Week in Review - January 16, 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.

NASET News Team

New This Week on NASET:  Parent Teacher Conference Handouts & Classroom Management Series IV-Behavior Management Tool #4

Parent Teacher ConferenceHandout

Students with Disabilities Preparing for Postsecondary Education
A Guide for Parents and Students

Many of our Parent Teacher Conference Handouts are geared to the education and information for parents. This Parent Teacher Conference Handout is geared first for the student transitioning to postsecondary education and second to the parent of that student. We strongly suggest that you encourage the parent to discuss this with his/her child since the recommendations can lead to a more positive transition to college.

To read this Parent Teacher Conference Handout - Click Here  (login required)
Classroom Management SeriesIV

Behavior Management Tool #4

Learn What Triggers Certain Behaviors - Finding Each Childs "Emotional Aura"

This issue of Series IV of the Classroom Management Series provides a good technique is to learn how to prevent and short circuit potential outbursts and inappropriate behavior.

To read this isse - Click Here (login required)

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Individuals With Developmental Disabilities Face Care Gap As Hawaii Cuts Services

Parents and guardians are raising concerns about state health department cutbacks going into effect Feb. 1 that will scale back services to more than 2,500 children and adults with developmental disabilities by 15 percent. The state Developmental Disabilities Division wants to save at least $2.3 million through June 30 with the cuts, which target daycare, respite and skilled nursing care and personal assistant services for the developmentally disabled who qualify for Medicaid. "All these things are vital to their well-being," Elizabeth Russell, 82, said of the services her two adult children receive. Her 56-year-old son has brain damage from birth and is autistic; her 51-year-old daughter has Down syndrome and also suffers from obsessive compulsive disorder. Both attend an Easter Seals daycare program in 'Ewa and get help from personal aides. To read more, click here

NASET Sponsor - RFB&D

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Should Johnny Play Linebacker? A Look At Concussions In High School Sports

Last October, a 17-year-old Montclair, N.J., linebacker collapsed following a routine tackle. A month earlier, he had sustained a mild concussion but had recovered and been cleared to play. This time, though, when he stood up on the field, he collapsed again. He died three days later of an acute brain hemorrhage. Fortunately, such disasters are rare. In 2007, according to the National Center for Catastrophic Sports Injury at the University of North Carolina, only three deaths were attributed to head injuries among the 1.8 million U.S. teenagers playing high school football. On the other hand, it's conservatively estimated that high school and college athletes annually sustain at least 300,000 concussions, or "dings." Add the growing number of kids playing soccer, hockey, lacrosse and extreme sports, and the concussion rate is staggering. But youth is about taking risks and proving oneself, not about trying to avoid life. Being KO'd or having your bell rung is a rite of passage, proof that you can take whatever is dished out. Parents be damned; let the games begin. To read more, click here

Special Event - NYC Department of Education - District 75

Online Conference on Working with Students with Challenging Behaviors
District 75, Office of Positive Behavior Supports is pleased to present an interactive, online conference for staff and parents working with students who present challenging behaviors. Nationally-recognized researchers and experts will outline evidence-based systems and practical tips. Speakers will include: Dr. Lucille Eber (Director, IL PBIS Network), Dr. Nicholas Long (founder of the Life Space Crisis Intervention Institute), Dr. Marc Brackett (Yale University), and Dr. Laura Riffel (Behavior Doctor Seminars).This conference is probably the most practical event you'll attend all year!

  • Learn Practical tips for working with youngsters who display challenging behaviors
  • Find out how to break in to the conflict cycle
  • Become familiar with the basic tenets of emotional literacy

Conference Title:
Educating Children with Disruptive Behavior:
Strategies for Classroom and Community

DATE: January 21st and 22nd          TIME: 3:15 pm -5:00 pm

To register for the conference please visit the link below: http://district75.net/behaviorconference

Major League Baseball and Therapeutic Exemptions for Treatment of ADHD

Baseball opened a new window into its drug-testing program on Friday, reporting that 14 players had first-time positive tests for amphetamines in 2008 and that the number of players granted therapeutic use exemptions for attention deficit disorder - and thus cleared to use amphetamine-like stimulants - grew slightly despite efforts to make it more difficult to obtain such exemptions. The disclosure of the numbers came in response to recommendations made by George J. Mitchell in the report that the issued a little over a year ago on the use of performance-enhancing drugs in baseball. Mitchell urged that the testing program be made more transparent through the release of periodic reports and Major League Baseball has now followed through. The number of positive tests for amphetamines is significant because baseball previously never disclosed such numbers. Testing for amphetamines did not begin until the 2006 season, and a player who tests positive for the first time is neither penalized nor publicly identified although he is referred for counseling. A second positive test results in a 25-game suspension. To read more, click here

NASET Sponsor - PCI Education

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NIMH Grants Focus On Innovative Autism Research

Autism is a complex brain disorder involving communication and social difficulties as well as repetitive behavior or limited interests. Autism is often grouped with similar disorders, such as Asperger's syndrome and pervasive developmental disorder, all of which may be referred to collectively as autism spectrum disorders (ASD). The underlying causes of ASD are unclear. Currently, there is no cure for the disorders and treatments are limited. NIMH is committed to reducing the burden of autism and related disorders through research that can lead to methods of prevention, recovery, and cure. To accomplish this goal, the Institute recently funded nine research projects that focus on ASD. To read more about this research by the NIMH, 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

How NCLB Threatens Florida's Successful Education Reforms

For decades, federal policymakers have tried to implement education reforms to improve opportunities for disadvantaged students and ethnic-minority children. Since 2001, the focus of federal policy has been the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) legislation--which increased federal funding for K-12 education programs and created new academic requirements for states and public schools that receive federal assistance. NCLB established new requirements for states to set educational standards, test students annually on core subjects, and to implement reforms in public schools that fail to demonstrate adequate progress on state tests. The combination of testing and reform interventions was intended to provide better learning opportunities for students in danger of falling behind in low-performing schools. After seven years, evidence suggests that No Child Left Behind, like previous federal interventions, has failed to yield meaningful improvements in students' learning. NCLB has also highlighted the limits and unintended consequences of federal intervention. To read more, click here

Disabilities Program Falls Victim To State Budget Cuts

An early intervention program that helps hundreds of Gulf Coast families with developmental disabilities is closing because of recent cuts to the state budget. The South Mississippi Regional Center, a facility of the state Department of Mental Health, will close its programs in George, Hancock, Harrison, Jackson, Pearl River and Stone counties. Parents will be notified in writing of the exact schedule of office closures as those dates are confirmed. Project PRINTS, the early intervention program, will cease all services between February and April 2009. More than 275 families are enrolled in the programs. The programs are designed to enhance the development of infants, toddlers and young children with disabilities or children who are at risk for developing disabilities. To read more, click here

Building A Special Place For Special Needs Children

With hope, all things are possible, said Paula Kavolius of Walpole. And the project she has founded, the Yawkey House of Possibilities, being built on donated land at Stonehill College in Easton, will offer hope to families with special needs children. Kavolius is a member of the Volunteer Information Agency of Milton, and a parent of a special needs child. She saw the need for programs for families like hers, a place for special needs children to go for the day or overnight, to give the family a break from constant care and a chance to take care of themselves. She founded the nonprofit in 2003. Stonehill agreed to give the program 2 acres on its campus for a $1 lease, and with the help of donations and in-kind services, the project got underway last year and should be up and running by June 1. 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

Exercise Is A Healthy Option For Kids With Developmental Disabilities

Group exercise programs, treadmill training and horseback riding can be healthy choices for children with developmental disabilities, a new review of studies concludes.  With these kinds of activities, children with disorders such as autism, mental retardation and cerebral palsy can improve their coordination and aerobic fitness, according to research analyzed by Connie Johnson, PT, a physical therapist with the Fairfax County Public Schools in Virginia.  The findings are encouraging, since studies show that children with developmental disabilities tend to be less fit than their peers. In many cases, the children lack the resources and community support that would encourage them to be more active, Johnson said. To read more, click here 

Of Mice And Peanuts: A New Model For Peanut Allergy

Chicago researchers report the development of a new mouse model for food allergy that mimics symptoms generated during a human allergic reaction to peanuts. The animal model provides a new research tool that will be invaluable in furthering the understanding of the causes of peanut and other food allergies and in finding new ways to treat and prevent their occurrence, according to experts at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), the component of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) that funded the research. Peanut allergy is of great public health interest because this food allergy is the one most often associated with life-threatening allergic reactions, resulting in up to 100 deaths in the United States each year.  "Food allergies affect the health and quality of life of many Americans, particularly young children," says NIAID Director Anthony S. Fauci, M.D. "Finding an animal model that mimics a severe human allergic reaction to peanuts will help us better understand peanut allergy and develop new and improved treatment and prevention strategies."  To read more, click here

New Study: Autism And The Effects Of The Environment

California's sevenfold increase in autism cannot be explained by changes in doctors' diagnoses and most likely is due to environmental exposures, University of California scientists reported last week. The scientists who authored the new study advocate a nationwide shift in autism research to focus on potential factors in the environment that babies and fetuses are exposed to, including pesticides, viruses and chemicals in household products. "It's time to start looking for the environmental culprits responsible for the remarkable increase in the rate of autism in California," said Irva Hertz-Picciotto, an epidemiology professor at University of California, Davis who led the study. To read more, click here

Rhode Island Attorney General Won't Press For 'Time-Out' Room

On Christmas Eve the state attorney general's office announced its decision not to pursue charges against the Block Island School or any teachers or administrators in regard to the time-out room that came to light there last summer. Attorney General spokesman Mike Healey called the room "a well intended but improper policy" but not criminal. "The only possible charge would have been child neglect, but the key word in the child neglect statute is 'habitual,' and in the instance of the time-out room or chill room or whatever term you want to use there was no evidence at all that the conduct was habitual," Healey said. Assistant Attorney General Susan Urso, then head of the state's juvenile prosecution unit, had inspected the room June 12, accompanied by two state police troopers. The room came to light in June after an anonymous package arrived at news outlets in Rhode Island containing a DVD and a letter. On the DVD, a video showed Room 20 with sliding locks and a boarded up window. The letter reportedly implied that unruly children were held in the room. To read more, click here

Food for Thought........

A mind once stretched by a new idea never regains its original dimensions.

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