Week in Review - August 2, 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

 

State Office That Serves People with Disabilities Has Accessibility Problems

 

When Austinite Berkley Cook visited a state office building in Texas to apply for a health plan earlier this summer, he found it to be too hard to maneuver through the front door without help from a fellow visitor. Cook, who temporarily uses crutches, wondered why the building didn't have power-assisted doors, especially because it's an office of an agency that administers programs for people with disabilities: the Health and Human Services Commission. "I was shocked," said Cook, 49, who is recovering from hip and back problems. "These are just the kinds of things the state should take care of on their own." The building's accessibility hasn't been formally inspected for 15 years, apparently because of poor communication among state agencies. To read more, click here

In Ireland, Most Childhood Disabilities are Unconfirmed Before the Age of 5

 

In Ireland, three out of four children with intellectual disabilities have not had their level of disability confirmed by the age of five, new figures released by the Health Research Board show. Experts say the reason for the high level of unconfirmed disability is due to children not receiving psychological assessments, or as a result of the sensitivity of parents or experts in providing a diagnosis too early on in a child's life. The actual number of unconfirmed cases has risen from 860 in 2003 (or 60 per cent of children with intellectual disabilities under the age of five), to 1,181 in 2007 (75 per cent of such children). The report also shows that hundreds of children are not getting the vital therapeutic services they need to help them meet their full potential. To read more, click here

Jobs for People with Disabilities Increasing in Canada

A new study from Canada shows that a growing percentage of people living with disabilities are finding work, representing the largest increase in the employment rate among Canadians. The latest data released from the Participation and Activity Limitation Survey showed the employment rate for persons with disabilities rose from 49.3 percent to 53.5 percent between 2001 and 2006. It said that the employment rate for people without disabilities improved from 73.8 per cent to 75.1 per cent over the same five-year period. The statistics translate to 339,590 more people working with disabilities in 2006, compared with 874,960 more people without disabilities. To read more, click here

What's in a Name?  An Effort to be Sensitive Brings Mangled Mouthfuls

It's good to be sensitive, but really, if you saw "Department of Behavioral and Developmental Services," would you have any idea what it did? How about the "Department of Supportive and Recovery Services"? Let's brainstorm this. We'll start with "behavioral." Hmm ... whose behavior is the state concerned with? Maybe they're law enforcement. "Recovery services" ... perhaps they can help you retrieve your stolen car. Or get over a broken heart. "Supportive" ... that could have to do with the welfare. Or child support. Or the elderly. Oops ... make that senior citizens. No, Boomers really hate that label; maybe age-enhanced. The "Department of Mental Health, Mental Retardation and Substance Abuse Services" may be a mouthful, but at least it doesn't beat around the bush about the kinds of needs and services this state agency deals with. But political correctness hijacked good sense at its headquarters, and now the agency is asking citizens to help it choose a new name. To read more, click here

New Special Education Rules Explored

Under new state special-education regulations in New Hampshire, parents have stronger rights, and with them come more responsibilities. A nonprofit group touring the state explaining both will make a stop in Keene next week. The Parent Information Center is holding a workshop in Keene for parents of special-education students on Aug. 7 at Monadnock Developmental Services. After three years of reviewing federal regulations for special education and seeking input from educators and parents, the N.H. Department of Education has released its own regulations - expanding on what's required by the federal guidelines. Telling parents what's expected of their children and outlining steps to get there is a key part of keeping everyone involved, said Bonnie A. Dunham, a special-education resource specialist at the center. To read more, click here

Math is Harder for Girls....and Also, it Seems, for the New York Times

The New York Times is determined to show that women are discriminated against in the sciences; too bad the facts say otherwise. A new study has "found that girls perform as well as boys on standardized math tests," claims a July 25 article by Tamar Lewin-thus, the underrepresentation of women on science faculties must result from bias. Actually, the study, summarized in the July 25 issue of Science, shows something quite different: while boys' and girls' average scores are similar, boys outnumber girls among students in both the highest and the lowest score ranges. Either the Times is deliberately concealing the results of the study or its reporter cannot understand the most basic science reporting. 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

Illinois Bill Could Help Defer Autism Costs:  Insurance Companies Would be Required to Lighten Load

Gov. Rod Blagojevich's power to rewrite legislation could give hope to thousands of Illinois parents who deal with expensive diagnoses and treatment for children with autism. The governor proposed July 13 to tack on an insurance break for parents of children with autism to another bill after the proposal was originally shot down in January. If the proposal passes, insurance companies would be required to provide patients with autism a $36,000 maximum yearly coverage plan for treatment until age 21. The proposal is now coupled with a bill that requires employees' health plans to cover preventative physical therapy treatments for multiple sclerosis. State Rep. Robert Pritchard, R-Sycamore, has been an avid supporter of this bill. Although Blagojevich is trying to use his amendatory veto power to transfer the autism proposal to the existing bill, Pritchard said, there still needs to be more effort from everyone to make it happen. To read more, click here

Does NCLB Render Greater Educational Entitlement to Students with Disabilities?

The No Child Left Behind Act and the congressional reauthorization of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act (IDEA) caused researchers to question whether the provision in the IDEA governing Free Appropriate Public Education should be revised to better serve the interests of special needs children. For each student protected by the IDEA, an instrument must be developed to serve the child's unique needs, and part of this requirement is the promotion of participation in the general curriculum. As determined by the national government, standards of achievement measured by assessment instruments are cornerstones of this new approach to education. This study examines federal legislation, including statutes, regulations, and case law interpreting whether a student is entitled to "some benefit" or to a maximum benefit in education. To read more, click here

Alcohol Binges Early in Pregnancy Increase Risk of Infant Oral

A new study by researchers at the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS), part of the National Institutes of Health, shows that pregnant women who binge drink early in their pregnancy increase the likelihood that their babies will be born with oral clefts. The researchers found that women who consumed an average of five or more drinks per sitting were more than twice as likely than non-drinkers to have an infant with either of the two major infant oral clefts: cleft lip with or without cleft palate, or cleft palate alone. Women who drank at this level on three or more occasions during the first trimester were three times as likely to have infants born with oral clefts. "These findings reinforce the fact that women should not drink alcohol during pregnancy," said Lisa A. DeRoo, Ph.D., an epidemiologist at NIEHS and author on the study. "Prenatal exposure to alcohol, especially excessive amounts at one time, can adversely affect the fetus and may increase the risk of infant clefts." The causes of clefts are largely unknown, but both genetic predisposition and environmental factors are believed to play a role in their development. The paper appears online today as an advance access publication in the American Journal of Epidemiology. To read more, click here

Clefts

Poker Ride Will Benefit Autism Speaks

Paden City residents Leslie Pierce and Tomela Paden both have children with autism, just like thousands of other parents across the country and around the world. Approximately every 20 minutes a parent learns that her child has autism, a complex brain disorder that inhibits a person's ability to communicate and develop social relationships. It is often accompanied by extreme behavioral challenges. But a challenge is just what Pierce and Paden are willing to take on to help raise money to fight autism and help parents and children cope with the disease. For three years the ladies have taken part in the Walk for Autism in Warwood. However, that takes place during the prime fund-raising season for Relay for Life. Plus, they wanted to do something closer to home that would help the cause championed by Autism Speaks. That is why they are organizing the first poker ride to raise money for the national organization dedicated to increasing awareness of autism spectrum disorders, to funding research into the causes, prevention, and treatments for autism, and to advocating for the needs of individuals with autism and their families. To read more, click here

More Adoptive Children with Disabilities Seeking Help at Private Schools

Crossroads, a small, private school near the Galleria, serves students with dyslexia, attention-deficit disorder and a handful of other learning disabilities. It's no coincidence, experts said, that a large percentage of its students are also adopted. Because of abuse, genetic issues and a lack of prenatal care, adoptive children are much more likely to struggle with learning disabilities, prompting their families to leave public schools in search of the extra help offered by often costly specialty schools. While adoptive children account for 1 percent to 2 percent of the population, higher rates can be found in almost every mental health setting, including residential facilities and public school special education programs. To read more, click here

Plan Would Tie Accreditation to Graduation Rates

Virginia officials are considering a plan that aims to boost graduation rates by tying them to school accreditation. Gov. Timothy M. Kaine's office is reviewing the plan, which would require schools to meet a graduation-rate benchmark in order to receive state accreditation and avoid penalties. The proposal - a revision of the state's Standards of Accreditation - would be subject to public comment before being considered by the state Board of Education. If approved, the change would begin with the 2009-10 academic year. "We're very, very focused on that issue and we're kind of mapping backward: Where do kids start to drop out?" said Mark E. Emblidge, president of the Board of Education. He said officials are looking at middle school and high schools more than before. To read more, click here

Food for Thought........

Look for a place that you deserve, and a place that deserves you.

                                                                             Clarissa Yack

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