Week in Review - December 25, 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. Happy Holidays.

NASETNews Team

New This Week on NASET

Working With Paraprofessionals In Your School

Solving Performance and Interpersonal Problems

In virtually any working relationship, problems will arise and cause tension among individuals. Sometimes problems develop because one or more team members are not meeting the performance expectations of the rest of the team. At other times, problems arise as a result of different interaction styles or opposing philosophies or ideas. Regardless of the source of the conflict, the team needs to have a strategy for addressing and trying to resolve the issue. The focus of this issue of NASET's Working with Paraprofessionals in Your School is to provide such a framework for the classroom team. This is preceded, however, by a discussion of some of the most common issues that frequently contribute to conflicts between teachers (as supervisors) and paraprofessionals (as supervisees). 
To read of download this issue - Click Here (login required)

NASET Q & A Corner

Questions and Answers About Serving Children with Disabilities Eligible for Transportation

The IDEA and its implementing regulations continue to address the transportation needs of children with disabilities.  Transportation is a related service as defined by 34 CFR §300.34(c)(16) of the IDEA regulations and can include travel to and from school and between schools; travel in and around school buildings; and specialized equipment such as special or adapted buses, lifts, and ramps.  A child's individualized education program (IEP) Team is responsible for determining both if transportation is required to assist a child with a disability to benefit from special education and related services, and how the transportation services should be implemented.  The IDEA and the implementing regulations also include travel training in the definition of special education.  Travel training is instruction that enables children with disabilities to develop an awareness of the environment in which they live, and to learn the skills necessary to move effectively and safely from place to place within that environment.  Both transportation and travel training are important services IEP Teams should continue to consider when they plan for a child's postsecondary transition needs. This edition of NASET'sQ & A Corner (from the Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services) focuses on the latest federal regulations for serving children with disabilities eligible for transportation.
To read or download this issue - Click Here login required)

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Dyslexia: Some Very Smart Accomplished People Cannot Read Well

Contrary to popular belief, some very smart, accomplished people cannot read well. This unexpected difficulty in reading in relation to intelligence, education and professional status is called dyslexia, and researchers at Yale School of Medicine and University of California Davis, have presented new data that explain how otherwise bright and intelligent people struggle to read. The study, which will be published in the January 1, 2010 issue of the journal Psychological Science, provides a validated definition of dyslexia. "For the first time, we've found empirical evidence that shows the relationship between IQ and reading over time differs for typical compared to dyslexic readers," said Sally E. Shaywitz, M.D., the Audrey G. Ratner Professor in Learning Development at Yale School of Medicine's Department of Pediatrics, and co-director of the newly formed Yale Center for Dyslexia and Creativity. To read more, click here

Autism Cases Rise, How Can Parents of Preschoolers Insure They Receive Early Intervention Services?

Autism has become one of the fastest growing disorders in the United States. This has been confirmed by a report released by the Center for Disease Control this month. It is now estimated that 1 in 110 children can be diagnosed with some degree of Autism in the United States. Of that number it is estimated that 1 in 70 boys born in the U.S. have been diagnosed as having traits which fall into the autism spectrum disorder range. The national organization, Autism Speaks has created a graph showing the rise in the number of cases of autism in the United States. In some cases, the reasons for the increases can be attributed to better diagnostic tools, more information that is easily available for parents, better training for physicians on Autism Spectrum Disorders and some resources for younger children that show autistic characteristics. Still in many people's opinion, is still not enough. Since preschools provide care for children that experts believe can receive the most from "early intervention services" most would agree that it is important that these professionals are able to identify behaviors often linked to autism. Although its in now way the job of a preschool program or preschool teacher to diagnose autism or any other disability or disorder, it is their job to provide proper insights into correctly meeting the needs of the children in their care. To read more, click here

Home-Based Child Care Meeting Nutritional Standards; Widespread Use of TV a Concern

A large study of family child care providers shows that while nutrition standards are often met, most children ages 2 to 5 are not getting enough physical activity and are exposed to the television for most of the day. A study of about 300 home-based child care providers by Oregon State University's Stewart Trost, an internationally-recognized expert on childhood obesity issues, sheds light on both positive and negative aspects of family daycare providers. The findings are published in the December issue of the American Journal of Preventive Medicine. Trost, who directs the obesity prevention research core at the new Hallie Ford Center for Healthy Children at Oregon State, said a big concern was television exposure in such a young age group. The providers surveyed were caring for young children up to age 5, and two-thirds of providers said they had the TV on most of the day. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends no more than two hours of television per day for children between the ages of 2 and 5, and discourages any television viewing for children younger than 2. To read more, click here

Mother with Quadrapalegia Fights for Custody of Son

A mother with quadrapalegia is fighting her ex-boyfriend in court to retain custody of their son. The ex-boyfriend claims she cannot be a competent mother because of her disability. It is a case that touches on important questions about the rights of the disabled. Kaney O'Neill, 31, lost the use of her legs and much of the use of her arms 10 years ago when she fell from a balcony in Newport News, Va. Now, as she tries to raise her 5-month-old son, Aidan, she is locked in a court battle with her ex-boyfriend, David Trais, over custody rights. Trais' attorney did not return a call from ABCNews.com seeking comment. Caroline O'Neill, Kaney O'Neill's mother, said her daughter recently retained an attorney who has told her she cannot speak about the case. Kaney originally tried to represent herself. 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 and our partnership with theAssociation of American Educators (AAE), click here

Obesity Increases the Risk for Obstructive Sleep Apnea in Adolescents, but Not in Younger Children

A study in the Dec. 15 issue of the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine shows that being overweight or obese increases the risk for developing obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) in adolescents but not in younger children. Results indicate that the risk of OSA among Caucasian adolescents 12 years of age and older increased 3.5 fold with each standard-deviation increase in body mass index (BMI) z-score, while the risk of OSA did not significantly increase with increasing BMI among younger children. According to the authors, the results suggest that the increase in risk among overweight and obese adolescents may result from developmental changes such as reductions in upper airway tone and changes to anatomic structures. "These results were a little surprising to us initially, as obesity is generally considered to increase the risk of sleep apnea amongst all children," said principal investigator Mark Kohler, PhD, research fellow at the Children's Research Centre at the University of Adelaide in Australia. "Previous results have been inconsistent, however, and appear to be confounded by using mixed ethnic populations and different ages of children." To read more, click here

Aspirin During Pregnancy May Help Preemies

The children of women who take low-dose aspirin during pregnancy because they are at high risk for delivering prematurely might have fewer behavioral problems at age 5, new research suggests. Obstetricians sometimes give low-dose aspirin to pregnant women who are apt to have such complications as fetal growth restriction (when a fetus doesn't grow properly in the womb) or preeclampsia (high blood pressure that's dangerous to both mother and the fetus), said Dr. Ashley Roman, a clinical assistant professor of obstetrics and gynecology at NYU Langone Medical Center. Roman was not involved in the research. In the study, French researchers used data on 656 children born before 33 weeks of gestation to 584 women from nine regions in France. To read more, click here

Are Celebrities Crossing the Line on Medical Advice?

When first lady Betty Ford announced that she had had a mastectomy in 1974, patient advocates say, it was groundbreaking. Breast-cancer survivors at the time were often afraid to mention their treatment, even to friends. Today, many people in the public eye, particularly celebrities, feel comfortable sharing their medical problems. Brooke Shields has acknowledged her postpartum depression. Michael J. Fox has written about his struggle with Parkinson's disease. Elizabeth Taylor updated fans about her heart surgery through Twitter. INTERNET, CELEBS: Don't believe advice when ...To read more, click here

NASET Member Benefit - Group Savings Plus from Liberty Mutual 

Liberty Mutual Savings

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Microcephaly Genes Associated With Human Brain Size

A group of Norwegian and American researchers have shown that common variations in genes associated with microcephaly -- a neuro-developmental disorder in which brain size is dramatically reduced -- may explain differences in brain size in healthy individuals as well as in patients with neurological and psychiatric disorders. The study, which involved collaboration between researchers from the University of Oslo, the University of California, San Diego and Scripps Translational Science Institute in La Jolla, California, will be published online the week of December 21 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science. In relation to body size, brain size has expanded dramatically throughout primate and human evolution. In fact, in proportion to body size, the brain of modern humans is three times larger than that of non-human primates. The cerebral cortex in particular has undergone a dramatic increase in surface area during the course of primate evolution. To read more, click here

ADHD Risks; Folic Acid and Cancer

Might exposure to lead and tobacco be linked to the development of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)? This studyanalyzed data on 2,588 children, 8 to 15 years old from across the United States; 222 of them had ADHD. Children whose mothers had smoked while pregnant were more than twice as likely to have ADHD as children whose mothers did not smoke. Essentially no difference was found, however, between children who did and did not live with smokers at the time of the study. Children who had the highest levels of lead in their blood also had double the risk for ADHD, compared with those with the lowest blood levels of lead. When combined, prenatal exposure to tobacco and high childhood levels of lead in the blood increased the likelihood of ADHD eightfold over children with no tobacco exposure and the lowest lead levels. To read more, click here

iPods and Educational Applications Have Minnesota Students Giddy About Learning

For fourth-grader Gabe Rivera, running vocabulary drills and solving mathematical problems on his classroom iPod Touch is a fun way to learn, in part because it's "something that is more newer than paper." The student at Somerset Elementary School in Mendota Heights is one of many enthusiastic about the Apple touch-screen media players and handheld computers. The devices are becoming fixtures in U.S. schools as educators become aware of the various applications that can be installed on the gadgets to help students learn. At Somerset and other schools in the West St. Paul-Mendota Heights-Eagan district, for instance, the iPod Touch has taken classrooms by storm. To read more, click here

Growing Evidence Suggests Progesterone Should Be Considered a Treatment Option for Traumatic Brain Injuries

Researchers at Emory University in Atlanta, GA, recommend that progesterone (PROG), a naturally occurring hormone found in both males and females that can protect damaged cells in the central and peripheral nervous systems, be considered a viable treatment option for traumatic brain injuries, according to a clinical perspective. "Traumatic brain injury (TBI) is an important clinical problem in the United States and around the world," said Donald G. Stein, PhD, lead author of the paper. "TBI has received more attention recently because of its high incidence among combat casualties in Iraq and Afghanistan. Current Department of Defense statistics indicated that as many as 30 percent of wounded soldiers seen at Walter Reed Army Hospital have suffered a TBI, a finding that has stimulated government interest in developing a safe and effective treatment for this complex disorder," said Stein. To read more, click here

Board Certification in Special Education - Available to NASET Members

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

Physicians Knowledge of Childhood Food Allergies Needs Room for Improvement, Study Shows

With an estimated four to six percent of children in the U.S. suffering from food allergies, a new study shows that pediatricians and family physicians aren't always confident they have the ability to diagnose or treat food allergies. A study published in the January 2010 issue of Pediatrics and headed by Dr. Ruchi Gupta, M.D., M.P.H., a researcher at Children's Memorial Hospital and Assistant Professor of Pediatrics at Northwestern University's Feinberg School of Medicine, brought attention to current knowledge gaps among primary care physicians in the diagnosis and management of food allergy. Researchers at Children's Memorial used the Chicago Food Allergy Research Survey for Pediatricians and Family Physicians to analyze physicians' knowledge and perceptions of food-related allergies in children. To read more, click here

Changes in Special Education Regulations

It was standing room only on Monday at a public hearing on changes being made in certain regulations regarding special education. Like all departments of state government, the Department of Education is looking for ways to save money. The DOE hopes to save an estimated five million dollars by bringing certain special ed regulations in line with minimum standards. Some parents aren't happy about the changes. They're concerned that some children will fall through the cracks. The changes will allow school systems to begin planning the transition for special ed students graduating from high school at age sixteen instead of age fourteen. To read more, click here

Food for Thought........

Education breeds confidence. Confidence breeds hope. Hope breeds peace.

                                                                                            Tara Gold

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