Supreme Court Cases May Reshape Special Education

Supreme Court Considers How Schools Support Students With Disabilities

a photo of the supreme court

The U.S. Supreme Court heard arguments on Wednesday in a dispute that advocates describe as the most important case involving public school special education in three decades.

At issue is whether federal law requires public schools to provide more than the bare minimum in special services for children with disabilities. The court’s ruling could have a profound effect on millions of children.

FOR MORE INFORMATION CLICK HERE.


How US Supreme Court Cases could Reshape Special Education

In a year without many landmark cases, two cases provide the high court an opportunity to significantly reshape how American schools educate students diagnosed with disabilities.

a photo of Ehlena Fry and her service dog

The high court heard arguments Wednesday in what experts say is the most important special education case to come before the justices in almost 25 years. The case, Endrew F. v. Douglas County School District, will revisit the knotty question of what quality of education school districts must provide their disabled students.

The court heard arguments two months ago in another special education case, Fry v. Napoleon Community Schools, that questions when the parents of disabled students can seek damages from a school district in federal court.

FOR MORE INFORMATION CLICK HERE.

Cross Disability Coalition Has Developed A Speakers Bureau

the logo for the Speaker's BureauThe Cross Disability Coalition has been working on the development of a Speakers Bureau to provide education/training on various topics to different audiences including people with disabilities, families, advocates, agency administrators and support staff, employers and the public.

“Public Education” and “Leadership Development” are two of the Priority Areas of the Coalition. The other two areas are “Employment” and “Accessibility”.

Coalition staff Tanja Blicker-Ucran, Deanne Gagne and Jack Ringland identified Members who had an interest in the various topic areas. People met and talked about information that would be important to include. Individual Powerpoint presentations with handouts were developed for each topic area (see the flyer below) with support from DDC Staff Sue Babin and Kevin Nerney. Specific Speakers from the Coalition were then identified for each presentation.

The presentation topic areas include:

  • “You Are NOT Alone!” (Bullying)
  • “Life Is Good!” (What does “Independence, Productivity, Integration/Inclusion, and Self-Determination” mean to people with disabilities?)
  • “Employment Can WORK For You!”
  • “Let’s Talk About Money” (Financial Education)
  • “Healthy and Unhealthy Relationships and Keeping Safe”
  • “Understanding My Human Rights”
  • “Invest in Hiring People with Disabilities”
  • “Sexual Abuse Awareness”
  • “Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE Act)” (Tax Free Savings Accounts)
  • Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC)
  • Person Centered Planning (“What is Person Centered Planning and HOW Can I Run My Own Meeting?”)

a photo of some members of the speaker's bureau at a presentation with RIDDC Associate Director Kevin Nerney and Special Projects Coordinator Sue BabinThe RI Developmental Disabilities Council (RIDDC) and the Cross Disability Coalition have worked collaboratively to develop this Speakers Bureau. We are very pleased with the presentations and proud of the work completed!

The Council has provided initial funding to support the start-up of the Speakers Bureau and payment to members for presentations made.


For more specific information on any of these topic areas or if you would like to have any of these presentations scheduled for a special event, group, meeting or your agency or organization, contact:

Sue Babin
Special Projects Coordinator, RIDDC
401-737-1238

Click here to view the Speaker’s Bureau flyer

The Community of Practice for Supporting Families of Individuals with Intellectual & Developmental Disabilities

Supporting Families of Individuals with Intellectual & Developmental Disabilities“The Community of Practice for Supporting Families of Individuals with Intellectual & Developmental Disabilities” is a national project from the National Association of State Directors of Developmental Disabilities Services (NASDDDS), Human Services Research Institute (HSRI) and UMKC-Institute for Human Development, UCEDD.

The Supporting Families project involves six states (Washington State, CT, DC, TN, MO, OK) working to develop systems of support for families throughout the lifespan of their family member with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

The Supporting Families project is operated under a five year grant awarded to NASDDDS by the Administration on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (AIDD) beginning October 2012. The goal is to build capacity through a community of practice across and within States to create policies, practices and systems to better assist/support families that include a member with I/DD across the lifespan.

Supporting people with disabilities to live and fully participate in their local communities throughout their lives has emerged as a fundamental right and consideration in disability policy and practices. Because of the role that families continue to play in the lives of their family members, future policies and practices must reflect the family as part of the system of support.

“Supporting the family” is defined as a set of strategies targeting the family unit but that ultimately benefit the individual with I/DD. “Supporting the family” strategies are intended to assist family members who have a key role in the provision of support and guidance of their family member with I/DD to address the emotional, physical and material well-being of the entire family.

Supporting Families of Individuals with Intellectual & Developmental Disabilities - round supports chart

“Charting the LifeCourse” is a framework developed through the project to help individuals and families of all abilities and at any age or stage of life develop a vision for a good life, think about what they need to know and do, identify how to find or develop supports, and discover what it takes to live the lives they want to live. Informational materials/resources are available on the website listed below.

Innovations in Supporting Families - Free Webinar Series Banner

A FREE webinar series is available focused on innovative strategies to enhance the systems that support families of individuals with intellectual & developmental disabilities. http://supportstofamilies.org/resources/innovations/


 

For more information:

visit supportstofamilies.org

The Federal U.S. Department’s of Education (ED) and Health and Human Services (HHS) Release Policy Statement on Inclusion in Early Childhood Programs

The “Policy Statement on Inclusion of Children with Disabilities in Early Childhood Programs,” released jointly by the Departments of Education (ED) and Health and Human Services (HHS) on September 14, 2015, states that all young children with disabilities should have access to inclusive high-quality early childhood programs, where they are provided with individualized and appropriate support in meeting high expectations”.

Children with disabilities and their families continue to face significant barriers to accessing inclusive high-quality early childhood programs, and too many preschool children with disabilities are only offered the option of receiving special education services in settings separate from their peers without disabilities.

The ED/HHS policy statement:

  • Sets an expectation for high-quality inclusion in early childhood programs;
  • Highlights the legal and research base for inclusion;
  • Identifies challenges to adopting inclusive practices;
  • Provides recommendations to states and local programs and providers for increasing inclusive early learning opportunities for all children; and
  • Links to free resources for stateslocal programs and providers, and families that have been developed to support inclusion of children with disabilities in high-quality early education programs.

The policy statement was written with the input of early learning professionals, families, and other early learning stakeholders. Though it focuses on including young children with disabilities, it is ED’s and HHS’s shared vision that all people be meaningfully included in all facets of society throughout the course of their lives. This begins in early childhood programs and continues into schools, places of employment, and the broader community.


Download:

Full Policy Statement

Executive Summary

Letter by Secretaries Duncan and Burwell on Inclusion in Early Learning Programs

 

Governor Raimondo Signs “ABLE ACT” into RI Law

Governor Raimondo signs the ABLE Act into lawThe “Achieving a Better Life Experience” (ABLE) account program for individuals with disabilities federally recognized investment accounts similar to 529 college savings programs.

See Governor’s Press Release: http://www.ri.gov/press/view/25447
For more information on the ABLE Act: http://www.ndss.org/Advocacy/Legislative-Agenda/Creating-an-Economic-Future-for-Individuals-with-Down-Syndrome/Achieving-a-Better-of-Life-Experience-ABLE-Act/