EDUCATIONAL NEWS BLOG
SPRING, 2016

The Spring, 2016 News Blog contains the following stories: 


Clothing for Physically Disabled

How One Mom is Empowering the Differently-Abled Community

This mom is making it easier for children with various disabilities to get dressed every morning.

Posted by The Huffington Post on Tuesday, March 8, 2016



LEGO WHEELCHAIR FIGURE

The toy company, LEGO, has unveiled a new piece.  A tiny wheelchair will be its newest piece of LEGO City which comes out in June.

Online campaign #ToyLikeMe has called on the company to produce figures that represent disabled children. Its online petition accumulated over 20,000 signatures.

The wheelchair figure will appear with other park scene figures of children playing on the playground.


EQUAL PARTNERS

The US Department of Education and the US Department of Health and Human Services have teamed up to oversee every aspect of children's lives.  Not just at school but now these agencies will be trying to enter homes through the guise of "being equal partners."

“It is the position of the Departments [of HHS and Education] that all early childhood programs and schools recognize families as equal partners in improving children’s development, learning and wellness across all settings, and over the course of their children’s developmental and educational experiences,” reads the draft policy. And it gets even more bizarre: As defined in the document, family means “all the people who play a role in a child’s life and interact with a child’s early childhood program or school," so states the draft policy statement.

Alex Newman, writing for The New American, writes, "The “principles” underlying the agenda are spelled out explicitly, including “equal partnerships between families and professionals.” In fact, the paper calls for promoting “shared responsibility” between government “professionals” and families “for children’s healthy development, learning and wellness.” The paper also calls for “jointly” developing and monitoring goals for the children at home and the classroom, with government employees told to “engage parents as capable, competent partners.”

Mr. Newman goes on to say, "The document also calls on schools to “assess families’ needs and wants,” and even to provide training for parents on how to raise their children. Indeed, every aspect of parents’ lives is in the crosshairs. “It is important that LEAs [local education agencies], schools and programs have a strategy for supporting family wellbeing,” the Obama administration argues. “LEAs, schools and programs can support family wellbeing through school social workers, by implementing community schools models or approaches, or using family support staff and mental health consultants.”

COMMENT:  Although this is just a draft, anyone concerned should contact their Senators and Representatives to make sure they are aware of this policy's existence and to urge them to fight against this intrusive law.


I think it is important that all parents be aware that if anyone at the public school doesn't agree with something they perceive is being done at the students home, they would be obligated to tell the administration who could very well send a representative to the student's home for a visit.  This is especially alarming to me because parents should feel free to raise their children as they want (without endangering the child).  Home school parents should be especially concerned about this policy.

I see this "partnership" by these two departments as one more way to get control of our children under the ruse of "caring."  Government cannot do a better job at raising children than parents.

You can find the entire story at Education Views.org


ABILITY AWARENESS TRAINING

Last week, the fourth grade class at Griffin Creek Elementary school in Medford, Oregon had Ability Awareness training.  The fourth graders were put through a series of simulations that taught students what it was like to have a disability.

“We call it ‘Ability Awareness,’ because we want kids to focus on the fact that we all have abilities even though we’re different,” said special education specialist Vanessa Campbell. “It’s about acceptance and awareness.”

At one “learning station,” the students had to tie a pair of shoes while wearing gloves so they could better understand how a person’s coordination is affected by Parkinson’s disease, cerebral palsy and other physical conditions.

The students also were asked to trace shapes and read letters using a mirror, write their name without using their hands, pour water while blindfolded, use a mouth stick and gestures to communicate and spell their name with Braille.

As for Elijah and Hayden, two students participating in the simulations, they thought it was very frustrating.  Hayden acted out arranging toy cars in a row (like charades). When the kids guessed he was flying, he gave up.  Elijah had to write his name with a pen in his mouth.

Although Elijah and Hayden grew frustrated with their tasks they did, hopefully they left with a better understanding of what a person with a disability faces each day.

They learned that some of their idols like Justin Timberlake has ADHD and Cameron Diaz has OCD.  “Some kids had judgmental preconceptions about disabilities, and I challenged them to think about them differently and not use the words ‘weird’ or ‘wrong,'” Campbell said.

Tania Tong, the district’s director of special education and student services, said “The goal is to increase awareness for students, teachers and staff that everyone is unique and has talents, gifts and capacities and that they shouldn’t be judged solely by their uniqueness or challenges they face."

More of this story can be found at Disability Scoop, January 25, 2016.


OHIO HOME SCHOOL PARENTS CHARGED


Parents in Ohio are being charged with "contributing to the delinquency of a minor" for failure to submit the correct papers to the school district.

These parents are new home school parents and thought they had provided the school district with all of the correct information required. HSLDA (Home School Legal Defense Association) is representing both families in this litigation.

“Both families were somewhat new to homeschooling in Ohio. One family filed a notice of intent when they began homeschooling last year, but did not know they had to file another notice for this school year.


The other family filed their annual notice of intent, but did not submit an educational assessment with their notice because they had not yet completed it, and had been told by their school district that there was no deadline for submitting the assessment.”


HSLDA continued its explanation, “Even though both families continued to educate their children, their school districts decided to treat the children as ‘truant.’ The schools also waited to contact the families until the children had accumulated more than a month of ‘absences,’ instead of addressing the issue when the school began marking the children ‘absent.'”


Peter K. Kamakawiwoole Jr., a staff attorney for the HSLDA, told WND the organization is in full defense preparation mode for the families, even though it is hoped that cooler heads eventually will prevail.


He said the counts here, “contributing to the delinquency of a minor,” are usually used for parents who are abusing the system anyway – “aiding or abetting their child in the commission of a crime or a serious offense (obtaining a firearm, for example).”


Or the penalties are designed for those guilty of “chronic truancy,” which, he said, “is defined as more than 15 absences from school without excuse. The statute is clearly intended to deal with situations where parents are unwilling to correct persistent – and in some cases, dangerous – misbehavior by their children.”


“Unfortunately, that statute is being applied here to parents who had no idea that there was an issue – and at worst committed a clerical error – and more importantly, the children have literally done nothing wrong,” he continued.

For the entire story go to WNB, Ohio Homeschoolers Face Criminal Charges For Missing Paperwork, by Bob Unruh, February 7, 2016.


BOOKS HONORED

The Schneider Family Book Awards recognize authors and illustrators who portray story lines that feature characters with special needs.


The new books that received the Schneider Family Book Awards this year are:

For children up to age 8 two books were honored.  The first is “Emmanuel’s Dream: The True Story of Emmanuel Ofosu Yeboah,” written by Laurie Ann Thompson and illustrated by Sean Qualls, about Yeboah who biked 400 miles across Ghana to raise awareness of those with disabilities despite having only one strong leg.


Lynda Mullaly Hunt's "Fish in a Tree" was the second book in this age group.  The story is about a young girl who has dyslexia which has kept her from learning to read.  Her math skills helps her get through elementary school.


“The War that Saved my Life” written by Kimberley Brubaker Bradley focuses on Ada, a World War II evacuee who has a club foot.  This is the honored book for ages 9 - 13.


In the teen category, the winner is Teresa Toten’s “The Unlikely Hero of Room 13B,” the story of a support group for young adults with obsessive compulsive disorder.

“The War that Saved my Life” written by Kimberley Brubaker Bradley focuses on Ada, a World War II evacuee who has a club foot.  This is the honored book for ages 9 - 13.


In the teen category, the winner is Teresa Toten’s “The Unlikely Hero of Room 13B,” the story of a support group for young adults with obsessive compulsive disorder.

More of this story can be found at Disability Scoop, January 25, 2016.


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