A reader suggests that restraints and seclusion aren't as dangerous to students in special education as disability advocates suggest.


A few days ago I finished an article on the use of restraints and seclusion in schools, prompted by a report from the National Disability Rights Network, "School is Not Supposed to Hurt." (pdf) The Government Accountability Office, a Congressional watchdog agency, is working on its own report about the same topic. The National Disability Rights Network, formerly known as the National Association of Protection and Advocacy Systems, represents the protection and advocacy agencies that are in each state. (You can find a link to your state's P&A agency here.) After a media expose in the 1970s of mistreatment ...


The past few days have featured news stories in various publications about the prevalence of autism among Somali immigrants in the United States: First, there was a March article in the New York Times. Then there was this story and this one, both published in the Minneapolis Star-Tribune in April about the topic. From one article: Abdull, 36, was one of the first parents to sound the alarm that a surprising number of Somali-American children were enrolled in autism classes in Minneapolis. More than a year ago, she started calling local, state and federal officials to raise her concerns, and ...


I love it when the federal government gets all 21st-century on us. The federally-mandated Interagency Committee on Disability Research is charged with developing an agenda to guide how our government's research dollars are spent in this area. And, they want to hear from you! So for the first time, they've created a web-based interface to collect comments. After you create an account, you can offer your comments through the web portal until April 17. The committee is seeking comments on these issues : Collaboration and coordination among federal agencies; Health information technology and/or electronic health records; Health disparities; Health promotion ...


When I was working on my story about transition for students with disabilities, I wondered what role the sputtering economy might play in efforts to find good jobs for adults who may be looking for vocational employment. According to this article in the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, the picture doesn't look good: Photos line the hallway outside the Elmbrook Work Center, showing smiling students delivering office mail, washing dishes, stuffing envelopes and shredding paper - part of contracts forged with private businesses and other entities. For the center based at the Elmbrook School District's Fairview South School, where job training is provided ...


When Amazon's Kindle 2 was released in February, the e-book reader was thinner and lighter than its predecessor--and also included a text-to-speech feature that could convert e-books into serviceable audiobooks. That functionality attracted the attention of the Authors Guild, which has represented writers in this country since 1912. Audiobook rights are a potentially lucrative part of an author's publishing contract, and the group was concerned that the Kindle 2 offered the ability to breach an author's copyright. In response, Amazon has offered publishers the ability to disable the text-to-speech functionality of the device for individual books. But that move has ...


The U.S. Department of Education has put out a 22-page set of guidelines (pdf) on how to spend stimulus dollars for the Individuals With Disabilities Act, Part B (5- to 21-year-olds) and Section 619 (3- to 5-year-olds) States will receive $11.7 billion over the next two years for these programs. There are also guidelines (pdf) for stimulus funding for IDEA Part C (infants and toddlers). That program will receive $500 million over two years. The guidance is written in a convenient question-and-answer format, and I will be digging further into it a little later. I invite readers to ...


This'll be a light blogging week as I work on another story, but I wanted to pass this along: I have heard some parents of children with disabilities suggest that it is difficult to have "soft skills" included on their child's individualized education program. This study, from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, suggests why such skills are important. According to a University of Illinois professor who studies the sociology of education, high school sophomores who were rated by their teachers as having good social skills and work habits, and who participated in extracurricular activities in high school, made more ...


Arizona's voucher program for students with disabilities and students in foster care was invalidated today by the state's high court. The unanimous decision stated that the $5 million program, which I wrote about last June, violates a state law that prohibits state funds from going to private schools. From today's story from the Associated Press: Though supporters argued that students and their parents were the true beneficiaries of the programs, the Supreme Court's unanimous ruling said the programs still tripped up against the Constitution's prohibition against appropriating money for private education. "These programs transfer state funds directly from the state ...


The student newspaper at North Carolina State University, the Technician, reported that the university will be cutting some specific special education programs to meld them into a more general special educator degree. The students in the Master of Education in Special Education will still be taught different strategies for teaching students with different special needs, just not each in a separate class. Students will have the skills to handle more general situations, but they may not be as highly specialized for dealing with specific special needs students, according to Ellen Vasu, the department head for instruction and counselor education. "The ...


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