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.

Search This Blog

Friday, June 19, 2020

The Impact Of The Pandemic On Special Needs Children

I wanted to share a recent article from the New York Times about the impact the pandemic is having on special needs children.  Some of the points mentioned in the article are concerns that our clients have expressed recently to our firm.  

For example, this week I spoke with a client about her child's poor immune system and the heightened risk of complications from COVID-19 if he were to return to school.  A few days prior to that I spoke with a client whose child has been engaging in self-injurious behaviors due to frustration from remote learning.  

Our hearts go out to families who are grappling with these issues.  We are continuing to guide our clients about options they could be exploring to address their children's needs during this time of crisis and to lessen the harmful effects of the pandemic on their children's development.  

If you would like to discuss your particular circumstances and explore what you could or should be doing from a legal standpoint please feel free to contact our office for further guidance.  

Thursday, June 11, 2020

Public Hearing #2 On Proposed Amendments To Commissioner’s Regulations Today At 10AM

Our May 18 blog post addressed the first of two public hearings on the proposed amendments to Sections 200.1 and 200.5 of the Commissioner’s regulations relating to special education Impartial Hearing Officers (IHOs) and the special education due process system procedures.  

Public Hearing #2 will occur this morning at 10:00.  Here is the relevant information for anyone who would like to join: 

Public Hearing on the Proposed Amendments to Sections 200.1 and 200.5 of the Commissioner’s Regulations Relating to Special Education Impartial Hearing Officers and the Special Education Due Process System Procedures

  • This communication is to inform you that the public hearing scheduled for 10:00 a.m. on June 11, 2020 on the proposed amendments to sections 200.1 and 200.5 of the Commissioner’s Regulations relating to Special Education Impartial Hearing Officers and the Special Education Due Process System Procedures (see Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, I.D. No. EDU-11-20-00013-P, published in the ­March 18, 2020 State Register) will be held via Webex

  • The June 11, 2020, 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. meeting can be accessed by Webex with the Meeting number (access code): 804 135 862 Meeting password: 29AYbBVwkA2 or by phone at 1-844-633-8697 (US Toll Free) or 1-518-549-0500 (Local) with the access code 804 135 862.

  • The purpose of this hearing is to obtain public comment on the proposed regulations relating to special education due process and impartial hearing officer qualifications in the New York City special education due process system that were discussed at January 2020 and March 2020 Board of Regents meetings. The hearing is not a training or question and answer session.

  • Data, views or arguments may be submitted until June 16, 2020 to: Christopher Suriano, Office of Special Education, NYS Education Department, 89 Washington Avenue, 301M EB, Albany, NY 12234, (518) 473-4818, email:

  • Questions may be directed to the Office of Special Education at 518-473-2878 or

Tuesday, June 9, 2020

School Districts May Be Permitted To Re-Open This Summer For In-Person Special Education Instruction

Governor Cuomo has issued an Executive Order stating that necessary, in-person special education instruction may be provided in New York State this summer.

Based on what we've gleaned so far the order just states that school districts may choose to re-open provided that they comply with applicable federal and state guidance.  

The order does not distinguish between school districts (the NYCDOE, for example, would have greater challenges re-opening than school districts outside NYC) and we don't have any further information yet regarding how the NYCDOE will choose to proceed in light of Governor Cuomo's order.

For further reading, check out these articles from Chalkbeat and the NY Post.  

We are continuing to monitor the situation and will provide further updates as more information becomes available.  

Wednesday, June 3, 2020

IDEAL School Of Manhattan Launches Next Steps Transition Program

Today I participated in an information session regarding the Next Steps Transition Program that the IDEAL School of Manhattan is launching in the fall.

Next Steps is a one, two, or three year program for students aged 18-21 who require additional support to become more independent before transitioning to adulthood whether that may mean higher learning, supportive employment, or something else.

This is particularly exciting for me because helping special needs children transition to adulthood is a mission that has been close to my heart since my 2013 visit to the Ann Sullivan Center, a private special education school in Lima, Peru (see our firm's December 8, 2013 blog post for details).

Here are some of the highlights of the Next Steps program based on today's presentation:

  • Skills Training  
    • Individualized programming and goals to help students achieve successful outcomes 
    • Student-interest driven programming to increase academic, social, vocational readiness
    • Greater independence by engaging in community activities

  • Student-Run Business (i.e., "School Store")
    • Focus on planning, purchasing, succeeding as a business, advertising, managing inventory, customer service skills, operating cash register 
    • Work on social skills, mathematics, and developing regular and meaningful customer relationships 

  • Internships 
    • Career-interest assessment to determine students interest and strengths and match students with internships based on their interests and strengths 
    • Transition support professionals ("job coaches") provided at internship sites 
    • Opportunities to practice work-related social skills 

  • Academic Classes 
    • Personal Finance 
      • School store, banking, shopping, personal finances, making bank deposits/withdrawals, real-life functional math skills 
    • Literacy & Communication
      • Current events, topical discussions, public speaking, resume writing, presentations, writing emails and letters  
    • Daily Living Skills 
      • Maintaining a household, hygiene, other activities part of one's daily routine 
    • Fitness
    • Nutrition & Health
    • Travel 
    • Community Time 
    • Technology & Coding
    • Self-advocacy 
    • Visual Art / Performance Art

The program will be open to both private pay families in instances where a student has received a high school diploma as well as students who may be eligible for funding pursuant to the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA)   

Feel free to contact our office if you would like to find out if tuition funding may be available to you through your local school district based on your rights pursuant to the IDEA, or if you would like to discuss your particular circumstances further.

You can access more information about the Next Steps transition program on the school's website.