Week in Review - December 9, 2011


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

December 9, 2011 - Vol 7, Issue 45


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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.

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New This Week on NASET

Practical Teacher

Centers for Literacy in a Multi-Level Special Education Classroom

Research have indicated that students' with IEP placed in an inclusivesetting tends to have  increased in test scores, enhance self-esteem and good communication or social skills (Power-de Fur and  Orelove, 1997).  It is in this perspective that more school district are pushing on placing students with IEPs in the inclusive setting.  Given this scenario, the numbers of students in the self-contained setting tend to decrease. This put a special educator in a self-contained classroom to handle multi-level grade levels.  This kind of setting now places a special educator in a challenging position on how to teach students with varying grade level, readiness level, abilities, achievements, learning modalities and weaknesses. The focus of this issue of NASET's Practical Teacher (written by Maricel T. Bustos, M.A.) is to address centers for literacy in a multi-level special education classroom.

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Parent Teacher Conference Handout

What is an APGAR Score

There may be time when a parent of a student in your class is pregnant and may need some information on procedures they will experience. While not a doctor, and not giving medical advice, you can provide them with the knowledge of an APGAR score which they can discuss with their doctor. Many times parents may be aware of such a rating scale but may not possess the knowledge of what it means. This Parent Teacher Conference Handout will provide that information. -

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More Evidence Links Specific Genes to ADHD

Variations in genes involved in brain signaling pathways appear to be linked to attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), according to a new study. The findings suggest that drugs that act on these pathways may offer a new treatment option for ADHD patients with the gene variants, the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia researchers said. In the study, researchers conducted whole-genome analyses of 1,000 children with ADHD and 4,100 children without ADHD. They then evaluated the findings in light of other research involving nearly 12,000 subjects -- 2,500 with ADHD and 9,200 without. The genomic analysis revealed at least 10 percent of the children with ADHD had so-called "copy number variations" -- deletions or duplications of DNA sequences -- in four genes that are all part of the glutamate receptor gene family. The strongest result was in gene GMR5. To read more, click here

Autism Insurance Help Faces Delay in Virginia

Hundreds of families across Virginia who had counted on mandated insurance coverage for their autistic children next month may have to wait untold months more for help. Despite a law signed by Gov. Bob McDonnell in May after more than a decade of lobbying that requires the insurance and that becomes effective in January, implementation of the law is being delayed by the state Department of Health Professions because of what some observers describe as a questionable need for a "technical fix" in the law. Longtime advocate John W. Maloney of Richmond accuses state agencies and others of "deliberately dragging their collective feet" to appease business interests "while 3-year-olds with autism don't get treatment." "It's unconscionable and breaks a promise from the governor that hundreds of families would have this valuable care available to them," said Mark Llobell of Norfolk, a founder of the Virginia Autism Project.  To read more, click here

Did You Know That....

Diabetes is a disease in which the body does not produce or use insulin properly. Insulin is a hormone our bodies use to convert sugar, starches, and other food into the energy we need. While the cause of diabetes is unknown, it appears that both genetics and environmental factors such as obesity and lack of exercise play roles. There are 23.6 million children and adults in the United States with diabetes. This is about 7.8% of the population.

Debate Ensures Over Merging Paralympics with Olympics

Almost two-thirds of people with disabilities want the Paralympics scrapped and merged with the Olympics, a survey has shown. Support for such a move is backed by 65% of disabled people and 62% of parents of disabled children, according to a poll for the charityScope. More than half of all Britains polled, including those without disabilities, said combining the Olympics and Paralympics would help disabled athletes to be taken more seriously and improve society's views about disabled people. The poll, carried out by ComRes, also found that 42% of disabled people did not believe the Paralympics had a positive impact on public perceptions of disability. To read more, click here

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Young Football Players at Greater Risk for Brain Injuries Than Pros

From what he remembers, and it isn't much, Cameron Williams was cold. On a steaming autumn day last year in Burtonsville, the 13-year-old shivered as he walked back to his Unity Thunder football team's huddle, barely able to keep his eyes open. Dizzy, he'd been hit hard - really hard - twice that game.  His head ached for relief, but he knew how football players were supposed to act. How pain was a part of the game. Then he took two more vicious hits at practice the next day, and Cameron realized it was time to tell someone how much he was hurting. To read more, click here

Why Gifted Students Can Be So Challenging

What do Woody Allen and Steve Jobs have in common? Among other things (including brilliant, creative minds), they both hated school and were discipline problems. Allen once said, "I loathed every day and regret every moment I spent in school." Jobs noted, "I was pretty bored at school and turned into a little tyrant." Who are their counterparts today? How are schools dealing today with bright, creative students who are bored out of their minds in class? A few years ago I spent time at Eagle Rock School, a great school in Colorado for at-risk kids from all over the country that is quietly and substantially funded by the American Honda Education Corporation. I noticed that many of the best students at this very effective school were highly gifted kids with extraordinary leadership, presentation, and communication skills. To read more, click here

Did You Know That....

When a person's body produces too little insulin (or no insulin), Type 1 diabetes results. It can develop at any age, but most typically appears during childhood or adolescence. That is one reason why Type 1 diabetes used to be known as "juvenile diabetes" or "insulin-dependent" diabetes.

OP-ED: Differentiated Instruction: Easier in Theory than in Practice

Since the beginning of the deleveling debate, whenever a parent expressed worry regarding how teachers would manage to teach students of enormous skill difference in one class the Administration has had an answer: "Differentiated Instruction." Whenever a parent has questioned the effectiveness of one-sized-fits-all the Administration has had an answer: "Differentiated Instruction." Whenever someone has worried about a child falling behind their classmates or waiting for them to catch up the Administration has employed the mantra: "Differentiated Instruction." It's often said that "Differentiated Instruction" is a new term for an old idea. Teachers in the one-room schoolhouses of yore - where six-year olds and sixteen-year olds learned together - surely had to differentiate their instruction. Now, in the past twenty-five years as we have become more sensitive to the diverse individual needs in a student population of unprecedented diversity, attempting to differentiate instruction within classes - even leveled ones - has become a nationally used educational method. 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.
Students diagnosed with an emotional disturbance may be depressed and exhibit the symptom of a loss of interest or pleasure in things they used to enjoy. What is the term that means a "a loss of interest or pleasure in things one used to enjoy or an inability to experience pleasure ?
If you know the answer, send an email to contactus@naset.org
All answers must be submitted no later than Monday, December 12, 2011 at 12:00 p.m.

Higher Cardiac Risk Not Found in ADHD Medication Users

The use of medications indicated for the treatment of attention-deficit/ hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is not associated with an increased risk of serious cardiovascular events among children and young adults, finds a new study published online November 1 in the New England Journal of Medicine. For the study, William Cooper, M.D., M.P.H., of Vanderbilt University led a team of researchers in the retrospective analysis of electronic health records pooled from four large U.S. health plans serving diverse populations (Tennessee Medicaid, Washington State Medicaid, Kaiser Permanente California, and OptumInsight Epidemiology) from 1986 to 2005. The researchers linked information from these records with state death certificates and data from the National Death Index to verify reports of serious cardiovascular events, including sudden cardiac death, acute myocardial infarction, and stroke. To read more, click here

Invisible and Overlooked: Refugees with Disabilities

When the health clinic in a refugee camp is at the top of a hill and inaccessible for a woman who has lost her leg in a landmine accident, something is wrong. When the only people who can get to the front of the line during a food distribution following an earthquake are those who are strong and able-bodied, something is wrong. And when a child in a wheelchair can't get into a latrine because the door is just too narrow, something is wrong. As the UN High Commissioner for Refugees described in stark terms in 2009, the reality for most displaced persons with disabilities is dire: "Too often invisible, too often overlooked, refugees with disabilities are among the most isolated, socially excluded and marginalized of all displaced populations." To read more, click here

Disability Rights Advocates Warn of Special Education Cuts in Wisconsin

A statewide coalition of groups representing disabled people is trying to head off an effort by some Wisconsin school districts to gain more flexibility in spending for special education, warning that the move could reduce services to disabled students. The Survival Coalition of Wisconsin Disability Group sent a letter this week to federal education officials and members of the state's congressional delegation, urging them to stick with federal rules requiring school districts not to reduce the amount of money they spend on special education."Our state legislature has made deliberate choices in education funding priorities that have put pressure on (school districts) to reduce school funding," the letter says. To read more, click here

Jobs Data Mixed for People with Disabilities

Unemployment among Americans with disabilities dipped to the lowest level seen in over two years in November, but the jobs picture wasn't all rosy. The jobless rate for those with disabilities fell to 13 percent in November, the U.S. Department of Labor said Friday. That's down from 13.2 percent the month prior and represents the lowest unemployment rate on record for this group since April 2009. One reason for the decline, however, is that fewer Americans with disabilities were in the labor force, which includes those who are employed or looking for work. So, despite the lower unemployment rate, less people with disabilities were actually working. To read more, click here

UNICEF Calls for Children with Disabilities to be Included in all Development

Marking the International Day of Persons with Disabilities, UNICEF called on the global development community to focus greater attention and investment in helping children and young people with disabilities to realize their rights, and renewed the call for universal ratification of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. "Children with disabilities have the same rights as all children, and they deserve the same chance to make the most of their lives and to make their voices heard," said Anthony Lake, UNICEF Executive Director. "We need to break down the barriers that prevent full participation of children with disabilities - from programs that ignore their needs, to prejudice that discounts their ability to contribute." Children with disabilities are among the most marginalized and excluded groups of children. Compared to their peers, they are routinely denied access to health, education and social services. They are often excluded from opportunities to participate in their communities, and are more vulnerable to violence and abuse. To read more, click here



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

Two Palo Alto Campuses Test 'inclusion' Programs This Fall

Every month, parents at Barron Park Elementary School in Palo Alto are invited to an "inclusion coffee" to share their thoughts about a new pilot program at the school -- taking the inclusion of some special-education students to a significant new level. Where previously a student with disabilities might have spent most or all of the day in a "special day" class, initiatives on two Palo Alto campuses this fall are making some of those students permanent members of regular classrooms. In Nick Foote's third-grade classroom at Barron Park, for example, a boy whose autism previously would have kept him largely segregated is a full-fledged member of a class full of typically developing kids. Other children, fully aware of his differences, look out for him and -- when all else fails -- tend to gather around and hug him. To read more, click here

'Teaching Interns' Help Lacking Schools

Three months ago, at age 54, Jeffery O'Keefe embarked on the career of his dreams. Not running a multinational corporation or coaching a professional sports team -- although he does toss around a football fairly often throughout the day while teaching and coaching at Apache Junction High School. O'Keefe teaches math, science and life skills to kids with severe learning disabilities and spends most afternoons working as an assistant coach for the school's freshman football team. "I love it," said O'Keefe, who left a stressful career in public administration before making the career switch. "People complain about their lives. I say 'Change it.' You can reinvent yourself at any point in your life if you have the will and the energy." A key part of O'Keefe's new life is a relatively new type of teaching certificate granted by the Arizona Department of Education to people who already have college degrees and want to become public-school teachers but don't want to go back to college for another four years. To read more, click here

Did You Know That....

The most common type of diabetes, Type 2 develops because a person is insultin-resistant, meaning that the body is not using insulin properly at the same time it is producing relatively low amounts of insulin.

Clooney Flick Draws Criticism For Use Of 'Retarded'

George Clooney's new film "The Descendants" is getting some major Oscar buzz. But that's not why disability advocates are talking about the family drama. The film features Clooney as a father trying to connect with his daughters while his wife is on life support following a boating accident. A scene in the movie shows Clooney's character, Matt, in a heated exchange with his daughter's boyfriend, Sid, where both use the term "retarded" in a derogatory fashion. The exchange has disability advocates on edge, warning others on blogs and social networking sites to stay away from the film. To read more, click here

Adderall Shortage has Children with ADHD and their Parents Scrambling for Answers

Robbin Tenea calls it a game of musical pharmacies, one that has her driving all over town to fill her two children's prescriptions for Adderall to treat their attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. "It's extremely frustrating," Tenea said. And it's a game that's likely being played by many people, due to a national shortage of the drug at a time when some say it's needed most - the final weeks of school before winter break. "When I have a kid with ADHD, and he's not able to get his medicine, that's a problem," said Dr. Michael Bengtson, a pediatric and adolescent psychiatrist and associate professor at the University of South Florida. "I've been dealing with several families where this is an issue." What's causing the shortage? To read more,click here

Prozac May Lessen Autism Symptom in Adults

The antidepressant Prozac appears to be useful for treating a defining symptom of autism spectrum disorder -- repetitive, compulsive behavior. In a newly published study involving autistic adults, half of those who took Prozac (fluoxetine) experienced meaningful declines in repetitive behaviors. Earlier studies by the same researchers showed the antidepressant to be effective for reducing repetitive behaviors in children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD), although a study from another research team failed to show an effect with the antidepressantCelexa (citalopram). Prozac and Celexa are both selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) antidepressants. The latest study shows that treatment with an SSRI can have a positive impact on repetitive, compulsive behavior in autistic adults, just as it can in children, says study researcher Eric Hollander, MD, of the Albert Einstein College of Medicine and Montefiore Medical Center in Bronx, N.Y. To read more, click here

3-D TV Doesn't Raise Seizure Risk for Kids With Epilepsy

Children with epilepsy do not appear to face an increased risk for seizures while watching 3-D TV, a new German-Austrian study suggests. However, the results did reveal that about one in five of these children is vulnerable to other unpleasant reactions when viewing 3-D television, including nausea, headaches and dizziness. "Normal people have a very low risk to get a seizure while watching 3-D," explained study author Dr. Herbert Plischke, executive director of the University of Munich's Generation Research Program. In contrast, he noted that people with epilepsy --particularly children -- could be expected to have a "higher vulnerability" in terms of overall seizure risk in such a setting. However, among a group of young people with epilepsy, "we could not see any provoked seizure which was caused by 3-D," Plischke said. To read more, click here

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

Always continue the climb. It is possible for you to do whatever you choose, if you first get to know who you are and are willing to work with a power that is greater than ourselves to do it.
Ella Wheeler Wilcox
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