Oct 28, 2018, Bridgeport, CT Post: Oxford parents’ group unsatisfied with special education programs https://www.ctpost.com/local/article/Oxford-parents-group-unsatisfied-with-special-13342320.php Oxford, CT: Heidi Kolvig always thought highly of the Oxford school system. Her first two kids been breezing through with no problems. In fact, they’ve been challenged with a slew of honors and Advanced Placement classes, she said. Not so with her youngest, who has special needs. “When it comes to my young guy, it’s been a disaster,” said Kolvig. She is not alone in that opinion. A growing number of parents have come forward to challenge the special education services offered in this small residential community of about 1,850 students in western New Haven County. Oxford Advocates for Special Education now boasts a membership of more than 100 parents. Enrollment - 1,850 Students identified with disabilities: 235 or 12.7 percent Most prevalent disabilities: Learning Disability (including dyslexia), 77; Speech impairment, 47; Autism, 33; Attention Deficit, 32; Emotional disturbance, 13; Intellectually Disabled, 10. 2018-19 school budget — $30.03 million Amount budgeted for special education — $6.2 million As a group, they charge that the district delays or avoids identification of dyslexia, a reading disability. They question the progress their children are making, the training teachers receive and how records are kept. Additionally, they say individual education plans developed for students with special needs — which are mandated under the law — are not being followed and that data collected to monitor progress is sorely lacking. … As school budgets tighten, rising special education costs have become a growing concern, not just in Oxford but throughout the state. In recent years, a number of school districts, from Darien to Bridgeport, have been found to be in violation of state and federal special education laws, forcing changes in the way services are provided. … McGrath maintains that the entire process is broken. She described the culture of the special education department in Oxford as combative. She and others question whether the district is using Scientifically Research Based Interventions to stall the special education identification process. A state mandate since 2009, SRBI is a multistep approach used to provide extra support to students who are struggling to keep up in class. …
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Children today are noticeably different from previous generations, and the proof is in the news coverage we see every day. This site shows you what’s happening in schools around the world. Children are increasingly disabled and chronically ill, and the education system has to accommodate them. Things we've long associated with autism, like sensory issues, repetitive behaviors, anxiety and lack of social skills, are now problems affecting mainstream students. Blame is predictably placed on bad parenting (otherwise known as trauma from home).
Addressing mental health needs is as important as academics for modern educators. This is an unrecognized disaster. The stories here are about children who can’t learn or behave like children have always been expected to. What childhood has become is a chilling portent for the future of mankind.
Anne Dachel, Media editor, Age of Autism
(John Dachel, Tech. assist.)
What will happen in another 4 years? How can we go on like this? This is a national (and international) problem of monumental proportions. We have an entire new class of children who cannot be accommodated by the system: many are manifestly neurologically impaired. Meanwhile, the government and the medical profession sleep on regardless.
UK media editor, Age of Autism
The generation of American children born after 1990 are arguably the sickest generation in the history of our country.
Robert F. Kennedy, Jr.
It seemed to me that with rising autism prevalence, you’d also see rising autism costs to society, and it turns out, the costs are catastrophic.
They calculated that in 2015 autism cost the United States $268 billion and they projected that if autism continues at its current rate, we’re looking at one trillion dollars a year in autism costs by 2025, so within five years.
Toby Rogers, PhD, Political economist
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