Week in Review - February 20, 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

Behavior Management Series

Issue #13

Behaviors Covered in This Issue:
  • Why Some Children Need to Please the Teacher all the Time
  • Why Some Children do not Participate in Classroom Activities
  • Why Some Children Are Very Popular
  • Why Children Exhibit Poor Judgment
  • Why Children are Chronically Late to School

To read this issue - Click Here   (login required)


 ADHD Series 

Part #4 - Evaluation Procedures Used in the Assessment of Students with ADHD

A diagnosis of ADHD is multifaceted and includes behavioral, medical, and educational data gathering. One component of the diagnosis includes an examination of the child's history through comprehensive interviews with parents, teachers, and health care professionals. Interviewing these individuals determines the child s specific behavior characteristics, when the behavior began, duration of symptoms, whether the child displays the behavior in various settings, and coexisting conditions. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) stresses that since a variety of psychological and developmental disorders frequently coexist in children who are being evaluated for ADHD, a thorough examination for any such coexisting condition should be an integral part of any evaluation (AAP, 2000). The focus of this ADHD series will be to presents the three most common evaluations used in the assessment of students with suspected ADHD: (1) Behavioral Evaluations; (2) Educational Evaluations; and (3) Medical Evaluations.
To read this issue - Click Here   (login required)

Quick Links To NASET

Obama Wants Stimulus to Transform Schools

President Barack Obama wants to do more than save teachers' jobs or renovate classrooms with his economic recovery bill. He wants to transform the federal government's role in education. Public schools will get an unprecedented amount of money - double the education budget under George W. Bush - from the stimulus bill in the next two years. With those dollars, Obama and Education Secretary Arne Duncan want schools to do better. From Duncan's perspective, the sheer size of the stimulus bill makes it a once-in-a-lifetime chance to put lasting reforms in place. "It's also an opportunity to redefine the federal role in education, something we're thinking a whole lot about," Duncan said recently. "How can we move from being (about) compliance with bureaucracy to really the engine of innovation and change?" To read more: click here

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US Vaccine Court Denies Autism Cases

A special U.S. court ruled against three families Thursday who claimed vaccines caused their children's autism. The Vaccine Court Omnibus Autism Proceeding ruled against the parents of Michelle Cedillo, Colten Snyder and William Yates Hazlehurst, who had claimed that a measles, mumps and rubella vaccine had combined with other vaccine ingredients to damage the three children. "Unfortunately, the Cedillos have been misled by physicians who are guilty, in my view, of gross medical misjudgment," Special Master George Hastings, a former tax claims expert at the Department of Justice, wrote in the 183-page Cedillo ruling. To read more, click here

Education: The Dilemma of Dual Diagnosis

Until Trevor Dennis entered school, life was fairly normal for him and20his parents. A first child, he was a typically energetic boy that seemed to be progressing normally. Then school started. And so did the problems."It wasn't a good fit," Brent Dennis, Trevor's dad, explains. From kindergarten through Grade 2, it seemed the youngster was forever in trouble for disrupting his classmates. "I can remember a lot of misunderstandings," says Trevor, now in Grade 10 at Fraser Heights Secondary, recalling he would do things like poke at his fellow students. "I don't know if they were bothered by it, but they would burst into tears for some reason. The teacher didn't find it so entertaining." The attention-getting behaviour became more frequent and was increasingly annoying the other kids. Teachers were running out of ideas about what to do and a desk was eventually set up for Trevor in a detention room to separate him from the other kids if need be. Finally, in Grade 3, the20little boy was given a psychological educational test. It showed he had auditory processing difficulties, meaning although his hearing was fine, he had trouble sorting the information on the way to the brain. If given a series of instructions, for example, only the first would be completed, while the last might not have been acknowledged at all. However, the testing also showed he was profoundly gifted in the visual/spacial category. He learned very well visually, and was able to see the big picture, but not necessarily the smaller details. Similarly gifted students are often creatively, mathematically or technolog ically inclined. To read more, click here

A Difficult Decision

Nicole Hertel recently took her son, Damien, to his 15-month checkup, but she refused - at least for now - to have him vaccinated against mumps, measles and rubella. Her pediatrician was not pleased."He gave m e a spiel about how (Damien) needs it," Hertel says. "He told me that at his 18-month checkup he hopes I change my mind." She and her husband, Justin, are still wrestling with the decision, which she says ranks "about a 10 on a scale of 1 to 10" in terms of difficulty. The Hertels are among a small but growing number of parents so worried about vaccine safety that they are delaying or rejecting immunizations. In particular, the Hebron couple fears that the measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine could cause autism, a developmental disability that affects the ability to interact socially and communicate. Justin's adult brother has a mild form of the disorder. As the number of diagnoses continues to grow - today 1 in 150 children has an autism spectrum disorder - parents are being hit on all sides by information from pediatricians, c elebrities, conspiracy theorists, anti-vaccine Web sites and complex research studies. For many the issue boils down to this: Who do we trust? To read more, click here

EEG Device Helps Find Learning Disabilities

A local neuroscience company wants to take its testing technology out into the field to help more easily determine if children have learning disabilities. Burlington-based Boston Neurofeedback Center PC is already in the business of applied neuroscience, performing learning assessments and treating depression. Now the company has a device-based system that can reduce the time, cost and expense of testing for learning problems in children, explained David Myer, head of research at the company. The firm is looking to raise $3 million from investors to launch the new tool. The system, dubbed the Boston Educational Assessment Team (BEAT), relies on a portable computing device about two inches high that measures brain activity through an electroencephalogram (EEG) test. The device collects information from=2 0up to four subjects at a time, who wear special helmets equipped with electrodes. The subjects answer a series of questions and the device records the electrical activity of their brains. "We see how the brain talks to itself, " said Myer. To read more, click here

Board Ceritification in Special Education - Available to NASET Members

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 Education Suit Stands Against DC Schools

A federal judge is allowing a lawsuit that alleges the D.C. public schools discriminated against a disabled student to move forward. U.S. District Judge Henry H. Kennedy rejected the school system's arguments Thursday, writing that the suit could go forward under the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Rehabilitation Act. The school system had argued those laws applied to employment discrimination only and asked to have the suit dismissed. The lawsuit alleges school officials denied Godfrey Henneghan's 13-year-old son special education services for his learning disabilities beginning in 2004. It says school officials later retaliated against the family by failing to respond to calls, send ing notices after deadlines had passed and refusing to meet with them, among other things. To read more, click here

Most Schools in Pa. Underfund Special Education

Most school districts in Pennsylvania are not spending enough to meet the basic needs of special education students, according to a new study. The study found that 391 of the state's 501 school districts are spending less than a basic adequacy level on special education. Combined, that amounts to a shortfall of $380 million annually or $1,947 per special education student. The study was done by Augenblick, Palaich and Associates Inc. for the Education Law Center, Disability Rights Network and the Arc of Pennsylvania. The consultants calculated the base cost for the average student in Pennsylvania at $8,003 in 2005-06. The bas e cost does not include food, transportation, debt service and capital costs. They f igured that the additional base cost for an average special education student at $10,404, bringing the total to $18,407. To read more, click here

Focus on the Adderall Generation

What a boring way to abuse drugs. Forget tasting smells, waving walls or seeing bugs crawling on your skin. The hottest narcotics trend on college campuses is Adderall -- the study drug. When used properly, Adderall stimulates the central nervous system to reduce hyperactivity and increase concentration in patients with Attention Deficit Disorder or Attention Deficit/Hyperactive Disorder. Adderall is prescribed in doses ranging from 5 to 30 milligrams, and through a combination of slow-releasing amphetamine salts, it essentially acts as a low-dose stimulant. Nationally, one in five college students admits to using the drug without a prescription. The rate of abuse is nearly twice as high in college students as it is in non-students of the same age. The best friend of all-night crammers, Adderall is not intelligence in a pill. Dr. Laurence Greenhill, a clinical psychiatrist at Colombia University, says that the idea of Adderall being a performance enhancer is a myth. "It won't increase your intelligence, it just increases your diligence," he said in a New York Times interview from 2005. To read more, click here

Early Intervention Communication Keys in Special Education

A financial review of the Keewatin-Patricia District School Board's special education programs has heralded the success of its programs as "provincial leaders" and found room for improvement in communication with the region's First Nations parents. Through four days of interviews with staff and stakeholders in the spring of 2008, the ministry team analyzed the board's decision-making processes and the design and delivery of special education services relative to student outcomes. They found "wide based confidence" in adminis trative decision making and trust throughout the system that staff are putting students first in special education program delivery. Between 18 to 20 per cent of students in the board are identified, qualifying them for Individual Education Plans, one of the highest per capita rates of special education in the province. "We have been diligent in identifying children who have special needs as early as we possibly can to get interventions in place so that we can meet their needs," said board director Larry Hope. "We have had a successful run with regard to identification, we have been very accurate in our identification and it has resulted in a higher average than the rest of the province." Ti read more, click here

Final Stimulus Bill May Cost Iowa Schools Millions

That's the story of Iowa's public schools and President Obama's stimulus bill. In the federal economic stimulus package that was passed by the U.S. House of Representatives in January, Iowa school districts would have received just over $255 million for low-income students, construction and special education. The funds would have been a=2 0much welcomed patch to cover pending state budget cuts. But Senate Republicans, saying there was fat in the House bill, decided education was the best place to start cutting. Iowa school districts were poised to receive between $24,300 (Prescott Community School District) and $25.5 million (Des Moines Independent Community School District) over a two-year period, according to House Education and Labor Committee estimates. Additional provisions in the House bill increased federal student aid programs, funded modernized existing education facilities and created a state stabil ization fund to prevent education-related layoffs. Early education benefited as well, with $2.1 billion allotted for Head Start programs. The House bill, which passed on a party line vote of 244 to 188, made investment in education a top priority, according to U.S. Rep. George Miller, a California Democrat and chairman of the House Committee. To read more, click here

Food for Thought........

"The problems that exist in the world today cannot be solved by the level of thinking that created them."
                                                                                  Albert Einstein
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