New Mission

New Mission


My mission is to explore how other countries around the world are dealing with education and special education issues.

I would like to visit and observe different types of schools that have proven records of success, wherever those schools may be. I would like to meet with school directors and administrators, government officials, leaders in the business world, and others who are responsible for implementing education systems or otherwise connected to education to learn more about how education is being addressed in their communities.

If you know of any remarkable schools in other parts of the world (especially special needs schools), please let me know about them. If you know of any education experts who are engaged in remarkable work in this field, please introduce me to them.

Please do not hesitate to share your thoughts or ideas regarding the above. Read more about my mission here.

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Thursday, April 23, 2020

Ben Platt And The Cast Of Dear Evan Hansen Perform You Will Be Found Remotely

The emotional impact that COVID-19 has wrought cannot be understated.  Many people are feeling lost, anxious, and worried about what "the new normal" will look like.

I am diverting from the last few blog posts and posting this simply to provide a moment of diversion.

In our March 26, 2017 blog post, I wrote about the impact that the Broadway show Dear Evan Hansen had on me.  Recently I saw a video of Ben Platt and the cast of Dear Evan Hansen performing the song You Will Be Found remotely (following an intro by James Corden).

This song is particularly apt right now when so many are feeling lost and anxious.  I am sharing it here and hope that it brings you a moment of diversion and joy:


Tuesday, April 21, 2020

Manhattan Psychology Group Offering Family Support For Special Needs Families Dealing With COVID-19

Joshua Rosenthal and the Manhattan Psychology Group are offering a free webinar to help special needs families dealing with COVID-19.

The webinar will be 60 minute long (the last 20 minutes are for Q&A) and topics will include a 2-phase plan for the family, adult & couples self-care, signs of distress in kids, parenting tips to keep the peace, how to increase bravery in kids and tele-CBT for families.

The webinar will be repeated 18 times between April 13th to 26th.

No RSVP is required. You can just follow the directions in the link below to join.

TONIGHT: Free Virtual Parent/Caregiver Workshop: Navigating IEPs and Distance Learning During The COVID-19 Pandemic

Dr. Lauren Tobing-Puente, licensed psychologist, is offering a free video workshop for parents/caregivers tonight from 7:00pm-8:30pm called Navigating IEPs and Distance Learning During the COVID-19 Pandemic.

The workshop will provide strategies and time for general Q&A geared toward families of children with special needs who are experiencing enormous strain as a result of the current situation.

In particular, the following topics will be discussed:
  • Strategies for distance learning (including related services) for children with IEPs
  • The IEP process during the pandemic and how schools are proceeding with applications and placements
  • Strategies for self-care, time management, and balancing school and family life during the pandemic. 
I am enclosing a flyer for parents/caregivers who may be interested:

Free Basic Wills And Health Care Directives For Healthcare Professionals On The Front Lines Of COVID-19

I wanted to share information from a colleague who is offering free basic wills and health care directives to healthcare professionals on the front lines of COVID-19.

You can learn more here:

Monday, April 13, 2020

Take Action Against Stimulus Bill That Threatens To Alter The Rights Of Special Needs Children

In our April 6 blog post we wrote about the stimulus bill (CARES Act) provision that threatens to alter the rights of special needs children and parents during the pandemic.

Some areas that could be affected if waivers are granted pursuant to this provision include a school district's "child find" obligation, procedural timelines, what constitutes a valid IEP meeting, a child's right to a timely IEP meeting and impartial hearing, and compensatory education for this period.

We are writing to emphasize the importance of taking action now to oppose these waivers and speak up about protecting the rights of children with special needs.

You can take action by contacting Senators Charles Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand, as well as your representative in the House of Representatives, to tell them to protect the civil rights of children with disabilities.

Your message should state the following:
  1. No waivers are needed to IDEA (as IDEA already contains significant flexibility)
  2. Congress needs to provide additional funding to states so that they can meet the needs of students with disabilities during this pandemic.
For your reference, I am including a message from the Council of Parent Attorneys and Advocates (COPAA) here. You can use similar language in your email or write your own.



Below are links for you to follow to contact the appropriate individuals:
Ask your relatives, friends, and colleagues to contact Congress as well to maximize the impact of our efforts to protect the rights of children with special needs.

Monday, April 6, 2020

Stimulus Bill Threatens To Alter The Rights Of Special Needs Children

The stimulus bill provision that was reported by COPAA to have been withdrawn as per our 3/23 blog post found its way back into the bill.  The provision threatens to alter the rights of special needs children and parents during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. 

You may have seen the 4/4 NY Times article summarizing the issue and what's at stake.  I am enclosing a link to the NY Times article here

The passage of the new federal law with this problematic provision could result in U.S. Secretary Betsy DeVos waiving special education rules (particularly those under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act) as school districts struggle to educate children during the ongoing crisis. 

Secretary DeVos has 30 days from the law's passage to ask Congress for the authority for waivers from the IDEA. 

We are continuing to monitor the situation and will provide further updates soon.