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 […]

ABA therapy to be covered by insurance provider, judge rules

by Kristian Foden-Vencil – A federal judge in Portland has ruled that Providence Health Plans cannot deny coverage to autistic children for a specific kind of treatment.  The judge said that the insurer’s effort to deny that coverage violated both federal and state laws. Many parents of autistic children swear by what’s called “Applied Behavior […]

Court favors district’s decision not to qualify student for special education

The court of appeals affirmed a district court judgment. The court held that learning-disabled student failed to show that his school district acted unreasonably in determining in 2005 that he did not qualify for special education services under the “specific learning disability” category. The court held further that the Department of Education’s position that a […]

President Obama signs autism bill

by Cristina Rojas – Every year, some 50,000 youth with autism come of age in the United States. No one can say for sure what adulthood will hold for them, but legislation signed into law by President Obama Friday will help ease the burden on them and their families. Known formally as the Autism Collaboration, […]

Legislation for disability savings accounts pending passage

Sen. Charles Schumer endorses the ABLE Act.

by Benjamin Oreskes – U.S. Sen. Chuck Schumer hopes to pass legislation that would allow family members of people with long-term disabilities such as autism to create new, tax-free bank accounts. The Democrat said the bill, dubbed the Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) Act, would give parents and caregivers the ability to save more […]

Law regarding special ed graduation alternatives sets off debate

by Will Sentell – Louisiana’s education establishment faces a huge challenge implementing a controversial new law to make it easier for high school students to earn a high school diploma, superintendents said Thursday. “The bottom line is it is going to be a very difficult process,” said Doris Voitier, superintendent of the St. Bernard Parish […]