Week in Review - June 27, 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

District Says Omission Not Intentional....But Dr. Giuliani Questions "How Can You Leave An Entire Special Education Class Out Of A Yearbook?

Darla Granger says she never expected to become a spokeswoman for the issue of equality in special education. But that's what happened after the story of her 8-year-old twins' school yearbook, which omitted their autism class at Quail Glen Elementary School, drew national media coverage this week and sparked a firestorm of outrage on the Internet.  "The school can come up with 100 reasons why this happened, but the bottom line is an entire special ed class and their teachers were left out of the yearbook," said Dr. George Giuliani, Executive Director of the National Association of Special Education Teachers in Washington, D.C. "How do you leave an entire class out of the yearbook?"  "By leaving these children out of a yearbook, they set off a real anger," said Giuliani. "People are appalled by this. But that's a good thing. People aren't going, 'Well - who cares."  To read more, click here

Do General Education Teachers Need To Understand Assessment in Special Education?

'Education News' interviewed Dr. George Giuliani and Dr. Roger Pierangelo, Executive Directors of NASET on the importance of understanding assessment in special education for general education teachers. Drs. Giuliani and Pierangelo stated that, "It should be realized that the more than half of the students in special education today are educated for the majority of the day in the general education classroom.  Furthermore, 96% of all special education students are educated in the general education building.  Therefore, general education teachers are working with the overwhelming majority of special education students.  They need to understand the process of assessment in order to determine the strengths and weaknesses of the students with whom they work."  To read more, click here

Todler with Autism Kicked Off Plane

An American Eagle flight taxiing to a Raleigh-Durham Airport runway was turned around Monday, but not because of a terrorist threat. The crew was kicking an autistic Cary toddler and his mother off the plane.  As the American Eagle flight headed down the taxiway, two-and-a-half-year-old Jarett Farrell wasn't a happy traveler. His mother says she was doing all she could to calm the autistic boy, but got no sympathy from the flight crew. "If they just would have been a little more understanding I think that none of this would have been a problem," Mother, Janice Farrell said. But it became a big problem for everyone on the plane. Farrell says that's because the flight attendant was indignant. "She kept coming over and tugging his seatbelt to make it tighter, 'This has to stay tight'. And then he was wiggling around and trying to get out of his seatbelt. To read more, click here

Larger Special Education Classes Upset Parents

Aaron Peters, 7, cries nearly every day at school. And whenever he cries, it's likely others in his class will, too. Aaron has autism, a rapidly growing disorder marked by pronounced difficulty communicating and relating to others. Like others in his first-grade class at Burger School for Students with Autism, he's easily frustrated and sensitive to the moods of others. With five in a class, Aaron's teacher and a classroom aide can manage the daily outbursts and tantrums. But his mother, Melissa Peters, worries about what will happen in the fall, when classes at the school will be made larger. "If you put them all in together like cattle, they're not going to get any better," Peters said. Wayne, Oakland, Macomb and other counties across the state have modified their special education plans to allow larger class sizes than state law allows, drawing the ire of child advocates.  To read more, click here

Special Education Students More Likely To Face Disciplinary Action

Behavior problems for Germecia Thomas began in first grade. She knocked pictures off a classroom wall, broke a clock, locked herself in a bathroom and ran away from her teachers at Souder Elementary School in Everman. Her mother, Tawnya Thomas, spent the next few years meeting with administrators and teachers, facing what she interpreted as a reluctance to get her daughter properly evaluated and into an extensive special-education program. Instead, school officials questioned Thomas about her parenting abilities and called Child Protective Services to her home. In middle school, Germecia, 13, was diagnosed with bipolar disorder. But by then, she had acquired school-related court tickets totaling nearly $1,400. Germecia is one of hundreds of Texas students who have been repeatedly remanded to school discipline programs, even though their behavior may be linked to psychological problems or other conditions. To read more, click here

A Place Where Children Can Turn Their Lives Around

They were sent to the Foundation School in Largo as a last resort. Nobody else could handle them, let alone figure out why they were so disturbed. Some had even been expelled from pre-kindergarten because teachers could not get them to be quiet or stay in their seats or stop picking on their peers. They scowled at classmates and cursed their teachers, always bucking for a fight.  Last week, the students had their teachers and schoolmates crying again. But this time what flowed were tears of joy. Seven high school seniors who'd once been written off as helpless and hopeless graduated. As they walked across the stage for their diplomas, they acknowledged their teachers with smiles. 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

Youngsters Gain Insight on Living With Disabilities

They drive, surf the Web, prepare meals, and attend their children's sporting events just like the rest of us - only differently. That's the message members of the Burlington Disabilities Access Commission brought to Memorial Elementary School last week during the group's "differently-abled" program for second-graders."We want to help kids to not be afraid of people with disabilities," said commission chairman Kenneth Tigges, who became a quadriplegic after injuring his neck at age 16. To read more, click here

Special Needs Children:  Impassioned Debate On Bill

Parents of special-needs children have called on lawmakers to approve an annual tax credit of up to $6,000, saying that would let their children attend private schools when public schools fail to address their needs. But the proposal before a legislative education panel faces opposition that could stall the plan. The state's top education lobby said that pulling thousands of students from the schools - and the money spent on them - would place additional strain on an already hurting system. It's a passionate issue that may require further discussion, making it a longshot of reaching Gov. Mike Easley's desk this legislative session."If we have a vote on it, it'll pass," said Rep. Paul Stam, R-Wake, a co-sponsor of the bill. "But the question is if we get a vote on it."  To read more, click here

District Largely Denies Records Request For Special Education Documents

School district officials gave few answers to the many questions asked of them via a special education-related California Public Records Act Request filed by a district parent and trustee, saying they just don't have the documents handy. In a response to the request submitted by Lisa Pampuch, a leader among special education parents, and Board of Education member Shelle Thomas, the district's attorney Tracy Tibbals writes, "The district has conducted a diligent search of all the categories of information that you list in your Public Records Act Request. After such a search, however, the district has determined that much of your request seeks information that is not contained in the records maintained by the district."  To read more, click here

Study Uncovers How Ritalin Works In Brain To Boost Cognition, Focus Attention

Study uncovers how Ritalin works in brain to boost cognition, focus attention Stimulant medications such as Ritalin have been prescribed for decades to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), and their popularity as "cognition enhancers" has recently surged among the healthy, as well. What's now starting to catch up is knowledge of what these drugs actually do in the brain. In a paper publishing online this week in Biological Psychiatry, University of Wisconsin-Madison psychology researchers David Devilbiss and Craig Berridge report that Ritalin fine-tunes the functioning of neurons in the prefrontal cortex (PFC) - a brain region involved in attention, decision-making and impulse control - while having few effects outside it. Because of the potential for addiction and abuse, controversy has swirled for years around the use of stimulants to treat ADHD, especially in children. By helping pinpoint Ritalin's action in the brain, the study should give drug developers a better road map to follow as they search for safer alternatives. To read more,click here

In Canada, Special Education Makes A Difference

School District 18's special education plans are complex and mean more work for teachers, but the system is working well for students, says a local teacher. The district has more than 2,200 students on special education plans. That's about 18 per cent of the district's 12,300 students, in line with most other districts in the province. "Special education plans get teachers, school staff and parents working together to help students get the best education possible," said Jill Dunderdale, a methods and resource teacher at George Street Middle School. "There are more positives than negatives when it comes to dealing with the plans. And it's something, most would agree, that's helpful and done in the students' best interest." To read more, click here

House Votes To Expand Rights For Individuals With Disabilities

The House passed a major civil rights bill on Wednesday that would expand protections for people with disabilities and overturn several Supreme Court decisions issued in the last decade. The bill, approved 402 to 17, would make it easier for workers to prove discrimination. It would explicitly relax some stringent standards set by the court and says that disability is to be "construed broadly," to cover more physical and mental impairments. Supporters of the proposal said it would restore the broad protections that Congress meant to establish when it passed the Americans With Disabilities Act that President George Bush signed in 1990.  Lawmakers said Wednesday that people with epilepsy, diabetes, cancer, cerebral palsy, multiple sclerosis and other ailments had been improperly denied protection because their conditions could be controlled by medication or were in remission. To read more, click here

Food for Thought........

"Better than a thousand days of diligent study is one day with a great teacher" 

            Japanese Proverb

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