News

MAC 2019 News Summaries

News stories of interest to the MAC Community (more…)

The Adventures of Wonderkid and the Big IDEA – A Parent’s Introduction to Special Education

MAC’s new book written by Marilyn Arons and illustrated by Sanja Angeli
(more…)

IDEA Reauthorization 2019

IDEA was last reauthorized by Congress in 2004 with implementing regulations published in 2006.  Reauthorization was legislated so as to update and improve IDEA every 5 years based upon yearly information contained in the mandated Annual Report to Congress on the status of IDEA.

Read the full paper by Marilyn Arons.

IDEA Reauthorization 2019

MAC Autumn News 2018

News articles of interest to the MAC community

(more…)

A Russell-Silver Syndrome Case Study

This case study examines the growth and development of a toddler with Russell Silver Syndrome (more…)

DOE Meeting

marilyn-barbara-njdoe

MAC Trustee and Director after a meeting with the DOE concerning an unfinished MAC project. Look for details later in the Fall on this website.

MAC News, Summer 2018

News articles of interest to the MAC community.

Teaching neuroscience through comics- Matteo Farinella is a neuroscientist and artist who figured out a way to teach neuroscience to a lay audience. He uses comics to present a guided tour of the brain for a layperson. It was first published in 2013 and is available online.  He hopes that his comics can change attitudes about science. You can be introduced to his work by going to neurocomics. (Columbia, Spring/Summer 2018)

Brain networks in autism- The Centre for Addiction and Mental Health analyzed more than 1,000 brain scans of those with autism, finding new insights into their functioning.  A newly developed approach examined individual brain networks with more precision that prior studies. It found that the brains of two people with autism are different from each other, in a difference larger than differences in brains of two people without autism.  Six brain regions were mapped using Personalized Intrinsic Network Topography (PINT) Results showed that these brain networks may not only be disconnected but also displaced. The problem in treatment is the wide variability in individuals with autism spectrum disorder.  This study emphasizes the importance of accounting for individual differences to develop innovative and personalized treatment approaches. The lead author of the study is Dr. Erin Dickie (Science Daily, May 14, 2018, www.sciencedaily.com)

Brain Function Firm Misled- Neurocore, a “brain performance” business backed by Betsy DeVos, has agreed to stop advertising success rates because it could not provide  support for its claims. DeVos and her husband gave $5 million to the company which claimed to cure a variety of maladies. (Brain-Function Firm Backed by DeVos Misled in Ads, Eric Green, The New York Times, June 27, 2018)

Special Education Enrollments Increase – The number of those in special education has increased from 6.6 million in 2013-2014 to 6.7 million in 2015-2016.  This constitutes 13.2 percent of all students in classrooms across the country. Slightly more than 1/3 had specific learning disabilities, 20% had speech or language impairments, 14% were classified as other health impaired, 9% had autism, 6% had developmental delay, and 6% had an intellectual disability.  (Shaun Heasley, Special Education Enrollment Trends Upward, June 5, 2018, Disability Scoop)

MAC News Updates – Winter 2018

News articles of interest to the MAC community.
(more…)

IEP Requirements Starting in 2017

Many parents and professionals have no understanding about what the IEP is in special education or how it is to be developed. MAC will focus on this critical area for the entirety of the 2017-2018 school year. The current law for IEP development comes from the opinion of the Supreme Court of the United States in Endrew F v. Douglas School Dist., March 22, 2017. Excerpts follow from that decisionthat explain what an IEP is, its purpose, and the process for its development.

The essential function of an IEP is to set out a plan for pursuing academic and functional advancement…the degree of progress contemplated by the IEP must be appropriate in light of the child’s circumstances…that child’s educational program must be appropriately ambitious in light of his circumstances. The Act contemplates that this fact-intensive exercise will be informed not only by the expertise of school officials, but also by the input of the child’s parents or guardians. The goals may differ, but every child should have the chance to meet challenging objectives. The IEP is the centerpiece of (IDEA’s) education delivery system for disabled children.

The adequacy of a given IEP turns on the unique circumstances of the child for whom it was created. The nature of the IEP process ensures that parents and school representatives will fully air their respective opinions on the degree of progress a child’s IEP should pursue; thus, by the time any dispute reaches court, school authorities will have had the chance to bring their expertise and judgment to bear on areas of disagreement. A focus on the particular child is at the core of IDEA. The nature of the IEP process, from the initial consultation through state administrative proceedings, ensures that parents and school representatives will fully air their respective opinions on the degree of progress a child’s IEPshould pursue.

Every IEP include(s) “a statement of the child’s present levels of academic achievement and functional performance”, describe(s) “how the child’s disability affects the child’s involvement and progress in the general education curriculum”, and set(s) out “measurable annual goals, including academic and functional goals, along with a “description of how the child’s progress toward meeting” those goals will be gauged. The goals may differ, but every child should have the chance to meet challenging objectives. The IEP must also describe “special education and related services…that will be provided” so that the child may “advance appropriately toward attaining the annual goals” and, when possible “be involved in and make progress in the general education curriculum”. An IEP is not a form document. It is constructed only after careful consideration of the child’s present levels of achievement, disability, and potential for growth. The adequacy of a given IEP turns on the unique circumstances of the child for whom it was created.

MAC 2017 Research Study

Russell Silver Syndrome: A Case Study
(more…)