State legislation prompts companies to add autism coverage benefits

by Jay Greene – Despite an ongoing shortage of behavioral therapists to treat children with autism in Michigan, legislation approved two years ago that set up a $26 million fund to reimburse self-insured companies has resulted in more than 60 companies offering coverage for their workers. The three-bill legislative package mandated autism HMO coverage and […]

ADHD may, or may not be a disability in the workplace

by Sara Boyns – Q One of my employees is difficult to get along with. I’ve talked to her repeatedly about being nicer to her co-workers and working cooperatively, and she generally does her job well. I just gave her a poor performance evaluation based on her inability to get along with others, and she […]

Families with disabilities suing Disney must file individually

by Sandra Pedicini – A group of families suing Walt Disney Parks and Resorts over its new policies for people with disabilities, such as autism, has suffered a setback. The plaintiffs must file individual lawsuits, a federal judge has ruled. The lawsuit was moved to Orlando federal court recently from California. Judge Anne Conway said […]

Senator shares parent concerns about cuts to autism coverage

by Bruce Parker – A Senate Democrat is coming to the rescue of military families who could lose medical help for their autistic children. Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.) says he is “concerned” by controversial changes to the military’s healthcare plan that could leave hundreds of autistic children without a healthcare provider. In a letter to […]

Special ed attorney called out on trying to mislead the court

by Lauren McGaughy – What began as an unusual case involving a potentially suicidal special education student took another strange turn last week, when a federal judge rebuked the family’s attorney for allegedly attempting to mislead the court. It’s rare for an education case of this type to reach the federal appeals court, and its […]

Disney cites media attention as autism lawsuit cause

by Dominic Patten – This is not the happiest place on Earth by far for either side. Not only does Walt Disney Parks and Resorts want an Americans With Disabilities Act lawsuit from the families of children with developmental disorders tossed, it also really doesn’t want to see any more plaintiffs added to the controversial […]

Dyslexia cannot be the cause of job termination

by Mathew B. Tully – Q. If an employee makes mistakes because he has dyslexia, can an employer fire him because of poor performance? A. The American with Disabilities Act (ADA) prohibits employers from discriminating against employees and job candidates who have a “a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major […]

State strives to provide strong special ed services as its student population rises

by Bruce Parker – Vermont’s student population has declined sharply in recent years, but the number of special education students receiving individualized instruction has remained high, and appears to be on the rise — at a cost of $20,000 per-pupil. “The numbers have stayed pretty constant for the past five or six years. We’ve gone […]

Law to provide parents a Down syndrome information kit is signed

by Marie McCullough – Pennsylvania has joined a small but growing number of states requiring that a Down syndrome diagnosis be accompanied by useful, accurate information about the genetic disorder. The Down Syndrome Prenatal and Postnatal Education Act, effective Oct. 1, mandates that medical practitioners give expectant or new parents “informational publications,” to be provided […]

More graduation options for special-ed students after system overhaul

by Jessica Williams – A committee for Louisiana’s Board of Elementary and Secondary Education approved an overhaul of state special-education programs Tuesday (Aug. 12), after much debate. A significant change approved gives students an alternate route to a high school diploma. Under that move, which was authorized by state lawmakers in the legislative session, the […]