Special education liaisons toil for the sake of compliance

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by Jeffrey M. Hartman –  Employment with the School District of Philadelphia can take dedicated teachers to the brink of resignation. This is true of many large urban school districts. As if teaching in Philadelphia wasn’t difficult enough, the District has crafted a position seemingly purposed to drive out select teachers. This curious position is […]

Debating the Common Core state standards

by Valerie Strauss – Embrace the Common Core State Standards? Do not embrace the Common Core? That was the question in New York when four people — two for embracing and two against — participated in a recent debate about the controversial initiative. The  event was sponsored by an organization called Intelligence Squared U.S., which […]

Special and general education should not be viewed as two separate systems

by Lawrence S. Feinsod – It’s part of a continuum of programs and interventions, as inclusive as possible, and available to meet each child’s individual needs. In 1911, New Jersey recognized the importance of educating children with special needs by providing state funding to cover special-education costs that exceeded those of general education. The effort […]

Suggesting pregnancy termination for Down syndrome is a form of hate speech

by Margaret Sullivan – It started with the biologist Richard Dawkins, who on Twitter last month suggested that women have a moral obligation to abort their fetuses after they get a Down syndrome diagnosis. Responding to a question from a pregnant woman, he wrote: “Abort it and try again. It would be immoral to bring […]

Intellectual versus learning disability


by Dr. Lorin Bradbury – Question: Is Intellectual Disability a Learning Disability? And if it’s not a Learning Disability, what is the difference? Great question! Intellectual Disability, until recently was called Mental Retardation, and it is not a Learning Disability. Intellectual Disability is a neurodevelopmental disorder and in which there is subaverage intellectual functioning that […]

Deciding to embrace Down syndrome

To the Editor: Re “The Truth About Down Syndrome,” by Jamie Edgin and Fabian Fernandez (Op-Ed, Aug. 29): Two and a half years ago, I had the very choice the biologist Richard Dawkins and others deem so simple. Continue my pregnancy with a Down syndrome fetus, or terminate? I was 37, happily married, with one […]

After years of research, ADHD treatment remains controversial

by Judy Siegel-Itzkovich – “The world is too much with us,” wrote William Wordsworth at the beginning of the 19th century, criticizing the world for the materialism of the first Industrial Revolution. What would the English Romantic poet have thought of today, with its infatuation with cellphones, Facebook and all things digital, that require constant […]

Autism is new comic book hero’s superpower

by Hallie Jackson – Extraordinary superpowers, high-flying villains and fearless, world-saving heroes are the stuff of countless comic books. But the newest star to hit the comic circuit is different than most. Michael is a comic book character with autism – a hero with a mathematical mind, artistic gift and an abundance of compassion. Face Value […]

Top high school runner happens to have autism

Mike Brannigan is one of the top 10 high school runners in the country.

by Kate Snow – Mike Brannigan is obsessed with running. The repetitive motion. The rhythm he finds. The way he can focus on his body and nothing else. “I love to work hard and have fun. And just beat my personal best and keep improving to that next level,” he says. At 17, Mike Brannigan […]

Dyslexia advocate’s legacy is increased awareness

by Mary Diduch – Mary “Molly” Masland, a speech and language pathologist known for raising awareness about dyslexia, died last week in Massachusetts. She was 100. Masland, who lived with her husband in Englewood for 45 years, was born and raised in Montreal, where she founded the city’s first clinic to help children with speech […]