A Case About Amy

December 18, 2016 Education

The Deaf parents of Amy Rowley, a deaf 5 year old, struggled towards an equal opportunity for Amy in the public school education system and various court systems. The struggle started out with a simple request for a Sign Language interpreter in Amy’s classes. R. C. Smith, the author of “A Case about Amy”, takes us on a time excursion (1976-1982) that let’s the reader be a witness through the maze of the education systems and court systems in a fight to gain an interpreter for Amy. Smith records the Rowley family’s dealings with school boards, lawyers, teachers, expert consultants, advocates, and supporters, and their staunch determination to get through the exhaustive process of presenting the case again and again to school administrative boards and lastly the federal courts. One of the main issues that Smith’s book illustrates is how school systems molded and manipulated the interpretation of the loosely worded section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 which later on was renamed the Individual with Disabilities Act (IDEA). Another important issue the Smith brings up is the oppression that Nancy and Clifford Rowley, Amy’s parents, endured for their own right to participate in the communication process with school officials with in the courts. And lastly Smith illustrates the unjust discrimination that their lawyer Michael Chatoff, who turned deaf in his 20s, endured as he was striving to become a Deaf professional. Smith is successful in presenting an objective insight of the politics, controversial issues, and the trials and joys of those included within the Deaf community. .

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One of the main causes of the tireless battle within the schools and courts was due to the relaxed wording of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 section 504. “Section 504 forbade discrimination against any otherwise qualified handicapped individual under any program or activity receiving federal assistance.

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