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Press ReleaseWednesday, October 1, 2008
DOE Press Office
Department of Education Observes Disability History and Awareness Weeks
~ Two-week celebration raises awareness of individuals with disabilities ~
TALLAHASSEE – The Florida Department of Education (DOE) today began its celebration of Disability History and Awareness Weeks. During the two-week observation, school districts and postsecondary institutions throughout the state are encouraged to conduct and promote activities that raise awareness of individuals with disabilities and the disability rights movement. In honor of these weeks, the DOE has produced a resource guide that will help schools recognize and honor disability history and awareness.
“Serving the needs of students with disabilities is an integral component of Florida’s education system,” said Public Schools Chancellor Dr. Frances Haithcock. “These two weeks give us an opportunity to recognize the many successes of all our students and to gain a deeper appreciation of students with disabilities.”
There are approximately 400,000 students with disabilities receiving specialized instruction and related services in Florida’s K-12 public school system. Further, an additional 22,000 students with disabilities are enrolled in Florida postsecondary institutions. In 2006-07, the DOE’s Division of Vocational Rehabilitation assisted more than 12,000 individuals with disabilities find or maintain jobs, while more than 32,000 adult students prepared for additional education and the workforce. The Division of Blind Services served approximately 1,300 individuals with vision impairments by helping them become more successful in school, the community and the work place.
In June, Governor Charlie Crist signed legislation acknowledging the first two weeks in October as Disability History and Awareness Weeks. In addition to the resource guide, the DOE will also host exhibits at the Turlington Building from October 6-17 to recognize individuals with disabilities. Additionally, the DOE’s Bureau of Exceptional Education and Student Services has many free resources related to disabilities and education. For information regarding these resources, visit http://www.fldoe.org/ese/.