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Current Issues/Hot Topics

There are numerous issues of interest regarding inclusive education. Below, we outline a few of the hot topics and share additional resources and information to answer your questions.

Self-Advocacy

Self-advocacy means taking responsibility to communicate your needs and desires to others in a straightforward manner. It has its roots in services for people with developmental disabilities, who were often perceived as not able to make "appropriate" choices for themselves; consequently their lives were directed by others and defined by the limits of available services. Through self-advocacy, people with disabilities communicate and direct their own life decisions, and others listen, interpret, and respond. It is imperative that people with disabilities are supported to communicate, and that their desires and choices are honored.  Through effective self-advocacy, individuals with disabilities are empowered to ensure that federal, state, and local policies and practices better reflect their needs and desires. Amy Sequenzia describes some of the self-advocacy concerns in the autism community. Check out these self-advocacy organizations:

Autistic Self-Advocacy Network (ASAN)
Self Advocates Becoming Empowered (SABE)
People First USA
People on the Go

Disproportionate Suspension Practices

Federal findings show that minority students are disproportionately suspended and expelled from schools, and students with disabilities are more than twice as likely to be suspended as students without disabilities. Read the U.S. Department of Education's summary of the report:

Answering Questions of Fundamental Fairness

Read about Maryland's proposed regulations that limit suspension and expulsion on page 19 of the Report. The Board expects to adopt the regulations after the comment period and within 3-4 months of the report:

School Discipline and Academic Success.

Restraint and Seclusion

As with suspension and expulsion, the practices of restraint and seclusion are disproportionately applied to students with disabilities. A recent federal study indicates students with disabilities compose roughly 70% of restraint and seclusion cases in America. The use of these coercive methods has inspired outcry from the disability rights community. Read responses from COPAA and national rights organization TASH to these findings:

COPAA Rejects AASA Document; Urges Congress to Swiftly Pass Federal Legislation to Limit Restraint and Seclusion

TASH responds to AASA Position Supporting Restraint and Seclusion in Schools

U.S. Department of Education Reveals National Data on US Schools, TASH Responds

A campaign is currently underway to press Congress to change the federal law to prohibit seclusion and restraint in schools.  Get more information from Stop Hurting Kids.

Current Issues/Hot Topics

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