Friday, November 27, 2009

Who is Alexa Posny?

From, "Who is Alexa Posny?", a profile of the head of the U.S. Department of Education's Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services.

Monday, November 23, 2009

DC Next in Line for Autism Insurance Coverage?

Will the District of Columbia be the next "state" to require insurance companies to cover autism treatment? Often overlooked on the state policy scene, the District could join 15 states to pass legislation mandating insurance coverage for essential autism treatments and services. Introduced by DC Councilmembers Tommy Wells and Muriel Bowser, the Health Insurance Coverage for Children with Autism Act of 2009 would provide benefits up to $55,000 per year. Councilmember Wells said, "This legislation will expand health insurance benefits for children with autism. It's the right thing for our families and our children. Expanding access to early diagnosis and therapies can make all the difference in the life of a child with autism.

Keep up with this and other state action at

Great Resource: Special Education Law Blog, by Jim Gerl

I recently heard from Jim Gerl, who writes the Special Education Law Blog, which I highly recommend. In a few weeks, he's going to interview the Assistant Secretary of Education for Special Education and Rehabilitative Services, Dr. Alexa Posny. He'd like your thoughts about what you'd like him to ask her. Visit his blog and tell him what you want to know. And while you're there, bookmark the site, subscribe by email, get his RSS feed, or find some other way to keep up with him. He accurately describes his blog as "a fresh look at special education law -- mostly in understandable English."

Take a look at

How Compliant are Govt Websites?

I reported earlier about the federal government's agencies to improve access to citizens with disabilities, especially, which I find a tremendous resource for anyone looking for information about government services and resources. But a recent article in Fierce Government IT claims there are "ongoing, widespread accessibility glitches at federal websites such as, and even" In fact, the National Federation of the Blind has filed administrative complaints about inaccessible websites against the Social Security Administration, Small Business Administration, and the Department of Education.

The White House has at least one leader with firsthand experience in assistive technology. Speaking at a recent conference with the National Center for Technology Innovation, Kareem Dale, special assistant to the president on disability policy, who is sight-impaired, said, "Technology, for me, is very personal.'' He said the administration is working hard to build a foundation for technology and education to improve lives for those with disabilities. He said $12.1 billion in federal stimulus funds will support the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). ''People with disabilities in the education arena are not going to be forgotten even when times are tough,'' he said.

There's no question this administration is doing more in this area than any previous administration -- and these gains will benefit people for years to come -- but there are clearly more improvements to be made. I hope Dale continues in his role throughout President Obama's term(s).

Saturday, November 7, 2009

60 Minutes Video: Presidential Adviser David Axelrod Speaks Out About Epilepsy

In late October, White House senior adviser David Axelrod and his wife Susan appeared on "60 Minutes" to discuss their personal experience with their daughter Laruen. Lauren, now 28, had her first seizure when she was an infant. By the time she was 18, she had tried 23 different medications and had undergone an unsuccessful brain surgery.

Susan started the Chicago-based advocacy group Citizens United for Research in Epilepsy (CURE) to raise awareness and fund research. Epilepsy affects as many people as breast cancer -- 200,000 new cases each year, with a total of 3 million Amercans affected -- yet it trails in research funding. Funding for epilepsy is about $35 a patient, compared with $129 for Alzheimer's and $280 for multiple sclerosis.

Here's the full "60 Minutes" story.

Watch CBS News Videos Online

Disability Scoop

Special Ed News (Education Week)

Special Education Law