Week in Review - December 4, 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

NASET's Q & A Corner

Questions and Answers About Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)

Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is one of the most common childhood disorders and can continue through adolescence and adulthood. Symptoms include difficulty staying focused and paying attention, difficulty controlling behavior, and hyperactivity (over-activity). Parents and teachers can miss the fact that children with symptoms of inattention have the disorder because they are often quiet and less likely to act out. They may sit quietly, seeming to work, but they are often not paying attention to what they are doing. They may get along well with other children, compared with those with the other subtypes, who tend to have social problems. But children with the inattentive kind of ADHD are not the only ones whose disorders can be missed. Scientists are not sure what causes ADHD, although many studies suggest that genes play a large role. Like many other illnesses, ADHD probably results from a combination of factors. In addition to genetics, researchers are looking at possible environmental factors, and are studying how brain injuries, nutrition, and the social environment might contribute to ADHD. The focus of this issue of the NASET Q & A Corner will be on questions and answers related to ADHD. 
To read of download this issue - Click Here   (login required)

NASET Special Educator e-Journal

December 2009
In this issue:

  • Update from the U.S. Department Education
  • Update From The National Dissemination Center for Children with Disabilities
  • Calls to Participate
  • Special Education Resources
  • Upcoming Conferences, Workshops, and Events
  • Funding Forecast and Award Opportunities
  • Acknowledgements
To read or download this issue - Click Here  (login required)

Quick Links To NASET

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New Device Implanted by Surgeons Help Paralyzed Patients Breathe Easier

Physicians at UT Southwestern Medical Center soon will begin implanting a new device designed to improve breathing in patients with upper spinal-cord injuries or other diseases that keep them from breathing independently. UT Southwestern University Hospital -- St. Paul is only one of only two sites in Texas and one of 25 in the country currently equipped to implant the device, called the NeuRx Diaphragm Pacing System. The device is designed to give patients more freedom and to help slow respiratory decline. Patients who have diseases or injuries that affect breathing muscles, such as the diaphragm, are more prone to lung infections because of their weakened ability to inhale and exhale sufficiently, said Dr. Michael DiMaio, associate professor of cardiovascular and thoracic surgery at UT Southwestern. "Patients who have high-level spinal-cord injuries are unable to breathe efficiently because the nerve signals no longer function," Dr. DiMaio said. To read more, click here

School Denies Request From Parents of Child With Diabetes

Jack McLaughlin is a bright, articulate sixth-grader whose main mission these days, along with schoolwork, is keeping his blood sugar under control. Since his diabetes was diagnosed last year when he was 10, the Chester County, Pa., boy has mastered the process of managing the chronic illness. At school, where Jack is one of a half-dozen diabetic pupils, teachers and the school nurse have pitched in to help. One unresolved issue, however, has to do with exercise. Cathy and David McLaughlin, Jack's parents, say that to maintain his health and alertness, he needs physical-education class every morning instead of the usual two days. It would mean skipping required music and reading-skills classes that alternate with gym. Jack agrees. When he had daily recess in elementary school, he said, "I did feel a lot better. I could tell that. ... I don't see what the big deal is: If I were to do this, I would not be missing important classes." To read more, click here

Special Education, For Some, Gets Costly

Educating children with disabilities is expensive. This year, the Keene School District will spend about $13.7 million for services ranging from special education teachers to speech and physical therapists. That figure also includes funds for programs that serve children with severe disabilities, programs that are so specialized the district can't run them in Keene. As expensive as those programs can be - hundreds of thousands of dollars for one year, in some cases - the cost is more easily absorbed in a city the size of Keene than in some of the neighboring towns. Sometimes, the annual school district meeting in a small town can sound like a game of "what if": What if a child with a severe disability moves into our town? To read more, click here

Missing Child With Autism On Subway Raises Questions Of Police Procedure For Runaways

Parents of children with Asperger's Syndrome know the children are prone to odd behavior, but  Marsiela Garcia got a shock when her son didn't return home from school. When she went to the police, she  was brushed off, kids run away all the time. Garcia didn't take no for an answer, and made posters, publicizing the disappearance herself. She finally notified the Mexican Consulate to get some action from the police department. Eleven days later, he was found, with the aid of the poster, by a transit officer, on the train to Coney Island.  He spent 11 days riding around on the subways, eating junk food and using station bathrooms.  Why?  He was worried he would get in trouble due to a situation at school. 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 the Association of American Educators (AAE), click here

Diabetes Cases to Double and Costs to Triple by 2034

In the next 25 years, the number of Americans living with diabetes will nearly double, increasing from 23.7 million in 2009 to 44.1 million in 2034. Over the same period, spending on diabetes will almost triple, rising from $113 billion to $336 billion, even with no increase in the prevalence of obesity, researchers based at the University of Chicago report in the December issue of Diabetes Care. The number of those with diabetes covered by Medicare will rise from 8.2 million to 14.6 million, the researchers predict. Medicare spending on diabetes will jump from $45 billion to $171 billion. "If we don't change our diet and exercise habits or find new, more effective and less expensive ways to prevent and treat diabetes, we will find ourselves in a lot of trouble as a population," said the study's lead author Elbert Huang, MD, assistant professor of medicine at the University of Chicago. "Without significant changes in public or private strategies," the authors wrote, "this population and cost growth are expected to add a significant strain to an overburdened health care system." To read more, click here

Hockey Program Gives Special-Needs Players Self-Esteem, Structure

Every morning, 5-year-old Owen Thigpen races into his mom's bedroom and asks, "Is today a hockey day?" On Sunday mornings, when her towheaded son appears at her bedside - usually at 4:30 a.m. - she can give him the answer he wants to hear. "Yes," she tells him, groggily, "today is your hockey day." Owen is like a thousand other hockey-crazed kids here in Brick, which has a proud hockey tradition, except in one regard: He has autism. Because of his condition, Owen has trouble walking, staying focused and interacting socially, but you'd hardly know that to see him tearing around the rink in his green hockey uniform at the Ocean Ice Palace. "He's going to be the first autistic kid in the NHL," predicts his mom, Eileen Thigpen of Brick. To read more, click here

Study: 1 in 8 Israeli Teens Suffer From Mental Disorders

One in eight Israeli teenagers suffer from a mental disorder requiring professional help, a new Health Ministry study reveals. The main risk factors for the development of such a disorder are living with a single parent and economic distress requiring welfare. Similar studies conducted worldwide show that the percentage of youth suffering from such disorders stands at 7-16.4%. The factors which may cause such disorders are parents' divorce, chronic illnesses, exposure to terror and wars, belonging to a minority group, economic distress in the family and parents with lower education. The study was conducted recently by the Health Ministry and is the first of its kind, as no comprehensive national research on mental disorders among youth has been held in Israel so far. To read more, click here

Editorial: Over-Punishment in Schools

New York City joined a national trend in 1998 when it put the police in charge of school security. The consensus is that public schools are now safe. But juvenile justice advocates across the country are rightly worried about policies under which children are sometimes arrested and criminalized for behavior that once was dealt with by principals or guidance counselors working with a student's parents. Children who are singled out for arrest and suspension are at greater risk of dropping out and becoming permanently entangled with the criminal justice system. It is especially troubling that these children tend to be disproportionately black and Hispanic, and often have emotional problems or learning disabilities. School officials in several cities have identified overpolicing as a problem in itself. The New York City Council has taken a first cut at the problem by drafting a bill, the Student Safety Act, that would bring badly needed accountability and transparency to the issue. To read more, click here

Feast Empowers Special-Needs Students

The best part about cooking a Thanksgiving meal at school is a break from classroom routine. The worst part is not being able to sample the food - especially the Oreo pudding.

"It looks good," said 12-year old Matthew Grafe, as he helped fold chocolate pudding onto a layer of crushed Oreos. The eating part comes today when about 200 people - Linden Grove's 42 students, their families and alumni sit down for the annual Thanksgiving Feast. "This is one of many ways Linden Grove teaches students the importance of giving and being thankful for what they have and who they are," said Linda Hart, principal of administration at the school for special needs children. Linden Grove serves students who are on the autism spectrum, have ADD/ADHD, learning disabilities and communication disorders. The school provides an environment for students who require a different teaching approach to learn and thrive. To read more, click here

JCTC Course Gives Students With Down Syndrome A Taste Of College Life

Like students everywhere, those in Luanne Goldsby's Employment Readiness course pack their bags well before class is over. But their reaction when Goldsby assigns them homework is a little different. They cheer, said Goldsby, an associate professor at Jefferson Community & Technical College. "And you don't see that in regular classrooms," she said. Of course, this isn't a "regular" classroom. The six students in Goldsby's class have Down syndrome and are not receiving college credit for their work, but instead get a Continuing Education Unit. Their peers may see community college as a second choice, but Goldsby's students are proud of where they are and they wear JCTC shirts to prove it. The shirts are like uniforms for Emily McCullum, 24, who makes sure to wear one to class every Wednesday. Since she was in high school, Emily has asked her parents where she would go to college, said her mother, Trish. To read more, click here

'What's Next?' Looms As Students Grow Up

In education - especially teaching students with disabilities - few things ever stay the same for long. The landscape changes often, as federal and state governments regularly update laws dictating what schools are supposed to provide for students, and science illuminates new information about how best to serve students with learning disabilities. Some of the changes reverse a century of what was thought to be progress, says Maclean Gander, a professor and former vice president at Landmark College, a post-secondary school in Putney, Vt., dedicated to students with learning disabilities. "The history of education is a history of becoming more democratic, which is good, and more efficient, which is not so good," he said. In 2007-08, only 71 percent of special education students in New Hampshire eligible to graduate from high school did. Almost 4 percent of special education students dropped out of school that year, compared to 3 percent of all students. To read more, click here

Bell's Palsy: Study Calls for Rethink of Cause and

Drugs widely prescribed to treat facial paralysis in Bell's palsy are ineffective and are based on false notions of the cause of the condition, according to Cochrane Researchers. They say research must now focus on discovering other potential causes and treatments. Between 11 and 40 people in every 100,000 are affected by the condition, which causes paralysis on one side of the face. Paralysis is usually temporary, but a third of people suffer ongoing problems including facial disfigurement, pain and psychological difficulties.

Antiviral medications are widely prescribed to treat the condition, because studies have indicated that Bell's palsy may be associated with the same virus that causes cold sores (herpes simplex). Previous Cochrane Systematic Reviews did not find sufficient evidence to determine whether or not antiviral medications are effective. To read more, click here

Report: D.C. Agency Has Abuse Investigation Backlog

A watchdog group says there is a backlog of D.C. Department on Disability Services investigations into abuse, neglect and other serious incidents. Quality Trust for Individuals with Disabilities says in a report that the department, which oversees care of those with developmental disabilities, had not filed timely reports in connection with more than 400 incidents. That's up by more than 200 from five months earlier. The organization was started in 2001 as part of a long-running lawsuit against the city over its care of people with developmental disabilities. To read more, click here



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Food for Thought........

One looks back with appreciation to the brilliant teachers, but with gratitude to those who touched our human feelings.  The curriculum is so much necessary raw material, but warmth is the vital element for the growing plant and for the soul of the child.                                                                 Carl Jung

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