Week in Review - June 24, 2011


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

June 24, 2011 - Vol 7, Issue 22


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In This Issue
New This Week on NASET
Executive Director of NASET, Dr. George Giuliani, Discusses the Importance of Life Skills Classes
Childhood Asthma Linked to ADHD in Adolescence
Early Childhood Program Has Enduring Benefits.
Article Headline
In Washington D.C., 25 Students with Developmental Disabilities Graduate After Year in Project SEARC
Lupron Therapy for Autism at Center of Embattled Doctor's Case
Article Headline
Supreme Court: When Police Question Children, Their Age Matters
Turning to Software to Help Treat Brain Injuries
First Diagnostic Test for Hereditary Children's Disease
Summer Educators 'Mix Up' Learning with Technology
Netflix Sued For Violating the Americans with Disabilities Act.
New York...Senate Gives Final Legislative Approval For Landmark Autism Insurance Reform
Doctors Routinely Turn Away Children on Medicaid.
Research Priorities for Minimally Invasive Treatments for Multiple Sclerosis Patients
District Responds to 'Testing Fraud' Charge
NYC May Have To Pay Millions In Private School Tuition After Failing To Place Special-Ed Kids
Study Helps Pinpoint Math Disability
Experts Call for Early Focus on African American Boys' Nonacademic Skills
Dentists Want Insurers to Pay for Anesthesia for Patients with Special Needs
Postnatal Depression Linked to Depression in Offspring Until Age 16, Study Finds
Has the Holy Grail of Adaptive Tech Been Discovered?

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Executive Director of NASET, Dr. George Giuliani, Discusses the Importance of Life Skills Classes with The Washington Post

Five years ago, Montgomery schools began phasing out "learning centers" - which offered small, self-contained classes with a pace tailored to special-needs students. The new policy followed a national trend of mixing as many of those students as possible into regular classes and adding specialists to the classrooms to keep students with disabilities on track. Before the shift, about a quarter of special education students in Maryland's largest school system were in learning centers. Now, just 322 students - 2 percent of the county's 17,000 special-needs students - remain in programs that group them only with others who have special needs. "In life-skills classes, the greatest gift we can give is high self-esteem," said George Giuliani, executive director of the National Association of Special Education Teachers. "For those who have skills but are not going off to college, we need to teach them to function independently in the world and feel like they are a part of the world." To read more, click here

Childhood Asthma Linked to ADHD in Adolescence

Childhood asthma is associated with subsequent development of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), particularly the hyperactivity-impulsivity (HI) component in adolescence, according to a study published online May 21 in Allergy. Nina Mogensen, M.D., from the Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm, Sweden, and colleagues investigated the association between childhood asthma and development of ADHD (HI and inattention [IN]) in adolescence. Data on birth weight, socioeconomic status, asthma, HI and IN, zygosity, and medication use were collected from 1,480 Swedish twin pairs at age 8 to 9 years and at 13 to 14 years. The correlation between asthma at age 8 to 9 and ADHD symptoms at age 13 to 14 was assessed. A twin analysis was performed to assess the contribution of genetic and environmental factors. To read more, click here

Early Childhood Program Has Enduring Benefits

The longest study of its kind shows that an early education program for children from low-income families provides benefits that last well into adulthood. The Child-Parent Centers (CPC) program in the Chicago Public School System was established in 1967. It provides intensive instruction in reading and math from pre-kindergarten through third grade, along with frequent educational field trips. The children's parents receive job skills training, parenting skills training, educational classes and social services. They volunteer in their children's classrooms, help with field trips and attend parenting support groups. A previous analysis following the children up to age 24 found that those who had been enrolled in CPCs were more likely to go to college, get a full-time job and have health insurance. They were also less likely to go to prison and suffer from depressive symptoms. An economic analysis estimated that every dollar spent on the program generates $4 to $11 of benefits to the participants and society at large. To read more,click here

Fortifying Corn Masa Flour With Folic Acid Could Prevent Birth Defects, March of Dimes Says

Fortifying corn masa flour with the B vitamin folic acid could prevent more serious birth defects of the brain and spine in the Hispanic community, according to a March of Dimes commentary published in the American Journal of Public Health. Fortification of enriched cereal grains such as bread and pasta with folic acid was mandated by the Food & Drug Administration (FDA) beginning in 1998. Since then, the rate of birth defects of the brain and spine known as neural tube defects (NTDs), which include spina bifida and anencephaly, has decreased by nearly one-third. However, despite this success, about 3,000 pregnancies in the United States still are affected by NTDs annually and Hispanics have the highest rate when compared to other race or ethnic groups. To read more, click here

Did You Know That....

Cost of services is insufficient as a defense under IDEIA when determining an appropriate education for a child with a disability. Cost considerations are only relevant when choosing between several options, all of which offer an appropriate education. When only one is appropriate, then there is no choice.

In Washington D.C., 25 Students with Developmental Disabilities Graduate After Year in Project SEARCH

Family members were asked to hold their applause until the end, but that didn't stop the tears or shout-outs to the 25 students who crossed the stage at the U.S. Education Department on Wednesday morning to receive their D.C. diplomas."You did it!" rang a voice from the audience, speaking for just about everyone. In a week when seniors across the city are turning their tassels, this celebration was especially sweet and hard-earned. The graduates were developmentally disabled students who spent their last year of high school in Project SEARCH, a work-study program run jointly by D.C. Public Schools and the D.C. Department of Disability Services. Instead of going to class fulltime, they were assigned to a federal agency (either Labor, Health and Human Services or Education), where they learned basic office skills and got a taste of life in a professional setting. To read more, click here

Lupron Therapy for Autism at Center of Embattled Doctor's Case

Since Sam Wessels was diagnosed with autism at age 2, doctors have offered his mother a litany of drugs for the boy from Prozac and Ritalin to Metadate CD and Strattera, commonly used to treat ADHD. Other "alternative" medicine pitches have included special diets and even nicotine. Wessels, like many parents, has waded through a lot of legitimate - but much more illegitimate - research on therapies in the struggle with autism, which affects 1 in 110 children and has no cure. She eventually came to embrace a drug, Lupron, prescribed by a Maryland doctor who now faces disciplinary action related to his autism treatments. "This is the best you can do?" Sam's mother Lin Wessels wondered. To read more, click here

Yoga Kids Stretch Body and Mind

Over the past four years, YoKid has inspired thousands of children across the D.C. metropolitan area to "stretch their limits." YoKid was founded by yoga teachers Ellie Gompert Burke and Michelle Mitchell to empower at-risk youth through yoga and make it accessible to kids regardless of socioeconomic background. The program began as "sort of an accident," said Mitchell, who, at the time, was working with Burke at an after-school program at a middle school. "We were working with kids who otherwise would not have been exposed to yoga," said Mitchell. "IEP (Individualized Education Programs) or special education services were a typical part of the school day [for these kids]. The kids were really into it, and we started to see a shift in attitude and outlook. They were so happy and enthusiastic about the new activity, and their enthusiasm grew as they learned more." To read more, click here

Did You Know That....

The U.S. Department of Education has emphasized that it is important that school personnel do not make FAPE decisions solely on the basis of cost of services, but rather that the decisions be based on the individual needs of a student

Supreme Court: When Police Question Children, Their Age Matters

Law enforcement officials must take into consideration the age of a child when deciding at what point to issue Miranda warnings during police questioning, the US Supreme Court ruled last Thursday. In a 5-to-4 decision, the high court said such special consideration is warranted when police seek to interrogate a child because children are less able to assert their right to end the encounter or even understand the full significance of the confrontation with police. "A reasonable child subjected to police questioning will sometimes feel pressured to submit when a reasonable adult would feel free to go," wrote Justice Sonia Sotomayor in the majority opinion. The decision establishes a new rule for police when they seek to question an individual who appears to be a minor. To read more, click here

Turning to Software to Help Treat Brain Injuries

Some 400,000 current and former American soldiers suffer from traumatic brain injuries, which can cause memory loss, lack of concentration, depression, anxiety attacks and other problems. In some cases symptoms last only weeks or months; sometimes they persist indefinitely. Finding any sort of treatment, much less a cure, has not been easy. But some neuroscientists now see great potential in techniques of manipulating the brain's "neuroplasticity," its propensity to rearrange its neuronal structure in response to behavior and stimuli. To read more, click here


Guess the answer to this week's trivia question and we'll recognize you in next week's Week in Review.
Congratulations to: Cynthia Henderson, Wanda Stewart, Cynthia Bell, Elva Gloster, Alexandra Pirard, Karen Nicholson, Karen Bornholm, Jessica Ulmer, Christie Miller, & Catherine Cardenas who all knew the correct answer to last week's trivia question was:RESOLUTION MEETING.


The Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act (IDEIA) consists of 4 Parts (Parts A, B, C and D). Which Part of IDEIA addresses Early Intervention Program for Infants and Toddlers with Disabilities?

If you know the answer, send an email to contactus@naset.org
All answers must be submitted no later than Monday, June 27, 2011 at 12:00 p.m.

First Diagnostic Test for Hereditary Children's Disease

A breakthrough in genetic research has uncovered the defect behind a rare hereditary children's disease that inhibits the body's ability to break down vitamin D. This discovery has led researchers to develop the first genetic and biochemical tests that positively identify the disease.

Idiopathic Infantile Hypercalcemia (IIH) is among the top ten most common inherited diseases. The researchers estimate that one in every 47,000 people -- around 600 Canadians and 6,000 Americans -- may suffer from IIH, but there was no way until now of confirming the diagnosis.

"Developing a positive diagnostic test for IIH is a major step in understanding this disease," says co-lead researcher Glenville Jones, a professor in the Department of Biomedical and Molecular Sciences. "We hope the test will be made available for the approximately 600 Canadians who may be afflicted with IHH." To read more, click here

Summer Educators 'Mix Up' Learning with Technology

Educators are rethinking how best to use the summer to help students improve academic proficiency rather than lose a grip on it-especially students who struggle academically or lack access to educational resources during the break. And teachers are finding technology, if harnessed correctly, can play a crucial role. Schools may offer a fully virtual program targeting one or two subjects, for example, or a broader summer academy that incorporates bits and pieces of technology to blend summer school with summer camp. Regardless of the format, some educators find that technology gives them the opportunity to make instruction more flexible and personalized than it is during a school year bound by curricula and state testing requirements-and they're zestfully embracing it. To read more, click here

Netflix Sued For Violating the Americans with Disabilities Act

Last week, the National Association of the Deaf, the nation's premier civil rights organization of deaf and hard of hearing individuals, filed a lawsuit against Netflix, charging that the entertainment company violated the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) by failing to provide closed captioning for most of its "Watch Instantly" movies and television shows that are streamed over the internet. An estimated 36 million Americans are deaf or hard of hearing and, as noted in a press release about the lawsuit, many had repeatedly appealed to Netflix via letters, petitions and social media tools. Says NAD President Bobbie Beth Scoggins: "We have tried for years to persuade Netflix to do the right thing and provide equal access to all content across all platforms. They chose not to serve our community on an equal basis; we must have equal access to the biggest provider of streamed entertainment. As Netflix itself acknowledges, streamed video is the future and we must not be left out." To read more, click here

New York Senate Gives Final Legislative Approval For Landmark Autism Insurance Reform

Last Friday, the New York State Senate today approved legislation to enable individuals with autism spectrum disorders to receive insurance coverage for screening, diagnosis and treatment. The bill (S.4005A), sponsored by Senator Charles J. Fuschillo, Jr. (R, Merrick), would save tens of thousands of dollars in out-of-pocket expenses spent by families caring for individuals with autism and address insurance companies' refusal to cover costs for autism treatments and therapies. The legislation requires insurance companies to provide coverage for the screening, diagnosis, and treatment of autism spectrum disorders, including behavioral health treatments, speech therapy, occupational therapy, and physical therapy. Insurance companies would be prohibited from terminating coverage or refusing to renew, adjust, amend, issue, or execute a policy solely because the individual has been diagnosed with or received treatment for autism spectrum disorders. To read more, click here

Doctors Routinely Turn Away Children on Medicaid

Doctors regularly deny or delay appointments for children with public insurance - many of whom have disabilities - even when those kids have urgent medical needs, new research shows. For a study appearing in this week's New England Journal of Medicine, researchers telephoned 273 practices of specialty doctors in the Chicago area posing as moms who wanted to make an appointment for a child with a serious ailment such as diabetes or seizures. They called each practice twice - one month apart - providing the same details except for insurance type. What they found was a strikingly different reaction from doctors' offices depending solely on insurance coverage. When Medicaid was cited as the child's insurance provider, the researchers were not able to get an appointment two-thirds of the time. That number dropped to just 11 percent when researchers said the child had private insurance. To read more, click here

Research Priorities for Minimally Invasive Treatments for Multiple Sclerosis Patients

Evaluating patients with multiple sclerosis who have narrowed jugular and azygos veins -- and the value of widening those veins with angioplasty -- warrants careful, well-designed research, noted members of a Society of Interventional Radiology Foundation's Research Consensus Panel. And, the multidisciplinary panel indicated that while specific parameters for a large-scale, pivotal multicenter trial are not now available, that type of study is the "mandatory goal" in exploring a condition called chronic cerebrospinal venous insufficiency (or CCSVI). "Much work needs to be done to better define, explore and prove the concept of vein obstruction playing a role in causing multiple sclerosis," said Gary P. Siskin, M.D., FSIR, one of the 12 research consensus panel members. To read more, click here

District Responds to 'Testing Fraud' Charge : Parents Say Teacher Filled in Child's Answers to Conceal Deficits

Palo Alto School Superintendent Kevin Skelly expressed confidence the school district will be able to resolve charges of "testing fraud" by parents of an elementary student. The family claims their daughter's teacher for two years filled in answers on her tests to conceal the girl's learning disabilities and need for extra help. The girl, who just finished fourth grade at an undisclosed Palo Alto elementary school, remains "far behind her peers" due to the actions of her second- and third-grade teacher -- the same person both years, according to a government tort claim filed May 20 with the school district. The claim seeks $550,000. "I can't say too much except that we always try to provide the best service we can to meet the needs of kids," Skelly said Friday afternoon. To read more, click here

NYC May Have To Pay Millions In Private School Tuition After Failing To Place Special-Ed Kids

The NYC Department of Education missed a June 15 deadline to find spots for thousands of kindergartners with disabilities - and now the city could be liable for their tuition in private schools, officials acknowledged. The holdup is also causing panic for families who are still waiting to hear where their kids are going to kindergarten next year. "We're still in limbo," said Maria Farano of Staten Island, who still doesn't know where her daughter, who has autism, will attend kindergarten in the fall. "We can't go on with our lives because we don't know what's going to happen," said Farano, a stay-at-home mom who is losing sleep because of the stress. To read more, click here

Study Helps Pinpoint Math Disability

Burgeoning research into students' difficulties with mathematics is starting to tease out cognitive differences between students who sometimes struggle with math and those who have dyscalculia, a severe, persistent learning disability in math. A new, decade-long longitudinal study by researchers at the Kennedy Krieger Institute in Baltimore, published Friday in the journal Child Development, finds that 9th-graders considered dyscalculic-those who performed in the bottom 10 percent of math ability on multiple tests-had substantially lower ability to grasp and compare basic number quantities than average students or even other struggling math students. To read more, click here

Experts Call for Early Focus on African American Boys' Nonacademic Skills

Schools should increase their attention to social and emotional development in the early grades as one way to prevent black boys from falling behind their peers, researchers said Tuesday at a symposium on closing the achievement gap between African-American males and other student groups. Panelists at the meeting hosted Tuesday by the Princeton, N.J.-based Educational Testing Service and the Washington-based Children's Defense Fund also said that a significant portion of the dollars spent on incarcerating black males in this country would be better spent on high-quality early-childhood education. To read more, click here

Did You Know That....

A fee for a service for a child with a disability may be charged only if this is a fee on all students in the school. The term "at no cost" does not preclude incidental fees that are normally charged to students without disabilities or their parents as part of the regular education program [34 C.F.R. 300.39 (b)(1)]

Dentists Want Insurers to Pay for Anesthesia for Patients with Special Needs

Autism can cause a mouthful of pain, and worse. That's why Pennsylvania dentists want a state mandate to require health insurers to pay for general anesthesia for patients with mental disabilities that prevent them from tolerating dental work while awake.  It would apply to all children 7 or younger, and to older people with conditions, such as autism, Down syndrome or developmental disability, who otherwise would not be able to undergo dental work. One advocate for such patients is Dr. Bill Spruill, a Carlisle dentist.  "This is a small group of patients, with critical needs, who can't be treated in a regular dental setting," he said.  To read more,click here

Postnatal Depression Linked to Depression in Offspring Until Age 16, Study Finds

Fortunately, postnatal depression often resolves itself in the weeks following childbirth. But for mothers with more profound or prolonged postnatal depression the risk of subsequent development of depression in their children is strong. A recent study by Lynne Murray and colleagues published in the May 2011 issue of the Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry (JAACAP) is the first to demonstrate that the effects of maternal depression on the likelihood of the child to develop depression may begin as early as infancy. In the article, Dr. Murray and her British colleagues report on 100 mothers (ranging from 18 to 42 years of age), 58 with postpartum depression, and the likelihood of their children to development depression over a 16 year period.¹ The authors identified first time mothers with depression at 2 months postpartum, along with a group of non-depressed women, and evaluated the mothers and their children at 18 months, and 5, 8, 13, and 16 years of age. To read more, click here

Has the Holy Grail of Adaptive Tech Been Discovered?

As students do more of their work on computers, new technology is able to track their performance in ways it couldn't before. It isn't simply a matter of which answers a student gets right or wrong, for example, but how much time they take to answer questions, how and when they hesitate or stall. Taking this data, engineers can build algorithms that are able to examine students' work and help deliver to them a personalized, or "adaptive" learning solution. Adaptive learning technologies have long been considered a crucial component in helping students progress at their own level, and until now, it's only been used here and there in the K-12 setting and with test preparation companies that help students ace their SATs, GMATs, and the like. But one company in this space, Knewton, has made big strides towards making its platform available in schools, not just at home. To read more, click here

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Food For Thought..........

I do not try to dance better than anyone else.  I only try to dance better than myself.

Mikhail Baryshnikov

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