Make your own free website on

P.O.  Box  23731
Chattanooga, TN  37422
(423) 296-0092
Volume III,  Issue 4 -  September 2001

*opinions expressed in this newsletter do not necessarily reflect the opinions of  FEAT-Chattanooga


Upcoming Meetings

October 9, 2001
Guest Speaker : General Meeting

November 11, 2001
Guest Speaker:  General Meeting

Meeting Time & Place
Second Tuesday of each month
6:30 p.m.
Room 140
Massoud Pediatric Building
T.C. Thompson's Childrens Hospital



             Notice from Shirley Shea
    of  the Tennessee Protection and Advocacy Center

Ms. Shea reports she talked at length with Margaret Romer, the Education Program Specialist  with  the  Office of Special Education Programs in Washington D.C., who recently took Ann McNeal's position.  Ms. Romer  stated that parents should utilize the administrative complaint process when they are having real issues with a school system including, but not limited to the following:  extended school year,  IEP not being implemented, independent evaluations being denied, etc.  Ms. Romer advised that it would be helpful for her to be carbon copied on those administrative complaints when they are sent to the Tennessee Division of Special Education so that Ms. Romer can monitor where there are recurring issues within school systems.  Ms. Romer indicated that OSEP relies on the administrative complaints rather than anecdotal comments to indicate whether IDEA is being implemented within a state.
Ms. Romer's address is featured below.

Ms. Margaret Romer,  US Department of Education,
Office of Special Education Programs,  Mary E. Switzer Bldg,
Rm 3625, 3300 C Street SW, Washington, D.C.  20202
(202) 205-9131        


Nominations for
Board Members

Please nominate potential board members, including yourself, by calling the FEAT voice
mail at (423) 296-0092 or by email  Elections will occur at the September or October general membership meeting.  We need approximately 5 to 7 board members to help oversee the business of our organization and help children with autism in our community.

Lending Library Ideas

Please provide us your ideas of books or publications that you have read that would be helpful to other parents or books/publications that you are interested in.  As we all know, there are reference materials available regarding autism but many cost $20 to $50 each and no one can afford to purchase all these items.  As a result, FEAT Chattanooga will start a small lending library of these books/tapes that families can 'check out' to read or listen to without the enormous costs. Please leave a voice mail on our FEAT hotline at 296-0092, email us at
 or bring your ideas to the next general membership meeting.  It would be extremely helpful if you provide information like the specific title of the publication / book / tape and the author.


If you have been to a STEP workshop before, this is a good time to go again.  The new State Rules are now in effect and included in their new parent manual.  STEP is the federally funded PTI (Parent Training Information Center) for the state of TN.  Their goal is to empower parents as their child's advocate through workshops, technical assistance, a library, referrals to other agencies, and much more.

For information about STEP or how you can have a workshop in your community, contact your regional training coordinator,
Karen Harrison,  East TN,  (423) 639-2464
or  call  1-(800) 280-STEP (7837).

2nd Presbyterian Church, Knoxville.
Sponsored by Down Syndrome Awareness Group
call (865) 922-0776 to sign up
September 15    9 a.m. - 12 p.m.
BASIC or Communication & Conflict Resolution
Lunch served  12 p.m. - 1 p.m.
  1 p.m. - 4 p.m.
Early Childhood Transitions or Transition to Adult Life

State Office Building at 1304 McCallie Ave
Chattanooga / Hamilton County
(just before the Holtzclaw intersection - across the street from the
Chattanooga Outpatient Center)  First Floor Auditorium
Call Michelle Beall  (423) 697-6300 ext. - 145
September 19    9 a.m. - 12 p.m.
September 27    6 p.m. - 9 p.m.

Autism Awareness Lapel Pins
Still Available

FEAT Chattanooga has a few autism lapel pins left over from April, National Autism Awareness Month.  The pins sell for $5 (half price) for FEAT members.  These pins could be great holiday presents for that special person that helps your child or for you to share with family members.  These pins will be available while supplies last

Plans for the FEAT Holiday Party
will appear in next month's newsletter!!  Stay tuned!

Law Judge Rules Against County Schools In Landmark
Autism Case

posted September 3, 2001 on

Administrative Law Judge A. James Andrews has held in a 45-page decision that the Hamilton County Department of Education (HCDE) repeatedly violated federal law in failing to provide an appropriate education to Zachary Deal, a seven-year-old Chattanooga boy with autism. To read the full article and the Judge's entire opinion, go online to  then search "autism".








Parents of children with disabilities across Tennessee
are invited to give comments regarding the strengths and weakness of the special education services.

The State of Tennessee is conducting a self-assessment of how early intervention and special eduation services are provided to children
and their families.    This is in preparation for montitoring by the
US Department of Education, Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP).  It is very important that families participate in the focus group meetings that are being held across the State.  Most parents were not notified of the meeting that occurred in Chattanooga on August 24.  As a result, please send your comments or feedback to Ms. Brenda Bledsoe at the State Department of Education.  Her address appears below.  Some of the questions asked were:

 1.  Are students with disabilities receiving the special education and
      related services that they need?

 2.  To what extent do students with disabilities participate with non - 
     disabled students? Do all students, regardless of placement, have
     access to the general curriculum?

 3.  Describe the planning process that takes place for students age
      14 and older to ensure a successful transition to work, independent
      living, or additional services.  Are students receiving the services

 4.  How are parents involved in the education of their children with

 5.  How is the state involved in assuring that appropriate services are
      provided to students with disabilities?

 6.  By the child's third birthday, does transition planning result in the
      timely provision of needed supports and services to a child and the
      child's family?

Ms. Brenda Bledsoe, Division of Special Education,  Tennessee State Department of Education,  Andrew Johnson Tower, Fifth Floor,
710 James Robertson Parkway, Nashville, TN 37243
phone : (615) 741-3537    fax: (615) 332-9412


E-Mail Group for Dads
From the FEAT Daily Newsletter
To subscribe, go to

A Dad's e-group, for fathers who have children with autism is being formed.  The group is an extension of the ASA conference presentation, "For Dad's Only."  We hope this will be a valuable asset to the autism community, and offer ideas, support and information to all the Dads out there.  Please pass this information on to your members, friends, husbands, family members or professionals.
To subscribe, go to:
To post a message: