Week in Review -November 6, 2009

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 news@naset.org Have a great weekend.
 
Sincerely,

NASET News Team

New This Week on NASET

NASET Special Educator e-Journal

November 2009

Table of Contents:
  • Update from the U.S. Department Education
  • Update From The National Dissemination Center for Children with Disabilities
  • Calls to Participate
  • Special Education Resources
  • Upcoming Conferences, Workshops, and Events
  • Funding Forecast and Award Opportunities
  • Acknowledgements
  • Download a PDF Version of This Issue
To read of download this issue - Click Here   (login required)
 
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The Practical Teacher

Creating Reward Menus That Motivate

Rewards are often central to effective school interventions. As possible incentives that students can earn for appropriate school performance or conduct, these reinforcers (or 'rewards') often serve as the motivational 'engine' that drives successful interventions. Reward systems are usually most powerful when a student can select from a range of reward choices ('reward menu'). The focus of this issue of NASET's Practical Teacher is to provide teachers with ways to create reward menus that motivate students.
 
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The New Myths Of Gifted Education

More than 25 years after myths about gifted education were first explored, they are all still with us and new ones have been added, according to research published in the current Gifted Child Quarterly (GCQ), the official journal of National Association for Gifted Children. Providing specialized and organized gifted education courses was a relatively new concept in 1982 when an article entitled "Demythologizing Gifted Education" was first published in GCQ. Research at that time found that certain myths were widely believed, such as the idea that the gifted constituted a single, homogeneous group of learners, or that just one curriculum would serve all equally. In "The Myths of Gifted Education: A Contemporary View," the journal takes a new look at the current state of gifted education. Researchers found that all 15 of the 1982 myths are still with us, though some have been modified over time, and several new ones have emerged. To read more, click here

Disneyland Resort Creates Magic For Guests With Visual Disabilities

Disneyland Resort Guests with visual disabilities can now be more fully immersed into Disney attractions and storytelling through a new Audio Description service created by Disney engineers. The service, which launched Nov. 1, is enabled through wireless technology via a handheld device available to Guests visiting the Resort."The Disneyland Resort welcomes millions of diverse visitors each year, and we are committed to making the Disney tradition of rich storytelling available to everyone," said Betty Appleton, who oversees the Resort's Guests with Disabilities program. "Audio Description supports our longstanding commitment to providing outstanding services to all Guests as it enables our visitors who are blind or have low vision to more fully enjoy our attractions." Audio Description provides narrated audio for Guests with visual disabilities by describing visual attraction elements such as actions, settings and scene changes. To read more, click here

Nashville Schools Move Special-Needs Students Into Mainstream Classes

Seven-year-old Isaac is finally capable of doing his morning routine on his own: brush his teeth, dress himself and get ready for school. He has autism. It's taken a year and half, said his mother, Amy Biggs-Nelson. But Isaac has made the transition to the regular second-grade curriculum at Eakin Elementary School for all but one hour of the day, when he is pulled out for special instruction. "It's clicking for him right now," Biggs-Nelson said. "He is pulled out for one hour a day for special instruction versus two hours a day last year. He is getting the same instruction and extra support. Personally, I am pleased." Metro Nashville Public Schools continues to move its 8,200 special-needs population into mainstream classes, satisfying parents who want inclusion for their children. The school district and the mayor's office made it a priority last year because federal law requires students with disabilities to be educated in the least-restrictive environment available. Nearly half of the school district's special-needs students are spending just about their entire school day in a general classroom. The state average for inclusion is 54 percent. 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

Mass. Dept. Of Elementary And Secondary Education Unveils New Ways To Analyze Tests

At Springfield's Robert M. Hughes Academy Charter School students are not the only ones who take the Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment Systems test - teachers take it, too. A longer school day, after-school programs and a lot of small group instruction may have also helped Hughes' students achieve the most growth in math scores statewide on the MCAS exam. "I'm proud of all my staff and student," said principal Janet J. Henry. "We have seen growth, and we want to continue to see the growth. The state Department of Elementary and Secondary Education this week unveiled a new way to analyze the MCAS test scores. Instead of the current method of comparing each grade's scores to those from the previous year, the new "growth model" tracks individual student's scores year-to-year. To read more, click here

Mortality Rates Reduced Among Children Whose Mothers Received Iron-Folic Supplements

Offspring whose mothers had been supplemented with iron-folic acid during pregnancy had dramatically reduced mortality through age 7, according to researchers at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. Researchers found that other supplement combinations, including the multiple micronutrient supplement, did not confer the same benefit. Nearly 40 percent of pregnant women worldwide are estimated to be anemic. Although there is an international policy for antenatal iron-folic acid supplementation, coverage and use of this antenatal intervention is low in many developing countries. The results are featured in the September 24 issue of the American Journal of Epidemiology. To read more, click here

A Powerful Identity, A Vanishing Diagnosis

It is one of the most intriguing labels in psychiatry. Children with Asperger's syndrome, a mild form of autism, are socially awkward and often physically clumsy, but many are verbal prodigies, speaking in complex sentences at early ages, reading newspapers fluently by age 5 or 6 and acquiring expertise in some preferred topic - stegosaurs, clipper ships, Interstate highways - that will astonish adults and bore their playmates to tears. In recent years, this once obscure diagnosis, given to more than four times as many boys as girls, has become increasingly common. Much of the growing prevalence of autism, which now affects about 1 percent of American children, according to federal data, can be attributed to Asperger's and other mild forms of the disorder. And Asperger's has exploded into popular culture through books and films depicting it as the realm of brilliant nerds and savantlike geniuses. But no sooner has Asperger consciousness awakened than the disorder seems headed for psychiatric obsolescence. Though it became an official part of the medical lexicon only in 1994, the experts who are revising psychiatry's diagnostic manual have proposed to eliminate it from the new edition, due out in 2012. To read more, click here

 

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In England, Doctors Under Fire As An Alarming Number Of Children Are Given Drugs To Combat Depression And ADHD

The number of prescriptions being given to children with hyperactivity, depression and other mental health problems has soared over two years, according to new figures. Over 420,000 prescriptions were issued to children under 16 with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in 2007 - up 33 per cent since 2005. The number went up 51 per cent for youngsters aged 16-18, reaching 40,000 in 2007. During this period NHS guidance endorsed at least three drugs for ADHD where other treatments have failed, despite fears about side effects and some critics complaining it medicalises antisocial behaviour. More than 113,000 prescriptions of antidepressants were issued to children under 16 in 2007, a six per cent increase over two years. Almost 108,000 antidepressant prescriptions went to 16-18-year-olds, which was unchanged over the period. To read more, click here

Sleep Deprivation Can Negatively Affect Information Processing

A new study in the journal Sleep shows that sleep deprivation causes some people to shift from a more automatic, implicit process of information categorization (information-integration) to a more controlled, explicit process (rule-based). This use of rule-based strategies in a task in which information-integration strategies are optimal can lead to potentially devastating errors when quick and accurate categorization is fundamental to survival. Results show that sleep deprivation led to an overall performance deficit on an information-integration category learning task that was held over the course of two days. Performance improved in the control group by 4.3 percent from the end of day one to the beginning of day two (accuracy increased from 74 percent to 78.3 percent); performance in the sleep-deprived group declined by 2.4 percent (accuracy decreased from 73.1 percent to 70.7 percent) from the end of day one to the beginning of day two. To read more, click here

Justice Department Releases ADA Employment Video

The Justice Department announced today the release of a new video aimed at educating employers about the employment provisions of the Americans with Disabilities Act. Ten Employment Myths: Information about the Americans with Disabilities Act uses a question-and-answer format to express common misconceptions, fears and false assumptions that many employers have about employees with disabilities. The video refutes these unfounded myths, explains the ADA in common sense terms and highlights the advantages of hiring qualified persons with disabilities. "With more students with disabilities attending colleges and universities than ever before, employers should update their thinking about this highly qualified labor pool. Ten Employment Myths will help employers understand how unfair it is when employees with disabilities are denied jobs because of employers' misconceptions and unfounded assumptions," said Thomas E. Perez, Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division. To read more, click here

Teaching Students With Autism

As autism diagnoses continue to rise, an alarming new statistic indicates that autism is now diagnosed in one out of every 91 children, instead of one out of every 150 children as previously thought. The increase in autism diagnoses presents a significant challenge for school systems, which already face limited resources as they seek to educate children with the neurological disorder. Autism affects a person's ability to communicate and interact with others. It is a spectrum disorder that affects individuals differently and to different extents, and so while autism is defined by a certain set of behaviors--including lack or delay in spoken language, little or no eye contact, and repeated motions or words--one particular therapy or treatment will not work the same way for all children with autism. Experts say autism is typically apparent around age three, but now pediatricians are checking children as young as 18 months for signs of the disorder--an indication, some say, of the condition's alarming growth. To read more, click here

NASET Offering Members Two Million Dollar Educator's 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 and our partnership with the Association of American Educators (AAE), click here

Device Gives Individuals With Visual Impairments A Better Look At Life

An estimated 18 million Americans are either blind or visually impaired, and in San Diego County that number is around 105,000. Now, a local company's special device is helping improve sight for many visually impaired people, including a teacher in Imperial Beach....FarView, which is developed by San Diego-based Optelec, can save up to 100 images and magnify up to 50 times. Users can snap photos with the FarView and store text. It also has an automatic scrolling feature that allows people to read documents with ease. The FarView comes in a compact mini version, which is easier to carry around. It magnifies text, and with the push of a button it changes the background and the color to make it easier to read. To read more, click here

 Food for Thought........

To be a teacher means to learn twice, to accepts new truths day by day; and most of all, to have to desire and will to know the power of one.
                                                                            Author Unknown

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