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National Alliance on Mental Illness
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February 28, 2002

NAMI Comments on the Reauthorization of IDEA

On Monday, February 25, NAMI submitted comments to the Department of Education, Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services on the reauthorization of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). NAMI's comments focused on the issues that are critical to children with mental illness and their families, such as protecting the eligibility of students served under the category of "emotional disturbance" and increasing access to the related services that are required under the law. NAMI also took this opportunity to comment on other important issues-improving training and professional developments, protecting the current provisions related to discipline, and encouraging collaboration of federal, state and local government agencies that serve children and adolescents with mental illness.

Later this year, Congress is expected to take up the reauthorization of IDEA. IDEA offers many strong protections for students with disabilities and also contains many provisions directing access to the necessary services and supports a child's needs to be able to get the most out of their education. NAMI advocates are asked to share their experiences with IDEA and offer their comments on this important law for children with disabilities through the hearings that will be held around the country over the next several months. (See NAMI E-News Vol. 02-53, or the following site for more information: www.ed.gov/inits/commissionsboards/whspecialeducation/meetings.html)

Read the full text of NAMI's comments.

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