Engaging Students With Career Pathways

One successful high school employment initiative is Bridge to Employment – an innovative, early intervention career program developed by JEVS Human Services and funded by Kessler Foundation that helps high school students with disabilities transition successfully into employment. BY LAURA VIGLIONE, M.S. Around the U.S. organizations are creating and implementing employment programs for youth with disabilities that focus not only on job readiness and skills training, but also on transitional skills necessary for students moving […]


Training First Responders To Respond Better

“The SNAP Program makes a vital contribution to the armamentarium of best practices addressing the unique needs of special populations and their ability to thrive and participate in the community. It will become a time-honored component in the first responders’ toolkit.” – Rick Rader, MD, Medical Liaison, SNAP Program BY BRUCE GARNER Even under the best of circumstances, it is challenging to be a good parent, but when your child has special needs, it gets […]


Robots, Engagement and Autism Spectrum Disorder Intervention

BY GREG FIRN, ED.D Learners with intellectual disabilities often struggle with traditional educational tools, but robots are a game changer. Kids like robots because they’re “cool” and feel like big toys – nonjudgmental ones. With over 30 years of experience in education and a passion for helping every child meet their full potential  academically and socially, I have seen how effective intervention is for children with ASD, particularly if it happens early in the child’s […]


National Down Syndrome Society Launches National Campaign Spotlighting Laws that Prevent Individuals with Down Syndrome from Seeking Careers

The National Down Syndrome Society (NDSS), a human rights organization for all individuals with Down syndrome, will soon bring together community leaders, self-advocates, parents and employers to launch their latest campaign – Law Syndrome. NDSS’ Law Syndrome campaign will help launch October as Down Syndrome Awareness Month and National Disability Employment Awareness Month. Law Syndrome directly addresses the challenges faced by people with Down syndrome who desire to fulfill career goals, get married and live […]


Transition for Young Adults with Complex Care Needs

BY CAROLINE SPARTIN GENETIC ALLIANCE Transitioning from a dependent adolescent to an independent adult can be a significant change for most young adults. This journey challenges individuals as they struggle to gain autonomy over their lives. Many move away from home, learning the challenges of daily decision making and independence. In addition to the myriad of new experiences associated with living independently, those with complex care needs have the added burden of taking over the […]


Where Do We Go from Here? Making Informed Decisions About Special Education Dispute Resolution

This article will focus on due process hearings, which are the most costly form of dispute resolution in terms of time, financial resources, and impact on relationships between parents and school personnel. BY WILLIAM BLACKWELL, ED.D. Planning special education services is a collaborative process involving parents, children, and school personnel. While the majority of individualized education programs (IEPs) are developed collaboratively, there are situations in which disagreements arise that are not easily resolved. Parents are […]


Transitioning From Pre-School To Elementary School, And Beyond: Students With Special Education Services

BY DIANE WISCARSON, WISCARSON LAW As a parent of a child with special needs, you may be particularly anxious about sending your child to elementary school. After all, you want to make sure that your incoming kindergartner gets the full benefit of a public school education, and has a positive experience in the process. Prior to your differently-abled child reaching kindergarten age, they will have likely been getting services through your local Education Service District […]


How Charter Schools & Vouchers Affect Special Education

BY MARIA DOCHERTY AND LAUREN AGORATUS, M.A. Families should carefully weigh the pros and cons of charter schools and vouchers, and speak with their Parent Training and Information Center about their state laws, regulations, and policies regarding special education and charters or vouchers, before making a decision. With the increased focus in the United States on charter schools and the use of vouchers to support student attendance at private schools, more and more parents of […]


The Importance Of Enrichment Programs For Students With Learning Differences

BY EMILY MARTON, B.S. State funding of school districts has continued to weaken nationwide since 2008. In fact, at least 31 states provided less state funding per student in the 2014 school year (end) than in the 2008 school year before the recession took hold (CBPP, 2016). These budget cuts cripple the ability for schools to maximize student learning potential and creative development, usually beginning with the elimination of arts and enrichment programs. Ironically, these […]


Service Animals: Required In The IEP? NOT!

BY DIANE WISCARSON, ATTORNEY AT LAW Service animals, usually dogs, can provide excellent support for people with disabilities. Service animals are individually and specifically trained to perform tasks that help a person manage and navigate their environments. These tasks can include anticipating seizures, signaling self stimulation behaviors, alerting to important/alarming sounds, providing deep pressure sensory input, interrupting self-harm behaviors, and preventing elopement, among others. DIVIDE AMONG SCHOOL DISTRICTS: In recent years, there has been disagreement […]