PLUK eNews For the Week of March Issue Welcome to by jolinmilioncherie


									PLUK eNews For the Week of March 3-7, 2003
Issue 14

Welcome to the weekly PLUK eNews!
News of interest to Montana families of children with disabilities and chronic illnesses, and
the professionals and educators who serve them.

Edited by: Roger Holt
Proofed & condensed by: Elisabeth Mills
Feel free to reprint and pass on to others.
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        name/address/telephone and email address.

    • PLUK Welcomes New Additions to the Family Support Staff
    • Quotes from Fred Rogers, host of “Mister Rogers' Neighborhood”
    • Paige Releases Principles for Reauthorizing Individuals with Disabilities
        Education Act (IDEA)
    • IDEA Support Site -
    • Weekly Montana Legislative Diary
    • Sign Language Training in Missoula, Montana
    • Web Courses Free for Parents of Children with Autistic Spectrum Disorders
    • Educational Decision Making Should Be Empirically Driven, Not Driven by
        Intuition or Tarot Card Reading By Bill Matthew, Special Ed Director /
        School Psychologist
    • Internet Resource for Special Children
    • Disability Resources for Montana
    • New Federal Survey Confirms Disability Gaps
    • An Alterative to Disposable Diapers Developed for Children with Special
    • National Center for Learning Disabilities
    • Alternatives for Special Kids Conference
    • Resources on Olmstead and the New Freedom Commission
    • Labor Problems Do Not Cause Most Cerebral Palsy, Study Finds
    • Free, Webcasts on Issues in Augmentative/Alternative Communication
    • Show teaches tips for cooking without looking By Frank Cerabino
    • Upcoming Conferences:
    • TestTalker Now Available


PLUK Welcomes New Additions to the Family Support Staff

Lee Ann Logan,, will be helping families from the main office in
Maria Albin,, will be assisting families in the Bozeman, Belgrade
and Livingston areas. Her voice message/fax phone is 877-847-8890.
Update your address books and send a welcome message to these two fine people.


Quotes from Fred Rogers, host of “Mister Rogers' Neighborhood'”
from Associated Press interviews
Visit the parents pages above to view a tribute to Mister Rogers.
 “I feel the greatest gift we can give to anybody is the gift of our honest self.”
“Of course, I get angry. Of course, I get sad. I have a full range of emotions. I also have a
whole smorgasbord of ways of dealing with my feelings. That is what we should give
children. Give them ... ways to express their rage without hurting themselves or somebody
else. That's what the world needs.”
“I have really never considered myself a TV star. I always thought I was a neighbor who
just came in for a visit.”
“You know, you don't have to look like everybody else to be acceptable and to feel
“I have a very modulated way of dealing with my anger. I have always tried to understand
the other person and invariably I've discovered that somebody who rubs you the wrong way
has been rubbed the wrong way many times.”
“We live in a world in which we need to share responsibility. It's easy to say 'It's not my
child, not my community, not my world, not my problem.' Then there are those who see the
need and respond. I consider those people my heroes.”
“There's a generous current in the American spirit. And if we can simply give voice to that
once in a while, I think it's a good message.”


Paige Releases Principles for Reauthorizing Individuals with Disabilities Education
Act (IDEA)

U.S. Secretary of Education Rod Paige today unveiled a set of principles to guide the
Education Department in its work toward seeking reauthorization of the Individuals with
Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), the landmark statute that provides for the education of
America's 6.5 million students with disabilities.

"Every child in America deserves the highest-quality education, including our children with
disabilities," Secretary Paige said. "Our goal is to align IDEA with the principles of No Child
Left Behind by ensuring accountability, more flexibility, more options for parents and an
emphasis on doing what works to improve student achievement. I look forward to working
with Congress in the weeks and months ahead to achieve these goals."

The act, which comes up for reauthorization before Congress this year, guarantees a free
appropriate public education in the least restrictive environment to students with
disabilities. At the time it was passed by Congress in 1975, more than a million students
with disabilities were warehoused in institutions.

Today, many students with disabilities are educated in regular classrooms alongside their
nondisabled peers. Following is the text of the principles that will guide the department's
work toward reauthorizing the act:


Since 1975, the Federal government has played an important role in ensuring that children
with disabilities receive the best possible education through the Individuals with Disabilities
Education Act (IDEA). President Bush's sweeping reforms in the No Child Left Behind Act
made fundamental improvements in elementary and secondary education to enhance the
education of children with disabilities by supporting accountability for results, expanded
parental choice, a focus on what works, and increased local flexibility. The President
believes the next step for achieving excellence in the education of children with disabilities
is significant reform of IDEA.

In 2001, the President created the Commission on Excellence in Special Education. After 13
meetings and hearings across the country, the Commission delivered to the President its
recommendations for improving special education and reforming IDEA. President Bush
believes the Commission's recommendations should serve as the starting point for
reauthorization. The President intends to work with the Congress to renew IDEA based on
the following principles:


Children with disabilities must be considered as general education students first. Under No
Child Left Behind (NCLB), states are responsible for implementing a single accountability
system for all students based on strong academic standards for what every child should
know and learn, including children with disabilities. IDEA must incorporate the NCLB
principles of assessment for children receiving special education and align with NCLB
accordingly to enhance state efforts to improve student achievement.

Consistent with those principles, IDEA should ensure that students with disabilities have
access to and make progress in the general curriculum, and are appropriately included in
state accountability systems. IDEA must move from a culture of compliance with process to
a culture of accountability for results. Consequently, IDEA eligibility and compliance
paperwork requirements at the federal level must be streamlined and focused on improving
results for students with disabilities. In return for that rigorous accountability, states and
localities will receive significant annual increases in IDEA funding. This funding would be on
a discretionary basis.


IDEA guarantees the availability of a free appropriate public education for children with
disabilities. Yet the law itself often hampers effective education by requiring vast amounts of
paperwork and substantial procedural requirements for teachers and administrators. IDEA

should be simplified and unnecessary paperwork eliminated by focusing on results. This will
increase the time spent by teachers on teaching and minimize time currently spent on
procedural and non-instructional tasks while still preserving the fundamental rights of
students with disabilities. States should be allowed to submit plans to the Department to
streamline and simplify paperwork while demonstrating compliance.

States and localities should have more flexibility to use federal special education money to
provide direct services for students with disabilities. This will permit states, for example, to
create intrastate risk pools for the highest cost children with disabilities, or to increase
professional development opportunities for teachers, paraeducators, other service personnel
and administrators. In addition, the current process for states to demonstrate their eligibility
to receive IDEA funds must be streamlined and simplified.

Meaningful involvement for parents of students with disabilities should also include earlier
and easier access to alternative dispute resolution. IDEA should expand and improve upon
existing dispute resolution processes through a variety of strategies including improved
mediation practices; allowing mediation to be requested at any time during the dispute
resolution process; and permitting the use of voluntary binding arbitration for both parents
and districts. The law should also simplify the complexities of IDEA's discipline
requirements. Changes would improve school safety while preserving protections for
students with disabilities.


IDEA should target federal education dollars to implement research-based practices that
have been proven to help students with disabilities learn. Half of the more than 6 million
children currently served under IDEA have learning disabilities and about 90 percent of
them exhibit reading difficulties as their primary demonstration of their specific learning
disability. IDEA should ensure the revision of outdated regulations that result in the
misidentification of students as having disabilities because they did not receive appropriate
instruction (in areas such as reading) in their early years. This will help schools focus on
identification practices that promote earlier intervention, dramatically reducing the
misidentification of students with learning disabilities.

More broadly, IDEA should ensure that schools, local education agencies, state education
agencies and the Federal Department of Education quickly adopt research and evidence-
based practices. OSERS research and training activities should be aligned with the work of
the Department's Institute of Education Sciences. Additionally, information should be
provided to families and teachers on effective programs based on rigorous research,
including requiring the federally funded parent training centers to educate parents about
effective research that improves results for students with disabilities. IDEA should also
reflect the research principles outlined by the President's Commission on Excellence in
Special Education while adhering to the standards for high quality research established by
the Education Sciences Reform Act of 2002.


A core principle of IDEA is identifying and serving all children with disabilities regardless of
the type of school they attend--traditional public, public charter, private, and parochial.
IDEA currently empowers parents of children with disabilities to participate in the selection
of schools and services for their children and where those services will be provided. For
instance, IDEA permits parents to move their child out of a special education program to the

private program of their choice if an IEP team agrees the child would be more appropriately
served in such a program.

Yet too often these choices for students with disabilities are limited by arbitrary decisions.
IDEA should expand opportunities to help parents, schools, and teachers choose appropriate
services and programs for children with disabilities, including the charter and private schools
of their choice. States should then measure and report academic achievement results for all
students benefiting from IDEA funds, regardless of what schools they choose to attend.


IDEA Support Site -
The National Center for Learning Disabilities (NCLD), New York, NY, recently launched an e-
advocacy site,, to generate grassroots support for the Individuals
with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). The site purpose is to educate parents and others on
the upcoming reauthorization of IDEA and includes strong advocacy tools, such as ready-to-
send letters for government officials and media outlets across the country.


Weekly Montana Legislative Diary (
Diary #15

Well, the budget committee wrapped up their work on the DPHHS budget today. I will give
you a run down on where we are and where we go from here. I'm sure that you will see,
after reading this report, that we still have a great deal of work to do! There are also a
couple of "dangling issues" that the committee may come back together is address.

The Remaining budget cuts from the Governor's budget in the Disabilities Services Division
(DSD) are as follows:

     •   Elimination of Visual Services Medical - $84,834 each year of the biennium
     •   32% reduction in Extended Employment - $270,639 each year of biennium
     •   Elimination of Independent Living parity - $228,766 each year of the biennium
     •   Elimination of the Donated Dental Service - $25,000 each year of the biennium

The plan that the committee agreed upon would restore all of these cuts through the use of
money from a new State Special Revenue account called the Prevention and Stabilization
Account (PSA). This is how the PSA would be structured

     •   To offset the cuts in DSD and other areas in DPHHS, the PSA will need to receive $32
         million in revenue each year of the biennium
     •   These are the potential revenue sources for the PSA:

         1) Tobacco tax of at least 41 cents per pack of cigarettes and a 25% increase on
the wholesale tax for snuff. The bills that are currently working their way through the
Legislature that raise the tobacco taxes are: SB 351 by Sen. Cobb; House Bill 204 by Rep.
Lawson; HB 355 by Rep. Newman; HB 413 by Rep. Erickson. Sen. Cobb's bill is currently in
the Senate Taxation Committee and the 3 House bills have been assigned to a special

tobacco subcommittee through the House Taxation Committee. All of these bills have been
through one public hearing and we have testified as proponents for all of them.

        2) House Bill 722 would create a "bed tax" on the Montana Developmental Center
and Eastmont. The money raised through this assessment would be matched against
Medicaid to leverage the revenue received. It is anticipated that the bed tax would be
about 5.5%.

         3) House Bill 727 would change the mission of Eastmont. It isn't at all clear what
Eastmont's mission would change to, but it is anticipated the DPHHS would save about $3 -
4 million over the biennium through this action.

        4) LC* 2133 would re-allocate tobacco prevention money from the Tobacco
Settlement for 2 years. These proceeds would go into the PSA.

        5) LC* 2154 would place a bed-tax on the Montana Mental Health Nursing Care
Center similar to the one discussed above for MDC and Eastmont.

         6) LC* 2164 would implement additional refinancing through the DPHHS
refinancing unit.

* The "LC" stands for Legislative Council. Before a bill is introduced, it is given an LC
number. After it is introduced, it gets a bill number.

You can see that there are an enormous number of factors that need to come together to
make this plan work. One of the good aspects of this plan is that, as you can see above,
most of its major parts will be implemented through bills that will have to work their way
through the Legislature. This means that we will have at least 2 opportunities to testify for
each bill and other opportunities to "lobby" legislators to support these bills. As I mentioned
above, we certainly have our work cut out for us, but, at least, we will have some concrete
objectives to work on.

Note: As I have mentioned previously, the reductions to Supported Living, Community
Supports and the Provider rate were all taken care of by refinancing in the Developmental
Disabilities Program.

At the end of this week, the Legislature will take what is known as the "transmittal break".
This means that the Senate and House will have short meetings on Friday and then will be
on break until next Wednesday. (Actually, next Thursday as Wednesday will be a very breif
day for both houses). This break is the mid-point in the Legislature and is the deadline for
all general bills to be transferred to the opposite house. Any bills left in committees when
this break starts are "dead".

Just to catch you up on some other bills we have been working on, here is a list of a few
other bills that Jani and/or I have testified as proponents for:

House Bill 616 - This bill deals with Qualified Charitable Endowment Tax Credit. This bills
was heard in the House Taxation Committee last week. What it does is bring the this tax
credit back to the original level that it was at before last August's special session, i.e., 40%
for a maximum of $10,000 for an individual and 20% for a maximum of $10,000 for a

House Bill 150 - This bill exempts families from wage and hour laws when paying respite
workers. This bill was heard last Friday in the Senate Health, Welfare and Safety
committee. The bill was unanimously approved by the committee and will be heard on the
Senate floor after the transmittal break.

House Bill 698 - This bill by Rep. Kim Gillan was heard today in the House Human Services
Committee. This bill would establish in law an Advisory Committee for Traumatic Brain
Injury. The primary purpose for this committee would be to educate and raise awareness
about TBI. The committe would be funded by a "check off" on care registrations. A person
registering a vehicle could indicate that they wanted $1 or more to go to the TBI advisory
counsel. No action was taken on this bill.

House Bill 452 - This is the bill that creates a special revenue account for developmental
disabilities that would be funded by donations. A donor could receive a tax credit for money
contributed. This bill came out of the House Taxation committee and is waiting for second
reading on the House floor. Because this is a revenue bill, it probably won't be acted upon
until after the transmittal break.

Well, there is more than a little information for you to mull over. There are a few more
items that I would like to share with you from the budget committee, but I will wait until
Wednesday to send those out. It certainly don't want anyone to suffer from "information
over-load", even though this is a daily occurrence up here!

as ever, Wally Melcher

Diary #16

 Well, things are moving at a fever pitch at the Legislature. Both the House and the Senate
spent the whole day in floor sessions trying to work through bills and get them to the
opposite house by Friday. Those bills that didn't come out of committees are essentially
dead. Revenue and appropriations bills are not subject to this deadline. The Legislature will
be in recess from Friday at approximately Noon until next Wednesday (Wednesday will also
be a very light legislative day).

Here are a couple of things that came out of our budget committee that I hadn't talked to
you about or haven't followed up with you on. Last week, the Developmental Disabilities
program presented a plan to the committee that would refinance some of the Children's
services with Medicaid. The group that this would be aimed at are those kids in Family
Education and Support (FES) who are currently funded with state money. The DDP reported
to the committee that approximately 60% of these kids were Medicaid eligible or could be.
We expressed a little bit of concern to the committee that 60% may be high. The
committee settled on a percentage between 40 and 45. If this plan works, it could generate
$1 million in general fund and still maintain these services at their current level. The
committee took the million dollars and used it in their larger refinancing plan to avoid
making any of the cuts to DPHHS in Gov. Martz' budget.

The ever-present issue of DD eligibility re-appeared on Monday. The committee agreed that
they did not want to implement a financial criteria or a co-payment system for a person to
eligible for DD services. With some encouragement from the LFA, however, the committee
was concerned that the right for the state to determine DD eligibility be in state statute and
that in the same statute the state reserve the right to provide services to individuals with

the most intensive needs first should financial resources dwindle even more. No one could
say for sure if the state did actually have statutory authority to set eligibility criteria. It was
decided that, independently, the Legislator's chief legal counsel and DPPHS's chief legal
counsel would review this issue. When these two opinions are rendered, the committee
may re-convene for a short meeting to decide if anything needs to be done with eligibility.
All in all we, were able to fend off what could have been some pretty onerous actions that
would have accompanied more exclusive eligibility standards such as means testing and co-
payments. Thanks to all of you who sent messages on this issue.

I just received the schedule for how the House Appropriations committee will proceed with
its work on the budget:

Friday, March 7th:
> Global Amendments
> Section A
> Section D
> Section E
> Section B
> Section C
> Boiler Plate

We are in Section B so it could take a couple of days for the Appropriations committee to
get to us. As this committee reviews our budget, they will look at every decision that our
budget committee made regarding our funding. Obviously, they will do it in a much quicker
fashion that was done by the subcommittee. As they review the budget, any member on
the committee can make motions to change any part of the budget and it isn't uncommon
for this to happen. Typically, there is no public testimony at these hearings and folks, other
than the committee members, are not allowed to speak. As this process goes forward, we
will need to communicate with Appropriations committee members in the halls and through
messages, emails, phone calls, etc. Jani and I will be monitoring this process very carefully
and will communicate critical information to you as quickly as possible.

There is still a huge political game going on in our Legislature. The Republicans are still
insisting that the major solution to our financial crisis, other than budget cuts, is to take
money from the Coal Trust Fund. Democrats still insist that there are a number of other
revenue sources that are untapped (these are mostly tax initiatives). House Bill 74, by Rep.
Dave Lewis, is the bill that would dip into the Coal Trust. If was hotly debated on the House
Floor for 2 hours yesterday. The result was that the Republicans saw that they
weren't going to get the required 75% vote and voted in stead to send the bill back to
House Appropriations for "more work". It is frustrating that these arguments go on and our
futures hang in the balance. I'm sure that as the legislative days tick away, folks will get
more serious. I strongly encourage you to talk to your local legislators while they
are home for transmittal break and to challenge them to come back to Helena
ready to work cooperatively with the other party to come up with some creative
and positive decisions that don't harm our citizens most in need.

We all need to catch some rest in the next few days and get ready for the second half. The
decision making will become much more definitive and our ability to affect decisions will get
more challenging. As I have mentioned in previous reports, we have a great deal of work
ahead of us and the future is far from clear. I will be back in touch with you about the
middle of next week.

as ever, Wally Melcher


Sign Language Training in Missoula, Montana
May 16, 17 & 18         Friday, Saturday and Sunday
For more information and to register please visit the web site:
This training is designed for all abilities - Beginner to Interpreter. Participants are taught in
small groups based on their skill and comfort level. Instructors fly in from other states to
provide excellent instruction in a fun and friendly manner.
Teachers, Speech Therapists, Parents, Siblings, Paras, OTs, PTs, Administrators, Students,
Friends, Family Members, Grandparents, Part C Providers, Babysitters, Early Intervention
Specialists, Audiologists and anyone with an interest in sign language are encouraged to
Register early and reserve your hotel rooms because U of M graduation is that same
weekend. Hotel information is provided at the registration website and blocks of room have
been set aside.
Go to Click on "Skillshops". Scroll down past the 'Weeklong Skill
Shops' to the 'In-depth Weekend Skillshops'. Find the training listed for Missoula, MT May
16, 17 & 18. All the information is there. Scroll to the end for a registration form.


Web Courses Free for Parents of Children with Autistic Spectrum Disorders
       On-line web courses for parents of children with Autistic Spectrum Disorders available
free of charge. Make sure to register on the parents’ page,
and not the regular page so that you can access the courses for free.
       The Doug Flutie, Jr. Foundation for Autism, Inc. is an organization established by
professional football player Doug Flutie and his wife, Laurie Flutie, in the name of their son,
as their life-long commitment to make a difference in the lives of children with autism and
their families. WebED works in partnership with DFJ Foundation to develop and maintain a
curriculum surrounding the subject of autism. National experts, educators, and leaders in
the field of autism are providing content for these WebED courses.
Contributing WebED authors in this series include:
Dr. Gary Heffner, Carolyn A. Woodman, Catherine Giles Stecher, Abby Ward Collins and
Sibley J. Collins. Each time a course is taken by an educator or administrator, a royalty will
be donated to the Doug Flutie, Jr. Foundation for Autism, Inc. Parents of children with
autism may register and take courses in this subject area at no cost, but will not receive
certificates of completion for this coursework.
These courses are available at no cost to parents of children with autism. Visit to register for the series.


Educational Decision Making Should Be Empirically Driven, Not Driven by Intuition
or Tarot Card Reading By Bill Matthew, Special Ed Director / School Psychologist
Dr. Bill Matthew, director of special education in Delano, California, offers a memorable
description of educational decision-making and effective educational programs:
“We can train Shamu, but we can't train a kid to be compliant or to read? Give me a break!"
"Educational decision-making should be empirically driven - not driven by intuition (or tarot
card reading), which is part and parcel of much psychology, especially assessment."

Dr. Matthew offers advice about tests & testing:
* Age & grade equivalents

* Subtest scatter
* Inappropriate use of projective tests
* Use of psychometrically sound tests
Dr. Matthew expresses concerns about education, treatment and advocacy for kids with
emotional disorders. Read “We Can Train Shamu! Effective Educational Programs, Testing,
and Advocacy” by Bill Matthew:


As a parent, you must make sure that all areas of possible need are assessed as quickly as
possible. While some parents would rather not allow their school system to evaluate their
child, a refusal to cooperate at this stage of the process can backfire . . . "
Read “What You Should Know About Evaluations” by parent attorney Bob Crabtree:
For more info and articles about Tests, Assessments & Evaluations, go to:


Before you read these articles by Aimee Gilman, be warned. As Aimee says, "If you are
among those humor- challenged individuals who believe THERE IS ABSOLUTELY NOTHING
FUNNY ABOUT DISABILITIES, then I urge you to stop now and go back to biting your nails
down to your elbows. I understand how you feel."
Aimee is an attorney who represents kids with disabilities and the parent of a child with a
disability. She is also very funny.
Read "The Lighter Side of Special Education: About Parents & Kids
About the IEP:
The Due Process hearing:


For news, progress reports, and other information about legal developments,
reauthorization and IDEA, please visit our IDEA Reauthorization Page:
To learn more about these issues, including reports, surveys and recommendations about
how the IDEA statute may be changed, please visit our IDEA Resources page:


Internet Resource for Special Children
The IRSC web site is dedicated to children with disabilities and other health related
disorders worldwide. The mission is to improve the lives of children by:
    • Providing valuable information to parents, family members, caregivers, friends,
       educators, and medical professionals who provide them services and support

     •   Creating positive changes and enhancing public awareness and knowledge of children
         with disabilities and other health related disorders
     •   Providing Online Communities - a place where you can ask questions or connect with
         other people who may have the same questions, thoughts, and/or experiences
     •   Providing access to recent news articles and books
     •   Acting as a central starting point that integrates information, resources, and
         communication opportunities


Disability Resources for Montana
A "wonderfully well-organized site ... for cutting through the morass of disability-related
material on the Web" -- Encyclopedia Britannica Internet Guide


New Federal Survey Confirms Disability Gaps
Previous National Organization on Disability/Harris surveys have documented gaps in
participation between persons with and without disabilities in various areas of life. Now a
new government survey confirms those findings. Differences in surveying methods make it
difficult to compare them in detail, but the government survey definitely supports the
findings of the 2000 N.O.D./Harris Survey of Americans with Disabilities: people with
disabilities are less likely than the non-disabled to participate in a wide range of significant
social activities.

The complete article, written by Dr. Gerry Hendershot, NOD Senior Research Advisor, can
be found at:


An Alterative to Disposable Diapers Developed for Children with Special Needs
Zyflex has developed a new line of reusable undergarments specifically for Children with
Special Needs. "Drymids™" ranges in size between 30 lbs - 200 lbs, and is designed to look
and feel like "regular underwear". The patented fabric is used on the sides and portions of
the front and back, giving the garments the stretch of disposable diapers, without all the
bulk and noise. Coming in a basic pull-up, boxer short, double front (wheelchair user) and
belted (one size fits all) styles, these reusable undergarments can save families up to $100
per month. Prices range from $10 - $13. Each Drymid's Undergarment contains a "Pocket
Sling™" which holds a reusable or disposable pad in place directly next to the skin. The pad
can be replaced at anytime.
For more information, visit the Drymids™ website at or call toll
free 1-866-DRYMIDS (379-6437).


National Center for Learning Disabilities is the official Web site of the National Center for Learning Disabilities (NCLD). As
NCLD celebrates its 25th anniversary, strives to be an effective, easy-to-use
resource for people seeking authoritative information on learning disabilities (LD).


Alternatives for Special Kids Conference
Complementary, integrative, and alternative solutions for children with physical,
neurological, and cognitive challenges.
This conference is May 8-11, 2003 in Irvine, California.


Resources on Olmstead and the New Freedom Commission
Olmstead Decision
The Supreme Court’s Olmstead v. L.C. decision of 1999 had major implications for
consumers, multiple state and federal agencies, and health care providers. The Center for
Health Care Strategies has published a series of reports that explore key policy issues
arising from the decision. To review the reports:

New Freedom Commission
This report from the President’s New Freedom Commission on Mental Health addresses both
children’s and adult’s mental health issues and highlights a variety of model programs.


Labor Problems Do Not Cause Most Cerebral Palsy, Study Finds
Despite widespread belief among both doctors and lay people that cerebral palsy results
from lack of oxygen to the baby's brain during labor and delivery, a new report says that
birth asphyxia alone accounts for 10 percent of cases at most. The study found that the vast
majority of children who develop cerebral palsy experience prenatal problems, including
maternal infections, clotting disorders and strokes, that damage the developing brain long
before labor begins. The findings were described at a news conference in Albany held by the
New York division of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, which has
been concerned about the growing unwillingness of doctors to practice obstetrics because of
litigation risks, skyrocketing jury awards and soaring rates of malpractice insurance.
Read the complete article by following the link above.


Free, Webcasts on Issues in Augmentative/Alternative Communication (AAC)
The Kornreich Technology Center is hosting a series of free, web-only programs on issues in
augmentative/alternative communication (AAC). You can access these presentations from
any internet-enabled computer. Watch and listen as experts in the field share their
knowledge and experience on a wide range of topics. During each live webcast, viewers are
encouraged to join in the discussion in the "chat room."
Upcoming topic:
Social Networks: An assessment and intervention-planning tool for individuals with complex
communication needs and their communication partners - Live Webcast (3/27/03)


A new website has been developed by the Government’s Interagency Committee on
Disability Research (ICDR) to gather comments and recommendations on research needs for
Americans with disabilities, the U.S. Department of Education announced.
The Committee, chaired by Steven James Tingus, Director of the Education Department’s
National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research (NIDRR), produced the site to
help ensure that federal research efforts meet the needs of the disability community. The
website can be found at:
Upon opening the homepage, the reader sees in bold letters “Send your comments to the
ICDR.” Clicking that link takes the reader to a comment form where individuals may offer
their ideas about access to technology, education, employment, community life, health care
and other needs.


Did you know you have a right to know the qualifications of your child's teachers and
paraprofessionals? Under the No Child Left behind Act, your school district must advise you
of your right to information about the qualifications of your child's teachers and
paraprofessionals. Is a substitute teacher teaching your child? If an unqualified person
teaches your child for four consecutive weeks, your school district must notify you. This
requirement applies to substitute teachers, many of whom do not meet "highly qualified"
requirements. [Source: NCLB, Title I, Section 1111(h)(6)]
Learn about the new parents' right to know the qualifications of child's teachers:
Also, view the February 1, 2003 issue of The Achiever: No Child Left Behind Newsletter:


Show teaches tips for cooking without looking By Frank Cerabino
The Palm Beach Post, February 25, 2003
At first, I thought it was some kind of joke. A television cooking show for the blind called
Cooking without Looking -- taped in front of a studio audience of people who are blind or
visually impaired. It sounded ... dangerous. "We're trying to break a lot of stereotypes
about blind people," the TV pilot's creator, Renee Rentmeester, told me. A couple of years
ago, Rentmeester, who is not blind, discovered a chat line for blind cooks on the Internet.
The Miami woman figured that a cooking show for the blind was a concept novel enough to
try. And so this is it. There's a bit of irreverence, and some self-deprecating fun here, right
down to the name of the production company: Third Degree Berns Films.
To read the complete article, go to:


Upcoming Conferences:
The Rehabilitation Research and Training Center on Health and Wellness Consortium, the
National Rehabilitation Hospital Center for Health and Disability Research, and the Institute
on Disability and Human Development at the University of Illinois at Chicago will jointly

sponsor the Changing Concepts of Health and Disability Conference. The purpose of the
conference is to examine innovative research and current trends in health and wellness for
people with disabilities and to identify future directions in research, training and policy. The
conference will be held at the Hyatt Regency Bethesda, Bethesda, MD. For more

This national conference is presented by the Association for the Education of Underachieving
Students (AEGUS), Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS) and Montgomery College
(MC) and held at the University of Maryland, Shady Grove Campus, Rockville, MD.
For more information:

This international conference at the Radisson Hotel, Orlando, FL will feature the most
current research findings and successful applications of positive behavior support. It will
also offer professionals and families state-of-the-art information on supporting individuals
with challenging behaviors. For more information:


TestTalker Now Available
Freedom Scientific's Learning Systems Group launched a new software program designed to
help individuals be more successful with taking tests, completing worksheets and studying.
TestTalker is a software solution that displays a scanned, talking version of tests,
worksheets and other forms using a simultaneous auditory and visual presentation.
For more information on TestTalker, or to obtain a demo CD, please call 1-888-223-3344,
extension 119, or send an email to

This information has been sent from:

Parent's, Let's Unite for Kids - PLUK
516 N 32nd St
Billings MT 59101-6003
406.255.0540; 406.255.0523 (fax)


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