WXXI AM News

Connections: The impact of New York State's special education crisis

Sep 18, 2017

Parents of hundreds of children with special needs in New York State say their kids are not receiving the services they need. A recent report in the Democrat & Chronicle stated that in the 2016-2017 school year "nearly 400 3- and 4-year-olds in Monroe County were not evaluated for developmental delays within 60 days of their referral as required by law, according to local school district records.” The delay in referrals puts children at a developmental disadvantage, and at risk for needing costlier services in the future.

Local providers say the state’s reimbursement process is to blame: providers receive tardy and inadequate funding. Democrat & Chronicle reporter Justin Murphy explored this issue. He joins us in studio, and we’ll hear from local parents about the challenges they face. Our guests:

  • Justin Murphy, education reporter at the Democrat & Chronicle
  • Sharon Peck, parent
  • Pat Graff, director of special education at Rochester Childfirst Network
  • Cathy Rasmussen, director of York Wellness and Rehabilitation Institute, and associate dean of compliance and clinical affairs at the School of Health and Human Services at Nazareth College
  • Robin Hooper, early education director for the Rochester City School District

This conversation is part of WXXI’s Inclusion Desk, spotlighting issues related to disabilities. The WXXI Inclusion Desk is part of Move to Include, a partnership to encourage thoughtful discussion about issues of inclusion and the differently-abled.