Week in Review - March 13, 2009


New NASET Publications and Articles of Interest in

Special Education That Were Reported This Week

Dear NASET Members,

Welcome to NASET's WEEK 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

Autism Spectrum Disorder Series

Developing Expressive Communication Skills for Non-Verbal Children with Autism

Communication is a range of purposeful behavior which is used with intent within the structure of social exchanges, to transmit information, observations, or internal states, or to bring about changes in the immediate environment. Verbal as well as nonverbal behaviors are included, as long as some intent, evidenced by anticipation of outcome can be inferred. Therefore not all vocalization, or even speech, can qualify as intentional communicative behavior (7). This definition emphasizes that communication takes place within a social context. Speech/verbalization becomes communication when there is a desire or intent, to convey a message to someone else. Because social relations are a primary area of difficulty for children with autism, it is not surprising that effective communication is significantly impaired for these children. These two areas, communication and social skills, are tightly interwoven and interdependent. Therefore the development of communication skills cannot be the sole responsibility of the speech/language pathologist. While she may provide the "guide posts" and strategies, communication must be addressed continually by everyone who comes in contact with the child.
The two-fold purpose of this issue of the Autism Spectrum Disorder Series is to provide:

I.  Key questions to consider in order to determine the child's current communication abilities
II. Information regarding the development of a communication intervention program based on the child's communication needs.
To read this issue on NASET - Click Here 


Parent Teacher Conderence Handout

Eight Reasons Why Your Child May Not Be Able to

Perform Up to His/Her Ability

As a teacher of children with special needs it is important that you understand the many factors that may sometimes interfere in the ability of these students to perform up to their ability while in school. Parents of these children should also become aware of the reasons why their children may not be learning. Children are faced with many pressures everyday and as a result these pressures may play a role in their ability to fully concentrate in school. In general there are 8 factors that contribute to problems in performance by students with special needs. Any of these factors, if intense enough, can create classroom symptoms resulting in academic, behavioral or social dysfunction.

To read or download this handout - Click Here

Quick Links To NASET

Obama Outlines Education Reform Plans

President Obama yesterday outlined his plans for education reform in a speech to the US Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. The address is receiving largely positive media coverage, with a number of print stories and analyses crediting the President with taking on the teachers' unions, considered a key Democratic constituency. The New York Times says Obama called for "sweeping changes" in a speech that "reflected his party's belief that education at all levels was underfinanced in the Bush years and that reform should encompass more than demands that schools show improved test scores." Obama, however, also "showed a willingness to challenge teachers' unions and public school systems, and to continue to demand more accountability." The Politico says Obama "for the first time confronted a powerful constituency in his own party: teachers' unions." He did so when he "proposed spending additional money on effective teachers in up to 150 additional school districts, fulfilling a campaign promise that once earned him boos from members of the National Education Association. ... Obama's embrace of merit pay won't go over well among a group that often provides key funding and foot soldiers for Democratic campaigns." Similarly, the Wall Street Journal reports Obama proposed "ideas long troubling to teachers' unions." To read more, click here

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 For more information -CLICK HERE

In Uganda, Special Needs Children Getting A Raw Deal

Seeing one of his twins drop out of school was disturbing. But well aware of his son's precarious state, Isidore Byamugisha knew that keeping Andrew Kato in school was never going to be easy. Kato was born with cerebral palsy, a condition that affects a child's brain. Over 10 years ago, Byamugisha took his son to Entebbe Children's Welfare School, which admits pupils with disabilities. But Kato never progressed beyond P.3. "His cognitive capacity was very low. He could neither write nor read," says Byamugisha. In 2006, Kato's teachers advised Byamugisha to find alternative learning programmes for his son. Today, the 18-year-old studies with the aid of a tape recorder, supervised by two teachers. Byamugisha's plight is shared by many parents whose children have missed education as a result of physical or learning disabilities. Absence of an enabling environment in schools coupled with stigma, have been stumbling blocks to the academic advancement of many such children. To read more, click here

Punching Above Their Weight

DCU's Centre for Talented Youth is giving eight high-ability TY students a taste of college life by inviting them to attend undergraduate lectures. The Centre for Talented Youth in Ireland (CTYI) looks for bright sparks. Students who show above-average ability are given opportunities to study subjects at a level that will both challenge and motivate. Based in Dublin City University (DCU) the CTYI has been in existence since 1992 and, with over 4,000 names on their database, they have been kept busy. This year they are piloting a new TY project where eight students have been invited to attend undergraduate courses in subjects as diverse as engineering, applied physics and economics, politics and law. The students are from schools in Dublin, Meath and Laois and would have all attended CTYI programmes before. To read more, click here

Children's Intelligence Linked To Father's Age

Children's intelligence may be affected by a father's advanced age, according to a new study published this week in the journal PLoS Medicine. The report is the latest to suggest that a man's age matters when it comes to having children - a phenomenon that's come to be called the "male biological clock." The study looked at about 33,000 youngsters fathered by men 14 to 66 years old between 1959 and 1965 in the United States. The children were followed over time, and when they were evaluated at ages 4 and 7 those born to older fathers performed somewhat worse on standardized intelligence tests."The offspring of dads who are about aged 50 are scoring about two IQ points less than offspring of fathers who are about 20," Professor John McGrath of the Queensland Brain Institute in Australia told ABC News. To read more, click here

Board Ceritification 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 Learn From Others With Disabilities

Students from two Evansville schools teamed up Monday to learn from one another.   Kindergartners from Good Shepard School traveled to Daniel Wertz Elementary to play games with students who have multiple disabilities. The goal is to find out what both sets of students have in common, and also help non-disabled students learn about what life is like for students with disabilities. Mayor Jonathan Weinzapfel also stopped by. "The theme of March is disable the label," Susan Bear, a parent of a Good Shepherd Catholic School student said. "And we want to get across to them that it doesn't matter what you look like on the outside, that once they get to know them and interact with them they are all the same." To read more,  click here

Students With Disabilities Help Kids With Disabilities Ice Skate

When Webster Thomas junior Laura Pagani takes the stage as a lead in her school's musical later this month, her performance will stretch beyond the boundaries of the auditorium and across the street to the ice skating rink. Several students involved with the upcoming musical production of Brigadoon, including Pagani, volunteer once a week for Gliding Stars, an adaptive skating program for children with physical and mental disabilities. This year, money raised through raffles at each performance of Brigadoon will go to Gliding Stars. Raffles have been a part of the spring musical scene at Thomas for many years, but the money raised has traditionally gone to the performing arts department. Some students decided a few weeks ago that they'd rather see the raffle proceeds passed along to an outside organization. To read more, click here

 I'm Here To Make You Feel Better"

Before consumers send their Roombas for repair, they sometimes etch their names on the machines in the hopes of getting their own robots back. Somehow, they grow attached to the squat, disk-shaped sweepers and worry that a new robot will have a different personality. Before consumers send their Roombas for repair, they sometimes etch their names on the machines in the hopes of getting their own robots back. Somehow, they grow attached to the squat, disk-shaped sweepers and worry that a new robot will have a different personality. "People are grateful that the Roomba improves their lives, so they reciprocate by giving it attention like they would a pet," says Ja-Young Sung, a doctoral student at Georgia Tech who surveyed 379 Roomba owners in 2007 on their attitudes toward the robotic device. Sung found that many owners who gave their Roombas names also painted them, dressed them in costumes or turned them on to entertain friends. To read more, click here

Study Finds New Autism-Related Gene

USC researchers at the Keck School of Medicine have identified a gene variant that increases the risk for both autism and gastrointestinal disorders, providing new information for doctors who treat autistic patients. The finding supports years of clinical and anecdotal evidence from physicians and their patients, who have observed that those coping with autism often suffer from gastrointestinal problems, said principal investigator Pat Levitt, director of the Zilkha Neurogenetic Institute at the Keck School of Medicine. "We think [the study] gives a plausible explanation to why there's a pretty significant number of people who have autism and G.I. problems," Levitt said. Autism is a spectrum of disorders that impacts communication and social skills with many different manifestations, making it difficult for doctors to find the cause of the disorder. To read more, click here

Doctors Link Sleep Disorders With Attention Deficit Disorder

Doctors are increasingly looking to childrens' sleep patterns for clues on how to treat Attention Deficit Disorder. Sleep disorder specialists are getting more referrals from pediatricians whose young patients seem to have ADD."This is a routine occurrence at the sleep center that we'll have a child coming in with some type of behavioral problem -- it's what we see all the time," says Dr. Raphael Pelayo, an associate professor at Stanford School of Medicine. "Children who don't sleep well have trouble paying attention. They tend to be irritable and have trouble focusing and the most common reason that we see this is children who have trouble breathing...and there are now several studies which show that if a child snores and you can treat their breathing and allow them to sleep better, their IQ scores will improve, they're more attentive and some kids are able to stop using medication." To read more, click here

Disabilities Cannot Dim Artistic Vision

Tom Savard has a deep personal understanding of the critical difference that an instant can make. He knows this because of a disabling accident he suffered years ago, as well as his recent work in digital photography."What I like about photography is that it captures a split second in time that can never be created again," Savard said, referring to several of his photos featured in an exhibit of works by artists with disabilities now at the Easton Public Library. The "Artists with disABILITIES" exhibit, in which participants aim to dispel the notion that their artistic vision is impaired by a physical disability, runs through March 31.While Savard spoke about his photography during the recent opening of the exhibit, he also recalled another instant in time that cost him his legs."I was behind the trunk of my car after I completed changing a tire on the Wilbur Cross Parkway in Meriden when a driver slammed into me, severing my legs above the knee," Savard said. To read more, click here

Food for Thought........

Children are the only future the human race will ever have. Teach them well.

                                             Author Unknown

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