Week in Review - February 13, 2009


New NASET Publications and Articlesof 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  

Parent Teacher Conference Handouts 

 What Parents Need to Know About Auditory ProcessingDisorders

As a special educator there may be times when parents seek out information on terms in special education that may confuse them. One of those terms is auditory processing disorder. Auditory Processing Disorder is a term that needs clarification so that parents do not receive mis-information.The purpose of this Parent Teacher Conference Handout is to provide parents with a simple overview of this topic and also provide a frame of reference for early dedection.

To read access this handout - Click Here  (login required)


Classroom Management Series IV - Part 5

Behavior Crisis Management Tools

 "This is Not Open For Discussion"

 This issue of Series IV of the Classroom Management Series provides a tool to limit negotiation and control on the part of students when you need something done without question.

 To read this issue on NASET - Click Here  (login required)

Quick Links To NASET

World Winter Games Are A Lesson Of Hope: Special Olympic Athletes From Around The Globe Join Together At Idaho Center

Maybe it's time for the able to learn from the disabled. That was the message delivered Saturday afternoon at the Idaho Center throughout the 2009 Special Olympics World Winter Games Opening Ceremony. It came from the likes of California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, Special Olympics CEO Tim Shriver, Olympic figure skater Scott Hamilton and 2009 World Winter Games CEO Chip Fisher. Nearly 2,000 athletes with intellectual disabilities, representing 95 countries, filed into the Idaho Center during the parade of athletes - sporting outfits with a touch of home and Olympic-sized smiles. They will spend the next six days competing for gold medals, forming new friendships and, for most of them, exploring a foreign land. Along the way, they will inspire many - as they have for decades - with their passion, perseverance and accepting spirit. "Come to the games. Look at our athletes," Shriver said. "They're in the game. They're racing with all the energy God gave them. They're unafraid. They're brave. Don't just admire them. Don't just be nice to them. Don't you dare pity them. Instead, why not follow them?" To read more,click here

NASET Sponsor - RFB&D 

 For more information - CLICK HERE

Walking The Talk

Teaching, as it is, is already a noble profession. What makes it nobler - even humbling - is to see a person taking the profession to heart amid a lifelong disability. Peter Jonas David, a full time professor in World Citi College (WCC) in Quezon City (Phillipines), is one shining example. Born with mild cerebral palsy, David has been teaching Social Sciences, English and Humanities subjects for five years now. Drawn to teaching because this profession hones a person to be patient, the 28-year-old professor believes teaching is more than just about pen and paper or chalk - it is about getting the message across regardless of abilities, or in his case, disability. "My students know that I tend to deviate from the normal methodologies of teaching to get the message across," says David who believes that this is the most effective means of getting the real message across especially now that young people have a shorter attention span. "If you need to use a movie, then use a movie. If you need group discussions, then do group discussion. If you need to use other unconventional methods, then do so. The most important thing is the students learn not by memorization but by applying what they have learned in their daily lives." To read more, click here

Individuals With Disabilities Want Less Pity, More Inclusion

Bradley Cleveland Services and Open Arms Care Corporation in Ooltewah are promoting the inclusion of people with physical and mental disabilities in all aspects of community life. Both agencies committed to people with disabilities, are also offering informed advice on disability issues as well as encouraging communities to incorporate those with intellectual disabilities into their social and business lives.Dr. Luke Queen, CEO of Bradley Cleveland Services, said people with intellectual disabilities want the same thing everyone wants, which is to be able to contribute to their community. "We are currently looking for anything that we can do to give back to our community," said Queen. "One, it's the right thing to do. Two, they have a passion for it. We have found that those with intellectual disabilities have a passion to be part of the local community and to give back to their community. 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

Brain Gene Linked To Mental Retardation

A gene involved in cognition and the function of brain synapses appears to play a role in nonsyndromic mental retardation, researchers here said. Mutations that blocked the function of the gene SYNGAP1 were significantly more common (P=0.004) among children with nonsyndromic mental retardation than among controls, Jacques Michaud, M.D., of the Université de Montréal, and colleagues reported in the Feb. 5 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine. The gene has not previously been linked to this form of retardation, which is characterized by the absence of the kinds of morphologic, radiologic, and metabolic features associated with Down's syndrome, the researchers said. It encodes a protein -- SYNGAP1 -- that is only expressed in the brain and is part of a well-characterized pathway important for learning and memory, they said. To read more, click here

School Improves Literacy Through Brain Fitness

Alex adjusts his seat, so he can more intently focus on the task at hand -- an exercise unfolding not on the pages of a workbook but on a computer screen. Crowned by headsets, he and other sixth-graders click away at the promptings of their laptops for nearly an hour without so much as a peep. They are clearly motivated and seem to be enjoying what looks to be a video game. "There are no discipline problems in this room. They're working really hard. After this, they're beat," remarks their teacher, a grinning Shauna Venturino. Venturino is heading up a Murray School District experiment at Longview Elementary involving 50 sixth-graders and a colorful computer program called FastForWord Language. Developed by Scientific Learning Corp. in Berkeley, Calif., the program applies neurological theory to language and reading problems. To read more, click here

In Virginia, Foster Parents Would Get Say In Kids' Education

A bill that would allow foster parents to make decisions about their foster children's special education is making its way through the General Assembly. Last week, the House passed HB 2537, which is sponsored by Del. David J. Toscano, D-Charlottesville. The bill lets foster parents step in and make educational decisions when a foster child's biological or adoptive parents aren't able or willing to take part. Federal law dictates which children are eligible for disability services. Local schools develop an Individualized Education Plan, which describes the educational game plan for a child, with parental consent and meet with parents occasionally to make changes or review the plan. When a child in special education is in foster care temporarily, it can make changing the IEP difficult, said Angela A. Ciolfi, a staff attorney for the JustChildren Program. The program, which is based out of the Legal Aid Justice Center offices, focuses on foster care, public education and juvenile justice in Virginia. "I've heard of gaps between four and eight months while the locality tries to engage the parent who doesn't want to be engaged," Ciolfi said. "Federal law was changed in 2006 to make it easier for foster parents to get involved, but Virginia law still contains those barriers." To read more click here

MMR Doctor Fixed Data On Autism

The doctor who sparked the scare over the safety of the MMR vaccine for children changed and misreported results in his research, creating the appearance of a possible link with autism, a Sunday Times investigation has found. Confidential medical documents and interviews with witnesses have established that Andrew Wakefield manipulated patients' data, which triggered fears that the MMR triple vaccine to protect against measles, mumps and rubella was linked to the condition. The research was published in February 1998 in an article in The Lancet medical journal. It claimed that the families of eight out of 12 children attending a routine clinic at the hospital had blamed MMR for their autism, and said that problems came on within days of the jab. The team also claimed to have discovered a new inflammatory bowel disease underlying the children's conditions. To read more, click here

Addressing A Child's Special Needs Can Be Difficult Overseas

Tech. Sgt. Ross Funches and his wife, Wendy, loved raising their family overseas from the day they arrived in England in 2005. The couple enjoyed traveling with their children and considered the assignment at RAF Mildenhall a benefit to their family's growth. They had planned to extend their tour until shortly after their daughter, Eden, was born in April.
But at only 3 weeks old, Eden was diagnosed with coloboma, a rare eye disorder. Their youngest child was blind. "We were crushed at first," said Ross Funches, 35, a special operations noncommissioned officer with a tattooed wedding band on his ring finger. "But now we're excited. God made Eden the way she is. ... We kind of felt guilty about being upset." Still coping with the shock of Eden's disability, the couple, who have three other children, soon discovered there were limited services for the blind at Mildenhall and nearby RAF Lakenheath, home to the largest Air Force hospital in Europe. To read more, click here

Many Florida Teachers May Be Ill-Equipped To Handle Special-Needs Students

These were the tools kindergarten teacher Wendy Portillo had to handle an unruly student: 10 tokens to be taken away if he misbehaved, the occasional help of a volunteer and another teacher, and a trip to the principal's office. The choice she made in May - have students vote on whether then 5-year-old Alex Barton should remain in class at Morningside Elementary in Port St. Lucie - has been debated and reviled. That Alex was being evaluated, and later was diagnosed with Asperger's syndrome, a form of autism, has only fueled the controversy. But the incident may point to more than the judgment of one teacher. Parents, educators and disability advocates say it highlights an often overlooked problem with inclusion, the national trend toward placing special needs students in regular classrooms: Many general education teachers receive little to no training in how to manage students with disabilities before they walk into class. "It's important to recognize that many of our teachers are going to have no training as teachers," said Jack Scott, director of Florida Atlantic University's Center for Autism and Related Disabilities. To read more, click here

Children's Illnesses From Pollutants Cost Residents Of Maine 380 Million Dollars

A hefty $380.9 million - that's the annual cost in Maine of childhood illnesses caused by exposure to toxic chemicals and other pollutants, according to a new report from a University of Maine researcher. The costs of lead poisoning, asthma, childhood cancer and neurobehavioral disorders such as autism, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder and mental retardation are analyzed in the report to be released today by environmental researcher and economist Mary Davis, an adjunct faculty member in the UMaine School of Economics."The take-home message is that whatever we can do to reduce childhood exposure to environmental pollution is money well spent," Davis said Thursday. To read more, click here

Food for Thought........

Good work habits help develop an internal toughness and a self-confident attitude that will sustain you through every adversity and temporary discouragement.

                                          Paul J. Fleyer

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