Week in Review - May 8, 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

The Practical Teacher

Establishing a Positive Classroom Climate: Teacher Advice

At a recent behavior-management workshop, teachers shared their best ideas for managing student behaviors in the classroom. This issue of the Practical Teacher offers six tips from teachers for establishing a positive classroom climate.
To read this issue on NASET - Click Here      

Autism Spectrum Disorder

Strategies for Social Skills for Students with Autism Spectrum Disorder

One of the most important areas for intervention for children with autism will be in the area of social skills development. Most students with ASD would like to be part of the social world around them. They have a need to interact socially and be involved with others. However, one of the defining characteristics of ASD is impairment in social interactions and social skills. Students with ASD have not automatically learned the rules of interaction with others, and they are unable to follow these unwritten rules of social behavior. This article will focus on this very important and relevant issue.
To read this issue on NASET- Click Here

Quick Links To NASET

Toddler Brain Difference Linked To Autism

The size of a specific part of the brain may help experts pinpoint when autism could first develop, University of North Carolina researchers report. Using MRI brain scans, researchers found that the area of the brain called the amygdala was, on average, 13 percent larger in young children with autism, compared with control group of children without autism. In the study, published in the latest Archives of General Psychiatry, researchers scanned 50 toddlers with autism and 33 children without autism at age 2 and again at age 4. The study adjusted for age, sex and IQ. "We believe that children with autism have normal-sized brains at birth but at some point, in the latter part of the first year of life, it [the amygdala] begins to grow in kids with autism. And this study gives us insight inside the underlying brain mechanism so we can design more rational interventions," said lead study author Dr. Joseph Piven. To read more, click here

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Adderal: Getting High Or Getting Higher Grades

The recent Colorado Daily story on Adderall ("Adderall and academia: A loaded combination?," May 1) sent a valuable message to the community about a drug that is as abused as any we read about in the headlines. The Daily's readers might be interested to know that it wasn't always that way, however. Adderall is the brand name for generic Dexedrine -- a drug available since the 1950s and originally thought to be useful for the treatment of depression and weight control, primarily in women. It was rapidly discovered within a matter of several years of its introduction that tolerance to it built up and the individual needed to take more of a drug for the same effect. Increasing doses led to complications of addiction due to the euphoria that the drug induces, as well as paranoid psychosis and suicidal depression. Eventually, Dexedrine became a Schedule II Controlled Substance, with tight controls by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency. To read more, click here

 Treating Sleep Disorders May Ease ADHD Symptoms

Researchers say a lifetime of problems with getting a good night's sleep could be in store for any child diagnosed with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). The study of 281 children, aged 10 to 17, who had been diagnosed with ADHD, found that regardless of the severity of that condition, they were two to three times more likely to have short-term or lifetime issues with insomnia or nightmares than peers without ADHD. They were also more likely to experience night terrors, teeth grinding and snoring. Treating the sleep disorder may help ease ADHD, as the conditions tend to share symptoms, say the investigators, whose work appears in the May 1 issue of Sleep. In fact, lack of sleep can cause problems with attention span, behavior and performance - hallmarks of ADHD. To read more, click here

Bill To Establish NJ Reading Disabilities Task Force Advances In Committee

A bill sponsored by Senator Jeff Van Drew which would create a 15-member task force to study New Jersey's efforts to reach kids with reading disabilities was approved by the Senate Education Committee today by a vote of 4-0. "Our most sacred responsibility in this world is to give future generations the tools and education they need to succeed," said Senator Van Drew, D-Cape May, Cumberland and Atlantic. "However, when you consider that many students with reading disabilities are given generic special education - as opposed to specialized reading curriculum - we are doing these kids a great disservice. This bill would charge a task force to perform a soup-to-nuts review of the State's outreach efforts for kids with reading disabilities, and steer New Jersey's statutes and regulations to better provide for their unique educational needs." The bill, S-2400, would establish the New Jersey Reading Disabilities Task Force to study practices for diagnosing, treating and education students with reading disabilities, and how the State's current laws and regulations affect these students. To read more, click here

Hypertensive Kids More Prone To Learning And Attention Problems

Kids with high blood pressure are at a greater risk of developing learning disabilities and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) than other children, according to a study. Conducted by researchers at the University of Rochester Medical Center, the study also revealed that hypertensive kids were also more likely to have a higher body mass index (BMI), an indicator of body fat. The researchers also showed that children with hypertension were four times as likely to have a learning disability and/or ADHD. 'Clinicians should be aware that these conditions commonly occur together. More studies investigating the potential association between hypertension and neurocognitive deficits are definitely needed,' said Dr. Marc Lande, a pediatric nephrologist at the University of Rochester Medical Center. 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

Expelled Student's ADA Claims Against Law School Can Proceed

A Massachusetts federal judge recently ruled that Americans with Disabilities Act and related claims against New England Law | Boston can move forward in a lawsuit against the school for expelling a student with learning disabilities who failed two courses. On April 29, District Judge Nathaniel M. Gorton of the U.S. Court for the District of Massachusetts denied the law school's motion to dismiss three claims: an ADA claim; a claim based on the federal Rehabilitation Act barring discrimination in programs receiving federal money; and a Massachusetts Equal Rights Act claim. Gorton's order also dismissed three other claims, including breach of contract; violations of the Massachusetts Constitution's Declaration of Rights; and violations of the Massachusetts Consumer Protection Act. Brodsky v. New England School of Law, No. 1:09-cv-10007 (D. Mass.). According to court papers, the plaintiff, Seva Brodsky, was expelled after failing two courses in the spring of 2005, and later learned from medical testing that his "memory and organizational deficits" likely stemmed from an accident in the early 1980s. To read more, click here

More Children Take The Tests For Gifted Programs, And More Qualify

The number of children qualifying for gifted kindergarten programs in New York City public schools rose by 45 percent this year, the schools chancellor announced on Monday. The gain, up to 3,231 from 2,230, was fueled by a 19 percent rise in the number of children who took the tests. The schools chancellor, Joel I. Klein, issued a statement attributing the citywide rise in children taking the tests - up 2,412 students to 14,822 - to two factors: the Department of Education's "further intensified" efforts to publicize the admissions process, and its decision to start all elementary school gifted programs in kindergarten (previously, some had started in the first grade). To read more, click here

Special Education Teachers Needed: Email Interviews For A New Book for College and Career Press

Andy Morkes, an editor at College & Career Press (an educational publisher) is currently seeking special education teachers to participate in email interviews for a book he is editing titled What Can I Do Now?: Education. The book is geared toward high school students. The questions will cover daily duties, pros and cons of the job, educational training, advice for high school students, and related topics. Interested parties can contact Andy at amorkes@chicagopa.com or 773-282-4671. Participants will receive a free copy of the publication.

Swine Flu Brings Unwelcome Break In Routine For Students With Disabilities

School closures due to swine flu are wreaking havoc for parents across the country. But when the bug hit a school that serves students with disabilities exclusively, it brought with it a whole new set of problems. Swine flu was discovered at Public School 177, a school for children with disabilities in Queens, N.Y., last week, forcing the school to close down. Many students at the school are nonverbal, making it difficult to diagnose or treat illness. What's more, the break in routine caused by the school closure is proving tumultuous for some students who have disabilities like autism. They are confused and the lack of routine is leading some to outbursts. To read more, click here

Nutrition And Metabolic Issues In Autism Examined

Children with Autism may be at risk for serious nutritional deficiencies and may have significantly different red blood cell fatty acid composition than children without autism, according to research presented at the annual meeting of the Pediatric Academic Societies, held from May 2 to 5 in Baltimore. Michelle Zimmer, M.D., of the Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center, and colleagues presented two studies. The first compared food variety scores from 19 children with autism and 20 controls. The children with autism had decreased food variety compared to controls (37 versus 53 foods per month), and 89 percent of the children with autism with a low food variety score were found to have a serious nutritional deficiency versus 11 percent of children with autism with normal food variety. To read more, click here

Special-Needs Children and Retirees Hit It Off At Retirement Center

At Mease Manor, the sound of a child's laughter is rarely heard. More often, it's pretty quiet, especially in the lobby area. It's difficult to detect even the noise of the wheels on the patients' rolling walkers as they turn slowly on the carpet. But every other Friday, the energy is cranked up a notch at the retirement center. That's when Liza Johnson's second-graders come to visit their elder buddies. You'd never know it by their impeccable manners and how they sit perfectly still in their white uniform shirts, but the children attend Calvin Hunsinger Exceptional Center, a special school with smaller classes at 1863 Betty Lane N, Clearwater. "They are emotionally, behaviorally disturbed students unable to socialize and get along with others," Johnson said. "They're very needy.'' But through the months, she has been astonished at how gentle the students, mostly boys, are with the residents. To read more, click here

Food for Thought........

Each of us makes a difference. It is from numberless acts of courage and belief that human history is shaped.
                                                             Robert F. Kennedy

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