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Children with disabilities affected by federal budget cuts

People with disabilities face no shortage of challenges in their lives.

For workers who have become too disabled to work, Social Security disability insurance (SSDI) can be a lifeline. But even with that assistance, the challenge of dealing with disabling conditions and the loss of meaningful work can be very difficult.

Similarly, children with disabilities inherently have a long road ahead of them. To be sure, Supplemental Security Income (SSI) is a help to many kids and their families. But the scope of the challenges that await them should not be underestimated.

The across-the-board federal spending cuts known as the Sequester are not making it any easier. In this post, we'll look at the impact of the Sequester cuts on children with disabilities in Michigan.

In Michigan and many parts of the country, the first day of school was of course last week. And in Michigan, it quickly became apparent that federal funding cuts are taking a toll on the delivery of special education for disabled children in Michigan.

There was, for starters, a 5 percent reduction in federal money for the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). On its face, that might not sound like a lot. But given how tight special education budgets already are, the cutback has had immediate effects.

The effects include a reduction in resource rooms, fewer school psychologists and fewer social workers. There will also be fewer therapists offering speech therapy, physical therapy or occupational therapy for students with disabilities.

In short, the federal cuts have accelerated an erosion of services that was already occurring. And the cutbacks in services will only make it harder for kids with learning disabilities, as well as other sorts of disabilities, keep up in school.

Source: disabilityscoop, "Sequester Hits Special Education LIke 'Ton of Bricks'," Adrienne Lu, September 10, 2013

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