New This Week on NASET
Genetics in Special Education Series
Genetic components presented in this issue::
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NASET Resource Review
In this issue you will see resources in the following areas:
- Adaptive Physical Education
- Award Opportunities
- Behavior Management
- Disability Etiquette
- Documentation Suggestions
- Early Childhood/Early Intervention
- Parent Conference Information
- Reading Disabilities
- Research in Special Education
- Sexuality and Developmental Disability
- Survey Participants Requested -
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Finding Efficiencies in Special Education Programs
Educating students with disabilities-a federally mandated responsibility-is seen as one of the costliest services school districts must provide, and one of the last that can be cut. The federal Individuals with Disabilities Education Act provides a set of protections for 6.6 million students-about 13 percent of total student enrollment-who have dyslexia, autism, intellectual disabilities, blindness, or other impairments that affect educational performance. Those students are entitled to a "free, appropriate public education" in the least-restrictive environment that meets their needs. Fail to provide such services, and parents can sue in federal court. Those guidelines have led to the perception that special education is an untouchable expense, even in lean economic times. While states and school districts are encouraged to squeeze out every dime in other areas of spending, trying to save money in special education services is thought to be a third rail: Touch it, and you'll get shocked. To read more, click here
In Florida, Virtual Classes Without Teachers
On the first day of her senior year at North Miami Beach Senior High School, Naomi Baptiste expected to be greeted by a teacher when she walked into her precalculus class. "All there were were computers in the class," said Naomi, who walked into a room of confused students. "We found out that over the summer they signed us up for these courses." Naomi is one of over 7,000 students in Miami-Dade County Public Schools enrolled in a program in which core subjects are taken using computers in a classroom with no teacher. A "facilitator" is in the room to make sure students progress. That person also deals with any technical problems. These virtual classrooms, called e-learning labs, were put in place last August as a result of Florida's Class Size Reduction Amendment, passed in 2002. The amendment limits the number of students allowed in classrooms, but not in virtual labs. To read more, click here
More Schools for Children with Autism Proposed in New Jersey
Gov. Chris Christie has proposed creating additional specialized public schools for educating children with autism in New Jersey, a departure from the current practice in many communities of integrating those children into neighborhood schools. The governor proposed creating "centers for excellence" in every county, suggesting that such schools could save money for districts and ensure a higher quality of instruction. He told the audience at a town-hall-style meeting in Paramus on Thursday night that "the start-up costs of these programs, if you do it district-by-district, are mind-blowing and the quality is variable." Parents and advocates are split over the idea of creating specialized schools for children with autism, reflecting a larger debate nationally over whether those children are best served in separate programs or in general-education classes. To read more, click here
In Dubai, Early Intervention 'Vital' to Tackling Learning Difficulties
Early detection of learning difficulties is the key to overcoming these problems, child health experts said yesterday. A broad range of issues, from inclusion and integration to detecting dyslexia, hearing loss and feeding difficulties, were discussed at a child development workshop, held at Wellington International School. "Early intervention is key because there are statistics that show young people are highly receptive in the early years, but they face more difficulties if their learning disabilities are tackled when they are older," said Abdulkareem al Olama, the executive director of the Centre for Healthcare Planning and Quality. Mr al Olama stressed that schools who make strides towards successful inclusion and provide the necessary assistance to students with developmental delays should receive higher ratings at the end of the school year. To read more, click here
Enhanced Early Childhood Education Pays Long-Term Dividends in Better Health
Intensive early education programs for low-income children have been shown to yield numerous educational benefits, but few studies have looked more broadly at their impact on health and health behaviors. A new study conducted by researchers at Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health examines this issue, using data from a the well-known Carolina Abecedarian Project (ABC), a randomized control study that enrolled 111 infants in the 1970s and continued to follow them through age 21. Researchers found that individuals who had received the intensive education intervention starting in infancy had significantly better health and better health behaviors as young adults. To read more, click here
Did You Know That....
The Infants and Toddlers with Disabilities Act (ITDA), a subchapter of IDEA, was enacted to satisfy a need to identify and provide services to a specified population of infants and toddlers.
Tinnitus is the Result of the Brain Trying, But Failing, to Repair Itself
Tinnitus appears to be produced by an unfortunate confluence of structural and functional changes in the brain, say neuroscientists at Georgetown University Medical Center (GUMC). The phantom ringing sounds heard by about 40 million people in the U.S. today are caused by brains that try, but fail to protect their human hosts against overwhelming auditory stimuli, the researchers say in the January 13th issue of Neuron. They add that the same process may be responsible for chronic pain and other perceptual disorders. The researchers say that the absence of sound caused by hearing loss in certain frequencies, due to normal aging, loud-noise exposure, or to an accident, forces the brain to produce sounds to replace what is now missing. But when the brain's limbic system, which is involved in processing emotions and other functions, fails to stop these sounds from reaching conscious auditory processing, tinnitus results. To read more, click here
The New Special Education: Classroom Integration Enhances Skills
Years ago, special education needs weren't targeted as much as they are today. Students were often taken out of the classroom for individualized attention, leaving them out of the loop when it comes to core instruction. The Detroit Lakes School District Special Education program is constantly developing as more research now guides educators on how to address students' needs, at the same time, not let them fall through the cracks when it comes to standardized testing. All student groups need to learn core instruction, in other words reading, writing and math, to be able to move up the education ladder. "If the students don't have those, they can't be as successful in the world," said Marcy Matson, the district's special education program director. To read more, click here
iPad Pilot Program Brings New Ideas to Special Education
Apple's iPad may have been the hot item of 2010, but special education teachers in the Anoka-Hennepin School District saw the technology as more than the latest must-have gadget. The iPad's larger screen plus a number of existing applications means that special education teachers can use them to target specific student learning needs. Using federal stimulus funds - which must target innovation and education reform - five Anoka-Hennepin schools plus two dozen itinerant teachers (teachers who travel between schools) will pilot iPads and iPod Touches specifically for special education. To read more, click here
Did You Know That....
The terms "Infants and Toddlers" refers to children from birth through age two.
Job Bias Claims Set New Record on Disability Surge
Federal job bias complaints climbed to record levels last year, led by a surge in workers claiming discrimination based on disability. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission says charges of disability discrimination rose by about 17 percent to 25,165 claims. Overall, the agency received nearly 100,000 claims during the 2010 fiscal year, a 7 percent increase and the highest number in its 45-year history. The spike in disability claims began in the months after Congress approved changes to the Americans with Disabilities Act in 2009. The changes made it easier for people with treatable conditions like epilepsy, cancer or mental illness to claim they are disabled. EEOC chairwoman Jacqueline Berrien said the agency has spent the past two years boosting its staff to cope with the growing number of claims and curbing the backlog of pending charges. Since President Barack Obama took office, the agency has increased staff levels that were sharply reduced during the Bush administration. To read more, click here
Troubles at School Increasingly Land Children with Disabilities in Court
As schools turn to law enforcement to deal with unruly kids, a new report indicates that students in special education are up to twice as likely to attract police attention. In the report from the public interest law center Texas Appleseed, data from 26 Texas school districts shows that educators are relying more and more on law enforcement to address school discipline issues. Notably, the report indicates that police regularly issue misdemeanor tickets to students as young as 6 for everything from using profanity to fighting. Such tickets require students to go to court and often incur fines that can range from $60 to $500. To read more, click here
Mrs. Claus, Santa and Inclusion
( Guiding Children to Think and Act Fairly)
This book, which is about fairness and justice, is for kindergarten students through graduate school. Yes, even graduate students are shocked at the concepts they learn when they read this children's book for the first time. It is an excellent book to help all students become more compassionate and understanding of others.
For information about this book and a special offer for NASET members - Click here
Special Education Teacher Forms Drum Club that Takes the Lid Off What Teens Have Inside
A few years back, fights would break out in the cafeteria of Benjamin Franklin Middle School - drum fights, full of young nervous energy. "I used to drum on the table in the cafeteria, and we'd have battles with other tables," recalled Jonathan Candy, now 21 and a 2008 graduate of Bristol Township schools. "It drove the teachers crazy. One of them said, 'You should join this group.' " The group was Drummers With Attitude, the region's only bucket drum ensemble, a band of plucky kids who find joy in making music with a basic five-gallon plastic bucket, a couple of sticks, and a head full of rhythm. Special-education teacher Kevin Travers started DWA a decade ago when he was looking for a positive way for his sometimes-bullied special-ed charges to express themselves and be heard. In 2000, Travers - a native of Northeast Philadelphia and a drummer since he was 8 - remembered how drumming had helped him focus during a turbulent childhood. To read more, click here
Autism Finds its Voice
Four new friends sit around a table at an outdoor café in Helsinki, typing on handheld devices. Shyly, Tracy sends Henna a message asking if she might like to visit him. Avoiding eye contact, Henna types back that she will need to ask her mother. The scene could be that of any group of teenagers, awkward and bashful, more comfortable texting than engaging in face-to-face conversation. The difference is that the typists range from young adults to middle-aged. And all of them have autism. In the documentary Wretches & Jabberers, Tracy Thresherand his friend Larry Bissonnette, who also has autism, travel from Vermont to Sri Lanka, Japan, and Finland to meet with other autistic adults. To read more, click here
TRIVIA QUESTION OF THE WEEK
Guess the answer to this week's trivia question and we'll recognize you in next week's Week in Review.
Congratulations to: Joyce Den Hartag, Ross Jones, Christie Miller and Lisa Rotella
who correctly identified the answer to last week's trivia question:
When the United States government first mandated Special Education, it promised to pay for 40% of the cost per pupil. What was the percentage of cost paid by the Federal government under the IDEA 2004 budget? ANSWER: 19%
THIS WEEK'S TRIVIA QUESTION:
Who is credited for creating the first IQ test?
If you know the answer, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org
All answers must be submitted no later than Monday, 24, 2011 at 12:00 p.m.
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 Educationestablishes a much needed standard for professionals, across disciplines, who work with exceptional children. For more information on Board Certification in Special Education, click here
In Delaware, Bill to Change Special Education Funding Out of Committee
A bill that would mandate more flexible funding streams for special education cleared a Delaware House committee today, reviving a plan that died in the last session of the General Assembly. House Bill 1, sponsored by Rep. Teresa Schooley, D-Newark, codifies "needs-based" funding for special education in all 19 of the state's public school districts as well as charter schools. Currently, special education dollars are distributed in the same way as all other state education funds - according to the number of students enrolled in a district or school. Schooley said the current rules don't allow schools to spend their state money on comprehensive services for individual special-education students. "A child could not have two special needs, they could only have one," Schooley said in a hearing on the bill Jan. 12 before the House Education Committee. To read more, click here
Study Linking Childhood Vaccines and Autism Fraudulent
Just when you think there's nothing left to say about a 13-year-old paper that purported to link childhood vaccination and autism, it turns out you're wrong. In the latest issue of BMJ, the British Medical Journal,investigative reporter Brian Deer makes the case that the infamous Lancet
study, withdrawn last year, wasn't just wrong - it was fraudulent because key facts were altered to support the autism link. The original paper reported on a dozen kids, eight of whom supposedly developed gastrointestinal trouble and "regressive autism," a form of the disorder that strikes later in childhood, after getting a combination vaccine against measles mumps and rubella. The work was led by Andrew Wakefield, an English doctor whose license was revoked last year for "serious professional misconduct" related to the work. To read more, click here
Did You Know That....
Just as the individual education program (IEP) is the centerpiece of IDEA, the individual family service plan (IFSP) is the centerpiece of ITDA.
Parents Giving Youth Coaches the Heads-Up About Their Children's Disabilities: Is it the Right Thing to Do?
Should parents tell a youth coach if their son or daughter has some issues or a disorder? A generation ago, kids had issues but there were few diagnoses regarding disorders. But times have changed. The number of kids with issues hasn't changed but more kids have been clinically diagnosed with disorders. Some take medications. Openly talking about issues and disorders, however, is still a touchy subject. Some parents are reluctant to tell a youth coach their kid "has some problems." I agree that's a tricky situation for the parents. However, as a youth coach, not only do I appreciate when parents fill me in on their child, but it helps me deal with the child in a more appropriate way. That's best for everyone, isn't it? To read more, click here
Half of Children Who Survive Bacterial Meningitis Have Long-Term Complications
This is according to a study by Dr. Aruna Chandran of Johns Hopkins University.
In a comprehensive, systematic literature review, researchers examined articles which included children between the ages of 1 month and <18 years at the time of diagnoses of meningitis.
Of the 1,443 childhood survivor's of bacterial meningitis, 49.2% (705) reportedly had one or more long-term sequelae. A majority of the 705 children reporting long-term complications were behavioral and/or intellectual disorders. This was followed by hearing problems and neurological deficits in that order. The behavior and intellectual disorders seen in the study included cognitive impairment, behavioral problems and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. To read more, click here
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