Week in Review - September 25, 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 Education Series

Part 1 - Identification of High Risk Students

A high risk child is any child who is experiencing social, academic, emotional, medical, language, perceptual, or environmental turmoil that prevent him/her from performing up to his/her ability in school.  As a result of this intense turmoil, many symptoms are generated in a dynamic attempt to alleviate the anxiety or feelings of inadequacy. This part of the Assessment in Special Education Series looks at the symptoms exhibited by high risk children and provides a frame of reference so that these children can be identified as quickly as possible.
To read or download this issue - Click Here 

Working with Paraprofessionals in Your School

The Paraprofessional and Supervision

The increased use of paraprofessionals in a variety of educational settings has resulted in the need for teachers and other educational professionals (nurses, speech-language pathologists, occupational/physical therapists) to assume the tasks of supervising these individuals. Being a qualified educational professional, however, does not automatically translate into being equally prepared to supervise another adult. In too many cases, this new role is undertaken with little or no training or previous knowledge of supervisory skills. Current state and federal legislation emphasizes the importance of adequate supervision for paraprofessionals, and those charged with supervision must learn strategies for directing the work of the paraprofessional to improve student achievement. This issue of NASET's Working with Paraprofessionals in Your School provides information on the principles of supervision and establishing an effective supervisory relationship whose ultimate goal is success of the child in the school setting.
To read or download this issue - Click Here

Quick Links To NASET

National Center For Learning Disabilities Releases 2009 Report

The State of Learning Disabilities 2009 is a comprehensive report about the current status of children, adolescents, and adults with learning disabilities (LD) in the United States. It  provides benchmark data to compare and contrast how people with LD are faring in school and work. The news is not good. Overall, a huge disparity exists in spite of all the research done about learning disabilities.  We know more than ever about learning disabilities and have solid scientific evidence about what it takes to teach children with learning disabilities.  Unfortunately little if any of this valuable research has been put into practice in our public schools. The National Center for Learning Disabilities offers this publication to policy makers, education professionals, media, parents and others to ensure that there is access to key LD data to and expand awareness about what LD is and whom the condition impacts. To read more, click here

For Special Education and ELL Students, Choice Is Often Lacking

Aspiring to attend one of the city's top-tier high schools can be a daunting proposition for students with special needs or English language learners (ELLs) and their parents. Few of this fall's incoming 9th graders who are special education or ELL students applied to the sought-after schools, and even fewer were admitted. Superintendent Arlene Ackerman says her staff is taking a close look at the admissions criteria in the District's 18 special admission programs and 13 citywide admission high schools and that the schools are being pressured to boost special education and ELL representation. "I don't know if it's purposefully discriminatory, but you don't see English language learners in some of our magnet schools," Ackerman said in an interview with Notebook editors. 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

Surfing Joins Growing Wave Of Therapies For Autism

As the number of children with autism mushrooms, so too does the list of therapies for reaching the baffling world in which they live. From horseback riding to hyperbaric chambers, the methods are as diverse as the symptoms of autism itself. But here's a therapy that surprises even the parents of autistic kids: surfing. "When he caught his first wave, you should have seen him," said Robyn Serafine of Deerfield Beach, whose autistic 11-year-old son, Charlie Reilly, has limited verbal skills. "He was squealing and laughing -- it was pure enjoyment. You could hear him 150 yards away." Charlie first participated in a "Surfers for Autism" event last year in South Florida, where the nonprofit began in late 2007. On Saturday, surf instructors are bringing the action to Cocoa Beach for the first time. Already, 100 kids with autism have been signed up by their families. To read more, click here

Disability Advocates Outraged Over Governor's Vetoes

Disability advocates are outraged that a bill unanimously passed by the state legislature to better protect people with special needs has been vetoed by Governor Paterson.  The bill would have increased penalties for those who abuse a disabled person, making it a felony.  The news is devastating for families of the disabled. We talked to a number of parents and advocates of disabled people who fully expected to be celebrating a victory. Instead they are overwhelmed with disbelief. One family in Wynantskill is still coming to terms with losing their daughter this past spring, and this news only adds to their pain. While clutching a picture of 37-year-old Pam Rockwell, Donna Rockwell remembers her easy-going spirit: "She always had a smile, always. She woke up with a smile and went to bed with a smile." Donna and Charles Rockwell's developmentally disabled daughter died in a group home in May, amid allegations of abuse. While their case is still pending, they feel renewed grief after Governor Paterson's veto of a bill that would make abusing a disabled person a felony. To read more, click here

The Game Plan

A group of middle schoolers enthusiastically leaves the confines of their academic classroom, bouncing into a high-tech gymnasium of sorts, where they not only use their muscles, but their minds. Interactive Education Academy, a school for special-needs students near Bloomingdale High, has introduced a new fitness program that also incorporates motor skills, coordination and classroom work. And it's going over big. "The kids think they're just having fun," said Ricardo Rodriguez of Brandon, whose 17-year-old son attends the school run by instructors who specialize in dyslexia and other learning disabilities. "The school has been phenomenal," said Rodriguez, noting that his son was not getting the kind of one-on-one education in public high school required for a developmentally delayed student. To read more,  click here

Severe Pediatric Brain Injury

Traumatic brain injuries (TBI) affect 475,000 children under age 14 each year in the United States alone. Ninety percent of patients are treated in emergency departments and released; however, more than 47,000 hospitalizations per year are a direct result of these injuries. On average, 2,685 children die annually from traumatic brain injuries, and more than 30,000 children per year acquire lifelong disabilities. With proper prehospital care of these severely injured children, we can reduce secondary injury and maximize survival and good neurological outcomes. Traumatic brain injury is a spectrum of insults to the brain. Epidural hematoma occurs when damage to a meningeal or other artery causes bleeding between the skull and dura. These patients classically present with a lucid interval prior to becoming rapidly unresponsive. To read more, click here

In South Wales, Special Education Reform Put On Hold

It has been proposed that teachers be trained to cover a broader range of needs instead of specialising in areas such as autism, language or behavioural difficulties. The Education Minister, Verity Firth, says a decision on the plan now will not be taken until the middle of next year - but trials at schools will go ahead. The Green's Education Spokesman, John Kaye, has welcomed the decision, but still harbours concerns. "The idea of using online training for just 110 hours and put teachers infront of students with diverse special needs was always absurd," he said. "It's great that it's been deferred. But there's a sting in the tail. "We're very concerned about the trials the department is going to conduct next year. We don't want to see kids in those schools disadvantaged." The Education Minister, Verity Firth, says she does not believe specialisations will be lost, or that training will be inadequate. 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

Seaside Therapeutic Services Secures 30 Million Dollars For Reaserch In The Field of Fragile X Syndrome And Autism

Seaside Therapeutics LLC today announced that it has secured $30 million in financing from a private, family investment firm which is committed to advancing research in the field of autism and Fragile X Syndrome. The financing will be used to fund the Company`s pipeline of novel therapeutic candidates to correct or improve the course of those who suffer these disorders. The financing brings the total capital raised by Seaside to $66 million. "Seaside understands the toll that brain development disorders take on individuals and their families and shares in the frustration over the lack of effective therapeutics for these devastating disorders," said Randall L. Carpenter, M.D., President and Chief Executive Officer of Seaside Therapeutics. "Seaside was founded to fill this void by translating breakthrough discoveries in neurobiology into therapeutics that improve the lives of patients and their families. To read more, click here

Gene Therapy Lets Monkeys See In Color

Monkeys once color-blind can now see the world in full color thanks to gene therapy. The results demonstrate the potential for such methods to eventually cure human vision disorders, from color blindness to possibly other conditions leading to full blindness. The primate patients, named Dalton and Sam, are two adult, male squirrel monkeys that were red-green color-blind since birth - a condition that similarly affects human males more than females. Five months after researchers injected human genes into the monkeys' eyes, the duo could see red as if they had always had this ability. Since human genes were used and the monkeys' eyes and brains are similar to ours, at least in terms of color vision, the researchers hope the same procedure could work in humans. To read more, click here

Home Schooling: Programs To Suit Needs Of Students

By now, most of America's schoolchildren have returned to school. Despite the fact that most parents choose to send their children to a public school, more and more are recognizing the need for more parental involvement with their child's education. Educators are admitting that parental involvement is the key to a child's educational success, even in a public school setting. Even President Obama in his recent mass broadcast to public school students in America sounded more like a parent than he did the president of the United States as he encouraged each student to be conscientious in their attendance at school, their studies and their personal life. As more parents recognize the importance of their role in the education of their children, an increasing number of parents are choosing not to send their children to an institutional school, choosing instead to teach them at home. To read more, click here

Alternatives Sought For Maine Students With Special Needs

The way school districts provide special education services to a segment of students with severe special needs could gradually change, if state education officials have their way. As state officials search for ways to bridge a $66 million budget gap this year, the push for more public programs that serve students with autism, mental illness, rare learning disabilities and emotional disorders is intensifying. School districts and Maine state government spend millions of dollars each year to send students with severe special needs to private schools that offer intensive educational and emotional support services. The private schools, in many cases, provide students with the one-on-one attention that they require but that public schools aren't equipped to offer. To read more, click here

Food for Thought........

Most teachers are knowledgeable. Good teachers are intelligent. Great teachers are patient. Exceptional teachers are students themselves.
                                                                                        Dale Dubin, M.D.

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