Week in Review - September 12, 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 <//a>news@naset.org

Have a great weekend.
 
Sincerely,

NASET News Team

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Testing for Special Education: When, Why and How

Parents may wonder when to ask teachers whether their children qualify for special education services. Experts say the sooner the better. "If a parent has a concern that their student is falling behind, they need to make the teacher aware of their concern as soon as possible," says Laurie Montgomery, director of special education for Portage, Schoolcraft and Vicksburg Schools. Ginger Skidmore, a Family Support Partner with Advocacy Services for Children in Kalamazoo and mother of three children currently using special education services, agrees. "What we would advise a parent to do is to put in writing that they would like their child to receive testing for special [education] services," she says. Skidmore tried extra reading, flash cards and making word searches with spelling words when her son began to struggle. "Over the course of a couple years, he got further and further and further behind," she admits. To read more, click here 

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Vaccination of U.S. Children Was at Record Level

Vaccination rates for toddlers in the U.S. remained at or near record levels last year, with the lowest rates reported in Western states where recent outbreaks of measles have struck unvaccinated children. More than 90 percent of children ages 19 to 35 months received the most commonly recommended injections, while less than 1 percent of children were completely unvaccinated, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported Thursday. Repeated inoculation with a comprehensive series of injections, designed to protect children against 11 diseases, ranged from 91 percent of youngsters in Maryland to 63 percent in Nevada. Nationally, 77.4 percent of children received the full series of shots in 2007, an increase from 76.9 in 2006. To read more, click here

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Who Wins with iinclusion? 

For over 20 years, the New Brunswick government has adopted a philosophy of inclusion of exceptional children into the regular classroom. In the latest education plan, "When kids come first", one of the eight commitments made is "to live up to the promise of inclusion". The philosophy of full inclusion argues that students with special needs, no matter their severity, should be educated in the same classroom settings as their normally developing peers. The idea is that with the appropriate support systems in place, any child can get the education they deserve. In practice, inclusion in the classroom has some positive aspects. Children should learn how to interact with people of all learning styles and capabilities, since this is something we need to do as adults. All children benefit from interacting with peers who share interests and pastimes. What is seldom discussed is the negative side of inclusion. To read more, click here

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As Autism Cases Grow in Oregon, New Laws May Arise

State Rep. Chris Edwards, D-Eugene, and his wife knew something was wrong when their son, Simon, hit 18 months without speaking his first word. By that age, most children are stringing together simple, two-word sentences: "Shoe Off!", perhaps, or the ever-popular "Want more!" But for Simon, it would take almost two more years before the experts finally had an answer for his parents. The verdict was autism, the brain disability that affects more than 7,000 schoolchildren in Oregon, a percentage that's been growing by double digits in recent years. To read more, click here

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Hundreds Join in Walk for Down Syndrome Education

The inspirational song "All Walk Together" from the actor Chris Burke with bandmates Joe and John DeMasi set the pace Saturday for the eighth annual Ups of Downs Buddy Walk, which raised $8,000 to support Down syndrome education, activities and research. More than 500 people cheered as they lined up for the start of the walk in Memorial Park.The number of walkers has increased each year, but the highest amount had been 200 until this year, when the number more than doubled. "We can't believe this," said Rhonda Grant, one of the organizers of the event. "It's so heartwarming that all of these people came to support our kids. We've just been pounding the streets with fliers because we want to have our community be aware of our individuals with Down syndrome, to accept them and respect them because they are part of our community." To read more, click here

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Adulthood Has Different Challenges for Those with Learning and Physical Disabilities

He worked hard but struggled with his school work. He had trouble paying attention when he was younger and was diagnosed with attention deficit disorder. Hawkins moved from middle school to high school and continued to struggle, but he didn't like to focus on his learning difficulties. "I didn't want to make my problems other people's problems," Hawkins, now 22, said. Moving from the teenage years to adulthood can be a difficult transition. It can be even more difficult for young people dealing with a learning disability like Hawkins or a mental or physical disability. Living independently, securing employment or just maintaining adequate healthcare can be overwhelming issues to face. As Bryan left high school, he started taking classes at Wallace Community College. He took computer classes and office management courses, graduating in May 2007. 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

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'PITCH' Campaign to Promote Employment of People with Disabilities

The U.S. Department of Labor's Office of Disability Employment Policy, in cooperation with Major League Baseball, announced the launch of the PITCH (Proving Individuals with Talent Can Help) campaign to encourage businesses to hire individuals with disabilities. Former major league pitcher Jim Abbott will serve as the campaign's spokesman. Abbott, born without a right hand, was an Olympic gold medalist in 1988. In 1993, while pitching for the New York Yankees, he tossed a no-hitter against the Cleveland Indians. He pitched 10 seasons in the major leagues with the California Angels, New York Yankees, Chicago White Sox, and Milwaukee Brewers. "This is something that is very important to me," Abbott said. "I am honored to be working with the Department of Labor's Office of Disability Employment Policy. To read more, click here

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Parents of Special Needs Children Divided Over Palin's Promises

Amid the barbs and hockey banter Wednesday night, Gov. Sarah Palin directed an emotional appeal to the hearts of millions of parents with children who have special needs, promising they would "have a friend and advocate in the White House" in a McCain-Palin administration. As she spoke, the camera panned to her baby, Trig, who has Down syndrome. Ms. Palin's offer of friendship sparked hope in many parents, advocates and lawyers as the often-marginalized subject of disabilities rights took center stage. "We need one, that's for sure," wrote one blogger, Rhymerchick, a Phoenix mother with an autistic child, adding, "I am tempted to vote for them just because of that promise." To read more, click here

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Twelve-Year Old Gifted Student Strides into University Honors Program

Colin Carlson is having lunch at the University of Connecticut's Chem Café during his first week of school when a student with a mouthful of braces walks by, flashes him a grin and gives him a high-five. Colin shrugs as the student walks away. He has no idea who that was, but recognition is to be expected on the Storrs campus for UConn's only 12-year-old student. "People come up and say hi," explains Colin's mother, Jessica Carlson. "They're nice about it." A short while later, chemistry professor Tyson Miller interrupts to introduce himself. "(My) office is on the fourth floor," says Miller, who later returns to hand Colin his business card. "You have any questions about chemistry, you let me know, all right?" Colin is profoundly gifted, a term used to define children who test in the 99.9th percentile on IQ and achievement tests. He has been taking classes at UConn since he was 9, but people still give him curious looks. To read more, click here

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Parents Continue to Wait for Kids to be Assigned to Special Education

Some special education students haven't even started the school year yet, even as the first week of classes came to an end. NY1's Bronx reporter Dean Meminger says the parents are blasting the education department. Frustrated, angry and sometimes emotional, a group of Bronx parents say they've spent the first week of school trying to get their children in special education programs, but they've been unsuccessful. "To travel here three days in a row, for y'all to tell me to come back tomorrow. No!" said one parent."I'm going back in there," added another parent, who then broke down in tears. Inside the education district office at Fordham Plaza, scores of parents say they've come because the schools they were told to go to have turned them away. To read more, click here

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Special Education is Funding Early Help

Bit by bit, the U.S. Department of Education is trying to pull down the walls that have traditionally separated general and special education. One facet of the plan is the department's support of "response to intervention," or RTI, an educational technique that bolsters the skills of academically struggling students before they fall so far behind that they need special education services. And another facet is "coordinated, comprehensive early-intervening services," a method of paying for RTI-related programs using federal special education dollars. To read more, click here

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NASET Executive Director, Dr. George Giuliani, Addresses the Importance of Inclusion

Schools Superintendent W.L. "Tony" Sawyer recalled walking through the halls in his days as a high school principal and seeing covered classroom windows. When he asked why, a teacher told him the windows were covered because the children did not want to be identified as part of the special education program. Today, Sawyer said he believes classifying students in special education can set them back. "That's unfortunately one of the things that mitigates their progress, the feeling that they're not part of the mainstream," he said."One of the main issues has been the outcome of special education students who in some instances have to meet the same standards as general education students," he said. The inclusion model is widely used in other school districts and is supported by many education experts. George Giuliani, the Executive Director of the National Association of Special Education Teachers in Washington, D.C., said it also is supported by federal law, which requires that students will disabilities are placed in the "least restrictive environment." Giuliani said special education students do well in an inclusion classroom because it heightens their self-esteem and their sense of being part of a school community and is more stimulating. He said other students in the classroom get the same quality of education, while learning to accept people with disabilities. To read more, click here

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Food for Thought........

A teacher ... takes a hand, opens a mind, touches a heart and shapes the future.

               Author Unknown

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