Collaboration - Empowerment - Capacity-building

Welcome to the RAISE e-news letter, designed to identify and share resources that the Rehabilitation Services Administration Parent Training and Information Centers (RSA-PTI) can use and share with families.

Executive Editor: Peg Kinsell

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In This Issue

RAISE, the National Resources for Access, Independence, Self-Advocacy and Employment is a user-centered technical assistance center that understands the needs and assets of the RSA-PTIs, coordinates efforts with the TA provided by PTI centers and involves RSA-PTIs as key advisors and partners in all product and service development and delivery.

RAISE is funded by the US Department of Education to provide technical assistance to, and coordination of, the 7 state-level PTI centers (RSA-PTIs). It represents collaboration between SPAN, the Native American Parent Technical Assistance Center (PTAC) and the six Regional PTACs.

Find your Parent Technical Assistance Center (PTAC)

" Ask for what you want and be prepared to get it!"

- Maya Angelou

Hidden Disabilities & Workforce Readiness

Those with "hidden" disabilities represent the largest number of students with disabilities. According to the US Department of Education, approximately half of the six million children in special education programs in the United States, have learning disabilities. That is 2.9 million students!

Educators and others working with youth need a basic understanding of how to work with students who may have learning disabilities, ADHD, Aspergers, mental illness, TBI, and other disabilities that cannot be "seen." They need to know how to (a) identify; (b) screen; (c) connect to formal diagnosis, if necessary; (d) provide appropriate accommodations; and (e) guarantee that support services are accessed in order to assist youth in the career preparation process.

Based on the high prevalence of youth with learning disabilities, and the fact that the well being of youth with mental health needs are of increasing national concern, it is important for workforce development programs to learn how to serve individuals with non-apparent or hidden disabilities. 
Hunter Kent    

What does it mean to live with mental illness as a teen? In this TEDx Youth Talk, Hear from Hunter Kent, a teen advocate who speaks about her life with depression, and how she used her own experiences to connect with others. Hunter is a self-advocate with no shortage of wisdom, courage and insight.
Speak Up!  

This multimedia tool developed by the National Clearinghouse on Families and Youth, guides teens and young adults with disabilities through the skills they need to map out personal goals, learn about rights and responsibilities, ask for help in ways that get results, and get organized. Narrated and interactive, this fun and plain language resource includes self-quizzes.  

Best Practice
Summer is just around the corner, and for many teens a summer job is a skill builder. From Teens Health, here are 5 reasons teens with disabilities should look for a summer job:
  1. Develop your interview skills. The more jobs you apply for, the better you'll get at interviewing. Learning how to come across well in an interview is a skill you'll use forever. It helps with everything from getting into college to landing a full-time job when the time comes.
  2. Get better at coping with rejection. It's unlikely you'll get the first job you interview for. Rejection is a fact of life, and there's no denying it can be hard to handle. The good news is, the more we face rejection and learn to deal with the feelings that go with it, the easier it becomes to get past the hurt and bounce back.
  3. Learn something about yourself. Did you take a job that wasn't your first choice? You might discover a new skill or interest you never knew you had. Get offered the perfect job? Feel your self-esteem soar! Even if you don't really love your job but need to save for a new car or college, you'll learn that you can stick with something you don't particularly like to reach a goal that's important to you. And if nothing works out? You may decide to start your own business
  4. Push the limits of your comfort zone. Yes, it's a lot easier to sit home doing the same stuff you always do. But going out job-hunting can push you out of that comfort zone into a whole new experience. And you never know what you might find. Did you pass by a great new store on your way to submit an application? Did your interviewer do something totally wacky, like take off his shoes and put his feet on the desk? Even if all you come home with are some funny stories, it's worth it.
  5. Face less competition. The word is out that summer jobs are hard to find. So lots of teens will give up without even trying. If potential applicants remove themselves from the process, it ups your odds of landing a job. And, if you don't get the job you want, volunteer. It's a great way to gain experience and add something to your résumé, whether for college applications or future jobs.

Second Annual RAISE Summit

May 2, 2016

Hilton University Place
Charlotte, NC

Please join us for professional development, networking, and sharing as we work together to improve educational and employment outcomes for young people with disabilities.
The RAISE Summit will run from 9am to 4:30pm on May 2, 2016 will provide trainings on a number of issues that affect the outcomes of youth with disabilities.

Summit outcomes include:
  • Understand legislation in employment and independent living
  • Learn best practices in cultural competencies
  • Explore methods for improved youth engagement
There is no registration fee. You will receive additional information regarding the agenda and registration in the coming weeks.

Notetaking technologies and strategies for transition aged students.

Whether taking notes in class, gathering web research, or creating a textbook study guide, student success relies on the ability to efficiently capture, organize, and apply information from a variety of sources. But for many students with disabilities, this can feel like a daily struggle.

There are a variety of technology options to help! Join AT Consultant Shelley Haven as she demonstrates notetaking and knowledge organization tools, including smart pens, digital notebooks, annotation software, and multifunctional apps. This presentation is for students middle school and up with learning differences, as well as parents and professionals that support them.

Tuesday, March 22, 2016 - 4:30pm to 6:00pm EST

WIOA Implementation Partnerships:
The Important Role of Centers for Independent Living

March 24, 3:00-4:30 PM ET

This webinar, hosted by the LEAD Center, will discuss the recently released Independence Through Employment Toolkit, a collection of resources for Centers for Independent Living (CILs) and American Job Centers (AJCs) to deepen their understanding of each other's services and structures to improve the lives of job seekers with disabilities through employment. Participants in this webinar will learn more about the toolkit and hear from national and local leaders who will share how CILs and AJCs are working together to create a win-win-win for CILs, AJCs, and job seekers with disabilities.

For reasonable accommodation requests, please contact Brittany Taylor at

NOTE: This webinar was originally scheduled for February 25. If you were registered for the February webinar, you are automatically registered for the new date. If you have not yet registered, please feel free to register for the new date.

Thursday, April 7th at 3:00PM.

The National RAISE TA Center and the Center for Parent Information & Resources
present a webinar on

"Partnering with the NEW National Technical Assistance Center on Transition (NTACT)

This webinar will provide an overview of NTACT's technical assistance services available to state education and also state vocational rehabilitation (VR) agencies.  It will also feature a tour of the resources available on www.  A major focus of the session will be on the ways that NTACT encourages the engagement of parent centers as partners at each level of planning and implementation and supports parent centers as members of state implementation teams.  There will also be opportunities for input from participants regarding future work together.  Look for registration information soon. This webinar is for OSEP and RSA Parent Centers Only!
VR Focus

Social Security and Medicaid are important pieces of the transition puzzle. We love the searchable data feature on the Social Security Administration website. It allows users to search for providers based on zip code, and look at services from different Ticket to Work service providers. Ticket to Work service providers offer free job supports for Social Security disability beneficiaries (persons who receive SSI or SSDI) age 18 through 64 who want to work. Services offered may include job coaching, job counseling, training, benefits counseling and job placement. The tools on this page can help users find a service provider for employment support.
Want to know more about Ticket to Work?
Meet Ben! This 5-minute video explains Ticket to Work in simple terms and with a jazzy soundtrack to boot!

U.S. Department of Education Releases NPRM to Improve Equity for Students with Disabilities

Late last month, The U.S. Department of Education (ED) released a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) to address equity for students with disabilities of color under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA).

The proposed Equity in IDEA rule would, for the first time, require states to implement a standard approach to compare racial and ethnic groups, with reasonable thresholds for determining when disparities have become significant.

The proposed rule would also provide identified districts with new flexibility to support the needs of students. The Department has proposed broadening the allowable uses of the 15 percent set aside, currently used to fund early intervening services, to include services to students with and without disabilities, from ages 3 through grade 12. Up until now, identified districts could only use these funds to support students without disabilities, and only in grades K through 12, severely limiting the use of interventions that might address early needs and reduce disparities in the placement and discipline of students with disabilities.

Advocates in Disability Award Program Now Accepting Applications

The Advocates in Disability Award (ADA) Program awards and encourages young adults with a disability between the ages of 14 and 26 who are dedicated to positively affecting the lives of individuals with disabilities and their families. The program also supports an innovative project developed by the recipient to serve and empower individuals with disabilities.

The ADA is a joint program of The HSC Foundation and the Mitsubishi Electric America Foundation. The selected recipient is awarded $3,000 in recognition of his or her disability advocacy and will receive up to an additional $7,000 in funding for a project to benefit the disability community. Applicants must be a citizen or permanent resident of the United States at the time of application submission and recipient selection.

Deadline: Applications must be received by 5:00 PM ET on Wednesday, April 13, 2016.