Week in Review - August 14, 2009



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

Dear NASET Members,

Welcome to NASET'sWEEK in REVIEW.  Here, we provide you with the latest publications from NASET 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 

Classroom Management Series IV 

Providing Students With a Level System Approach to Shape Behavior

The purpose of this issue of the Classroom Management Series is to teach your students to choose positive behaviors that will lead to classroom privileges.
To read or download this issue - Click Here

Quick Links To NASET

A Special Education: School Fills Needs For Parents, Children Frustrated By Learning Disabilities

Tom Pisapia came to The Winston School in second grade, his hooded jacket pulled far over his head. Shy and withdrawn, Tom's learning disabilities had wracked him with anxiety. Within six months at the private school for special-education students, Tom was thinking about running for class president. At the school's summer academy last month, Tom, now looking forward to his senior year in high school, played lead in a school production of "Little Shop of Horrors." "This school really taught me that I don't have to be shy," said Tom, who is dyslexic and has auditory processing problems. "I could be who I am with everybody." Tom's story is one example of how Winston, on Ninth Street in Del Mar, has helped turn around children who had lost hope of succeeding academically. Tom said he plans to study video game design and film in college. Officials at Winston, which enrolls about 100 students in fourth through 12th grade, said all 22 high school graduates this year have been accepted by two and four-year colleges. That's a significant achievement at Winston, which caters to students who have a variety of learning disabilities, including attention deficit and hyperactivity disorder, dyslexia, Asperger's syndrome and mild autism. To read more, click here

China Parents Hoping Genes Yield Geniuses

Masses of one-child parents in China are taking up a new tool in their quest to groom their children into the next Yao Ming, the basketball superstar, or Hu Jintao, the country's top leader. DNA tests that claim to be able to identify a child's innate talents are now available in China, and some parents see it as a way to give their children a head start in life, according to reports. In the most prominent example, a youth training centre in the south-western municipality of Chongqing launched a grooming programme in June that is tailored around a child's DNA test results, China Daily and CNN reported. For about 3,000 yuan (S$630), parents can sign their children up for the test and five days of summer camp at the Chongqing Children's Palace, where the kids will be evaluated in various settings, from psychology and sports to art. Parents will then be offered recommendations on what their children should pursue. To read more, click here

NASET Offering Members Two Million Dollar Educator's Liability Insurance

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

New Sibling Taught Brother With Autism How To Love

For the Skoultchis, dealing with son Ethan has had its trials. Diagnosed with autism in preschool, he still faces a lot of challenges. When his sister Gracie was born, Ethan finally was able to return the love and affection his family had shown him his whole life. How did you first find out about Ethan's autism? Ethan was very slow reaching his milestones as an infant: not walking until 18 months, severe speech delay (no babbling or talking) and fine motor delays. Then in preschool, he had difficulty transitioning, socializing with other peers his age, and became frustrated not being able to communicate with other children. The meltdowns were increasing, and inappropriate behaviors were starting to show. Ethan was diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder and apraxia. Ethan has come a long way from those days but still faces a lot of challenges. His speech now consists of two- or three-word phrases and his ability to retain signs (language) has amazed everyone. To read more, click here

 Flights Of Fancy Open Vistas To Special-Needs Children

Carried aloft in small planes, 750 South Bay children, their friends and family soared Saturday on flights of fancy that transformed vistas, introduced new sensations and perhaps opened up possibilities. After 20-minute flights in two- to four-passenger planes, the children returned to Reid-Hillview Airport in San Jose with reactions that gratified parents and volunteer pilots: They laughed. They recalled gazing at tiny houses and cars below. They marveled at the feeling of flying, as they cruised either southeast to Anderson Reservoir or northeast to Calaveras Reservoir. The passengers were mostly special-needs children, who have afflictions ranging from attention-deficit disorder to autism to Down syndrome. Some were disadvantaged youths. To read more, click here

Federal Center Aids Special Education Practices

The federal center is trying to help states incubate and spread good special education practices that are already taking place in their districts. The State Implementation and Scaling-Up of Evidence-based Practices Center, has been working with Illinois, Minnesota, Missouri, and Oregon since September. The center intentionally picked states that have made a substantial investment in evidence-based practices; starting new programs from scratch offers a different set of challenges. Dean L. Fixsen, a principal director of SISEP, as the center, located at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, is known, likens good education practices to a medical vaccine: Without the equipment to inoculate children and a medical establishment that can reach lots of children, vaccines do little good. "Until we develop the infrastructure, we're going to be stuck," Mr. Fixsen said. To read more, click here

Become Board Certified In Special Education Through NASET

Through an agreement with The American Academy of Special Education Professionals (AASEP), NASETmembers 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

Op Ed:  Charters--The Best Special Education Choice

If New Yorkers needed another reason to lift the artificial cap on charter schools, they got it with this June's US Supreme Court decision that mandated public reimbursement for private-school special-education services -- services that charter schools can provide at a fraction of the cost. Nationally and here in New York, the yearly per-pupil cost at a private school specializing in special ed generally ranges from $40,000 to $50,000, with some schools costing up to $85,000 a year. The city already spends millions every year on private-school placements for disabled students -- $89 million in the 2007-2008 school year, up from $53 million two years earlier. Now, under this ruling, it will have to foot the bill for the private education costs for any student with a specialized learning need. To read more, click here

Sightsavers Champions Quality Education For Students With Visual Impairments

Sightsavers' entry, which has been selected from over 300 entries, is a pilot project in Kenya where assistive technology is being used to support students to study alongside their sighted peers in mainstream schools.  The main technology being used is the Dolphin Pen, a lightweight USB pen drive with a screen magnifier and screen reader enabling students to access educational materials, including textbooks and information via the internet.  It was created in collaboration between Sightsavers and Dolphin Computer Access Ltd, the British accessibility software developer. Should the entry be voted in the top three, Sightsavers will benefit from a financial prize from the competition organisers: Ashoka's Changemakers and The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation.  This will enable Sightsavers to continue to ensure that children who are blind and visually impaired have access to a quality education. To read more,  click here

Surfers Bring Touch Of Healing To Children With Autism

Clair Arnold, 10, rode the long, slow wave into Tourmaline Beach and waved to family and friends cheering on the sand. She had stood up; she may appear on TV news; and she had spent the whole day boogie boarding with her sister. Clair had had a good day. Clair was one of around 50 children with autism who spent the afternoon July 29 surfing at Tourmaline Surf Park as part of the annual Surfers Healing event. Izzy Paskowitz is the son of Doc Paskowitz, a well-known surfer who left his career in medicine to rear his nine children in a motor home that traveled from surf spot to surf spot. A documentary has since been made about the family, who spent time at Campland on the Bay and the children attended Pacific Beach Middle School. The trailer can be viewed at www.surfwisefilm.com. Izzy Paskowitz founded Surfers Healing after his son was diagnosed with autism. To read more, click here

Kodak Devises Tool For Diagnosing Hyperactivity

Exploring whether photographic images can help soothe stress led Eastman Kodak Co. to a chance finding: a man who exhibited erratic temperature changes turned out to have attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.The discovery in a medical trial five years ago culminated this spring in Kodak donating seven patents to a Massachusetts research hospital in hopes of developing a new tool for identifying the neurobehavioral disorder that afflicts millions of Americans. "The diagnosis of ADHD is highly subjective - there's no definitive test you can give someone that says they've got it or they don't," Greg Foust, a research manager in Kodak's System Concepts Center, said Wednesday. Kodak scientists spied the unusual temperature oscillations in one of 72 volunteers in a 1998 study. To read more, click here

4.5 Million Dollars In Grants Awarded For Special Education Parent Information, Training Centers

The U.S. Department of Education announced the award of more than $4.5 million in grants to operate 16 special education parent information and training centers in 14 states, including targeted centers for American Indians and military families. Every state has at least one parent information center funded by the Department of Education to help improve results for children with disabilities. There are more than 104 centers nationwide. "Research shows that all students, especially those with disabilities, are more successful when parents are part of the educational decision-making process," said U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan. "These centers help families who have children with disabilities access services and negotiate the complex framework of special education rules and regulations." Parent information centers provide parents with the training and information they need to work with special education professionals in meeting the early intervention and special needs of children with disabilities. Many parent information centers work closely with state and local school systems to engage parents in working collaboratively to improve outcomes for students with disabilities. Common questions addressed by the centers include such topics as, "What kind of help is available if I suspect my child has a disability?" "Where can I go to get services?" And, "What are my rights?" To read more, click here

 Bringing Bipolar Into The Light

Chances are, we all know someone like Marya Hornbacher. We just don't realize that we do because, like Hornbacher, these someones are charming, smart, well-spoken and prosperous -- not at all like people who are (cough) bipolar. "It's shocking to me that we're still afraid to say 'bipolar' out loud, so I do often, clearly and without shame," Hornbacher said, sitting right there in the middle of a busy coffee shop. "You do know bipolar people -- successful, stable bipolar people --and that's why you don't know." To say that Hornbacher wasn't always successful and stable is a bit like saying that Angelina Jolie wasn't always a humanitarian. Her memoir, "Madness: A Life", is a tough read, often nightmarish, as she tracks her ascent into manic episodes, with the descent always lurking in subsequent pages. To read more, click here

Food for Thought........

Education is not a preparation for life; education is life itself.
                                                                             John Dewey

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