Prevalence of developmental disorders

Coleen Boyle and colleagues from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Maternal and Child Health Bureau reported in Pediatrics that, although data about the prevalence of developmental disabilities in the US are scarce, results from surveys conducted during the years 1997-2008 reveal that disabilities are both common and their prevalence is changing. Some results would surprise few (e.g., boys were more frequently reported to have problems than girls), but other results might make people wonder (e.g., the prevalence of hearing disorders reportedly decreased).

Trends in the Prevalence of Developmental Disabilities in US Children, 1997–2008

OBJECTIVE: To fill gaps in crucial data needed for health and educational planning, we determined the prevalence of developmental disabilities in US children and in selected populations for a recent 12-year period.
Continue reading Prevalence of developmental disorders

Milwaukee parents allege voucher program discriminates against students with disabilities

Should students with disabilities get to use vouchers, too? Should private schools have to accept them? Some parents say some private schools aren’t taking vouchers from students with disabilities and they are complaining.

Journalists reported that the parents of children with disabilities in Milwaukee (WI, US) and the American Civil Liberties Union have complained to the US Deaprtment of Justice that a Milwaukee school program permitting parents to choose schools discriminates against students with disabilities. According to the complaint, the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction (DPI) and the Milwaukee Parental Choice Program “discriminated against students with disabilities and segregated those students in one portion of the publicly funded educational system.” The statistical basis for the argument is that 1.6% of students in the voucher-supported schools have disabilities, but nearly 20% of the students in the public schools have disabilities.
Continue reading Milwaukee parents allege voucher program discriminates against students with disabilities

Outlook for special ed teachers

The demand for special educators routinely exceeds supply. Prior to 2006, the National Coalition on Personnel Shortages in Special Education & Related Services reported that there were considerable shortages in the high-incidence areas of Learning Disabilities, Emotional and Behavioral Disorders, and Multicategorical Special Education. According to US government sources, this continues to be the case, so those who are preparing to teach in special education should have little trouble finding employment.
Continue reading Outlook for special ed teachers

Easter Seals campaigns for early intervention

Under the headline “Tell President Obama To Help Kids With Disabilities Realize Their Full Potential,” promoted a petition encouraging support for early intervention for children with disabilities. It’s got to be difficult to sell people on the idea of increasing government expenditures in a time of substantial concern about federal deficits, but the Easter-Seals-sponsored petition is seeking to accomplish just that end. Here’s the pitch.

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OSERS celebrates anniversary of IDEA

The US Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services posted its official recognition of the 35th anniversary of the adoption of the signing of the landmark legislation, of Public Law 94-142, then called the “Education of All Handicapped Children Act,” but which we know now as the “Individuals with Disabilities Education Act” or simply “IDEA.” Interested readers can review OSERS’ tribute to this remarkable legislation by reviewing the Web site dedicated to it anniversary, “The IDEA 35th Anniversary.”

Whose life is it?

Using the pending Thanksgiving holiday as an opportunity to comment on family relations, writer Daphne Beal contributed an article about her relationship with her sister Cecily, who has developmental disabilities, to the US National Public Radio program Morning Edition series called “Sibling Stories.”

I’ve almost made peace with the fact that we aren’t hauling our kids down to my parents in Florida for Thanksgiving.

Actually, it’s my sister Cecily I feel bad about. She’s the one I don’t keep in touch with enough. She’s 39, and — deep breath — “developmentally disabled and legally blind.” Those jargon-y words give only the barest outline of her experience of navigating the world. And my family’s experience, too.
Continue reading Whose life is it?

Asst professor at University of Utah

The Department of Special Education at the University of Utah is searching for a tenure-track faculty member at the rank of assistant professor in the area of mild/moderate disabilities with emphases on reading/literacy and assessment.

Salaries are competitive with other Research-Intensive Universities; excellent benefits package. The position begins August 15, 2011.
Continue reading Asst professor at University of Utah

Open rank position at University of Haifa

The Department of Learning Disabilities and the Edmund J. Safra Brain Research Center for the Study of Learning Disabilities at the Faculty of Education of the University of Haifa invite applications for a full-time, tenure-track position, to begin 1 October 2010 or later.

Preference will be given to candidates with research expertise in the field of neuropsychology and attention/attentional disorders and/or social/affective functioning, although outstanding candidates in other areas related to neuropsychological aspects of learning and learning disabilities will also be considered.
Continue reading Open rank position at University of Haifa

Sprout Film Festival returns to C’ville

A touring version of the Sprout Film Festival (SFF), which features films by and about individuals with developmental disabilities, stops in Charlottesville (VA) Friday 12 March 2010. There are to be two shows, one from 10:30 AM to 12:00 noon and the second from 7:00 to 9:00 PM; the former is free and a $10 donation is suggested for the evening screening. Both shows are at the Martin Luther King, Jr. Performing Arts

The theme for this year’s incarnation is “Making the Invisible Visible.” The spring 2010 SFF show follows screenings during the Virginia Film Festival in November of 2009. Learn more about the shows by visiting the Piedmont Regional Education Program and Parent Resource Center (PREP-PRC.ORG) and say “thanks” to the many sponsoring organizations, including Light House, The Virginia Institute for Autism, VSA Arts of Virginia, City of Charlottesville, the Piedmont Council of the Arts, and the Arc of the Piedmont.

SFF, which has a long and successful history of shows in New York City (some of which I’ve noted here previously and on LD Blog), will host its 8th annual event 30 April through 2 May at the Ruth And Herald D. Uris Center For Education of the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Kauffman’s ‘Curtains’ paper

Jim Kauffman drafted an editorial expressing his concern that special education has been so substantially undermined that it is near collapse. Here’s his lead (‘lede?’):

I think we’re approaching the end of special education. By analogy, we’re nearing the final scene of a stage play. Special education is, I think, very near its “curtains.” And we’re perilously close to being unable to rewrite the play while it’s in progress.

You may download a full copy of “Curtains for Special Education: An Open Letter to Educators.

Posney to OSERS

The US President Barack Obama announced that he plans to nominate Alexa E. Posny for the position of Assistant Secretary for Special Education and Rehabilitative Services (OSERS) in the Department of Education. Dr. Posny, who currently serves as commission of education for the state of Kansas, will return to US ED where she previously served as Director in the Office of Special Education Programs.

OSERS claims its mission is to “promote academic excellence, enhance educational opportunities and equity for all of America’s children and families, and to improve the quality of teaching and learning by providing leadership, technical assistance and financial support.” In the role of Assistant Secretary for OSERS, Ms. Posny will oversee policies related to achievement in schools, educational improvement, and financial assistance for local education agencies.

The White House press release provided background information about Commissioner Posny:

Alexa E. Posny currently serves as the Commissioner of Education for the state of Kansas. As Commissioner, she is responsible for helping over 450,000 students meet or exceed high academic standards, licensing over 45,000 teachers, and overseeing a state education budget of a little over $4.5 billion dollars. Prior to this, Posny was appointed as the Director of the Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP) for the U.S. Department of Education, a position in which she assisted state and local efforts to effectively educate all children and youth with disabilities. Other positions that Posny has held included the Kansas Deputy Commissioner of Education , Kansas State Director of Special Education, Director of Special Education for the Shawnee Mission School District, Director of the Curriculum and Instruction Specialty Option as part of the Title 1 Technical Assistance Center (TAC) network of TACs across the United States, and a Senior Research Associate at Research and Training Associates in Overland Park, KS. Posny earned her bachelor’s degree from the University of Wisconsin at Stevens Point, a master’s degree in behavioral disabilities and a doctorate in educational administration both from the University of Wisconsin Madison. Currently she serves on the Board of Directors for the Chief State School Officers, the National Council for Learning Disabilities, and chairs the National Assessment Governing Board’s Special Education Task Force. Most importantly, she has been a teacher at the elementary, middle and high school levels and remains a teacher today, serving as adjunct faculty with the University of Kansas.

Links for:

ICDR meetings

Update: Check the Web site for changes in the schedule. The Interagency Committee on Disability Research (ICDR) will be holding what it calls “stakeholder meetings” on Tuesday, 5 August 2008 and Wednesday, 13 August 2008. Interested parties can can participate in person, by telephone or via Web cast. The meetings will be conducted in Arlington (VA, US).

The purpose of this event is to allow individuals with disabilities and their representatives (family members, organizations, service providers, disability and rehabilitation research and policy groups, advocacy organizations with specialized disability knowledge) the opportunity to suggest specific ways to improve future disability and rehabilitation research to benefit individuals with disabilities. We are also interested in hearing from individuals concerning how well the existing federal research programs are responding to the changing needs of individuals with disabilities. These comments can cover a wide range of research areas, including, but not limited to:

  • Employment of people with disabilities
  • Community integration and continuum of care
  • Health disparities
  • Access to assistive technology and universal design
  • Transition of youth to employment and independent living
  • Availability of accessible housing, transportation and recreation

As the list reveals, this is not about special education, but the topics (e.g., transition) may be of interest to some special educators. Link to the ICDR Web site .

Conference on brain development and learning

From an advertisement I received….

The 2nd Biennial, International Conference on:


July 12-15, 2008 Sheraton Wall Center Hotel, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada

One of the best conferences I ve been to in 20 years! (Inaugural Meeting Attendee)

Conference website:

This interdisciplinary conference is devoted to enriching and improving the lives of children by making cutting-edge research in neuroscience & child development available, relevant, & understandable to mental health professionals, educators, parents, & others who care about children.

This year ** ADHD** is one of the main topics of the conference.

World-famous researchers who are also outstanding speakers will present, including:

TORKEL KLINGBERG, who pioneered the role of computer games to improve working memory in children with ADHD (CogMed:

ROSEMARY TANNOCK, a pioneer in ADHD research and co- developer of integrated
multimedia resources on ADHD for teachers (

In addition, famous speakers and researchers on Executive Functions and Prefrontal Cortex will be featured, including:


And famous speakers and researchers on RESILIENCE in the face of Depression, Anxiety, Trauma, or Abuse, including:

WILLIAM BEARDSLEE, who will speak about his work with parents and families:
Hope, Meaning and Continuity: Lessons Learned from Developing and Adapting Preventive Interventions for Depression in Families

GIL NOAM, a Prof. in both the Education and Medical Schools of Harvard:
Resilience Development: Where Education and Mental Health Meet

A special feature of this conference:
Besides lectures, you ll have the opportunity to meet, speak informally with, and ask questions of, these world-famous speakers in a small, relaxed setting over a lunch with 2-3 speakers and no more than 30 conference participants.

For years I have seen people try to bring educators together with health specialists, or either with researchers. I have never seen any effort work as well as what you put together in Vancouver.

It was wonderful having different groups of professionals from different backgrounds and training come together in a truly collaborative way sharing research, knowledge, and experiences.

For more information and registration:

Conference website:

Or Call: Toll free in Canada or the US: 1-877-328-7744
From Overseas: 001-604-822-6156


Conference schedule:

More info on Speakers:

A website set up to help conference attendees find someone to share a hotel room with, a homestay, or a ride-share:


The National Council on Disability (NCD) published a document entitled “The No Child Left Behind Act
and the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act: A Progress Report” that describes changes in student outcomes, professional practices, and policies across the US. Here’s an excerpt from the executive summary that provides an overview of the document.

In 2004, NCD issued a report called No Child Left Behind: Improving Educational Outcomes for Students with Disabilities, which examined the impact of NCLB and the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) on improving educational outcomes for students with disabilities. The report drew its conclusions and recommendations from interviews with disability policy, education, and advocacy leaders and identified some changing attitudes and behavioral shifts in K–12 education as a result of the new legislation.

This report provides both a follow-up and a more detailed reporting of the trends and attitudes about NCLB and IDEA over the past several years. In this study we spoke to dozens of researchers, practitioners, and state administrators from across the country about NCLB and IDEA. In addition, we conducted a study of 10 of the largest states in the nation, representing approximately half the U.S. general population.

This report is divided into four sections. Part I provides a brief overview of trend data regarding students with disabilities. Part II describes conversations with state administrators and representatives about trends and issues related to NCLB and IDEA. Part III describes similar conversations with advocates, federal officials, and other stakeholders. Part IV provides recommendations based on our findings.

Continue reading NCD on NCLB and IDEA