In April, I blogged about a proposed plan in Virginia to change regulations on special education so that parents would not have to be notified before a student's special education services were terminated. At the time, I said that I didn't think the plan was going to go far, which didn't require much insight on my part: Gov. Tim Kaine had already said he was against any such change. And now, the changes have been officially ruled out. The proposed rules changes drew 77,000 comments--the most ever for a rules change, according to a state official....


Project Forum, a federally funded project of the National Association of State Directors of Special Education, has released a new publication (pdf) on coordinated early intervening services. Districts are allowed to use part of their federal special education dollars on early intervening services for children who are not in special education, but who need extra academic or behavior help to do well in school. In addition to Project Forum's excellent efforts, please check out a recent article I wrote on CEIS, as well as a blog post that discussed the topic....


Her speech was heavy on economic-policy prescriptions, but on Monday in Golden, Colo., Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin also outlined the issues she would focus on if she and John McCain are elected: energy, government reform, and "special needs." From the speech: I've told Senator McCain a few things I've learned as a senator governor and as a mom. Ever since I took the chief executive's job up north, I've pushed for more funding for students with special needs. It's touched my heart for years, especially about 13 years ago with the beautiful addition to our extended family of ...


On Wednesday, Sept. 17, between 1 and 2 p.m., I'll be moderating an online chat with Professors Lee Kern and Richard White on effective strategies for adolescents with behavioral disorders. This is a follow-up to an article I wrote earlier this month on the topic. Kern is leading a new federal effort that will develop a set of "best practices" for dealing with these students' special needs, and White is the president of the Council for Children with Behavioral Disorders, a division of the Council for Exceptional Children. No special equipment is needed to join the chat, just a ...


Yesterday, the Senate passed by unanimous voice vote a measure designed to expand the Americans with Disabilities Act, passed into law in 1990. Now, it joins a similar bill that passed overwhelmingly in the House earlier this year. After differences are, presumably, ironed out in a conference committee and a final bill passes, it will go to President Bush for his expected signature. Supporters of the legislation say that changes in the ADA are needed to push back against court rulings that have inappropriately narrowed the definition of an "individual with a disability." Though most of the news coverage has ...


Last week, I had the opportunity to interview Dan Habib, a former photojournalist who made a documentary about his son Samuel, now 8, who has cerebral palsy, and his family's efforts to ensure Samuel is fully included in school and home life. At right, you can see Dan and Samuel in a 2006 tee-ball game; Samuel is using a special walker to get around the bases. From humble beginnings, Including Samuel has now been viewed by packed crowds around the country since its release last fall. The film bypasses some of the ponderous language that surrounds special education, and boils ...


And now, the Georgia Academy for the Blind, located in Macon, the Atlanta Area School for the Deaf in Clarkston, and the Georgia School for the Deaf in Cave Spring get to benefit from Kathy Cox's smarts. Cox, who was first elected in 2002, said the toughest question she fielded during her appearance on the Fox Network's trivia game show was which country, besides Nicaragua, borders Costa Rica. But after she answered correctly--Panama--the rest of the competition was smooth sailing. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution has an article on Cox's triumph, as does as the New York Times....


Once upon a time, this election season looked like it was going to be a quiet one for disability-rights advocates. But the selection of Sarah Palin as the Republican vice presidential nominee sent newspaper reporters scrambling to put together articles that ask members of the disability advocacy community What It All Means. Here's a collection of some of the articles that were produced soon after Palin joined the ticket: "Palin Candidacy Puts Spotlight on Special Needs" (USA Today) "With Palin, Special Needs Get Spotlight" and "Parents of Special-Needs Children Divided Over Palin's Promise to Help" (The New York Times) "Palin's ...


The summer Paralympics, an elite athletic competition for those with physical and cognitive disabilities, are currently underway in Beijing. You can follow them online through Universal Sports; a broadcast of highlights is scheduled for Oct. 18 on NBC. The Paralympics should not be confused with the Special Olympics, which is open solely to athletes with intellectual disabilities. Special Olympics events are held year-round in many different countries, while the Paralympics are held every four years in the same city that hosts the Olympic Games....


I can tell that I'm getting a lot of traffic to the blog from people who are Googling "Sarah Palin" and "special education" because of the rumor that the governor cut special education funding in the state. Here's my lengthy blog post on that issue. For those of you who are visiting for the first time: feel free to check out the place and stay a while! And, in case you haven't already seen it, I also invite readers check out an article written by my colleagues Sean Cavanagh and Alyson Klein that delves more comprehensively into what we know ...


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