Saturday, October 30, 2010

Looking for GOOD News!

Taking a glance at my Google Reader today, I was once again reminded how much negative news we hear each day in the area of special education and disability policy. Just today, I see:
- "Autistic Boy Abused by Bus Driver"
- " 'Drop Your Disabled Kids at Shelter,' Indiana Parents Told"
- "Special Education Attorney Convicted of Defrauding Parents"
- "Behavior Specialist with Bogus Credentials to Serve Prison Time"

I'm on the lookout for some positive news, and I need your help. Tell me about a teacher or school that's doing a great job for students with special needs. Or how much fun your child is having for Halloween. Or an elected official who "gets it." Or anything -- but it has to be good news. Add a comment here or email me.
I'll start with a news item from work, where we (Children's National Medical Center) hosted a Halloween party for kids on the oncology/hematology unit. These photos of kids who are spending the holiday in the hospital will make your day. View photos here.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Apple Highlights Apps for Special Needs

Apple has created a section titled "Useful for Everyone: Right from the Start" that lists 72 applications for the iPhone and 13 for the iPad to help people with special needs develop skills in areas from emotional development to communication to life skills. Many parents and consultants have identified useful apps for people with special needs, but this seems to show an increased focus by Apple to meet the needs of -- or should I say "market to" -- people with special needs. If the tools like iPhones and iPads are expensive, the apps are not. Read more.

What technology tools and applications have you found helpful?

Friday, October 22, 2010

School District Sues Family for Legal Costs of Special Ed Lawsuit

When you hear "lawsuit" and "special ed," you probably assume parents are suing a school district, right? Not this time.

A school district in Texas is going after a family who sued to improve their autistic child's education program. The family gave up after nearly four years of fighting, and now the school district is going to federal court to try to force the family to pay the estimated $250,000 that the suit has cost taxpayers. A teacher at the school says pressure is building to drop the lawsuit. "I think the lawsuit should end," he said. "I think the community should demand that it ends. I think there should be a major uproar because if they are going to sue this parent when is it going to be your turn next."

Watch the news story from Fox 26 in Houston. Thanks to Disability Scoop for the scoop.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

A New Direction

I want to say thank you to my loyal readers -- everyone who has submitted suggestions, commented on my posts, challenged my opions, and shared my blog with others over the past few years. As any parent of a child with special needs will understand (and, really, any parent of any child will understand), I'm feeling a bit overwhelmed with my "outside" activities beyond my 9-to-5 job (if only it were 9-to-5!). I love my job, and I love all of my volunteer activities -- maintaining this blog, advocating for people with disabilities as a board member of The Arc of Montgomery County, coaching young hockey players and serving as communications director for the American Special Hockey Association, and playing hockey myself.

In addition to that, my wife and I are working hard to ensure that our daughter receives the level of education and instruction that she needs and is entitled to. I'm not going to go into the details here, but I'd be happy to talk to parents or other advocates about some of the issues we're dealing with.

For all of those reasons, I'm going to be blogging less often. Honestly, I feel guilty whenever an issue comes up and I don't have time to properly comment and analyze it here. So starting today, I'm enhancing the news feed on this page -- showing the most recent items from some of my favorite news sources -- Disability Scoop, Disability News by Patricia E. Bauer, Autism Speaks, and some that specialize in special education law. That will keep this blog timely in a different way, and when I feel strongly about something or have an urge to post, I will. I encourage you to follow these and other sources to get the news you can use to advocate for the people you care about and all families affected by disabilities.

You can also follow me on Twitter, at -- I will post news related to special needs several times a week. And please follow special hockey at and at That's always a good source of inspiring news about athletes with special needs and the volunteers who are helping them win on and off the ice. And feel free to shoot me an email any time. Thanks!

Disability Scoop

Special Ed News (Education Week)

Special Education Law