A voucher program that would have given up to $20,000 a year to Ohio special education students to help pay for private school tuition failed in the state's House of Representatives yesterday -- its second, and possibly last, defeat. Gov. Ted Strickland, a Democrat, vetoed a similar expansion bill that made it to his desk last year. But the measure was reintroduced as Senate Bill 57, passed the Ohio Senate in May on a party-line vote of 17 to 15, and was brought to the House on Wednesday. There, the vote was 49 to 44 for the measure. However, ...


Bill Knudsen, the acting director of the federal office of special education programs, earned applause this week when he told a group of early childhood educators that Obama's education transition team has early childhood education as one of its top priorities. "They are great, intelligent folks who have a great outlook," Knudsen said to the 500 people gathered for this week's National Early Childhood Conference, sponsored by the National Early Childhood Technical Assistance Center. These are the people who implement Part C of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, which deals with infants and toddlers, and Section 619 of the ...


That was the question posed to participants in a session held this week as part of the National Early Childhood Conference, sponsored by NECTAC -- the federally funded National Early Childhood Technical Assistance Center. You can also offer your thoughts on the issue here, on the Web site of the National Professional Development Center on Inclusion, based at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. The researchers there have created a draft document and a survey to gather responses, and the goal is to get responses from as many stakeholders as possible. Part B of the Individuals with Disabilities ...


Courtesy Brad Cohen It wouldn't have surprised anyone if Brad Cohen never considered coming near a school, after his experiences as a child growing up with Tourette's Syndrome. In one notable story, Brad says that a teacher made him get up in front of his class and apologize to his classmates for making noises and jerking motions -- all features of the disorder that were beyond his control. But instead, Brad decided he wanted to be the teacher that he never had, and after 25 interviews, he landed a position as an elementary school teacher in Cobb County, Ga. He ...


The new regulations were released Monday and will go into effect Dec. 31. Among the changes: *Parents have the right to unilaterally stop their child from receiving special education services after those services have begun, if they make a request in writing. *Non-lawyer advocates can represent either side in a due process hearing UNLESS there's a state law to the contrary. The Education Department specifically referenced a 2000 Delaware Supreme Court case, In re Arons, that was brought by a group of lawyers against Marilyn Arons, a parent advocate. The Delaware high court decided that, though the IDEA allows parents ...


I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving holiday! As befits the season, I'm spinning interesting bits of news here and there into a blog post. I wouldn't call these "leftovers," though...more like yummy tidbits: J.G. Fabiano, a teacher in York Maine writing for the Portsmouth Herald, says that special education has morphed into an "800 pound gorilla: I am by no means saying the special education laws protecting our real-special- students should be eliminated. For the past few decades, I have watched wonderful committed educators help children who could not have survived in any secondary environment. The problem ...


The National Conference of State Legislatures has created a great database for those who would like to keep tabs on autism legislation nationwide. The developmental disorder has garned attention from lawmakers around the country, who have introduced a number of bills designed to provide more early intervention and educational opportunities for children. You can access the autism legislation database here. An overview of state and federal efforts related to autism is located here....


The University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, Minn. and four St.Paul-area school districts are embarking on a study that will help educators learn the best ways to teach gifted children who also have learning disabilities. From an article in the Minneapolis Star-Tribune: Raising children with learning barriers is a task in itself, "but when they're bright and gifted and have a high IQ, it's even more frustrating, because the teachers just don't understand how to work with these kids," said Bloomington parent Chelle Woolley, whose 17-year-old son, Matt, was in fifth grade when he tested out for both ...


The National Center for Children in Poverty, based at Columbia University in New York, has released a report that shows that states are still struggling to deliver adequate care to children and youth with mental health problems. The study revisits a topic that was explored in another report, Unclaimed Children, more than 25 years ago. According to researchers, there have been improvements since that time, but only seven states report "consistent support for children and youth across the age span, among young children, school-age children and youth transitioning to adulthood." However, in an article in USA Today about the report, ...


After years of intensive therapy, Jayne Lytel believes that her son, Leo, 9, has behaviors indistinguishable from his typically developing peers -- even though he was diagnosed with autism at age 2. Lytel uses her situation as the basis of an article in the Washington Post about whether autism can actually be cured. Her son is now part of a research study that is examining 35 children and teens who appear to no longer have the outward signs of autism. In addition to talking about her own experiences, Lytel is careful to note that the jury is still out on ...


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