Week in Review - July 8, 2011


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

July 8, 2011 - Vol 7, Issue 24


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In This Issue

New This Week on NASET

Balance Tips Toward Environment in Autism
Effects of Premature Birth Felt into Adulthood
Article Headline
Babies Are Specially Attuned to Our Voices and Emotions
Federal Data Shed Light on Education Disparities
Article Headline
Federal Judge Holds Bullied Special Education Student Denied Education
Effects of Asperger Syndrome Noticeable in Babies
New Race to Top Stresses Pre-K Tests, Early Ed. Program Ratings
Recall of Antipsychotics Risperdal, Risperidone Issue
States Threaten To Defy 'No Child Left Behind
Boy Born Without Skin Is Wrapped in Bandages Each Day
When Damages from IDEA Violations are not Really Damages under IDEA
Lawmakers Call for Emphasis on Community Living
Tracy Morgan in Trouble Again
For Some With Autism, Jobs to Match Their Talents
Separation Anxiety: Parents in the United Kingdom Voice Fears Over Special-Needs
Pre-Pregnancy Diet Affects the Health of Future Offspring

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NASET MEMBER'S BENEFIT - 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

New This Week on NASET

The Practical Teacher

Teaching to the Students' Abilities

By Joshua A. Del Viscovo, MS, BCSE

Working with students in multi-ability classrooms or students with learning differences, educators are often faced with a significant challenge.  Teachers struggle with how to locate and create educationally appropriate materials when the current curricular materials, while aligned with the standards are wholly inappropriate for your population of students.  During a time with budgets are diminishing and funds are limited, teachers are unable to purchase much needed adapted curriculum materials.  This issue of NASET's Practical Teacher is aimed at providing teachers with a set of tools that will enable them to effectively maximize students performance, implement educational appropriate instruction, and utilize appropriate curricular materials while conserving much needed teacher free time.

To read or download this issue - Click here (login required)

Parent Teacher Conference Handouts

What Is a Developmental Pediatrician?

If you are working with early intervention services or children with autism, the question may arise from a parent concerning the needs of a  pediatrician. While you may not want to make a referral to a specific pediatrician, you may want to explain to parents that they should explore the services of a developmental pediatrician considering the developmental needs of their child. If this question should arise, then this Parent Teacher Conference Handout will explain the differences.

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Balance Tips Toward Environment in Autism

The largest and most rigorous twin study of its kind to date has found that shared environment influences susceptibility to autism more than previously thought. The study, supported by the National Institutes of Health, found that shared environmental factors - experiences and exposures common to both twin individuals - accounted for 55 percent of strict autism and 58 percent of more broadly defined autism spectrum disorders (ASD). Genetic heritability accounted for 37 percent of autism and 38 percent of ASD. Random environmental factors not shared among twins play a much smaller role. Earlier twin studies had estimated the genetic heritability of autism to be as high as 90 percent, due to much lower estimates of concordance - both members of a twin pair having the disorder - in fraternal twins. The new study found such concordance to be four to five times higher. "High fraternal twin concordance relative to identical twin concordance underscores the importance of both the environment and moderate genetic heritability in predisposing for autism," explained Joachim Hallmayer, M.D., of Stanford University, Palo Alto, Calif. a grantee of the NIH's National Institute of Mental Health. "Both types of twin pairs are more often concordant than what would be expected from the frequency of autism in the general population. However, the high concordance among individuals who share only half their genes relative to those who share all of their genes implies a bigger role for shared environmental factors." To read more, click here

Effects of Premature Birth Felt into Adulthood

The effects of being born premature apparently can last well into adulthood. MSN reports researchers from the University of Rhode Island followed more than 200 premature infants for 21 years. They found preemies often grow up to be less healthy and face a greater risk of heart problems than other kids. They also tend to struggle more socially. Lead researcher Mary Sullivan, a professor of nursing at the University of Rhode Island and adjunct professor of pediatrics at the Alpert Medical School at Brown University, tells MSN extremely low birth weight, repeated blood draws, surgery and breathing issues can affect stress levels in people born prematurely. She adds such stressors produce higher levels of the hormone cortisol, which is involved in the regulation of metabolism, immune response and vascular tone. The less a preemie weighs at birth, the greater the risk, she tells MSN. To read more, click here

Virginia School for the Deaf and the Blind in Information Technology (IT) Squeeze

The Virginia School for the Deaf and the Blind plans to eliminate more than half of its computers and consolidate most of those left into labs for teachers and students to share, in an attempt to shrink its annual information technology costs of $330,000 to more manageable levels. It's a drastic step for the 173-year-old Staunton school of about 115 students with deafness, blindness or hearing or visual impairments, but one that school officials say is necessary to stave off cuts in other areas. "It's like a slow-motion disaster," said Doug Wright, the school's IT manager. "Computers were bought as an asset. Well, now they're a liability." The school will winnow its computer stock from about 200 PCs to about 80 that will be located in computer labs around campus or remain in some offices, including the budget office and administration. Most of the computers being removed are the ones that teachers use in their classrooms. To read more, click here



Montreal Teachers  Applaud New Guidelines to Integrate Students with Special Needs

Education Minister Line Beauchamp unveiled long-awaited guidelines Thursday for integrating students with special needs into schools.

The directives aim to define the best conditions for supporting "harmonious" integration and will guide administrators at school boards and public and private schools, the government said. Its four guidelines call for:

--determining the best educational service for a student based on an evaluation of his or her needs and abilities;

--demonstrating, should the need arise, that integrating a student poses an "excessive constraint" or infringes on the rights of other students;

--planning the composition of a class so that it's balanced;

--and putting in place a flexible and varied "continuum of services." (One support mentioned as a complement to the regular classroom is a resource class where integrated students can get targeted help in core subjects.)


"For us, it's a really good start. But it needs to be implemented, it needs to be followed by the school boards," said Serge Laurendeau, head of the Quebec Provincial Association of Teachers, whose members teach in English schools. To read more, click here

Did You Know That....

A qualified student with a disability under Section 504 is not qualified in all cases to receive special education services and the protections of IDEIA. In other words, some students with disabilities may qualify for accommodations under Section 504 that do not qualify for special education services under IDEIA.

Federal Judge Holds Bullied Special Education Student Denied Education

In a case where a 12 year old with autism was subject to routine bullying, Judge Jack Weinstein recently issued an important decision in a precedent setting New York case, TK v. NYC Department of Education. The judge ruled that "when a school fails to take reasonable steps to prevent such objectionable harassment of a student, it has denied her an education benefit protected by statute." The case is remarkable in a number of contexts. First, Judge Weinstein overruled the Independent Hearing Officer (IHO) and the State Review Officer's decision to the contrary. Second, the decision was one for first impression for the 2nd Circuit, and Judge Weinstein blazed a bold trail in ruling for the parents and in establishing a new test to be used in deciding whether bullying can be found to deprive a child of a free and appropriate public education (FAPE). Finally, no other judicial circuit has come out as strongly against the bullying of special education students. To read more, click here

Effects of Asperger Syndrome Noticeable in Babies

People with Asperger syndrome have problems with social interaction and attentiveness, and are also sensitive to noise and light. Several of these characteristics were evident to parents during their child's first two years, reveals Petra Dewrang's thesis in psychology at the University of Gothenburg. In her thesis, Dewrang investigated how individuals with Asperger syndrome aged 14-24 perceive themselves relative to their diagnosis. The thesis is based on interviews, tests and self-evaluations. A questionnaire for parents also resulted in important descriptions of these individuals' behaviour and development from infancy onwards. The results show first and foremost that the similarities are greater than the differences when the Asperger group and the comparison group describe their lives. 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:

Catherine Cardenas, Memuna Bangura, Becky Hamm, Andrea Katz-Plotkin, Jessica L. Ulmer, Kylee Phillips, Christie Miller, Anitra Allen-King, Pattie Komons,

Kim Ver Vooren,Emese Eiser, Becky Berry, Valerie Rutherford & Alexandra Pirard

who knew that the correct answer to last week's trivia question was "alternate assessments".


What is the difference between accommodations and modifications?

If you know the answer, send an email to contactus@naset.org
All answers must be submitted no later than Monday, July 11, 2011 at 12:00 p.m

New Race to Top Stresses Pre-K Tests, Early Ed. Program Ratings

To win a grant in the U.S. Department of Education's new Race to the Top competition for early-childhood education aid, states will have to develop rating systems for their programs, craft appropriate standards and tests for young children, and set clear expectations for what teachers should know. That's according to the proposed rules released today by the Obama administration that will govern the $500 million competition, which was made possible by thefiscal 2011 budget deal Congress passed in April. U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan was given $700 million in new Race to the Top money, and chose to put most of it into early education, while keeping a $200 million slice to award to runners-up from last year's competition. (Details of that separate contest have yet to be announced.) To read more, click here

Recall of Antipsychotics Risperdal, Risperidone Issued

Two popular antipsychotic medicationsmade by Johnson & Johnson - Risperdal and risperidone - have been recalled due to possible contamination with a chemical used to treat the wood pallets the drug is often transported on. The drug is from the Johnson & Johnson-owned subsidiary Ortho-McNeil-Janssen Pharmaceuticals. The recall was prompted by reports from two consumers of an odd odor emanating from their medication. Johnson & Johnson tracked the odor down to trace amounts of TBA (2,4,6 tribromoanisole). According to Johnson & Johnson, TBA is a byproduct of a chemical preservative sometimes applied to wood often used in the construction of pallets on which materials are transported and stored. To read more, click here

States Threaten To Defy 'No Child Left Behind

A rebellion over "No Child Left Behind" has begun, and the starting point is Idaho. Many states say they need emergency relief from the controversial education law's requirements, or a huge number of decent schools will face sanctions. Idaho says it will just ignore the law this year. Under No Child Left Behind, Idaho is supposed to identify a growing number of schools as failing because they can't get enough students to pass a state test. Idaho schools superintendent Tom Luna says he just won't do it. "We're not going to identify more schools as 'needs improvement,' because that is not the correct way to identify them," Luna says. Every year, the law's targets keep rising, Luna says. Many schools that have made great strides in improving achievement still fall below that bar as it floats upward. Congress was expected to make adjustments, to give schools credit for their progress. But Luna says that in Washington, D.C., the law has become a political football in a gridlocked Congress, "and we're not going to be a pawn in those games." To read more, click here

Boy Born Without Skin Is Wrapped in Bandages Each Day

When Brody Curtis was born a month ago, his mother says he looked like he had third degree burns. "Good Morning America" reports the boy was born without skin on most of his body, a result of a rare spectrum of inherited skin disorders called epidermolysis bullosa, and he must be wrapped in bandages each day to keep infections at bay. Brody, from Charlestown, Ind., also has blisters on his tongue and inside his moth because of the disease, which affects 1 in 20,000 children, according to the morning show, and doctors are unsure whether the boy's skin will grow. "We do know that different forms can cause early death in life and it can cause skin cancer," Heather Curtis, 33, the boy's mother, tells "GMA." "Some people go on to be blind or have deformities in their bodies. But we just don't know." To read more, click here

When Damages from IDEA Violations are not Really Damages under IDEA

This article will discuss the rare occasions where courts have awarded compensatory damages under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). In special education litigation, damages are typically limited to a parent's out of pocket expenses spent so a child may receive a free and adequate public education (FAPE), not provided by the school. While it is rare for courts to make non-remedial awards, every so often, a constellation of factors lines up and the rule earns its exception. The first route to non-remedial damages under special education litigation is for a parent to allege that a government actor violated Section 1983 of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Section 1983) by depriving a child of a FAPE. This argument can be tricky to make for several reasons. To read more, click here

Lawmakers Call for Emphasis on Community Living

Two members of Congress from opposite sides of the aisle are urging government officials to rethink their approach to Medicaid and how it can best serve those with disabilities.

In an op-ed published last Thursday afternoon on the website of the Capitol Hill newspaper The Hill, Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, and Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, R-Wash., said that federal and state governments could save money by establishing policies to make it easier for people with disabilities to live in community-based settings as opposed to costly institutional facilities. "Today, as we seek ways to reduce budget deficits, we must seize on the opportunity to make our Medicaid dollars go farther while finally giving millions of individuals with disabilities one of the most fundamental of rights: the choice to live independently," the lawmakers wrote.

As of 2009, it cost about $137,000 annually to care for an individual with an intellectual disability in an institution compared to about $44,000 to provide for the same person in the community, Harkin and McMorris Rodgers said. To read more, click here

Tracy Morgan in Trouble Again for Jokes about Individuals with Mental Disabilities

Tracy Morgan, the "30 Rock" star who issued a very public apology last week for making inappropriate homophobic remarks during a stand-up routine, is being asked to apologize again. His offense this time? Making jokes about individuals with mental disabilities. E! Online has reported that the Arc, a nonprofit that serves individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities, has called on Morgan to apologize for comments he made during a performance at Caroline's in Manhattan on Saturday. During the show, he reportedly said that people should not "mess with women who have retarded kids." "Them young retarded males is strong," he continued. "They're strong like chimps." He then segued into a bit about dating a woman he described as "a cripple." "Tracy Morgan should apologize immediately," Peter Berns, CEO of the Arc, told E! "This quote is far too offensive to be excused as comedy, and it is very hurtful to people with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their families." To read more, click here

Did You Know That....

If a student with a disability is receiving special education services in accordance with IDEIA, then the student is adequately accommodated for the purposes of Section 504. For this reason, it is not necessary or appropriate to provide a student with a disability with Section 504 protections (i.e., notice, evaluation and accommodation) if the student has already been determined eligible under IDEIA.

For Some With Autism, Jobs to Match Their Talents

Steen B. Iversen tests mobile phones for the Danish telecommunications firm TDC. Before landing his job two and a half years ago, Iversen, 50, who has been diagnosed with Asperger's Syndrome, spent more than 12 years looking for work. "It's always been somewhat traumatizing," he said. "I have had jobs, but I always got fired. People would laugh about me behind my back and laugh at me to my face. Those problems have more or less been a problem for me from childhood." In the working world, Iversen said, his biggest problem was communication. "Most of the time it simply was that people didn't understand me and I didn't understand them," he said. Iversen works for a remarkable Danish company, Specialisterne ("The Specialists"), that is improving the futures of many families by opening up job opportunities for people with Asperger's Syndrome and high-functioning autism who have historically found themselves excluded from employment, largely because they don't fit in with workplace norms. To read more, click here

Separation Anxiety: Parents in the United Kingdom Voice Fears Over Special-Needs Education

Ten-year-old Olivia Locke has not been to school for two years. When she did attend classes, she became so anxious that she felt physically sick - complaining of headaches, stomach- and leg-pains - and then refused to go back. By the time her parents removed her at the age of eight, Olivia had refused to attend a nursery, three state primaries and one private school. Olivia has Aspergers syndrome - a form of autism that causes difficulty in processing and understanding language - but also a generalized anxiety disorder, a combination that, her parents argue, makes attending mainstream school impossible. Her mother, Kay Locke, 45, says: "We are being told by our local authority that her needs can be met in a normal mainstream secondary school. But all the reports we have had say she needs specialist provision. To read more, click here

Pre-Pregnancy Diet Affects the Health of Future Offspring

Poor maternal diet before conception can result in offspring with reduced birth weights and increased risk of developing type II diabetes and obesity. This work, which is being presented at the Society for Experimental Biology Annual Conference in Glasgow, used an animal model to illustrate the importance of maternal diet even before pregnancy begins. During the study mice that were fed a low protein diet for ten weeks before conception (but had a normal diet during pregnancy) gave birth to offspring that had lower birth weights, showed catch-up growth after weaning and increased insulin sensitivity. To read more, click here

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


"I never teach my pupils; I only attempt to provide conditions in which they can learn"

Albert Einstein

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