Sue Swenson was deputy assistant secretary for special education and rehabilitative services in the Obama administration. She served as acting assistant secretary twice during her tenure. She also served as commissioner for developmental disabilities in the Clinton administration, and is committed to the formal definition of developmental disabilities that is to be found in the Developmental Disabilities Act. Her middle son Charlie lived to be 30 years old, enjoying the last four years of his life in the community with support. In this essay, she reflects on what she has learned about the education of learners with extensive support needs and where the field needs to go.

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