Students with special needs in one Pennsylvania high school are practicing life skills and gaining experience for possible careers by operating a school-district catering business out of their classroom. A grant from a local education foundation helped establish 341 Catering -- named after the students' classroom -- which provides baked goods, coffee and tea for faculty and staff.
A recently launched Web site offers emergency-preparedness information on topics such as anthrax and pandemic flu that is easily accessed by Texas residents with special needs. Created by the Northeast Texas Public Health District, the site offers information in American Sign Language through videos with text and audio captioning, as well as printable preparedness guides formatted in large print and Braille.
A Texas elementary school is using technology to stay connected with a kindergarten student who has medical issues. Gabriel Varela, who has been more vulnerable to easily transmittable illnesses like the H1N1 flu virus since receiving a kidney transplant in January, has been participating in classroom activities since October using a webcam and his family's home computer. "He misses his class, so this is wonderful for him," one of his teachers said.
To address a shortage of qualified interpreters for people who are deaf in Kentucky, the University of Louisville is planning to launch a baccalaureate degree program in American Sign Language in the fall of 2010. The university's American Sign Language/Interpreter Education Program will be the second such program in the state and join 34 similar degree programs in the country. New rules set to take effect in 2012 require that all candidates for national certification in ASL interpreting hold a bachelor's degree.
A Massachusetts school district is set to receive a grant from the Doug Flutie Jr. Foundation for Autism to start a Saturday social-skills program for students with autism. Based on suggestions from special-education staff and teachers, the district proposal for the program "was well-written and unique," a foundation spokeswoman said, "Many parents don't get those type of [social-skills] services through the school system."