Week in Review - August 5, 2011


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

August 5, 2011 - Vol 7, Issue 28


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Dear NASET News,


Welcome to NASET's WEEK in REVIEW Here, we provide you with the latest publications from NASET to read and or download, as well as some of the most interesting articles 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 news@naset.org. Have a great weekend.


NASET News Team

NASET Sponsor - Mayer-Johnson



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Free For NASET Members

No More Bullies at the North Pole

Bullies at the North Pole? Absolutely!!! This book addresses unfair behavior at Santa's North Pole. Special Education Teachers should find this book a valuable resource for class discussions on many unfair issues that can be devastating to children such as bullying, rejection, conformity and other problem behaviors. CGRC Publishing Co. is offering this book to NASET members at absolutely no charge. By clicking on the link below, NASET members can download a complimentary copy of the book, to be read and shared with their students. All that is asked of you in return is that, after reading the book, you take a moment to send an email to

cgrcpublishing@gmail.com with your evaluation, reactions and/or opinions, both positive and negative. Click on the link to receive your complimentary copy.



New This Week on NASET - Special Educator e-Journal August 2011,  & The Practical Teacher

Special Educator e-Journal August 2011

Table of Contents:

Update from the U.S. Department Education

Calls to Participate

Special Education Resources

Update From The National Dissemination Center for Children with Disabilities

Latest Employment Opportunities Posted on NASET

Upcoming Conferences and Events

Funding Forecast and Award Opportunities


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

The Practical Teacher
Plain Language Writing

Plain language writing is reader-focused writing. But what makes something plain language? The Center for Plain Language defines "plain" in terms of people's behavior: Can the people who are the audience for the material quickly and easily: find what they need understand what they find act appropriately on that understanding?



"By using plain language, we send a clear message about what the government is doing, what it requires, and what services it offers.... Plain language documents have logical organization; common, everyday words, except for necessary technical terms; 'you' and other pronouns; the active voice; and short sentences."


Today, all of us who write can find immediate guidance on the principles of plain language at the government's website called http://www.plainlanguage.gov/ . The issue of NASET's Practical Teacher is a tip-sheet that comes directly from its how-to's, tools, checklists, and examples, sometimes even verbatim.


To read or download this issue - Click here .


Autism Risks: Genes May Not Play Biggest Role

Up to now, genetics were thought to account for 90 percent of a child's risk for autism, but a new Stanford University School of Medicine study suggests environmental factors could play a much larger role than previously thought. The largest study of its kind, the research focused on autism in 192 pairs of twins - 54 identical, 138 fraternal. The surprise came when Stanford researchers found a greater number of fraternal twins shared autism than identical twins. Fraternal twins share only half their genes with each other, thus, when both fraternal twins are autistic, it suggests factors other than genetics are at work. In fact, "About half of what we see is due to environmental factors, and half of what we see is due to genetic factors," Dr. Joachim Hallmayer tells Guy Raz, host of weekends on All Things Considered. Hallmayer is the lead author of the study. To read more, click here

Illinois Schools Inconsistent in Special Education Programs

An independent evaluation of the Springfield School District's special education program shows not all schools provide the same services for special needs students. According to the study, that often means students have to travel outside their neighborhood schools to get the services they need. The $14,000 study was conducted about two months ago by W.E. Thoman Inc., a consultant that evaluated the district's special education services through a series of interviews with teachers, principals, parents and members of an advocacy parent group. The study also found a disconnect between top administrators and parents who have formed a special education advocacy group, and that special education teachers are more satisfied with their services than general education teachers. To read more, click here

Did You Know That....

Related services means transportation and such developmental, corrective, and other supportive services as are required to assist a child with a disability to benefit from special education, and includes speech-language pathology and audiology services, interpreting services, psychological services, physical and occupational therapy, recreation, including therapeutic recreation, early identification and assessment of disabilities in children, counseling services, including rehabilitation counseling, orientation and mobility services, and medical services for diagnostic or evaluation purposes.

Editorial:  Time to Repair Broken System of School Discipline

A Texas-based study and a major announcement at the highest levels of the federal government are pushing school discipline policies to center stage - prompting a national conversation about how we are going to prevent student discipline from becoming a gateway to the juvenile justice system. And it is about time. Much has been published on the school-to-prison pipeline, and Texas Appleseed and Texans Care for Children, in partnership with others, have already identified and advocated for programs that can make a difference. But until this month, no one knew just how huge and how damaging a history of school suspension and expulsion could be. The Council of State Governments Justice Center (CSG) and the Public Policy Research Institute at Texas A&M University have produced that missing piece - cross-matching school suspension, expulsion, and juvenile justice records for nearly 1 million Texas middle- and high-school students and tracking their trajectory for a six-year period. To read more, click here

Hidden Stress: Parental Burdens Caused By Autism

If you ask some friends for the first thing that comes to mind when you say "autism", many will respond "Rainman" or "Forrest Gump" (even though Forrest was, in fact, not autistic). Many people have an idea of what autism is, and to a lesser extent, know how it affects an individual's communication and social skills. The media paints a picture of autistic individuals through movies and characters, and one can find many articles pertaining to autism in the news. However, what most people don't see in the media, or even consider when thinking about autism, is the effect it has on families, especially parents. Of course the main effects of autism are on the individual who has the disorder, but the parents are greatly affected as well. I will discuss some of the difficulties and stress experienced by parents with an autistic child due to diagnosis, treatment, and everyday life. To read more,click here

Eli Lily Says Court Backs Strattera Patent

A federal appeals court overturned a ruling that would have allowed for generic sales of an attention deficit hyperactivity disorder drug produced by Eli Lilly, the company said Friday.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit determined that the patent for Strattera is valid, Lilly said The decision blocks generic versions of Strattera from the market until May 2017. Generic drugmaker Actavis was challenging the patent. The initial ruling was made about one year ago in New Jersey. Lilly said generic competition for Strattera would put a significant dent in its sales, and it said it would cut $1 billion in annual spending to offset that ruling and other upcoming patent decisions and expirations. To read more, click here

Did You Know That....

Related services also include school health services and school nurse services, social work services in schools, and parent counseling and training.

In Australia, Government Overhauls Disability Pension

Early estimates suggest almost 40 per cent of people who currently qualify for the Disability Support Pension would be rendered ineligible for the payment under changes announced by the Federal Government today. In the first review of the rules since 1993, new impairment tables have been created to judge who is eligible to claim the benefit. A Centrelink test of the new tables found four out of every 10 people who qualified for the benefit earlier this year would not qualify under the new regime. To read more, click here

Traumatic Brain Injury 'Linked to Significant Stroke Rise'

Acquiring a traumatic brain injury has been linked to a tenfold increase in stroke risk, new research shows. The study, published in the journal Stroke, revealed that in the first three months after a traumatic brain injury, the risk of experiencing the cardiovascular condition increased ten times. Some 2.91 per cent of traumatic brain injury patients were seen to have a stroke within this time frame, compared to just 0.3 per cent of healthy patients. This heightened risk was found to diminish over time, however. After one year, stroke risk was seen to be around 4.6 times greater in patients who had suffered a traumatic brain injury, and after five years vulnerability to the condition had decreased to just 2.3 per cent above that of the general population. 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.

Which President of the United States (whose sister was born with a cognitive disability) raised public awareness of individuals with mental and physical disabilities and initiated a Presidential Panel on Mental Retardation?
If you know the answer, send an email to contactus@naset.org
All answers must be submitted no later than Monday, August 8, 2011 at 12:00 p.m.

In North Carolina, Tax Credit for Children with Disabilities

During its 2011 legislative session, the General Assembly of North Carolina enacted an income tax credit that includes homeschool students with learning disabilities. Designated as House Bill 344 with Representative Paul Stam (Dist. 37) as its primary sponsor, the legislation creates a new tax credit for parents of children with special needs who choose to educate those children in a nonpublic school or in a public school at which tuition is charged. For homeschools, the credit is equal to the amount the taxpayer paid for special education and related services, not to exceed $3,000 per semester, up to two semesters a year (a maximum of $6,000 for a full academic or taxable year). The credit is non-refundable, but any unused portion of the credit may be carried forward for the succeeding three years. 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

To Find Best Gifted Children, Don't Just Look to the Wealthy Suburbs

Ten years ago my family moved from Overland Park to Kansas City. For one reason: the public schools. Yes, you read that correctly: we moved for an educational opportunity that can only be had locally in the Center, Grandview, and Hickman Mills school districts. These are not wealthy areas. Center has 66.9 percent of its students qualifying for free or reduced lunch, Grandview, 65 percent and Hickman Mills, 77 percent. Compare that to Shawnee Mission at 33 percent and Blue Valley at 6.13 percent. But neither of those districts offered what our children needed: the Program for Exceptionally Gifted Students, or P.E.G.S. The three Missouri districts formed a consortium, and each sends students to P.E.G.S., which is housed at Center. To read more, click here

Study: Bullying More Common in Students with Disabilities

Kids with disabilities and other special health care needs are at increased risk for bullying and generally show less motivation to succeed in school, new research indicates.

The findings come from a study published this week in the journal Pediatrics that looked at more than 1,450 students in fourth through sixth grade attending three rural school districts in Maryland and West Virginia. Through surveys of the students and their parents, researchers found that about 1 in 3 kids in mainstream classrooms at the schools had some type of special health care need ranging from asthma and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder to emotional and behavioral disorders. When the survey responses were matched up with school records, it became clear that children with disabilities missed more days of school and had lower grades, according to the research team from the University of Pennsylvania, Johns Hopkins and Marshall University. To read more, click here

Pilot Helps Learning Take Flight at School

Students gathered in the auditorium of the ECLC of New Jersey school in Ho-Ho-Kus as part of a school designated Kite Flying day, which included a presentation by a JetBlue pilot on the basics of air flight and provided an opportunity for students to fly their own kites. This is just one of many themed days throughout the year that the special needs school includes as part of its curriculum. "We're all about different types of learning," ECLC Principal Vicki Lindorff said. She got the idea when Kites in the Classroom, a Canada-based program, contacted her, explaining how kite kits could be used as an educational tool. To read more, click here

Study Finds Short-Term Use of Amphetamines can Improve ADHD Symptoms in Adults

A new study says that giving amphetamines to adults with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) can help them control their symptoms, but the side effects mean that some people do not manage to take them for very long. These conclusions were drawn by a team of five researchers working at Girona and Barcelona Universities in Spain, and published in a new Cochrane Systematic Review. Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is a childhood onset disorder, but half of people with it find that the symptoms of hyperactivity, mood instability, irritability, difficulties in maintaining attention, lack of organization and impulsive behaviours persist into adulthood. "We wanted to see whether amphetamines could reverse the underlying neurologicalproblems that feature in ADHD, and so improve ADHD symptoms," says Xavier Castells, who led the study and works in the Unit of Clinical Pharmacology at University of Girona. To read more, click here

Dissecting Dyslexia: Linking Reading to Voice Recognition

When people recognize voices, part of what helps make voice recognition accurate is noticing how people pronounce words differently. But individuals with dyslexia don't experience this familiar language advantage, say researchers. The likely reason: "phonological impairment."

Tyler Perrachione with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology explains, "Even though all people who speak a language use the same words, they say those words just a little bit differently from one another--what is called 'phonetics' in linguistics." Phonetics is concerned with the physical properties of speech. Listeners are sensitive to phonetic differences as part of what makes a person's voice unique. But individuals with dyslexia have trouble recognizing these phonetic differences, whether a person is speaking a familiar language or a foreign one, Perrachione says. To read more, click here

A Drug for Down Syndrome

Early in the evening of June 25, 1995, hours after the birth of his first and only child, the course of Dr. Alberto Costa's life and work took an abrupt turn. Still recovering from a traumatic delivery that required an emergency Caesarean section, Costa's wife, Daisy, lay in bed, groggy from sedation. Into their dimly lighted room at Methodist Hospital in Houston walked the clinical geneticist. He took Costa aside to deliver some unfortunate news. The baby girl, he said, appeared to have Down syndrome, the most common genetic cause of cognitive disabilities, or what used to be called "mental retardation." Costa, himself a physician and neuroscientist, had only a basic knowledge of Down syndrome. Yet there in the hospital room, he debated the diagnosis with the geneticist. The baby's heart did not have any of the defects often associated with Down syndrome, he argued, and her head circumference was normal. She just didn't look like a typical Down syndrome baby. And after all, it would take a couple weeks before a definitive examination would show whether she had been born with three copies of all or most of the genes on the 21st chromosome, instead of the usual two. To read more, click here

Did You Know That....

Related services do not include a medical device that is surgically implanted, the optimization of that device's functioning (e.g., mapping), maintenance of that device, or the replacement of that device.

Fast Ripples Confirmed to Be Valuable Biomarker of Area Responsible for Seizure Activity in Children

New research focusing on high-frequency oscillations, termed ripples and fast ripples, recorded by intracranial electroencephalography (EEG), may provide an important marker for the localization of the brain region responsible for seizure activity. According to the study now available in Epilepsia, a journal of the International League Against Epilepsy (ILAE), the resection of brain regions containing fast ripples, along with the visually-identified seizure-onset zone, may achieve a good seizure outcome in pediatric epilepsy. High-frequency oscillations at 80-200 Hz are known as ripples and those above 200 Hz are considered fast ripples. Medical evidence suggests that fast ripples are a specific surrogate marker of the seizure generation zone. To read more, click here

Biological Links Found Between Childhood Abuse and Adolescent Depression

Kate Harkness has found that a history of physical, sexual or emotional abuse in childhood substantially increases the risk of depression in adolescence by altering a person's neuroendocrine response to stress.  Adolescents with a history of maltreatment and a mild level of depression were found to release much more of the stress hormone cortisol than is normal in response to psychological stressors such as giving a speech or solving a difficult arithmetic test.

"This kind of reaction is a problem because cortisol kills cells in areas of the brain that control memory and emotion regulation," explains Dr. Harkness, a professor in the Department of Psychology and an expert in the role of stress and trauma in adolescent depression. "Over time cortisol levels can build up and increase a person's risk for more severe endocrine impairment and more severe depression. To read more, click here

Rochester Schools Renew Focus on Special Education Issue

For years, the City School District has been placing a disproportionate number of minority students into special education programs, prompting criticism that it unnecessarily labels black and Hispanic children and landing it under a state mandate to fix the problem. Not only are minority students - particularly young black men - overrepresented in programs for students with disabilities, they also tend to be suspended at higher rates. Now city school leaders want to correct that problem with a new initiative that aims to cut the number of minority students placed in special education programs who do not belong in them. The effort also strives to reduce the number of suspensions. The school district has been working with researchers from New York University to study the problem and develop a plan to correct it. Those researchers spent the past school year studying 10 Rochester schools to identify the reasons for both the over-identification and the high number of suspensions. To read more, click here

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

"Learn everything you can, anytime you can, from anyone you can- there will always come a time when you will be grateful you did"

Sarah Caldwell

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