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Tuesday, November 16, 2010

New York Regents and an Education Mandate

WCBS-TV reports:

Some parents of children with autism say New York is making a huge mistake.

CBS 2’s Tony Aiello reports the state Board of Regents on Tuesday voted down a long-time rule that mandated speech and language services for autistic kids.

Aiello went to a school in Suffolk County on Tuesday and learned that five days a week youngsters Tyler and Sammy receive speech therapy as part of a program for students with autism.

The daily schedule was mandated by the state — until now.

“My fear is that without these reasonable mandates in place, most districts will walk away from the table and tell parents ‘we don’t do speech here,’” said Louis Conte of the Autism Action Network.

Conte has two sons with autism and he’s upset over the Board of Regents’ decision to end mandated speech therapy in New York.

For more than 20 years the Regents said kids with autism had to receive five-day-a-week therapy and students who qualified for so-called “related services” had to get two days a week of speech and language.

The state's education department defended the change:

There are no proposed amendments that would require a reduction in services to students with disabilities and lower NYS' standards for students with disabilities. The proposals to repeal the minimum service delivery requirements for speech and language as a related service and the minimum daily frequency and duration for instructional services to address the individual language needs of students with autism and to add a waiver for the number of students with disabilities in an integrated co-teaching class are to ensure that Committees on Special Education (CSEs) have the appropriate flexibility to make recommendations for each student with a disability based on individual needs. These proposals do not relieve the local school districts of their obligation to ensure that all students with disabilities are identified, located, and evaluated and are provided a FAPE to address his or her needs.