Week in Review - November 27, 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

Working With Paraprofessionals In Your School

Communication, Observation, and Feedback 

Open communication, providing fair leadership, and sensitive feedback within the guidelines of a coaching model builds trust in teams. Successful communication results in mutual understanding of what was sent and what was heard. The focus of this issue of the NASET Working with Paraprofessionals in Your School series is to address the importance of on-going communication between the educator and the paraprofessional, as it is essential to effective team functioning.
To read or download this issue - Click Here  (login required)
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NASET's  Resource Review

In this issue, you will find resources in the following categories:
  • Accommodations for Students with Disabilities
  • Assistive Technology
  • Bullying
  • Developmental Disabilities
  • Diverse Learners
  • Early Intervention
  • Family and Community Resources
  • Funding and Award Opportunities
  • For Kids
  • IDEA 2004 Training Programs in Spanish
  • Prevention
  • Professional Development
  • Research Methodology
  • Transition Planning for Youths with Disabilities
  • Visual Impairments

To read or download this issue - Click Here (login required)

Quick Links To NASET

NEW! NASET MEMBER'S BENEFIT (optional)

HP250x250

To learn more about Health Proponent - Click Here

Be sure to mention that you are a member of NASET for special plan and pricing!

Bone Implant Offers Hope for Skull Deformities In Babies

A synthetic bone matrix offers hope for babies born with craniosynostosis, a condition that causes the plates in the skull to fuse too soon. Implants replacing some of the infant's bone with the biodegradable matrix could eliminate some of the operations currently used to treat the condition. "The remarkable thing about this is the finding that the composition of the matrix changes what the cells around it do. Cells begin producing natural drugs to drive bone healing in direct response to the composition of the bone matrix," said Kent Leach, professor of biomedical engineering at UC Davis. The material is currently being tested in experiments with rats. Human trials will depend upon the success of tests in animals. To read more, click here

Reversing Learning Impairments For Individuals With Down Syndrome

Increasing the amount of norepinephrine reverses learning disabilities in a mouse model of Down Syndrome, researchers from researchers reported November 18th in Science Translational Medicine. Down Syndrome, the most common cause of mental retardation, is caused by an extra copy of chromosome 21. Having an extra copy of the hundreds of genes contained with in chromosome 21 changes how the brain develops, leading to mild to severe learning disabilities. Researchers, led by neurobiologist Ahmed Salehi of Stanford University, studied a genetically-modified strain of mice with three copies of the genes contained within the human chromosome 21. When the brains of these mice were examined under a microscope degeneration was evidence in the locus coeruleus, a region at the base of brain responsible for production of the norepinephrine, which promotes memory and learning in the hippocampus region of the brain. To read more, click here

$87.8 Million In Chicago Public Schools' Special Education funding Is Questioned

The state Board of Education is looking into questions about the "accountability and transparency" of millions of dollars in state money that Chicago Public Schools receives each year to pay the salaries of its special education teachers. Under a mid-1990s law, the Chicago school district is exempt from special education funding rules that apply to all other districts in the state. Rather than thoroughly accounting for all its special education teaching positions in order to seek annual reimbursement from the state, Chicago schools simply receive an upfront block grant, which for the 2010 fiscal year totaled about $87.8 million. "There are big questions about this, and a lot of folks are asking them right now," said Christopher Koch, superintendent of the Illinois State Board of Education. "It's definitely something that needs to be looked at." To read more, click here

Report Finds Wide Disparities In Gifted Education

When Liz Fitzgerald realized her son and daughter were forced to read books in math class while the other children caught up, she had them moved into gifted classes at their suburban Atlanta elementary school. Just 100 miles down the road in Taliaferro County, that wouldn't have been an option. All the gifted classes were canceled because of budget cuts. "If they didn't have it, they would get bored and distracted easily," said Fitzgerald, whose children are 14 and 12. "It just wouldn't be challenging." Such disparities exist in every state, according to a new report by the National Association for Gifted Children that blames low federal funding and a focus on low-performing students. The report, "State of the States in Gifted Education," hits at a basic element of the federal government's focus on education: Most of its money and effort goes into helping low-performing, poor and minority kids achieve basic proficiency. It largely ignores the idea of helping gifted kids reach their highest potential, leaving those tasks to states and local school districts. 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

Antioxidant Found in Vegetables Has Implications for Treating Cystic FibrosisArticle Headline

Scientists at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine discovered that a dietary antioxidant found in such vegetables as broccoli and cauliflower protects cells from damage caused by chemicals generated during the body's inflammatory response to infection and injury. The finding has implications for such inflammation-based disorders as cystic fibrosis (CF), diabetes, heart disease, and neurodegeneration. Through cell-culture studies and a synthesis of known antioxidant biochemistry, Zhe Lu, MD, PhD , Professor of Physiology, Yanping Xu , MD, PhD , Senior Research Investigator, and Szilvia Sz├ęp , PhD, postdoctoral researcher, showed that the antioxidant thiocyanate normally existing in the body protects lung cells from injuries caused by accumulations of hydrogen peroxide and hypochlorite, the active ingredient in household bleach. These potentially harmful chemicals are made by the body as a reaction to infection and injury. In addition, thiocyanate also protects cells from hypochlorite produced in reactions involving MPO, an enzyme released from germ-fighting white blood cells during inflammation. To read more, click here

Autism Treatments: Risky Alternative Therapies Have Little Basis In Science

James Coman's son has an unusual skill. The 7-year-old, his father says, can swallow six pills at once. Diagnosed with autism as a toddler, the Chicago boy had been placed on an intense regimen of supplements and medications aimed at treating the disorder. Besides taking many pills, the boy was injected with vitamin B12 and received intravenous infusions of a drug used to leach mercury and other metals from the body. He took megadoses of vitamin C, a hormone and a drug that suppresses testosterone. This complex treatment regimen -- documented in court records as part of a bitter custody battle between Coman, who opposes the therapies, and his wife -- may sound unusual, but it isn't. Thousands of U.S. children undergo these therapies and many more at the urging of physicians who say they can successfully treat, or "recover," children with autism, a disorder most physicians and scientists say they cannot yet explain or cure. To read more, click here

Medical Marijuana: No Longer Just for Adults Article Headline

At the Peace in Medicine Healing Center in Sebastopol, the wares on display include dried marijuana - featuring brands like Kryptonite, Voodoo Daddy and Train Wreck - and medicinal cookies arrayed below a sign saying, "Keep Out of Reach of Your Mother. The warning tells a story of its own: some of the center's clients are too young to buy themselves a beer. Several Bay Area doctors who recommend medical marijuana for their patients said in recent interviews that their client base had expanded to include teenagers with psychiatric conditions including attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder. "It's not everybody's medicine, but for some, it can make a profound difference," said Valerie Corral, a founder of the Wo/Men's Alliance for Medical Marijuana, a patients' collective in Santa Cruz that has two dozen minors as registered clients. To read more, click here

New Law Bans Genetic Discrimination

The most sweeping federal anti-discrimination law in nearly 20 years takes effect today, prohibiting employers from hiring, firing or determining promotions based on genetic makeup. Additionally, health insurers will not be allowed to consider a person's genetics -- such as predisposition for Parkinson's disease -- to set insurance rates or deny coverage. Not since the Americans With Disabilities Act of 1990 has the federal government implemented such far-reaching workplace protections. Stuart J. Ishimaru, acting chairman of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, said in a statement that the law reaffirms the idea that people have a right to be judged solely on merit. To read more, click here

FDA OKs Abilify For Autism-Linked Irritability

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved top-selling Abilify as a treatment for autism-related irritability in children from the ages of 6 to 17, drug maker Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. said Friday. Bristol-Myers and Otsuka Pharmaceutical Co., based in Tokyo, are collaborators on the development and distribution of Abilify in the U.S. and Europe. Abilify is Bristol-Myers' second-biggest revenue generator, with $2.2 billion in 2008 sales. The FDA's latest approval allows the drug to be used to treat symptoms associated with autism such as aggression toward others, deliberate infliction of self-injury, tempter tantrums and moodiness. 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

Athletes With Learning Disabilities Will Return To Paralympics In 2012

Athletes with learning disabilities will be allowed to compete in the Paralympics again at London in 2012. The International Paralympic Committee general assembly voted on Saturday in Kuala Lumpur to overturn the ban that had been in place since the Spanish basketball team was revealed to have cheated at the 2000 Sydney Games. Ten of the 12 Spaniards were stripped of their gold medals when it was revealed they suffered no mental handicap. "Today's achievement is the outcome of a unique and excellent co-operation between sports governance and the scientific community," IPC president Philip Craven said in a statement. The IPC said there will be a rigorous classification procedure, with medical files submitted for review before athletes proceed to on-site testing that focuses on "sports intelligence." To read more, click here

Cuts Stun Disability Advocates

Just weeks after meeting with disability advocates and promising to protect their essential services, Governor Patrick announced recently that he will cut critical long-term disability services to fill a $300 million MassHealth budget gap. "We are extremely disappointed at this turn of events," said Leo Sarkissian, executive director of The Arc of Massachusetts, the largest disability advocacy group in the state. "If they follow through on these cuts, it will compromise the safety net for many thousands of the state's most disabled individuals and their families." "Governor Patrick is a good friend to us, and we remain hopeful that he will intervene to stop these cuts from being followed through on," Sarkissian added. Cuts to long-term services that affect people with disabilities include: day habilitation, adult dental restorative services, personal care attendant services, podiatry services and adult foster care. To read more, click here

Study Links ADHD To Smoking, Lead

Exposure to both tobacco smoke before birth and lead during childhood increases a child's risk of developing attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) more than eight-fold, according to new research from Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center. Eliminating both environmental exposures could reduce the number of ADHD cases in children 8-15 by about 35 percent, researchers led by Tanya Froehlich in the Division of Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics found. That translates to up to 800,000 children nationwide, Froehlich said. The findings suggest possible prevention strategies for ADHD, she said. "Although we tend to focus on ADHD treatment rather than prevention, our study suggests that reducing exposures to environmental toxicants might be an important way to lower rates of ADHD," said Robert Kahn, senior author of the study. To read more, click here

Food for Thought........

The mediocre teacher tells. The good teacher explains. The superior teacher demonstrates. The great teacher inspires.
                                                                William Arthur Ward

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