The Education Department has released guidelines for educating about 340,000 children through the age of 2 who have disabilities and receive services through the Individuals With Disabilities Education Act's Part C program. Among other requirements, the new guidelines dictate when and how infants and toddlers should be identified and referred for services and therapies, and set standards for transitioning the children into preschools and special education. "Children are so young," said Deborah Ziegler, associate executive director of policy and advocacy services for the Council for Exceptional Children. "The timelines are important."
A new preschool program in Washington Township, N.J., will provide morning and afternoon classes for young children with autism. Classes will be taught by a certified special educator, and district officials hope the program will replace the need for some out-of-district services. "We're trying to build capacity as these kids go up the ladder, and we hope to grow the program so that they can stay in the district throughout their time here," said Mike Rolen, assistant superintendent for special education.
Apple may be developing new technology that could make its tablet computers and smartphones more accessible to individuals with disabilities who cannot use a touch screen, a recent filing with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office shows. The company's iPhone and iPad are popular among those with disabilities, but they are less accessible to those who have visual impairments or difficulties with dexterity.
Spending and policy for K-12 education is expected to be on the agenda of Congress, which is back to work this week. Lawmakers are working to finalize federal appropriations for fiscal 2012, pending the November recommendations of a panel tasked with reducing the deficit. Decisions on education funding are expected to have implications for the long-delayed re-authorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act and the No Child Left Behind waivers that the Education Department is offering states.
Stanford University researchers studied the brain scans of 24 children with autism and 24 children without, and found differences that correlated with the severity of the children's disorders. The results suggest that the scans could be used to help diagnose and prescribe treatment for the disorder, which currently is diagnosed primarily through behavioral assessments.