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Free Publications
Accommodations l Autism & Child Mental Health l Behavior & Discipline l Bullying & Harassment l College & Continuing Ed l Early Intervention High-Stakes Tests l IDEA & Special Ed l IEPs l LD & Dyslexia l Mediation l No Child Left Behind l Parental Rights l Reading Retention l PE/Adapted PE l Section 504 & ADA l Teacher Ed l Transition

One obstacle in advocating for a child with a disability is finding the time to do research. We spend hours collecting information so you can spend your time learning, not searching.

From this page, download free publications about IEPs, special education, transition planning, reading, children's mental health, harassment, high-stakes testing, retention and social promotion, zero tolerance and discipline. The contents of this page change often as we add new publications.

While you are here, be sure to check our list of free online newsletters about legal, special education law and advocacy, disabilities information, and education. Each newsletter has a link to subscribe.

Accommodations and Modifications
Students with Disabilities Preparing for Postsecondary Education: Know Your Rights and Responsibilities (U. S. Department of Education). Five-page booklet answers questions about admissions, accommodations & academic adjustments, documentation, evaluations, and discrimination under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act

Accommodations Manual:  How to Select, Administer, and Evaluate Use of Accommodations for Instruction and Assessment of Students with Disabilities. (in html) Developed by the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) State Collaborative on Assessment and Student Standards Assessing Special Education Students. (pdf format)

The Accommodations Manual presents a five-step process for individualized educational program teams, 504 plan committees, general and special education teachers, administrators, and district-level assessment staff to use in the selection, administration, and evaluation of the effectiveness of the use of instructional and assessment accommodations by students with disabilities. The guidance in the manual pertains to students with disabilities who participate in large-scale assessments and the instruction they receive.

Improving Accommodations Outcomes: Monitoring Instructional and Assessment Accommodations for Students with Disabilities.Third in a series of three CCSSO publications for states addressing accommodations and students with disabilities. This publication provides a comprehensive professional development guide for states to establish or improve quality accommodations monitoring programs. (PDF Format)

Assistive Technology
Accessible Instructional Materials: Ensuring Access for Students with Learning Disabilities - Policy Brief: National Center for Learning Disabilities (NCLD). (PDF,22 pages)

Assessing Students' Needs for Assistive Technology (ASNAT) 5th Edition - complete version.

WATI Assessment Package. Assessing a Child's Need for Assistive Technology: Where to Start? This WATI Assessment process provides an overview of the assistive technology consideration,
assessment and planning process that has been implemented throughout Wisconsin. The package includes

  • The WATI Student Information Guide
  • The WATI Environmental Observation Guide
  • The WATI Assistive Technology Decision Making Guide
  • The WATI Assistive Technology Checklist

Accessibility: A Guide for Educators - Empowering students with accessible technology that enables personalized learning. This guide from Microsoft provides information about accessibility and accessible technology to help educators worldwide ensure that all students have equal access to learning with technology. In English and Spanish.

The Essential Guide to Assistive Technology. Marshall Raskin, Ph.D. provides an overview of assistive technologies and advice about selecting appropriate tools for children with learning problems. Free download (21 pages).

Autism & Child Mental Health
Autism Speaks 100 Day Kit. Specifically for newly diagnosed families, to make the best possible use of the 100 days following the diagnosis of autism. The kit contains information and advice collected from trusted and respected experts on autism as well as from parents of children with autism. There is a week by week plan for the next 100 days, as well as organizational suggestions and forms that parents/caregivers can use to help with the paperwork and phone calls, as they begin to find services for their child. Newly diagnosed families (within six months of diagnosis) can order a kit which will contain personalized information specific to the child's age and location.

Request a kit (click here) and an Autism Speaks Autism Response Team coordinator will contact you by phone, to get some additional information so that a kit can be personalized for you and your child.

Autistic Spectrum Disorders: Best Practice Guidelines for Screening, Diagnosis and Assessment. This publication provides professionals, policymakers, parents and others with "best practice" recommendations and rationale for screening, evaluating and assessing individuals suspected of having autistic spectrum disorders. These guidelines are the product of nearly a year's work by experts in the field of autistic spectrum disorders and are based on validated scientific evidence, clinical experience and clinical judgment.

My Brother Has Autism (PDF). This book, written by an 8-year-old girl, explains the ups and downs of being the sibling of a child with Autism. This book is now available in print.

Centre of Excellence for Early Childhood Development's Encyclopedia on Early Childhood Development: AUTISM (PDF). This 40 page, PDF document includes a Synthesis on autism, Autism and its impact on child development, The impact of autism on child development, Autism and its impact on young children’s social development, Autism and its impact on child development, Autism intervention, The effect of early intervention on the social and emotional development of young children (0-5) with autism, and Autism intervention.

Educating Children with Autism (National Academy Press). This 276 page publication from National Science Academy is used as evidence in due process hearings on behalf of children with autism. Includes research about effective educational programs for children with autism; early intervention; recommends one-on-one therapy or direct instruction a minimum of 25 hours a week, 12 months a year; more. Download this publication for free from National Academy Press.

Special Education: Children with Autism. The Government Accountability Office published this report to answers questions submitted by Congress about special education for children with autism.

Report on the Surgeon General's Conference on Children's Mental Health - A National Action Agenda (Office of the Surgeon General). 1 in 10 children and adolescents suffer from mental illness that is severe enough to cause impairment; fewer than 1 in 5 children receive needed treatment. Report stresses need to use science-based prevention and treatment services. To order bound copies, contact National Institutes of Mental Health: (301) 443-4513

Children and Mental Health: A Report of the Surgeon General (Office of the Surgeon General). This publication describes normal child development; risk factors and prevention; mental disorders in children, including ADHD, depression, anxiety disorders, autism, disruptive disorders, substance abuse, and eating disorders and effective treatments for these disorders. Download  Full text of Mental Health: A Report of the Surgeon General

Behavior & Discipline
If you are the parent or teacher of a child with behavior problems, you need to learn about Functional Behavioral Assessments, Positive Behavior Intervention Plans, and IEP teams. You need to identify the underlying causes of child's behavior (what the child "gets" or "avoids" through the behavior) and effective strategies to tackle behavior problems.

Bully Prevention in Positive Behavior Supports. Giving students the tools to reduce bullying behavior through the blending of school-wide positive behavior support, explicit instruction, and a redefinition of the bullying construct from the National Technical Assistance Center on Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS)

An IEP Team's Introduction to Functional Behavioral Assessment and Behavior Intervention Plans. (Center for Effective Collaboration and Practice) Download in pdf   

Conducting a Functional Behavior Assessment (Center for Effective Collaboration and Practice)  Download in pdf

Addressing Student Problem Behavior: Creating Positive Behavioral Intervention Plans & Supports.(Center for Effective Collaboration and Practice) Intro/chapters-html    

Prevention Research & IDEA Discipline Provisions: A Guide for School Administrators - (U. S. Department of Education) Describes research-validated practices for safe, effective learning environments for all children.

Suspending Disbelief - Moving Beyond Punishment to Promote Effective Interventions for Children with Mental or Emotional Disorders (Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law). Prevention and early intervention for children with emotional disorders; functional behavior assessments; positive behavioral interventions; how this works in real life.

Zero Tolerance & Alternative Strategies: A Fact Sheet for Educators & Policymakers (National Association of School Psychologists) Prevalence of; problems associated with zero tolerance policies; impact on students; alternatives including violence prevention, social skills training and positive behavioral supports, early intervention strategies.

Discipline Flow Chart. Protections in the IDEA apply to students who have been found eligible for special education. They also apply to students for whom the school is deemed to have knowledge that the child might have a disability. These are students who have not yet been found eligible, but the school had a basis of knowledge of a disability, including students who have been referred for initial evaluation.

Bullying & Harassment
Disability Harassment in the Public Schools (Word format) by Mark C. Weber, published in the William and Mary Law Review (Vol. 43, Issue 3, Feb 2002). Mark Weber, author of the Special Education Law and Education Treatise, wrote this excellent article that will help you understand the legal issues of disability harassment. Pdf format

Schoolwide Prevention of Bullying (Northwest Regional Educational Library). 30 percent of American children are involved in bullying, as bullies, victims, or both. Approximately 15 percent are “severely traumatized or distressed” by bullies . . . Despite these numbers, bullying behavior is rarely detected by teachers, and is even less frequently taken seriously. This booklet provides an overview of what is known about bullying behavior and successful efforts to address it; profiles anti-bullying programs and offers resources. Download in pdf (28 pages)

Protecting Students from Harassment and Hate Crimes: A Guide for Schools (U. S. Department of Education & Office for Civil Rights & National Association of Attorneys General). Many children experience sexual, racial and ethnic harassment at school. This Guide provides step-by-step guidance about how to protect students from harassment and violence. Download

Preventing Bullying: A Manual For Schools and Communities. This document addresses the problem of bullying in schools and defines bullying, discusses the seriousness of this behavior and the effectiveness of a comprehensive approach, and presents strategies for teachers, students, and parents to use when dealing with bullying situations. It also provides examples of innovative and successful approaches used by schools in different parts of the country.

College & Continuing Education
Preparing for College: The Online Guide for Students with Disabilities. Preparing for college is a challenge. If you have a disability, the process can be more complicated. This online guide offers sound advice about factors to consider when choosing a college, financial aid, understanding your rights, disability organizations, and information about colleges and universities that offer special programs for students with disabilities.

Early Intervention
Accessing Programs for Infants, Toddlers, and Preschoolers With Disabilities: A Parent's Guide. (National Information Center for Children and Youth with Disabilities) Publication is designed to help families obtain help for young children with special needs (birth through 5 years); answers commonly asked questions about early intervention services and related services; identifies early intervention policies and contacts are in your state and area. (20 pages)

High-Stakes Tests
Do No Harm: High Stakes Testing and Students with Learning Disabilities
 (Disability Rights Advocates). Describes accommodations, alternate assessments, appeals, procedures, and other safeguards that should be implemented for statewide assessment systems to comply with the law and guarantee educationally sound opportunities to students with learning disabilities.

State High School Exit Exams: A Baseline Report (Center on Education Policy). Report includes data collected from all states with exit exams; case studies of five states; reviews major research; makes recommendations to ensure that exit exams are implemented well and lead to learning.

Assessments and Accommodations (National Dissemination Center for Children with Disabilities) by Stephen D. Luke, Ed.D. & Amanda Schwartz, Ph.D. Accommodations play an important role in educational settings for students with disabilities. But what accommodations are Appropriate for which students? How do accommodations affect students’ learning and their performance on tests? This Evidence for Education addresses these and other questions and explores the research base in this area.

IDEA & Special Education
Legal Rights of Children with Epilepsy in School & Child Care: An Advocate's Manual (PDF) Advocate's Manual published by The Epilepsy Foundation that provides detailed practical guidance to help parents and non-attorney advocates understand the rights of children in the special education process.This new manual is not limited to children with epilepsy, it's reach is far broader. It provides excellent information about how to effectively advocate to secure the rights of all children with disabilities.

Minority Students in Special and Gifted Education (National Academy Press). Recommends that schools use comprehensive reading assessments to identify students at risk of academic failure and provide high quality instruction; urges states to raise teacher certification and licensing requirements to include effective intervention methods. Share this report with school board members so they understand how research-based teaching methods will reduce the number of children who are not learning to read. Download

Children with Disabilities Placed By Their Parents in Private Schools: An IDEA Practices Toolkit (the Council for American Private Education and the IDEA Local Implementation by Local Administrators Partnership). Provides explanations of the procedures regarding the education of students with disabilities voluntarily placed by their parents in private schools. This toolkit will help anyone involved in the process - parents, staff and administrators of public and private schools. Toolkit Update Page and CAPE's analysis of the reauthorized IDEA 2004.

Back to School on Civil Rights: Advancing the Federal Commitment to Leave No Child Behind. The National Council on Disability found that all states were out of compliance with the Individuals with Disabilities Act law and that " . . . efforts to enforce the law over several Administrations have been inconsistent, ineffective, and lacking any real teeth." Download
Order bound copies from National Council on Disability, 1331 F. Street, NW, Suite 1050, Washington, DC 20004-1107. Phone: 202-272-2004

Individualized Education Programs (IEPs)
Understanding the Standards-based Individual Education Program (IEP). Advocacy Brief from NCLD. The term "standards-based IEP is used to describe a process and document that is framed by the state standards and that contains annual goals aligned with, and chosen to failitate the student's achievement of, state grade level academic standards.

A Guide to the Individualized Education Program
(U. S. Department of Education) Learn how to write IEPs that improve teaching, learning, and educational results. Includes contents of the IEP; IEP team members; writing the IEP; placement decisions; after the IEP is written; implementing the IEP; revising and revising the IEP; resolving disagreements about the IEP; a sample IEP form, information and resources, the federal regulations for IEPs, and guidance about IEPs. Download To order free copies, contact ED Pubs at 877-4-ED-PUBS

An IEP Team's Introduction to Functional Behavioral Assessment and Behavior Intervention Plans (Center for Effective Collaboration and Practice) Learn how to identify causes of child's behavior (what the child "gets" or "avoids" through the behavior) and the IEP team's responsibility to develop proactive instructional strategies, including positive behavioral interventions and supports, to address behaviors that interfere with learning. Introduction & chapters in html   Download as pdf file

Learning Disabilities & Dyslexia
On Babies and Bathwater: Addressing the Problems of Identification of Learning Disabilities by Thomas E. Scruggs and Margo A. Mastropieri (Council for Learning Disabilities). Focuses on issues surrounding the identification of students with LD that was published in Learning Disability Quarterly, the scholarly journal of the Council for Learning Disabilities, and made available by The Advocacy Institute. Download in pdf

The State of Learning Disabilities 2009 is a comprehensive report from the National Center for Learning Disabilities (LD.org) on the status of children, adolescents, and adults with learning disabilities (LD) in the United States. It shatters common myths about LD and provides benchmark data to compare and contrast how people with LD are faring in school and work. Download in pdf

Mediation

Preparing for Special Education Mediation and Resolution Sessions: A Guide for Families and Advocates. A joint publication of The Advocacy Institute and The Children's Law Clinic Duke University School of Law.

No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB)
No Child Left Behind: A Desktop Reference (U. S. Department of Education). Get answers to your questions about NCLB in this free publication from the U.S. Department of Education. In pdf. To order, call toll-free: 1-877-433-7827 or 1-800-872-5327.

Beating the Odds: A City-By-City Analysis of Student Performance and Achievement Gap On State Assessments. (Council of the Great City Schools) This report
examines student achievement in math and reading, measures achievement gaps, school progress, and provides new data on language proficiency, disability, and income by state and city. (March 2004)

Statewide Educational Accountability Under NCLB (Council of Chief State School Officers, 2002). Outlines states' responsibilities for parts of the No Child Left Behind Act of 2002, focuses on provisions that will be more difficult for states to implement.

SEA Toolkit on Supplemental Education Services  (Council of Chief State School Officers and Education Quality Institute). Students who attend failing schools may receive supplemental education services. States must identify supplemental services providers. Parents can choose providers for their children from state-approved lists. Providers must use high quality research-based instructional strategies. This publication includes sample application forms and information about how to get your state's list of approved supplemental education providers.

No Child Left Behind - What Will it Take? (Fordham Foundation). Focuses on testing and accountability; includes articles about testing systems, adequate yearly progress, accountability requirements, more.

Parental Rights and Protections

New Report: Rocking the Cradle: Ensuring the Rights of Parents with Disabilities and Their Children. Currently, the U.S. legal system is not protecting the rights of parents with disabilities and their children. Two-thirds of state child welfare laws allow courts to determine a parent is unfit solely on the basis of a parent’s disability. Report offers draft model state and federal statutory language to correct the discrimination faced by parents with disabilities in the United States. (National Council of Disability, September 2012)

PE & Extracurricular Athletics

Physical Education and Extracurricular Athletics for Students with Disabilities (USDOE) - Describes IDEA’s physical education requirements; recommends strategies to improve participation in PE and athletics; includes resources and other sources of information about including students with disabilities in PE and athletic extracurricular activities. (Sept 2011)

Reading

IDA’s Knowledge and Practice Standards for Teachers of Reading (2010). “Reading difficulties are the most common cause of academic failure and underachievement." These Standards provide a content framework for courses and delineate proficiency requirements for practical application of this content (e.g., interpretation of assessments, delivery of differentiated instruction, and successful intervention with a child or adult with a reading disability).

NELP Report: Developing Early Literacy. Summary from Reading Rockets. The National Early Literacy Panel looked at studies of early literacy and found that there are many things that parents and preschools can do to improve the literacy development of their young children and that different approaches influence the development of a different pattern of essential skills. National Institute for Literacy.

Put Reading First: The Research Building Blocks For Teaching Children To Read: Kindergarten Through Grade 3. Describes the five essential components of reading instruction: 1) phonemic awareness, 2) phonics, 3) fluency, 4) vocabulary, and 5) text comprehension; summarizes what researchers know about each skill; implications for instruction; proven strategies for teaching reading. Published by the Partnership for Reading, a collaborative effort of the National Institute for Literacy, the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, and the U. S. Department of Education. To order bound copies of this free publication, go to EdPubs and request Publication # EXR0007B.

Framework for Informed Reading and Language Instruction: Matrix of Multisensory Structured Language Programs. This publication from the International Dyslexia Association explains different reading programs and what they cover. These programs, when properly implemented, have been successful in teaching students to read, write, and use language.

Ten Myths of Reading Instruction (Southwest Educational Development Laboratory, 2003) Describes the most damaging myths and misconceptions about reading instruction. If your child has reading problems, print and distribute this 13 page article to the IEP team.

Teaching Children to Read: An Evidence-Based Assessment of the Scientific Research Literature on Reading and Its Implications for Reading Instruction. Summary of the report by The National Reading Panel about the effectiveness of various approaches to teaching children to read. To order bound copies of this free publication, go to EdPubs and request publication # EXR0002P.

Teaching Reading is Rocket Science: What Expert Teachers Should Know and Be Able to Do (American Federation of Teachers) (36 pages, pdf) "Research shows that a child who doesn't learn the reading basics early is unlikely to learn them at all. Any child who doesn't learn to read early and well will not easily master other skills and knowledge and is unlikely to ever flourish in school or in life."

Whole Language Lives On: The Illusion of "Balanced" Reading Instruction (2000). Four in ten of our fourth-graders lack basic reading skills. Millions of children are needlessly classified as 'disabled' when their problem is that nobody taught them to read when they were five and six years old ... We know what works for nearly all children when it comes to imparting basic reading skills to them. We also know what doesn’t work for most children. It’s called “whole language or "balanced" instruction.

Retention

Grade Retention - Achievement and Mental Health Outcomes (National Association of School Psychologists) 6th grade students rated grade retention as the single most stressful life event, higher than the loss of a parent or going blind. Retained students are less likely to receive a high school diploma by age 20, receive poorer educational competence ratings, and are less likely to be enrolled in any post-secondary education program. Retained students receive lower educational and employment status ratings and are paid less per hour at age 20.

Opportunity Deferred or Opportunity Taken? An Updated Look at Delaying Kindergarten Entry -
Parents who concerned about their child's maturity and whether to enroll their child in kindergarten are often advised to give the child the "gift of time." Research does not support this practice. In a review of the latest research about the consequences of keeping children out of school an extra year shows that delaying kindergarten entry often has negative effects. Parents need to realize that by holding their child back, they may be depriving the child of important opportunities for learning — the "theft of opportunity.

Position Statement on Student Grade Retention and Social Promotion (National Association of School Psychologists) "Through many years of research, the practice of retaining children in grade has been shown to be ineffective in meeting the needs of children who are academically delayed."

The Grade Retention Fallacy (Harvard Civil Rights Project) "Research tells us that fear and humiliation are not the strongest motivators for struggling students."

Ending Social Promotion
Download this 85 page publication from the U. S. Department of Education. "Neither social promotion nor retention is appropriate for students who do not meet high academic standards." http://www.ed.gov/PDFDocs/socialprom.pdf

Passing on Failure, Eliminating Social Promotion (American Federation of Teachers) "Grade-by-grade standards for students are essential. These standards support academic rigor and ensure fairness by defining the expectations for success for all students."

Early Intervention Works, Grade Retention Doesn't (University of Wisconsin)

Exploring the Association Between Grade Retention and Dropout (California School Psychologist)

Response to Intervention: RTI Project
As interest in Response to Intervention (RtI) continues to grow, researchers and practitioners have asked for research that validates this approach to teaching all students. NASDSE has gathered in one book, RtI Research for Practice, an annotated bibliography of research about RtI. As this 224-page book clearly shows, RtI is a research-based strategy that has proven positive outcomes for many students, including those with disabilities. As this 224-page book clearly shows, RtI is a research-based strategy that has proven positive outcomes for many students, including those with disabilities.  download pdf, 224 pages

Response to Intervention: A Primer for Parents - from the National Association of School Psychologists (NASP). This paper explains (a) the essential components of Response to Intervention; (b) key terms; (c) the role Response to Intervention plays in special education eligibility; (d) how parents can be involved in the process; (e) potential benefits of RTI; and (f) next steps in implementing RTI approaches.

Section 504 & ADA
Legal Rights of Children with Epilepsy in School & Child Care: An Advocate's Manual (PDF) Advocate's Manual published by The Epilepsy Foundation that provides detailed practical guidance to help parents and non-attorney advocates understand the rights of children in the special education process.This new manual is not limited to children with epilepsy, it's reach is far broader. It provides excellent information about how to effectively advocate to secure the rights of all children with disabilities.

Students with Disabilities Preparing for Postsecondary Education: Know Your Rights and Responsibilities (U. S. Department of Education). Five-page booklet answers questions about admissions, accommodations & academic adjustments, documentation, evaluations, and discrimination under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act.

Rehabilitating Section 504 (National Council on Disability)
This report is one of a series of independent analyses by the National Council on Disability (NCD) of federal enforcement of civil rights laws. Rehabilitating Section 504 provides a blueprint for addressing the shortcomings that have hindered compliance and enforcement of Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act.

Commonly Asked Questions About Child Care Centers and the Americans with Disabilities Act. (U. S. Department of Justice) 13-page publication explains how ADA requirements apply to Child Care Centers; describes ongoing enforcement efforts in child care by Department of Justice; provides resource list of information about the ADA.

All Kids Count: Child Care Centers & the ADA. (the ARC) Describes obligations of child care providers under the ADA.

Teacher & Paraprofessional Training & Professional Development
Working Together for Successful Paraeducator Services: A Guide for Paraeducators, Teachers and Principals (Northwest Regional Educational Library). Over the last decade, the number of paraeducators has increased, as have concerns about preparation, training and instructional roles of paraeducators have also increased. Defined standards about roles, supervision and preparation are rare. Booklet describes what teachers, principals, and paraeducators can do to increase paraeducator effectiveness. Download

Transition
The Guide to Federal Student Aid is a comprehensive resource on student financial aid from the U.S. Department of Education. Grants, loans, and work-study are the three major forms of student financial aid available through the federal Student Assistance Programs. Updated each year, The Guide tells you about the programs and how to apply them. The booklet may be obtained by calling the Federal Student Aid Information Center at 1-800-4FEDAID or by visiting the department’s website.The 2008-09 version of the Guide, which covers July 1, 2008 to June 30, 2009, is now available to download in English (PDF) and Spanish (PDF).

New Career Paths for Students with Disabilities by the American Association for the Advancement of Science (2002).The number of students with disabilities attending higher education institutions is climbing. More than one million students with disabilities are now enrolled in American colleges and universities. This publication chronicles the life experiences of students with disabilities who were educated after passage of major legislative protections and suggests five key areas for the focus of future disability legislation, policies, and initiatives.

Revised 12/14/12

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