Week in Review - November 14, 2008

WEEK in REVIEW

New NASET Publications and Articles of Interest in Special Education That Were Reported This Week

Dear NASET Members:

Welcome to NASET's WEEK in REVIEW.  Here, we provide you the latest publications from NASET for you to read and download, as well as 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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New This Week on NASET:  Parent Teacher Conference Handouts & Classroom Management Series IV

Parent Teacher Conference Handouts 

What Parents Need to Know About a Section 504 Accommodation Plan
Basic Information

As a special educator, you are frequently asked questions about students who have been classified as having a disability or questions from parents about their child whom they feel may have a disability. However, it is also possible that at some time you may be asked by a parent to offer information on a 504 Accommodation Plan. In this case, this Parent Teacher Conference Handout will be very helpful for parents who have a child who may fall under this category. 

To read this issue - CLICK HERE (login required)

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Classroom Management Series 

Series VI - Behavior Crisis Management 

Tool # 2 - Proximity Teaching

The purpose of this tool is to establish a structure around a student who is unable to maintain control over his/her behavior.

To read this issue - CLICK HERE 
(login required)

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Expecting Longer Lives With Greater Risk, Reward: Down Syndrome Generation First To Outlive Their Parents

Like many people her age, Jennifer Holden wants to be on her own. But for the 20-year-old Springfield woman, crossing streets can be frightening. Keeping track of money is difficult. And fending for herself is challenging at times for a person who loves to read but has difficulty with novels above a fifth-grade level. "A stranger could set a trap on me," she says between bites of a cheeseburger at a Wendy's. "Kidnap me." Holden belongs to the first generation of people with Down syndrome who will probably outlive their parents. The life expectancy of people with Down syndrome has increased from about 25 years in 1983 to more than 50, thanks largely to medical advances. Although achieving independence has long been the goal for any person with a disability, increased life expectancy has made the goal more urgent now that the baby boomer generation is graying. To read more, click here

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Strange Play In Infancy May Point To Autism

Babies who were later diagnosed with autism played with toys in unusual ways, spinning or rotating them more than other babies, U.S. researchers reported on Thursday. Their findings, reported in the journal Autism, might help doctors and parents identify children at risk of autism and start to help them earlier, the researchers said. Babies who went on to develop autism also stared noticeably at objects such as bottles or looked at them out of the corners of their eyes, Sally Ozonoff of the University of California Davis and colleagues found."There is an urgent need to develop measures that can pick up early signs of autism, signs present before 24 months," Ozonoff said in a statement. To read more, click here

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In Vancouver, Inclusive Education Sought As A Priority

Since the 1980s, students with developmental disabilities have had the right to attend regular classrooms in their neighbourhood schools, with appropriate supports. Research now shows that including students with special needs in regular classrooms benefits all students both academically and socially. The B.C. Association for Community Living (BCACL) believes that the health of our public education system and the vitality of our democracy go hand in hand. And if public education is the foundation of our democracy, then there is no greater public trust than that of the office of school trustee. As we approach municipal elections across the province, we are also given the opportunity to vote for our school trustees. School trustees and their boards of education are responsible for vital decisions: Establishing policies, setting budgets and priorities for the school district, communicating with government, employing staff and approving courses. To read more, click here

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Link Found Between Brain Injury When Young And ADHD

New research published on bmj.com explores the relationship between head injuries and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Although there is not enough evidence to state that head injuries in young children cause ADHD, researchers have found that early head injury is indeed associated with a subsequent diagnosis of ADHD. Professor Heather T Keenan (Dept of Pediatrics, University of Utah) and colleagues note that children who are eventually diagnosed with ADHD tend to engage in riskier behaviors as young children. These behaviors raise their likelihood of becoming injured. However, it is not clear if there is an association between head injury and ADHD. Some studies suggest that children with ADHD are more likely to have been injured, and ADHD is the result of early and severe traumatic brain injury. To read more, click here

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In New York, Special Education Advocates And The State Tussle Over Proposed Changes To IEPs

A new push by the state to standardize the way school districts plan which services special needs students should receive is rattling parents across New York. At the heart of the process is a document called the Individualized Education Plan, which a team of experts crafts to describe the student's educational needs and how the school should address them. For years, every school district has used its own IEP form. Now, state officials have created standardized forms to be used by all districts. The officials say this is an important move because it will create consistency across the state, but special education advocates are worried that the new form could put children's needs in jeopardy. Everyone agrees that IEP forms are crucial documents because they are the strongest form of insurance a parent can have that his child will get specific services. Advocates worry that the forms the state is pushing would weaken that insurance. To read more, click here

for Less Than $10.00 a Month

NASET Offering Members Two Million Dollar Educator Liability Insurance

Every day, special educators are faced with the stresses and potential liability issues involved in dealing with children with special needs. As a result you may be vulnerable to lawsuits, which have been on the rise over the last few years, from parents, or students themselves. In the past decade, the number of suits filed against educators and administrators has risen dramatically, causing the cost of insurance to increase as well. While some special educators may feel that they do not need this type of coverage and they are protected by their district, they should think twice. Even if you are 100% innocent of the charges or accusations, legal costs alone could run into the thousands and sometimes tens of thousands of dollars. In special education today, parents - and students - are more aware of their rights, and the laws that govern special education and hold teachers/educators to high standards. Don't try to convince yourself that the expense of your professional and public liability protection is unnecessary or unjustified. Experience shows that the cost of such coverage is by far lower than the risk a teacher takes by not having such protection. Why take a chance for less than $10.00 a month? To learn more about educator liability insurance available through NASET, click here

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Georgia School Tries New Gifted Program

When Cortland Johns' fifth-grade class at River Ridge Elementary School started learning about the Civil War, the 10-year-old took a more challenging route in her studies than most of her classmates. As a gifted pupil, Cortland and her peers are taking part in a new program at the school that clusters exceptional pupils together throughout the day. Though the gifted pupils study the same subject matter and are in the same classroom as those not in the program, their assignments often are more challenging. "When we started studying the Civil War period, I was somewhat fascinated by (Union Gen. William Tecumseh) Sherman," Cortland said. "I wanted to know more about his Atlanta campaign." Officials say the pilot program, started this year at River Ridge, has been a success. To read more, click here

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U.S. Department of Education To Inspect Guam Public School Special Education Programs

A team of federal evaluators will tour schools in mid-November because the Guam Public School System's special education programs aren't preparing students for adult life. According to a letter sent by the U.S. Department of Education in June, only three percent of students with special needs had personalized lesson plans during the 2006-2007 school year intended to help them transition out of school. The year before the school system provided these tailored lessons to only seven percent of students, the letter states. "Guam's very low level of compliance on this critical indicator demonstrates that Guam is not ensuring that all youth aged 16 and above have an (individual education plan) that includes the required secondary transition content," the letter reads. A percentage of compliance for last school year has not been compiled. To read more, click here

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University of Oregon To Head Expansion Of Special Education Technical Assistance Center

The University of Oregon's College of Education will spearhead an $8 million, five-year, multi-institutional program designed to foster positive behavior in the nation's schools. The U.S. Office of Special Education Programs announced the first $1.6 million of the grant Nov. 7. It also allows the UO to continue and expand an existing technical assistance center aimed at helping address the needs of behavior-challenged students with disabilities. The overall project, known as the National Technical Assistance Center on Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports, helps schools provide both a climate and effective interventions that support students with disabilities who have behavioral issues, especially those at risk for expulsion, suspension or alternative-school placement. "This new grant builds from our work documenting that the social culture of a school is directly related to the learning outcomes of the school," said Robert H. Horner, a professor of special education in the UO's department of special education and clinical sciences. To read more - click here

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Disability 101: Inclusion Challenge

One of the mainstays of special-education programs for students with cognitive and learning disabilities is the concept of inclusion. What used to be referred to as mainstreaming, inclusion refers to the practice of educating special-education students in regular-education classes alongside their non-disabled peers. Inclusion has been found to be successful because special-education kids learn well in a "normal" setting in which accommodations for individual needs have been provided. In addition, many social skills and quality-of-life factors are provided to special-education students. On the flip side, regular-education students benefit from getting to know and making friends with students with disabilities. Many life lessons are learned. So why do we give up the idea of inclusion when we reach adulthood? To read more, click here

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Louisiana School For The Deaf Ups Security After Sex Scandal

Overhauled security. New surveillance cameras. Sign language classes for staff. State officials said Thursday that they have revamped the troubled Louisiana School for the Deaf before this week's reopening, after a scandal over sexual misconduct shut the school last month. State Superintendent of Education Paul Pastorek was measured in describing the school's security and safety improvements to the Senate Education Committee, saying, "I think it is safer. I think it is safe enough. I think it is where we need to be. But it is not accident-proof." The Baton Rouge-based school has been the focus of several accusations of sexual misconduct, including charges that a 16-year-old student with a history of behavioral problems raped a 6-year-old student on a school bus in September. To read more, click here

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Children With Special Needs Shine On Stage

Megan Rosener loves to sing, dance and act - but they're fairly new pursuits. She suffered a stroke when she was born and lives with cerebral palsy, Attention Deficit Disorder and seizures. And Hollywood and Broadway don't offer a lot of roles for children with special needs. Then her mother, Yogi Rosener, heard about Life Long Dreams, a free program that gives children with physical and learning disabilities their moment in the spotlight. Megan, 14 of Desert Shores, was initially hesitant to be on stage because her impairments left her feeling like an outsider. But as two of her fellow teen performers held her hand and led her on stage at her first performance with the group, Megan's inner diva came out. "Her self confidence has just exploded," Yogi said. "She was the last one to raise her hand. She's raising her hand at school now. She does choir. She's volunteering to do projects. She would never do this before." To read more, click here

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The Dangers Of Autism

Liane Willey's father always told her that, if she was ever in trouble, she should find a policeman and ask for help. In college, Willey befriended a young campus policeman. Recalling her father's advice, she asked him to escort her home late one evening rather than walk alone. Instead, the officer drove away from campus, took her to his trailer home, and raped her. "I don't get the warning signs. I don't feel the creepiness," said Willey, who has Asperger's syndrome, a mild form of autism. "I get lured into the dark places." Failing to recognize social cues -- that a "creepy" man might not be safe to go home with, for instance -- is a classic example of how people with autism spectrum disorders can get into troublesome situations. And trouble can rapidly become dangerous. To read more, click here

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Food for Thought........

Nothing is so contagious as enthusiasm; it moves stones, it charms brutes. Enthusiasm is the genius of sincerity, and truth accomplishes no victories without it.

                             Edward Bulwer

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