Week in Review - May 16, 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.



NASET News Team



NASET Outstanding Special Education Teacher Award Recipients Announced

The National Association of Special Education Teachers has awarded The NASET Outstanding Special Education Teacher Award to special education teachers and inclusion classroom teachers that have been nominated by their respective school, district administrators, colleagues or parents of students.  To view this year's recipients, click here



FDA Approves Strattera(R) for Maintenance of ADHD in Children and Adolescents

Eli Lilly and Company announced today that the United States Food and Drug Administration has approved Strattera for maintenance treatment of Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder in children and adolescents. Strattera, a selective norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor, is the first FDA-approved non-stimulant to treat ADHD in children, adolescents and adults. "The approval provides physicians and their patients with the first treatment option that is indicated for maintenance of ADHD," said Thomas J. Spencer, M.D., Associate Professor of Psychiatry, Harvard Medical School. "This is critical as ADHD may be a life-long disease and effective long-term control of symptoms may mean improved outcomes in children and adolescents." To read more, click here



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Teachers Give Job Prospects an 'F

The Federal government projects hundreds of thousands of opportunities on the horizon, but educators complain of low pay and layoffs. Jonathan Hash, a history teacher at Herbert Hoover High School in San Diego, is enthusiastic about the teaching career he began two years ago. But now he might lose his job because of a statewide budget crisis, and that could force him to leave teaching altogether.  "I love what I do, but I would like to have some security," said Hash, who makes $43,000 a year and just bought a home with his pregnant wife in one of the nation's most expensive housing markets. "I have a mortgage now and I have a kid on the way, so I have to do whatever I have to do to make ends meet."  Hash is considering joining family members in real estate or insurance. "That would definitely be changing careers and that's unfortunate, because I'm good at what I do," he said. "I really just want to help the kids."  To read more, click here



Officials Will Not Go Forward With Major Special Education Changes

In Michigan, Wayne County RESA officials will announce tonight that they will not go forward with a controversial plan to increase the number of students assigned to nearly triple the number severely impaired children each teacher has in a class.  The change, which will be formally announced at a public hearing tonight, came after the agency received more than 100 letters, phone calls and emails objecting to the change. Word spread to parents and educators of special ed students through a grassroots campaign and media reports, including an article in today's Free Press.  Instead Wayne RESA Special Education Director Mark Francis said he hopes to use the outpouring of dismay over the proposed changes to help convince Lansing legislators that more money is needed for these programs. Costs for these programs are increasing at a rate of 5% per year, while funding is only going up at a rate of 1% to 1.5% each year, Francis said.  To read more, click here



Vaccine Case Draws Attention To Autism

When The Augusta Chronicle began following the Mann quadruplets in October, there was little attention being paid to autism outside of the advocacy community and some researchers.  That all changed in March when it became public that attorneys for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services conceded late last year that 9-year-old Hannah Poling, of Athens, Ga., had "features of autism spectrum disorder" caused in part by a series of vaccinations she received in 2000.  The girl has a rare mitochondrial disorder and her condition was aggravated by the shots, the government contended in a court filing. The department, however, was quick to point out that it was not an admission that vaccines cause autism, and the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention held a teleconference to emphasize that all of the science points to no link between the two.  To read more,click here


Autism Awareness Training Eyed For Law Enforcement

Many parents don't worry much about having police and firefighters interact with their children, especially during emergencies. But Michelle Smigel worries because her son has autism, and she's concerned at how he'd respond in an emergency to first responders who haven't been fully trained to recognize and interact with people with the developmental disability. "If a firefighter was yelling at him to get away from a burning building, he would probably run back in," the Allendale resident said. Smigel is among a growing number of people worried that interactions between police, emergency medical workers and firefighters and people with autism easily go awry. That has led states like New Jersey to weigh mandated autism awareness training.  To read more, click here

Board Certification in Special Education - Available to NASET

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 Education establishes a much needed standard for professionals, across disciplines, who work with exceptional children.   For more information on Board Certification in Special Education, click here


High-Fat Ketogenic Diet Gives Relief From Seizures

Lydia Becket was only 1 year old when the seizures started -- wracking convulsions that came in waves, often several a day. For the next two years, her parents tried one medication after another: Tegretol, phenobarbital and Topamax. The same drugs that bring relief to many children with epilepsy just made her sicker.  Then Lydia's medical team put her on a ketogenic -- or high-fat, low-carbohydrate -- diet. Within a week, she was seizure-free."I don't know where we would be if it wasn't for that diet," says her mother, Camilla Becket, who has chronicled the stories of several families coping with epilepsy in the film "</font><font face="Times New Roman">Childhood Epilepsy: What You Need to Know</font><font face="Times New Roman">." To read more,click here


New School Program Utilizes Teachers

Clovis Municipal Schools in New Mexico is having success with special needs students using a system that utilizes two teachers in classrooms, according to school officials. Called inclusion teachers, both give tests, ask questions and direct discussions. In some classes, students with an individualized educational plan are mixed with other students. Inclusion teachers are aware of which students have an IEP, but the students in the classes aren't. Principal Alan Dropps at Yucca Middle School said he feels that the program has come into its prime. "We've started to understand what it takes to be successful with inclusion," Dropps said. Inclusion teachers work together in the core classes of math, English, science and social studies at the secondary level. Dropps said the format is the least restrictive environment for students who need more help than others. To read more,click here


Gene Breakthrough To Help Women With Epilepsy And Mental Retardation

Australian scientists have played a vital role in the discovery of a mutant gene linked to a rare condition that causes epilepsy and mental retardation in women. The condition, known as EFMR, is found only in particular families and among women. The new research has for the first time linked a large family of genes known as protocadherins to the condition, the cause of which has never been understood before. In one of the families studied, 23 women were affected by the disorder across five generations. Girls with the condition appear normal at birth but start having seizures at about one year of age. Their development then becomes slowed and they grow up to be intellectually disabled, with some unable to feed or dress themselves. Because EFMR combines the relatively common ailments of epilepsy and mental retardation, the research has implications for millions of sufferers worldwide. To read more,click here


School Advocates Distance Learning: Founder Says Special Needs Can Be Met Via Web

A charter school's founder is betting that instruction by Internet will be a good way reach to kids who have given up on formal education or whose lives are too complicated for an 8-to-3 school day. Many of these students have self-esteem issues. A 16-year-old, for instance, might have seventh-grade math ability, but doesn't want to go to class with 12- and 13-year-olds. Students with learning disabilities often lose a large part of their day in transportation to specialized schools far from their home. Their time might be better spent at home in front of a computer. </font><font face="Times New Roman">Wayne Tanaka</font><font face="Times New Roman">, the executive director of the new </font><font face="Times New Roman">Delta Academy</font><font face="Times New Roman">, formerly known as </font><font face="Times New Roman">Westcare Charter School</font><font face="Times New Roman">, likes online education for the flexibility it offers in meeting the educational needs of students with varying abilities and personal crises such as drug abuse and troubles with the law.  To read more,click here


Accessibility Format For Blind Gets Boost From Microsoft

The release of an esoteric plug-in for a 20-year-old piece of software normally doesn't merit much attention - except when the software is the ubiquitous Microsoft Word and the add-on could have a major positive effect on the 1.5 million blind or visually impaired Americans who use computers, the millions more like them around the globe, and, potentially, tens or hundreds of millions of people worldwide with developmental disabilities or reading problems. Earlier this week, Microsoft announced the availability of a plug-in (downloadable from openxmlcommunity.org) that lets users of Word 2007, 2003 and XP easily save documents in the DAISY (Digital Accessible Information SYstem) XML format. DAISY XML is the latest iteration of a decade-old standard developed by the DAISY Consortium, a leading nonprofit group serving the vision-impaired, to be the most accessible format for blind computer users.  To read more,click here

NASET Offering Members Two Million Dollar Educator

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


Daytrana Found Effective Against ADHD Symptoms

Biopharmaceutical company Shire said its findings from an analysis reaffirmed that DAYTRANA or methylphenidate transdermal system has an established safety profile and effectively controlled Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder or ADHD symptoms in both boys and girls aged 6 to 12 years for the duration of the study. DAYTRANA is the first and only non-oral medication for treating ADHD in children aged 6 to 12 years. This analysis was conducted using data from an open-label, flexible dose, 12-month extension study in which 326 children received DAYTRANA. The primary objective of this study was to investigate the long-term safety profile of ADHD treatment with DAYTRANA, and the secondary objective examined the efficacy of the medication between genders. This subanalysis was conducted to examine treatment differences between boys and girls receiving DAYTRANA.  To read more, click here



Court to Hear Families on Vaccine-Autism Link: Most Medical Experts Say Link Nonexistent

For the second time this year, families claiming that vaccinations triggered autism in their young children will head to a federal court to determine whether they are eligible to collect damages from the government.  The case, which begins today, offers two 10-year-old boys from Portland, Ore. - William Mead and Jordan King - as test cases for the theory that thimerosal-containing vaccines, on their own, cause autism.  To read more, click here



Food for Thought........

"Nothing you do for children is ever wasted.  They seem not to notice us, hovering, averting our eye, and they seldom offer thanks, but what we do for them is never wasted."                                  

Garrison Keillor

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