Week in Review - June 5, 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

Special Educator e-Journal 

In this months' issue:
  • Update from the U.S. Department Education
  • Update From The National Dissemination Center for Children with Disabilities
  • Calls to Participate
  • Special Education Resources
  • 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

Popular Autism Treatment Yields No Benefits

Kids with autism don't benefit from treatment with the popularly prescribed antidepressant citalopram, according to a large, government-funded trial of children with autism and related conditions. The study, published Monday in the Archives of General Psychiatry, is the first to show that citalopram doesn't reduce repetitive behaviors that are a key characteristic of autism and are a significant reason why this class of antidepressants is prescribed. Children with autism-spectrum disorders often exhibit repetitive behaviors, including motor symptoms like flapping or rocking, or overly focusing on topics of intense interest. They can be inflexible or become agitated if asked to stop the behaviors. Antidepressants known as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, or SSRIs, are thought to be helpful for these symptoms because they benefit children with obsessive-compulsive disorder, who also exhibit repetitive behaviors. But the effectiveness of antidepressants for children with autism hadn't been well-studied. 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

Golf Program Helps Those With Disabilities Play A Round....Or Two

For years, Jeanne Esch hasn't let the fact that she's confined to a wheelchair keep her off the golf course. That's no longer the case, and so she wants everyone with a disability to have that same I-can-play-too attitude about golf. Most recently, through her nonprofit Go Fore Golf program, a group of special education students at Union Grove High School found themselves swiping at balls at Ives Grove Golf Links. Generally, said special education teacher Rebecca Gunville, "They don't have a lot of confidence to even try." But Esch's organization gives them encouragement, opportunity and - importantly - adaptations when they need them. When Esch, a resident of Bloomfield, Mich., plays, she uses a harness that hooks to her wheelchair. It helps her stand and take her shot. So, despite being in a wheelchair since 1992 with a neuromuscular disease, she was able to take up golf again in 2000. She learned how with the help of a Lansing, Mich., hospital."I said, 'This is great, but I want to be able to do this independently.' To read more, click here

Illinois District To Receive 1.5 Million Dollars In Special Education Funding

Southern Illinois legislators pushed a hold-harmless special education funding bill through the state legislature late last week. State Sen. Gary Forby and State Rep. John Bradley worked the bill through the General Assembly and the bill awaits Gov. Pat Quinn's signature. "Many schools in Southern Illinois would lose thousands and thousands of dollars without this legislation," Forby said.  "Schools all over the state would face similar losses. This is unacceptable. In a year where the economy is already suffering, we can't cut funding to schools." Schools in Bradley's 117th District will receive $1.5 million. In addition to keeping schools at the current rate of state funding, schools scheduled to receive more aid in 2009-2010 will be allowed to receive the increase. The bill keeps districts statewide from borrowing money to finish paying special education funds for the current year. To read more, click here

Capella Announces Online Special Education Program

Capella University on Monday announced a new special-education teaching focus within its master of science in education program. The Minneapolis-based online university, owned by Cappella Education Co., said the specialization, approved by the Minnesota Board of Teaching, is meant to help meet shortages in the field. "The vast majority of children with special needs spend at least part of their day in regular classrooms, so not only is there a nationwide call for special-education teachers, but many regular classroom teachers could also benefit from training in this area," said Barbara Butts Williams, dean of Capella's School of Education. To read more, click here

So Many Applicants, So Few Teaching Jobs

Crystal Bailey of Easley was an English teacher at a Pickens County high school in 2008.
Now, she works as a gas station attendant. Monday, the 32-year-old Clemson graduate stood in long lines with hundreds of other educators at South Carolina's only statewide job fair for teachers, hoping for a job. The ongoing fight in S.C. over a $350 million slice of stimulus money Gov. Mark Sanford has refused to tap will have an impact on how many teachers find work. "If I get a job outside of the Upstate, I'll be moving by myself. My parents have agreed to let my (three) children live with them for a while," Bailey said. "It's not how I want it to be, but I need to go where there's a job."The odds do not look good. Fewer than half of the state's school districts attended this year's job fair, put on annually by the S.C. Center for Education Recruitment, Retention and Advancement. To read more, click here

Youngsters With Learning Disabilities Find Their Confidence Under Sail

The sun was bright and hot, but the waters of the Chesapeake Bay were icy as the Brendan Sail instructors launched a small sailboat at Annapolis Sailing School in Edgewater. "Yeee-oww," Riggs Brusnighan, 15, howled as he waded into the shockingly cold water to scrape off the winter's rust. Classes start soon in America's sailing capital, and there is no time to waste. They say every child who grows up in Annapolis should learn to sail, and there are probably enough sailing schools here to accommodate them all. But the Brendan Sail Training Program is different. It is a sailing school for teens with learning disabilities ranging from dyslexia to autism. And it isn't just the students who battle these challenges. It's the instructors, too. To read more, click here

Is It Time To Fortify Food With Folic Acid? There Are Risks

Baby-protecting folic acid is getting renewed attention: Not only does it fight spina bifida and some related abnormalities, new research shows it also may prevent premature birth and heart defects.Two major studies in the past month suggest the B vitamin found in leafy green vegetables may be even more protective. First, Texas researchers analyzed nearly 35,000 pregnancies and found that women who reported taking folic acid supplements for at least a year before becoming pregnant cut in half their risk of having a premature baby. Then Canadian researchers analyzed 1.3 million births in Quebec since 1990 and found the rate of serious heart defects has dropped 6 percent a year since Canada began its own food fortification in December 1998. "We've seen in the U.S. and Canada dramatic changes in neural tube defects just with fortification," said Dr. Alan Fleischman, medical director of the March of Dimes. Now specialists are asking if it's time for the government to boost the amount being added to certain foods to help ensure mothers-to-be get enough. (The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommends that women take a daily supplement with 400 micrograms to 800 micrograms of folic acid daily.) But for older adults, there may be a down side to the nutrient: Extra-high levels late in life just might pose a cancer risk. To read more, click here

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Deadly Brain Lesion Fuels Artist's Talent

At night, Alison Silva sleeps with the light on, and sometimes she'll keep the whole house alight to ward off the intense hallucinations. The childlike New Jersey painter with the vivid imagination has always had migraines, but just over two years ago, the headaches became fiercer and the terrifying visions intensified. "Most of them are pretty much ghostly," Silva, 33, told ABCNews.com. "Sometimes I see shadows in the room and it almost looks like it's snowing, like fairies. It's an out-of-body experience." December 2006 brought about what she calls "the big bang." "It pretty much felt like a carnival ride -- flashing lights, wavy lines, everything was blurry and I felt very clumsy," Silva said. Doctors at Columbia's New York Presbyterian Hospital found a dangerous web of blood vessels tangled in her brain -- a cavernous malformation that was oozing blood and could lead to fatal hemorraging or seizures. Fearing that she might die, Silva was at first depressed and turned inward. But when she had the courage to paint again -- in oil, acrylics and Japanese ink -- her fantastical imagery took on new depth and inspiration. To read more, click here

In Virginia, Pressure May Increase To Develop Regulations For Using Restraints In Public Schools

At first glance, Virginia looked reasonably good in a scathing federal report on the use of restraints and seclusion rooms in public and private schools released this month by the Government Accountability Office. In testimony before the U.S. House Education Committee, GAO officials said no federal laws govern the use of restraints and seclusion on students, but 17 states, including Virginia, had regulations. And none of the report's case studies originated in Virginia. But Virginia's regulations govern only private institutions. Julie Grimes, a state Department of Education spokeswoman, said there is no state law governing the use of restraints - methods used to immobilize or limit a student's ability to move - in the state's public elementary, middle and high schools. Fewer than one-third of the state's school districts have official rules related to restraints or have adopted state guidelines. To read more, click here

For Latino Parents, Raising Children With Autism Has Complex Barriers

Six weeks ago, the Ortizes read in the local paper about a talk in Spanish for Latino parents of children with autism held at the library in downtown Framingham. They were thrilled. Since they moved to Framingham from their native Puerto Rico in 1998 looking for help for their then- 3-year-old daughter Yamilex, they have yearned to connect with other Latino parents of children with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD). They were disappointed when they realized they were the only ones who attended the talk on April 5. It has been that way for the Ortizes, they said. For the past 10 years, they are often the only Latinos in support groups for families of children with ASD. And because Yamilex's mother, Judith, 46, doesn't speak English, they don't attend support groups. Yamilex's father, Tomas, 59, learned English when he was growing up in New York City, but he, too, feels lonely. To read more, click here

Food for Thought........

Nothing gives one person so much advantage over another as to remain cool and unruffled under all circumstances.
                                                                   Thomas Jefferson

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