, and the responsibilities of educational institutions in ensuring that all students have the opportunity to learn.

The guidance released today includes a parent and educator resource guide ; a Dear Colleague letter (DCL) and question and answer document on the use of restraint and seclusion in public schools; and a DCL and question and answer documents on the rights of students with disabilities in public charter schools.

Posted: 12/28/2016

The U.S. Department of Education today made available to the public final regulations under Part B of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) aimed at promoting equity.

Posted: 12/12/2016

On December 9, the White House released a new capstone report with updates about projects launched and local progress made in response to the Administration’s Rethink Discipline efforts. Rethink Discipline was launched as part of President Barack Obama’s My Brothers’ Keeper initiative and aims to support all students and promote a welcome and safe climate in schools.

Posted: 12/7/2016

A fact sheet summarizes these new rules which are designed to help ensure every student receives a high quality education and is set up for success in college and career.

Read the press release.

Posted: 11/22/2016

U.S. Education Secretary John B. King Jr. sent a letter today urging state leaders to end the use of corporal punishment in schools, a practice repeatedly linked to harmful short-term and long-term outcomes for students. Data has shown that students with disabilities and students of color are disproportionally impacted by corporal punishment.

Read the press release

Posted: 10/12/2016

Carl Leupker was diagnosed at the age of 10 with a genetic condition known as dystonia, a neurological disorder that causes painful muscle spasms and affects his speech. It makes it difficult to walk, write, and speak. Despite his challenges, Carl spent 20 years teaching in the Minneapolis Public Schools, and is married with two children.

His son, Liam, who is now 11, has been diagnosed with dystonia. Leupker recently wrote an article for the Washington Post about passing this disorder to his son.

“Like any loving parent, I don’t regret anything about who my child was born to be,” Leupker writes. “Dystonia has been cruel enough to me that I’m angry only at the injustice that Liam will have to relive this struggle in his own way.”
Leupker has also written the first of a trilogy titled Spite: The Biding Time Series , a fantasy story about children with disabilities and the power they unlock with the help of an energy healer.

The Kindle edition of the book is available on Amazon. PACER supporters can make purchases on AmazonSmile , which will donate 0.5 percent of the price of eligible purchases to Pacer Center, Inc.

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Upcoming Workshops

8/5/2017

Open Lab
10:00am-12:00pm
PACER Center

8/17/2017

ABC’s of the Individualized Education Program (IEP) – A guide for Minnesota parents to the IEP
6:30pm-8:30pm
PACER Center

8/22/2017

Managing time for teens & young adults
6:00-7:30pm
PACER Center

8/22/2017

How parents can effectively communicate with the Individualized Education Program (IEP) team
6:30-8:30pm
St. Cloud

8/24/2017

Hot Tips on the Individualized Education Program (IEP): Is your child’s IEP individualized and appropriate?
6:30pm-8:30pm
PACER Center

8/25/2017

Parent Leadership Summit on Children’s Mental Health
All day event
PACER Center

8/28/2017

Becoming an active partner in your child’s IEP
6:30pm-8:30pm
PACER Center

8/29/2017

Challenging behaviors, Positive Supports and School Success
6:30pm-8:30pm
Stillwater

8/30/2017

Challenging behaviors, Positive Supports and School Success
6:30pm-8:30pm
St. Paul

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