A r c h i v e d I n f o r m a t i o n The Teacher's Guide to the U.S. Department of Education - September 2000
Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services
The Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services (OSERS) supports programs that help educate children and youth with disabilities, provides for the rehabilitation of youth and adults with disabilities and supports research to improve the lives of individuals with disabilities. OSERS is divided into the following three offices: the Office of Special Education Programs, the Rehabilitation Services Administration, and the National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research.
The Office of Special Education Programs
The Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP) administers programs that relate to the free and appropriate public education of all children, youth and adults with disabilities. OSEP oversees programs to expand and improve special education and administers grants to state education agencies to help state and local districts serve children and youth with disabilities. The office also monitors state programs to ensure that students with disabilities receive an appropriate education and that their rights and those of their parents or guardians are protected. OSEP also administers programs to train special education teachers and conducts research in improved methods of special education. Some grants are given to all the states according to a formula prescribed in congressional legislation authorizing the program; others are awarded to individuals or institutions on the merit of competitive applications.
Thomas Hehir, 202-205-5507
Early Intervention Program for Infants and Toddlers with Disabilities
This program provides formula grants to states; Washington, D.C.; Puerto Rico; the secretary of the interior; and outlying areas to help them develop and implement statewide systems of coordinated, comprehensive, multidisciplinary and interagency programs of early intervention services for infants and toddlers with disabilities. Allocations are based on the number of children from birth through age 2 in the general population. States make services available to those children and their families, including Indian children served through Department of the Interior schools. States may also elect to provide services to infants and toddlers who are at risk of having developmental delays without these services.
Grants to States for the Education of Children with Disabilities
This program provides formula grants to states; Washington, D.C.; Puerto Rico; the secretary of the interior; and outlying areas to assist them in meeting the costs of providing special education and related services to children with disabilities. Funds to states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico are distributed based on the number of children with disabilities ages 3 through 21 who are served. Most of the funds must be distributed to local education agencies that serve children directly. States may retain the remaining funds for state-level activities, including administration, and for support and direct services to children with disabilities. Federal funds are combined with state and local funds to provide all children with disabilities with a free and appropriate public education, including special education and related services. Funds are used for salaries of teachers and other personnel, educational materials and related services such as special transportation and occupational therapy that allow children with disabilities to access education services and other education-related costs.
Parent Information and Training Programs
The program provides training and information to enable individuals with disabilities, along with their parents, family members, guardians, advocates and other authorized representatives, to participate more effectively in meeting the vocational, independent living and rehabilitation needs of individuals with disabilities. These projects are designed to meet the unique information and training needs of individuals who live in the area to be served, particularly those who are members of populations who have been unserved or underserved.
Personnel Preparation to Improve Services and Results for Children with Disabilities
This program has the following two primary purposes: (1) to help address state-identified needs for qualified personnel?in special education, related services, early intervention and regular education?to work with children with disabilities; and (2) to ensure that those personnel have the skills and knowledge, acquired through research and experience considered successful, to serve these children.
Preschool Grants for Children with Disabilities
This program provides formula grants to states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico to offer special education and related services to children with disabilities ages 3 through 5. The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) Amendments of 1997 substantially revised the formula for allocating funds under this program, changing it from a child count-driven formula to one based on general population and poverty. Under the new formula, each state is first allocated an amount equal to the amount it received in FY 1997. For any year in which the amount allocated to the states is greater than the prior year?s allocation, 85 percent of the additional funds are distributed based on the state?s relative percentage of the total number of children in the general population ages 3 through 5. The other 15 percent is distributed based on the relative number of children ages 3 through 5 who are living in poverty in each state.
Research and Innovation to Improve Services and Results for Children with Disabilities
The goals of this program are to produce and advance the use of knowledge to (1) improve services provided under IDEA, including the practices of professionals and others who are involved in serving children with disabilities; and (2) improve educational and early intervention results for infants, toddlers and children with disabilities.
State Program Improvement Grants for Children with Disabilities
This program assists state education agencies and their partners in improving results for children with disabilities. Its purpose is to reform and improve educational, early intervention and transitional services through professional development, technical assistance and dissemination of knowledge about best practices for children with disabilities.
Studies Evaluation assesses the progress of states and communities in implementing IDEA. One area of focus is the effort to provide free and appropriate public education to children with disabilities and early intervention services to infants and toddlers with disabilities.
Technical Assistance and Dissemination to Improve Services and Results for Children with Disabilities
This effort provides technical assistance and disseminates information that supports states and local entities in building capacity to improve early intervention, educational and transitional services and results for children with disabilities and their families. It also addresses systemic-change goals and priorities.
Technology and Media Services for Individuals with Disabilities
The Technology and Media Services program seeks to promote the development, demonstration and use of technology and various media activities designed to be educational to children with disabilities.
Training and Information for Parents of Children with Disabilities
This program ensures that parents of children with disabilities receive training and information to help improve results for their children. Awards are for parent information centers, community parent centers and technical assistance for the centers.
The Rehabilitation Services Administration
The Rehabilitation Services Administration allocates grants to state vocational rehabilitation agencies to help individuals with physical or mental disabilities obtain employment through medical and psychological assistance, job training and other individualized services. Severely disabled individuals receive priority. The administration also funds programs that train rehabilitation professionals, enrich the lives of individuals with disabilities, increase their
employment opportunities and enable people with severe disabilities to live more independently with their families or in their communities.
Fred Schroeder, 202-205-5482
Client Assistance Program
The Client Assistance Program advises and informs clients, client applicants and other individuals with disabilities of all the available services and benefits under the Rehabilitation Act, and of the services and benefits available to them under Title I of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). In addition, grantees assist and advocate for clients and client applicants in their relationship with projects, programs and services provided under the act. A Client Assistance Program agency may provide assistance and advocacy with respect to services that are directly related to facilitating the employment of the client or client applicant.
Protection and Advocacy of Individual Rights
This program supports systems that protect the legal and human rights of individuals with disabilities who are ineligible for protection and advocacy services provided under other similar programs. Grant funds are used to ensure that eligible individuals? rights?such as the right of children with disabilities to a free, appropriate public education under IDEA?are protected. Grant funds are not used to provide educational services.
Training Interpreters for Individuals Who Are Deaf and Individuals Who Are Deaf-Blind
This program establishes interpreter training programs and helps ongoing programs train a sufficient number of skilled interpreters throughout the country to meet the communication needs of individuals who are deaf and individuals who are deaf-blind. The program funds activities that include (a) developing a training manual for tactile, oral and cued speech interpreters; (b) ensuring the maintenance of the skills of interpreters; and (c) providing opportunities for interpreters to raise their level of competence.
The National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research
The National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research (NIDRR) primarily carries out a program of research and related activities designed to maximize the full inclusion, employment, independent living and economic sufficiency of individuals with disabilities. Its research activities specifically emphasize improving the effectiveness of services authorized under the Rehabilitation Act. NIDRR focuses on applied research, such as (1) the transfer of rehabilitation technology to individuals with disabilities, (2) the widespread distribution in usable formats of practical scientific and technology information, and (3) the identification of effective strategies to enhance the opportunities of individuals with disabilities to engage in productive work and live independently. NIDRR funds are also used to support rehabilitation research, demonstration projects and related activities, including training people who provide rehabilitation services or who conduct rehabilitation research. In addition, NIDRR supports projects to disseminate and promote the use of information concerning developments in rehabilitation procedures, methods and devices, as well as data analyses on the demographics of disability.
Katherine Seelman, 202-205-8134
Personnel Preparation to Improve Services and Results for Children with Disabilities
This program has the following two primary purposes: (1) to help address state-identified needs for qualified personnel in special education, related services, early intervention and regular education to work with children with disabilities; and (2) to ensure that those personnel have the skills and knowledge, acquired through research and experience considered successful, to serve these children.
Knowledge Dissemination and Utilization
These projects support the dissemination and use of information, including state-of-the-art assessments and diffusion centers, to ensure that knowledge generated from research is available and can be fully used to improve services, opportunities and conditions for people with disabilities. Projects that provide technical assistance and training to state and local governments and private businesses regarding the ADA and facilitate implementation of the ADA without litigation or hardship are also included under this activity.
State Assistive Technology Grants
NIDRR supports consumer-driven state plans for the delivery of assistive technology devices and services. The goal is to eliminate programmatic, policy and other barriers that keep people with disabilities from enjoying the benefits of assistive technology.