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Including the Disabled

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To the Editor:

As the director of the Office of Special Education Programs, which is charged with implementing the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), I read with great interest Arch Puddington’s “Life With Mark” [May].IDEA is the primary federal legislation that assists states and local school districts in the education of disabled students. While I have read numerous articles written by parents about the education of their disabled children, I found Arch Puddington’s article about his son one of the most touching of these accounts.

As one who has worked on behalf of persons with mental retardation, as a federal official, a former school administrator, and a classroom teacher, I agree with Mr. Puddington that there is much positive that has been derived from the de-institutionalization of persons who are mentally retarded. I also share the view that the results of the movement toward deinstitutionalization of persons with mental illness have not been nearly as successful.

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