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The Massachusetts Board of Elementary and Secondary Education

Child-First Practice When Serving Students with Disabilities in Educational Settings

To:All Interested Parties
From:Marcia Mittnacht, State Director of Special Education
Date:June 30, 2010

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In 2007, the Massachusetts Special Education State Advisory Council (SAC) commissioned a subcommittee to discuss ethical dilemmas related to service delivery decision-making. The subcommittee decided to develop a position paper on "child-first" practice and initiated discussions with the full SAC on the topic. Over the following three years, the SAC had numerous in-depth discussions on the topic of child-first practice as the paper was developed. It was included in the SAC's annual report to the Commissioner and Board of Elementary and Secondary Education.

I believe this position paper will provide an opportunity to raise awareness of situations that may place practitioners in ethical dilemmas. It also reminds practitioners of their responsibility to act in a manner consistent with the best interests of the individual students in their charge. The paper presents both narrative and typical scenarios that may be used for self-reflection, group-reflection, or as a theme for workshops. Parents of students with disabilities were very involved in the development of the paper. I suggest that school districts may wish to include their students' parents in the discussions that we hope will ensue as a result of reading and considering the scenarios in the paper.

Please share this information and document with your colleagues and parents and others whom you believe may benefit.

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Child-First Practice When Serving Students with Disabilities in Educational Setting



Last Updated: August 11, 2010
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