Speaking out for People with
 Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities

Recognizing that every person with special needs has unique strengths, abilities and needs, VOR supports a full array of educational and residential options. We are the only national organization supporting a full array of educational and residential options. We hope that the resources in this section provide families some help and guidance as they work to secure for their children all necessary services and supports.

Our Nation's Children At Risk: A State-by-State Report on Early Intervention

Easter Seals new report (2011) -- Our Nation’s Children at Risk: A State-by-State Report on Early Intervention -- gives us a sense for how well each state takes care of its youngest children with disabilities and delays. The fact is: infants and toddlers in nearly every state continue to fall behind, many will never catch up. Yet, with the right investment in treatment and therapy before the age of five, we can change the state of early intervention for millions of families across the country.

Special Education Help Centers Get $5 Million Boost

Disability Scoop
August 12, 2011

A series of centers across the country designed to help parents find their way in the special education system are getting a lift from the federal government. A total of 19 parent training and information centers located in 13 states and Puerto Rico will each get a piece of more than $5 million worth of funding, according to the U.S. Department of Education. With the new grants, there are now 91 federally-funded centers tasked with helping parents of children with disabilities, including at least one in each state, officials said. The new funding will help support centers in Alaska, Alabama, Colorado, Florida, Kentucky, Maryland, Maine, North Dakota, Nebraska, Nevada, New York, Puerto Rico, Vermont and Wisconsin.


The Fundamentals of Special Education: What Parents Need to Know

By Timothy A. Adams, Esq.
July 11, 2010

Federal law defines special education as specifically designed instruction, at no cost to the parent, designed to meet the unique needs of a child with disabilities. Instruction can include classroom and home instruction as well as instruction provided in hospitals and institutions. The Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act (IDEA) guarantees a Free Appropriate Public Education (FAPE) to all children who are eligible for and receive special education up to age 21 years.

The Fundamentals of Special Education: What Parents Need to Know,” by special education attorney, Timothy Adams, will provide information about the special education process, from determining eligibility for special education to developing, implementing and enforcing the Individualized Education Program (IEP) for eligible children.


Does Full Inclusion Violate Federal Law?

About the Author: Bev Johns is currently the Chair of the Illinois Special Education Coalition, a coalition of both parent and educator organizations interested in the education and welfare of students with disabilities. Ms. Johns has been a long time advocate for services for students with disabilities, having served as chair for governmental relation committees for a number of volunteer state and national organizations.

Does Full Inclusion Violate Federal Law?

Author:  Bev Johns
rev. August, 2010

We face an increasing problem of a local school or school district adopting a philosophy of "full inclusion."  For the following reasons "full inclusion" violates Federal law and Federal regulations, despite some school administrators saying all students with disabilities have the "right" to full inclusion in the regular classroom.

Focus on Special Education

VOR's February 20, 2004 edition of the Weekly E-Mail Updated focused on Special Education. Offered was a collection of articles and other resources for families of children with special needs. Specifically,

  1. About this issue: Special Education
  2. VOR Position on Special Education: Choices for a lifetime; Options for all
  3. Laws and Special Education
  4. Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA)
  5. Does "Full Inclusion" Violate Federal Law?
  6. Don't Take Sides on Inclusion
  7. No Child Left Behind (NCLB)
  8. NCLB Analogy: No Dentist Left Behind
  9. Against full inclusion: Special Ed Suit Is Filed in Orange County (excerpts)
  10. Case for inclusion: Chicago's schools warned on special ed (excerpts)

Special Ed Demand Grows

Schools grapple with degree to which they're responsible for social, as well as academic, skills

By Sara B. Miller | Staff writer of The Christian Science Monitor, August 24, 2004

She was a bright 9-year-old with a high IQ and a flair for creative writing. When she grew anxious and refused to do homework, her parents and school were at a loss. No one considered it a learning disability, until sixth grade when she tried to commit suicide. She was diagnosed with Asperger's Syndrome, a neurological disorder that can interfere with basic social skills.

Still, looking at her academic record, officials in her Maine school district said that while she needed extra support, they saw no reason to place the girl - known as L.I. in court documents - in special education. After all, she'd been able to learn despite her difficulties.

But her parents disagreed with the decision, and have filed a civil rights suit in federal court in Maine.