Week in Review - October 23, 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

Assessment in Special EducationSeries 

Part 2 - Referral to the Child Study Team

When teachers in general education are having difficulty with a student in their class, they may attempt several strategies to see if the problem can be resolved within the classroom. These strategies may include meeting with the child, extra help, simplified assignments, parent conferences, peer tutoring, and so on. If there is no progress within a realistic amount of time, the teacher may decide to refer the student to a school-based team, often known as the Child Study Team (CST), School Building Level Committee (SBLC), Pupil Personnel Team (PPT), or Prereferral Team (PRT), depending on the state in which the student resides. This part of the Assessment in Special Education Series will provide information on the purpose,  procedures  and options of the Child Study Team.
To read and or download this issue: Click Here

Working with Paraprofessional in Your School Series

Team Building: Working with a Paraprofessional

How an educator-supervisor proceeds to build a relationship with the paraprofessional will depend on whether the team is working with a new paraprofessional or a person in a preexisting position. In the latter case, the orientation takes the form of building rapport with the individual and explaining any differences that exist in the program and teaching style. Part III of the NASET's Working with Paraprofessionals in Your School series expands upon expectations of the classroom teacher-supervisor discussed in Part II of the series.
To read and or download this issue: Click Here

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NASET Sponsor - Mayer-Johnson 

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Children's Blood Levels Linked To Lower Test Scores

Exposure to lead in early childhood significantly contributes to lower performances on end-of-grade (EOG) reading tests among minority and low-income children, according to researchers at Duke University and North Carolina Central University. "We found a clear dose-response pattern between lead exposure and test performance, with the effects becoming more pronounced as you move from children at the high end to the low end of the test-score curve," said lead investigator Marie Lynn Miranda, director of the Children's Environmental Health Initiative (CEHI) at Duke's Nicholas School of the Environment. "Given the higher average lead exposure experienced by African-American children in the United States, our results show that lead does in fact explain part of the observed achievement gap that blacks, children of low socioeconomic status and other disadvantaged groups continue to exhibit in school performance in the U.S. education system, compared to middle- and upper-class whites," Miranda said. To read more, click here

Special Education Bill, Like Others, Runs Up Against Familiar Obstacle: Cost

A proposal to require a new level of training for Massachusetts teachers ran up against a familiar question on Tuesday: How much would it cost? Parents and advocates for children with disabilities want teachers to be trained to use alternative communication technologies such as speech synthesizers to better teach children whose disabilities keep them from speaking or limit their speaking ability.They say the children will learn more, be less prone to negative behavior and less likely to be put in more costly placements if their teachers better understand the technology. But, on Tuesday, some members of the Joint Committee on Education asked whether it's the right time to move forward with such requirements, however laudable they might be. To read more, click here

Danger: Child Genius At Work

Most parents would be bowled over if their child could say Einstein before his or her's second birthday. So imagine how impressed Mr and Mrs Wrigley must have been when Mensa claimed their son Oscar was just as clever as the celebrated physicist, despite being just two years, five months and 11 days old. With an IQ of 160, he was the second-youngest British child to be admitted to Mensa. This might sound like every parents' dream, but with the media glare intensifying and big-money interview offers coming in from around the world, experts are already worried about whether all the attention could harm the young brainbox. "I feel really sorry for him actually," says Sue Palmer, chair of the Scottish Play Commission and advocate of a back-to-basics approach to rearing a happy, bright child. To read more, click here

Author With Dyslexia Offers Different Outlook For Kids Who Don't Fit In

By the end of his first day of first grade, Jonathan Mooney was the bad kid. He fidgeted. He couldn't keep his mouth shut. Every day at school was miserable. Mooney said he was always "chilling with the janitor in the hallway," because his teachers booted him from the classroom. He was "on a first-name basis with Shirley, the receptionist in the principal's office." And when he wasn't in trouble, he was hiding in the bathroom, his face streaked with tears, to avoid having to read. He was labeled dyslexic in fourth grade and diagnosed with Attention Deficit Disorder the following year. He dropped out of school for a year in sixth grade and began plotting his suicide. He didn't learn to read until he was 12. And yet, Mooney graduated in 2000 from Brown University, an Ivy League school, with a degree in English literature. He was a Rhodes Scholarship finalist and founded a nonprofit organization to help students with learning disabilities. To read more,</font> click here

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Are States Following Stimulus Plan Rules For Schools?

Creating and saving jobs while boosting investment in the future are among the top goals of the Obama administration's $787 billion economic stimulus plan. And according to a preliminary report on stimulus funding for schools by the Department of Education and the Domestic Policy Council, the stimulus plan has created jobs. State governments have created and saved at least 250,000 education jobs -- and restored nearly all their projected education budget shortfalls for fiscal years 2009 and 2010 -- according to preliminary findings releasedMonday by the White House. But some states that used the funds to fill existing budget gaps could face a crisis when the money runs out after 2010. And the Department of Education has chastised certain states for their stimulus funding programs and warned them that they risk their chances at getting other DOE grants down the road. To read more, click here

School Has A Year To Prove It Can Do The (Almost) Impossible

Opportunity Charter School in Harlem is a rare species in the charter school movement. Its student body is roughly half general education students and half students with learning disabilities. The two groups learn in classes side by side, following the "inclusion" model. And year after year, students entering the school have some of the lowest test scores in the city - a distinction that's become a point of pride. "Lowest achieving kids in New York City. Bottom 10 percent," Opportunity's assistant principal, Brett Fazio, said in an interview, with the same delight other school administrators reserve for science fair champions. But the point of Opportunity, as CEO Leonard Goldberg dreamed it up when he was an administrator at a residential school five years ago, is to take the least and make them champions. To read more, click here

Report Says That Stimuls Preserved Education Jobs

Federal economic recovery aid has created or saved 250,000 education jobs, the Obama administration announced Monday, although states and school systems continue to face enormous fiscal pressures. The report issued by the White House and the Education Department does not address how many education jobs have been cut this year because of the recession, nor does it project how many are in jeopardy in the coming year. From coast to coast, officials are warning of education funding troubles ahead. The National Conference of State Legislatures reports that 27 states are forecasting shortfalls for fiscal 2011 that total at least $61 billion, with five more states predicting unspecified budget shortages. Widespread state cutbacks would threaten a major source of school revenue. To read more, click here

Teacher Brings Music To Special Education Students

When Donald DeVito arrived at the Sidney Lanier Center School, music classes were held in a portable with only seven instruments.Today, the students with disabilities at the school take music classes in a large, colorful room filled with instruments, uniforms and music. DeVito, who was recently named Florida ESE teacher of the year, began to build the school's music program eight years ago while he was working on his doctorate at UF. He said the more he worked with the students and spent time developing the program, the more he fell in love with it. "I was working on my dissertation and teaching here part time, and I was just too enthralled with what was going on here and enjoyed building the program here too much to leave," he said. 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 and our partnership with the Association of American Educators (AAE), click here

Innoculation Misinformation

Wild rumors are flying about the newly developed vaccine for pandemic influenza H1N1, also known as "swine flu." We've seen e-mails stating that the vaccine is tainted with antifreeze or Agent Orange, causes Gulf War syndrome, or has killed U.S. Navy sailors. One says the vaccine is an "evil depopulation scheme." The claims are nearly pure bunk, with only trace amounts of fact. If you are the sort who trusts anonymous e-mails more than you do doctors and experts from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, you may wish to stop reading now. For others, here are the facts as stated by the best authorities we can find. To read more, click here

Why Are Preemies More Likely To Develop Autism?

Researchers have long seen signs of autism in children born prematurely, and some studies have suggested that such signs can develop into full-blown autism in childhood. A study out Monday suggests that complications during pregnancy and early life may be responsible for this early risk. It's unclear just how many children born prematurely will develop autism. The study, in the November issue of Pediatrics, included 1216 children with autistic disorders and 6080 without. When Dr. Susanne Buchmayer and colleagues from the Karolinska Institute, Stockholm, took various factors into account, children who were born at 31 weeks of pregnancy or earlier were about 1.5 times as likely to develop autism compared to babies born at full term. Those born from 32 to 36 weeks were about 1.3 times as likely to develop the condition. 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

Childhood ADHD and The Link To Adult Criminal Behavior

Children with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) are more likely than other children to engage in criminal activity when they grow older, a U.S. study has found. The study included more than 10,000 adolescents who were later surveyed in adulthood. It found that youngsters with ADHD were twice as likely to commit theft later in life and were 50 percent more likely to sell drugs. The findings, believed to be the first evidence of a link between ADHD and criminal activity, were published online Sept. 30 in the Journal of Mental Health Policy and Economics. "While much research has shown links between ADHD and short-term educational outcomes, this research suggests significant longer-term consequences in other domains, such as criminal activities," study lead author Jason M. Fletcher, an assistant professor at the Yale School of Public Health, said in a university news release. To read more, click here

Mercury Levels In Children With Autism And Those Developing Typically Are The Same, Study Finds

In a large population-based study published online today, researchers at the UC Davis MIND Institute report that after adjusting for a number of factors, typically developing children and children with autism have similar levels of mercury in their blood streams. Mercury is a heavy metal found in other studies to adversely affect the developing nervous system. The study, appearing in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives, is the most rigorous examination to date of blood-mercury levels in children with autism. The researchers cautioned, however, that the study is not an examination of whether mercury plays a role in causing the disorder. To read more,  click here

Food for Thought........

Where there is an open mind, there will always be a frontier.
                                                              Charles F. Kettering

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