Exploring options for special needs students

Special needs students have more options than ever.

Federal law requires that publicly funded agencies, including schools, provide free services to children with disabilities from birth to age 21 through the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). The intent of the law is that each child should receive a free, appropriate public education that will prepare the child for further education, employment and independent living.

Special education services are available if your child has problems at school, whether learning or behavioral, and has one or more of the following disabilities:

 mental retardation
 emotional problems
 an orthopedic disability
 deafness or other hearing problems
 speech or language disability
 blindness or other vision problems
 traumatic brain injury
 a learning disability in math or reading
 health impairment (can include ADD/ADHD and Tourette Syndrome)
 multiple disabilities

Children with special needs don’t have to wait until they are school age to get help. The state is required to provide early intervention services for children between birth and age three when the children have either developmental delays or physical or mental disabilities that can cause developmental delays.

The services provided include not only therapy, training and instruction for the child, but also training and other services that will help the family take care of that child.

If you think your child may qualify for these services, contact your county’s Office of Mental Health/Mental Retardation. They will arrange for a free evaluation that will look at your child’s delays in five areas:

 physical development, including hearing and vision
 social/emotional development
 thinking (cognition)
 self-help skills
After the evaluation, they will let you know what services will be available to your child.

Autism diagnoses on rise and so is teacher training

The number of children diagnosed as being on the autism spectrum disorder (ASD) has risen dramatically in recent years. Today, they number as many as 1 in 88 children, according to the Centers for Disease Control. There are not only more of these children, they are also more visible in the community, in schools and churches, says Adriana Gonzalez-Lopez, director of Arcadia University’s autism endorsement program.

“People now understand that the condition is biological or neurological, not something caused by the parents,” she says, “and it’s more accepted that these children need education, therapy and other services.”

Arcadia’s one-year program qualifies teachers to work with children with ASD, but “we also have therapists and others working in the field, as well as parents of children with ASD.”

For more info

For more information about your child’s rights to education and other services, contact the Education Law Center at 215-238-6970, or visit them online at www.elc-pa.org.


Police seek mother of slain 11-year-old on involuntary…

Police are seeking the mother of an 11-year-old girl who was accidentally shot to death by her 2-year-old brother two weeks ago on involuntary manslaughter…


Chestnut Hill College student found dead Wednesday morning

A 22-year-0ld Chestnut Hill College student was found dead this morning inside a college dormitory, police said.


Nearly 300 missing after South Korean ferry capsizes

Almost 300 people were missing after a ferry capsized off South Korea Wednesday, in what could be the country's biggest maritime disaster in over 20 years.


Explosions in new Boston Marathon bomb panic, 'twisted'…

A fresh Boston Marathon terror alert, which caused Bomb Squad officers to order an evacuation while two controlled explosions were carried out, was today being…


Poems from prison: 'How to Survive a Bullet…

Celebrate National Poetry Month with, "'How to Survive a Bullet to the Heart."


TV watch list, Wednesday, April 16: 'The Americans,'…

'The Americans' Philip and Elizabeth face "painful turns" in their missions. Maybe next week they'll have a nice easy mission with no moral ambiguity? Probably…


Review: 'Bears' is a cute Disney doc about…

Disney's latest nature doc, "Bears," doesn't completely shy away from the fact that its subjects would devour you (or eachother) if they had the chance.


'Orphan Black's' Jordan Gavaris talks Felix's Season 2…

Jordan Gavaris plays heroically helpful foster sibling Felix to main clone Sarah on "Orphan Black." We talked to him about what’s ahead for him in…

U.S. Soccer

Andrew Wenger has big shoes to fill on…

Lancaster County native Andrew Wenger will feel pressure to fill the shoes of departer forward Jack McInerney.


NBA Power Rankings: Are the Spurs frauds? Could…

NBA Power Rankings: Are the Spurs frauds? Could the Mavericks surprise?


Sixers, Michael Carter-Williams give fans a happy ending…

The 2013-14 season for the 76ers has nearly come to a close.


Flyers must make Rangers feel their presence

Perhaps it’s the proximity of the two biggest cities in the East, because whenever these two square off the intensity seems to rise.


Wahlbergs expanding Wahlburgers fast food joint across North…

Wahlburgers will open new restaurants in Boston, Toronto and Philadelphia.


Could a facelift give you the edge at…

It's not just women lining up for procedures.


Steal home decorating tips from Nattystyle blogger Natalie…

Despite the towering ceilings and enviable exposed brick, it’s easy to see how Natalie Decleve’s apartment could be considered a challenge. Perched above the streets…


How to plant a garden in the city

Small on space but big on gardening? You can still have that welcoming oasis of fresh air with an urban garden. Peter Smith, owner of…