Week in Review - Apr. 11, 2008


Articles of Interest in Special Education That Were Reported This Week

<Welcome to NASET's WEEK in REVIEW.  Here, we provide you with some of the most interesting issues 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.Sincerely,
NASET News Team



NASET Members in the News


Congratulations to Dr. Roger Pierangelo and Dr. George Giuliani, Executive Directors of NASET, for their presentation at the Council for Exceptional Children conference held in Boston, MA last week.  Drs. Pierangelo and Giuliani gave a presentation titled "Using a New Universal Multi-Level Coding System in the Classification of Students with Disabilities".  Their research stems from the publication of their book, The Educator's Diagnostic Manual of Disabilities and Disorders (EDM), published by Jossey Bass.  EDM provides all the information needed - including definitions, symptoms, characteristics, and types - for the most significant educational disabilities and disorders, presented in a user-friendly format. Using the reauthorized IDEA 2004 Act as a frame of reference, this book is ideal for coding and mapping to IEPs - the individualized education plans that are key to special education funding. The very first manual created specifically for education professionals, EDM addresses a range of disorders and relates their significance to classroom practice.  To read more about EDM, click here


High School Seniors with Disabilities Required to Pass Exit Exam


High school seniors in special-education classes will be required for the first time this year to pass California's exit exam to qualify for a diploma after lawyers for the disabled failed to get them an exemption. A legal settlement, expected to be filed today in Alameda County Superior Court, will end a 7-year-old lawsuit that challenged a state law requiring all students - including those with mental or physical disabilities - to pass the test of basic math and English skills to graduate. Passing the exit exam became a requirement for all seniors in 2006, but lawyers from Disability Rights Advocates in Berkeley won exemptions for special-education students in 2006 and 2007. Both sides said today's settlement includes no exemptions. That means Shaneka "Precious" Washington and other seniors in special education who have met all other graduation requirements will not get diplomas on graduation day unless they pass the test in time. To read more, click here


Parent-Teacher Conferences: Make Them Effective


Unfortunately, parents often leave parent-teacher conferences feeling bombarded with jargon and statistics and understanding nothing. This serves no purpose. Successful parent-teacher conferences need to be practical and should give parents a positive message that the school and home need to work together to promote the child's greatest chance of meeting her potential. To make conferences "positive" for parents, Dr. Roger Pierangelo and Dr. George Giuliani (as Executive Directors of the National Association of Special Education Teachers; NASET) have developed practical suggestions for making conferences "positive" for teachers and parents.  To read more, click here



Special Education Funding Bill for Review by Governor of Illinois


If Gov. Rod Blagojevich of IL. signs legislation sponsored by State Rep. John Bradley, D-Marion, to restore special education funding to several Southern Illinois schools, 225 schools in the state stand to receive the much needed funding. "The schools in our region are already facing budget crunches and special education is important for both students and our communities," Bradley said. "This funding, if released by the governor as it should be, will help make sure the appropriate personnel and services exist for our special needs children to utilize."  To read more, click here



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Households with Children with Autism Likely To Earn Less


New research suggests that the average household with children with autism not only spends thousands of dollars toward educational, behavioral and health care expenses each year, but also suffers from a lesser-known cost that hits them up front -- a sizeable chunk of missed household income, perhaps as much as $6,200 annually.  The study, published in April's edition of Pediatrics, paints a more detailed financial picture of how expensive life can become for parents of children with an autism spectrum disorder.  To read more, click here

Newly Awarded Autism Centers of Excellence to Further Autism Research


The National Institutes of Health (NIH) announced the latest recipients of the Autism Centers of Excellence (ACE) program. These grants will support studies covering a broad range of autism research areas, including early brain development and functioning, social interactions in infants, rare genetic variants and mutations, associations between autism-related genes and physical traits, possible environmental risk factors and biomarkers, and a potential new medication treatment.  The ACE program encompasses research centers and research networks. The research centers foster collaborations between teams of specialists who share the same facility so that they can address a particular research problem in depth. ACE networks consist of researchers at many facilities in locations throughout the country, all of whom work together on a single research question.  To read more, click here


Without Substance: ADHD Meds Don't Up Kids' Drug Abuse Risk


Stimulants have long been prescribed to children diagnosed with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, or ADHD. Over the past decade, child psychiatrists have debated the long-term potential for these medications to trigger drug abuse. Two new studies indicate that the stimulants do not increase children's risk of abusing cocaine, nicotine, and other drugs as adults. Although these findings come as a relief to child psychiatrists, not all the news is good. The new investigations, already published online and slated to appear in the May American Journal of Psychiatry, underscore earlier evidence that youngsters with ADHD frequently become drug abusers, whether or not they take prescribed stimulants. To read more, click here


Early Intervention Helps Children with Autism Succeed


Wyoming has about 212 students, kindergarten through 12th grade, with undiagnosed autism, according to Dr. Diane Edwards, a Casper developmental pediatrician. The figure is based on an estimate by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention last year that suggested one in 150 8-year-olds have autism, a spectrum disorder defined by certain behaviors which can include communication difficulties, socialization and play differences, and unique interests. "About 40 percent are undiagnosed and these kids will be hitting the schools," Edwards said. Edwards will be holding an autism screening event in Casper on Friday to identify more children and get them the help they need. To read more, click here



NASET Offering Members Two Million Dollar Educator Liability Insurance for Less Than $10.00 a Month


Every day special educators are faced with the stresses and potential liability issues involved in dealing with children with special needs. As a result you may be vulnerable to lawsuits, which have been on the rise over the last few years, from parents, or students themselves. In the past decade, the number of suits filed against educators and administrators has risen dramatically, causing the cost of insurance to increase as well. While some special educators may feel that they do not need this type of coverage and they are protected by their district, they should think twice. Even if you are 100% innocent of the charges or accusations, legal costs alone could run into the thousands and sometimes tens of thousands of dollars. In special education today, parents - and students - are more aware of their rights, and the laws that govern special education and hold teachers/educators to high standards. Don't try to convince yourself that the expense of your professional and public liability protection is unnecessary or unjustified. Experience shows that the cost of such coverage is by far lower than the risk a teacher takes by not having such protection. Why take a chance for less than $10.00 a month? To learn more about educator liability insurance available through NASET, click here


A Nation at Risk:  The Imperative for Educational Reform

Twenty-five years ago, the federal government report "A Nation at Risk: The Imperative for Educational Reform" launched an era of efforts to improve public schools that continues today. The authors used combative language, starting with the title, to issue a call to action to elected officials and educators to set new academic standards and improve teacher quality. The report was the product of an 18-member panel assembled in 1981 by Terrel H. Bell, who was secretary of education at the time, to examine the public education system.  To read more, click here


Right Way To Grade Teachers

Chancellor Joel Klein of New York City's Department of Education and superintendents from other parts of the state are opposing language in the budget bill clarifying last year's agreement that teachers shouldn't be evaluated on student test scores; they should be assessed on how they use test scores and other data to adjust their teaching to help students improve. This enlightened approach to tenure decisions is something that the Legislature and the governor agreed last year was eminently reasonable. The approach is akin to judging doctors on how they use the results of blood tests, X-rays, and the like to prescribe a course of treatment. The plan, agreed upon last year, represents recognition of a real problem. Using student test scores for evaluating teachers is just as flawed a premise as using them as the sole criteria to judge children.  To read more, click here


Food for Thought........

No dreamer is ever too small; no dream is ever too big. 

                                                                   Author Unknown



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