Abstract from:


Severe and Multiple Disabilities




Michael F. Giangreco
University of Vermont


Martha E. Snell
The University of Virginia


December, 1994
for
National Council on Disabilities in relation to Reauthorization of Individuals with Disabilities Education Act 104th Congress, 1st Session



SEVERE AND MULTIPLE DISABILITIES ABSTRACT

1. The educational outcomes for children with severe disabilities parallel those forchildren without disabilities, although there may be differences in the ways they are operationalized, the path to their attainment, and the supports they require.

2. A rapidly expanding body of published research and demonstration indicates that, to varying extents, all of the educational outcomes parents said they valued are being realized for some students with severe disabilities; the reality is that these outcomes are still not widely available to most students with severe disabilities.

3. Over the past five years, promising practices focused on making significant strides have been made in articulating educational models and standards of quality education for students with severe disabilities.

4. Barriers include (a) educational placement based on categorical label (e.g., severe disability), (b) funding disincentives for general education placements, and (c) the dual system of general education and special education. These three factors threaten students' right to an appropriate education in the least restrictive environment and simultaneously their opportunity to achieve valued life outcomes sought through education.

5. Actions needed by Congress center upon (a) removing disincentives to the right to attend general education classes in neighborhood schools, (b) preparing personnel to teach students with disabilities in general education classes in neighborhood schools, and (c) improving transition from school to adult life.

6. Recommendations for improving IDEA's implementation over the next 5 years through federally-funded activities center upon (a) removing disincentives to the right to attend general education classes in neighborhood schools, (b) preparing personnel to teach students with disabilities in general education classes in neighborhood schools, and (c) improving transition from school to adult life.

7. Recommendations for improving IDEA's implementation by state and local educational agencies center upon (a) state departments of education recruiting statewide input from parents and advocacy groups, educators, and community agencies for adult services, (b) designing priorities for action based on field-based input, and (c) coordinating these activities with related state departments (vocational rehabilitation and adult services).

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