Project Forum, a federally-funded project under the auspices of the National Association of State Directors of Special Education, has released reports on several areas, including special education and homeless students, resolution meetings with parents, and support for students with disabilities in private schools. The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, as well as the McKinney-Vento Act, call for educational services for students who are homeless. Unfortunately, there are many barriers to getting these students the help they are entitled to, as we saw during Hurricane Katrina, for example. This report outlines the problems and offers some potential solutions: for example, having ...


The Burlington Free Press ran an article today about a public school program for children with behavioral and emotional disabilities. Coming on the heels of last week's CNN.com piece about the overuse of "time-out" rooms, this is a welcome shift: So two years ago she established a program that offers students counseling, mentoring, tutoring and a place to calm down in their own school. She stopped sending students to private schools and did without at least five one-to-one aides. The savings: About $220,000 a year, Scheffert estimates. Equally important, she said, children who walk in the door defiantly ...


Catalyst Chicago, an independent news magazine that reports on Chicago Public Schools, has produced an article that outlines Secretary of Education-designate Arne Duncan's role in special education. The reporters of the piece say that special education in Chicago is "dismal." Unfortunately, I have to say that it is not surprising to me that an urban district would be having severe problems providing appropriate services for its students in special education. The question, of course, is what Duncan tried to do to fix the situation, or if he instituted policies that have made things worse. Based on the information presented in ...


Not much, at least as it relates to special education. I've been scouring the web and have come up empty, so I'm throwing this out to readers, particularly those of you in Chicago. Are there any clues we can glean from Duncan's tenure that would be useful to know for parents and special education teachers? Share your thoughts in the comments section....


CNN has an excellent article on its website about the use of seclusion rooms in schools; it's a must-read. It starts with an anecdote about a 13-year-old with behavior problems and ADHD who hanged himself after being put in a seclusion room. It also explores what is known--and not known--about the use of seclusion or "time out" rooms across the country. Dr. Veronica Garcia, New Mexico's education secretary, said her state had found more sophisticated and better ways to solve behavior problems. Garcia, whose brother is autistic, said, "The idea of confining a child in a room repeatedly and as ...


Thirteen/WNET, the flagship public television station in New York, has recently published an article on Temple Grandin, a well-known autism advocate. Grandin, who has Asperger's syndrome, talks about what she believes schools can do to better educate children like her. Autism is a disorder characterized by repetitive behavior and impaired social interaction and communication; Asperger's syndrome is a milder form. Grandin became well-known when she was featured in Oliver Sacks' book An Anthropologist on Mars. Grandin has also written her own book, Thinking In Pictures. An excerpt:: “Teachers tend to focus on the disability,” Grandin said. Ironically, the autism ...


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 ...


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