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Madeleine Will

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Madeleine Will has been an advocate for persons with disabilities for three decades. She has led efforts to establish services nationally for infants and toddlers with disabilities and their families. In addition, she has promoted the concept of inclusive general education classrooms for students with disabilities and helped and to create transition and supported employment programs.

In 1986, Madeleine Will, then-Assistant Secretary for the Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services (under the U.S. Department of Education), in an annual report regarding the status of special education programs, proposed what has been called the Regular Education Initiative. Citing concerns about some unintended negative effects of special education "pull-out" programs, her proposal suggested that greater efforts to educate mildly and moderately disabled students in the mainstream of regular education should be pursued. Since then, support has grown for all students, including those with severe and profound disabilities, to be included and educated in classrooms with non-disabled peers, preferably in schools that they would attend if not disabled.

In 2004, Ms. Will was named Director of the National Policy Center of the National Down Syndrome Society. The National Down Syndrome Society, a disability organization made up of 190 affiliates across the country, seeks to improve the quality of life for persons with Down syndrome through efforts in education, research and advocacy.

-Taken from http://www.thinkcollege.net/about-us/executive-committee/madeleine-will and http://www.sedl.org/change/issues/issues43/historical_background.html

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