Week in Review - July 3, 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 Q & ACorner

Questions and Answers About Basic Special Education Jargon

Questions answered include:
  • What is Special Education?
  • In the Definition of Special Education, What Does "Specially Designed Instruction" Mean?
  • In the Definition of Special Education, What Does "At No Cost to Parent/guardians" Mean?
  • In the Definition of Special Education, What Does a "Student with a Disability" Mean?
  • Where is Special Education Instruction Provided?
  • What Federal Laws Protect Students with Disabilities?
  • What is the Purpose of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA)?
  • What is a Free Appropriate Public Education?
  • Who is Considered a Parent/guardian under IDEA?
  • What Disabilities are Covered Under IDEA?
To read or download this issue - Click Here

NASET Special Educatore-Journal

July 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
  • Intersection: Navigating the Road to Work
  • Upcoming Conferences, Workshops, and Events
  • Get Wired!-The Latest on Websites and Listservs
  • Funding Forecast and Award Opportunities
  • Acknowledgements
  • Download a PDF Version of This Issue

To read or download this issue - Click Here

Quick Links To NASET

State Sued Over Cuts To The Care Of Children With Disabilities

Lawyers for three children with Down syndrome have sued in federal court to stop the state from cutting the hours of in-home care they receive. The reduction in care is slated to begin Wednesday as part of sweeping budget cuts throughout the state Department of Social and Health Services (DSHS). The plaintiffs maintain budget problems cannot legally be used as justification for cutting back the hours of care the children receive. Caretakers for the young people - who range in age from 14 to 20 and receive Medicaid benefits - were notified last week that the state was cutting the number of hours they would be able to give their clients each month, the lawsuit says. The caretakers are paid with federal Medicaid funds that are administered by the state. Down syndrome is a genetic chromosomal disorder that results in an array of symptoms including mental impairment. According to DSHS, the cuts would affect approximately 3,100 children with disabilities and save the state about $3 million over two years. To read more, click here

Expert Perspective; Thought on Supreme Court Ruling On Private Schools

In this edition of expert corner, N Jane DuBovy, Los Angeles Attorney with A2Z Educational Advocates, discusses the ramifications of the recent controversial Supreme Court decision in the case of Forest Grove School District vs. T.A. This week the Supreme Court handed down an important decision on behalf of students with special learning needs. The high court's decision clarified an aspect of the Individuals with Disabilities Act (IDEA) for cases in which a student with special learning needs had not been granted special education services through the school district before parents sought alternative special educational services. IDEA authorizes reimbursement to parents for the cost of private special education services when a public school fails to provide a free, appropriate, public education. The private school placement must also be appropriate to the student's needs in order to qualify for reimbursement. To read more, click here

Illinois Bill Restores Special Education Funds

Gov. Pat Quinn signed legislation Friday sponsored by State Rep. John Bradley giving $17.5 million in state funding for special education programs. Last year, the Illinois General Assembly approved Bradley's legislation establishing a permanent hold harmless clause for the Special Education Extraordinary Services grant to make certain that no school district receives fewer funds for the students than they did for fiscal year 2007. During fiscal year 2009 budget negotiations, it was the General Assembly's intention that the new line item protecting special education funding be rolled into the transitional assistance line of the budget. However, it was later discovered that the increase in transitional assistance did not appropriately direct funding to cover special education costs. This error led many of the districts that had counted on receiving the special education funds to go without, including many schools in Southern Illinois, according to a statement from Bradley.  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

School Ratings To Count Special Education Scores

Texas has become the first state to have special education students' standardized test scores counted in federal school accountability ratings, according to the U.S. Department of Education. Several East Texas school officials said they aren't concerned about the change because schools have been making efforts to improve special education students' scores for a few years. The federal Adequate Yearly Progress reports measure whether schools are helping students meet higher achievement standards. "We're going to meet AYP. We've always met AYP. We don't anticipate that this will negatively affect our rating," Tatum Superintendent Dee Hartt said. "Including those students in the accountability ratings is a good thing because they should be treated the same as every other student." Texas offers accommodated, modified and alternate versions of its standard knowledge and skills test to special education students. To read more, click here

Special Education Problems Continue In Washington D.C.

Some D.C. public charter schools continue selective admissions practices that discourage special-needs students from enrolling, and students citywide with possible disabilities still face delays in special education evaluations, a federal court monitor said this week. "Charter schools . . . generally have not enrolled students with significant disabilities who required extensive hours of special services or education," the monitor, Amy Totenberg, wrote in a report prepared for a court hearing yesterday. The report casts a somewhat harsh light on a fast-growing sector of public education in the city. Charter schools, which receive public funding but are independently operated, have siphoned many students from the city's troubled public school system and have posted somewhat higher test scores than regular schools in recent years. To read more, click here

'One Size Fits All' Schools Failing Bright Pupils in London

At least 250 of the worst-performing schools should be closed immediately, said Sir Cyril Taylor, architect of Labour's academies programme. He said it was "socially unjust" to allow these secondary schools - where more than three-quarters of pupils regularly fail to gain five good GCSEs - to survive. In a speech on Friday, he also criticised a Labour scheme designed to boost standards among the top pupils. He said the number of children eligible for the Gifted and Talented programme - in which the best performers are given extra tuition - has ballooned from 180,000 two years ago to as many as 700,000. But Sir Cyril said its budget had remained almost the same, branding it "unworkable". The comments were made at the first meeting of the Grammar School Heads' Association, set up to represent England's last remaining selective state schools. In a speech to its conference in London, he said the needs of bright pupils would be better served by expanding the influence of the country's 164 grammars. To read more, click here

Autism Trial Gives Parents And Researchers Hope

Researchers at the University of Louisville got the attention of the National Institutes of Health and an almost $1 million grant for a groundbreaking clinical trial for autism. The many studies and clinical trials for autism center on the treatment of the symptoms of the condition. This is the first trial that focuses on what researchers believe is one of the primary causes for autism. Its possible impact has opened the door for a groundbreaking four-year clinical trial at UofL's School of Medicine. "If anything can help him reach his potential, I was willing to do it," said mother Ronda Cosby. To read more, click here

Gene Variations Linked To ADHD

Hundreds of gene variations that occur more frequently in children with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) have been identified by researchers. Many of the gene variations identified were already known to be important for learning, behavior, brain function and neurodevelopment, but had not been previously associated with ADHD. "Because the gene alterations we found are involved in the development of the nervous system, they may eventually guide researchers to better targets in designing early intervention for children with ADHD," said lead author Josephine Elia, M.D., a psychiatrist and ADHD expert at The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia. Unlike changes to single DNA bases, called SNPs or "snips," the alterations examined in the current study are broader changes in structure. Called copy number variations (CNVs), they are missing or repeated stretches of DNA. CNVs have recently been found to play significant roles in many diseases, including autism and schizophrenia. Everyone has CNVs in their DNA, but not all of the variations occur in locations that affect the function of a gene. The current study is the first to investigate the role of CNVs in ADHD. To read more, click here

Study Throws Light On Genetic Causes Of Learning Disabilities

The first comprehensive effort to pinpoint the genetic causes of learning disability has narrowed down the genes involved from a potential list of thousands to several dozen key genes. The study by scientists at Oxford University and Radboud University Nijmegen Medical Centre in The Netherlands could lead to diagnostic testing and genetic counselling being offered as an option to people with learning difficulties and their families. The 78 genes identified by the research are involved in the nervous system. This is the first time that evidence from across the human genome has shown that learning disability is a disorder of the brain and nervous system. The study's findings have been published in the journal PLoS Genetics. To read more, click here

American Medical Association Rejects Call For More Research On Vaccine Link To Autism

There's no need for more research into a possible link between vaccines and autism. But there is a continuing need for support of ongoing research into the true etiology of autism and its treatment. And physicians should continue to take a lead role in extolling the benefits of vaccines to health policymakers and the public. Those were among the messages recently sent by the AMA House of Delegates, which met June 13-17 in Chicago. To read more, click here

The Benefits Of Public Schooling For Special Needs Children

According to the National Center for Education Statistics, over 13% of parents in 2003 say they chose to home school because their child has a special need. While every parent who home schools their child has a specific reason, or many reasons, why, it is interesting to note that many parents have gone that route for specific special education needs. Even so, the public school system has a huge benefit for special needs students. The public school has a responsibility to provide every child a free, appropriate public education. This means that if a parent is concerned about her child, she has the right to have her child tested by the state, free of charge. Then, if that child is deemed to have a disability, the child has the right to receive whatever services are necessary at no cost to the parent. To read more, click here

Psychologist Addresses Gifted Children's Issues:  Can Michael Jackson's Demons Be Explained?

Michael Jackson, who has died at 50, is known to have been a man who struggled with a host of inner demons. Here, psychologists weigh up how the extraordinary childhood experiences of someone such as Jackson might shape a person in later life. Michael Jackson's father Joe admitted to the BBC in 2003 that he whipped his son as a child. Violence occasioned by a parent on a child leaves lasting psychological and physical impact, says Peter Sharp, chartered psychologist at the British Psychological Society. "Young people in receipt of physical violence have difficulty forming and maintaining long-term relationships," he says. "They're 'anxious-avoidant', which means they will often take on what they know they can be successful in, therefore avoid challenges outside their comfort zones and may try to provide their worth by excelling and over-excelling in one particular area." 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

Gene Mutations, Autism Linked

U.S. researchers say they identified 27 different genetic regions where missing or extra DNA segments were found in children with autism syndrome disorders. The researchers analyzed genetic samples of 3,832 people in the Autism Genetic Resources Exchange as well as genetic samples of 1,070 disease-free children from The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia. Maja Bucan of the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine in Philadelphia and colleagues found two novel genes -- BZRAP1 and MDGA2 -- thought to be important in synaptic function and neurological development, respectively. The researchers said key variants of these genes were transmitted in some, but not all, of the affected individuals in families.To read more, click here

Coach's 'Novel' Idea Sheds Light On Friendships That Beat The Odds

Brian Morlan, a special needs teacher at McLord Middle School never thought he would be an author until he decided to write down some of the humorous things that his children did on a daily basis. Two weeks later, he had a book. Morlan's book, Saving Angie, is a story about a group of eight special education kids who call themselves the Corner Classroom Gang. Together, they solve crimes using their disabilities to their advantage for positive outcomes. Although the book is fictional, Morlan said all of the characters are hybrids or mixtures of students he actually taught in the classroom -- just stretched and tweaked to fit the exact profile he wanted. To read more,  click here

Food for Thought........

Teachers are precious people who cause joyful happenings in the hearts of children.
                    Author Unknown

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