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 firstname.lastname@example.org. Have a happy and healthy New Year!
NASET News Team
New This Week on NASET
Classroom Management Series
The Use of Delay as a Discipline Tool
The purpose of this issue of the Classroom Management Series is to allow you time to make better decisions about the outcomes of inappropriate behaviors.
To read of download this issue - Click Here
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NASET Special Educator e-Journal
January 1, 2010
In this month's issue:
- Update from the U.S. Department Education
- Update From The National Dissemination Center for Children with Disabilities
- Newest Items on the National Institute of Mental Health Web Site
- Calls to Participate
- Special Education Resources
- Upcoming Conferences, Workshops, and Events
- Funding Forecast and Award Opportunities
To read or download this issue - Click Here (login required)
Quick Links To NASET
Kim Peek, Inspiration for 'Rain Man,' Dies at 58
In 1988, the film "Rain Man," about an autistic savant played by Dustin Hoffman, shed a humane light on the travails of autism while revealing the extraordinary powers of memory that a small number of otherwise mentally disabled people possess, ostensibly as a side effect of their disability. The film won four Oscars, including best picture, best actor and, for Barry Morrow and Ronald Bass, best original screenplay. But it never would have been made if Mr. Morrow had not had a chance meeting with Kim Peek, who inspired him to write the film. Mr. Peek did not have autism - not all savants are diagnosed with autism and not all individuals with autism are savants - but he was born with severe brain abnormalities that impaired his physical coordination and made ordinary reasoning difficult. He could not dress himself or brush his teeth without help. He found metaphoric language incomprehensible and conceptualization baffling. To read more, click here
Op Ed: Excluding Teachers Hinders Education Gains
Massachussetts has one of the finest education systems in the world. Our students are not only first in the nation on measures of math and reading, but also performed better than students in every European country on a recent international assessment of math and science skills. Teachers are justifiably proud of these accomplishments. Teachers also know firsthand that significant achievement gaps remain: Minority, low-income, and special-needs students, along with English language learners, often struggle to meet education standards. There is no simple formula for eliminating the gaps, but there are strategies that can help. Teachers must be equal partners with administrators, community leaders, and state officials in figuring out solutions. Other institutions in society must also be part of the mix. The three R's alone cannot overcome the ill effects of poverty. To read more, click here
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Michael Phelps Driven By Desire to Prove Doubters Wrong
It is strange, the moments that change history. In 1997, a shy, "problem" schoolboy from a working-class family in Baltimore, Maryland, was told that he would "never achieve anything in life". It was the kind of throwaway remark that many school teachers -- over worked, over stressed, underpaid -- make about disruptive students. But for Michael Phelps, at that time and place in his young, faltering life, it changed everything. "I still remember the way I felt," Phelps says during an end-of-year interview in Manchester. "I had just started swimming seriously and those comments from my teacher seemed to burn deep inside. "I was often made to feel like an outsider at school because I had attention deficit hyperactive disorder and struggled to fit in. But I thought to myself, `You can think whatever you want, but I am going to prove you wrong'. I am not sure why it fired me up so much, but it did." To read more, click here
Novel Gene Found for Childhood-Onset Asthma
Pediatric researchers have identified a novel gene involved in childhood asthma, in one of the largest gene studies to date of the common respiratory disease. Because the gene, called DENND1B, affects cells and signaling molecules thought to be instrumental in the immune system overreaction that occurs in asthma, the discovery may have singled out an important target for new treatments. A research team led by Hakon Hakonarson, M.D., Ph.D., director of the Center for Applied Genomics at The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, implicated a location on chromosome 1 associated with moderate-to-severe, childhood-onset asthma. The study appeared December 23 on the Online First website of the New England Journal of Medicine. It will be published in the journal's print issue on January 7, 2010. To read more, click here
Wii Fit May Not Help Families Get Fit
The Nintendo Wii Fit many people are considering as Christmas gifts may be great entertainment, but a University of Mississippi study indicates the console has little effect on family fitness. The study was conducted by Scott Owens, UM associate professor of health and exercise science. When Owens began the study in fall 2008, he wanted to see if the Nintendo Wii Fit video game console could help families get more physical activity. Obesity is a nationwide problem, and Owens is interested in the potential of video games to increase exercise and ultimately improve family fitness. The six-month study followed eight families in the Oxford area who were loaned a Nintendo Wii Fit to use for three months. The study was broken into two parts so that each family's physical activity was charted during three months without a Nintendo Wii Fit in the home and three months with the game system in the home. To read more, click here
Autism Intervention for Toddlers Improves Developmental Outcomes
Current guidelines by the American Academy of Pediatrics recommend screening children for autism spectrum disorder (ASD) by age 18 months. However, no randomized clinical trials of intensive interventions for this age group had been conducted. To address this gap, Geraldine Dawson, Ph.D., who was at the University of Washington at the time of the study, and colleagues randomly assigned 48 children, ages 18-30 months, to one of two intervention groups:
- Early Start Denver Model (ESDM), a comprehensive, developmental behavioral intervention designed for toddlers with ASD as young as 12 months old. ESDM combines aspects of applied behavioral analysis (ABA) with developmental and relationship-based approaches.
- Assess and Monitor (A/M), the comparison group intervention in which parents received recommendations on ASD interventions for their children, as well as referrals to local community providers of the interventions. A/M represents typical community-based care.
Children in the ESDM group were provided 20 hours per week of therapy from study clinicians, while their parents received related training to use ESDM strategies for at least five additional hours per week during their daily activities. Parents of all study participants were also free to receive other community services they thought appropriate. 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
Substance Use Associated with Low Response to Depression Treatment Among Teens
Depressed teens who report low levels of impairment related to drug or alcohol use tended to respond better to depression treatment than depressed teens with higher levels substance-related impairment, according to an analysis of data from the NIMH-funded Treatment of SSRI-Resistant Depression in Adolescents (TORDIA) study. However, it is unclear whether less substance-related impairment allowed for better response to depression treatment, or if better treatment response led to less substance-related impairment. The study was published in the December 2009 issue of the Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry. To read more, click here
Girl's Wish: N.J. Study of Reading Disorders
The stuff on Samantha Ravelli's holiday wish list was pretty much standard fare for a 12-year-old. A digital camera, a watch, a laptop. Her number-one wish, however, was in a class of its own. She wants Gov. Corzine to sign her bill. "I want to help other children," she said. The Ocean City, N.J., seventh grader and her mother, Beth, have been working the last few years to pass a law that would create a task force to better ensure that reading-disabled children like Samantha get the help they need. The Senate passed her bill Dec. 10; the Assembly approved it in February. Sen. Jeff Van Drew (D., Cape May), a sponsor, said the Assembly needed to approve some changes before the measure went to the governor's desk. To read more, click here
Lufkin's Own "Blind Side"
A white couple, already parents to a son and daughter, ask a black male teenager who is struggling in school if he would like to live with them. He moves in, raising eyebrows among some of the couple's friends and family as well as among some of his own. Under their tutelage he learns how to deal with a disability that had led some of his previous teachers to dismiss him as a lost cause. Through tutoring and hard work, the young man brings his grades up enough to be accepted into college, where he goes on to become a football standout. In the process, he and his surrogate family learn much about themselves, each other and their capacity to love. While this story might read like a synopsis of "The Blind Side," a movie based on the life of Baltimore Ravens football player Michael Oher, it isn't. This is the story of 1991 Lufkin High School graduate and former Arkansas Razorback Vernon Wade and the Holloways - Randy and Lynn and their children, Joni and James - and the journey that would teach them about the ugliness of racism, the reward of hard work and the never-say-die spirit of the underdog. To read more, click here
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William and Mary Awarded Grant to Increase Number of Special Education Instructors
The College of William and Mary hopes to increase the number of special education instructors in classrooms, with the help of a federal grant the university sought and won earlier this year. The U.S. Department of Education awarded the university the grant on July 1 to the "Preparing Inclusive Educators" project. According to a university news release, the project's goal is to recruit and train special education teachers through the William and Mary's master's degree program. The grant will give the university $100,000 each year for up to five years. However, the grant's coordinator must apply for the money annually, university officials said. "We are delighted to have received this grant," said Virginia McLaughlin, dean of the School of Education in a news release. "It will go a long way in supporting the superb work that our faculty and students in special education do and further the mutually beneficial relationships we have with our area schools." To read more, click here
New Kindle Will Help Blind, Individuals with Visually Impairments
By summer 2010, Kindle plans to introduce a new menu system that will help individuals who are blind or visually impaired to navigate the device unassisted as well as provide a new super size font. The new menu features will allow blind individuals the ability to buy e-books, select them for reading, and activate text-to-speech on their own. When Kindle introduced its text-to-speech feature, which reads digital books aloud, it was marketed as being an advantage for people who are blind or visually impaired. However, the National Federation of the Blind voiced its displeasure over the fact that blind people could not use the feature without assistance. The 2008 National Health Interview Survey Provisional Report established that an estimated 25.2 million adult Americans have "trouble seeing" even when wearing corrective lenses, or that they are blind. To read more, click here
Military Helps Families Find Care for Special-Needs Children
When her husband, a Marine Corps colonel, was transferred last summer from the Pentagon to a base in southern California, Karen Driscoll was forced to confront her autistic child's new school district and the intricacies of federal special education law. The Poway Unified School District near San Diego offered Driscoll's 11-year-old, Paul, the support of an aide for 10 hours a week -- fewer than half the 21 hours Fairfax County had provided and said he deserved under federal law. "They slashed his services in half and said, 'We believe this is comparable,' " Driscoll said. Until recently, Driscoll would have had to fight the school district alone. But under a new Marine Corps initiative, she had reinforcements: a caseworker and a special education attorney, provided by the military, to accompany her to meetings with school officials and, if need be, to court. 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
Team Orion Makes Learning Fun
The students of Team Orion take their Scrabble very seriously. Every Friday, they check the schedule for the matchups for the week, then scatter throughout their wing of Garfield Middle School, set up boards on the floors of Susan McIntosh's Language Arts class and the hallway outside, draw their tiles and get busy. They pair up in teams of two with creative names like the Flying Carps, the Chicklets, Crazy on the Inside and the current top-rated team Radical Rock Stars, consisting of Zach Vaughn and Abby Miller. The teams pool their tiles, allowing them to work with 14 letters to provide for longer words and a better chance for the extra points involved with laying down something from the growing list of vocabulary words. "They're playing against each other, but they're really playing for the most points," McIntosh said. To read more, click here
Food for Thought........
Sixty years ago I knew everything; now I know nothing; education is a progressive discovery of our own ignorance.