Week in Review - August 21, 2009


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 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:  Two New e-Publications - Assessment in Special Education Series & Working With Paraprofessionals in Your School

Assessment in Special Education Series

This in-depth series will provide NASET members with an extensive background and understanding of the process involved in evaluating students with special needs.
To read or download the first issue - Click Here

Working With Paraprofessionals in Your School

The climate and quality of a school and the success of its students is greatly affected by the relationships among the adults who work in and operate the school. This idea is the basis of NASET's Working with Paraprofessionals in Your School. The series was developed to provide teachers, related service personnel, administrators, paraprofessionals, parents, and other individuals charged with assisting in the development of the paraprofessional workforce with information and strategies to build strong, effective, supportive teams to ensure successful educational services for all students. In addition, we hope that the information contained in this series will help create programs of training, preparation, and recruiting of high-quality professionals and enhance the paraprofessional workforce to improve student academic achievement.
To read or download the first issue - Click Here

Quick Links To NASET

Eunice Kennedy Shriver Hailed As A Fearless Warrior

Eunice Kennedy Shriver, the presidential sister who founded the Special Olympics, was celebrated Friday at a funeral Mass as a fearless warrior for the voiceless who changed the world for millions and an unconventional woman who smoked Cuban cigars and played tackle football. "She was scary smart and not afraid to show it," Maria Shriver said of her mother, who died Tuesday at age 88. "If she were here today ... she would pound this podium ... and ask each of you what you have done today to better the world." The Special Olympics torch led a procession for Shriver past thousands of onlookers who lined the streets outside St. Francis Xavier Roman Catholic Church as friends, family and athletes from the movement she founded a half-century ago gathered for the private service. Shriver's only living brother, Sen. Edward Kennedy, who has been battling brain cancer, did not attend the funeral. To read more, click here

Youth With Autism Coming Of Age:  New NIMH Study Will Focus On Transitions In Service Use And Coverage

The transition from teen to young adult involves many highly anticipated rites of passage. However, for youths with developmental disorders, coming of age may signal the sudden end of coverage for education and training programs, health insurance, and youth-oriented services. For teens with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) and their families, this transition may be especially difficult. To better understand this issue and how best to address it, NIMH has awarded a five-year grant to Paul T. Shattuck, Ph.D., of the George Warren Brown School of Social Work at Washington University in St. Louis. With this grant, Dr. Shattuck and his colleagues will pursue a study of socioeconomically and racially diverse adolescents and adults with ASD. The researchers will assess data gathered on 922 people with ASD who participated in the U.S. Department of Education's (ED) National Longitudinal Transition Study 2. The 10-year ED study included a nationally representative study population of nearly 12,000 youth, ages 13-17 at the start of the study in 2000. 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

School District Refuses To Allow Child With Autism To Bring 'Service Dog' To School

The parents of an autistic little boy in Columbia, llinois, are in disbelief. Their school district, Columbia Community Schools Unit #4, is going to court to keep to their son from bringing his new 'service dog' to school. Chris and Melissa Kalbfleisch are fighting to keep the district from breaking the bond between their son, Carter, 5, and his new dog, Corbin. They're certain they have the law on their side but say that shouldn't even matter when you see the change in Carter. "It's a beautiful thing to watch, it really is," Carter's mother, Melissa said. Carter was swinging on the swingset at the park, a huge development for him. "He should get to be able to do this, you know what I mean. He should get to be able to come to the park," his mother said. He never could without a fight, until Corbin came into his life. Cobrin is an 11 month old, Bouvier; a service dog trained especially for a child with autism. To read more, click here

Treatment Of Children With Mental Disorders

Research shows that half of all lifetime cases of mental illness begin by age 14.1 Scientists are discovering that changes in the body leading to mental illness may start much earlier, before any symptoms appear. Through greater understanding of when and how fast specific areas of children's brains develop, we are learning more about the early stages of a wide range of mental illnesses that appear later in life. Helping young children and their parents manage difficulties early in life may prevent the development of disorders. Once mental illness develops, it becomes a regular part of your child's behavior and more difficult to treat. Even though we know how to treat (though not yet cure) many disorders, many? children with mental illnesses are not getting treatment. This fact sheet addresses common questions about diagnosis and treatment options for children with mental illnesses. Disorders affecting children may include anxiety disorders, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), autism spectrum disorders, bipolar disorder, depression, eating disorders, and schizophrenia.To read more, click here

C-Section Anesthesia Doesn't Imapir Learning Of Children

Exposure to anesthesia during caesarean section delivery (C-section) doesn't increase a child's risk of learning disabilities down the road, according to a new report in the journal Anesthesia. Concerns have been raised that such exposure could harm the brain, given that just one exposure to anesthetics can cause brain cell changes in fetal and newborn animals, Dr. Juraj Sprung of Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota and his colleagues write. Earlier this year, Sprung and his team published research showing that a single exposure to anesthesia before the age of four didn't increase a child's risk of being diagnosed with learning disabilities before age 19, but that more frequent exposures did increase risk. 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), 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

Special Olympians Relflect On Eunice Kennedy Shriver

When Katy Wilson was born with Down syndrome, doctors told her mother that the infant likely would never walk or talk. She sure showed them. Wilson, now 29, has won two international gold medals in the Special Olympics for her gymnastic abilities. She turns cartwheels for her floor routine and does acrobatics on the balance beam. She also goes on public speaking tours. "Most of all, I love doing speeches because I want them [the audience] to be surprised just how good my speeches are," she said by phone. Wilson's story -- and countless other stereotype-bending stories like it -- is possible in part because of the dogged vision of Eunice Kennedy Shriver and the Special Olympics organization she founded more than four decades ago. To read more, click here

Special Education Teachers Get Special Training

Special education teachers looked beyond test scores Friday at a training session to figure out why certain students test well and others fall behind. Students with disabilities often don't hit the mark when it comes to Adequate Yearly Progress, which was the case this year. "Our students are making progress. They are improving in their test scores on the standardize assessments," Jerry Sjolander, the Anchorage School District's executive director of special education, said. "But as the bar is raised each year, there are fewer schools that are actually achieving Adequate Yearly Progress." Educators say they aren't really surprised that special education students scored lower -- the test is basically the same for all students. "One has to remember that these are students with disabilities in the area of learning," teacher David Kohler said. "So therefore one might expect them to struggle more on the test." To read more, click here

 Only Special Education Safe From Budget Hits

Dollars spent per pupil in the Morongo Unified School District will be 14 percent less this school year than in 2007-08. Cuts have been made throughout the budget, including the elimination of 60 faculty and staff positions from the payroll. Mike Walker, assistant superintendent for business services, used the term "cautiously optimistic" to describe his sentiments toward the future of public school funding in California. "If we can get through this school year and next, we should be on the road to recovery," the money manager said. Officials have looked at every possible program and expense in an attempt to save money. Utility costs, supplies, textbooks - even ways to save on trash pickup - have been examined. "There is not a single budget item that hasn't been cut, except for special education," Walker said. To read more, click here

Op Ed: Eunice Kennedy Shriver Transformed Prospects For People With Developmental Disabilities

"This is a civil rights issue!" I was in full-bore hell-mother-on-wheels mode, working over the kindly principal at the school where my son's special-education program was moved. His bus, which collected other students in special education, was consistently delivering him to school 25 minutes late. The school utterly disarmed me with a solution that scared me to death: My son would ride with our neighborhood's kids on the regular-ed bus. Two years later, I'm ashamed for not insisting on the idea myself. My fears of bullying went unrealized. Now, my son knows all the kids who wait at the corner, their parents and some of their dogs. And, the best part? They know him. I've told that story a couple times this week as I've talked about the passing of Eunice Kennedy Shriver with friends who also love people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. It was Shriver's love of her sister, Rosemary, that helped change the prospects for people like my son and millions of others. To read more, click here

Schools Complain Standards Unfair

Michael Cozort, superintendent of Shaker Regional School District, said that among the positive effects of No Child Left Behind has been a greater focus on subgroups of students, such as those who are from low-income homes or have disabilities. But while the legislation has made public schools more accountable for improving the performance of all students, the standard of measurement and the categorization of schools in need of improvement has been a hindrance rather than a help. Cozort said entire schools are deemed in need of improvement when just one group of students does not meet the predetermined benchmark in just one subject. To read more, click here

Shattering The Myths Of Disability

Youngsters with disabilities across Bolton are challenging how they are viewed by society. They have been taking part in a range of physical activities - from wrestling classes to boxing - which have been filmed for a Bolton Council website to tackle preconceptions about disability. The children have been working with Heartlift, an organisation which provides activities for youngsters with physical and mental disabilities. Andrea Wood, aged 34, gave up her career as a solicitor to start up the group. She said: "We need to remove preconceived ideas of what can and cannot be done. To read more, click here

Food for Thought........

The teacher is one who makes two ideas grow where only one grew before.

                                                            Elbert Hubbard

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