Seven Tips for Parents of Children With Disabilities During School Closures.

The National Center for Special Education in Charter Schools just released its “top tips” for parents of students with disabilities during these endless school closures. Check it out! If you’re a parent whose world has been turned upside down by COVID-19, you’re certainly not alone. In the span of days as the virus spread, America’s parents took on a new role—co-teachers. And as students around the world have transitioned to remote learning, parents of students …

My Child with Dyslexia Won’t Be Your Statistic

Marilyn Muller is the mother of a 12 year-old child with dyslexia. She is a retired SmithBarney Financial Advisor turned full-time mom and accidental volunteer activist. Through her daily efforts she advocates for evidence-based literacy practices in public school classrooms for the equitable benefit of each vulnerable child. I didn’t lay in a hospital bed for 51 days to lose my only biological child to illiteracy. Yet I almost did. This isn’t supposed to happen because …

New Jersey DOE Issues Guidance on Special Education Waivers: Parents Get a Win!

Last night Peggy McDonald, who leads the New Jersey Department of Education’s oversight of students with disabilities, released the memo below concerning the 30 NJ school districts represented by the Machado Law Firm that were requiring parents to sign waivers in order for their children to receive remote special education services. (See my reaction here.) Parents were told they must waive their rights to due process, as well as their children’s rights to compensatory services …

Disability Advocates Fear Betsy DeVos Will Roll Back Students’ Educational Rights

In January 2017, during Betsy DeVos’s Senate confirmation hearing for her nomination by Donald Trump as U.S. Education Secretary, Senator Tim Kaine asked her a question about the rights of students with disabilities. She replied, “I think that is a matter that is best left to the states.” When Senator Maggie Hassan, who has a son with cerebral palsy, asked DeVos directly whether she understood that the Individuals with Disabilities Act (IDEA) is federal law …

This Father of a Special Needs Student Thinks Online Instruction Can Be A Great Fit.

This is a guest post by Jeff Kwitowski, Senior Vice President of Public Affairs & Policy at K12 Inc. For more than 20 years he’s been active in education policy and advocacy.  He lives in Herndon, VA with his wife, Rebecca, and their four daughters.  It was originally published on brightbeam’s Project Forever Free. Education in America came to a virtual standstill after schools were ordered closed in a nationwide effort to contain the spread …

NJ’s Head of Special Education on Home Instruction for Students with Disabilities: “I’m Not Trying To Sugarcoat This in Any Way.”

If you’re a parent of a child with disabilities, you might have panicked when you read this yesterday: As part of [U.S.] Congress’ response to the COVID-19 outbreak, Senator Lamar Alexander (R-TN) has proposed to include a provision in the pending stimulus bill that would give the Secretary of Education authority to approve state waiver requests for any statutory and/or regulatory requirement of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) for 1 year and extensions …

All the Things Max Eden Gets Wrong About Students With Disabilities and IDEA.

We barely survived my son Jonah’s adolescence. One evening in Philadelphia’s 30th Street Station he pushed me so hard I fell to the ground and a woman leaned over and whispered in my ear, “that child has the devil in him.” When my husband took our four kids to a minor league baseball game, Jonah started stomping and yelling so angrily that park officials called security. One day in upstate New York where we rent …

Special Education Parents, Know Your Rights! (Part 2)

Last week I published a post called “Ten Lies That Parents Of Special Needs Kids Often Hear: Know Your Rights!” and suggested that we in the special needs community share information to better advocate for our children. During the past week I’ve received many questions and comments from parents who are doing their best to navigate what can be an overwhelming thicket of regulations and red tape as they struggle to secure necessary services for …

Ten Lies That Parents Of Special Needs Kids Often Hear: Know Your Rights!

When I speak to parents of children with disabilities, I often hear reports of Child Study Teams (those responsible, along with parents, for creating Individualized Education Plans or IEP’s) who pass along false information or undermine the critical role parents have in deciding on necessary services and appropriate placements.  I hear these reports from Latinx parents — some not completely comfortable with the English language and/or concerned about their immigration status — in low-income districts …

Waiting for Equity: Two Adults with Disabilities (My Son and His Best Friend) Are Caught In New Jersey’s Dysfunctional System.

My dear friend Susan Cohen recently wrote an article for the National Fragile X Foundation on the friendship of our sons, Julian and Jonah. She describes how they met at a sleepaway camp, enjoyed each other’s company (a rarity for our socially-averse boys, particularly mine), and, after a prod from a counselor and sustained parental intervention, have become best friends. This is a happy story that we hope will have a happy ending. For Julian …