Week in Review - July 10, 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 Teamnt>

New This Week on NASET

The Practical Teacher

Encouraging Student Academic Motivation

One of the greatest frustrations mentioned by many teachers is that their students are often not motivated to learn. Teachers quickly come to recognize the warning signs of poor motivation in their classroom: students put little effort into homework and class work assignments, slump in their seats and fail to participate in class discussion, or even become confrontational toward the teacher when asked about an overdue assignment. One common method for building motivation is to tie student academic performance and classroom participation to specific rewards or privileges. Critics of reward systems note, however, that they can be expensive and cumbersome to administer and may lead the student to engage in academics only when there is an outside 'payoff. While there is no magic formula for motivating students, the creative teacher can sometimes encourage student investment in learning in ways that do not require use of formal reward systems. This issue of the NASETPractical Teacher will provide alternative ideas for promoting student motivation

To read this issue - Click Here

Autism Spectrum Disorder Series

Behavior and Discipline Issues for Students with ASD

Most students with ASD want to behave appropriately and follow the rules, but have a great deal of trouble applying their rote memory of rules to real situations, especially when they are anxious, impulsive, or confused. Students with ASD have trouble understanding how to apply school and social rules even though some students with verbal language and good memory may be able to recite the very rules they seem to break. In some cases these students may correct others who break the rules - at least the rules that are very specific and concrete. Because of this variability in understanding rules and actual performance of appropriate behaviors educators, family, and peers often are unsure about the area of discipline as it applies to students with ASD. This topic will discuss typical questions related to behavior and discipline for students with ASD including:
  • How do you develop appropriate behaviors for students with ASD?
  • What do we do when a student with ASD engages in inappropriate behaviors?
  • Are the standards of discipline applied to students who are not disabled also applied to a student with ASD?
To read this issue - Click Here

Quick Links To NASET

Is A Federal Ban On Restraint Tactics For Special Needs Students Needed?

In a recent report from the Government Accountability Office hundreds of allegations of school-related "death and abuse" were found, most involving children with disabilities. Included are a case from Florida where a teacher's aide gagged and duct-taped children as young as 6 for misbehaving, and a case where a 14-year-old in Texas who refused to stay seated in class was restrained by his 230-pound teacher by lying on top of him on the floor. The report also shows that over four thousand (4000) students were restrained almost nineteen thousand (19000) times In Texas during the 2007 and 2008 school year alone. Many of the children in the report were apparently not out of control or aggressive. While restraint is often an affective means to calm and restore order to a person who is emotionally out of control, it must be done correctly, yet most teachers are not taught these safe restraint tactics to use on neurotypical school students, let alone the children with special needs or disabilities. To read more, click here

Stress During Pregnancy May Lower A Baby's IQ

Severe stress during pregnancy can damage a baby's brain and put the child at greater risk of anxiety, depression and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder later on in adolescence, according to British research revealed last week. The higher the levels of cortisol - a stress hormone - in the womb, the lower the toddler's "baby IQ" at 18 months, the researchers found."We found that if the mother was more stressed while she was pregnant the baby scored significantly lower on the mental developmental index," said Vivette Glover, lead researcher and professor of prenatal psychobiology at Imperial College London. 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), 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

Students With Learning Disabilities Should Tailor Search

The transition from high school to college is daunting for most students, but the anxiety is exaggerated for most students with learning disabilities. They wonder if they'll be able to keep up and fit in and not flunk out. Here are some tips to help identify the college that represents a good fit both academically and socially.  To read more, click here

National Report Finds Minnesota Charter Schools To Be Academically Challenged

A Stanford University report finds that charter schools across the nation - including Minnesota - fall behind public schools in the quality of education they offer. The report found 17 percent of charter schools reported academic gains significantly better than public schools, while 37 percent of charter schools showed gains that were worse, and 46 percent demonstrating no significant difference. The report, "Multiple Choice: Charter School Performance in 16 States," is a national analysis that looks at more than 70 percent of the nation's charter school students. The analysis looks at achievement growth on state achievement tests in both reading and math with controls for student demographics and eligibility for program support such as free or reduced-price lunch and special education. To read more, click here

Individuals With Quadrapalegia Can Operate Wheelchair With Tongue Drive System

An assistive technology that enables individuals to maneuver a powered wheelchair or control a mouse cursor using simple tongue movements can be operated by individuals with high-level spinal cord injuries, according to the results of a recently completed clinical trial. "This clinical trial has validated that the Tongue Drive system is intuitive and quite simple for individuals with high-level spinal cord injuries to use," said Maysam Ghovanloo, an assistant professor in the School of Electrical and Computer Engineering at the Georgia Institute of Technology. "Trial participants were able to easily remember and correctly issue tongue commands to play computer games and drive a powered wheelchair around an obstacle course with very little prior training." To read more, click here

Clinic Addresses Educational Needs Of Children With Brain Injuries

Brain injuries are a leading cause of disability and death in children. But kids with brain injuries are getting an innovative opportunity to reintegrate into the classroom and function to their highest level through the new Barrow Resource for Acquired Injury to the Nervous System (B.R.A.I.N.S) clinic at Barrow Neurological Institute at St. Joseph's Hospital and Medical Center. The new clinic is the first of its kind to bring an educational component into a multidisciplinary treatment approach through the ASU College of Teacher Education and Leadership and neurosurgeons, neurologists, rehabilitation physicians and neuropsychologists from Barrow Neurological Institute. The Brain Injury Association of Arizona is also a partner in the project. To read more, click here

Fetal Tissue In Vaccine Production May Be Linked To Autism

Increased rates of regressive autism in children in the US and UK can be historically associated with the switch by pharmaceutical companies from the use of animal cells to produce vaccines to the use of aborted human fetal cells, a campaign group is claiming. "Now when we vaccinate our children, some vaccines also deliver contaminating aborted human fetal DNA. The safety of this has never been tested," says Dr. Theresa Deisher, President of the Sound Choice Pharmaceutical Institute (SCPI). To read more, click here

Program Helps Children With Disabilities Learn To Swim

J.J. Austin of Spanish Fort said he likes swimming very much. With the temperatures hovering near triple digits, he couldn't have picked a better time to learn. "Swimming is just something that I've always liked to do," J.J. said. "I am just now learning how to swim. It's a whole lot of fun." Smiles were on the faces of the 13 participants in the new Adaptive Aquatics program held for disabled children at the Bounds Family YMCA in Daphne, which was held twice a week last month. "We are trying to teach them that they can float in the water, regardless of their disability, so in a situation where if they did fall into water they could be able to relax and get themselves into a floating position and hopefully be able to survive until they could get help," said Bill Specht, who serves as an Adaptive P.E. teacher for Baldwin County Public Schools. 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

Law Lecturer Susan Cole Discusses Supreme Court's Special Education Decision

Last month, the Supreme Court found that parents of children with disabilities may seek reimbursement for private school tuition even if the child has never received special education or related services from the school district. The Supreme Court ruling has left lots of questions for parents of special education students as to how the law affects them. To answer those, I spoke with special education lawyer Susan Cole, a Harvard lecturer on law and a clinical instructor. Attorney Cole is the director of the Trauma and Learning Policy Initiative, which is a joint program of Harvard Law School and Massachusetts Advocates for Children. Here's an edited Q&A with her about the decision and its impact. To read more, click here

Hold Me Tight, Let Me Go

In Hold Me Tight, Let Me Go, one of Britain's leading documentary filmmakers takes a verité look at Oxford's Mulberry Bush School for children with emotional disturbances. Mulberry's heroically forbearing staff greets extreme, sometimes violent behavior with only consolation and gentle restraint. Kim Longinotto's unblinking camera captures an arduous process and a nearly unhinged environment, but it also records the daily dramas of troubled kids trying to survive and the moments of hope they achieve with Mulberry's clear-eyed staff. To watch the trailer of Hold Me Tight, Let Me Go, click here

Food for Thought........

Better than a thousand days of diligent study is one day with a great teacher.
             Japanese Proverb

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