Week in Review - September 2, 2011


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

September 2, 2011 - Vol 7, Issue 32

Table of Contents Block
In This Issue

New This Week on NASET.....

Report: Vaccines Safe, Not Linked To Autism......

Career Focused Projects Help Youth Explore STEM Careers.....

Undernutrition in Childhood, Adolescence or Young Adulthood Increases Risk of Heart Disease Later.....

Rural Student Success Critical to National Goals......

Preparation in Emergencies and Safety Precautions for Individuals with Disabilities......

Two-Year-Old Children Understand Complex Grammar....

'Parenthood' Honored For Asperger's Storyline....


Music: A Scientific Elixir Balances the Brain and Mends the Mind.....

Virtual Education Targets Rise of Autism......

Mothers' Poor Health Impairs Children's Well-Being, Not Only Due to Genetics......

U.S. District Court Affirms Validity of IDEA Regulations Requiring IEEs at Public Expense.....

Judge Halts Social Media Prohibition for Missouri Teachers......

State Supreme Court Cuts Red Tape for Students Receiving Special Education Services.....

The Girl Who Played With an Imaginary Rope.....

School-Based Mental Health Screening for Teens Results in Connection to Care....

Vitamin A Supplements for Children Could Save 600,000 Lives a Year.......

At-Risk Students Face E-Learning Challenges......

"Smart Drug" Finds a Market Niche in Park Slope......

Hartford Schools Did Not Provide Required Services for Those With Learning Disabilities......

Technologist with Dyslexia Designs New Mobile Device to Help Others with Learning Disabilities.......

In Australia, Too Costly to Help Students with Disabilities at School.........

New York City Teacher Evaluations Based on Students' Test Scores Can be Made Public, Court Rules.....

Opportunities for Gifted Students to Excel are Limited.....

The Challenges and Rewards of Disability Disclosure.....

Teen Behind Inclusive Cheer leading Awarded $100K On VH1.........

Online Game Offers Children with Autism the Chance to Express Emotions

Welcome to NASET's WEEK in REVIEW 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.


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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


New This Week on NASET

Special Educator e-Journal

In this issue:

Update from the U.S. Department of Education

Feature Article: Common Planning Time and Co-Teaching: How Can They Fit into the Race?

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


Download a PDF Version of This Issue.

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Report: Vaccines Safe, Not Linked To Autism

In the first comprehensive review of vaccine safety since 1994, yet another body of medical researchers is affirming that there is no link between vaccines and autism. The finding comes in a report released Thursday from the Institute of Medicine, part of the National Academy of Sciences, that was produced at the federal government's request. For the review, a committee of experts analyzed over 1,000 research articles focusing on eight vaccines and their relation to 158 possible reactions. Overall, they found that side effects from immunizations are generally limited and temporary. To read more, click here

Career Focused Projects Help Youth Explore STEM Careers

It's never too early for young people to start exploring careers and developing skills they will need to pursue their career goals. In fact, these are two critical components of the Guideposts for Success in the area of Career Preparation and Work-based Learning, which describe what all youth including youth with disabilities need for successful transition to adulthood. Career-focused projects are a great way for youth to explore careers and develop skills at the same time. Projects are an important tool for career exploration because they give youth hands-on experience relevant to the career being explored. In the process, youth practice and develop skills they need for success in a range of careers. While some knowledge and skills youth develop may be career-specific, many skills often used in projects are transferable such as communication skills, interpersonal skills, planning, decision making, and problem solving. Career projects can be done as a part of school classes, in afterschool programs, in community youth programs, and even at home.  To read more, click here

Did You Know That....

Speech/language therapy may be recommended for a student with a communication problem, including problems of language comprehension and expressive language which adversely affect school performance. In addition, it may be recommended for students with speech production skills whose speech is unintelligible or not commensurate with the student's total profile, including cognitive development which adversely affects his or her educational performance.

Undernutrition in Childhood, Adolescence or Young Adulthood Increases Risk of Heart Disease Later

A study of women who were children, teenagers or young adults during the Dutch famine in 1944-45 has shown that undernutrition, particularly in the adolescent years, is associated with an increased risk of coronary heart disease in later life. The research, published online in the European Heart Journal, provides the first direct evidence that acute undernutrition during the time that children are growing up can have an important impact on their future health. The authors of the accompanying editorial say that it underlines the importance of policy makers and health professionals taking this into account when designing and implementing disease screening and prevention programs. The study authors, from the University Medical Center Utrecht and the University of Amsterdam, investigated 7845 women who were aged between 0-21 and were living in The Netherlands at a time when a combination of circumstances at the end of the Second World War resulted in severe food shortages in the west of The Netherlands; official daily rations for the general adult population dropped from 1400 calories in October 1944 to between 400-800 calories at the height of the famine from December 1944 to April 1945. After six months of starvation, The Netherlands was liberated, abruptly ending the famine.To read more, click here

Rural Student Success Critical to National Goals

Rural schools are increasingly important to the success of the nation's educational goals. Rural school enrollment is growing both absolutely and as a percentage of national totals. Between 2004 and 2009, rural schools grew 11 percent, from 10.5 million students to 11.7 million, and the rural share of the nation's students increased from 22 percent to 24 percent, according to data from the Department of Education. Rural enrollment is also becoming more diverse. Growth in that period was fastest among students of color, up 31 percent. Today, they constitute 28 percent of rural students. To read more, click here

Preparation in Emergencies and Safety Precautions for Individuals with Disabilities

All individuals, including people with disabilities, should take the time before a disaster to plan for survival at home, in a shelter, or elsewhere in the event of an actual emergency. In addition to Ready.gov's recommended items to include in a basic emergency supply kit(www.ready.gov/america/getakit/), people with disabilities and other access and functional needs may wish to consider the following in their preparations. Now is the time to plan ahead for what you may need to stay safe, healthy, informed, mobile, and independent during a disaster. Remember that a disaster may require sheltering-in-place at home or evacuating to an emergency shelter or other form of temporary housing. To read more, click here

Did You Know That....

Speech and language therapy may be the most frequently requested related service, primarily because language is so closely related to education. Speech-language pathology services are provided by speech-language professionals and speech-language assistants, in accordance with state regulations, to address the needs of children and youth with disabilities affecting either speech or language.

Two-Year-Old Children Understand Complex Grammar

Psychologists at the University of Liverpool have found that children as young as two years old have an understanding of complex grammar even before they have learned to speak in full sentences. Researchers at the University's Child Language Study Centre showed children, aged two, sentences containing made-up verbs, such as 'the rabbit is glorping the duck', and asked them to match the sentence with a cartoon picture. They found that even the youngest two-year-old could identify the correct image with the correct sentence, more often than would be expected by chance. The study suggests that infants know more about language structure than they can actually articulate, and at a much earlier age than previously thought. The work also shows that children may use the structure of sentences to understand new words, which may help explain the speed at which infants acquire speech. To read more, click here

'Parenthood' Honored For Asperger's Storyline

NBC's "Parenthood" is being recognized by a U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention-backed initiative for addressing an important public health issue on television. The drama, which focuses on one family's experience raising a boy with Asperger's syndrome, is one of eight finalists for the Sentinel for Health Awards. The honor goes to television shows with storylines that "inform, educate and motivate viewers to make choices for healthier and safer lives," organizers say. The awards are given annually by Hollywood, Health & Society, a University of Southern California program that's funded by the CDC and a mix of other government and private organizations. The group works to provide accurate health information for writers working on television shows and movies. Finalists for the awards were selected from a field of 26 entries by a panel of experts from the CDC and other organizations. 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: Deanna Krieg and Jessica L. Ulmer who knew the answer to last week's trivia question was: CADRE or The National Center on Dispute Resolution in Special Education



Burden of proof, as a legal term, refers to "the duty to prove disputed fact".

In criminal cases, the burden of proof always rests on the prosecutors. In civil cases, the burden usually is carried by the party filing the complaint or bringing the action. In due process hearings, which party has the burden of proof (the parent or the public agency) varies from state to state and even, sometimes, within a state. Thus, individuals involved in a due process hearing will need to find out how their state or locale addresses the question of burden of proof.

The question of which party has the burden of proof in an IDEIA due process hearing-the parent or public agency-was addressed in 2005 Supreme Court .  On November 14, 2005, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that in an administrative hearing under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), the party initiating the appeal and seeking relief bears the burden of proof.


What was the name of this 2005 U.S. Supreme Court case?


If you know the answer, send an email to contactus@naset.org
All answers must be submitted no later than Monday, September 5, 2011 at 12:00 p.m.

Music: A Scientific Elixir Balances the Brain and Mends the Mind

One cannot deny the beauty of music and the power it has over us. As Plato said, "Music is a moral law. It gives soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination, and charm and gaiety to life and to everything." It is little wonder that music is used to rehabilitate disorders of the brain and today music is being used in new unique ways to correct learning and behavioral disorders in children at the Brain Balance Center in Wayne, Pennsylvania. On a scientific note, it is interesting to be aware how different kinds of music affect us in different ways. In fact, that difference is being used strategically to target areas of the brain that are not working properly. The different effects of music can be better understood by these examples.  To read more, click here

Virtual Education Targets Rise of Autism

When bullying in her teenage daughter's Maryland public school became too intense, Ruth Zanoni decided to try home-schooling, using online education as a supplement. Ms. Zanoni's daughter, now 14, has Asperger syndrome, often described as a high-functioning form of autism. She was academically advanced in some subjects, such as writing and literature, but was sometimes overwhelmed by sensory stimulus. And her lack of social skills made her a target for bullying. At home in Howard County, Ms. Zanoni's daughter did well pursuing math through videos from Khan Academy, a not-for-profit provider of online educational videos and activities, and working on her social skills using an online role-playing game, but she faltered taking French and then Italian online. Ms. Zanoni said she had to work hard to keep her daughter on task online and felt she needed additional face-to-face support. Ms. Zanoni eventually found a private school that specialized in working with students like her daughter. To read more, click here

Mothers' Poor Health Impairs Children's Well-Being, Not Only Due to Genetics

Disadvantaged, unhealthy mothers are much more likely to have sickly children than are disadvantaged moms who are relatively healthy -- and this is not only due to genetics, suggests new research to be presented at the 106th Annual Meeting of the American Sociological Association. Relying on nationally representative data from the 2007 and 2008 National Health Interview Surveys, the study finds that children whose mothers are both in poor health and disadvantaged (determined by a combination of family income, race/ethnicity, family structure, and mother's level of education) experience a significantly greater number of health issues -- such as having fair or poor overall health and suffering from asthma -- than children whose mothers are disadvantaged but relatively healthy. To read more, click here

U.S. District Court Affirms Validity of IDEA Regulations Requiring IEEs at Public Expense

In Phillip and Angie C. v. Jefferson County Board of Education , 111 LRP 55718 (N.D. Ala. Aug 17, 2011), the U.S. District Court in Alabama overturned a magistrate judge's opinion (56 IDELR 225) invalidating  the IDEA regulations allowing parents to obtain independent educational evaluations (IEE)  at public expense. Although at a very low-level in the federal judiciary hierarchy, the magistrate's decision was concerning because it questioned the validity of IDEA regulations and policy that had been in effect since 1977. Moreover, sometimes school administrators and their attorneys use lower court decisions to support their actions, even if the decisions, like this one, are far outside the mainstream. Fortunately, the district court ruled that, even though the IDEA statute did not specifically state that parents can obtain an IEE at public expense, the U.S. Department of Education could require IEEs at public expense through regulations. In fact, regulations are intended to fill the gaps in the statute. Additionally, since the federal regulation requiring IEEs at public expense had been in place since 1977, school districts cannot claim they were unaware that accepting IDEA funds might require them to pay for IEEs. To read more, click here

Judge Halts Social Media Prohibition for Missouri Teachers

A new law regulating how Missouri teachers communicate with their students on Facebook and other social media websites suffered a double-barreled setback Friday. A Cole County circuit judge issued an injunction blocking the law from taking effect on Sunday. And Gov. Jay Nixon said he will ask lawmakers during a special session next month to strip out the law's most controversial provisions, including the one the judge ruled on. Judge Jon Beetem said the new regulation - intended to protect students from sexual predators in schools - would have a "chilling effect" on free speech rights. "The breadth of the prohibition is staggering," Beetem wrote in his ruling. To read more, click here

State Supreme Court Cuts Red Tape for Students Receiving Special Education Services

School districts in Washington State used to tell students with disabilities they had to go through administrative law hearings before they could sue over abuse and neglect at school. Thaddeus Martin represented a group of students in special education in Lakewood, Pierce County. He sued on their behalf in 2006. His complaint says staff called the kids names we can't say on the radio.


Martin: "Then there were the assaults. Slamming them into lockers or closing their hands into washing machines. Antagonistic sort of behaviors. Making the students stand in the corner for hours."


He says some of the students are not verbal, but the alleged attacks were witnessed by people who are. If the students had not been in special ed programs, they could have sued in court. But Martin says students in special education had to go through administrative law hearings first. To read more, click here


The Girl Who Played With an Imaginary Rope

There once was a girl who played with an imaginary rope. Her first grade teachers thought it odd and did not know what to do. The girl had been singled out the year before, in kindergarten, when she was sent first for testing. The tests involved pictures and mazes. The girl would always remember the feeling of being singled out, the look in her teacher's eyes and the meaningful way the teacher said SHE must go first, the feeling that she had done something wrong because there was something wrong with her. The reason she now played with an imaginary rope was actually quite simple. She was practicing jump rope, but no one knew her secret, that she was determined to play as well as everyone else, that she needed to be as good as they were. The teachers could not understand why the girl had to work harder than everyone else or why she seemed so frustrated. The girl felt "stupid" and became focused on fixing all the things she was bad at. She never realized she might be "good at" anything until one day she wrote a poem and won a contest. Then, a few years later, in seventh grade, she came in second place in the class spelling bee. An administrator encouraged her to write. It was then that she realized she might not be "all dumb" after all.


Dr. Ernst VanBergeijk picks up on the first ring. He is the Associate Dean and Executive Director at NYIT and he has conducted extensive research on learning disabilities. He also heads NYIT's Vocational Independence Program (VIP), which enables students with significant learning disabilities to maximize their potential for independence. To read more, click here

School-Based Mental Health Screening for Teens Results in Connection to Care

A new study involving nearly 2,500 high school students demonstrates the value of routine mental health screening in school to identify adolescents at-risk for mental illness, and to connect those adolescents with recommended follow-up care. The largest school-based study conducted to-date by the TeenScreen National Center for Mental Health Checkups at Columbia University, findings are published in the Sept. 2011 issue of the Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry. Conducted between 2005 and 2009 at six public high schools in suburban Wisconsin, results found that nearly three out of four high school students identified as being at-risk for having a mental health problem were not in treatment at the time of screening. Of those students identified as at-risk, a significant majority (76.3 percent) completed at least one visit with a mental health provider within 90 days of screening. More than half (56.3 percent) received minimally adequate treatment, defined as having three or more visits with a provider, or any number of visits if termination was agreed to by the provider.  To read more, click here

Vitamin A Supplements for Children Could Save 600,000 Lives a Year, Experts Predict

Children in low and middle income countries should be given vitamin A supplements to prevent death and illness, concludes a study published online in the British Medical Journal. The researchers argue that the effectiveness of vitamin A supplementation is now so well-established that further trials would be unethical, and they urge policymakers to provide supplements for all children at risk of deficiency. Vitamin A is an essential nutrient that must be obtained through diet. Vitamin A deficiency in children increases vulnerability to infections like diarrhea and measles and may also lead to blindness. Globally, the World Health Organisation estimates that 190 million children under the age of 5 may be vitamin A deficient. But, despite widespread efforts, vitamin A programs do not reach all children who could benefit.  To read more, click here

At-Risk Students Face E-Learning Challenges

Stepping into a virtual learning environment can help struggling students interact with curricula in a new way, begin learning with a clean slate, and provide more flexibility to accommodate work or family obligations, say educators and experts working online with students who are at risk of academic failure. But none of those factors will make such students successful unless they have the support and resources they need to engage with the material and the motivation to work hard for their credits, experts stress. "The way online learning is set up, it puts the control of the learning on the shoulders of students," said Jeanne Repetto, an associate professor in the department of special education at the University of Florida, in Gainesville. "They feel the confidence and control, which is why online learning can be good for this population." To read more, click here

"Smart Drug" Finds a Market Niche in Park Slope

Henry Fertik, 23, lived on a typical tree-lined street of brownstones in Park Slope. He also worked in the neighborhood. According to court records, he picked up prescription drugs from Pinchas Goldshtein, 26, who lived in the neighborhood, on Carroll Street, and then peddled them on 8th Street. He even intended to sell them, law-enforcement officials allege, on his own block. Arrested last year, Goldshtein and four other dealers are awaiting pre-trial hearings over the next two months on charges including conspiracy to sell controlled substances. Fertik has pleaded guilty to conspiring to sell drugs, said a spokesperson for the district attorney's office, and has a sentencing hearing on September 15. Fertik and Goldshtein are not the only ones in the neighborhood who have been accused of illegally selling Adderall. Court records show that in October 2010, Michael Hosny Gabriel, a resident anesthesiologist at New York Methodist Hospital on 7th Avenue in Park Slope, was arrested for distributing Adderall. He hid pills in his 5th Street apartment and in his Audi, according to an affidavit. He wrote Adderall prescriptions for other medical residents and fake patients to fill and return to him. He then passed the pills on to dealers. To read more, click here

State: Hartford Schools Did Not Provide Required Services for Those With Learning Disabilities

The state Department of Education has found that the Hartford public school system has failed to provide proper educational services to students with learning disabilities. The department's bureau of special education found that special education students attending city schools waited months and sometimes more than a year to receive neuropsychological, reading, assistive technology and speech and language evaluations or consultations. The bureau made its findings after investigating complaints filed in March by Greater Hartford Legal Aid and the Center for Children's Advocacy. The complaint outlined more than a dozen instances in which required student evaluations were delayed for months and, in one case, for more than a year. "The secondary specialized evaluations were not being followed through in a timely manner," Hannah Benton, an attorney with the children's center, said Friday. To read more, click here

Technologist with Dyslexia Designs New Mobile Device to Help Others with Learning Disabilities

Ben Foss was diagnosed with dyslexia as a young child and struggled with the learning disability through high school and college, always depending on others to read to him or taking long amounts of time to read the text himself. In graduate school, he relied on prerecorded audio content or he had to wait for school resources to scan course materials and run text-to-speech conversions, making it difficult for him to keep up with his class work. To watch the video, click here

In Australia, Too Costly to Help Students with Disabilities at School

Victorian education authorities insist they have the right to restrict the number of integration aides and other specialists that they hire - even if it means discriminating against students with disabilities. And the state says it would cost almost $1 billion if it had to hire an integration aide for every student with an IQ of 75 or less, which it could not afford. The lawyers for Victoria's Education Department are arguing that states' rights trump the Federal Disability Discrimination Act in a submission to a discrimination case currently being considered by the Federal Court. Jade Sievwright, a Victorian teenager with an IQ of around 70, is suing the Education Department for discrimination, claiming it failed to provide her with the integration aide and speech therapist she needs to reach her full potential. But in a late submission to the case, the Education Department is arguing that even if it is found to have discriminated against Ms Sievwright by failing to provide her with a full-time aide and a speech therapist, ''it is beyond Commonwealth legislative power'' to compel the state to hire these education aides.  To read more, click here

New York City Teacher Evaluations Based on Students' Test Scores Can be Made Public, Court Rules

The public has a right to view the controversial ratings of 12,000 city teachers that were based on their students' tests scores, the Manhattan Appellate Division ruled Thursday. The decision, affirming one by the lower court, deals a blow to the teachers union, which sued to protect their members' privacy, citing disastrous mistakes in the calculations of the evaluations. The Appellate division judges dismissed those privacy concerns. "The reports concern information of a type that is of compelling interest to the public, namely, the proficiency of public employees in the performance of their job duties," the division ruled. It was not immediately clear when the so-called teacher data reports will be released because the union will seek to appeal the decision again, officials said. To read more, click here

Opportunities for Gifted Students to Excel are Limited

This week, the carefree days of summer are being replaced by the buzz of early-morning alarm clocks, the bumpy ride on a big yellow school bus and the clang of the bell as a new school year begins. More than anything else, a new school year is about fresh opportunities - opportunities for students to pursue new goals, improve performances and learn and master new content. But for high-ability students here in North Carolina and in most other states throughout the country, the opportunity to excel and achieve excellence is sharply limited. Just this year, North Carolina state legislators cut funding to the North Carolina Governor's School. Each summer this invaluable program provides hundreds of our state's most gifted high school students the opportunity to deeply study a broad range of academic disciplines. But because of these actions, its future is now in jeopardy. The North Carolina Governor's School Foundation in partnership with the Governor's School Alumni Association have managed to raise nearly $200,000 through donations, but this is still shy of the $1.3 million needed to ensure no student is prevented from attending because of financial hardship. To read more, click here


The Challenges and Rewards of Disability Disclosure

My hands were shaking as I held the phone, and it was all I could do to keep from dropping it. My mother's firm hand was on my shoulder. She said, "You know, it's not the end of the world if they say no. We can find other schools. We've always found other schools." Of course, in my head, I thought, But I want this one. Before I could vocalize the answer, a man's voice came through the line. "Hi, Anthony? This is the Director of Admissions at Saint James School. We've reviewed your application and we'd like to invite you for an on-campus interview. What day would work best for you?" I could hardly contain my smile as I hung up the phone.  To read more, click here

Teen Behind Inclusive Cheer leading Awarded $100K On VH1

A teenager who started the nation's first school-based cheer leading squad including students both with and without disabilities is getting $100,000 to expand the concept. Sarah Cronk, 18, got the idea to include students with disabilities on a cheer leading squad at her Bettendorf, Iowa high school in 2008 after observing the boost her brother with autism received when he was befriended by the school's swim team captain. Since then, 33 schools located as far away as South Africa have replicated Cronk's original squad comprised of students with various disabilities and typically developing teens who act as peer coaches. All of the students perform together at high school football and basketball games. To read more, click here

Online Game Offers Children with Autism the Chance to Express Emotions

Yan Zhang, assistant professor in the School of Information at The University of Texas at Austin, is creating an interactive online game to help children with autism spectrum disorders (ASDs) communicate their emotions. The game will help the State of Texas achieve a high-quality intervention program for children with ASDs and the research can be used to aid autism communities across the nation. For families around the world, this new technology will, for the first time, allow much more meaningful communications with their child with autism. Children with the disorder often have impaired social and communication skills and are unable to recognize and understand the cognitive and emotional state of others, including those conveyed through non-verbal clues such as facial expressions. The goal of the research is to develop an early intervention tool, an interactive and adaptive game system, to help children with ASDs recognize and understand emotions expressed through facial expressions. To read more, click here

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

Teaching should be such that what is offered is perceived as a valuable gift and not as a hard duty.

Albert Einstein

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