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 email@example.com. Have a great weekend.
NASET</font> News Team
New This Week on NASET
Classroom Management Series
Points to Remember
The last part in this Classroom Management Series is devoted to a recap of important points to keep in mind when working with children with emotional issues. These issues are crucial if you are going to create a safe environment for everyone and one with very clear fair boundaries within which children can learn and prosper.
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In this issue you will find resources in the following areas:
Adults with Disabilities
Early Intervention Resources
Fetal Alcohol Syndrome
Health and Disability
Response to Intervention (RTI)
Work Related Topics for Adolescents with Disabilities
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Vaccine Court Ruling: Thimerosal Does Not Cause Autism
Does the vaccine preservative thimerosal cause autism? Thimerosal is a mercury-containing compound that has been used since the 1930s as a preservative in vaccines. Why was thimerosal introduced into vaccines? Well, early vaccines were administered from multi-dose bottles, in which bacteria could grow. In one particularly disastrous incident in 1928, 12 children in Australia died from staph infections after getting the diptheria vaccine from the same multi-dose bottle. After the introduction of thimerosal, bacterial infections caused by vaccination virtually disappeared. Fast-forward 70 years to the modern anti-vaccination movement. In the late 1990s, a small number of activists, led by J.B. Handley and a few others, decided that the mercury in vaccines causes autism. Robert F. Kennedy Jr. wrote articles promoting his notion of a large government conspiracy to cover up the harm being caused by thimerosal. The movement took off, especially after former Playboy model Jenny McCarthy became the "face" of Generation Rescue. Was there ever any scientific support for the link between thimerosal and autism? To read more, click here
Behavioral Problems in Childhood Doubles the Risk of Chronic Widespread Pain in Adult Life
Bad behavior in childhood is associated with long-term, chronic widespread pain in adult life, according to the findings of a study following nearly 20,000 people from birth in 1958 to the present day. Chronic widespread pain is a common complaint that can have a major adverse effect on quality of life, often requiring referral to a hospital specialist for investigation and treatment. The research, published online in the journal Rheumatology on March 10, found that children with severe behaviour disturbances had approximately double the risk of chronic widespread pain by the time they reached the age of 45 than children who did not have behaviour problems. To read more, click here
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At Paralympics, Top UN Official Highlights Rights of People with Disabilities
Paralympic Games currently under way in Vancouver, Canada, highlight the contribution sport can make in promoting the inclusion and well-being of people with disabilities, a senior United Nations official said today. "The Paralympics are a powerful example of what can be achieved when everyone is given the opportunity to participate and perform to their full potential," said Wilfried Lemke, the Secretary-General's Special Adviser on Sport for Development and Peace. Last Thursday, he carried the Paralympic torch in downtown Vancouver and the following day, together with Philipp Craven, President of the International Paralympic Committee (IPC), opened the Olympic Truce Wall. The traditional age-old truce urges warring parties to lay down their arms as the Olympic Games' ancient Greek founders did some 2,700 years ago. To read more, click here
Special Education Stimulus Funds Diverted to Other Costs
Kim Vaccaro of Brick wasn't aware that last year's federal stimulus package included a $2.4 million grant to help her district enhance its special education program. So it was news to her that Brick spent just half of the money on new initiatives for special education kids. The rest went to pay the health benefits of some 250 special education teachers and staff. "That's pretty outrageous," said Vaccaro, 45, who is president of the Brick Township Special Education Parent Teacher Association. "That is totally unfair to our kids," said Vaccaro, whose 12-year-old son Joel has autism. "Once again, they get shortchanged." To read more, click here>
Should Schools Use Seclusion Rooms, Restraints?
By age 2 Donovan Richards was kicked out of day care for hitting. At age 3, he was obsessed with dinosaurs and utterly uninterested in other children. At 4, he was hospitalized for mania after he threatened to kill himself with his toy sword. And by 5, he was on medicine for bipolar and autism spectrum disorders. One doctor told Paula Buege her son would end up in an institution. Buege vowed to help him remain at home and go to public school in Middleton instead. He was a handful there. School records from a grim stretch in November 2001 show Donovan, then 7, was given frequent timeouts and suspended several days in a row. "Donovan was being escorted to the calming room. When the special education aide tried to remove a ball from the room, Donovan lay on the ball and bit the EA on the wrist. He also hit her arm with the door when she was trying to get out of the room," read one report. The next school day, Donovan threw wood chips in a classmate's face and was put into the "quiet" room again. "He repeatedly kicked the wall and slammed the window with great force, spit on walls and shouted profanity," his teacher wrote. To read more, click here
Obama Education Overhaul To Up Ante For Students With Disabilities
As part of a proposal to overhaul America's education system, the Obama administration is calling for students with disabilities to "graduate from high school ready for college and a career" just like their typically developing peers. Under a blueprint sent to Congress Monday, there would be less emphasis on test scores and more of a focus on students attaining a broad base of knowledge, increasing high school graduation rates and ensuring that such graduates are prepared for college and work. The plan places special emphasis on inclusion of students with disabilities. Further, administration officials want teachers to be better prepared to address the needs of special education students and tests that more accurately assess student abilities. To read more, click here
Gene Discovered for Newly Recognized Disease in Amish Children
The gene for a newly recognized disease has been identified thanks to the determination of an Amish father and the clinical skills and persistence of Indiana University and Riley Hospital for Children physicians in collaboration with physicians and researchers at the Clinic for Special Children in Lancaster County, Penn., which specializes in disorders of the Amish. The identification of the new multisystem autoimmune disorder and the recessive gene that causes it have been published early online and are reported in the 12 March 2010 print issue of the American Journal of Human Genetics. 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
Siblings of Kids With Autism May Be Prone to Hyperactivity
Older brothers and sisters of preschool children with autism may be at increased risk of developing hyperactivity, a new study finds. It also found that mothers of young autistic children suffer more depression and stress than mothers without an autistic child. The study included 20 families with a preschooler (ages 2 to 5) diagnosed with autism and a typically developing older sibling (ages 6 to 10). It also included a control group of 23 families that did not have an autistic child. "Contrary to what has been found by many researchers, we found that older siblings [of children with autism] were pretty well-adjusted, with no significant differences in parent-reported or teacher-reported social skills. These are all typically developing kids," Laura Lee McIntyre, director of the school psychology program at the University of Oregon, said in a news release. To read more, click here
Next Step for Special Education
The recently announced settlement agreement in the 26-year lawsuit over special education for Baltimore City students is welcome news. It's been overdue for at least a decade and is a mark of the formidable leadership of schools CEO Andrés Alonso. But there is less to the hoopla than meets the eye. For one thing, it ain't over 'til it's over. The agreement still requires, until at least July 1, 2012, all manner of bureaucratic paperwork, expense and potential for further litigation. More important, for a long time the lawsuit, known as the Vaughn G. case, has had little impact on raising the academic achievement of students with disabilities. It has focused almost exclusively on paperwork compliance with the complex procedural safeguards in federal law. To read more, click here
Family Mealtimes Help Children With Asthma Breathe Easier, Study Says
Children who have asthma are at high risk for separation anxiety, but a new study has found a home remedy that parents can use -- regular family mealtimes. "It makes sense that children who have difficulty breathing might be anxious and prefer to keep their parents, who can help them in an emergency, close by," said Barbara H. Fiese, a University of Illinois professor of human and community development and director of the university's Family Resiliency Center. Fiese and her colleagues had two guiding questions going into the study. First, is asthma severity, as measured by pulmonary testing and by reported asthma symptoms, related to the development of separation anxiety symptoms in children? To read more, click here
Best Treatment for Childhood Epilepsy Suggested by New Research
One of the oldest available anti-seizure medications, ethosuximide, is the most effective treatment for childhood absence epilepsy, according to initial outcomes published in this week's New England Journal of Medicine. OHSU Doernbecher Children's Hospital is one of 32 comprehensive pediatric epilepsy centers nationwide selected to participate in this landmark clinical trial as part of the NIH Childhood Absence Epilepsy Study Group. The study group compared three medications typically used to treat the most common childhood epilepsy syndrome, childhood absence epilepsy, which is characterized by frequent non-convulsive seizures that cause the child to stop what he or she is doing and stare for up to 30 seconds at time. To read more, click here
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Middle Schoolers Partnering with Clammates with Special Needs, and All are Benefitting
A new peer tutoring program at Carroll Middle School that pairs students with seven special-needs classmates is being touted by educators as a tremendous success. The Carroll school district launched a pilot of Helping Our Peers Excel, or HOPE, in January. Each peer helper goes to one class per day with students in the Life Skills program, which is for those with mental or physical disabilities, such as Down syndrome. There are 43 seventh- and eighth-graders working as peers for the seven special-needs students. "I thought it would be something new to try, and I ended up loving it," said Sarah Warren, 14, an eighth-grade peer helper. "People can think they can be different, but they're really not. When they learn something new it makes you feel good because you were a part of it." This month, Carroll district trustees voted to add the elective course to Carroll Middle's regular schedule. Officials say the program is helping Life Skills students develop more friendships with their classmates, and students are greeting one another in the hallways and sitting together at lunch. To read more, click here
National Academic Standards Call For Higher Bar In Special Education
A sweeping new proposal outlining national education standards offers "a historic opportunity" for students with disabilities "to excel within the general curriculum," proponents say. The draft plan crafted by education experts convened by the nation's governors and state school chiefs outlines yearly curriculum recommendations in English and math for students in kindergarten through twelfth grade. The idea behind the new standards is to apply uniform, high expectations to all students, including those with disabilities, no matter which state they attend school in. Under the recommended guidelines, fourth graders should know the difference between words like "their" and "there" while eighth graders should know how to use the Pythagorean theorem, among other criteria. To read more, click here
Food for Thought........
When life seems just a dreary grind; and things seem fated to annoy; Say something nice to someone else and watch the world light up with joy.