Week in Review Mar. 28, 2008

WEEK in REVIEW

Articles of Interest in Special Education That Were Reported This Week

Welcome to NASET's WEEK in REVIEW.  Here, we provide you with some of the most interesting issues that have happened this week in the field of special education.  We hope you enjoy this publication.  Feel free to send us articles for this publication or let us know your thoughts about the WEEK in REVIEW at news@naset.org. Have a great weekend. 

Sincerely,
NASET News Team

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Tennessee May Adjust Penalties Under No Child Left Behind

Some special-education advocates say that gains posted by students with disabilities under No Child Left Behind are bittersweet. According to Dr. George Giuliani, Executive Director of the National Association of Special Education Teachers, "If you talk to teachers, they will tell you they're teaching for the test. Although the numbers may be up, the question is, is this really good for education?"  To read more, click here

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Schools Aim to Keep Children with Disabilities Close to Home

San Diego Unified is pushing to integrate schools in an effort to ensure that children with disabilities can attend their neighborhood schools. The shift will pull kids with special needs, sometimes shunted into separate classrooms far from home, back into nearby schools as the school district decentralizes its services for students with disabilities.

It's a change that parents have long advocated, and that a special education expert recently recommended to San Diego Unified. The new plan is meant to integrate students with disabilities back into their home communities, one element of a broader effort to include students with special needs in ordinary settings. To read more, click here

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U.S. Eases 'No Child' Sanctions:  Schools Near Target Would Get a Break

Sanctions would be eased for some schools that narrowly miss academic targets in a pilot program the Education Department announced yesterday, marking a significant shift for enforcement of the No Child Left Behind law. Education Secretary Margaret Spellings, using her administrative authority, said she will allow 10 states to move away from the 2002 law's "pass-fail" system, which makes no distinction between a school in which many students fail reading and math tests and one that misses targets because a few students fall short. She said the pilot will allow states to focus on schools with students that need the most help. To read more, click here

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AT&T Adopts Universal Design Methodology to Help Consumers in Special Need

AT&T announced that it is going to adopt the Universal Design and also encourage application developers and handset manufacturers to design products and offer services which will cater to the needs of customers who have disabilities and face situations where the device cannot be used, even while functioning properly.  Universal Design is the practice and methodology of designing products and applications in such a way that all possible kinds of consumers can make use of it. AT&T appreciating the concept of Universal Design has decided to make it publicly available for all, for the first time.  To read more, click here

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Special Education Students' Parents Fear School Loss

Clues abound, for those who look, that Jordan Elementary School in Arizona serves a special population of students: A walker pushed against a wall, a swing on the playground that accommodates a wheelchair, and two boys, both with Down syndrome, who, with arms linked, walk their class' lunch order to the school office. But what they may not see if they're not looking closely is a boy with a severe physical disability sitting on the floor singing with a group of students in music class or several children with autism playing basketball with a large group of students on the outdoor court. Jordan is an example of a school where inclusion -- the idea that special education students should learn alongside the other students whenever possible -- works, according to parents, teachers and administrators. And because of that, many are fighting to keep the school open.  To read more, click here

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Drinking While Pregnant May Increase Risks of Autism in Babies

Women who drink alcohol during pregnancy may be putting their babies at risk of developing autism, according to new research. The consultant psychiatrist who alerted the medical profession to the finding that drinking while pregnant can give babies a condition called fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS) has now found that the consumption of alcohol by expecting mothers can also cause autism. The research is the first to suggest that autism may be triggered by the child's mother drinking alcohol during pregnancy.

The findings will heighten concern about the increase in alcohol consumption among women of childbearing age. To read more, click here

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Dispute Has Boy Out of School for Months

Two months extra vacation might sound like heaven. But a local family has "been through hell" trying to find the right alternative school for a 12-year-old boy, according to his mother.  While Dominique Pischeda, 41, and Barnegat Township School District officials have been locked in a stalemate for six months over where to send her son to school out of the district, the child has been out of the classroom. He's been without any instruction for two months.  "It was cool at first," Lenny Pischeda said. "But it gets boring."  The standoff between Pischeda and the district led to the ending of legally required homebound instruction in January, according to Pischeda and district documents. To read more, click here

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Lego Therapy Helps Children with Autism Learn Social Skills

The Lego raft carrying the Lego castaways approached the Lego island, "chased by raptors."  Lewis Roberts, a 12-year-old from Medford, N.J., moved the raft an inch, then another young filmmaker snapped a digital camera. A third boy consulted their script." Quiet on the set!" In the sudden silence, the boys let out a raptor-like roar.Lego animation is like a cartoon. The illusion of movement is created with a sequence of slightly different photographs of the colorful plastic brick construction sets. But this wasn't just fun and games. It was Dr. Dan's Lego-based Social Development Therapy -- one of the many interventions that have been developed to teach social skills to children with autism.  To read more, click here

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Food for Thought........

You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream                                                                               Les Brown

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