Week in Review - June 20, 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

 

No Child Left Behind May Be A Drag on Gifted Students

The school accountability movement is leaving the nation's most gifted students behind, according to a report released yesterday by the Thomas B. Fordham Institute. The report, "High-Achieving Students in the Era of NCLB," uses scores on the National Assessment of Educational Progress to compare changes in the top 10 percent and the bottom 10 percent of students since the introduction of No Child Left Behind. The good news is that NCLB seems to be making progress toward its goal of closing the "achievement gap," states the report: In fourth-grade reading, for example, NAEP scores for the bottom tenth increased 16 points from 2000 to 2007, compared to 3 points for the top tenth. But what does the narrowing of that gap mean for students scoring at the top of the spectrum?  To read more, click here

'Days Of Our Lives' Tackles Autism

One of the things daytime dramas have diligently worked on over the years has been incorporating eye-opening storylines to bring different issues to light.  Beginning next week, Days of Our Lives takes on the often misunderstood condition known as autism. Starting June 24, James Reynolds and Renee Jones as Commissioner Abe Carver and Dr. Lexie Carver, respectively, begin a storyline that will take them through the challenges of dealing with autism. In a story arc meant to last throughout the summer, Lexie and Abe learn that their three-year old son Theo suffers from autism.  After recovering from the initial shock of the news, the couple endeavors to devour all that they can in terms of knowledge and information about the developmental disorder. To read more, click here

Weighing Nondrug Options for Students with ADHD

About 2.5 million children in the United States take stimulant drugs for attention and hyperactivity problems. But concerns about side effects have prompted many parents to look elsewhere: as many as two-thirds of children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, or A.D.H.D., have used some form of alternative treatment. The most common strategy involves diet changes, like giving up processed foods, sugars and food additives. About 20 percent of children with the disorder have been given some form of herbal therapy; others have tried supplements like vitamins and fish oil or have used biofeedback, massage and yoga. While some studies of alternative treatments show promise, there is little solid research to guide parents. That is unfortunate, because for some children, prescription drugs aren't an option. To read more, click here

Technology Aids Special Needs High School Students

Taking a test provides particular challenges for a student with a physical disability who is unable to see the words on the page. Keeping up with homework when physically unable to turn the pages of a textbook requires that some students look for alternative methods to complete everyday assignments. Students at Stow-Munroe Falls High School who have special needs now have that alternative through assistive technology acquired by the school district. Sherry Vitone, speech therapist at the high school, presented to the School Board May 10 the Kurzweil 3000 system for MacIntosh computers. "It's really a way to promote independence, and that's what we were hoping for," she said.  To read more, click here

Miniature Golf Is The New Constitutional Right

The Bush Administration has discovered what liberals have known all along: the Constitution is a mighty comprehensive document, giving the federal government powers over the minutest aspects of our lives. Case in point: apparently Bush & Co. have discovered that there is a right to miniature golf defined in the U.S. Constitution. That's the upshot of a new set of rules updating the Americans with Disabilities Act being released for public comment this Tuesday. Other new rights include easier access to light switches in hotel rooms by moving them 6 inches lower, wheelchair lifts in courtrooms to provide easier access to the witness box, and wheelchair lifts to provide easier access to stages in auditoriums. And the miniature golf courses? Soon at least half the holes will have to be easily wheelchair accessible. To read more, click here

Gifted Programs In New York City Are Less Diverse

When New York City set a uniform threshold for admission to public school gifted programs last fall, it was a crucial step in a prolonged effort to equalize access to programs that critics complained were dominated by white middle-class children whose parents knew how to navigate the system.  The move was controversial, with experts warning that standardized tests given to young children were heavily influenced by their upbringing and preschool education, and therefore biased toward the affluent. Now, an analysis by The New York Times shows that under the new policy, children from the city's poorest districts were offered a smaller percentage than last year of the entry-grade gifted slots in elementary schools. Children in the city's wealthiest districts captured a greater share of the slots. To read more, click here

Board Certification in Special Education - Available to NASET Members

Through an agreement with The American Academy of Special Education Professionals (AASEP), NASET members now have the opportunity to achieve AASEP Board Certification in Special Education - (B.C.S.E.) at a reduced fee.  AASEP Board Certification in Special Education - (B.C.S.E.) is a voluntary choice on the part of the candidate. The candidate for Board Certification wishes to demonstrate a commitment to excellence to employers, peers, administrators, other professionals, and parents. From the standpoint of the Academy, board certification will demonstrate the highest professional competency in the area of special education. Board Certification in Special Education establishes a much needed standard for professionals, across disciplines, who work with exceptional children.   For more information on Board Certification in Special Education, click here

Finding The Answers of Learning Disabilities

She was desperate to help her son. If only she knew what was really wrong. He was a happy, social six-year-old. He played and colored with his twin brother. He liked to draw, mostly planes and trucks. "You knew he was a bright kid," she says. That's what made it all so odd. Odd that one day he'd know the alphabet so well he could point to the letters in each of the little trains on his bedroom walls and say their names. The next day, he hardly recognized them at all. One day he could recount a familiar story that had been read to him countless times. The next day, he hadn't a clue. At school, he was forever losing things. Important things. His coat. His boots. And his mother, Kay MacDonald, thought it odd that he never brought any of his work from kindergarten home. Then one day, she went to an open house at his school. All the kids had made name tags for their desks. Her son's stood out. All the letters were perfectly formed, but he'd spelled his name backwards.  To read more, click here

American Idol Winner, Other Celebrities Turn Out For Autism Benefit

On a day when Tiger Woods and Rocco Mediate battled for the U.S. Open title in California, singer Taylor Hicks was one of dozens of celebrities at Winged Foot Golf Club yesterday to raise an estimated $1 million for the Autism Speaks charity. Hicks, who won the fifth season of "American Idol" and is guest-starring in "Grease" on Broadway, said the cause is important to him. "One of my dad's best friend's sons has autism," he said, moments before practicing his swing at the driving range. "When I heard about this particular event, I wanted to make sure I got out and tried to get involved with it and bring some attention to the disease." To read more, click here

Sweeping ADA Update Would Affect Millions

The Bush administration is about to propose far-reaching rules that would give people with disabilities greater access to tens of thousands of courtrooms, swimming pools, golf courses, stadiums, theaters, hotels and stores. The proposal would substantially update and rewrite federal standards for enforcement of the Americans with Disabilities Act, a landmark civil-rights law passed with strong bipartisan support in 1990. The new rules would set more stringent requirements in many areas and address some issues for the first time, in an effort to meet the needs of an aging population and growing numbers of disabled war veterans. More than 7 million businesses and all state and local government agencies would be affected. The proposal includes some exemptions for parts of existing buildings, but any new construction or renovations would have to comply. To read more, click here

A New Twist On Autism Education

At Noah's Pretzels, information and advocacy come with your order. That's because the pretzel company, with a small stand at Lakeforest Mall in Gaithersburg and a larger presence at Nationals Park, was founded with co-owner Dwayne Herndon's son, Noah, in mind. Noah, 8, has autism. He is among the 1 in 150 children who, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, are marked by the neurological disorder that impairs communication and social skills. Visitors to the mall pretzel stand will learn this stat, and many others, through displays on the wall and a slide show on a mounted TV.  To read more, click here

The Role Of Special Education In A Multitiered System

The nature of special education has changed appreciably over the past several decades. As a result, the role of special educators needs to be examined and further developed to provide the most effective education for all learners at-risk and those with high- and low-incidence disabilities. In this article, the authors discuss five important roles in which special educators should possess skills to collaboratively educate learners at-risk within a multitiered instructional system. To read more, click here

Food for Thought........

To know is nothing at all; to imagine is everything.  

                                              Anatole France

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