Week in Review - May 1, 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: 

Q & A Corner

Questions and Answers About Section 504

Section 504 is a federal law designed to protect the rights of individuals with disabilities in programs and activities that receive federal funds from the U.S. Department of Education (ED). Section 504 provides: "No otherwise qualified individual with a disability in the United States . . . shall solely by reason of her or his disability, be excluded from the participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance . . . ."
The Section 504 regulation requires a school district to provide a "free appropriate public education" (FAPE) to each qualified student with a disability who is in the school district's jurisdiction, regardless of the nature or severity of the disability. FAPE consists of the provision of regular or special education and related aids and services designed to meet the student's individual needs.
This NASET Q and Corner clarifies pertinent requirements of Section 504 and responds to specific questions raised by parents and school districts.

To download or read this issue - Click Here

NASET Special Educator e-Journal

May 2009

To download or read this issue - Click Here 

Quick Links To NASET

Court Weighs Funding For Special Education: Private-School Tuition At Heart Of Case

The Supreme Court will consider a question this week that has riled parents, cost local school boards here and across the country hundreds of millions of dollars, and vexed the justices themselves: When must public school officials pay for private schooling for children with special needs? The issue has emerged as one of the fastest-growing components of local education budgets, threatening to "seriously deplete public education funds," which would then detract from the care of students with disabilities who remain in the system, according to a brief filed by the nation's urban school districts. It has also become one of the most emotional and litigious disagreements between frazzled parents and financially strapped school officials, with the battles often ending in court. District of Columbia schools allocated $7.5 million of this year's $783 million budget just for such legal costs. To read more, click here

'Baby Shaker' Application For iPhone Sparks Uproar

Here's a lesson in the obvious: Making fun of shaken baby syndrome -- or any other type of traumatic brain injury -- doesn't make for uproarious comedy or light entertainment. It's also not great for public relations. Apple just learned that lesson the hard way. The company apologized Thursday for selling a 99-cent iPhone application called "Baby Shaker" in its online store. The application allowed iPhone users to silence a virtual crying infant by shaking the device. After enough shakes, the baby on the screen stopped screaming and a large red "X" appeared over each eye. Apple first posted the application Monday, the start of Shaken Baby Syndrome Awareness Week. "Anybody with any decency would be appalled by this," said Jennipher Dickens, the mother of a child with the syndrome and a spokeswoman for the Sarah Jane Brain Foundation. "An application that simulates killing a baby, because it's crying? What sick person would come up with that?" 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

Oregon Schools Set To Receive Federal Stimulus Money

Federal stimulus dollars are about to start filling state education department coffers. Overall, Oregon is set to receive nearly $900 million in education stimulus money during the next two years. But superintendents still are uncertain how that money will affect their budgets. States were allowed to start applying for the first round of fiscal stabilization money April 1, and so far three states have received their share. Oregon submitted its application on Tuesday, and is hoping to get money into district bank accounts by May 15.This year, the state stabilization fund simply replaces money that otherwise would have been cut from the schools fund. to read more, click here

Testing For Disabilities Helps Many Students Find Explanations

Jennifer Scianna will be graduating in May. But just last summer, she was on the verge of being a college dropout. She said her college sent her a letter stating she had been removed from the University last spring because her grades were so poor. The Chicago native came to campus as a high-achieving high school graduate and expected to continue on that path as a freshman five years ago. But her first four years at the University were fraught with multiple academic probations and one failed class after another. She said she wasn't lazy, and she didn't waste time hitting the local bars instead of hitting the books. Scianna, senior in ACES, said she first assumed her problem was her work ethic. So she simply studied longer and harder. But it didn't work. Instead, Scianna found herself in the final semester of her fourth year with no prospect of graduating - a reality that took its toll on her two weeks before finals last spring. "I started having panic attacks," she said. "I could not make myself go to class because it felt like it was just no point. If I go to class, I'm not going to be able to pay attention in class, I'm not going to be able to take my notes and do what I need to do. There's no reason for me to even be there."It was at that point that Scianna went to the University Counseling Center for help. After a few sessions, the person who counseled her suggested she be tested for a disability at the Disability Resources and Educational Services unit on campus.To read more, click here

Disabled Oversight Is 'A Very Confusing Picture'

In Tennessee, the Division of Mental Retardation Services, which is part of the state government's finance wing, and the Department of Mental Health and Developmental Disabilities both have a role in overseeing care for mentally disabled people. It can be disorienting for those who work with the system. "What we need is a reorganization on the state level of disability services," said Carol Greenwald, a former president of the advocacy group The Arc of Tennessee. "As a consumer, if you start looking at where to go, it's a very confusing picture." Mental Retardation Services was moved into the state's finance wing in the late 1990s by Gov. Don Sundquist to improve the operation after a series of expensive lawsuits filed against the state over poor conditions at its facilities for the mentally disabled. To read more, click here

Poor Graduation Rates, Racial Disparities Persist In Special Education

Black and Latino male students in New York City are more likely than their peers to be placed in self-contained classrooms and to receive IEP diplomas as opposed to traditional high school diplomas, according to a report released Thursday. Meanwhile, the graduation rate for the city's special education students in self-contained classrooms declined to fewer than 5 percent. The findings are part of a report titled "Include! Educate! Respect!" released by the ARISE Coalition, a local group of parents, educators and organizations. The report examined the experiences of students with disabilities in the New York City public schools. To read more, click here

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Child With Disability Driven Out Of School

Since birth Josh Pickett has suffered from Sodium Valproate syndrome which results in congenital defects arising from drugs taken to control epilepsy during pregnancy. Josh is also brain injured following the removal of a benign tumour at the age of two. Up to five weeks ago, the eight-year-old from Tweedsmuir attended Broughton Primary where he was increasingly isolated suffering a litany of humiliations. Out of a school of 100 pupils, Josh was the only one whose photograph was not taken - his Additional Needs Assistant (ANA) and the school secretary both claimed to have forgotten about him. On another occasion the Head Teacher, it is claimed by Josh's parents, asked if they should maybe cone off a specific area in the playground for the boy to play in. Josh, who is also almost blind in his left eye, was sat side-on to the board even though various specialists ruled he should sit face-on. And a playground assistant once proclaimed him 'a horrible boy' in front of the entire yard of children. Eventually Broughton's Deputy Head Teacher approached Josh's parents claiming the school could no longer handle his needs, which is in direct opposition to the Government's policy of inclusion for special needs children in mainstream schools. To read more, click here

Most Special Education Students In Oregon Don't Go On To College, Survey Finds

Only 29 percent of Oregon students who received special education during high school went on to postsecondary education, including just 5 percent who enrolled in a four-year college, a new state survey shows. Twenty-four percent of special education students who left high school during 2006-07 enrolled in a community college or vocational school after high school, but one-quarter of those had quit by the time they were surveyed in spring 2008. Those college-going rates are starkly lower than among high school graduates as a whole. The most recent state survey found that 73 percent of Oregon high school graduates enroll in postsecondary education during their first year out of high school. "We are doing these kids a disservice," said Myrna Soule, a longtime teacher of students with learning disabilities who now helps train other teachers. Students with learning disabilities account for nearly six of every 10 high school special education students. Most students with disabilities aren't taught effectively enough to make it later in college, Soule said, "and society suffers as a result." To read more, click here

ADHD Drug Shines In Final Trial

Addrenex Pharmaceuticals, a startup drug company, said Friday that its lead drug had performed well in phase III clinical trials - usually the final trial before regulatory approval of a new treatment. The Durham-based company said that Clonicel, which consists of a compound already approved to treat hypertension, performed well as a reformulated, controlled-release treatment for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, better known as ADHD. Addrenex, which employs 10 people, says it plans to take data from this study and a previous phase III trial to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and seek approval to market the drug as a treatment for ADHD and hypertension. A regulatory filing is planned for later this year. Moise Khayrallah, CEO of Addrenex, said the drug, if approved, would provide a non-stimulant treatment option for ADHD."This drug will be one of few non-stimulants out there," says Khayrallah. "Right now, clinicians are looking for additional options in the market." To read more,  click here

Therapy For Eyes: Could That Learning Disability Be A Vision Problem?

For six years, Elke Podlasek of Sanibel Island tried to find out why her daughter Amanda, now 13, had trouble reading. Doctors performed test after test, from IQ exams to screenings for dyslexia, but no one could find a problem."We knew Amanda was smart, but it took her forever," Podlasek says. "Nobody knew what was wrong with her. She had a hard time reading." Then she met Dr. David Dalesio, an optometrist with Fort Myers Eye Associates. He discovered that when Amanda read a word, she saw 10 other words on the page before getting to the second word she was supposed to read. While her vision was fine, her eyes weren't tracking correctly. Amanda began vision therapy with Dalesio. Twice a week, for 30 minutes, she played vision games ranging from putting a peg into a spinning board to walking on a balance beam. She practiced additional vision therapies on the computer at home. For the first few weeks nothing happened. Then suddenly Amanda's reading took off. To read more, click here

Food for Thought........

The man who moved a mountain was the one who began carrying away small stones.

                            Chinese Proverb

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