Week in Review - July 10, 2020





National Association of Special Education Teachers

July 10, 2020                    Vol 16 Issue #28


Dear NASET Members and Guests,

Welcome to NASET's WEEK in REVIEW.  Here, we provide you with the latest publications fromNASET 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's Resolving Disputes with Parents Series

Dispute Resolution Procedures in the Current COVID-19 Environment

The Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP), within the U.S. Department of Education’s (Department) Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services, has created a Question and Answer (Q & A) document in response to inquiries concerning implementation of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) Part B dispute resolution procedures in the current COVID-19 environment. This issue of NASET’s Resolving Disputes with Parents series resents these questions and answers from OSEP.

Read More

Americans with Disabilities Act Turns 30

It's been 30 years since disability-rights activists saw President George H.W. Bush sign the Americans with Disabilities Act into law. The civil rights legislation prohibits discrimination based on ability. Christiano Sosa, executive director of The Arc of Colorado, said that what has come to be known as the "curb-cut effect," changes required under the ADA to remove barriers for full participation in society, have benefited everyone. "When curbs were cut for people in wheelchairs," she said, "pretty soon, people with strollers walking their babies were able to benefit from those cuts in the sidewalk." Critics of the ADA argued that the costs of improving accessibility would be too high and hurt businesses. After the legislation stalled in Congress, dozens of disability-rights activists shed their crutches and wheelchairs and crawled up all 100 of the U.S. Capitol building's front steps. The ADA was signed into law four months later. Read More


Special Education Programs Face Unique Challenges Heading Back to School

Special education teachers, parents, and students faced unique obstacles from school closures due to COVID-19. The specifics of many school reopening plans are still uncertain, leaving teachers and parents concerned about getting their children back to routine in the fall. Everything changed this spring for Olivia Andrews, a student in Johnson City School’s special ed program. She was happy to reunite with her teacher, Kaylea Shelton, after finishing 8th grade virtually. “This virus has flipped us upside down,” said Olivia. Shelton said the halt to in-person learning has been the biggest challenge of her teaching career. “Nothing compared to this,” she said. “Having to completely change how I’m teaching these kids that I work in small groups and one-on-one with on a daily basis.” Read More



Report: Pennsylvania Charters Game The Special Education System

In a new report, Education Voters of Pennsylvania looks at “how an outdated law wastes public money, encourages gaming the system, and limits school choice.” Fixing the Flaws looks at how Pennsylvania’s two separate funding systems have made students with special needs a tool for charter gaming of the system, even as some of them are shut out of the system entirely. The two-headed system looks like this. Public schools receive special education funding based on the actual costs of services, while charter schools are funded with a one-size-fits-all system that pays the same amount for all students with special needs, no matter what those special needs might be.  Pennsylvania’s Special Education Funding Formula recognizes three levels of cost. Tier 1 is minimal interventions (e.g., a student who needs one speech therapy session per week). Tier 2 students need larger interventions, such as a separate classroom or physical therapy. Read More


Closed Day Programs Add Pressure on Families Supporting People with Autism

Brandon Duncan describes himself as fearless. So when he first heard news reports about the novel coronavirus, the 30-year-old wasn’t afraid for himself.  “I’m like, how is this going to affect Danny?” he says. Danny is Brandon’s younger brother. He’s 25 and has a severe form of autism. He mostly doesn’t speak, which his mother says can make it difficult to tell what he needs or if something is wrong. “You have to kind of play a guessing game and figure it out,” Connie Duncan says. “It’s a challenge, but we don’t know any different, so it’s normal to us.”  Connie says Danny is like a toddler – he needs constant supervision. During the week, that used to come from Stone Belt, a Bloomington-based nonprofit that supports hundreds of people with disabilities in south-central Indiana. At Stone Belt, Danny could spend his day doing art projects and playing games with other people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Read More


Parents of Teen with Autism Discuss Coping Mechanisms During COVID-19

While conditions are gradually changing to allow more in person contact during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic quarantine, autistic children and their parents are are continuing to face new challenges. Not only are families suffering from reduced income, closed schools, and closed day programs, but individualized educational and vocational supports sometimes cannot be delivered remotely or are more limited in hours per week or scope. Donna S. Murray, PhD. is vice president of clinical programs and head of the Autism Treatment Network (ATN) at Autism Speaks. She recently spoke to Jersey Shore Online/Micromedia Publications about the issues facing families with autistic children. “Many appointments have shifted to telehealth, which is a great alternative but may not be the right fit for every child.  There is also an overall lack of connection with the community.” Read More


Early Exposure to Traffic-Related Air Pollution Linked to Increased Risk of Neurodevelopmental Disorders

Is there a link between traffic-related air pollution and neurodevelopmental disorders? Researchers at the University of California, Davis have just released a study — based on rodent models — that corroborates previous epidemiological evidence showing the effects of traffic-related pollution on the brain. Their findings are scary and should make anyone who isn’t driving an electric vehicle inspired to get right out there and buy one. As far back as 2012, CleanTechnica started reporting on the public health implications of exposure to traffic-related air pollution during pregnancy and during the first year of life and the risk of autism. Researchers had been chronicling connections between proximity to busy roadways and neurodevelopmental disorders such as autism. Read More


NASET ADVOCACY - Board Certification for Advocacy in Special Education (BCASE)

D.C. Teachers Say They’re Concerned about Returning to in-Person Classes this Fall

Teachers in D.C. Public Schools are pushing back against preliminary plans to reopen schools in the fall, arguing the city school system has not adequately addressed health and safety concerns. In an email sent Tuesday night, school system officials told teachers that classes will involve a mix of in-person and virtual instruction. Teachers were asked to fill out a form indicating their plans for next school year and could choose between two options: return to teach in-person, or take a leave of absence because they are at high risk of contracting the coronavirus, or live with someone who is. Elizabeth Davis, president of the Washington Teachers’ Union, said she was dismayed that school system leaders asked teachers to return to campuses before providing “a fully developed plan for how we safely and effectively resume instruction.” Read More


Virginia Earns Highest Special Education Rating Again

Virginia has once again been recognized with the U.S. Department of Education's highest rating for improving outcomes for students with disabilities. The Virginia Department of Education reports this is the eighth consecutive year Virginia has been given a "Meets Requirements" designation under the DOE's accountability system for special education. According to a release, this rating is based on student outcomes and compliance with the federal Individuals with Disabilities Education Act in the 2017-2018 school year. The annual federal IDEA report card scores shows the participation and performance of students with disabilities on state and national reading and math tests as well as state success rates in improving for special education students. It also includes indicators that are related to discipline, the identification of minority students for special ed services, evaluating students for services, and the development of individual education programs. Read More


Marijuana Use While Pregnant Boosts Risk of Children's Sleep Problems

Use marijuana while pregnant, and your child is more likely to suffer sleep problems as much as a decade later, according to a new University of Colorado Boulder study of nearly 12,000 youth. Published in Sleep Health: The Journal of The National Sleep Foundation, the paper is the latest to link prenatal cannabis use to developmental problems in children and the first to suggest it may impact sleep cycles long-term. It comes at a time when -- while the number of pregnant women drinking alcohol and smoking cigarettes has declined in the United States -- It has risen to 7% of all pregnant women as legalization spreads and more dispensaries recommend it for morning sickness. Read More


Apgar Score Effective in Assessing Health of Preterm Infants

The vitality of preterm infants should be assessed with an Apgar score, a tool used to measure the health of newborns immediately after birth. That is the conclusion by researchers at Karolinska Institutet in Sweden who in a large observational study examined the value of Apgar scores for preterm infants. The findings are published in the New England Journal of Medicine. The so-called Apgar score has been used since the 1950s to quickly assess the vitality of the infant soon after birth. Doctors and midwifes measure five parameters in the infant -- heart activity, respiration, muscle tone, irritability and color -- and give each parameter a score from 0-2. The total score can thus range from 0 to 10, where a higher number indicates better health and a greater chance of survival. Read More



Infant Sleep Problems Can Signal Mental Disorders in Adolescents

Specific sleep problems among babies and very young children can be linked to mental disorders in adolescents, a new study has found. A team at the University of Birmingham's School of Psychology studied questionnaire data from the Children of the 90s, a UK-based longitudinal study which recruited pregnant mothers of 14,000 babies when it was set up almost three decades ago. They found that young children who routinely woke up frequently during the night and experienced irregular sleep routines were associated with psychotic experiences as adolescents. They also found that children who slept for shorter periods at night and went to bed later, were more likely to be associated with borderline personality disorder (BPD) during their teenage years. Read More


School Absenteeism has Surprising Consequences for Adults

Kids who miss a lot of school from kindergarten to eighth grade may suffer unexpected costs as young adults, a new study finds. Researchers found that those who were more regularly absent in these early years of school were less likely to vote, reported having greater economic difficulties and had poorer educational outcomes when they were 22 to 23 years old. The results suggest early school absenteeism should be taken more seriously, said Arya Ansari, lead author of the study and assistant professor of human sciences at The Ohio State University. "There's this misconception, especially among parents, that it doesn't matter as much if kids miss school early on -- that it only becomes important when they get to middle or high school," said Ansari, who is also a researcher at Ohio State's Crane Center for Early Childhood Research and Policy. Read More


New Treatment for Common Form of Muscular Dystrophy Shows Promise in Cells, Animals

Researchers have designed a potential new treatment for one of the most common forms of muscular dystrophy, according to a new study published today in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Toshifumi Yokota, professor of medical genetics at the University of Alberta, led a team from Canada and the U.S. to create and test synthetic DNA-like molecules that interfere with the production of a toxic protein that destroys the muscles of people who have facioscapulohumeral muscular dystrophy (FSHD). FSHD occurs in one in 8,000 people and causes progressive weakness in the muscles of the face, shoulders and limbs. Onset is usually in the teens or early adulthood. Some patients have trouble breathing; many use a wheelchair. All face lifelong disability. Read More


Brain Responses to Social Stimuli May Vary by Sex in Autism

Girls diagnosed with autism may find social interaction more rewarding than autistic boys do, according to a new study focused on the brain’s reward system. “It may be a critical variable that can influence the way girls with autism present as opposed to boys,” says lead investigator Mirella Dapretto, professor of psychiatry and biobehavioral studies at the University of California, Los Angeles. Previous studies have found that the brain’s reward system does not react strongly to social stimuli in people with autism in general, suggesting that they find social interaction less rewarding than typical people do. But much of that work has been done in boys: Across 13 studies, for example, 90 percent of the study participants were boys or men, according to a 2018 review. Read More


Special Education Teachers Gear Up for Challenges in the Fall

While school districts are trying to figure out how to plan their fall semester during a pandemic, teachers who work with students with learning disabilities are getting ready for new challenges. The first step was making sure students got a computer with a webcam to get the support they need. “Students with learning disabilities need to be able to see the teacher,” said Crear-Horton, who works in special education with fifth and sixth graders in Midfield Schools. Miss Horton, a beloved teacher in Midfield, began teaching digitally this spring. For students who struggle with reading and writing, technology has provided helpful tools. “Voice typing has been very beneficial,” said Crear-Horton. Through the online programs, students can have sentences read and re-read to them as well. Read More


Congratulations to: Olivia Strozier, Susan Kalter, Patsy Ray, Olumide Akerele, Karen Frantz-Fry, Danelle Fugate, Daniel Rayder, and Angela Fernandez who all knew the answer to last week's trivia question:

p>For the first time in history, “go take your medicine” now can mean, “go play a video game”. A digital competitor is heading into the space—a prescription video game that’s meant to help children with a specific disorder. The product is Boston-based digital health firm Akili’s EndeavorRx, and it’s the first of its kind to gain Food and Drug Administration (FDA) clearance. EndeavorRx is designed to directly target and activate neural systems through the presentation of sensory stimuli and motor challenges to improve cognitive functioning. What is the disorder EndeavorRx is designed to directly target?




* Learning Specialist Teacher - The primary responsibility of the Bennett Day School Learning Specialist is to support the academic and developmental needs of the Bennett Day School community. We seek a Learning Specialist Teacher who will work in close partnership with students, faculty, and families to provide support and direction connected to academic and developmental growth of students in grades Senior Kindergarten through Seventh Grade. To learn more - Click here

* Chief Executive Officer - St. Coletta of Greater Washington is seeking an experienced Chief Executive Officer to lead and manage the organization while achieving educational and operational goals. This person will be responsible for strategically growing St. Coletta with an eye toward achieving success not only for the school, but for the children and adults that benefit from their services.To Learn more - Click here

* Asst Supt - Exceptional Children - The Assistant Superintendent for Special Education Services is a critical leadership role that directly affects the acceleration of improved student outcomes for GCS’s 10,534 students with special needs. This role directs, monitors and strengthens programs and ensures all services are implemented within federal, state, and local regulations. To learn more - Click here

* Education Specialist - We are always looking for compassionate, exceptional educators to join our SPED Team (grades K-5 or 6-8) ! You’ll work collaboratively with your colleagues to drive the achievement of all students in your grade level. You will be encouraged and supported to lead engaging, personalized, and rigorous lessons that integrate our four pillars: Heart, Smart, Think, and Act. To learn more - Click here

* High School Special Education Teacher - New Trier High School is a large, high-achieving school in the northern suburbs of Chicago with two campuses in Northfield and Winnetka, Illinois. The outstanding Special Education department is large and comprehensive. To learn more - Click here

* Diverse Learner Teacher - We are seeking experienced full-time Diverse Learner Teachers (K-8 Grades) to join CICS Avalon, CICS Basil, and CICS Washington Park Campuses for the 2020-2021 school year. A Diverse Learner Teacher holds primary responsibility for providing academic, emotional, and physical services for students who require additional support to thrive within the school’s core academic program. To learn more - Click here

* Special Education Teacher - We are looking for highly motivated and skilled Special Education teachers to join our team at District of Columbia Public Schools (DCPS). DCPS serves more than 51,000 students through the e?orts of approximately 4,000 educators in 117 schools. DCPS intends to have the highest-performing, best paid, most satis?ed, and most honored educator force in the nation and a distinctive central o?ce sta? whose work supports and drives instructional excellence and signi?cant achievement gains for DCPS students. To learn more- Click here

* Special Education Teacher - Environmental Charter Schools is seeking a talented and dynamic Special Education Teacher who is passionate about preparing low-income students of color for college success. The mission of the Environmental Charter Schools (ECS) is to reimagine public education in low-income communities of color to prepare conscious, critical thinkers who are equipped to graduate from college and create a more equitable and sustainable world. To learn more - Click here

If you are an Employer looking for excellent special education staff - Click here for more information


No one cares how much you know, until they know how much you care.

Theodore Roosevelt

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