Week in Review - September 26, 2008


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

Dear NASET Member,

Welcome to NASET'sWEEK in REVIEW.  Here, we provide you with NASET's latest publications for the week, 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 atnews@naset.org. Have a great weekend.

NASET News Team

NEW This Week on NASET: RTI Roundtable & LDReport

RTI Roundtable

This month's issue of the RTI Roundtable provides answers to the following questions:

  • Why is Special Education an Integral Step in a Multitiered Model Such as RTI?
  • How Does Special Education Fit Within an RTI Model?
  • When Should a School District Initiate a Special Education Referral in a RTI System?
  • If a Student is Determined Not Eligible for Special Education Services, How Long May That Student Continue to Receive the Intensive Interventions Provided at Tier III?
  • How Might Specially Designed Instruction (SDI) Differ From the Tier III Interventions a Student May Have Been Receiving Prior to Qualifying for Special Education Services?
  • Can a School District use RTI Data to Support the Decision That a Student Has a Disability in a Special Education Disability Category Other Than SLD?
  • How Will Use of the RTI Process Affect Special Education Referrals?
  • What Changes Are Needed in Special Education to Staff Roles, Responsibilities, and School Structures?

To access the latest issue of the RTI Roundtable -CLICK HERE (login required)


LD Report

IEP Development and Educational Placement Options for Students with Learning Disabilities

All students in special education are expected to leave school prepared to:

  • Live independently
  • Enjoy self-determination
  • Make choices
  • Contribute to society
  • Pursue meaningful careers
  • Enjoy integration in the economic, political, social, cultural, and educational mainstream of American society

The school district's committee on eligibility for special education services (IEP Committee) is charged with ensuring that each student with a disability is educated to the maximum extent appropriate in classes and programs with their peers who do not have disabilities. For school-age students with learning disabilities, this committee must consider the supports, services, and program modifications necessary for a student to participate in general education classes and extracurricular and nonacademic activities. In order to better ensure that this occurs, the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA 2004) requires that all students in special education have an individualized education program (IEP).

The focus of this edition of theNASETLD Report will be to examine IEP development and educational placement options for students with learning disabilities.

To access this issue of theNASETLD Report -CLICK HERE 

IEP Development Data Base on NASET Redesigned for Easy Access

NASET'sIEP Development Data Base has been redesigned to allow our members greater access to specific Long Term Goals, Short Term Objectives and Behavioral Objectives. This practical resource now allows you to link directly to each of the 16 Long Term Subject Areas and each of the 105 Short Term Objectives with all of the behavioral objectives listed under each one. This new improvement gives you greater and faster access to the information you will need to develop your IEPs. The Activity section has also been improved for easier access to specific Long Term and Short Term Objective areas. We encourage your input and hope that these improvements work as well for you as we hope. To view the newly redesigned IEP Development Data Base,click here.


National Institute of Health Cancels Autism Chelation Trial

A planned trial of chelation therapy for autistic children has been called off by the National Institute of Mental Health. "NIMH has decided that resources are better directed at this time to testing other potential therapies for autism spectrum disorders, and is not pursuing the additional review required to begin the study," said a statement. The trial would have tested succimer (Chemet), also known as DMSA, in 120 autistic children four to 10 years old with detectable but not toxic levels of mercury or lead in their blood. No children had been recruited for the trial. Succimer is FDA-approved for treating lead toxicity. In addition to chelating lead and mercury, succimer also scavenges other metals such as zinc, iron, and calcium. The trial was announced in July 2006 and was aimed at testing a notion that mercury exposure, from vaccines or other sources, is responsible for autism. To read more, click here


Board of Education May Spare Special Olympics Funding

Following pleas by Special Olympics supporters, the state Board of Education voted 11-1 Thursday night to reconsider almost $130,000 in funding cuts to Special Olympics Hawaii. BOE Budget Chairman Breene Harimoto pushed for reconsideration after receiving new information that showed the sports programs for individuals with disabilities supports classroom lessons for special education students in public schools. The program also assists students in achieving the Hawaii content and performance standards developed by the Department of Education, Harimoto said. In early September, the board approved $9.3 million in cuts from the Education Department's budget including $128,925 designated for Special Olympics Hawaii. To read more, click here


Agency Sues School: Abuse of Students with Autism is Claimed

A disability rights agency looking into claims that students with autism were abused at Carroll Middle School in Raleigh sued the Wake County school board Tuesday. In a lawsuit in federal court, Disability Rights North Carolina claims the district is blocking the agency's investigation by refusing to disclose information, while the school system said federal privacy laws prevent the release of student records to the group. Parents of the students at Carroll told Disability Rights lawyers that their children were improperly restrained and were encouraged to wrestle one another and other school employees in a vacant classroom called the "WWF room" to "release their aggression." The "WWF" refers to a professional wrestling organization. To read more,click here


District Program Brings up "Down" Kids

Trig Palin is a hero to many, and he's still in diapers. Trig, son of Republican vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin, recently thrust Down syndrome into the national spotlight. Frances Molocek hopes it stays there. "We like to think that our kids are just like any other kids, except they have a disability," said Molocek, whose son, Micah, 14, attends Rancho Pico Junior High in Stevenson Ranch. "They have the same emotions, the same need for friendship and acceptance as most teenagers." The Hart district has two programs that help students with Down syndrome and other disabilities interact with other students during their school day.  To read more, click here


Taking the Fear Out of Difference

At the beginning of the year, Debbie Cottrill handed out copies of the book My Friend with Autism to children in her son's class at Central Elementary School in Edgewater. She attached letters to parents explaining that Dean has autism and asked parents to go over the book with their children. Cottrill wants Dean's second-grade classmates to understand that he suffers from a neurological disorder that makes him shrink away from them when he is touched. She wants them to know that he wears headphones in the cafeteria because the lunchroom chatter hurts his hypersensitive ears. Central Elementary officials also are using books to teach the entire student body how to be more understanding toward children with disabilities.  To read more, click here


Rancho Program Gives Kids With Disabilities a Chance to Play Soccer

Kids with disabilities from the canyons, Rancho Santa Margarita and Ladera Ranch stretched, performed drills and played in a soccer scrimmage with the help of volunteers, parents and young athletes Friday. The first fall practice of the TOPSoccer program, run by the Rancho Santa Margarita soccer club RSM Storm, gave young players a chance to learn about and play soccer at Aliso Viejo Middle School. Toki Rathor, a Rancho resident and RSM Storm club president, said the program had increased in size significantly from a year ago, with more than 10 kids signed up for this session. According to Rathor, last year only one player took part. Cindy Chen said she enjoyed watching her son, Collin, go through soccer drills with the other kids.  To read more,click here


NASET Offering Members Two Million Dollar 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 NASETclick here


She's Precocious, Gifted and Has Autism

Sylvia Joerke stretches ballerina-like in the sun, alone on the playground blacktop. The laughter of other children playing at Kansas City's Banneker Elementary School sounds beyond her like the meadow songs of the birds she doesn't see. She is an 8-year-old girl with autism, born with Beckwith-Wiedemann Syndrome, who says I am newsworthy - saying so in a penciled letter she mailed recently to The Star. A gifted child, she knows that she was reading before the age of 2, long before the syndrome that affects her speech would let her speak a word. To read more,click here


Finding a 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 in the process. Colleges and universities are "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 wildly, as Robbie Burnstine, 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


NYC to Give Millions of Dollars in Bonuses to Teachers at Schools with Improved Report Cards

Teachers at 89 elementary and middle schools will receive bonuses of several thousand dollars each, based on the progress their schools made on report cards released this week, Chancellor Joel I. Klein announced on Thursday. The bonuses, which total $14.2 million and will go to slightly more than half the 160 high-poverty schools the city deemed eligible, are part of Mr. Klein's efforts to boost pay-for-performance programs in the city's schools. A dozen principals at those schools were awarded $25,000 bonuses - the largest ever given to school administrators by the city - for placing in the top 1 percent among the more than 1,000 schools receiving grades this week. Under an agreement reached with the city's teachers' union, which is strongly opposed to individual merit-pay programs, each school that earned the bonus got a pot of money to distribute as it chose. In most schools, the bonuses were spread evenly for classroom teachers, with several giving less to special-education aides and other staff members. A few schools constructed more elaborate systems, like basing bonuses on extracurricular activities.  To read more,click here


Congress Supports Rights for Individuals with Disabilities

It went largely unnoticed in a week of economic upheaval, but Congress approved one of the more momentous pieces of civil rights legislation in recent years. The bill, passed overwhelmingly in the House and by unanimous consent in the Senate, will significantly broaden protections for the disabled. It instructs the Supreme Court to act "in favor of broad coverage," a distinction that should make it easier for disabled workers to claim discrimination. By explicitly arguing for a less constrictive interpretation, lawmakers sought to restore the intent of the original Americans With Disabilities Act of 1990; the Supreme Court has imposed a consistently narrow interpretation of the ADA. President Bush has said that he will sign the bill into law despite previous concerns that the legislation would spur excess litigation. To read more, click here


Food for Thought........

The secret in education lies in respecting the student.

                                                              Ralph Waldo Emerson

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