Week in Review - June 26, 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

Behavior Management Series

Behaviors Discussed in this issue: 

  • Why Some Children Make Unnecessary or Inappropriate Noises or Sounds
  • Why Children Write and Pass Notes In Class
  • Why Children Make Frequent Visits To The Nurse
  • Why Children Threaten To Hurt or Kill Themselves
  • Why Some Children Tease Other Children
To read or download this issue - Click Here 

ADHD Series

Classroom Management Techniques for Students With ADHD

Behavioral Interventions

A major component of effective instruction for children with ADHD involves the use of behavioral interventions. Exhibiting behavior that resembles that of younger children, children with ADHD often do not act age appropriate and have difficulty learning how to control their impulsiveness and hyperactivity. They may have problems forming friendships with other children in the class and may have difficulty thinking through the social consequences of their actions. The purpose of behavioral interventions is to assist students in displaying the behaviors that are most conducive to their own learning and that of classmates. Well-managed classrooms prevent many disciplinary problems and provide an environment that is most favorable for learning. When a teacher's time must be spent interacting with students whose behaviors are not focused on the lesson being presented, less time is available for assisting other students. Behavioral interventions should be viewed as an opportunity for teaching in the most effective and efficient manner, rather than as an opportunity for punishment. The focus of this issue of NASET's ADHD series is to provide effective behavioral interventions for teachers to use when working with students with ADHD.

To read or download this issue - Click Here

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Supreme Court - Parents Of Special Education Students Can Seek Reimbursement

In a decision that could cost school districts millions of dollars, the United States Supreme Court ruled on Monday that parents of special-education students may seek government reimbursement for private school tuition, even if they have never received special-education services in public school. The case before the court involved a struggling Oregon high school student, identified in court documents only as T.A., whose parents removed him from public school in the Forest Grove district part way though his junior year, and enrolled him in a $5,200-a-month residential school. Although Forest Grove officials had noticed T.A.'s difficulties and evaluated him for learning disabilities, he was found ineligible for special-education services. Only after he enrolled in the private school was T.A. diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and other disabilities. To read more, click here

A Gentic Link Between Anorexia And Autism?

At the Eating Disorders Unit at the Maudsley Hospital in London, anorexia is not seen as a social disorder - or even primarily a psychological one. While most American treatment providers blame perfection-seeking parents and the media's idealization of hollow-cheeked actresses for eating disorders (among other dysfunctional behaviors), researchers at Maudsley believe the root cause has little to do with social pressure. Rather, they think anorexia is better explained by heredity - perhaps by some of the same genes associated with autism. The London researchers have been studying the commonalities between these two conditions for several years. On the surface, they appear entirely different - in autism, patients have difficulty connecting with people in the outside world, while in anorexia, sufferers seem consumed by other people's perceptions - but Maudsley researchers point out that the salient characteristics of each illness are similar. For example, both anorexic and autistic patients have a tendency to behave obsessively and suffer from rigid ways of thinking. Tic disorders, which commonly affect people with autism, are found in 27% of people with severe anorexia. And in both conditions, patients have difficulty with "set-shifting," or changing course mentally. To read more, click here

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National Institute Of Health Study Shows School-Based Prevention Program Reduces Problem Behaviors In Fifth-Graders By Half

A study suggests that school-based prevention programs begun in elementary school can significantly reduce problem behaviors in students. Fifth graders who previously participated in a comprehensive interactive school prevention program for one to four years were about half as likely to engage in substance abuse, violent behavior, or sexual activity as those who did not take part in the program. The study, supported by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), a component of the National Institutes of Health, will appear in the August 2009 print issue of the American Journal of Public Health. The online version of the article is viewable today. "This study provides compelling evidence that intervening with young children is a promising approach to preventing drug use and other problem behaviors," said NIDA Director Dr. Nora Volkow. "The fact that an intervention beginning in the first grade produced a significant effect on children's behavior in the fifth grade strengthens the case for initiating prevention programs in elementary school, before most children have begun to engage in problem behaviors."To read more, click here

Active Video Games May Be As Healthy For Kids As Conventional Play Time

Kids today don't spend enough time playing video games-at least, not the kinds that get them off the sofa. Several recent studies have found that playing active video games such as Dance Dance Revolution keeps the pounds off and improves fitness levels. As researchers continue to quantify the physical benefits, manufacturers plan to capitalize on the results, not only by releasing new titles and systems, but also by installing them in schools and pitching them to pediatricians in hopes that they will urge patients to use them. Over the years, investigators have accumulated evidence that some traditional video games can sharpen the mind. Just last December, a study in Psychology and Aging found that playing strategy-type video games can help older people retain certain cognitive skills that tend to decline with age, such as reasoning and switching between tasks. But more recently, studies exploring the effects of games that require players to do more than sit in one place have revealed how the diversions can improve the body. To read more, click here

Court Permits Teenager With Autism To Attend Graduation

It took a court injunction, but an 18-year-old student with autism was able to attend the People's Academy graduation in Morrisville Thursday night with all his classmates. The supervisory union that oversees the school had decided that Todd Geraci could not participate in graduation because he had not completed all aspects of his schooling, as required under district rules. As a student with autism, Geraci is eligible for assistance under state and federal rules until he turns 22, or until he completes high school. Geraci had completed his academic work but had not completed work in his individual education program, which includes social and other goals. Julie Sullivan, Todd Geraci's mother, felt that was unfair and sought legal help to allow her son to join the ceremony. 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

Tourette Syndrome Makes Daily Living A Challenge For Boy, 7

At night, after Tammy Hruskach tucks her boys in bed, she prays a mother's prayer for constant protection and guidance -- first for Logan, 9; and then for her 7-year-old, Austin. "And God," she always adds as she brushes the bangs off Austin's forehead, her hand lingering in one last caress, "please cut this one a little slack." On Nov. 21, 2008, Austin was diagnosed with Tourette Syndrome, a baffling neurological disorder "characterized" by repetitive, involuntary movements (tics) and vocalizations. Put into a mother's words, Austin "moves and makes noises that he cannot stop making." Although he is on medication to help ease the condition, Austin's face often twitches. His eyes flutter. At times, his whole body "quivers" as if he's gotten a chill or is wracked by hiccups. He grimaces and makes fire engine-like sounds or growls and barks. There is no cure for Tourette Syndrome, although some children eventually outgrow the disorder, and often symptoms wax and wane. Stress and anxiety make the condition worse. To read more, click here

Dad Now Activist On Brain Injuries After Daughter's Injury

A special father is getting a special Father's Day card this year - from supporters and friends who think the world of his work in creating The Sarah Jane Brain Project, which advocates on behalf of brain-injured infants and children. The project is being assembled by staff members at the Brain Project, coordinated by Communications Director Jennipher Dickens, who noted to WND that Patrick Donohue, a single father with sole custody of a disabled child, chose not to rely on services, babysitters or institutions, but went to work on behalf of his own injured child to create a better life for her and those who have similar handicaps. Sarah Jane, 4, suffered a traumatic brain injury at the hands of a hired caregiver when she was only days old. As a result, Dickens told WND, she cannot do many of the things children her age otherwise would do. To read more, click here

'Troops To Teachers' Fills School Needs

A federal program called Troops to Teachers is helping current and former U.S. soldiers pay for the education to become classroom teachers, officials say. Chad Schatz, who manages the Troops to Teachers program in Missouri, told Saturday's St. Louis Post-Dispatch that soldiers who want to take part are eligible for cash stipends of up to $5,000 to pay for their education if they agree to teach in "high-needs" schools. Schatz told the Post-Dispatch that 20 percent more people than last year have signed up for Troops to Teachers, while in next-door Illinois, registrations have doubled to 102 this past school year from 54 in the 2007-08 year, possibly because of the pressures of the recession. To read more, click here

Camp Aims To Help Kids With Learning, Behavior

Vicksburg mother has taken her child's learning disability and turned it into an opportunity to help other kids. Kimberly Stevens, a certified child-care director and teacher in training, spent this past week running an independent summer camp for students with behavioral and learning disabilities, particularly those with attention and hyperactivity disorders. The camp, which kicked off Monday and will wrap up July 10, focuses on math and reading and offers recreation via field trips. Fifteen attended this week's session."For children with ADD, you want to bring the withdrawal out of them and show them different things," said Stevens. "For children with disabilities, they need so much more attention." The camp runs from 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday at Mercy Seat Baptist Church on Dos Casas Lane. Cost is $60 a week per child, but the fee can be waived if parents volunteer to help with the camp. Enrollment is ongoing. "The camp is not to gain money; it's about our children having something to do," said Stevens. To read more, click heret>

Governor Urges Support Of Tax Hike To Preserve Autism Programs

With the state's budget deadline rapidly approaching, Pa. Gov. Rendell Saturday warned that proposed Republican budget cuts would reverse years of progress in autism treatment, and he urged parents of autistic children to pressure lawmakers to vote for an income tax hike to preserve the programs. Rendell, a Democrat, said his proposal for a temporary, three-year state income tax increase had encountered stiff opposition, and that some lawmakers had been intimidated by the anti-tax sentiment. "We have the power to change things," Rendell said of his administration and the legislature. "Take a little risk. Do the right thing." Republicans responded shortly after Rendell's comments, noting that cuts to autism services had been limited to public awareness and other information programs and would not affect treatment. Senate Appropriations chairman Jake Corman of Centre County said there was "zero" chance that an income tax hike would pass the Republican controlled Senate. 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

Victory For Children With Autism In Michigan

Blue Cross has settled a lawsuit brought by parents of children with autism, reimbursing them for the costs of therapy they had to pay out of their own pockets.The suit, filed in Detroit, alleged that Blue Cross refused to pay for Applied Behavioral Analysis (ABA) therapy for children with autism on the grounds that it was "experimental." Blue Cross policies exclude experimental therapies for a variety of conditions. The plaintiffs in the current suit, Johns v. Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, argued that characterizing ABA as experimental was arbitrary, capricious, and possibly even illegal. John Conway and Gerard Mantese, attorneys for the plaintiffs, said in a statement that ABA is "supported by science and is not 'experimental.'" The therapy is used to help children with autism develop the deficient verbal and social skills that are hallmarks of the disease. To read more, click here

Officials Want To Let Districts Get Around Law On Special Education Funds

South Dakota law prohibits public school districts from transferring special-education funding to other purposes. Officials in the Rounds administration believe that the state law doesn't matter, however, when it comes to spending half of the $31.6 million in federal stimulus money that has been provided from Congress for South Dakota schools as additional aid for special education. But, just in case, the administration wants the state Board of Education to adopt rule allowing half of the additional money to be transferred. The board will discuss the rule today in a special teleconference meeting. If passed, the rule would be an official signal from state government to local school boards that they can ignore the no-transfer law. To read more, click here

Food for Thought........

I like a teacher who gives you something to take home to think about besides homework.                            Lily Tomlin

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