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 great weekend.
NASET News Team
New This Week on NASET
Classroom Management Series V
Reseach Based Strategies for the Classroom
NASET is proud to begin a brand new series of Classroom Management titled Research Based Strategies for the Classroom.
Connecting research recommendations to practice can improve instruction. These key research-based strategies have impact on student achievement-helping all students, in all kinds of classrooms. Strategies are organized into categories of familiar practices in order to help you fine-tune your teaching to improve student achievement. Part # 1 - Effective Thematic Instruction
Students learn better from thematic, interdisciplinary instruction, themes are a way of understanding new concepts and provide mental organizing schemes. >
In this issue you will find resources in the following areas:
Disability awareness and inclusion
Family and Community Information
Special Education Resources
Quick Links To NASET
New Treatment for Social Problems in Autism? Oxytocin Improves Emotion Recognition
Autism spectrum disorders (ASD) are developmental disorders usually diagnosed in childhood. Children with ASDs have impairments in social interactions and communication, and a tendency towards repetitive behaviors. A hallmark of autism is a difficulty in understanding and reciprocating the emotion of others. Although behavioral therapies can improve some symptoms of autism, there is currently no effective treatment for these problems. Oxytocin is a hormone that has effects on brain function. Although it is best known for its role in facilitating labor, delivery, and breast-feeding, it is also important in promoting trust, love, and social recognition. In a new study in Biological Psychiatry
, published by Elsevier, Australian autism experts recruited adolescents with ASDs. Using a rigorous study design, they administered a single dose each of oxytocin and placebo via a nasal spray, received one week apart. Both times, the subjects were asked to complete a facial expression task that measures emotion recognition. Compared to administration of the placebo spray, the subjects' performance on the task was improved when they received the oxytocin spray. To read more,click here
NASET Sponsor - Drexel University Online
Study Says Pennsylvania Charters Have Fewer Special Education Students
Why are special education students more scarce in charter schools than in regular public schools in Pennsylvania? This is a key question raised in the state's five-year evaluation of its charter schools, published last year. It merits serious investigation, some special education advocates say. The state's charter school law forbids charters to discriminate on the basis of disability. Western Michigan University researchers Gary Miron, Christopher Nelson, and John Risley, who wrote the Pennsylvania charter school evaluation, found that three-fourths of the state's charter schools had a lower proportion of students with IEPs (Individualized Educational Plans) than the statewide average. Overall, only 8.5 percent of Pennsylvania charter school students (excluding gifted students) had IEPs, compared with 13 percent of noncharter public school students statewide. If not for two charters with very high percentages of special education students, the low special ed enrollment rate at Pennsylvania charter schools would have been even lower. To read more, click here
DID YOU KNOW THAT......
Intellectual Disabilities is now used by many to refer to individualks who, in the past, would have been designated with mental retardation.
Valley Lawsuits Over Disabilities Law Raise Questions
A San Jose lawyer has filed dozens of federal lawsuits on behalf of five clients since August claiming Valley businesses haven't done enough to accommodate patrons with handicapping conditions. The suits, filed under the Americans With Disabilities Act, mean tens of thousands of dollars in settlement costs and fines, on top of repairs -- at a time when many businesses are struggling to survive the recession. Advocates for individuals with disabilities say businesses have no excuse for violating the law 20 years after it was adopted by Congress. But many business owners say they think law firms that file batches of ADA suits are less concerned with people with disabilities than they are with making money off the law. To read more, click here
Preterm Birth Rate Drops 3 Percent
The nation's preterm birth rate dropped for the second consecutive year. New nationwide statistics show a 3 percent decline in the preterm birth rate, according to a report released by the National Center for Health Statistics. March of Dimes officials say they are encouraged and hope that the decline is a new trend in infant health. The data are based on 99.9 percent of U.S. births and the improvement must be confirmed in the final data. To read more, click here
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Mississippi Districts Cited for Inadequate Special Education Procedures
State education officials have cited eight school districts for failing to adequately identify students with emotional disabilities or referring a disproportionate number of black students to special education. The school districts cited were Coffeeville, Covington County, De-Soto County, Greene County, Greenville, Holmes County, Jackson Public Schools and Holmes County. They range in size from 625 students in Coffeeville to 31,228 in DeSoto County, the state's largest school district. The review teams from the state Department of Education found problems ranging from incomplete paperwork to students recommended for special education before full evaluations. The monitoring was done this school year, but one parent said her son was affected by problems with special education years ago when he was in JPS. 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
Special Education Concerns Central To Hotly Debated Education Reform
Concerns about tying the performance of students with disabilities to the job status of their teachers are central to the Florida governor's decision about whether or not to sign contentious education legislation. A bill which made its way to Gov. Charlie Crist's desk early Friday morning would eliminate tenure for new Florida teachers and tie educators' pay to student performance on tests. Originally supportive of the bill, Crist is now indicating he's wavering on whether or not to sign the legislation amid outrage from many constituents. Among the Republican governor's chief concerns, he says, are implications for special education teachers whose students may not make measurable academic improvements. To read more, click here
DID YOU KNOW THAT......
Boys with learning disabilities outnumber girls about 3 to 1.
Does Smoking Compound Other Multiple Sclerosis Risk Factors?
A new study shows that smoking may increase the risk of multiple sclerosis (MS) in people who also have specific established risk factors for MS. The research is found in the April 7, 2010, online issue of Neurology
®, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology. The research involved 442 people with MS and 865 people without the disease from three studies: the Nurses' Health Study I/Nurses' Health Study II, the Tasmanian MS Study and the Swedish MS Study. Researchers first determined whether participants had known risk factors for MS, including having a high level of antibody in the blood to the Epstein-Barr virus (a common herpes virus that infects most people but is associated with MS in a small fraction of those infected), or having an immune-system-related gene called the HLA-DR15 gene (which is present in 20% of the population at large but 60% of patients with MS). To read more, click here
Jenny McCarthy Closing Her School for Children with Autism
Hard on the heels of her split from actor Jim Carrey, Jenny McCarthy is closing her well-known school for children with autism, Teach2Talk Academy. "Jenny and her partner at the Academy, Sarah Scheflen, had different visions for the school and made a decision to go their separate ways," Jenny's rep told the entertainment site HollywoodLife.com. "Both intend to continue on in this important mission. Sarah and Jenny really enjoyed their time working at the Academy and feel honored that they were able to provide such high quality early intervention services to so many children with autism and other developmental disabilities." Despite the news, McCarthy's image (above) is still on the school's web site home page. McCarthy's son Evan was diagnosed with autism in 2005 when he was two years old. Since then the actress has become an outspoken and controversial autism activist. Just last year she told KidsLA magazine "I'm proud to say [the school] is an absolute success in terms of the amount of progress children with autism are making. We do have a goal to open more schools around the country. If I had Bill Gates' money, I would have them in every state." To read more, click here
Smaller Classes, Special Education Worth Investment
E.J. McMahon, in an attempt to rebut the New York State United Teachers' claim that proposed cuts in state aid will "devastate" education and lead to reductions in programs and oversize classes, essentially argues that the recent growth trend in public school staffing in New York over the past eight years was superfluous. Yet the facts belie his arguments. Regarding teacher staffing increases in New York City, more than idealism has prompted the city administration to try to reduce class sizes. A lawsuit proved that New York City students were denied the equitable state funding that other children around the state have enjoyed. And, unless legislative interventions to force the city administration to spend money on reducing class sizes are enacted, the likelihood is that little real reduction in class sizes happens. To read more, click here
Ninety Percent of Children With Intermittent Exotropia Will Become Nearsighted by 20 Years of Age
Intermittent exotropia, a condition in which the eyes turn outward while looking at an object, occurs in about 1% of American children and is less common than esotropia, where the eyes turn inward. In an article published in the March 2010 issue of the American Journal of Ophthalmology
, researchers from the Mayo Clinic and Mayo Foundation, Rochester, MN, followed 135 patients with intermittent exotropia over a 20-year period and found that slightly more than 90% of these children became nearsighted by the time they reached their 20s. One of the few studies following the progression of myopia (near sightedness) in children with intermittent exotropia, researchers determined that the rate of developing myopia in this population was 7.4% by 5 years of age, 46.5% by 10 years, and 91.1% by 20 years. Neither simple observation nor surgical intervention altered the rate of myopic progression. This rate is significantly higher than any previously reported population and suggests that intermittent exotropia is significantly linked with the development of myopia. Other studies have shown incidences of 3-5%, 24% and 45% in similar age groups. To read more, click here
DID YOU KNOW THAT......
Research suggests that anywhere from 5-10 percent of the child population has emotional and behavioral disorders
Motivational Incentives Help Children With ADHD
Children with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder who are on medication react more like other children when faced with a task that tests their attention and focusing skills, researchers have found. The findings, published in the April 1 issue of Biological Psychiatry
, suggest that the medication does what it's supposed to do: help children pay attention and control their impulses. But motivational incentives seemed to help, too. In the study, children played a video game that required them to focus and not be impulsive. According to the researchers, from the University of Nottingham in England, the study's results indicate that stimulant medication normalizes brain function in children with ADHD so that they can pay better attention and be less impulsive. But using motivational incentives along with the drugs, they said, improved the children's performance. To read more, click here
Special Education Overspending Draws State Officials' Scrutiny
The West Des Moines school district has overspent in special education each of the past five years, a situation that has gained the attention of state education leaders. The district has nearly tripled its yearly deficit in special education since 2004-05, bringing the shortfall this fiscal year to an estimated $3.1 million - the highest in the state. "More money has been put into special education in recent years, and deficits are growing statewide," said Kurt Subra, the chief financial officer for West Des Moines schools. "There is pressure to do something different. At the same time, we are getting pressure from parents to give students more services." Up to 70 percent of Iowa's 361 districts carry a deficit in special education funding. Steve Crew, special education finance consultant for the Iowa Department of Education, said that figure hasn't changed much in recent years. However, the amount districts overspend each year has increased significantly. To read more, click here
NASET Sponsor - Heinle, Cengage Learning
DID YOU KNOW THAT.....
Approximately 23% of students who are deaf come from Hispanic-speaking homes
Shortened School Calendar Okayed Over Special Education Concerns
Hawaii can go forward with a cost-cutting plan to furlough teachers, despite objections from special education parents that the move violates students' individualized education plans, or IEPs, a federal appeals court ruled. Parents of nine special education students at five different schools filed suit last year against the state of Hawaii to stop a plan which would furlough teachers for 17 days this school year and 24 days next year. On those days, public schools in the state are not operating. The families argued that the missed school days would prevent proper implementation of students' IEPs. This week a federal appeals court sided with the state, affirming a lower court ruling that allows the plan to go forward. To rule otherwise, the members of the court wrote in their opinion, would "give the parents of disabled children veto power over a state's decisions regarding the management of its schools." To read more, click here
Tenure Reform Fight Creates Concern for Special Education Teachers in Florida
Three years ago, Elena San Pedro was a single mother of two struggling in a dead-end job that required so many hours during tax season, she feared her children no longer recognized her. That's when she turned to teaching. Besides giving her tools to help her son with autism, the profession offered stability, time with her kids and, with a few more degrees, opportunities for advancement. Or so she thought. A bill before Gov. Charlie Crist threatens to eliminate teacher tenure - one of the hallmarks of the profession. "I've already discussed with my family the possibility of moving to Georgia," said San Pedro, 29, a junior honors student majoring in special education at the University of South Florida in Tampa. To read more, click here
Social Influence Plays Role in Surging Autism Diagnoses, Study Finds
Social influence plays a substantial role in the surging number of autism diagnoses, according to a study published in the American Journal of Sociology. The study, by researchers from the Institute for Social and Economic Research and Policy at Columbia University, found that children living near a child who has been previously diagnosed with autism have a much higher chance of being diagnosed themselves in the following year. The increased likelihood of being diagnosed is not due to environmental factors or contagious agents, the study found. Rather, it is due mainly to parents learning about autism from other parents who have a child diagnosed with the disorder. To read more, click here
DID YOU KNOW THAT.....
Sign language is the primary language of most people in the Deaf community. Each sign consists of three parts: handshape, location, and movement.
NASET Sponsor - Drexel University Online
To Learn More - Click Here
Seclusion Rooms Overused, Misdirected
In 2006, a 7-year-old girl was fatally injured at Rice Lake Day Treatment Clinic in Rice Lake, Wisconsin. A staff member held her in a prone position for an extended period of time after being put into a "cool down" room for refusing to stop blowing bubbles in her milk. A person several times her size held her facedown on the floor as a consequence for blowing bubbles. A medical examiner determined that she died from "complications due to chest compression asphyxiation." This is an extreme case of the misuse of seclusion rooms and restraints, but it is one that is not uncommon. This horrific story is only one of many that I came across when doing research about the debate about the use of seclusion rooms and restraints in an education setting. Each story was more awful than the one before it. Many children, especially those with disabilities, are being subjected to physically and emotionally damaging treatments because some teachers are not equipped with the necessary training and tools in which to establish the best learning environment for all of their students. After reading Hannah Shtein's March 12 column, "Address growing special ed needs" and Geoff Jara-Almonte's March 16 column, "Student seclusion sometimes necessary," I felt compelled to offer another viewpoint - that of a professional. To read more, click here
First Newborn Receives Xenon Gas in Bid to Prevent Brain Injury
Every year in the UK, more than 1,000 otherwise healthy babies born at full term die or suffer brain injury caused by a lack of oxygen and/or blood supply at birth. This can lead to lifelong problems such as cerebral palsy. The use of xenon gas to prevent brain injury was developed by Professor Thoresen with Dr John Dingley of Swansea University, in a study funded by Sparks, the children's medical research charity.The University of Bristol and St Michael's Hospital have pioneered new treatments for brain injury in babies since 1998 when Professor Thoresen first started cooling babies after a lack of oxygen and showed that this technique could reduce damage in the newborn brain. To read more, click here
Return to Special Education's Roots Needed for Children with Severe Learning Needs
There are two major schools of thought when it comes to educating children and youth with severe learning needs and both are off target, researchers from Vanderbilt and Clemson universities report. The researchers argue a return to the original principles of special education that is informed by modern data and techniques is needed to reform both general and special education. The report by Vanderbilt University researchers Douglas Fuchs and Lynn Fuchs and Clemson University's Pamela Stecker was published in the spring issue of the journal Exceptional Children
. "There are two major schools of thought when it comes to special education, and they have different views on what would constitute reform. Our predominant point is that neither group has proposed viable solutions for the bottom 10, 15 or 20 percent of the student population," Douglas Fuchs said. "These students are being forsaken, and have been forsaken for a long time. What we should be doing is preparing teachers better and differently for this group of kids." To read more, click here
Food for Thought........
maybe, there will exist a well-informed, well considered and yet fervent public conviction that the most deadly of all possible sins is the mutilation of a child's spirit.