Where the action is
Posted on March 30th, 2012 by Katy
I’m the Senior Vice President of Government Relations at the Office of Public Affairs at the Easter Seals Washington, D.C. office. I’m so pleased to be asked to be one of the guest bloggers on our new revamped Easter Seals blog.
I am a spokesperson for Easter Seals and have been an advocate for people with disabilities for a long, long time. Early on in my career I was legislative staff to Chairman Sen. Tom Harkin (D.-Iowa) of the Senate Subcommittee on Disability Policy and worked on the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA).
Right now we are working to support the Keeping All Students Safe Act (S. 2020/HR 1381) because we want school personnel to be properly trained so that they and the students they educate are safe and can be successful in school.
Easter Seals advocates strongly at the federal and state level so that every child with a disability has the right to an appropriate education AND teachers have the supports they need for these kids to make meaningful academic progress. However, not all school personnel have the necessary training to meet the needs of children of all abilities at school, whether in the classroom, on the playground, or on the bus. As a result, tens of thousands of children are inappropriately restrained or secluded.
The US Department of Education and the General Accountability Office confirm that the majority of children who are abused or die at the hands of school personnel are students with disabilities. Shockingly, there are no federal rules against the use of restraint and seclusion in our nation’s public schools.
My work here at the Easter Seals D.C. office keeps me right where the action is when it comes to disability legislation like this. I get to develop and implement strategies for influencing Congress, federal agencies, and others to increase opportunities for young children with disabilities and their families. I am proud to advocate for children and adults with disabilities and their families, and I look forward to keeping you informed.