Week in Review - October 17, 2008



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

Dear NASET Members,

Welcome to NASET's WEEK in REVIEW.  Here, we provide you the latest publications from NASET for you to read and download, as well as 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 <//a>news@naset.org.

Have a great weekend.

NASETNews Team

New This Week on NASET: Journal of the American Academy of Special Education Professionals (JAASEP),   

RTI Roundtable & LD Report

Journal of the American Academy of Special Education Professionals Fall 2008 JAASEP 


In this issue:


  • Social Skills Training: Evaluating its Effectiveness for Students with Learning Disabilities, Emotional, and Behavioral Disorders
  • Assessment Beyond IQ
  • A Qualitative Study of Students with Behavioral Problems Participating in Service-Learning
  • Incorporating Research Based Strategies to Empower Educational Staff in Supporting Students with EBD
  • Steps for Special Education Teachers to Take to Appropriately Service Students Who Practice Islam
  • Inclusive Education
  • Perceptual Differences in Quality Standards Among Teachers and Related Service
  • Personnel Who Work with Students with Emotional/Behavioral Disorders
  • Understanding Dyslographia (Chinese Dysgraphia) and What is Known About the Disorder

NASET members can access a PDF file of this publication (Login Required) - CLICK HERE


Please note: The PDF file is 2.2 MB - The direct link to AASEP for NASET members is under repair and the only access to this issue is the PDF file. 


RTI Roundtable

Parent Involvement in the RTI Model


Parent involvement in a tiered service-delivery model, or any service-delivery system, should be characterized by consistent, organized, and meaningful two-way communication between school staff and parents with regard to student progress and related school activities. Through this communication, parents are enabled to play an important role in their child's education by assisting in the learning and by being involved in decision making as it affects tier-level instruction to increase their child's achievement.  The focus of this issue of the RTI Roundtable will be to discuss the importance of  parent involvement in the RTI model.

  • What Does IDEA State About Parental Involvement?
  • What Should Parents Know About the RTI Program in Their School?
  • What Questions Should Parents Ask About RTI in Their Schools?
  • Are There Standards for Judging Parent Involvement?
  • Are There Measures Used to Judge Parent Involvement?

To Read More:CLICK HERE(login Required)


LD Report

Assessment Measure Used to Determine Learning Disabilities in Students

A learning disability usually has a history that can be traced to a child’s early years in school. Many schools use kindergarten screening programs to identify high-risk children. It is normally at this stage that some signs of a potential problem may be noticed. As the child progresses through school and the work demands increase, the symptoms of a possible learning disability may become more apparent. Once these symptoms are recognized, the child is usually referred to the child study team, a local school-based team, to determine whether a suspected disability exists. If the study team suspects that the student has a disability, a referral is made to the multidisciplinary team for a comprehensive assessment. This assessment will cover many areas, including reading, writing, spelling, math, and perceptual, cognitive, psychological and social skills. Other areas of information will be gathered as well from the classroom teacher, parent, and the student. If the comprehensive assessment indicates the presence of a learning disability, the child will receive special education services and supports. In most cases these services and supports can be maintained in the regular education setting through resource room, inclusion, or special education classes. The focus of this LD Report will describe some of the most commonly used measures for assessment of learning disabilities.

To Read More:CLICK HERE(login Required)


Promotional ADHD Drug Video Draws FDA's Rebuke

A YouTube video featuring a reality television personality touting a Shire attention-deficit disorder drug has gotten the pharmaceutical company in trouble with the Food and Drug Administration. Last week, the FDA issued a warning letter to Shire - a Basingstoke, England, company that has its U.S. headquarters in Chester County - in which it told Shire to pull the plug on the video. Shire spokesman Matt Cabrey said the video in question, which features former company spokesman Ty Pennington of the "Extreme Makeover" television show, was removed from both YouTube and company-managed Web sites in May. In the video, Pennington, who suffers from attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), talks about how Shire's ADHD medicine Adderall XR has helped him. The FDA said the video and other materials on a company-managed Web site violate the U.S. Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act by overstating the efficacy of Adderall XR and suggesting uses for the drug not approved by the federal agency. To read more,click here


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Co-Teaching Initiatives Beginning To Take Hold

Local co-teaching initiatives, which have been sparked by a national co-teaching model created by the No Child Left Behind Act, are beginning to take hold in area school districts. The overall concept of co-teaching simply refers to two teachers from two different fields in general and special education working together with a combined group of students while teaching the same standard curriculum. Co-teaching gives access to curriculum that some students would otherwise not be able to access. For example, special education teachers might not be certified in a specific content area, such as math, social studies, English and science. By co-teaching with a general education teacher, a special education teacher can offer his/her students instructional and behavioral support so that their disabilities will not impact their ability to fully participate in a combined classroom setting, thus gaining access to general education curriculum. To read more,click here


Parents Protest Special Education Activities in High School

Is picking up trash, weeding or collecting recyclables part of an appropriate education for special-education students? Not if their parents don't give permission, says Bernie Dalien, a father in the Puyallup School District. Dalien has been picketing district headquarters and Puyallup High School since last Monday to let the public know that he believes special-education students are, as his signs say, "doing janitor work without parent's knowledge." He says his son, 17-year-old Colton Dalien, was routinely collecting recycling paper throughout Aylen Junior High two years ago, but the father didn't find out until two students told him earlier this year. He wonders if the youth might also have been collecting litter. To read more,click here


In Texas, Many Schools Could be 'Left Behind'

Just two months ago, the Texas Education Agency released a glowing report card for Bexar County: The number of top-rated schools here more than doubled, and the number of low-performing schools plummeted from nine to two. Bragging rights were posted on marquees at newly designated exemplary schools, backs were slapped and congratulations flowed. Today will be different. The state is scheduled to release the names of schools that failed to meet the federal government's standard for the 2007-08 school year, and schools across San Antonio are bracing for bad news. The number of local schools that failed to make adequate yearly progress - the key measure of academic performance under President Bush's public school overhaul, No Child Left Behind - is expected to nearly double from last year, when 33 schools missed the mark. To read more,click here

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Prozac On The Playground: The Dangers Of Off-Label Use of Psychiatric Medications In Children

We are now more aware of emotional illness in children and much more likely to diagnose and treat conditions like attention deficit disorders. But as difficult and expensive as it is to test new medications on adults, it's even harder to do the testing on children. Many treatments applied to children reflect "off-label" use of medications that have been specifically approved for adults-but not for kids. When the FDA grants a license to a new prescription medication, it lists its permitted uses ("indications") and the patients for whom it is intended (including their age range), usually reflecting the population it was tested on-children with strep throat, women with breast cancer. If a drug company even mentions a use not specifically approved, it has violated FDA rules and can be fined or otherwise punished. However, once a drug has received FDA approval, physicians are free to use it for applications or populations for which it was not formally approved. To read more,click here


In Pa., Education Secretary Announces Grants To Aid Students With Autism Spectrum Disorder

DisordersFunding Will Help Students Move from Schools to Community-Based Employment Hundreds of students with autism spectrum disorders will receive help moving from school to community-based employment through $400,000 in performance grants announced today by Education Secretary Gerald L. Zahorchak. "We have made tremendous strides in the education field to provide the needed supports to students with autism spectrum disorders," the secretary said. "These grants allow us to extend that support beyond school and into the working world." To read more,click here


More To Choosing College For Students With Special Needs

Students with learning disabilities are applying to college this fall at more than five times the rate of the 1980s - and facing a confusing thicket of special-needs jargon. College is "the new frontier, in terms of access to education" for students with learning differences, says George Jesien of the Association of University Centers on Disabilities. Only recently have they made much progress in leveling the playing field for qualified students with disabilities and attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder. Campus attitudes and programs for special-needs students vary widely, as Robbie Burnstine, of Cambridge, Mass., saw on a tour of campuses. Her son needs accommodations for a learning difference; on some campuses, questions about the topic elicited "whole paragraphs" describing fine-tuned supports. On others, however, "they'll say, 'We don't really have a need for much of that' - which is a red flag." To read more, click here


University of Washington Produces Mouse Aid For Individuals With Disabilities

Say "ahh" and the cursor zips toward the northeast corner of the computer screen. "Ooo" sends it shooting straight south. Want it to head southeast? Say "ohh." To make the cursor do a circle or figure 8, let vowel sounds bleed into one another, like eee into ahh into aww and so on. You can make it hurry or slow by regulating the volume of your voice. To open a link, make a soft clicking sound. So goes the University of Washington's "Vocal Joystick" software, which uses sounds to help people with disabilities use their computers. Its development has been a multidisciplinary task with faculty and students from several university departments - electrical engineering, linguistics, computer science, as well as the Information School - blending their expertise. It is just one of a series of UW-generated assistive-technology projects ranging from enabling the blind to use touch screens to developing an alternative to the point-and-click method of computer navigation. To read more,click here


In Maryland, Graduation Exams Raise Special-Needs Concerns

Maryland will this year become the 24th state to require an exit exam for graduation. As the state has slowly phased in its tests, known as the High School Assessments, the national debate continues about them in part because the federal No Child Left Behind law punishes schools that fail to raise test scores. Michael Gordon is doing well at Southern High School, in Anne Arundel County, despite a neurological disorder that causes major learning disabilities. By working closely with teachers, he passed all his classes last year. He even made the honor roll. But high-stakes tests are another matter. Barring a major policy reversal, the 16-year-old must pass tests in algebra, English, government and biology or complete equally rigorous projects in the subjects he fails. While special-education students can take a slightly easier version, they are required to earn the same scores as everyone else. To read more, click here


Bringing Special-Needs Schools Closer To Home

Tom Holohan, a 16-year-old with autistic symptoms, grew up paralyzed by fear and anxiety about leaving his family's home. But for the last two years, Tom has had to commute to a Connecticut boarding school that specializes in treating his disability, returning on weekends to his home in Farmingdale, N.Y. "There's always this thing inside you that you want to be home," said Tom, who attended five day schools here on Long Island and tried home schooling before his local school district sent him to the Connecticut school, Devereux Glenholme. "I mean, I got used to living there, but every day I think about what's going on at home. It's really difficult." 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


More Schools Miss The Mark, Raising Pressure

Since 2001, when President Bush signed the federal No Child Left Behind law, schools in Connecticut have scrambled to revamp curriculums, step up professional development for teachers and continually assess students' test scores to comply with the law's requirements. It is an effort that has dominated the agendas of school officials not just in Connecticut, but all over the nation, and not everyone is happy that test results have become such a focus. When results of the latest test scores were announced a few weeks ago, about 40 percent, or 408, of the public schools in Connecticut did not make the grade under the federal law, state officials said. The state added 100 schools to its list of schools that failed to meet the federal benchmarks. To read more,click here


Consultant for CT. Schools Makes Recommendation To Overhaul Special Education Teaching

In West Hartford, CT., a firm the school board hired to review the district's special education program has recommended an overhaul of the way students with disabilities are taught. The proposed changes from the Urban Special Education Leadership Collaborative, a consulting arm of the nonprofit Education Development Center Inc. in Massachusetts, would place special education students - including those with autism and speech and behavioral disabilities - in mainstream classrooms. They also would require teachers in every school to work directly with special education instructors. The district now has several specialized programs within its special education system, and they are expected to rack up $8.4 million in costs this budget year. Students with special needs are often taught in separate classrooms. To read more,click here


Food for Thought........

Great results cannot be achieved at once; and we must be satisfied to advance in life as we walk, step by step. 

                                                          Samuel Smiles

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