Menlo Park, California - June 30, 2009 - The Let Them Hear Foundation (LTHF) announced today its creation of a new Special Education Resource website for parents of children with disabilities and for professionals who would like to learn about the special education services that are available to children with disabilities.
Since 2004, LTHF has helped individuals denied coverage by their health insurers obtain hearing related surgeries, services, devices, and other technologies. Specific appeal areas include cochlear implants, Baha® implants for children with conductive hearing loss, atresia repair, microtia reconstruction, balance disorders, and other hearing related devices and surgery.
Director of the LTHF Advocacy Program Amy Brown, J.D., states, "After receiving hearing devices and services, many children encountered difficulty accessing the early intervention, or special education and related services to which they were entitled under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act of 2004 (IDEA 2004)."
In response to this problem, LTHF chose to help children with hearing loss receive the services for which they were eligible under IDEA. Ms. Brown comments, "The services provided under IDEA are designed to meet the unique needs of children with educationally significant disabilities, including hearing loss, and to prepare them for further education, employment and independent living."
The website will aid parents and the professionals working with children affected by any of the thirteen disability categories defined by IDEA 2004, as well as provide information relating to the specific category of hearing impairment, including deafness.
LTHF Advocacy Program Advocate Taylor Hoang, J.D. explains, "The special education website explains key concepts of IDEA 2004. IDEA topic summaries, which are also available in Spanish, describe the early intervention, special education and related services available to IDEA-eligible children."
Some of the topics discussed include Free Appropriate Public Education (FAPE), Least Restrictive Environment (LRE), Individual Family Service Plan (IFSP), Individual Education Program (IEP), Assistive Technology Devices and Services, and Due Process. The IDEA topic summaries provide both general explanation of subject matter and applicable legal language of IDEA 2004 and its implementing Regulations.
LTHF Advocacy Program Advocate Sharon Rogers, J.D. says, "After reading any IDEA topic summary, the reader will have a general understanding of the subject matter covered, the relevant law as it applies to the subject, as well as practical tips for both parents of children and the professionals serving the needs of these children with disabilities."
Regarding information collection for the website, Ms. Hoang states, "Attorneys researched various websites, including the Department of Education IDEA webpage. Private attorneys specializing in Special Education law were consulted when needed. The layout and organization of the topic summaries resemble a legal brief but are written in parent-friendly language. The reader can also click on a summary hyperlink that takes them to the corresponding law section on the Department of Education website or other websites as appropriate."
Founder and former Director of the Advocacy Program Sheri Byrne-Haber, J.D. points out, "IDEA is intended to be implemented the same everywhere, yet often it is not, because school districts do not understand their obligations to provide children with hearing loss with the assistive technology and services they are eligible to receive. Parents also may not fully understand what services their child is entitled to under IDEA. A website such as this will give both parents and professionals the required information in an easy-to-understand format to ensure the child receives a free appropriate public education."
The Special Education IDEA website will eventually be a subscription based resource but currently is being offered free of charge for a limited time only. Interested individuals will want to take advantage of this great opportunity to explore the website.
The Let Them Hear Foundation was founded in 2002 by Dr. Joseph Roberson and his wife, Julia. LTHF is the leader in giving individuals and families affected by hearing loss the objective information, expert advice, clinical and financial support, and legal access they need to choose the hearing alternative that is right for them.