The state of sex education for students with developmental disabilities is a story idea that's been on my plate for ages, and I now may have a good "hook:" Researchers in Philadelphia have tracked rates of treatment of sexually transmitted infections among more than 50,000 Medicaid*-eligible 12- to 17-year-olds, including about 8,000 receiving special education services, in the Philadelphia school district. In Philadelphia, unlike in many districts, students who are gifted are also provided with an individualized education program, and thus were included in this count. The study found: For males, being classified as [learning disabled] was ...


It's not a surprise to me that raising a child with a disability could be more costly than raising a typically developing child, particularly because of the cost of health care. A researcher recently put a price tag on the burden shouldered by parents annually in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. The average extra cost borne by families across the country is $774. Families in Massachusetts have the lowest out-of-pocket costs, at about $560 a year. Families in Georgia, however, have to pay the most -- about $972 a year. The full ranking table is here. Paul ...


The U.S. Department of Education's office of special education programs has divided $2.4 million among 20 universities around the country to help those universities train highly qualified teachers of students with "high incidence" disabilities. Such disabilities include emotional disturbance, mental retardation and learning disabilities like dyslexia. These grants are part of the Special Education Preservice Training Improvement Grants Program, and will cover the first year of what are expected to be five-year projects at the colleges. I first started covering special education in November 2004, right after the reauthorization of IDEA. A few months later, I wrote an ...


Or is it? Special education law blogger Jim Gerl posted today about a September 2007 case decided in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit that says that districts do not violate the IDEA unless they have "materially failed" to implement a student's individualized education program. (The Ninth Circuit covers Alaska, Arizona, California, Guam, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon and Washington.) The case involves a middle school student, Christopher Van Duyn, with severe autism. He attended school in the 2,000-student Baker, Ore., district at the time the case was brought, and his parents complained that the ...


While I was out, the U.S. Department of Education's office for civil rights released a letter praising the changes in American society caused by the passage of the ADA: America is undeniably stronger because of the ADA and the contributions individuals with disabilities have made to every aspect of our society. The Office for Civil Rights (OCR) has played an important role in implementing and enforcing the ADA, by working with state and local education agencies as well as postsecondary institutions to make groundbreaking strides in providing access to opportunities for students with disabilities on a nondiscriminatory basis. ... We ...


The blog will return July 28. See you then!...


...so I love the blog that is a part of the website teachingtips.com. Not a ton of commentary, just a ton of lists, including the useful "Ultimate Guide to Special Needs Teaching: 100+ Resources and Links." Some of the sites listed are familiar to me, but there are bound to be some resources here that you haven't seen before....


The left-leaning Media Matters for America website has a post about conservative radio host Michael Savage giving his cure for autism during a recent broadcast: "I'll tell you what autism is. In 99 percent of the cases, it's a brat who hasn't been told to cut the act out. That's what autism is. What do you mean they scream and they're silent? They don't have a father around to tell them, 'Don't act like a moron. You'll get nowhere in life. Stop acting like a putz. Straighten up. Act like a man. Don't sit there crying and screaming, idiot.' " ...


This picture shows actor Mark Hamill congratulating Caitlin, the first-prize winner in her grade category at the Braille Challenge, along with second-place winner Michael Chang, a high school senior from California, and third-place winner Albano Berberi of Massachusetts, who will enroll in Wheaton College in the fall. It occurred to me after posting the first part of my Q&A session with Caitlin that some readers may be curious how she has been composing her responses: I guess it's kind of a multi-step process, but it's second nature to me now. If someone has written a long email that I ...


I met a number of wonderful students when I visited Los Angeles for my recent story on Braille literacy, including Caitlin Hernandez, an 18-year-old high school graduate from Danville, Calif. Caitlin is a three-time winner of the Braille Challenge, which tests students' spelling, reading comprehension, transcription speed and accuracy, and proofreading skills. She plans to attend the University of California at Santa Cruz in the fall, and is interested in being an English teacher. She has been generous enough to offer some great thoughts on what it's like to be a student with a disability in a mainstreamed environment. She ...


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