Week in Review - October 30, 2020




National Association of Special Education Teachers

October 30, 2020                    Vol 16 Issue #44

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 Q & A Corner

K-12 Public Schools in the Current COVID-19 Environment

The U.S. Department of Education’s (Department) Office for Civil Rights (OCR) issues the following technical assistance document to assist elementary and secondary (K-12) schools with meeting their obligations under the Federal civil rights laws enforced by OCR. In recent guidance, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has urged communities to “make every effort to support the reopening of schools safely for in- person learning in the fall” and advised local officials to consider a number of factors, including the importance of in-person education to the social, emotional, and academic growth and well-being of students, before making a decision to close schools for in-person learning. Along with the CDC, the Department strongly believes that “the unique and critical role that schools play” in supporting the health, safety, and well-being of their communities “makes them a priority for opening and remaining open.” This issue of NASET’s Q & A Corner will focus on questions and answers for K-12 public schools in the current COVID-19 environment. Read More


How Schools Can Build Physical Activity into Classroom Instruction

The length of physical activity that health experts recommend students get each day is 60 minutes. In the current environment, most are lucky if they get close to that. Instead of enjoying lengthy periods of recess on playgrounds and fields, millions of students have been confined to home spaces under virtual or hybrid models and sit in front of computer screens for hours. Even those who have in-person learning environments have had play time reduced. However, there are strategies to ensure that student wellness and that 60-minute mandate are met. It involves a creative, unorthodox twist – the integration of physical activity into classroom instruction. Read More


Teachers Get Tool Kit to Help Check Lessons for Cultural Sensitivity

Teachers in the Iowa City Community School District now can check their lessons for cultural responsiveness with a tool kit and submit them to a team of teachers for feedback. The tool kit was created by district Director of Diversity and Cultural Responsiveness Laura Gray for teachers to “circumvent possible missteps, especially in lessons on race, slavery and things that are extra sensitive right now in our current climate.” The tool kit, however, is not available to the public or to students. Diane Schumacher, the district’s executive director of teaching and learning, said the tool kit is another step in the district’s diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives to help teachers check their lesson plans. Read More


Maternal Hypothyroidism Linked to Risk for ADHD in Offspring

Exposure to maternal hypothyroidism during the periconceptual period is associated with an increased risk for childhood attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in offspring, according to a study published online Oct. 21 in the American Journal of Perinatology. Morgan R. Peltier, Ph.D., from the NYU-Long Island School of Medicine in Mineola, New York, and colleagues abstracted data from linked maternal-child medical records to examine the impact of maternal hypothyroidism prior to or during pregnancy on the risk for childhood ADHD. The researchers found that hypothyroidism diagnosed prior to or during pregnancy was associated with an increased risk for ADHD in children (adjusted hazard ratios [aHRs], 1.27 [95 percent confidence interval (CI), 1.15 to 1.41] and 1.17 [95 percent CI, 1.00 to 1.38], respectively). Read More


Parents and Educators Hope the Rise of Online Learning Lives on After the Pandemic, Report Finds.

Although the pandemic forced students into an abrupt shift to haphazard online learning earlier this year, a majority of parents and educators support the boom in education technology and hope online learning goes on after the public health emergency subsides, according to a new report. But researchers argued that the surge in digital education shouldn’t come at the expense of privacy protections that keep kids safe online — even if neither parents nor educators ranked that as an urgent concern. “Candidly, this was not something we expected to see” because of the challenges that came with transitioning to online learning so quickly, Elizabeth Laird, the senior fellow for student privacy at the nonprofit Center for Democracy and Technology, said during an Oct. 21 webinar. Read More


Texas Offers Grant Money for Special Education Students

Students with disabilities have suffered through the pandemic, especially through the changes and challenges of remote learning and the shuttering of schools and in-person learning that special education students rely upon. Some parents believe their children are losing valuable skills. In Texas, a new program that could help some of those families now has funding. Gov. Greg Abbott and the Texas Education Agency announced that nearly 59,000 students statewide are eligible to benefit from the Supplementary Special Education Services program. Families that qualify will receive access to a targeted spending account to purchase services costing up to $1,500 dollars per eligible student, according to the governor’s office. The money may be used for tutoring, therapy, and digital resources through vendors approved and vetted by the TEA. Read More




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

Parents of Children with Special Needs Feel Education Hindered with COVID-19 Learning Models

For children who have special needs and their parents, this school year is more challenging than ever. Jen Troska and Cassandra Bartelson are both mothers of four children. Troska lives in Moorhead and Bartelson lives in Fargo. They're dealing with similar yet different struggles. Jen's 8-year-old son, Johnathan, has autism. He not only loves going to school, he loves getting there, too. "He loves the big yellow bus and loves to get on the bus.," Troska said. Cassandra's 3-year-old daughter, Kenna, has mild autism, cerebral palsy and a breathing tube. She just started pre-school and in-home therapy this year. She misses in-person interaction the most. "She only has one other girl in her class with her; it's very small," Bartelson said. "Her teacher tells me she cheers my daughter on whenever she's doing therapy." Read More


TEA Program to Provide Funds to 20,000 Special Education Students for Effective Learning

The transition to virtual learning has been difficult for all parents, but for families of a student with disabilities, it’s harder. Now the Texas Education Agency (TEA) will give them money to get some extra support.  “He and I are just together every day,” Deborah Tomai, a mother to a 3rd grade special needs child said. Tomai has a 9-year-old son with Down syndrome. “I function as his paraprofessional at home, to help him stay engaged, to be creative about how he does the work,” she said. She says the support Edinburg ISD has continued to provide amidst online learning has been great, but the situation is still challenging. “If I were working, I don’t know how i would do it,” Tomai said. Read More


Could Hospital Visit Records Help Docs Spot ADHD, Autism Early?

Kids with autism or attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) go to the hospital more in their first year of life than children without these conditions, according to a new study. These findings suggest that keeping track of hospital visits may be a new way to identify these conditions early and that might improve outcomes and lower health care costs, researchers say. "This study provides evidence that children who develop autism and ADHD are on a different path from the beginning," said study lead author Dr. Matthew Engelhard, a senior research associate at Duke University in Durham, N.C. Read More


Smart Glasses Focus Attention with NASA Neurofeedback Technology

A new pair of smart glasses uses a technique invented at NASA to measure users’ brainwaves and tell them how well they’re paying attention. Others have used the NASA formula to help people train themselves to focus, as has the company’s founder, but Narbis’ new smart glasses are getting much quicker results. The technique is based on neurofeedback, detecting brainwaves and showing users a readout of their own brain activity. With practice, they can then learn to control it. NASA didn’t invent neurofeedback. But in the 1990s, a scientist working on pilot training at NASA’s Langley Research Center in Hampton, Virginia, came up with a way to translate brainwave output to characterize attention levels. More and more of a pilot’s job was being done by automated programs, and researchers were becoming concerned that pilots, being less engaged, would have trouble maintaining focus. Read More


Girls Better at 'Camouflaging' Traits of Autism

Girls with autism are flying under the radar of diagnosis because they're so good at camouflaging their behaviors, researchers have warned. Around one in every 100 people are on the autism spectrum and there are around 700,000 autistic adults and children in the UK, according to the National Autistic Society. And yet an autism diagnosis is made much more frequently, and at an earlier age, in males compared with females—at a rate of around four males to every female. A new study by experts from the Center for Innovation in Mental Health at the University of Southampton, Liverpool Hope University, and University College London, has shed further light on just how adept females are at hiding—or what has been termed 'camouflaging' - their autistic traits in order to fit in, a behavior that could see them dodging a diagnosis and failing to get the help they need. Read More




Congratulations to: Cindi Maurice, Karen Frantz-Fry, Olumide Akerele, Patsy Ray, and Laurie D'Amico who all knew the answer to last week's trivia question:

According to research done at the University of Montreal School of Psychoeducation in Quebec, Canada, girls who played after-school sports in elementary school seem to have fewer symptoms of what disorder once they reach middle school? (Note: The research included both boys and girls, but the effect of sports on specific symptoms associated with this disorder was only significant in girls. Girls, in particular, benefit from participation in sport when it comes to symptoms of this disorder).


This Week's Trivia Question: For people living with autism, finding a job can be an extremely difficult process. This automotive company is looking to fix that. People on the spectrum have some of the highest unemployment rates, but they’re qualified and smart enough to have good high paying jobs. That’s why this automotive company has worked to hire more people with autism over the last few years -- and it’s proving to be highly successful. In 2016, this automotive company partnered with the Autism Alliance of Michigan to introduce its program that focuses on hiring individuals who are on the autism spectrum. What is the name of this automotive company?

If you know the answer to this week's trivia questions, email it to us at contactus@naset.org by November 3, 2020. If you are correct, you will be acknowledged in next week's NASET's Week in Review


ASD Band Looks to Raise Autism Awareness by Example

For the first few months of the COVID19 pandemic, Spenser Murray was afraid to leave his house.  "I was literally scared to leave the house, like even just ordering groceries was like freaking me out," Murray says. "And I turned 30 during the pandemic and that was the point where I was still kind of really freaked out about going outside." Murray has Asperger's syndrome, a condition on the autism spectrum. Autism is a developmental disability and, while experiences can vary widely, it's common for people on the spectrum to have "some difficulty making sense of an aspect of the social world," pediatric neurologist David Black previously told NPR. Eventually, though, Murray had to leave his home because he had music to make. Murray is the drummer for a new band called ASD, named for Autism Spectrum Disorder because all five in the group are on the spectrum. Read More


Humans are Born with Brains 'prewired' to See Words

Humans are born with a part of the brain that is prewired to be receptive to seeing words and letters, setting the stage at birth for people to learn how to read, a new study suggests. Analyzing brain scans of newborns, researchers found that this part of the brain -- called the "visual word form area" (VWFA) -- is connected to the language network of the brain. "That makes it fertile ground to develop a sensitivity to visual words -- even before any exposure to language," said Zeynep Saygin, senior author of the study and assistant professor of psychology at The Ohio State University. The VWFA is specialized for reading only in literate individuals. Some researchers had hypothesized that the pre-reading VWFA starts out being no different than other parts of the visual cortex that are sensitive to seeing faces, scenes or other objects, and only becomes selective to words and letters as children learn to read or at least as they learn language. Read More


How Thousands of People with Disabilities Shape the Technology You Probably Use Every Day

You may not know Eugene Flaherty, an IT expert in Massachusetts who loves science fiction and has cerebral palsy, or Anne McQuade, a former software tester in Georgia who runs two book clubs and has low vision. Maybe you don’t know anyone who has called the Microsoft Disability Answer Desk or is known as a “Trusted Tester.” But they’re among the thousands who helped shape technology you probably use every day. Their voices and work are vital to Microsoft’s behind-the-scenes system of building technology that works for many millions of people with and without disabilities. If you’ve ever increased your mouse pointer size, you have McQuade’s experience to thank. If you use Narrator, a screen reader in Windows that reads text and buttons aloud, it was Disability Answer Desk customers who are blind or have low vision who suggested the idea for Narrator Home, a feature that makes the screen reader easier to use. And if you dictate messages on your device, it’s people like Flaherty who bolster research that helps it recognize what you say. Read More


Family Starts Outdoor Classroom for Students with Disabilities

Akron Public Schools offered Lyra Christensen, a student with Down Syndrome, specialized therapy, support in the classroom and a social network. Lyra, 8, was on-track to match her peers when the pandemic hit, parents Max Thomas and Holly Christensen said. But when APS closed in the spring, she fell behind. The district is still in remote learning, as the board of education looks to pinpoint a time for return as coronavirus cases in the state spike again. But Lyra’s education couldn’t wait. So Thomas and Christensen bought a tent and set up a pop-up classroom in the backyard. They opened the classroom to other local learners with disabilities, and hired recent Kent State graduate Declan McCaslin, or “Mr. M,” to lead lessons and help the kids navigate remote learning and appointments. Read More


Virtual Learning Poses Unique Challenges for Arizona’s 148,000 Students in Special Education Programs

Many Arizona schools stuck with virtual instruction this fall as the COVID-19 pandemic persists, but for the 148,000 children who take part in special education programs, the new online environment can be a particular challenge. When school started back in August, June Krafft was busy at home running from room to room, making sure her two young sons kept focused on their schoolwork. James, 3, and Christopher, 5, both attend Kingswood Elementary School in Surprise, in the preschool and kindergarten programs. The brothers, Krafft said, are on the autism spectrum. Christopher also has attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and has been taking medication for it since he was 4. Read More



* Educational Instructional Support Specialists - The Collaborative for Educational Services (CES) is seeking Educational Instructional Support Specialists to assist with onsite coordination of hybrid and/or remote teaching and learning. The Specialist will provide structure, onsite support and the connection to teachers as needed.  The Specialist's purpose is to make sure that students have what they need in order to actively, and successfully engage with their learning when done via remote instruction, or through a combination of in person and on-line (hybrid) programming. To learn more- Click here

* FT Special Education Teachers, (K-4, 5-8, 9-12) - PA Virtual has openings for Full Time Special Education Teachers at the Elementary, Middle and High School Levels. All teaching positions are remote and we require candidates to have a current, valid certification to teach in the state of Pennsylvania. The Teacher position is responsible for the planning, organization and implementation of an appropriate instructional program, in an elementary or secondary virtual learning environment. To learn more - Click here

* Special Education Teacher - A local school district in Charleston, SC has partnered with an industry leading healthcare job placement agency, to fill several vacant Special Education Teacher positions in Charleston, SC for the entire 2020-21 School Year. The Special Education Teacher is responsible for planning, coordinating and the provision of special education services to eligible students. This position assures adherence to timelines and federal and state requirements for special education services and the responsibility for monitoring compliance with Individualized Services Plans (ISP) and/or Individualized Education Plan (IEP). To learn more - Click here

* Special Education Teacher - Merakey is seeking a Special Education Teacher to join our Education Services within our Children's and Family division in our school in Chambersburg PA for the 2020-2021 school year. The Merakey Children's and Family Division focuses on a continuum of care throughout the lifespan. The core, fundamental principles of Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) are incorporated into a specialized approach across all service offerings. To learn more - Click here

* Special Education (Autism) PreK-4  - General responsibilities indlude aiding each student consistent with his or her abilities and educational needs. Develop competence in the basic learning skills, progress on the basis of achievement, and to qualify for further education and/or employment. To learn more - Click here

* Virtual Special Education Teacher Positions - K12 believes in education for everyone. We provide families an online option for a high-quality, personalized education experience. Students can thrive, find their passion, and learn in an environment that encourages discovery at their own pace. In support of this, we are committed to creating and maintaining a culture of inclusion and diversity. To learn more - Click here

* Special Education Teacher - $60,000/school year (185 days), summers off with year-round pay and year round appreciation. Special Education Teachers needed in Arizona (Phoenix and surrounding cities). Needs are in the self-contained and resource settings serving students with emotional disabilities (ED), Autism (A), Severe/Profound (S/P), and Intellectual Disabilities (ID). STARS is the largest school contract agency in AZ. STARS is owned and operated by Occupational Therapists. You will be an employee and receive full benefits - To learn more - Click here

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


Tell me and I forget, teach me and I may remember, involve me and I learn.

Benjamin Franklin

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