Week in Review - June 19, 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 NASETto 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

Journal of the American Academy of Special Education Professionals (JAASEP)

 JAASEP is ready for viewing or downloading on NASET

Table of Contents

  • The Relationship Between Childhood Traumatic Experiences and Gang-Involved
  • Delinquent Behavior in Adolescent Boys
  • What Do Brothers and Sisters Think? An Investigation of Expectations of Siblings with Autism Spectrum Disorders
  • Investigating Secondary Special Educator's Perception of Interagency Collaboration
  • Resistance to Change: Overcoming Institutional and Individual Limitations for Improving Student
  • Behavior Through PLCs
  • The Effectiveness of Narrative Story-Telling as an Intervention Strategy to Improve the Narrative
  • Speech of Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder
  • Preparing Students with Moderate/Severe Disabilities for Employment
  • Academic Interventions Implemented to Teach Students with Emotional Disturbance
  • From LD to Degree- Effective techniques for the Student with a Learning Disability
  • Teaching Spelling to Singaporean Chinese Children with Dysorthographia in English Language: Lexical Versus Lexical Phonological Approach
To read or download this issue on NASETClick Here  (login required)

Parent Teacher ConferenceHandout

What Parents Need to Know About the Learning Process

Almost half of all students with special needs are classified as students with learning disabilities. These children have impairments in learning due to problems in the processing and understanding of information presented to them, thereby slowing down their ability to learn. This difficulty in processing information involves what is known as perceptual abilities. These are the "tools" used by people to take in information, make sense of what the information means, and express the information in some meaningful way. It is important as a special education teacher that parents  understand how difficult it may be for their children to learn and the reasons why this may be happening. This issue of the Parent Teacher Conference Handout explains perceptual abilities to parents.

To read or download this issue on NASET - Click Here

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ADHD Drugs May Be Linked To Sudden Death In Children

Drugs to treat attention deficit disorder were linked to an increase in sudden death among children, according to a government-sponsored study. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration, which funded the research with the National Institutes of Health, said the study had "limitations" and shouldn't stop patients from taking the treatments. The findings, published today in the American Journal of Psychiatry, showed that more children who died suddenly from heart complications or unknown causes were taking an attention-deficit drug than those who died in car accidents. Attention-deficit medicines already carry the FDA's strongest warning in their prescribing information about sudden death and cardiac risks. Doctors should assess patients for heart risks when prescribing stimulant-based drugs, such as Shire Plc's Adderall and Novartis AG's Ritalin, the agency said. "The FDA believes that this study should not serve as a basis for parents to stop a child's stimulant medication," the agency said today in a Web site posting. "Parents should discuss concerns about the use of these medicines with the prescribing health-care professional." To read more, click here

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Ireland's Education Minister Under Fire As Just 10 Special Needs Classes Spared

Ireland's Education Minister, Batt O'Keeffe, is facing a furious backlash from parents and schools after confirming plans for the widespread closure of special classes for children with learning disabilities from September. Only 10 of 128 special primary school classes for 534 children with Down Syndrome, or other mild general learning disabilities, have won a reprieve. The minister has turned down seven in 10 appeals against his decision not to allow 128 classes in 119 schools to re-open after the summer, as part of the education cuts. The original announcement, in February, sparked outrage and led to a protest outside the Dail. Parents say that their children would not cope in a mainstream class and their only option would be to try to educate their child at home, or to travel long distances to a special school. To read more, click here

No Longer Letting Scores Separate Pupils

Sixth graders at Cloonan Middle School here are assigned numbers based on their previous year's standardized test scores - zeros indicate the highest performers, ones the middle, twos the lowest - that determine their academic classes for the next three years. But this longstanding system for tracking children by academic ability for more effective teaching evolved into an uncomfortable caste system in which students were largely segregated by race and socioeconomic background, both inside and outside classrooms. Black and Hispanic students, for example, make up 46 percent of this year's sixth grade, but are 78 percent of the twos and 7 percent of the zeros. So in an unusual experiment, Cloonan mixed up its sixth-grade science and social studies classes last month, combining zeros and ones with twos. These mixed-ability classes have reported fewer behavior problems and better grades for struggling students, but have also drawn complaints of boredom from some high-performing students who say they are not learning as much. The results illustrate the challenge facing this 15,000-student district just outside New York City, which is among the last bastions of rigid educational tracking more than a decade after most school districts abandoned the practice. To read more, click here

The MOM STOP: Behaviors Compared In Autism Study

My 2-year-old son Jack recently took part in a study at the University of Alabama. I felt like I was on a TV show as I entered the little play room of strategic toys, double-sided glass and video cameras. It was fascinating watching my son do things I didn't know he could do, like drawing a line through a maze. When did he learn that? 'It's fun to watch a mom say, 'Oh, wow, I didn't know he could do that,' ' said Angela Barber, an assistant professor of communicative disorders. Barber, along with graduate student Melissa Van Kirk, are conducting an autism study called 'The Relationship of Developmental Function to Symptom Presentation in Young Children with Spectrum Disorders' and asked us to be a part of it. Jack does not have autism. But the study is looking at both typically developing kids as well as autistic kids. 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

Great Technology Isn't Enough: Kids Need Help To Use It

Donald Reist says he's seen too many struggling students staring helplessly at technology that could change their lives in the classroom. The problem: they don't know how to use it. So two years ago, Reist, a former special education teacher and IBM consultant, set up Tutorwiz Education Centre in Ajax. The tutoring service teaches kids with learning disabilities and other special needs how to use laptops and software that can help them take notes, learn to read and write and participate in class. While the Ministry of Education in Canada provides assistive technology to kids diagnosed with learning disabilities, many students are inadequately trained on the software, says Reist. And teachers are frequently at a loss about how to help them apply it to school work. To read more, click here

Do Charter Schools Take Their Fair Share Of Special Education Students?

When, in the early 1990s, the California Legislature enacted the bill to create charter schools and fund them with state education dollars, those advocating the bill's adoption insisted that charters would benefit all students. Legally, charters are expected to reflect the demographic makeup of the region they serve. But that's not the situation at Oakland's badly misnamed American Indian charter schools. Asian Americans are 13.4% of the total enrollment in the Oakland Unified district. African Americans make up 34.8%. But not at American Indian, where high-scoring Asian Americans are 54.7% of the enrollment and African Americans a meager 14.4%. Native Americans are a minuscule 2%....But it is the lack of special-education students there that raises serious questions about how well charters meet their obligation as provided by the state's education code. Statewide, special-ed students are 10% of California's public school enrollment. That's precisely the percentage of special-ed kids in the Oakland school district. Statewide, 6% to 7% of charter students are special-ed. At two of American Indian's schools, there are zero special-ed students, and at the third, they make up only 1.6% of the enrollment. To read more, click here

An Anxious Parent's Path To Becoming An Advocate

Diana Malcolm can tick off the seemingly infinite number of brain disorders that have afflicted her 13-year-old son, Joshua, as if they were courses in graduate school: attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, Asperger syndrome, post-traumatic stress disorder, fetal alcohol syndrome and adopted intermittent explosive disorder. For the 43-year-old parent, the laundry list of mental health problems is an inherently limited description of her child, but it is also evidence of how fluent Malcolm has become as a community leader and teacher in the discipline of brain disorders. On Wednesday night, Malcolm completed her fourth "Visions for Tomorrow" course sponsored by the National Alliance on Mental Illness and held for Prince William County parents. Malcolm, who works at an engraving and trophy store, said that after so many years and classes, she became so comfortable talking openly about her own experiences treating Joshua that she became like a co-teacher for the often-tense sessions, held this year at Penn Elementary School in Woodbridge. Her new role as a teacher, she said, represented a leap from her first year taking the class as a student, when she cried every time. 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

Children With Disabilities Shut Out By Economy

Kristen Bardon, 17, applied for a state summer jobs program last week, hoping to add to the part-time job she has at a local bakery. Brennan Srisirikul, 17, will return to a beloved apprenticeship at a local theater, unable to find a better-paying summer gig. Finding a summer job, the classic adolescent rite of passage, is tougher this summer than it has been in decades. But for teens with disabilities like Bardon and Srisirikul, the challenge is so monumental that only a very few may find work this year. The recession adds to perennial hurdles for kids with special needs: closed doors and closed minds in the community, and physical and cognitive issues that may make even simple tasks such as stocking store shelves out of reach. Too often, the immeasurables - their loyalty and tenacity - get overlooked, especially in a cutthroat job market. To read more, click here

Why It Matters If Jett Travolta Had Autism

In the aftermath of his son Jett's death, John Travolta told Bahamian police that Jett had autism. This according to police reports published by the National Enquirer (which, while not the most respected news source, have gotten scoops on big stories. They also pay their sources, which helps them obtain documents like these). If true, this admission marks a long-awaited moment. Hollywood types and autism advocates had been speculating about Jett's condition for years before the 16-year-old died in January. Critics accused the Travoltas, who are Scientologists, of denying their son's condition and, possibly, denying him appropriate care. Many of them went as far as diagnosing Jett themselves. On one site, a user posted a YouTube clip of the Travolta family in the streets of Paris. Labeled, "Video proof of Jett Travolta's autism," the clip showed what the user claimed were tell-tale signs of autism, including the "100 Mile Look." Despite all the chatter, the Travolta's insisted that their son had Kawasaki Disease, an inflammation of the blood vessels. Even after his death, they never mentioned autism. Why does it matter now? To read more, click here

Where Does Judge Sonia Sotomayor Stand On School Issues?

Sonia Sotomayor-President Obama's pick to replace retiring Supreme Court Justice David Souter-has not yet been approved by the Senate Judiciary Committee, but her history of education decisions is already drawing close attention from education law experts as they consider the direction she might take on schools if confirmed, Education Week reports. She has handled only a small number of K-12 education cases during her 17 years on the federal bench, but the trials-which have focused on such key issues as special education, racial discrimination, and student freedom of expression-could offer clues on future school policy matters if she joins the court. Here is a breakdown of how she ruled on three of her most prominent cases from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit.  To read more, click here

Food for Thought........

Every student can learn, just not on the same day, or the same way.
                                                                   George Evans

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