Week in Review - March 12, 2010

WEEK in REVIEW

New NASET Publications and Articles of Interest in Special Education That Were Reported This Week







Dear NASET Member:

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

The Practical Teacher

Victims: Preventing Students From Becoming 'Bully-Targets'

Children who are chronically bullied are often deeply unhappy in school, suffer from low self-esteem, and often find themselves socially rejected by their classmates as a result of the bullying. Teachers are likely to see another 'hidden' cost of bullying: as students are victimized, their grades frequently suffer. The best way for any school to assist children victimized by bullies is to adopt a whole-school approach to bully prevention. Even if working alone, however, teachers can take immediate action to make life easier for children in their classroom who are being bullied. The focus of this issue of the Practical Teacher will be on preventing students from becoming 'bully-targets'.

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

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Parent Teacher Conference Handouts

Important Milestones:  Normal Language Development

Few Parents of young children are always concerned about whether or not their child is developing along normal stages. One of the major developmental milestones for children is language development. Without a frame of reference, a parent may make false assumptions and create unnecessary anxiety over the language development of his/her child. This Parent Teacher Conference Handout will provide parents with a developmental frame of reference for language from Birth to 5 years old.
As mentioned in previous handouts involving milestones, children develop at their own pace, so it's impossible to tell exactly when yours will learn a given skill. The developmental milestones below will give you a general idea of the changes you can expect as your child gets older, but don't be alarmed if your child takes a slightly different course.
To read or download this issue -  Click Here (login required)

Quick Links To NASET

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Possible Early Glimpse of Autism's Impact on Older Siblings

A new study suggests a trend toward developing hyperactivity among typically developing elementary-school-aged siblings of autistic preschoolers and supports the notion that mothers of young, autistic children experience more depression and stress than mothers with typically developing children. While the impact on older siblings was not statistically significant, the trend may indicate the presence of symptoms associated with broader observable autism characteristics seen in previous studies, says Laura Lee McIntyre, a professor and director of the University of Oregon's school psychology program. The study was published in the March issue of the journal Focus on Autism and Other Developmental Disabilities. To read more, click here

Study: Thousands of Israeli Children Mistakenly Prescribed Ritalin

Thousands of Israeli children are prescribed Ritalin for attention disorders, but actually have undiagnosed psychological problems that necessitate different treatment, according to a study released this month. Ritalin and the related drug Concerta are popular treatments for attention disorders including attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder. The researchers found that professionals often prescribe these drugs without taking into account their young patients' coexisting conditions. This means that one in five children are receiving treatment they do not need. The study was led by Dr. Shlomi Antebi, a pediatrician affiliated with the Maccabi health maintenance organization and a former director of Meir, Kaplan and Haemek hospitals. To read more, click here

Education Department To Step Up Enforcement Of Disability Rights

The federal government is redoubling its efforts to crack down on civil rights violations against students with disabilities and other minority groups, Secretary of Education Arne Duncan said Monday. The Department of Education's Office of Civil Rights will be issuing a series of letters offering guidance to school districts across the country and ramping up efforts to reach out to parents and advocacy groups, Duncan said in a speech in Selma, Ala. Plans are in place to send 17 letters before the fiscal year ends Oct. 1 advising school districts on issues ranging from restraint and seclusion to teaching English language learners with disabilities and working with students who have attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, or ADHD. To read more, click here

Second Dose of Gene Therapy for Inherited Blindness Proves Safe in Animal Studies

Gene therapy for a severe inherited blindness, which produced dramatic improvements last year in 12 children and young adults who received the treatment in a clinical trial, has cleared another hurdle. The same research team that conducted the human trial now reports that a study in animals has shown that a second injection of genes into the opposite, previously untreated eye is safe and effective, with no signs of interference from unwanted immune reactions following the earlier injection. These new findings suggest that patients who benefit from gene therapy in one eye may experience similar benefits from treatment in the other eye for Leber's congenital amaurosis (LCA), a retinal disease that progresses to total blindness by adulthood. Researchers had exercised caution by treating only one eye in the human trial. To read more, click here

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Judge to End Oversight of City Schools

The often-contentious 26-year-old lawsuit that attempted to provide equality for Baltimore's special-education students but ultimately helped to change the course of the public school system is nearing an end after a federal judge agreed Monday to end his oversight. U.S. District Judge Marvin J. Garbis accepted an agreement from the school system and the Maryland Disability Law Center, which had filed suit in 1984 on behalf of several special-education students, saying they were not being offered adequate services. If the city meets the conditions of the agreement, the judge's direct oversight under a consent decree will end in July and the lawsuit will end no later than September 2012. To read more, click here

D.C. Schools Chancellor Fires 18 Special Education Workers

D.C. Schools Chancellor Michelle Rhee has fired 18 employees from the public school system's long-troubled special education department, according to a statement from her office. "These decisions were not made lightly," said Jennifer Calloway, spokeswoman for Rhee. Calloway attributed the firings to cost control measures and to efforts to improve operations based on the department's "overarching goals and initiatives." The layoffs are hardly the first cuts from what many critics viewed as a bloated central office upon Rhee's arrival in 2007. On a Friday in early March 2008, Rhee fired more than 100 central office employees, citing a "significant need to streamline."  To read more, click here

U.S. Supreme Court Will Hear Case About Vaccine Side Effects

The Supreme Court will decide whether drug makers can be sued by parents who claim their children suffered serious health problems from vaccines. The justices on Monday agreed to hear an appeal from parents in Pittsburgh who want to sue Wyeth over the serious side effects their daughter, six months old at the time, allegedly suffered as a result of the company's diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis vaccine. The 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Philadelphia ruled against Robalee and Russell Bruesewitz, saying a 1986 federal law bars their claims. That law set up a special vaccine court to handle disputes as part of its aim of insuring a stable vaccine supply by shielding companies from most lawsuits. Wyeth, now owned by Pfizer, Inc., prevailed at the appeals court but also joined in asking the court to hear the case, saying it presents an important and recurring legal issue that should be resolved. To read more, click here

Students' Physical Fitness Associated With Academic Achievement; Organized Physical Activity

Physical fitness is associated with academic performance in young people, according to a report presented at the American Heart Association's 2010 Conference on Nutrition, Physical Activity and Metabolism. "As children's health continues to be a concern -- especially when it comes to obesity -- some have suggested that children's physical fitness is associated with their academic performance," said Lesley A. Cottrell, Ph.D., study presenting author and associate professor of pediatrics at West Virginia University in Morgantown, W.Va. "The research, however, had not developed enough to define the nature of that relationship." 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

Preventing Traumatic Brain Injury: Safety Helmets While Riding Horses Save Lives

Last week  2008 Olympian Courtney King-Dye was critically injured at a farm in Loxahatchee. Courtney had asked for a leg yield; the horse got tangled up in his own legs, tripped and fell. Courtney hit her head, fractured her skull causing bleeding in her brain. She was airlifted to St. Mary's Hospital in West Palm Beach and remains in a coma. Courtney was not wearing a helmet. Of the 500,000 horses in Florida, 70% are used in competition and recreation. Under Florida Law " an equine activity sponsor or equine professional is not liable for an injury or death of a participant in equine activities resulting from inherent risks of equine activities." Last year Governor Charlie Christ signed, Nicole's Law named after a 12 year old Loxahatchee child who died in June, 2006 after she was thrown from her horse. To read more, click here

Test-Taking Methods Vary By Need

When students sit down this week to be tested on their knowledge of math, reading and science, not all will be putting pencil to paper. Some may be dictating their answers to teachers. Others may use switches, or computers that play back text in a spoken voice. Thousands of students with disabilities in South Florida are required by the state to take the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Tests. But to accommodate their disabilities, the tests can be administered in different ways. To read more, click here

Proposal Helping Middle Schoolers in High Schools Facing Final Vote

A proposal to encourage gifted middle school students to take high school classes was approved by the Senate Education Committee Monday.  The proposal from Rep. Tom Trail, R-Moscow, would help gifted students start their high school transcript before entering ninth grade.  It would require that if they complete a high school course with at least a "C" grade, that course would be added to their transcript and could count toward their grade point average (GPA).  Trail said he got the idea for the legislation from someone in his district who couldn't use an 'A' on his high school transcript from a class taken before entering high school. To read more, click here

'Stepping Up' Asthma Treatment in Children Leads to Improvement

Children with asthma who continue to have symptoms while using low-dose inhaled corticosteroids could benefit from increasing the dosage or adding one of two asthma drugs, a new study by researchers at Washington University School of Medicine and other institutions finds. Results of the study, called BADGER (Best ADd-on therapy Giving Effective Responses) may also allow physicians to better predict which of the three options will help a patient the most. To treat children whose asthma is not well controlled while using low-dose inhaled corticosteroids, the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) guides physicians to try one of three additional, or step-up, treatments: doubling the dosage of the inhaled corticosteroid or adding a long-acting beta antagonist (LABA) or a leukotriene receptor antagonist (LTRA) to the inhaled corticosteroid treatment. 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

Ritalin Boosts Learning by Increasing Brain Plasticity

Doctors treat millions of children with Ritalin every year to improve their ability to focus on tasks, but scientists now report that Ritalin also directly enhances the speed of learning. In animal research, the scientists showed for the first time that Ritalin boosts both of these cognitive abilities by increasing the activity of the neurotransmitter dopamine deep inside the brain. Neurotransmitters are the chemical messengers neurons use to communicate with each other. They release the molecule, which then docks onto receptors of other neurons. The research demonstrated that one type of dopamine receptor aids the ability to focus, and another type improves the learning itself. To read more, click here

Food for Thought........

Ask yourself is it right or wrong and act accordingly.

                                                       Otto Graham, Jr.

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