Wednesday, September 2, 2015

"We're Here to Speak for Justice" Rally and March in Sacramento - Thursday, September 9/3/15

From California Supported Living Network (CSLN)

"We're Here To Speak For Justice" Rally & March in Sacramento Thursday 9/3/15 10AM-1:00PM
#Speak4Justice  #KeepThePromise
WHAT: We Are Here To Speak For Justice Rally & March
WHEN: Thursday, September 3, 2015 10:00AM-1:00PM
WHERE: Crest Theater 1013 K St Sacramento, CA 95814

We are putting together a day of action to 
Keep The Promise of the Lanterman Act alive.

Confirmed speakers at the Crest Theater:
Denny Amundson
Tony Coelho
Santi Rogers
Films by DDSO

Doors open at 9:30AM.

Program between 10:00AM-12:00PM

12:00PM March to the Capitol!!!

We are excited to announce that we will have a voter 
outreach/voter registration table in the lobby of the 
Crest Theater on September 3rd 10AM-1PM. There 
will be an accessible voting booth for folks to practice 
the voting process & test the accessible voting 

Please spread the word to everyone in our community 
and strongly urge folks to participate and join us for a 
day of action!

Thanks in advance for your advocacy!

Action Alert HERE.

Friday, August 28, 2015

MDUSD CAC Meeting - Tuesday, September 1st at 7 p.m.

What: Community Advisory Committee Meeting

When: Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Time: 7:00 p.m. - 9:15 p.m.

Board Room, Dent Center (map)
1936 Carlotta Drive, Concord

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Feds: Most States Failing To Meet Special Ed Obligations

By Michelle Diament from disabilityscoop
July 14, 2015

Federal officials indicate that less than half of states are meeting their obligations under special education law.

The U.S. Department of Education says that just 19 states qualified for the “meets requirements” designation for the 2013-2014 school year. The rest of states were classified as “needs assistance” or “needs intervention.”

Under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, the Education Department must evaluate states annually on their efforts to implement special education programs.

The ratings carry significant weight. If a state fails to meet requirements for two or more years, the Department of Education must take enforcement action, which can include a corrective action plan or withholding funds, among other steps.

This is the second year that the Education Department has relied on stricter measures to assess compliance.

Previously, states were graded based on their adherence to procedural requirements like completing evaluations or due process hearings. Now, however, federal officials are taking into account student performance and functional outcomes for kids with disabilities in addition to compliance.

States were notified in letters dated June 30 of their standing.

For the ninth consecutive year, federal officials said that Washington, DC “needs intervention.” The same designation was given to Texas for the second year in a row.

States determined to “meet requirements” for the 2013-2014 school year include Connecticut, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, Wisconsin and Wyoming.

The Education Department said that the remaining states need assistance.

Article HERE.

EDUCATION: Language changing to describe students with special needs

By Stephen Wall/Staff Writer from The Press Enterprise
Published: Aug. 21, 2015 Updated: Aug. 23, 2015

Districts hope "people first" philosophy will create more respect for and acceptance of students with special needs.

Schools are adopting new terms to refer to students with disabilities. Here are some examples of proper and improper language:

Say: People with disabilities
Don't say: Handicapped or disabled

Say: Cognitive disability
Don't say: Mental retardation

Say: Bob has a mental health condition.
Don't say: Bob is mentally ill.

Say: Brain injury
Don't say: Brain damaged

Source: Kathie Snow,

When Pam Bender began her education career 28 years ago, terms such as mentally retarded were common in school settings.

Some teachers weren’t sure how to deal with students who had severe disabilities, she said.

“There were times teachers didn’t want these kids in their classrooms,” Bender said. “They didn’t know what to do with them.”

Over the years, the term fell out of favor, as advocates pressured government agencies to remove phrasing they considered hurtful and offensive.

The effort reached the highest office in the land in 2010 when President Barack Obama signed a bill requiring the federal government to replace the term with “intellectual disability” in many areas of government.

In local education circles, the movement to alter perceptions is growing.

Inland school districts have adopted policies and practices urging the use of so-called “People First Language” to describe students with special needs.

For example, instead of referring to a student as an “epileptic child,” they are encouraged to say “child with epilepsy.”

The Moreno Valley Unified School District board of trustees passed a resolution in June calling for people-first terminology.

Putting the student first and the disability second can have a profound effect on how kids view themselves and are seen by others, said Pam Bender, the district’s director of special education services.

“When you start to change language, you start to change attitudes,” she said. “We’re trying to get away from the negative connotations of terms.”

Nicole Bowles is a parent of two children with challenges. Michael, 14, and Jacob, 13, have autism and are enrolled in special education programs. Jacob, who attends Mountain View Middle School, also has been diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, his mom said.

At 5 feet 7 inches, Jacob is taller than other kids his age and she said he struggles to fit in. She said he’s been bullied by classmates, including one instance last year when a classmate closed a locker door on her son’s head after an incident in a flag football game.

Michael, a freshman at Canyon Springs High School, hasn’t had the same kind of negative experiences as his brother. But she said he has hard time making friends because of his disability.

She hopes that changing the language will lead to more acceptance of her sons and others with special needs.

Article HERE.

Saturday, August 22, 2015

CARE Parent Network September 2015 Bulletin

From CARE Parent Network

What is Care Parent Network?

We are the Family Resource Center for families of children with special in Contra Costa County. We provide information, referral, resources, training opportunities and family support.

Your Voice Counts

Your action is needed in two areas:
1. The Department of Health Care Services (DHCS) is seeking input on the plan to have Medi-Cal Managed Care take on the responsibility of serving children who are now served by California Children’s Services. There are many groups around the state that have concerns and would like DHCS to PLEASE extend the CCS Carve Out until there is data to show that CA Medi-Cal Managed Care Plans are ready and that DHCS is ready to monitor them. Children with special health care needs must continue to have protections and access to specialty care so they come to no harm.

* Go to: to give your input

2. The Lanterman Developmental Disabilities Service Act provides for services for children and adults with developmental disabilities and those services have been underfunded for such a long time that many service providers are closing their doors.

* Let your State Legislator know that: a) service providers need a one time 10% increase to help stop the decline; 2) the legislature needs to reform the funding rates to adequate levels; and 3) until the system funding reform is in place, provide an annual 5% increase. Go to: http:// and enter your zipcode.

Bulletin (English) HERE.

Bulletin (Spanish) HERE.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

OSEP Dear Colleague Letter on Speech and Language Services for Students with Autism Spectrum Disorder

By Melody Musgrove, Ed.D. Director Office of Special Education Programs - U.S. Dept. of Education

July 6, 2015

Dear Colleague:

It has come to our attention that there are concerns in the field regarding services delivered to children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). In particular, the Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP) has received reports that a growing number of children with ASD may not be receiving needed speech and language services, and that speech-language pathologists and other appropriate professionals may not be included in evaluation and eligibility determinations under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), Part B, or in meetings to develop the individualized education program (IEP) or individualized family service plan (IFSP) under both Parts B and C of IDEA. Some IDEA programs may be including applied behavior analysis (ABA) therapists exclusively without including, or considering input from, speech language pathologists and other professionals who provide different types of specific therapies that may be appropriate for children with ASD when identifying IDEA services for children with ASD.

OSEP places a high priority on ensuring that infants, toddlers and children with disabilities are identified as early as possible under the IDEA and that appropriate services are provided, including to infants, toddlers, and children with ASD. Under Part B of the IDEA, each State and its public agencies must ensure that a free appropriate public education (FAPE) is made available to all eligible children with disabilities (34 CFR §§300.101 and 300.17). Under Part C of the IDEA, each State must ensure that each eligible infant and toddler with a disability has available early intervention services that are designed to meet their developmental needs as identified by the IFSP team.

When conducting an evaluation under Part C of the IDEA, the evaluation must identify the child’s level of functioning in each of the following developmental areas: cognitive development; physical development, including vision and hearing; communication development; social or emotional development; and adaptive development (34 CFR §303.321(b)). Similarly, when conducting an initial evaluation under Part B, the public agency must ensure the child is assessed in all areas related to the suspected disability, including, if appropriate, health, vision, hearing, social and emotional status, general intelligence, academic performance, communicative status, and motor abilities (34 CFR §300.304(c)(4)). In addition, the IFSP Team must include a person or persons directly involved in conducting the evaluations and assessments (34 CFR §303.343(a)(1)), while the IEP team must include an individual who can interpret the instructional implications of evaluation results (34 CFR §300.321(a)(5)). The IDEA’s IEP and IFSP processes are designed to ensure that an appropriate program is developed to meet the unique individual needs of a child with a disability, and that services are identified based on the unique needs of the child by a team that include the child’s parents.

Page 2 – Lead Agency Director

We recognize that ABA therapy is just one methodology used to address the needs of children with ASD and remind States and local programs to ensure that decisions regarding services are made based on the unique needs of each individual child with a disability (and the child’s family in the case of Part C of the IDEA). We are sharing for your reference, and we encourage you to review, relevant guidance released by the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services, “Clarification of Medicaid Coverage of Services to Children with Autism” (July 7, 2014; and “Medicaid and CHIP FAQ: Services to Address Autism” (September 2014;

I hope this clarification is helpful to the speech language pathologists and others represented by your organization. If you have additional questions, please do not hesitate to contact Susan Kauffman at or Dawn Ellis at


/s/ Melody Musgrove

Melody Musgrove, Ed.D.
Office of Special Education Programs

Letter HERE.

WORKSHOP: Obtaining Health Insurance Coverage for Mental Health & Autism Treatment

From the Autism Health Insurance Project

Has your child been denied health insurance coverage for mental health or autism treatments? Speech therapy only covered in-part? Psychiatrists not paid for? ABA, OT, Psychologists? Are the denial letters or explanation of benefits too much to decipher? Come to our workshop and learn how to obtain health insurance coverage of mental health and autism treatments.

WHAT: Hands-on workshop on Obtaining Health Insurance Coverage for Mental Health & Autism Treatments. We will answer your specific questions. Bring your denial letters.

WHEN: Wednesday, August 26, 2015, 11:30AM-1:30 PM

WHERE: 985 Moraga Road, Suite 208, Lafayette, CA 94549

RSVP: Please RSVP by making a $15 donation here. (We will keep track of your name for entry on Aug. 26)

COST: $15 in advance, $20 at the door, includes Paxtis's Pizza lunch & beverages. (Please pay through the donate button on our website and we will keep your name on file for the event. )

CONTACT: (510) 325-0975 or Please come to our workshop! We will help you.

Paxti's Pizza will donate 10% of its profits from the entire day back to the Autism Health Insurance Project. If you are unable to attend our workshop, please consider having a meal at Paxti's.

Workshop posting HERE.