A special education legal resource discussing case law, news, practical advocacy advice, and developments in state and federal laws, statutes and regulations. Postings include insight and sometimes humor from Charles P. Fox, a Chicago, Illinois attorney who is also a parent of child with special needs, and other guest authors. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
The Boston Globe published an article about a college bound young woman who has dyslexia and an IEP, and was denied accommodations on her SAT. [ Download Accommodations Denied.doc
] This story rings much more true than the op-ed piece in the New York Times. Accomodations are not being given out readily and easily. I have had to write numerous letters marshalling arguments for accommodations some of which have been denied even with significant documentation.
For all those students taking the SAT on April 1, 2006 (a cruel joke in itself), I wish you good luck, and if you have accommodations, I hope they help you demonstrate your knowledge. Thank you again to Liz Ditz for sending me the Boston Globe story.
Pennsylvania recently adopted a commencement law which sounds similar to Brittany's law in Illinois which was a subject of an earlier post. Under the new Pennsylvania law, students with IEPs who have completed 4 years of high school but have not accomplished their IEP can participate in graduation ceremonies with their peers and receive a certificate of attendance. This allow allows for a normative social experience which is an important part of inclusion.
The New York Times ran an op-ed [Download NY Times oped.doc]
piece critical of the SAT test accomodations for students with disabilities. This op-ed piece just glosses over the real reasons students get test accommodations—they need them because of a bona fide disability. It reads as if students who request accommodations are looking for a leg up when they do not deserve it. Some time ago another mother told my wife how lucky she was to park close in a handicapped spot in the parking lot. People do not see what is in front of them--accommodations based upon real and long standing need. In the case of SATs would more time make a difference for the student who is not prepared or even for the prepared non-disabled student ? It only makes a difference for the student with a disability who truly needs and benefits from testing accommodations.
Thank you to Liz Ditz for sending this story to my attention.
Autism is one of the fastest growing areas of disability in children in this country as I have previously described , and which is well known to any parent of a child with autism. The paradox is the degree to which schools are so behind the curve in their understanding of this disability and how to design good quality programming. I have located two websites (free online) that present comprehensive information on educationally-based programs to teach children and young adults with autism.
Some kids with special needs learn best with short simple declarative sentences. Having a sense of humor doesn’t hurt either. I was thinking that maybe short funny declarative statements would also be the best way to communicate with those school personnel and others who “just don’t get it”. So here are just a few statements that I’d like to share with some people I’ve met. Maybe you’d like to share some yourself. Please feel free to shout them from the rooftops, post them on signs, wear them on t-shirts, stick them on bumpers, or tatoo them wherever you choose.
Parents of children with autism often face a momentous decision: do I initiate a home-based ABA (Applied Behavior Analysis sometimes referred to as Lovass) program, or do I enroll my child in the school's program or continue with the existing program. However, of even greater moment if the answer is in favor of a home-based ABA program, who do I hire to run this program. The stakes are enormously high from an educational, financial and legal perspective. Fortunately there is a "consumer's guide" to assist in making this latter decision.
The safety of drugs prescribed for ADHD have again been called into question. For depression the effectiveness of anti-depressants has been raised in a recent report reported in the Washington Post. Fortunately, under IDEA 2004, parents do not have to make a harsh choice between receiving services and having their child take medications that may not be effective (but frequently have side-effects) or in some cases can have serious risks. Among the beneficial changes to IDEA 2004 is that schools can not condition the provision of services on parents medicating their children.
Well the San Francisco Chronicle is at it again. Not satisfied with the vile falsehoods it disseminated as "news" in Nanette Asimov's article, it has now published a lengthy op-ed piece from a California school administrator; the point of this piece is that parents' lawyers are draining school coffers in a relentless pursuit of special education cases. She apparently has not read the recent articles of school district's attorneys receiving blockbuster fees in losing cases that should have never gone to court, except for the bad judgment of the school administration and bad advice of the school district's attorneys.
IDEA 2004 mandates using research based teaching methods and that teachers should be highly qualified. To put it more simply it calls for good teaching in the hands of good teachers. Implicit in this equation is that the law also require good educational leadership. I know well funded mandates are a critical component. Nevertheless, District 60, an economically poor district, in Pueblo Colorado has demonstrated over time that well trained teachers using research based materials (e.g. Lindamood Bell) at the direction of an innovative school administration can overcome shortages of cash.