Saturday, November 26, 2016

What Happened To Special Education Inclusion?

Many years ago, it was a goal for our country to integrate Special Education children into our school systems. This would involve great expense, and challenges. The goal was a worthy one, that would allow the stigma of "Mental Retardation" to be challenged by our society. For the districts that embraced the initiative, special education students were interwoven into school life. Finally, they fully participated in the process.

Fast forward to today.The cheaper, more cost efficient standardized testing movement has reversed the gains of Special Education Inclusion. Specialized classrooms were brought back, and teaching practices have changed for our schools. While improved from out past practices, they still segregate children from their kindergarten cohorts. At times, this could include long bus rides to specialized programs outside of their home district.

Cost is a factor. Hard to justify a classroom on one. Yet, is it the best we can do? Are there strategies we have not explored. Did we give the goal of Special Education Inclusion time enough to develop? The social aspect is clear. Without integration, we fear what we do not see. The stigma for people with disabilities is very real. The lack of opportunities to have relationships causes more harm than good. Hopefully, one day we can re-embrace Special Education Inclusion. Our kids would benefit from the experience. All kids need to be included.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

New York State Reducing Intervention Services For Students With Autism

I was recently emailed the following important information from a parental advocate regarding changes in funding for intervention services. This is for you review. If you have questions, contact Tammie Knight at

"It has come to my attention that the Regents are looking to reduce the number of speech and language (S&L) sessions a week that a child with Autism would receive in the educational setting. At this time, the Commissioners Regulation Part 200 and 201 states 213(a)(4) children with the classification of autism receive speech and language daily. Many of the Districts in NY State do not follow the regulations and many do not provide a child with Autism S&L daily. I have had parents file complaints against Districts in respect to the regulation and when the Department comes into play they change their attitudes. Dolgeville is one in particular; once NYSED came into play the school district realized they were wrong! Today due to the willingness to collaborate, a child that is diagnosed with ASD is excelling and progressing in the area of speech and language."

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Please Join the Fight for the Carey Family

Advocates for Decency

I read this from a State Advocacy Group Regarding Jonathon's Law
Copy the Link and read for yourself.

If we want a just world, we can not compromise on human dignity. I am sorry.

Here is my response:

I read with great interest your response to Jonathon's law.
I have heard his family speak and I also have looked into CPS's unfounded reports. I guess I do not understand the objection to what is just and decent for families of people with disabilities having full disclosure when a restraint happens? What is the harm regarding releasing documentation of an incident at a residential setting?

The facts are that the staff member who killed their child was passed along in the system. He had over a thousand hours of OT in one year. This would make a great point for higher wages. Why hide this from the Carey's or the general public?

Regarding the staff member, this was not his first instance of abuse. Why did the state fight so hard to keep this information from the Careys? If that was your child, are you saying this is just? Where is the struggle here. They believe many good people work in a system that is broken. This is said with no disrespect to them. I have spoken to workers in this field and hear time and time again from their own mouths that there is a problem. Are they wrong also?

I do not work with disable children, however I want what is just for them. Am I wrong to ask for justice?N

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Autism and Vaccines

If this is true, shame on our government.
Landmark Federal Court Concession - Child Developed Autism from Vaccines

A couple from Atlanta will join with their 9-year-old daughter in a press conference discussing their daughter's development of autism from vaccines. This landmark court case alleged that autism was caused by childhood vaccines and was scheduled to be heard as a test case before the concession was made.� The Centers for Disease Control have estimated that 1 in 150 children have autism, and many have linked the autism epidemic in this country to the mercury based preservative used in childhood vaccines.

A press conference will be held Thursday, March 6, 2008 at 11:30 a.m. at the US Federal Courthouse Steps, 75 Spring Street, Atlanta, Georgia.

Members of the media may contact Todd Scott�at 212-564-4692 or 516-312-6573 for information.
NOTE:�Evidence of Harm author and journalist�David Kirby�is available for comment on this breaking news:� He can be reached at 718-230-4250 or�

National Autism Association

Friday, April 11, 2008

Special Education Abuse and BOCES Fraud

Interesting article regarding abuse.

Folks - below is a Newsday story re the widening scandal involving NY
districts and BOCES fraudulently paying attorneys from their outside law
firms as district/BOCES employees. The story cites Terence Smolev as
one such attorney.

I know that Smolev worked as a hearing officer for many years, hearing
and deciding parents' disputes with districts and BOCES under the IDEA.
I recall that he was a real s.o.b. to parents and never revealed to
anyone that he was also a district employee. It may be that him serving
as a hearing officer at the same time he was paid as a district
employee was flat out illegal and a violation of these parents'/kids civil and
constitutional rights to impartial hearing officers under the IDEA.

If you had Smolev as a hearing officer - or you know anyone who did -
please let me know about it. I'll keep all information confidential
unless I'm given permission to reveal. I'd like to know more and possibly
brief the feds investigating this scandal about this aspect of
Smolev's "work." Get to me at: or 212.662.2783.

Dee Alpert, Publisher

Monday, March 24, 2008

Non - Violence means just that.

Justifiable restraint is a misleading term. Restraint is rarely used in schools. Research has demonstrated that restraint if more often dangerous than life saving for he people involved. I was painfully reminded about this by meeting the Carey family who tragically lost their son to a restraint. I found a family support group that has key legislation and links to help parents deal with this issue.

Monday, March 3, 2008

Return to the Cuckoo's Nest

About 10 years ago, I wrote a story about the return to the cuckoo's nest. (In reference to the movie and book One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest. It seems to me that we ended the large scale institutions and created many smaller scale models. This is not to say that we have not made huge strides in mainstreaming many of our citizens. We have done so and should feel proud of the fact that so many advocates for people with disabilities have fought for the rights for those who may not be able to fight for themself. However, we do have very real problems in health and human services and education. There is still much abuse in the system that goes unchallenged. If we want to achieve decency for those who suffer, we have to speak out. For this reason, I have created this blog. For parents, families, and people who work with disabilities, I will also try to provide resources for those working for social justice.