"So many dreams at first seem impossible. And then they seem improbable. And then when we summon the will, they soon become inevitable."
~ Christopher Reeve

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Another Resource ~ "Legal Rights of Children with Epilepsy"

I just came across what looks like another great resource, which I will be adding to the sidebar (under the Recommended Reads heading), but I wanted to tell you a little about it first.

As much as I am a Canadian through and through (and proud of it), there are days that I do wish I was an American. For the basic reason that the US has done such a great job of setting out their special education law, providing rights to parents and giving teeth to those rights. Unlike Nova Scotia, where we copy of some of the same language (such as the right to an "appropriate education") but leave it to lie flat on the paper. In other words, good luck trying to enforce that right here.

But my cynical moment aside, my surfing through the Internet has netted me another great find today. It's entitled "Legal Rights of Children with Epilepsy in School and Child Care – An Advocate’s Manual".

Written by an American attorney, Leslie Seid Margolis (Managing Attorney at the Maryland Disability Law Center), it starts with the basics about what epilepsy actually is and the different treatments for it, through all the American special education laws (known as IDEA and Sec. 504 of the Rehabilitation Act) which apply to children with epilepsy and other such disabilities and sets out the rights of the child in both the childcare setting and school setting.

Although some chapters are very epilepsy-specific (dealing, for example, with specific issues surrounding special education and students with epilepsy and the administration of emergency anti epileptic medication in schools ) much of it would apply to any child with a disability in the school setting.

The only real drawback I can see is that it is American, meaning it may well make you salivate when you read some of the many protections and processes available to parents and their children with disabilities in the US. So before anybody asks, no, the majority of those protections do not exist here. Or, at least, not in the easily-accessible manner they do there.

Still, as I noted above, we do use a lot of the American wording and I believe the shift is slowly coming to Nova Scotia to start to make "better and legally correct" (as that term is used in the US) IPPs. You know, what they call SMART IPPs (Specific, Measurable, Use Action Words, Realistic and Relevant and Time-limited). Just don't hold your breath. Change can be slow.


Still, all in all, it looks like a great resource. Check it out. When you have a cup pot of coffee and a lot of time.

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