The new year means a new look for Keeping You Informed! Enjoy a more mobile-friendly format with featured stories linked at the top for quick access to disability-related news, information, and events. 
New Testing Accommodations For Students With Disabilities
The College Board, a nonprofit developer of standardized tests, has announced that students who receive testing accommodations at their school as part of an Individualized Education Program (IEP) or 504 Plan will have the accommodations automatically approved for taking the SAT, Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test, PSAT 10, SAT Subject Tests, and Advanced Placement exams.  Additional resources are available at .  
GuidanceGuidance on Use of Restraint and Seclusion in Public Schools

The U.S. Department of Education's Office for Civil Rights (OCR)  and Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services (OSERS) jointly issued a "Dear Colleague" letter and other guidance documents regarding the use of restraint and seclusion in public and charter schools, and how its the use can result in discrimination against students with disabilities under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (Section 504).
Each and Every Child Shares Praise of Para-educators

The January 2017 issue of Each and Every Child, from the Iowa Department of Education, shares stories of how para-educators make a difference in the classroom.

Also included is a printable 11x17" poster called  "Paras Bridge the Path to Success" , which features a portion of the 800+ comments the newsletter received from Iowans sharing their praise of para-educators. Access plain text and PDF versions of the newsletter here: 

Friday, February 10, 2017
10:00 am - 2:00 pm
Johnston Lions Club,  6401 Merle Hay Rd, Johnston, IA 50131

Iowa-based and national organizations have partnered to host a statewide forum to educate the public about the ABLE Act, a major victory for individuals with disabilities that allows them to save money without losing benefits from Medicaid and Supplemental Security Income.  The legislation creates a new form of tax-exempt savings account, called an ABLE Account, akin to section 529 College Savings accounts. Learn more about the event..

Presented Material from Implementing ABLE Accounts in Iowa Webinar

The Iowa Able Foundation, along with national partner organizations, hosted a webinar last month that discussed the ABLE Act and implementing ABLE accounts in Iowa. These organizations have provided the presented material at no cost; access a PDF version of the PowerPoint here:  Implementing ABLE in Iowa.
UNI Seeks Parents for Research Study on IEPs and Mental Health

Parents are invited to participate in a research survey that asks for opinions and feedback on how well their child's IEP addresses the mental health needs of their child. Eligible participants must have a child who has an IEP with a behavior or adaptive behavior goal and who struggles with mental health difficulties such as depression, anxiety, attention deficit, anger, etc. 
Researchers will use the information to discuss mental health services in special education with district and AEA personnel, and professionals on the state and national levels. Access the survey here: 
Iowa's Early Hearing Detection & Intervention Program

The Iowa Department of Public Health's Early Hearing Detection & Intervention (Iowa EHDI) Program released their Winter 2016 Newsletter along with an issue brief regarding  Hearing Aids and Audiological Services for ChildrenBoth of these documents are available on the EHDI website at .  
MentorParent Mentor Training Workshops and Other ASK Training Events

Various dates and locations across Iowa (click link for details)
The goal of this workshop is to train a network of dedicated parent volunteers to provide support and expertise for families by giving them the skills and supports they need to help their child with a disability to reach their full potential. Parents helping parents --  it's a simple concept that works! The first of five workshops will be held in Des Moines on Saturday, January 21, 8:00 am-4:30 pm. 

Starting Wednesday, February 22, 8:00 am-4:30 pm
Oskaloosa School Community School District Central Office

Starting Friday February 24, 8:00 am-4:30 pm
Upper Iowa University West Des Moines Campus

RESPECT training is a free, four-day program focused on training participants in relationship building and conflict resolution; the skills and strategies taught at this training workshop can be applied universally when addressing professional and personal conflict. All meals and training materials are provided, and stipends are available for parents ($50) and educators ($100).
Click above to view Winter program guide
Amerihealth Caritas Members Can Join Courage League Sports At No Cost

Courage League Sports (CLS) has joined the Focus on Fitness program offered as a value-added benefit for members with managed care coverage through Amerihealth Caritas. 

Through this program, participants can receive a CLS membership free of charge only after they complete a health assessment and attend the gym 12 times in the first 90 days. Once they've qualified the membership is good for one calendar year, with the process repeating each year.

Amerihealth Caritas members can view the complete list of Focus On Fitness Gym Facilities at:
FinanceTax Preparation and Financial Resources

Free Webinar for Families of Individuals with Disabilities

Connect the Dots 4 Life, a financial services company based out of West Des Moines, is offering a 45-minute webinar for families of individuals with disabilities called, "Best Practice - Becoming Educated: Step 1b Financial Strategies for Families"; the webinar is scheduled at various times and dates throughout the month:

Thursdays at 6:05 pm          Tuesdays at 12:05 pm
January 12  Register           January 17    Register
January 19  Register           January 24    Register  
January 26  Register           January 31    Register

ASK Resource Center is sharing this information as a free educational opportunity for the people it serve; this is not an endorsement of Connect the Dots 4 Life or its services.
Night to Shine Event Coming To Valley Church February 10

Click above to view flyer
Night to Shine sponsored by the Tim Tebow Foundation is a unique prom experience for individuals with disabilities ages 14 years and up. 

The one-of-a-kind event is returning to the Des Moines area on Friday, February 10 at Valley Church in West Des Moines. Pre prom starts at 3:00 pm with prom activities, dinner, and dance going from 5:00-9:00 pm.

For registration, volunteer opportunities, and other information go to
The contents of this listserv email were partially funded by grants from the US Dept of Education, #H328M140017, Project Officer David Emenheiser, and the US Dept of Health & Human Services, #H84MC24065, Project Officer LaQuanta Smalley, and a grant from the Wells Fargo Foundation. These contents do not necessarily represent the policy of those entities,  nor should one assume  endorsement by them. 

ASK Resource Center  serves as a Family Voices State Affiliate Organization, and is a member of the Parent to Parent USA Alliance.