Advocates are lobbying Missouri education officials and legislators to improve services for students who are gifted. An estimated 110 gifted-education programs have been lost since the state froze funding in 2001. A May report from advocates highlighted 10 recommendations for gifted education, such as requiring districts to offer and fund gifted programs.
A Missouri district is using the Seamless Transition through Enhanced Partnership program to help extend job training for students with disabilities. Students in the program work as interns at a local hospital, where they learn skills such as budgeting and meal planning.
Students in Florissant, Mo., are addressing hunger in their community as they work together to help feed the homeless. The volunteers, who all have disabilities of their own, meet monthly to prepare enchilada casserole dishes and sometimes shop for the ingredients together. "A lot of time at this school, they focus on the things the students can't do. I wanted to do something that would empower them," said Sonja Conley, a social worker who started the casserole program.
Researchers at Notre Dame University and University of Southern California are studying how robots can supplement traditional therapies for individuals for disabilities. At Notre Dame, researchers are using talking robots to teach children with autism how to interact socially. At USC, robots are assisting stroke patients with exercises as part of physical therapy.
The U.S. Department of Labor's Office of Disability Employment has launched a public-service campaign to promote the abilities of individuals with disabilities by highlighting the achievements of seven people. "This PSA challenges viewers to rethink their ideas about what people with disabilities can achieve and consider what they might do to encourage young people with disabilities to pursue their personal and career goals," Kathy Martinez, assistant secretary of labor for disability employment policy, said.