Week in Review - July 22, 2011


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

July 22, 2011 - Vol 7, Issue 26


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New This Week on NASET

Genetics in Special Education Series

Genetic components presented in this issue:

Huntington Disease
Myotonic Dystrophy

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

IEP Components

Present Levels Statement

IDEA requires that each IEP must include a statement of the child's present levels of academic achievement and functional performance. That's why this part of the IEP is commonly referred to as the "present levels statement." For short, we're just going to call it "present levels." The focus of this issue of NASET's IEP Components series is to address present levels of academic achievement and functional performance. Information covered will include:

· IDEA's exact words
· A closer look at "present levels"
· Examples
· Where does the information come from?
· "Present levels" for preschoolers
· Summary

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

New Version of Old Technology Aids Speech Therapy

About half of all speech therapy takes place in schools, but not all the children who could benefit from help get it, says the CEO of a Utah company now marketing a device long used in speech research. "If they have a speech problem that's not affecting their grades, [the schools] don't see it as a problem," said Andy May of CompleteSpeech in Orem. "A kid whose grades are good but he's a social outcast because of his speech difficulties, that is a problem." CompleteSpeech says its technology can help children learn more quickly than traditional speech therapy, and is hoping school districts and speech pathologists adopt it. To read more, click here

Program Works on Developing Gifted Children

Learning doesn't stop when summer starts for 10-year-old Andrew Doyle. Summer is the time when learning is at its peak for him. This is Doyle's seventh summer with Summer Wonders, one of 13 programs provided by the Center for Gifted at Cooper Middle School in Buffalo Grove. In the program, he is involved in musical theater, creative writing and ancient Rome history. Entering sixth grade at Eastview Elementary School in Algonquin, Doyle says his favorite part of the program is that in a typical day he gets to learn about a variety of topics that interest him. He has already taken a class on aquatics, which is a subject he especially enjoys. To read more, click here

Maintaining Quality of Services on a No-Money Budget

Budgets are tight in schools these days, and it's not going to get better any time soon. In an effort to help states make the most of their education dollars, the U.S. Department of Education recently released two documents encouraging states and districts to maximize the effectiveness of the resources they have by focusing them on improving student outcomes: One document offers smart ideas for states and districts to spend wisely while focusing on improving student achievement. It encourages educators to frame all of their budget decisions around several key principles, such as improving student outcomes and investing in programs that have the greatest evidence of effectiveness. So what can individual educators do to ensure that they're using strategies and supports that "have the greatest evidence of effectiveness"? For many special educators, applying the principles you instinctively use when teaching kids with disabilities to your own planning and learning processes will set you on the right path. To read more, click here

Minds, Machines Merge to Offer New Hope for Overcoming Impairments

Scientists are creating a new generation of artificial body parts to help people with disabilities see, walk, swim, grip and run among other things. Miles O'Brien reports on the latest advances in prosthetics. To view this PBS Newshour video, click here

The Debate Surrounding How Day Care Can Help Children with Depressed Mothers

Have you seen the buzz about the new study recently reported in the journal Pediatrics? It found that child care time might help protect kids of depressed moms from developing psychological and behavioral problems. Blogs and articles have been popping up all over the Internet since the study's release. While the authors note that the results need to be replicated, I think there are still some important points we can take from the findings. (I know there is a lot of debate and strong feelings among mothers on how to raise a child, especially when it comes to using child care. I contend that truly supporting moms around us would be another great way to assist the kids of depressed and happy moms alike). To read more, click here

Did You Know That....

Chronic fatigue syndrome, or CFS, is a devastating and complex disorder characterized by overwhelming fatigue that is not improved by bed rest and that may be worsened by physical or mental activity. People with CFS most often function at a significantly lower level of activity than they were capable of before the onset of illness.

Unemployment Reaches Record High for People with Disabilities

The jobless rate for Americans with disabilities soared last month to the highest level seen in nearly two years. Unemployment rose to 16.9 percent in June for those with disabilities, the U.S. Department of Labor said Friday. That's equal to the record-high set in August 2009. The June data also brings a significant jump in employment troubles over May when the unemployment rate was at 15.6 percent. While Americans with disabilities continue to face steep hurdles in the job market, June was a tough month for the general population too. Unemployment ticked up to 9.2 percent from 9.1 percent for that group as just 18,000 jobs were added. The Labor Department began tracking employment among people with disabilities in October 2008. There is not yet enough data compiled to establish seasonal trends among this population, so statistics for this group are not seasonally adjusted. To read more, click here

Are Stress and Anxiety Really Important?

Are stress and anxiety really important? Yes: often, far more important than parents, schools, and politicians think. Here are some reasons. Many children with reading disabilities and other learning disabilities feel excessively anxious about learning. Many believe that no matter what they do, no matter their effort, they will fail. And so they resist reading or put little effort into it: If a child thinks he'll fail, no matter his effort, he's unlikely to try, he's likely to resist. He'll think: Why fail? Why prove to everyone I'm dumb? Why embarrass myself? Their anxiety shows itself in many ways. To read more, click here

Schools Struggle with Protocols for Restraining Unruly Students

Corporal punishment is illegal in California public schools, but physically restraining unruly students is not. As incidents of restraint, seclusion and other emergency interventions have soared in recent years, schools have relied on training programs and physical restraint protocols developed by private companies that in many cases appear to have few qualifications. Although restraint training is directed at some of the most difficult and sensitive situations that school personnel encounter, the companies operate with little oversight. Federal law imposes strict rules on the use of restraints and seclusion in federally financed hospitals and treatment centers, but the laws do not address their use in schools. To read more, click here

Did You Know That....

The primary symptoms of CFS are severe fatigue, weakening that is not improved by bed rest and may be worsened with physical or mental activity. It is an all-encompassing fatigue that results in dramatic decline in both activity level and stamina.

Even Before Language, Babies Learn the World Through Sounds

It's not just the words, but the sounds of words that have meaning for us. This is true for children and adults, who can associate the strictly auditory parts of language -- vowels produced in the front or the back of the mouth, high or low pitch -- with blunt or pointy things, large or small things, fast-moving or long-staying things. Do the same principles apply for young infants, and not just to things, but also to abstractions? A new study by Marcela Peña, Jacques Mehler, and Marina Nespor, working together at the International School for Advanced Studies, in Trieste, Italy and Catholic University of Chile, says yes. For the first time ever, the researchers have demonstrated that these physical properties of speech are associated, very early in life, with abstract concepts -- in this case, larger and smaller. To read more, click here

Autism in Children Results in Mothers Taking Lower-Paying Jobs

Autism can take a severe toll on families, including underemployment and lost income among mothers, according to University of Pennsylvania researchers. "Mothers are taking lower-paying, more flexible jobs, so that they can spend more time taking care of their autistic children," researcher David S. Mandell, an associate professor of mental health services research in psychiatry, told HealthDay News. He said that this phenomenon occurs more often in families that include children with autism spectrum disorders than in families with children who have other health problems. To read more, click here





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

Preparing for College with a Learning Disability

This spring I graduated from college, along with thousands of students across the country. But my academic journey was a little different than most.I am a non-visual learner, and I have AD/HD and components of Asperger's Syndrome. For those of you preparing for college with a learning disability: I understand. I've been there. My high school experiences were difficult. After transferring from a boarding school to a public high school, I became good at faking it academically. But I had literally no reading comprehension...and in college, that's a problem! Fortunately, I attended Landmark College in Putney, Vt. All of my classmates had some form of learning disability. Still, I started out earning C's and C+'s - and I knew those kinds of grades weren't going to make my mom happy, especially given the cost of tuition. To read more, click here

Secondhand Smoke Linked to Learning Disabilities, ADHD in Kids

Kids who grow up among smokers are more likely than kids in smoke-free homes to suffer from a number of neurobehavioral disorders, including attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), learning disabilities and conduct disorders. That's the finding from a new study published online last week in the medical journal Pediatrics. Researchers from the Tobacco Free Research Institute in Dublin, Ireland, and from the Harvard School of Public Health reviewed data on more than 55,000 U.S. children under the age of 12. (The kids' parents were interviewed as part of the 2007 National Survey on Children's Health.) Of all the kids who grew up in smoke-free homes, 8.6% of them - or about one in 12 - had been diagnosed with at least one neurobehavioral condition. But among kids who lived with a smoker, more than twice as many - 20.4%, or one in five - had been diagnosed. To read more, click here

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Risk Factors for Autism Remain Elusive

Studies have hinted at various factors around the time of birth that may raise a child's risk of autism -- but there is still too little evidence to point to specific culprits, a new research review concludes. Looking at 40 previous studies, researchers found that a range factors around the time of birth have been linked to the risk of autism later in life. Those include low birth weight, certain delivery complications like problems with the umbilical cord, fetal distress during labor and signs of "poor condition" in the newborn -- such as problems with breathing or heart rate.

To read more, click here

Iowa Man Walks Across the State to Raise Disabilities Awareness

Dale Hankins, 59, a big man with long, white hair slicked back into a ponytail and a scruffy, white beard, shuffled slowly along the sidewalk. This is good practice, because he is walking across Iowa. "I wanted to lose some weight, and I wanted to see if I could do it," Hankins said with a smile. "This was a way to get out and see more of Iowa." The 300-mile trek is Hankins' way of promoting disabilities awareness and to giving more recognition to an organization he is very involved in, Uptown Bill's Coffeehouse & Neighborhood Art Center, 730 S. Dubuque St. Following the Lincoln Highway, Hankins started in Clinton and headed west. Hankins, who is retired and on long-term disability, understands why this trek is so important. To read more, click here

Deformed Limbs One of Several Birth Defects Linked to Smoking in Pregnancy

Missing or deformed limbs, clubfoot, facial disorders and gastrointestinal problems are some of the most common birth defects found to be associated with smoking during pregnancy, according to a major new report led by scientists at University College London. The study, published July 12 in Human Reproduction Update, is the first comprehensive review to identify the specific birth defects (malformations) most associated with smoking. Despite public health advice which warns of the harms of maternal smoking, such as miscarriage and premature birth, in the UK 45% of women under 20 and 17% overall still smoke during pregnancy, according to the national figures (Office for National Statistics 2006). In the USA, 20% of women aged under 25 years smoke during pregnancy, compared to 9% among those aged over 35. To read more, click here

2009 Report Identified Dozens of PA. Schools for Possible Cheating

Dozens of schools across the city and state were flagged in a study of 2009 state standardized test scores that sought to use statistical analysis to ferret out possible examples of cheating on the PSSA exam. The analysis, prepared for the Pennsylvania Department of Education in July 2009, highlights roughly 60 schools with suspicious results due to multiple statistical irregularities, including 22 Philadelphia district schools and seven Philadelphia charters. Among the Philadelphia district schools referenced in the report is Roosevelt Middle School, which has been at the center of a controversy this year involving alleged cheating on the PSSA. In 2009, the analysis reveals, results of both the reading and math PSSA exams taken by Roosevelt's 7th and 8th graders showed a highly unlikely number of wrong answers that were erased and changed to the correct answer. The results also showed highly improbable increases over the previous year in the percentage of students who scored proficient or advanced. To read more, click here

Disability Program, Concerns on the Rise

A federally run children's disability program whose enrollment practices are already the subject of a congressional investigation grew by 3 percent over the past year and is now estimated to cost about $10.3 billion annually. Statistics released last week by the Social Security Administration, at the request of The Boston Globe, showed that at the end of last year, 1.24 million indigent children received up to $700 a month in cash benefits from its children's Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program, compared with slightly fewer than 1.2 million recipients the year before. The youngsters who qualify based on behavioral, mental, or learning disorders grew by 7.2 percent, more than twice the overall rate, and represent 55 percent of all children's SSI cases. To read more, click here

Did You Know That....

The cause or causes of CFS have not been identified and no specific diagnostic tests are available. Moreover, since many illnesses have incapacitating fatigue as a symptom, care must be taken to exclude other known and often treatable conditions before a diagnosis of CFS is made.

Children's Personalities Linked to Their Chemical Response to Stress

Is your kid a "dove" -- cautious and submissive when confronting new environments, or perhaps you have a "hawk" -- bold and assertive in unfamiliar settings? These basic temperamental patterns are linked to opposite hormonal responses to stress -- differences that may provide children with advantages for navigating threatening environments, researchers report in a study published online July 8, 2011, in Development and Psychopathology. "Divergent reactions -- both behaviorally and chemically -- may be an evolutionary response to stress," says Patrick Davies, professor of psychology at the University of Rochester and the lead author of the study. "These biological reactions may have provided our human ancestors with adaptive survival advantages. For example, dovish compliance may work better under some challenging family conditions, while hawkish aggression could be an asset in others." To read more, click here

Mississippi Requires No Special Autism Training for its Teachers

Unlike most other children his age, 7-year-old Austin Carter can't tell his dad about his day in school. "I don't have the luxury," said Chris Carter, 32, of Jackson. "I can't wait for that day to come." How long that will take is unknown; Austin's language problems stem from autism. A range of socialization and communication disabilities affecting different children in different ways, Autism Spectrum Disorders are being detected in Mississippi in ever greater numbers. A report released July 1 refers to it as a multi-billion dollar "ticking time bomb," and the means to disarm it have been as hard to come by as words are for Austin. "The statistics are mind-boggling," said Emily Le Coz, parent of a son with autism, and author of the report prepared by the Mississippi Autism Advisory Committee. Appointed this year by state lawmakers to produce an annual plan to educate and train students with autism, the brain trust estimates 8,139 Mississippi children have it. To read more, click here

Putting the iPad to Work in Elementary Classrooms

Camilla Gagliolo got the first inkling there could be some real use for iPads in the classroom when she tried them out initially with students who had learning disabilities. Today, the instructional technology coordinator with Arlington (VA) Public Schools said she thinks the iPad is emerging as a tool that can greatly enhance educational technology after what she believes has been a lull in the field's progress. After her initial program she began for the learning-disabled students was extended to the entire elementary school student body, Gagliolo said, she was more than encouraged by the results. The combination of rich graphics, an intuitive touch screen, and lightning-fast processing speed is bringing educational technology to new levels of student engagement, she told a packed session titled The iPad Revolution: Innovative Learning in the Classroom at this year's International Society for Technology in Education conference in Philadelphia. To read more, click here

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

"The secret in education lies in respecting the pupil"

Ralph Waldo Emerson

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