Week in Review - October 31, 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 news@naset.org.

Have a great weekend.

NASETNews Team

New This Week on NASET:  Autism Spectrum Disorder Series & NASET Special Educator e-Journal

Autism Spectrum Disorder Series

Assistive Technology for Students with Autism Spectrum Disorders

For years, different modes of technology have been used to improve the quality of life of people who have various developmental disabilities . However, the varied use of technology for children with autism continues to receive limited attention, despite the fact that technology tends to be a high interest area for many of these children.

This issue of the Autism Spectrum Disorder Series will discuss how various modes of technology (including technology designed as augmentative communication systems), can be used for children with autism to increase or improve their:

• Overall understanding of their environment
• Expressive communication skills
• Social interaction skills
• Attention skills
• Motivation skills
• Organization skills
• Academic skills
• Self help skills
• Overall independent daily functioning skills
 CLICK HERE to access this issue. (login required)  


NASET Special Educator e-Journal

November 2008

  • Message from the Executive Directors
  • Letter to the Editor
  • This Just in - 
  • Intersection: Navigating the Road to Work
  • Update From The National Dissemination Center for Children with Disabilities
  • Calls to Participate
  • Special Education Resources
  • Upcoming Conferences, Workshops, and Events
  • Get Wired!-The Latest on Websites and Listservs
  • Funding Forecast and Award Opportunities
  • Acknowledgements

CLICK HERE to access this issue. (login required)


U.S. Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings Announces Final Regulations To Strengthen No Child Left Behind

This week, Margaret Spellings announced final regulations to strengthen and clarify No Child Left Behind (NCLB), focusing on improved accountability and transparency, uniform and disaggregated graduation rates and improved parental notification for Supplemental Education Services and public school choice. The Secretary made the announcement while speaking to educators, state and local policymakers and business leaders at South Carolina Educational Television in Columbia, S.C. "NCLB has shined a spotlight on schools," said Secretary Spellings. "It is compelling grown ups to do the right thing by kids. And it's working. According to the Nation's Report Card, since 2000, more kids are learning reading and math. Since this law was passed, nearly one million more students have learned basic math skills. Children once left behind are making some of the greatest gains, but more work needs to be done. That's why I've taken a responsive, common sense approach to implementing the law with today's announcement." To read more,click here


University of Virginia Faculty Members Receive 2.2 Million Dollar Grant To Improve Minority Representation In GiftedPrograms

University of Virginia faculty members Tonya Moon and Catherine Brighton, associate professors in the Curry School of Education, have received a $2.2 million grant to improve minority representation in gifted programs and to interest those students in math and science. Their study, Project Parallax, is being funded by the U.S. Department of Education's Jacob K. Javits Gifted and Talented Students Education Program. The study is designed to increase the identification of gifted elementary school students from under-represented groups and to provide a more innovative focus on science, technology, engineering and math - or STEM. "This project is extraordinarily important as it addresses a critical issue for educational and economic concerns - the development of talent in mathematics, science, technology and engineering," said Robert Pianta, dean of the Curry School. To read more, click here


U.S. Department Of Education Releases New Policy On Charter Schools

The U.S. Department of Education has released a new publication on creating and maintaining successful charter schools, summarizing its vision for the future of the charter school sector in the U.S. and outlining steps to happen to achieve that vision. Produced by the Department's Office of Innovation and Improvement, A Commitment to Quality: National Charter School Policy Forum Report draws from discussions with charter school leaders at the Department's forum on charter schools in May 2008, as well as 15 years of research and experience with charter schools. The forum, which shared lessons and outlined future directions for the charter sector, featured nearly 100 of the foremost leaders on charter schools from across the nation."We believe the charter sector can do more to fulfill its promise as an engine of educational innovation and quality for students across the country," said U.S. Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings. To read more,click here


New Ways To Diagnose Autism Earlier

With the number of autistic children growing, researchers are targeting new technologies to help detect the disorder at ever-younger ages in hopes of reversing some of autism's worst symptoms. Most children with autism currently aren't diagnosed until they are about 4 years old, using conventional detection methods of observing behavior. Although specialists are able to identify the condition starting at about 30 months, most parents don't seek evaluations that early because they don't notice anything unusual about their children, or don't know what symptoms to look for. Now, scientists are using new techniques to study children as young as a few months old for signs of possible autism and to flag them for more extensive analysis. To read more, click here


In Maryland, Judith A. Resnick Elementary School Meets All Students' Needs

Although students with disabilities are welcomed at every Montgomery County public school, many feel more comfortable at Judith A. Resnik Elementary School in Gaithersburg. The school was designed with attention toward children who need accommodations for physical disabilities. The halls are wider than those in most schools, as are the doorways and bathrooms. The result is a bright and open school where children of all abilities can learn together and one in which handicaps are accepted. "We are full inclusion," Kate Davis, special education coordinator, said. "No one is in an isolated class. Everyone is in a [regular] classroom." To read more, click here


Schools In Need Employ Teachers From Overseas

A growing number of school districts are hiring teachers from foreign countries to fill shortages in math, science and special education. The trend is most evident in poor urban and rural districts, according to educators. Segun Eubanks, director of teacher quality at the National Education Association, the USA's largest teachers union, says many of those districts have trouble keeping teachers for reasons including low pay, disruptive students, and a lack of books and materials. "American workers are not willing to do the work for the conditions and pay we offer," he says. "So we're recruiting them for the same reasons we recruit farmworkers and day laborers." To read more,click here


Kids' Eye Problems Often Emerge In Homework Battle

Your 9-year-old's eyes hurt during homework? Your teen's a slow reader plagued with headaches? They may have a common yet often missed vision problem: Eyes that don't turn together properly to read. As many as one of every 20 students have some degree of what eye doctors call "convergence insufficiency," or CI, where eye muscles must work harder to focus up-close. And those standard vision screenings administered by schools and pediatricians won't catch it - they stress distance vision. When symptoms such as eye strain, headaches, double vision or reading problems trigger the right diagnosis, doctors prescribe any of a hodgepodge of exercises designed to strengthen eye coordination. Now a major government study finally offers evidence for the best approach: Eye training performed in a doctor's office for 12 weeks. To read more, click here


In Alabama, School For Students With Dyslexia Attracts National Interest

Their days begin at 7:40 a.m., about 20 minutes before most children start school. In the fellowship hall of a Methodist church, among the pool and foosball tables, a teacher stands in front of 25 students. The children, ages 6 to 13, attend Greengate, the only school in Alabama exclusively for children with dyslexia. One of the students recently moved from Hawaii so he could attend the school. Another came from Mississippi. In a few days, a boy and his parents are scheduled to drive from Montgomery for a closer look at the school. "My son is worth it," says Kim Montecalvo. "He really is. I want him to go to college and do well in life." To read more,click here


U.S. Department Of Education Clarifies Information On Report Cards And Transcripts Regarding Students WithDisabilities

School districts are allowed to refer to a student's disability or special education status on report cards, but they should generally refrain from such notations on student transcripts, according to new guidance released by the U.S. Department of Education. The Oct. 17 guidance letter, from the department's office for civil rights, or OCR, is intended to clear up a source of confusion for some educators, who have worried that referring to a student's disability in any way on report cards or transcripts could be a violation of that student's privacy rights. "Under federal disability-discrimination laws, the general principle is that report cards may contain information about a student's disability, including whether that student received special education or related services," wrote Stephanie J. Monroe, the department's assistant secretary for civil rights. To read more, click here


Food for Thought........

If you open up a book, it will not teach you, But if you open up the world, then you can teach yourself anything.

                                                       Author Unknown

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