Thursday, March 26, 2009

ARRA of 2009 - Stimulus Money for IDEA

The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 will provide millions of dollars to help fund IDEA Part B and Part C. Therapists need to be informed regarding the distribution and purpose of this money. The goals of the IDEA Recovery Funds for Services to Children and Youths (early intervention through high school students) with Disabilities are four fold:
1. Spend funds quickly to save and create jobs
2. Improve student achievement through school improvement and reform.
3. Ensure transparency, reporting and accountability
4. Invest one-time ARRA funds thoughtfully to minimize the "funding cliff"
(must be able to sustain projects after the funding expires)

Here is an excerpt from the fact sheet on the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009:

The IDEA recovery funds constitute a large one-time increment in IDEA, Part B funding that offers states and local education agencies a unique opportunity to improve teaching and learning and results for children with disabilities. Generally funds should be used for short-term investments that have the potential for long-term benefits.

Some possible uses for the funds that therapists should be aware of:
1. Obtain state-of the art assistive technology devices and provide training in their use to enhance access to the general curriculum for students with disabilities.

2. Provide intensive district-wide professional development for special education and regular education teachers that focuses on scaling-up, through replication, proven and innovative evidence based school wide strategies

Keep in mind what the definition of assistive technology (Public Law 100-407) is: "Assistive technology is defined as an item of piece of equipment or product system either acquired commercially, off the shelf, modified, or customized and used to increased, maintain or improve functional capability for an invidividual with disabilities".

Therefore, therapists should be thinking about and advocating for students with disabilities who may need adaptive equipment or assistive technology. Maybe now is the time to suggest to your administrator to purchase that Hoyer lift, gait trainer or some other large piece of equipment that has always been on your wish list. Perhaps there are many students on your caseload that would benefit from assistive technology software such as word prediction, text to speech or voice recognition. Maybe a smart board would help your students to me more involved in the lessons. These are simply just suggestions to get your ideas flowing. Now is the time to think and request.

Regarding professional development again get your ideas flowing. Maybe now is the time to get teachers on board for a specific handwriting program for the entire district to follow. All children would benefit. Perhaps suggest professional development on universal design resulting in less modifications being necessary for all students.

Take a proactive approach and provide your school administrator with a letter of justification for the equipment now. This may allow for your requests to be first on the list. Get moving though, some of the money is scheduled to be available within the upcoming months. And as our government states "spend funds quickly..."

Take our vote at the right side of the blog - What would you spend the IDEA stimulus money on???

American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009: IDEA Recovery Funds for Services to Children and Youths with Disabilities. Retrieved from the web on 3/25/09 at

Definition of Assistive Technology. Retrieved from the web on 3/26/09 at

No comments:

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...