Magazine article The Exceptional Parent

NPND Holds Annual Meeting

Magazine article The Exceptional Parent

NPND Holds Annual Meeting

Article excerpt

From September 30 to October 2, 1995, NPND held its annual meeting at the St. James Hotel and in the halls of Congress in Washington, DC. One hundred parent leaders from across the country attended the meeting.

Representative Cunningham Receives

NPND Public Service Award

Members of the NPND Board of Director's met with Representative Randy "Duke" Cunningham (R-CA), Chairman of the Early Childhood, Youth and Families Subcommittee of the House Committee on Economic and Educational Opportunities, which has been responsible for initiating the development of the reauthorization of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). At the conclusion of the meeting, Joanne Butts, NPND president, presented Representative Cunningham with the NPND Award for Distinguished Public Service.

Health care

Jack Ebeler, soon to be confirmed Deputy Secretary of Health, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, spoke about proposed cuts to Medicaid and Medicare. These cuts, Ebeler explained, would render the programs incapable of meeting the needs of people with disabilities and senior citizens.

Marty Ford of The Arc, Christina Metzler of the American Occupational Therapy Association and Barbara Huff of the Federation of Families for Children's Mental Health, expanded on do discussion, addressing a wide range of issues including Medicaid/Medicare and mental health legislation.

The Istook amendment

David F. Arons of the Independent Sector, an organization that lobbies on behalf of non-profit organizations, explained the details of the Istook budget amendment, which is designed to limit the "political activities" of non-profit organizations and would prohibit them from providing any information about public policy or legislation. This amendment would severely limit the ability of PTIs (Parent, Training and Information centers) to inform parents about legislation affecting the educational rights of children with disabilities.

Reauthorization of the IDEA

A panel of staff members from the House Subcommittee on Early Childhood, Youth and Families and the Senate Subcommittee on Disability Policy updated meeting participants on the status of the IDEA reauthorization in both the House and the Senate. Both House and Senate planned on producing a draft of the bill before the end of October. (Editor's Note: The House issued their draft of the bill October 30, and the Senate anticipates releasing their draft on November 20. Parents needs to be informed and involved. For information about drafts of these bills, contact your local PTI; NPND can direct you to that PTI if you do not know how to find it.)

The role of parents

Judy Heumann, Assistant Secretary of the Office of Special Education and Rehabilitation Services (OSERS); Tom Hehir, Director of the Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP); and Bob Williams, Commissioner of the Administration on Developmental Disabilities, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, called for a renewed commitment from parents to continue working for the educational rights of their children. NPND staff members Patricia McGill Smith, Executive Director, and Larry Searcy, Associate Executive Director, asked participants to evaluate the interest and energy of parents in their local communities for this type of active advocacy. NPND hopes to use this feedback to shape its strategies for the future.

The discipline issue

NPND briefed key Senate and House staff members on their concerns about the reauthorization of the IDEA Senator Bill First (R-TN), Chairman of the Senate Subcommittee on Disability Policy, opened the briefing. …

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