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 and disability awareness. 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 great weekend.
NASET News Team
New This Week on NASET
NASET Special Educator e-Journal
In this issue:
- Update from the U.S. Department Education
- Transitional Inclusion Program (TIP)
- Intersection: Navigating the Road to Work
- Update From The National Dissemination Center for Children with Disabilities
- Special Education Resources
- Upcoming Conferences, Workshops, and Events
- Funding Forecast and Award Opportunities
To read of download this issue - Click Here, (login required)
Q & A Corner
Questions and Answers About Seizures and Epilepsy
Few experiences match the drama of a convulsive seizure. A person having a severe seizure may cry out, fall to the floor unconscious, twitch or move uncontrollably, drool, or even lose bladder control. Within minutes, the attack is over, and the person regains consciousness but is exhausted and dazed. This is the image most people have when they hear the word epilepsy. However, this type of seizure -- a generalized tonic-clonic seizure -- is only one kind of epilepsy. There are many other kinds, each with a different set of symptoms. Epilepsy is a brain disorder in which clusters of nerve cells, or neurons, in the brain sometimes signal abnormally. Many people with epilepsy lead productive and outwardly normal lives. Medical and research advances in the past two decades have led to a better understanding of epilepsy and seizures than ever before.
Advanced brain scans and other techniques allow greater accuracy in diagnosing epilepsy and determining when a patient may be helped by surgery. More than 20 different medications and a variety of surgical techniques are now available and provide good control of seizures for most people with epilepsy. Research on the underlying causes of epilepsy, including identification of genes for some forms of epilepsy and febrile seizures, has led to a greatly improved understanding of epilepsy that may lead to more effective treatments or even new ways of preventing epilepsy in the future. Using research from from the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, the focus of this issue of the NASET Q & A Corner will be to address seizures and epilepsy.
To read or download this issue - Click Here (login required)
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Reading Remediation Seems to Rewire the Brain
Scientists studying the anatomy of children's brains during reading discovered something rather unexpected: Remedial training for poor readers results in a growth of white matter tracts in the brain, and the increase correlates with the level of improvement in sounding out words. "This is the first evidence for an increase in white matter in response to a remedial behavioral intervention," said lead author Marcel Just, a psychology professor at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh and director of its Center for Cognitive Brain Imaging. "It provides evidence that repeated cognitive exercises can alter the cortical connectivity of the human brain." The finding could have potential beyond enhancing reading ability. If a behavioral intervention can cause brain growth, benefits might be reflected in any number of brain conditions, including autism, stroke, multiple sclerosis and traumatic brain injury, experts say. To read more, click here
Rhode Island District Threatens to Fire All High School Teachers
One of the poorest performing high schools in Rhode Island is planning to fire all of its teachers after they refused to adapt to longer school days and tutoring to help the struggling students. Central Falls High School Superintendent Frances Gallo announced late last week that she would have no choice but to fire all 74 of the school's teachers after the Central Falls Teachers' Union refused to accept her improvement plan for the school. In an interview with the Providence Journal, Gallo blamed the union's "callous disregard" of the situation for the firings, adding that the teachers "knew full well what would happen" if they didn't agree to her proposal. The plan was spurred by the Education Commissioner Deborah Gist's mandate last month for the high school, as well six other schools in the state, to revamp their institutions. To read more, click here
HIV Drug That Protects a Fetus Should Be Avoided for One Year After Childbirth, Researchers Say
Women given the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) prevention drug nevirapine to protect their fetus should not use an HIV-drug regimen that contains nevirapine for at least one year after childbirth, say researchers at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB). A new UAB study found that while nevirapine works well to prevent mother-to-child HIV transmission, a single dose of nevirapine in infected pregnant women can trigger resistance to some forms of the AIDS-drug cocktail known as combination antiretroviral treatment (ART). This nevirapine-induced resistance fades after about 12 months and no longer hinders ART, says UAB Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology Jeffrey S.A. Stringer, M.D., the study's lead author. To read more, click here
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Teachers Appeal to Lawmakers for Funding
Right now, the state of Illinois owes tens of millions of dollars to school districts across the QCA, something local educators are saying is making it hard to provide kids with the education they deserve. On Saturday, those teachers met with Rep. Phil Hare to plead their case for federal funding and major changes to No Child Left Behind. "I think it's really in a crisis situation and it needs to be addressed," says Rowva High School teacher Chris Campagna. Teachers say their districts are reaching a breaking point when it comes to funding. The state of Illinois owes districts across our area millions of dollars. Without that money, superintendents say they're going to have to make some painful changes. To read more, click here
Mother's Sensitivity May Help Language Growth in Children With Autism Spectrum Disorder
A new study by researchers from the University of Miami shows that maternal sensitivity may influence language development among children who go on to develop autism. Although parenting styles are not considered as a cause for autism, this report examines how early parenting can promote resiliency in this population. The study is published online this month and will appear in an upcoming issue of the Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders. "Language problems are among the most important areas to address for children with autism, because they represent a significant impairment in daily living and communication," says Daniel Messinger, associate professor in the department of psychology at the University of Miami (UM) College of Arts and Sciences and principal investigator of a larger study of infants at-risk for autism, which includes this study. To read more, click here
Special Education Funding is Critical
When it comes to the issue of funding for our public school children, there is a fact that often goes unnoticed: the number of severely disabled children in Massachusetts is increasing and these children require more intensive education and treatment. If Massachusetts is to truly "Leave no Child Behind", then we must ensure that all children, no matter their abilities, have access to an appropriate education. Why a dramatic increase in the number of disabled children? The increase in severely disabled children is being caused by higher rates of pre-term and low birth weight births at the same time that infant mortality rates are decreasing. Between 1992 and 2006, pre-term births in Massachusetts increased 47 percent compared to 20 percent nationally. The number of low birth weight births increased 32 percent in our state, compared to a 17 percent increase nationally. Thankfully, the infant mortality rate decreased by 22 percent in Massachusetts compared to 19 percent nationally, but it means that more children with severe disabilities are surviving and they need our help. To read more, click here
Gestational Diabetes: Blood Sugar Levels Once Considered Normal Are Not Safe for Baby, Mother
Two to three times more pregnant women may soon be diagnosed and treated for gestational diabetes, based on new measurements for determining risky blood sugar levels for the mother and her unborn baby, according to a study that was coordinated by investigators at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine. "As result of this study, more than 16 percent of the entire population of pregnant women qualified as having gestational diabetes," said lead author Boyd Metzger, M.D., the Tom D. Spies Professor of Metabolism and Nutrition at Feinberg and a physician at Northwestern Memorial Hospital. "Before, between 5 to 8 percent of pregnant women were diagnosed with this." 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
Op Ed: Do Toxins Cause Autism?
Autism was first identified in 1943 in an obscure medical journal. Since then it has become a frighteningly common affliction, with the Centers for Disease Control reporting recently that autism disorders now affect almost 1 percent of children. Over recent decades, other development disorders also appear to have proliferated, along with certain cancers in children and adults. Why? No one knows for certain. And despite their financial and human cost, they presumably won't be discussed much at Thursday's White House summit on health care. Yet they constitute a huge national health burden, and suspicions are growing that one culprit may be chemicals in the environment. An article in a forthcoming issue of a peer-reviewed medical journal, Current Opinion in Pediatrics, just posted online, makes</font> this explicit. To read more, click here
Students with Disabilities Get Help for Future
Stone County is looking to provide a more organized network for students with disabilities in an effort to draw in more parents, and further assist those already involved. On Tuesday, Feb. 23, Reeds Spring High School hosted its annual Transition Fair. The fair provided information for parents concerning the available options for special needs students after they leave high school. Most parents, such as Toyea Youngblood, believe that having a child with a disability is a little overwhelming and it's hard to know where to turn, so the fair is a good outlet for those fears. "When I found out my son had Down syndrome, naturally I was devastated," Youngblood said. "But after talking with different agencies and getting involved, I am now able to see the amount of potential my son has." To read more, click here
Good Parenting Triumphs Over Prenatal Stress
A mother's nurture may provide powerful protection against risks her baby faces in the womb, according to a new article published online February 25 in the journal Biological Psychiatry. The research shows that fetuses exposed to high levels of stress hormone -- shown to be a harbinger for babies' poor cognitive development -- can escape this fate if their mothers provide them sensitive care during infancy and toddler-hood. The new study represents the first, direct human evidence that fetuses exposed to elevated levels of the stress hormone cortisol may have trouble paying attention or solving problems later on. But what may be more intriguing is the study's second finding -- that this negative link disappears almost entirely if the mother forges a secure connection with her baby. 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
Gene Mutation Is Linked to Autism-Like Symptoms in Mice, Researchers Find
When a gene implicated in human autism is disabled in mice, the rodents show learning problems and obsessive, repetitive behaviors, researchers at UT Southwestern Medical Center have found. The researchers also report that a drug affecting a specific type of nerve function reduced the obsessive behavior in the animals, suggesting a potential way to treat repetitive behaviors in humans. The findings appear in the Feb. 24 issue of the Journal of Neuroscience. "Clinically, this study highlights the possibility that some autism-related behaviors can be reversed through drugs targeting specific brain function abnormalities," said Dr. Craig Powell, assistant professor of neurology and psychiatry at UT Southwestern and the study's senior author. To read more, click here
Handbook Suggests That Deviations From 'Normality' are Disorders
Peter De Vries, America's wittiest novelist, died 17 years ago, but his discernment of this country's cultural foibles still amazes. In a 1983 novel, he spotted the tendency of America's therapeutic culture to medicalize character flaws: "Once terms like identity doubts and midlife crisis become current," De Vries wrote, "the reported cases of them increase by leaps and bounds." And: "Rapid-fire means of communication have brought psychic dilapidation within the reach of the most provincial backwaters, so that large metropolitan centers and educated circles need no longer consider it their exclusive property, nor preen themselves on their special malaises." To read more, click here
Treadmill Training Could Help Tots Walk
Using a treadmill could help infants with prenatal complications or who were injured at birth walk earlier and better, according to a University of Michigan researcher. Prenatal injuries can often result in self-correcting or fixable neuromotor delays, but sometimes toddlers get a more serious diagnosis, such as cerebral palsy, says Rosa Angulo-Barroso, associate professor of movement science at the U-M School of Kinesiology. Some of those diagnoses may come much later, or in mild cases, never, she says. Angulo-Barroso and colleagues followed 15 infants at risk for neuromotor delays for two years and tested their changes in physical activity and treadmill-stepping in their homes. The infants were assisted using the treadmill by their parents. To read more, click here
Food for Thought........
Teachers teach more by what they are than by what they say.