Dear NASET Members,
Welcome to NASET's WEEK in REVIEW. Here, we provide you with the latest publications from NASET 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 <//a><//a>firstname.lastname@example.org Have a great weekend.
NASET News Team
New This Week on NASET Parent Teacher Conference Handout
Parent's Guide to RTI (Response to Intervention)
Parents will often hear about a new concept or intervention strategy being used by schools and may be hesitant to ask. Providing knowledge of new procedures or intervention programs to parents will reduce misconceptions, mistrust, and anxiety. One of the concepts that has gained a great deal of presence in schools in recent months has been RTI (Response to Intervention). RTI is a newly-identified process described in the federal special education law (IDEA 2004) for identifying students with learning disabilities. The RTI process is a multi-tiered approach to providing services and interventions to struggling learners at increasing levels of intensity. RTI can be used for making decisions about general, compensatory, and special education, creating a well-integrated and seamless system of instruction and intervention guided by child outcome data. The Parent Teacher Conference Handout will try to simplify the basic concepts so parents can gain a basic understanding of this important intervention strategy.
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Classroom Management Series
Behavior Management Tool #3
Forced Choice Technique
This issue of Series IV of the Classroom Management Series provides a good technique is to limit the behavior of students who try to negotiate everything.
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Obama Picks Chicagoan To Lead Education Department
President-elect Barack Obama announced Tuesday that Arne Duncan, the Chicago schools superintendent known for taking tough steps to improve the city's schools while maintaining respectful relations with teachers and their unions, was his choice as secretary of education. Duncan, 44, a Harvard graduate, has raised achievement in the third-largest U.S. school district and often faced the ticklish challenge of closing failing schools and replacing ineffective teachers, usually with improved results. Obama did not minimize the challenge facing Duncan. Two-thirds of all new jobs, he said, now require advanced training or higher education. "Unfortunately, when our high school dropout rate is one of the highest in the industrialized world, when a third of all fourth graders can't do basic math, when more and more Americans are getting priced out of attending college, we're falling far short of that goal," of educating Americans for a more competitive world. To read more, click here
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Pediatricians Don't Routinely Ask About Mental Health
Don't count on your child's doctor to ask whether you're worried about mental health issues such as ADHD or bad behavior. Fifty-six percent of parents say their pediatrician or family-practice doctor never asks about mental health concerns, according to a new survey out of C.S. Mott Children's Hospital at the University of Michigan. Another 22 percent say they get asked sometimes, with 22 percent more saying their doc is always on the ball. This is no small issue, seeing as 1 in 10 children suffers a serious emotional or mental disorder, according to the surgeon general. Twenty percent of the 2,245 parents polled said that one or more of their children had been diagnosed with a mental health problem, the most common being attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, a behavior problem, or depression. To read more, click here
When 'Terrible 2s' May Be A Sign Of Autism
A U.S. researcher says a setback in child development may not be the "terrible 2s," but regressive autistic spectrum disorder. Gerry A. Stefanatos of Temple University in Philadelphia said regressive autistic spectrum disorder describes children who have been diagnosed with autism who demonstrate a history of a regression. The regression refers to a marked loss of previously acquired developmental skills such as language or social ability. "Often children with regression aren't being seen by professionals at the time of the loss of skills," Stefanatos said in a statement. "The parents are aware of a problem, but not sure what it is so they don't seek medical or psychological help until the symptoms persist for over a year." To read more, click here
Special Education Students Learn Financial Responsibility Through Independent City
Ensuring that high school seniors in Special Education are prepared not only academically, but financially as well, over 150 students from the Sweetwater Union High School District participated in a one-day "real-world" finance simulation called Independent City held at the Otay Recreation Center in Chula Vista on December 4, 2008. Students were given a "paycheck" and then were given the task to open a bank account, rent an apartment, set up utilities, find transportation and even shop for groceries. "It is extremely important for us as a district to prepare our students for life after graduation," said Board President Pearl Quiñones. "This workshop gives our Special Education students an opportunity to learn first-hand some of the skills that they will need in their lives." To read more, click here
A Voice for Parents of Children With Special Needs
This was an exercise that author and special educator Rick Lavoie practiced with a group of parents, educators, administrators and various school faculty who sat in the Calhoun High School auditorium to hear him speak on Dec. 2. Lavoie's visit was much anticipated by parents and faculty in the North Merrick School District. With a long list of media credits, including articles for The New York Times and Child Magazine as well as national TV appearances, Lavoie was brought to the district by the North Merrick Special Education PTA and the Teacher's Center in honor of Special Education Week. "You can probably remember her house, and under hypnosis maybe even her phone number," he said, illustrating a point about the strength of childhood friendships. The audience faintly nodded in unison, some tearfully, at the recollection. The exercise was one of many sobering ways that Lavoie depicted what is potentially the greatest struggle of a developmentally disabled child: growing up unable to make friends. His program, titled "It's So Hard To Be Your Friend," after his recently published book of the same name, centered on the social needs of developmentally disabled children and methods for helping them. To read more, click here
"Basketball" Jones Delivers Motivational Message
Jim "Basketball" Jones is a very popular man. The Northwood resident, a native of Melrose Park, Ill., juggles basketballs for a living. But that's not the entire story. During his peformances, Jones delivers motivational messages to his audience about learning to deal with and overcome learning disabilities. Jones, 43, was diagnosed with dyslexia near the end of his first grade year. According to the Web site www.ldonline.com, dyslexia is a language-based learning disability. Dyslexia refers to a cluster of symptoms, which result in people having difficulties with specific language skills, particularly reading. Students with dyslexia usually experience difficulties with other language skills such as spelling, writing and pronouncing words. To read more, click here
12-Year Review Of Special Education Students Complete
The federal government has closed a review of the process of evaluating special education students in the Springfield public schools that lasted 12 years. The School Department announced Friday that the Office of Civil Rights of the U.S. Education Department had concluded the review and determined the system's evaluation of special education students had greatly improved. The School Department received a letter earlier this week that the review had ended, said spokeswoman Azell Cavaan. "This was an extremely involved resolution, and we've been at it for a long time," said Mary Anne Morris, chief officer of pupil services. "But our improvements have been significant, particularly after we took a series of steps in 2005 which had a very positive impact on our ability to monitor our own compliance." To read more, click here
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Disparity Is Alleged In Orleans Schools' Gifted Testing Process
A brief test dashed Muriel Altikriti's hope of getting her 3-year-old son into Hynes Charter School. It took only a few minutes, Altikriti said, for an official at the Orleans Parish Schools central office to pronounce that her son was not "gifted." He had failed a screening test, the first step in a two-stage process. Altikriti knew that Hynes accepted only gifted children into its prekindergarten program for 4-year-olds. "Are they supposed to know pi at this time?' " Altikriti's husband wondered. Soon, however, a new door opened. Altikriti learned that she could take her son to the home of Nancy White, who administers the gifted test privately, for a fee. The investment paid off. Within a few weeks of the boy's setback at the central office, White deemed that the 3-year-old was, in fact, gifted. "The testing process is insane," said Altikriti, who did not even end up enrolling her son at Hynes. "I don't know if everybody is paying ... but it defeats the purpose of a public school if you have to pay $300 to get them in." To read more, click here
Study Suggests That Older Parental Age May Boost Autism Risk
Advanced parental age, of both the mother and father, may boost the risk of autism in their children, according to new study. "What we found was that actually it's both parents age, and when you control for one parent's age you still see the effect of the other parent's age, and vice versa," said Dr. Maureen Durkin of the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health in Madison. The findings, published in the American Journal of Epidemiology, may offer clues to understanding the causes of autism but Durkin and her team said they shouldn't be used to guide family planning decisions. To read more, click here
Fixing 'No Child Left Behind'
When Congress passed the federal No Child Left Behind law in 2001, requiring states to develop higher standards for math and reading instruction and to administer tests measuring the results, the goal was to make schools more accountable for student achievement. Since the law went into effect, there have been gains: A recent report by the Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study, for example, found that American students in grades 4 and 8 had made steady improvement in math over the last decade. But the law also has been criticized for giving the federal government too much authority over what is taught while not providing enough support to local school districts to fix the problems of troubled schools. To read more, click here
Utah Could Mandate Health Insurance For Autism Therapy
Leeann Whiffen made a promise that when it was over -- two years of intensive therapy to free her son from the grip of autism -- she would do what she could to help other parents afford the same sort of expensive treatment. The Highland mother says her son, Clay, is now recovered from the disorder that had muted her babbling toddler and traded his peek-a-boo play for obsessions with round shapes and tan foods. Not even his third-grade teacher would know he was once labeled as a child with autism, she said. But she had to take out a second mortgage on her home and put every expense she could on credit cards to free up $30,000 a year for treatment. Knowing other parents aren't so lucky, Whiffen is working to force Utah health insurance companies to cover autism therapy. "People need to know these kids can get better," Whiffen said this week. "I can't imagine what life would have been like for him if we wouldn't have been able to do this program." To read more, click here
Food for Thought........
Our lives improve only when we take chances -- and the first and most difficult risk we can take is to be honest with ourselves.