Enhancing Lives Of People With Down Syndrome

BY SARA HART WEIR, MS The National Down Syndrome Society (NDSS) is the leading human rights organization for individuals with Down syndrome. NDSS envisions a world in which all people with Down syndrome have the opportunity to enhance their quality of life, realize their life aspirations and become valued members of welcoming communities. Down syndrome is the most commonly occurring chromosomal condition. One in every 691 babies in the United States is born with Down […]

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 […]

How Charter Schools & Vouchers Affect Special Education

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. BY MARIA DOCHERTY AND LAUREN AGORATUS, M.A. 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 […]

Navigating The Maze Of School Choice Options

BY WILLIAM BLACKWELL, ED.D. This article explores several key issues that parents of children with disabilities should consider and questions to ask when thinking about charter schools or voucher programs. Parents of children with disabilities have an endless series of decisions to make regarding their child’s education. These decisions include selecting a public school system that will be supportive of their child’s needs, identifying the appropriate services and supports that the school will provide, and […]

Calls For End To Corporal Punishment By Secretary of Education

November 22, 2016 Dear Governors and Chief State School Officers: As Governors and Chief State School Officers, you know that public schools are crucial places for nurturing the unique gifts of all children and developing the knowledge and skills they need to grow and thrive in our democracy, and I appreciate the work you are doing — from early learning to postsecondary education — to support our schools in this mission. To fulfill this mission […]

The Science Of Improved Language Comprehension

Brain Connectivity And Autism Spectrum Disorder WRITTEN ON BEHALF OF LINDAMOOD-BELL Autism spectrum disorder, according to the Mayo Clinic, “is a serious neuro-developmental disorder that impairs a child’s ability to communicate and interact with others. It also includes restricted repetitive behaviors, interests, and activities. These issues cause significant impairment in social, occupational and other areas of functioning.” As many as 42% of children with ASD are reported to have impairment in both verbal expression and […]

Considerations For A Bilingual Approach In The Education Of The Deaf Child

BY J. FREEMAN KING, ED.D. American Sign Language and spoken English should not be considered as mutually exclusive alternatives, but as potentially complementary strategies for encouraging language development in deaf children. It is phenomenal the way that young deaf children can acquire two languages (American Sign Language and English) simultaneously, if exposed to them in early life. However, there is the assumption, and resultantly the folk myth, that exposing a young deaf child to two […]

Post-Secondary Education For Students With Disabilities

BY LAUREN AGORATUS, M.A. EMPLOYMENT & TRANSITION ANNUAL ISSUE Unfortunately, post-secondary education isn’t commonly thought of as an option for students with special needs. Yet only one percent of students eligible for special education have significant intellectual disabilities,1 and there are  now postsecondary options for students with cognitive disabilities, too. THINK COLLEGE One of the best resources for students with special needs is Think College found at http://www.thinkcollege.net/. It is important to note that although […]

Performance & Your Child’s IEP

BY JUDITH CANTY GRAVES AND CARSON GRAVES An IEP is your child’s roadmap to an appropriate education. No map can help you, however, if you don’t know your starting point. That is why the IEP must contain objectively measured assessments of your child’s abilities before it can be an effective educational roadmap. There are two places where clear descriptions of your child’s current level of performance should appear in an IEP: 1. In the curriculum […]

Back To School & Special Needs: What I Learned

BY PEG GRAFWALLNER, M.ED. We adopted our daughter, Ani, from a Bulgarian orphanage when she was six years old. At the time, her deficits were so severe and so overwhelming, we were lost on how to help her or even where to start. Ani came to us without  language, without social skills and without curiosity. One thing that Ani did bring with her was a warm, determined spirit. She refused to give up on anything […]