National Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month
People with disabilities face many difficulties in all facets of daily life. In 1987 President Ronald Reagan officially declared the month of March as National Developmental Disabilities Awareness month. The proclamation called for people to provide understanding, encouragement, and opportunities to help persons with disabilities to lead productive and fulfilling lives. This class of disabilities can refer to impairments in learning and behavior, such as autism, attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, and impairments in physical and/or intellectual functioning such as cerebral palsy, spina bifida, and Down syndrome.
Below are a few important milestones:
- 1990: Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) signed into law, prohibiting discrimination against people with disabilities in public life
- 2004: Individuals with Disabilities Education Act reauthorized, ensuring that all children with disabilities have access to a “free appropriate public education”
- 2008: ADA amended, making it easier for an individual seeking protection to establish that they have a disability
- 2014: Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act signed into law, helping individuals with disabilities gain access to employment, training, and support services
To see which ITEST projects are creating inclusive STEM opportunities for Students with disabilities click on the resources below:
Enhancing Engagement and Conceptual Understanding of Fractions for Students with Learning Disabilities using the Model Mathematics Education Curriculum
The Enhancing Engagement and Conceptual Understanding of Fractions for Students with Learning Disabilities using the Model Mathematics Education Curriculum is a Developing and Testing Innovations (DTI) project in the Innovative Technology Experiences for Students and Teachers (ITEST) program. This project advances efforts of ITEST program by developing an integrated curriculum for 4th - 6th grade students with learning disabilities and difficulties to increase engagement in and understanding of fraction concepts.
Science Technology Engineering and Math: Developing Education and Career Opportunity Systems
This project will advance efforts of the Innovative Technology Experiences for Students and Teachers (ITEST) program to better understand and promote practices that increase student motivations and capacities to pursue careers in fields of science, technology, engineering, or mathematics (STEM) by developing, testing, and disseminating tools and strategies for increasing awareness of STEM-related careers among high school students with disabilities. Participants in the project will include students having learning, emotional, developmental, or physical disabilities who are eligible for special education services under the Individuals With Disabilities Education Act of 2004, and their teachers.
Neuroscience for Neuro-diverse Learners
The University of Washington will provide technology-rich, hands-on experiences in neuroscience disciplines for high school and early postsecondary students (ages 16-21) identified as "neuro-diverse learners" those with academic challenges related to conditions such as dyspraxia, dyslexia, and, autism spectrum disorder and disseminate findings to teachers of courses that are related to neuroscience and, more broadly, science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM).
IDEAS: Inventing, Designing, and Engineering on the Autism Spectrum
This project will create a hybrid formal/informal program that prepares middle-school students with and without autism spectrum disorder (ASD) for careers as inventors, designers, and engineers.
Career Exploration Lab: 3D Printing and STEM Engagement for High School Students with Visual Impairments and their Educators
This project will advance efforts of the Innovative Technology Experiences for Students and Teachers (ITEST) program to better understand and promote practices that increase student motivations and capacities to pursue careers in fields of science, technology, engineering, or mathematics (STEM). For these students with visual impairments (VI), the possibility of a future in astronomy, or any science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) field, seems daunting.
Designing Tactile Picture Books: Critical Making in Libraries to Broaden Participation in STEM Education and Careers
Middle and high schools students from groups underrepresented in science, including visually impaired students, will digitally design and fabricate 3D-printed tactile storybooks for young children with visual impairments.
Connecting Students with Autism to Geographic Information Science & Technology Careers
Students with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) are less likely to start or graduate from a postsecondary educational training program than their peers. Additionally, they are routinely unemployed (or underemployed) as young adults. Consequently, there is an urgent need to create workforce development models that advance ASD students toward viable education and career paths. This project is a three-year project that will motivate and prepare high school students with ASD to enter postsecondary educational training programs and careers in geospatial and data science sectors.