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News stories tagged with "disabilities"

McHugh: someone denied soldiers benefits help

North Country Congressman John McHugh wants to know who tried to prevent Fort Drum soldiers from getting help with their disability benefits. National Public Radio broke the story Tuesday. The story said instructors from the Department of Veterans Affairs - the VA - used to help soldiers at Fort Drum summarize their disabilities so they could get better benefits. But reporter Ari Shapiro found that help was now being denied. In a press release, the Army disputed NPR's story. It said it didn't tell the VA to stop helping soldiers. Congressman McHugh says he trying to find out who did. David Sommerstein reports.  Go to full article

Disability on the Farm

This week we're hearing audio diaries. Today's is a part of our year-long series Disability Matters, looking at the issues facing people with disabilities in the North Country. Ann Bennett and her husband, Brian, are organic farmers in Heuvelton. They sell chickens and eggs, vegetables and herbs under the name Bittersweet Farm. They have two children, 11-year-old Katherine and 8-year-old Carl. Ann has a form of muscular dystrophy and arthritis. Her condition has gotten worse in recent years. Before, she walked through the fields and gardens. Now she uses an electric wheelchair with big sturdy wheels to get around the farm. Ann prepared this audio diary about the transition.  Go to full article

Are Schools Making the Special Ed Grade?

This week, we've thought a lot about special education. About mainstreaming and inclusion. About how schools and families struggle to fulfill the mandate of federal law: that all students must receive the best education possible, in the least restrictive setting possible. The pathways vary from student to student, school district to school district. It's hard to say this is right, that is wrong. But this IS school, in an era of standardized measurement, and accountability. Parallel to all the tests kids take is another set of measurements tracking how schools are doing. It's based on outcomes. How the clients did... the kids. Martha Foley spoke with Robert Shepherd, who's leading research into outcomes in New York State.  Go to full article
10-year-olds Erin Allen and Sydney Freed became fast friends during "Fabulous Friends with Flying Fingers" rehearsals.
10-year-olds Erin Allen and Sydney Freed became fast friends during "Fabulous Friends with Flying Fingers" rehearsals.

A Show of Hands: Kids Learn Sign Language and Disability Awareness

Deaf theater has been around in grassroots and small-scale forms since the early 1900's, mostly with performances based out of deaf schools and cultural centers. The "Fabulous Friends with Flying Fingers" is a Glens Falls sign language entertainment group comprised of deaf, hard of hearing and hearing students from the southern Adirondacks and Saratoga regions. Over the last few years, the group has been busy entertaining audiences, young and old. As Todd Moe reports, for one family, it's enriched the life of their hearing-impaired child.  Go to full article

Transition After School: Knowing Yourself

While children with disabilities are in special education, they're also preparing for what educators call "the transition" - what they'll do after they graduate from high school, or when they turn 21. By law, the transition process starts at age 12. School counselors ask the student what they want to do, what they like and don't like. The same questions are asked parents and teachers. By the time the student is 16, a written transition plan lays a roadmap for the child future schooling, job, and housing. David Sommerstein visited Alexandria Bay high school to see the transition process in action. At its best, transition does more than help students go to college or get a job. It's a carefully monitored path of self-discovery that teaches the student to know what kind of help they need and how to get it.  Go to full article

Amber's Diary: First Job after High School

In the first installment of our Disability Matters series we heard the story of Amber Triese. She was moving into a group home in Potsdam. Amber is 22 years old. She graduated from high school last year. She's cognitively impaired and legally blind. In high school she interned with Building Blocks, a pre-school program in Potsdam. A few months ago, they hired her to work part-time as a teacher's aide. She recorded this on-the-job audio diary for us.  Go to full article

Taking Disabilities to College

To learn more about how that transition continues on campus, David Sommerstein spoke with two mortuary science students at SUNY Canton. Lacy Galusha is from Moriah. She has mild learning disabilities. Working with numbers and lots of information at once are especially difficult. Ashley Yaffie is from the Rochester area. She gets anxiety and freezes when she takes tests. David asked them first to describe what high school was like for them. Lacy started.  Go to full article
Wil Hansen
Wil Hansen

Disability Matters: The Sunshine School

Wil Hansen has spastic diplegic Cerebral Palsy. He walks with crutches, wears braces most of the time, and uses a wheelchair in places like shopping malls and airports and so on. When he was a pre-schooler, he entered the Sunshine School in San Diego. The students--all with disabilities--ranged in age from Pre School to high school. Some older kids attended the local community college. The school was a one-stop shop for education and support services. Kids received physical, speech and occupational therapy. California Crippled Children Association, as it was known then, operated medical clinics out of the school. In 1970 there was no standard policy for special ed. Though staff at the Sunshine may not have realized it, they were developing procedure, creating a foundation for many of the practices and mandates in place today. But according to Wil, that wasn't the most important thing about The Sunshine School.

Wil Hansen lives in Canton. He is publisher of Cerebralpress.com, an online news digest focusing on stories about living with disabilities.  Go to full article

Alex's Story: Inclusion With Autism

Autism is a nureological disorder. It typically appears in the first 3 years of a child's life. People with autism typically have language difficulties and trouble relating to other people. They have an obsessive need for things to stay the same. Alex Smith is 15 years old. He's a sophmore at Canton high school. When he was in elementary school he had a one-on-one aide, an adult always by his side. But Canton is one school with a long history of inclusion, of involving students with disabilities as much as possible in regular ed classes. Alex's story is one of increasing independence.  Go to full article

Sorting Through Special Ed

This week, we've heard stories of students in special education in New York State--all different: inclusion, mainstreaming, self-contained. How does one student end up in general education classes, and another in a special classroom? Is there a right, or a wrong, way of special education? Andrew Pulrang is executive director of the Independent living Center in Plattsburgh. He is an advocate for people with disabilities. He has a physical disability himself. And he's got first hand experience of schools in New York, and Washington State. He spoke with Martha Foley.  Go to full article

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