Published Online: November 17, 1999
Published in Print: November 17, 1999, as Special Education

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Rights Bill: The U.S. Senate quickly passed a reauthorization last week of the 36-year-old Developmental Disabilities Assistance and Bill of Rights Act, making minor changes to the law that focuses on providing services to people with severe and lifelong, pervasive disabilities.

The federal law encourages and supports state and school efforts to provide inclusive education and early-intervention services for youngsters with such conditions, as well as projects to provide employment opportunities and family services for people with severe disabilities.

Overall, S 1809—which passed the Senate on a voice vote on Nov. 8—would seek to better coordinate services between state agencies, advocacy groups, and local centers to help developmentally disabled adults, particularly in underserved minority groups, lead more independent lives and obtain access to needed services. It also would provide incentives for states to offer jobs to such disabled workers.

The reauthorization would also establish new scholarships of up to $2,000 for postsecondary education or training for the caretakers of students with severe, lifelong disabilities. And it seeks development of a curriculum to train those workers, as well as the family members of people with such disabilities.

The bill passed the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee by a voice vote on Nov. 3. Committee Chairman James M. Jeffords, R-Vt., praised the bill as a bipartisan work that came about after months of discussions with disability- rights and family-advocacy groups and states.

"It ensures that those that are among the most vulnerable are protected, supported, and encouraged to achieve their potential," he said shortly before the committee vote.

The House has not released a counterpart bill and will likely take up the Senate version next year.


Web Information:The School Library Journal has sorted through hundreds of special education Internet sites and compiled a free listing of the best and most useful spots on the World Wide Web for educators and parents.

All of the sites listed are geared toward adults who work with children with disabilities. Author and librarian Gail Junion-Metz includes sites with primers on special education issues and resources for teachers.

The article can be found on the journal’s Web site at http://www.slj.com/ articles/surffor/199 90701_6015.asp.

–-Joetta L. Sack jsack@epe.org

Vol. 19, Issue 12, Page 5

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