NBC Channel 4 News in New York City announced 16 families have filed a class action lawsuit against the New York City Department of Education for failure to provide transitional services for students with disabilities.
State and Federal law require transition services be a part of a student’s IEP in high school. This helps the special needs student to adjust to life after high school. This could include vocational training which requires a vocational assessment. The families allege the NYC DOE never provided even an option for these services in the students’ IEPs.
According to the link, found here, http://www.nbcnewyork.com/news/local/New-York-City-Department-of-Education-Lawsuit-Students-With-Disabilities-281687471.html the DOE didn’t allow for these students to be given these services which are mandated. When the suit was filed yesterday in the U.S. District Court, Eastern District the one student and his parents went on the news to discuss the suit. Gary Mayerson, the attorney who filed the lawsuit, believes these services may have been denied to “tens of thousands of students”.
The NYC DOE responded as follows:
“The DOE is committed to providing the services our students need to thrive in and out of the classroom, and we are working with this school and the student’s family to ensure that we provide the student with appropriate services.”
This lawsuit could have tremendous impact on special education not only in NYC but potentially across the country. Recent laws passed by the Federal Government have disallowed the use of companies paying anything less than minimum wage to persons with disabilities.
As students with disabilities become adults with disabilities, this transition can be a difficult process. To help ease these issues, the Delaware Department of Education and the University of Delaware, partnered with the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation and the Division of Visual Impairments, help to make these individuals well-informed about the things they can do to be more successful during this time. Each year, they hold an annual Community of Practice Delaware Transition Conference. The theme for this year’s event is “Shared Work, Shared Vision.” The event will be held at the Dover Downs Hotel & Conference Center on October 31st from 8:00am to 3:15pm.
This years keynote speakers are Chris Mielo and Chaz Kellem. Mielo has been paralyzed since he was a toddler due to a car accident from a drunk driver. He serves on the Governing Board of the Pennsylvania Youth Network and is an active participant in working with the HOPE Network to encourage kids to take part in adaptive athletics. Kellem is the Manager of Diversity Initiatives for the Pittsburgh Pirates. He was born with Osteogenesis Imperfecta, a rare disorder which causes bones to break easily. Although Kellem has gone through numerous operations, he is a shining example of overcoming hardship and excelling, having graduated with honors from Edinboro University of Pennsylvania.
This year’s conference will have a wide array of topics including Social Security Benefits, Student-Led Individualized Education Plans, Social Media, the new DelAWARE DisABILITY Hub transition website, transitioning to a college environment and more.
To register for this free event, with a meal also included, please go to https://delaware.qualtrics.com/SE/?SID=SV_bvjJmgQLzcGEZ4V&Q_JFE=0 and to find out a schedule of events, follow this link: http://www.udel.edu/cds/downloads/transition_conference_schedule. Please register as soon as possible so they can get an accurate count for food! Registration begins at 7:30am.
All parents of special needs students should try to attend this event, no matter what age they are. It’s better to start preparing for your child’s future now. Far too many people don’t seem to think a disabled child can be successful as an adult, but this is far from the case. Many individuals have the ability to overcome adversity and set an example for all of us and go on to do great things.
The Oprah Winfrey Network (OWN) will be airing a full run of 13 episode series called “The Specials” on September 7th. This series follows five young adults with intellectual disabilities over a four year time span that live together in England. “The Specials” was originally a series of Webisodes in England, consisting of ten parts.
The young adults in this series range from 19-23, and it will showcase how they transition from secondary schooling to a post-secondary lifestyle. Many important “life” moments occur for the real-life characters. Transitional services has become a big issue in the United States in recent years for special needs students so this could be an excellent series for all special needs parents to watch.
In a statement from the OWN website, “We were extremely thrilled to bring this series to OWN. We fell in love with the fun, adventurous energy and bond the housemates share,” said producer Carolyn Strauss. “It is our hope that viewers are not only entertained by their experiences, but inspired by their excitement for life and encouraged to accept and celebrate all people no matter their walk in life.”
To meet the characters, please check out this information on Oprah’s website: http://www.oprah.com/app/the-specials.html