Month: January 2017

Parents of Special Needs Children Join Appeal of Education Funding Decision

Julie Swanson, of Durham, is the mother of a grown son with autism and a special education advocate. She is part of group that has joined with the state in its appeal of a Superior Court judge’s ruling that would radically change the way public education is funded in Connecticut. Swanson and advocates across the state were stunned by Judge Thomas Moukawsher’s suggestion that school districts could deny educational services to profoundly disabled students. (Cloe Poisson)

Parents and advocates have joined in the state’s appeal of a judge’s ruling striking down Connecticut’s school-funding formula, seizing on language that described some children with profound developmental disabilities as possibly incapable of learning and unworthy of local education dollars. Continue reading

Justices Face ‘Blizzard of Words’ in Special Education Case

By Adam Liptakjan

WASHINGTON — In a case that could affect the education of 6.7 million children with disabilities, the Supreme Court on Wednesday struggled to decide whether it should require public schools to do more under a federal law that calls for them to provide a free education that addresses the children’s needs.

Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr. said the court was being asked to choose among several finely shaded formulations. “What is frustrating about this case and about this statute is that we have a blizzard of words,” he said.

The court appeared uneasy with a standard used by many appeals courts, which have said that providing a modest educational benefit was enough. But some of the justices indicated that they were concerned about the costs that any changes could impose. Continue reading

Avon Woman Named ‘Ms. Wheelchair Connecticut’

By Ken Byron

As with other pageant competitions, the title of Ms. Wheelchair Connecticut comes with a sash. But it also comes with responsibility.

The event uses a twist on the idea of a traditional beauty pageant to give women who rely on a wheelchair more visibility. And that is what the newly crowned Ms. Wheelchair Connecticut, Shannon Mazurick of Avon, liked when she heard about the pageant.

Mazurick, 30, has cerebral palsy and uses a wheelchair to get around. It’s difficult for Mazurick to speak so she uses a computer program to put words she types on a keyboard into speech.

“Advocacy has always been a huge part of my life,” Mazurick, wearing a red dress with the sash draped across her chest, said in a recent interview. “I feel it is so important. And Ms. Wheelchair, the organization or the pageant, deals with advocacy.” Continue reading