Readers may want to check out the National Education Association's free online workshop on improving education for students with autism. The 60-minute video, called "The Puzzle of Autism," offers classroom strategies for educators to create positive educational and social experiences for students with autism spectrum disorders. The video explains the disability and its common characteristics, suggests techniques to work successfully with children who have the disability. The workshop also features PowerPoint presentation slides and supplemental materials available for download. "As a long-time math teacher, I am very familiar with numbers," said Dennis Van Roekel, the president of the NEA, in ...


A new, statewide push in California is bringing laid off general education teachers into special education, an area with chronic staffing shortages, reports The Oakland Tribune. The California Teacher Corps, an organization of the state's alternative teacher-certification programs, announced this week that the programs would work with school districts to provide special education training to teachers subject to layoffs. The article said more than 23,000 teachers received notices in March that they might not have jobs in the fall, according to the California Teachers Association. State Superintendent of Public Instruction Jack O'Connell told the Tribune that the initiative would ...


A bill passed by the legislature elicits a strong reaction at a school in Clearwater.


A federal appeals court Monday upheld budget-driven Hawaii teacher furlough days from a lawsuit on behalf of special education students whose parents claimed they would be harmed by lack of instructional days, the Honolulu Advertiser reports. The Advertiser quoted this excerpt from the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals decision: "To allow the stay-put provisions to apply in this instance would be essentially to give the parents of disabled children veto power over a state's decision regarding the management of its schools. The (Individuals with Disabilities Education Act) did not intend to strip administrative powers away from local school ...


A federal audit shows that some school districts in Ohio have had serious problems in special education programs that have gone unnoticed because of a lack of state oversight, according to an article from The Columbus Dispatch. Federal reviewers, who visited in October, found that some of the school districts they spot-checked were in violation of the law and failing to properly educate students with disabilities, the article said. Auditors found that students even with mild disabilities in one district were relegated to their own separate classroom, rather than mainstreamed with other students. Another district allowed teachers to limit the ...


A local paper in Texas published a recent article about how Wichita Falls, Texas, schools are having success in preventing some students from being enrolled in special education classes by using a Response to Intervention program. The article says the RTI program is addressing a longtime problem in Wichita Falls schools of students being mislabeled and sent to special education classes when all they really need is more help in certain areas. Wichita Falls debuted the RTI program in nine of its schools this year, and plans to expand it to others next year, and the rest of the schools ...


Chicago Public School officials say they will be overhauling the district's special education program to eradicate problems that may make it difficult for the city's children with disabilities to get the right services, according to the Chicago Tribune. "A special need should not prevent a child from learning," district spokeswoman Monique Bond, told the paper. "This is an area where time is of the essence because these are students and children whose needs are at risk when we don't address their issues in a timely manner. We're very cognizant of that." She told the Tribune that the changes would help ...


Maryland schools must now allow students with disabilities to participate in school sports programs as long as their participation would not pose a risk to themselves or others, and does not change the nature of the game or event, reports The Baltimore Sun. The Maryland Public Secondary Schools Athletic Association adopted the new wording to its bylaws Tuesday. The association's executive director, Ned Sparks, told the Sun he believes Maryland is the first state to take such action. New guidelines also call for school systems to develop "corollary athletic programs" that are not subject to MPSSAA bylaws and allow greater ...


Rachael Dorman, a youth policy adviser in the Labor Department's office of disability employment policy, is featured this week in the The Washington Post as "federal player of the week." The paper Monday ran an interesting profile of Dorman, who is legally blind, and her work promoting government initiatives aimed at getting employers to hire young people with disabilities, and offering guidance on transition to employment for those coming out of high school or college. "Employment is the barrier that impacts people with disabilities," Dorman said in the article. "Our goal is to get the people who deal with employment ...


The U.S. Department of Education's What Works Clearinghouse site will now feature research about improving academic performance for students with learning disabilities. The site published its first review on the subject of a program called the Lindamood Phoneme Sequencing, designed to teach students the skills they need to decode words and to identify individual sounds and blends in words. See how the program is rated here. The What Works Clearinghouse is part of the department's Institute of Education Sciences, and was designed to help educators make decisions about curricula, supplemental products, and classroom methods....


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