The ABCs of ASDs

Has your child recently been diagnosed as having autism? Parents can find the jargon and abbreviations that are used by teachers and staff in a Special Education program to be confusing and overwhelming. Here is a quick list of definitions that make everything much clearer. Think of it as the ABCs of autism in a school environment. ABA: Applied Behavior Analysis It is a scientifically validated approach to understanding behavior and how it is affected by environment. This therapy can help children who have autism to pick up on the social cues that their peers, who do not have autism, … Continue reading

Bill Could Change Oklahoma State Testing Guidelines

A bill in Oklahoma could change some of the requirements of ACE. It is a test that all high school students must pass in order to graduate high school. Some feel that the test guidelines are inappropriate for students who have special needs because it does not take their IEP’s into account. Standardized testing can be a controversial topic. Many have qualms about the connection between school funding and the results of standardized tests. On the other side of the issue are people who believe that the only way to fairly test all students in a school, a district, or … Continue reading

The Controversy Over School Vouchers in Wisconsin

In Wisconsin, Governor Scott Walker created a proposal to make a school choice voucher program for students who have special needs. A group called Stop Special Needs Vouchers is protesting against the proposal. The group, which includes parents, feel that the plan would end up making it harder for students who have special needs to get the support they require at public schools. A school voucher is a controversial topic for many reasons. There is potential for people to object to the system that is used to determine whether or not a child qualifies for a voucher, to object to … Continue reading

NYC Bus Strike is Still Going On

In New York City, the school bus drivers have been on strike for three weeks. This leaves parents struggling to find ways to get their child to and from school without the use of the busses. It also forces children with special needs out of the routine they rely on. The strike will have a negative impact on the students who require the most help. The school bus strike in New York City is now in its third week. According to a Department of Education spokesperson, there are a total of 7,700 school bus routes, citywide. On Thursday, January 31, … Continue reading

Typical Peer Program Teaches Skills and Acceptance

An elementary school in Indiana has started an interesting program. It’s called the Typical Peer Program. It puts a couple of students who do not have special needs into a classroom with students who have special needs. The “typical” peers model behavior, and everyone learns to accept others who are different from themselves. J.B. Stephens Elementary School, in Greenfield, Indiana, has started an innovative preschool program. It is called the Typical Peer Program. I have not heard of any other schools who are doing this. The program is specifically directed to helping children who have special needs. At the start … Continue reading

St. Paul has Difficulty Keeping Paraeducators

The St. Paul Public Schools district, in St. Paul, Minnesota, is having difficulty recruiting and retaining paraeducators. This directly affects the students who are in Special Education and who need the assistance that comes from the teacher’s aids. This is not the only school district with this challenge. A paraeducator, or paraprofessional, are the current names for what used to be called a teacher’s aid. Previous to that, in some schools across the nation, the position was staffed by mothers, who worked as volunteers. Sometimes, the job title is shortened to “paras”. The paraeducators are the ones who help children … Continue reading

How the NYC Bus Strike has Affected Kids with Special Needs

Last week, the union that represents the bus drivers in New York City went on strike. A total of 152,000 students rely on those busses to get to and from school. Around 22,500 of them are students who have special needs. The strike has already negatively affect these students and their families. Local 1181 of the Amalgamated Transit Union went on strike last week. It represents more than 8,000 school bus drivers and matrons. The matrons are the people who accompany children on the bus and make sure that the children get on and off the bus safely. The dispute … Continue reading

Court Rules School Must Reimburse Parents for Tuition

This is a unique case! A court has ruled that a public school district must reimburse parents whose child is now in a residential facility. The facility is not located in the same state as the school district. The court ruled that the school is still required to pay for the cost of enrollment. Public schools are required to properly provide for students who have special needs. This is a federal law. If the school is unable, or unwilling, to do so, the parent has the option to remove her child from the public school and place the child into … Continue reading

Parent Argues for Use of Isolation Room

This is quite the opposite of what usually happens! Typically, news articles have stories where parents of a child who has special needs make a case against the use of a “scream room”. This time, however, a parent is pointing out why she wants her children, who have autism, to be able to have access to a safe, soft, isolation room. Some schools use isolation rooms as part of their Special Education program. The rooms have been referred to by some as “scream rooms”, because the child placed inside is screaming. This time, we have a parent who is explaining … Continue reading

Oklahoma Rules Public School Districts Can’t Sue Parents

There has been an ongoing battle of the Lindsey Nichole Henry Scholarships for Students with Disabilities Act in Oklahoma. One court ruled the vouchers were unconstitutional. Some school districts were suing parents who used the vouchers. The Supreme Court of Oklahoma ruled that the school districts can’t do that. The Lindsey Nichole Henry Scholarships for Students for Disabilities Act was signed into law around two years ago. The funding for the scholarships came from the funds that were set aside for public schools to run their Special Education programs. The vouchers allowed parents to move their child from a school … Continue reading