Week in Review - December 26, 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 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>news@naset.org Have a great weekend and a very happy and healthy holiday season.
 
Sincerely,

NASET News Team
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 New This Week on NASET:

RTI Roundtable 

Review System Requirements for Response to Intervention

Response to intervention assessment requires changes in the ways resources are used and a very close relationship between general and special education.General educators need to understand the approach and why all of their students need to be closely monitored-especially in the development of early academic skills. Special educators must understand the limitations of traditional assessment systems and adopt highly prescribed and systematic interventions.

This issue of the RTI Roundtable details the review system requirements for RTI.

To read this issue - CLICK HERE  (login required)

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ADHD Series Part #2

Characteristics of Students with ADHD

The principal characteristics of ADHD are inattention, hyperactivity, and impulsivity. These symptoms appear early in a child's life. Because many children may have these symptoms, but at a low level, or the symptoms may be caused by another disorder, it is important that the child receive a thorough examination and appropriate diagnosis by a well-qualified professional.

Symptoms of ADHD will appear over the course of many months, often with the symptoms of impulsiveness and hyperactivity preceding those of inattention, which may not emerge for a year or more. Different symptoms may appear in different settings, depending on the demands the situation may pose for the child's self-control. A child who "can't sit still" or is otherwise disruptive will be noticeable in school, but the inattentive daydreamer may be overlooked. The impulsive child who acts before thinking may be considered just a "discipline problem," while the child who is passive or sluggish may be viewed as merely unmotivated. Yet both may have different types of ADHD. All children are sometimes restless, sometimes act without thinking, and sometimes daydream the time away. When the child's hyperactivity, distractibility, poor concentration, or impulsivity begin to affect performance in school, social relationships with other children, or behavior at home, ADHD may be suspected. But because the symptoms vary so much across settings, ADHD is not easy to diagnose. This is especially true when inattentiveness is the primary symptom.

The focus of this issue of the ADHD Series will address common characteristics of children with ADHD. To read this issue - CLICK HERE (login required)

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NASET Executive Director, Dr. Roger Pierangelo, Discusses Seclusion Rooms with CNN

Dr. Roger Pierangelo, Executive Director of NASET, spoke with CNN news regarding the use of seclusion rooms for children with disabilities. Seclusion rooms, sometimes called time-out rooms, are used across the nation, generally for special needs children. Critics say that many children with disabilities have been injured or traumatized. Few states have laws on using seclusion rooms, though 24 states have written guidelines, according to a 2007 study conducted by a Clemson University researcher. Texas, which was included in that study, has stopped using seclusion and restraint. Based on conversations with officials in 22 states with written guidelines, seclusion is intended as a last resort when other attempts to calm a child have failed or when a student is hurting himself or others. To read more, click here

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Epilepsy Drugs Require Suicide Warning

Drugs used by millions of patients to control epileptic seizures must carry warnings about heightened risks of suicide, federal regulators said Tuesday. The Food and Drug Administration announcement comes almost a year after the agency first said patients taking the drugs have a slightly higher risk for suicide than those taking dummy pills. According to the new language, only about 1 in 500 patients face an increased risk of suicidal thoughts and behavior while taking the drugs. The new warning emphasizes that the risks are about the same among all antiseizure drugs. The FDA advised patients to consult their doctor before making any changes to their treatment. The agency is also requiring manufacturers to distribute pamphlets that describe the risks for patients. To read more, click here

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Test Waiver Would Aid Graduation

The Maryland State Board of Education is expected to adopt an emergency regulation today to allow superintendents to waive passage of the high school assessment as a graduation requirement in certain circumstances. The superintendents in each district would gain the power to rescue hundreds of students who would not graduate from high school in June because they have been unable to pass four subject exams or complete projects. Some educators had raised concerns that whole groups of students in certain school systems had not taken government until their senior year and might not have enough time to take the test and get extra help if they failed. Others were concerned that special education students and recent immigrants would be unfairly denied a diploma. To read more, click here

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Gesture Recognition Will Allow People With Disabilities To Interact More Easily With Computers

A system that can recognize human gestures could provide a new way for people with physical disabilities to interact with computers. A related system for the able bodied could also be used to make virtual worlds more realistic. Manolya Kavakli of the Virtual and Interactive Simulations of Reality Research Group, at Macquarie University, Sydney, Australia, explains how standard input devices - keyboard and computer mouse, do not closely mimic natural hand motions such as drawing and sketching. Moreover, these devices have not been developed for ergonomic use nor for people with disabilities. She and her colleagues have developed a computer system architecture that can carry out "gesture recognition". In this system, the person wears "datagloves" which have illuminated LEDs that are tracked by two pairs of computer webcams working to produce an all-round binocular view. This allows the computer to monitor the person's hand or shoulder movements. This input can then be fed to a program, a game, or simulator, or to control a character, an avatar, in a 3D virtual environment. To read more, click here

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Call Me Susan: People With Disabilities Have Names, Feelings

It's 5 p.m. on a Friday in downtown Traverse City. The winter traffic is heavy and I could use some help getting myself and my wheelchair across the busy intersection. I ask a stranger, a businessman, if he can give me a quick push. He agrees and in a matter of minutes asks me too loudly and very s-l-o-w-l-y, "How long have you been stuck in that thing? Where's your attendant? Oh, I see your ring ... you're married? Can you still have sex? Kids? Is your husband disabled? I was in one of those things once. It was awful. You're so brave." Without responding to anything he's said, I say thanks and goodbye. Then he yells, "I'll pray for you. You people are such an inspiration. Now don't go snowplowing in that thing. I've done my good deed for the day! I hope you're cured. Happy holidays!" As I continued on my way, I'm struck again by how genuinely helpful people in our community want to be and yet how often they don't know what to say to a person with a disability. To read more, click here

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Autism Tough On Finances And Emotions

Many parents of children with autism share an overwhelming concern about life-long support their special needs child will need to be independent. A survey conducted by Easter Seals of 1,652 parents of children with autism and 917 parents with typically developing children, found three quarters of parents worry that their autistic child will never be able to get a job or have enough financial support to get by after the parents die. Parenting a child with autism presents many challenges; at the forefront of the list is financial stress, with 52 percent of parents saying the family's finances are drained - from therapy not covered by insurance to quitting work to care for their children. "When we compare autism to other disabilities, the disparity is greater," says Patricia Wright, national director of autism services for Easter Seals, an organization that provides services for people with disabilities. To read more, click here

Are Special Education Students Getting The Instruction They Need In Public Schools?

 

Dana Pennington's son, Tyler, is mentally disabled, but he goes to a public school. Recently, she recorded one of his classes.  She was not happy with what she saw. "If this is speech therapy, I guess this explains why Tyler's not where he needs to be," Pennington said. "They're hurting my son, because they're just not giving him what he needs." Pennington contends that Tyler is getting lackluster instruction in the special education classes at his Spring ISD school. It's an issue affecting more and more families, as the number of autistic kids like Tyler continues to skyrocket. Currently, the CDC says one of every 150 children is affected by autism. Tyler is one of over 90,000 special ed students in the Houston area. They make up more than 10 percent of the student population. Federal law says they're entitled to an education, but how good of an education are they getting? To read more, click here

State of Missouri Seeks Educational Surrogates To Aid Special Students

 

State education officials are trying to fill the ranks of "educational surrogates" for students with disabilities by taking applications from qualified adults who want to volunteer to help the students. Missouri has a shortage of volunteers for the federally-mandated program and needs 100 volunteers, according to the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education. Educational surrogates represent students with disabilities in all decisions relating to the students' educational services, according to a DESE news release. In most cases, surrogates work with children who are wards of the state and who are living in a residential facility or group home. Surrogates may also work with children whose parents cannot be located by a public agency. To read more, click here

Santa Store Run By Gifted Students Helps Make Sense Of  Cents

 

While counting change is mundane for most - for second-graders, adding and subtracting money can be difficult. Many 8-year-olds don't deal with making purchases or spending money on a day-to-day basis. The development of this everyday task comes through programs such as Hoffmann Lane Elementary School's Santa Store. Run by second-grade gifted and talented students, the Santa Store allowed children to buy toys, add the prices and count change. "This helps them count money, learn to add two-digit numbers and develop real-life skills," said Gena Orth, gifted and talented coordinator for Hoffmann Lane Elementary. "It's important that they get to experience making change because it's an everyday life skill." To read more, click here

Special Education Teachers Refocus Strategies To Passing State Tests

 

Arrowhead High School teacher Kathy Kopp ticked through her lesson on essay construction. Then she gave her sophomores one more tip for their upcoming language arts test from the state. Part educators, part cheerleaders, Kopp and her colleagues in Arrowhead's special education department cajole students to finish their math homework, help them learn new reading strategies and prepare them for the state's annual testing regimen. Last year, the school's 10th-graders with disabilities fell short of the state's reading proficiency standard under the federal No Child Left Behind Act. Under President George W. Bush's signature change to federal education law, schools are evaluated based on how their students perform on state tests in math and reading. To read more, click here

Schools Aim For Inclusion With Special-Needs Students

 

Most of the first-graders at Bon Air Elementary in Lower Burrell raised their hands, eager to sound out the words that teachers Courtney Barbiaux and Jennifer Hartung spelled with magnetic letters on the blackboard. As Hartung spelled out jump, hump, and stump, Barbiaux, a special education teacher, scanned the room, looking for students who were having trouble grasping the concept of blended consonants.  Among the 19 children in the class are two with autism and one with a learning disability. Despite their special education status, they were fully a part of the class, working on the same lesson as everybody else. A few years ago, those students would have been sent to another room for separate lessons. Today, students with special needs are more often included in the mainstream classroom, an approach proponents say helps special education students academically and socially. To read more, click here

Food for Thought........

Teaching kids to count is fine, but teaching them what counts is best.

                                                                                   Bob Talbert

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