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.

 


Education Week has published their 10th edition of “Diplomas Count”

Diplomas Count 2015-Next Steps: Life After Special Education examines the transition out of K-12 schooling for students with disabilities, who account for 8.5 percent of the nation’s 6- to 21-year-olds, and profiles five young adults who are currently facing this changeover.

After spending years in a special education system that carefully spells out their rights and the services they should receive, students with disabilities often find it daunting to contemplate their next steps after high school. Should they apply to college, look for a job, or stay in the special education system until they “age out” at 21? See Education Week’s press release about “Diplomas Count 2015” for more information.


October is Learning Disabilities Awareness Month

October is Learning Disabilities Awareness Month. In recognition of this we are asked to teach one person something new about learning disabilities.

Two great websites to visit for more information on Learning Disabilities are LD OnLine and Reading Rockets

Also this month the National Center for Learning Disabilities is sponsoring a contest for parents.  To enter the contest parent’s are asked to share a 6-Word Parent Story.

NCLD will select the best submission on October 22 and the winner will receive an LD prize pack. NCLD Prize Pack


Keeping Students with Disabilities Safe from Bullying

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According to the U.S. Department of Education severe bullying of a student with disabilities could deny that student’s right to a free, appropriate public education and would need to be addressed under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act.  Bullying not only threatens a student’s physical and emotional safety at school, but fosters a climate of fear and disrespect, creating conditions that negatively impact learning— undermining students’ ability to achieve to their full potential. Unfortunately, children with disabilities are disproportionately affected by bullying.

On August 20th, the U.S. Department of Education sent a guidance letter to educators, districts, states, building administrators and other stakeholders on the matter of bullying of students with disabilities. This guidance provided an overview of school districts’ responsibilities to ensure that students with disabilities who are subject to bullying continue to receive free appropriate public education (FAPE) under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) and offered information on effective evidence-based practices for preventing and addressing bullying.


The Top 10 iPad Apps for Special Education

With nearly a million apps in the iTunes App Store, identifying effective apps is often an overwhelming task for educators. Teachers from the Children’s Institute (TCI) in Verona, NJ, a school devoted to children with autism and related special needs, have reviewed hundreds of apps to rate their appropriateness for their students. Check out their list of top 10 iPad apps for special education.