Schools see sharp increase in numbers of students with autism

by Alison Matas – For five years, Nicole Schumacher taught her son, who is autistic, at home. She focused on skills such as connecting and communicating with others and invited experts to assist her. When Andrew indicated he was ready to go to school and make friends, Schumacher started searching for a place with a flexible environment. […]

Suspension rate for special ed students higher than average, study finds

by Linda Shaw – Last year, Washington Appleseed, a nonprofit social-justice group, failed in a quest to tally up even the total number of students suspended and expelled from Washington schools each year. But with better data from the state this year, the group last week published a much fuller picture, showing the depth of […]

New Jersey implements new dyslexia screening bill

by Diane D’amico -  The state Department of Education has notified schools districts about how they should begin implementing new laws to address dyslexia and other reading disabilities. Advocates who fought to get the laws said they are a beginning, but more should also be done to also make parents aware of the laws and services for […]

Special ed student, victim of bullying is charged with misdeamenor

by Giuseppe Macri – A learning-disabled 15-year-old Pennsylvania sophomore was threatened with felony wiretapping charges for using his school-approved iPad to record being bullied by other students. After his numerous reports to teachers went unheeded, the student, who has not been identified, decided to take matters into his own hands after repeatedly being tripped, pushed, […]

Court rules that least restrictive environment applies to summer school

by Mark Hamblett – A key provision of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act applies to extended school-year placements for children who require 12-month programs, a federal appeals court has ruled. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit held that the requirement that school districts place special-needs children in the “least-restrictive environment” applies […]

State report offers recommendations to improve special education quality

Projects set 2

by Tom Davis – The New Jersey School Boards Association released the final report of its Special Education Task Force in South Brunswick on Thursday. The task force spent over a year studying ways public schools could control costs while preserving the quality of special education programs and services. Titled “Special Education: A Service, Not […]

State opens financial aid door to special education graduates

by Betsy Hammond – Oregon students with disabilities who’ve earned modified high school diplomas were  declared eligible for federal financial aid this week, reversing an earlier ruling that blocked aid for more than 1,700 recent Oregon high school graduates, Oregon House Education Chairwoman Sara Gelser announced Thursday. The ruling, confirmed by Oregon Department of Education communications director Crystal Greene, […]

Steps to a special education assessment

by Michelle Misiaszek – How would a parent know if their child was in need or eligible for special education? Every school aged child is entitled to a free education that is fair and appropriate. State and Federal law requires public school districts to identify and evaluate every child that is suspected of having a […]

Definition of dyslexia to now be an Iowa state code

by Steve Harris – Thanks to new legislation, a definition of dyslexia will now be included in the Iowa Code.  The neurological condition, which often runs in families, causes individuals difficultly with learning to read, write and spell. The law is the result of strong advocacy from a number of groups, including the parent-lead, grassroots organization Decoding Dyslexia. DD […]

Inclusion does not mean eliminating special education classrooms

by Selma Brigham – As a retired special education teacher, it was with considerable dismay that I read the March 23 Gazette article describing the proposed changes to state requirements for special education teacher endorsements. Federal laws were enacted in the 1970s to protect the right of children to a free and appropriate education, regardless […]

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