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Shift to School-Based Special-Needs Services Is Failing Kids, Parents Say

10.13.2015 | DNA Info | Her complaints fell on deaf ears until she connected with Advocates for Children, which helps low-income students struggling with discrimination. The organization helped Futrell get city funding to pay for her son to leave the public school system entirely. He is now repeating ninth grade at a private school for special-needs students, the Martin De Porres School in Far Rockaway, where there are no more than five students and three teachers in the class, she said.

"It's great to be in a community school, but you have to make sure teachers know how to meet the needs of students and more of a variety of disabilities, and that there's sufficient space to provide services like occupational therapy, physical therapy and counseling," said Maggie Moroff, of Advocates for Children. She said while the DOE's school-based special-needs policy is a "great goal" designed to end a tendency to push out students with disabilities, the execution is more complicated. It's not easy for schools to provide what individuals may need, especially a small school where only a couple of students need self-contained classes, Moroff explained. Read article