U.S. Department of Education Releases Guidance on Civil Rights of Students with Disabilities

On December 28, 2016 the U.S. Department of Education released three new sets of guidance on federal civil rights laws protecting the rights of students with disabilities.

The guidance documents include a Parent and Educator Resource Guide to Section 504 in Public Elementary and Secondary Schools; a Dear Colleague letter (DCL) and Q & A document on the Restraint and Seclusion of Students with Disabilities in Public Schools; and DCL and Q & A documents on the Rights of Students with Disabilities in Public Charter Schools.

Data collected by the Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights indicates that schools restrain and seclude students with disabilities at higher rates than students without disabilities.  During the 2013-14 school year, students with disabilities served by the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) represented 12% of students enrolled in public schools nationally, but 67% of the students who were subjected to restraint or seclusion in school.

These new guidance documents will help to clarify the rights of students with disabilities and outline the steps parents can take to ensure that their children secure all of the services they are entitled to receive.

 


10 year girl Kaylee Rodgers from Ireland singing ‘Hallelujah’

10 year old Kaylee Rodgers who has autism and ADHD has wowed the world with her rendition of Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah”. The video of Kaylee singing with the Killard House Special School’s choir has gone viral. Colin Millar, the school’s headteacher, told BBC News that Kaylee is often shy but when she sings, she just opens up. Check out the video:

Killard House Special School choir singing Hallelujah


Federal Government seeks public comment regarding home and community-based services provided to Medicaid beneficiaries

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services is asking the public to comment on reforms and policy options they think the government should consider in order to improve and accelerate the provision of home and community-based services (HCBS) to Medicaid beneficiaries. To read more about it this Request for Information (RFI) or to submit a formal comment visit the Federal Register website at www.federalregister.gov.

To be assured consideration, comments must be received no later than 5 p.m. on January 9, 2017.


National Suicide Prevention Awareness Month

September is National Suicide Prevention Awareness Month. Suicidal thoughts can affect anyone regardless of age, gender or background. Suicide is the third leading cause of death (behind accidents and homicides) for teenagers. For additional information see:

The American Academy of Child Adolescent Psychiatry’s Facts for Families on Teen Suicide.

NAMI’s Preventing Suicide as a Family Member or Caregiver.


Giving adults with autism the skills to build independent lives | PBS NewsHour

Before Josh, 36, arrived at First Place Transition Academy, he had never taken public transportation on his own, much less held down a paying job. But a new pilot program is empowering adults with autism to overcome hurdles to independence. Special correspondent John Donvan, co-author with Caren Zucker of “In a Different Key: The Story of Autism,” reports from Phoenix.

Source: Giving adults with autism the skills to build independent lives | PBS NewsHour

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Registration is Open!

Autism A-Z: Beyond the Puzzle Conference on September 30, 2016

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What ‘Finding Dory’ Taught Me as Someone on the Autism Spectrum

Check out Erin Clemen’s blog post over at The Mighty website:  What ‘Finding Dory’ Taught Me as Someone on the Autism Spectrum.


“Healthier Me” App for Children with Autism by Children’s Specialized Hospital

Children’s Specialized Hospital has launched Healthier Me – the first and only mobile app which promotes health, nutrition, fitness, and safety for children and teens with autism. This free iOS app is available in the Apple store.


National Children’s Mental Health Awareness Day is this Thursday!

MH_Awareness_2016The 2016 national event will take place on Thursday, May 5, at 7 p.m. EDT in Washington, DC. The event—Awareness Day 2016: “Finding Help, Finding Hope.”—will explore how communities can increase access to behavioral health services and supports for children, youth, and young adults who experience mental or substance use disorders and their families.

The event will feature a highly interactive format in which youth and family leaders, educators, law enforcement officials, and behavioral health professionals will discuss how communities can work together to improve access to behavioral health services and supports. It will also be webcast live.

Register to attend the national event and learn more:
http://www.samhsa.gov/children/national-childrens-awareness-day-events/awareness-day-2016

The Month of May is also National Mental Health Awareness Month. Read the Presidential Proclamation.


Autism Speaks Walk Philadelphia Date Announced

autism-speaks-walk-2016-logo-hp3The Autism Speaks Walk for Philadelphia
will be
Saturday, October 22, 2016
at
Citizens Bank Park
Help spread the word!
For more details visit their website.