Week in Review - December 17, 2010


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

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New This Week on NASET

Lesser KnownDisorders 

Disorders in this issue:
Attention-to-Sequence Dyscalculia
Relationship Problems Disorder 
To read or download this issue - Click here    

NASET ResourceReview

December 2010

In this issue you will find resources in the following areas:

To read or download this issue - Click here 

Accessibility,   Adoptive Families Resources, Behavior Management,
Classroom Management, College Issues,  Computer Based Testing,
Disability Benefits, Early Intervention, Emotional Disabilities,
Employment, Family/School Communication, Holiday Stress,
IEP, Inclusion, Intellectual Disabilities, Kindergarten,
Learning Strategies, Physical Therapy, Placement Patterns,
Research Participation Requests, RTI, Self Care Skills,
Stress in Children, Teacher Sharing Sites & Videos 



To learn more - Click here

Quick Links To NASET

Twin Study Helps Scientists Link Relationship Among ADHD, Reading, and Math

Children with ADHD can sometimes have more difficulties on math and reading tests compared to their peers. A new study published in Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science, used identical and fraternal twins to look at the genetic and environmental influences underlying ADHD behaviors, reading, and math skills in children in an attempt to better understand the relationship among them. Sara Hart, of the Florida State University, and her colleagues used twins enrolled in a long-term study of reading and math. Hart says by focusing on twins specifically, psychological scientists are able to tease out the difference between nature and nurture. To do this, scientists compare identical twins, who have nearly the same DNA, with fraternal twins, who generally only share about half of their DNA. If identical twins are generally more alike on a trait -- say, their eye color or reading ability -- and fraternal twins are much less alike on the same trait, you can presume the trait is inherited. On the other hand, if pairs of identical twins are alike on a trait to the same extent that pairs of fraternal twins are alike on that trait -- like how outgoing they are -- you know the trait is probably influenced by their environment. Most traits fall somewhere in between, and twin studies can show that, too. To read more, click here

Florida Raises Expectations for Students with Disabilities

Throughout the state, thousands of children with disabilities are studying modified curriculum in one or more of their classes, often because it is thought the general education material is too difficult for them to master. But state officials believe that's untrue and that most children with disabilities - except in rare cases - are capable of completing the same course work as their peers. "In fact, the majority of the kids with disabilities are able to earn a standard high school diploma, and that should be our goal for them," said Karen Denbroeder, an administrator in the state's Bureau of Exceptional Education and Student Services. "When we put kids in separate classrooms with modified curriculum, we're taking away that access to a standard diploma." To read more, click here

Nighttime Sleep Found Beneficial to Infants' Skills

Young children who get most of their sleep at night perform better in executive functioning than children who don't sleep as much at night, a new study finds. The study of 60 Canadian children aged 1, 1-1/2 and 2, examined the children's sleep habits and executive functioning skills, including impulse control and mental flexibility. The researchers found that children who sleep mostly at night did better on executive function tasks, especially those involving impulse control. At ages 1 and 1-1/2, children who get most of their sleep at night (as opposed to during the day) do better in a variety of skill areas than children who don't sleep as much at night. That's the finding of a new longitudinal study conducted by researchers at the University of Montreal and the University of Minnesota. The research appears in the November/December 2010 issue of the journal Child Development. To read more, click here

At California School, Parents Force Overhaul

By Marlene Romero's count, her son has had just one effective teacher in his five years at McKinley Elementary School here. Most of the time, she said, he has merely shuffled through classrooms, struggling in math without ever getting extra help. So when an organizer came knocking at her door promising that if she signed a petition, her son's school could radically improve, Ms. Romero immediately pledged her support. Now, she is one of more than 250 parents in Compton who are using a new state law to force the failing school to be taken over by a charter school operator, the first such move in the country. Voicing enormous frustration with the existing school, the parents handed over the petition on Tuesday to district officials. "We are completely fed up," Ms. Romero said. "We've been told to wait every year and nothing changes." To read more, click here

Did You Know That.....

In "master learning", teachers assess their students' mastery of content, determining whether it is timely to move to the next concept or activity.

Justices Decline Special Education Teacher's Free Speech Case

The U.S. Supreme Court last Monday declined to hear the appeal of a Michigan special education teacher who claimed she was fired for complaining that the size of her teaching caseload kept her from providing the proper amount of instruction to each of her students. The Traverse City Area Public Schools in Michigan declined to renew the probationary teaching contract of Susan M. Fox in 2007 because of what the district described as her deficiencies. Fox claimed that the adverse job action resulted from her complaints to supervisors that her caseload of special needs students exceeded what was allowed by law. The teacher says in court papers that in addition to serving 21 special education students, she was asked to teach an elementary school reading program that brought her total number of students to 34. To read more, click here

Sex Despite Disability: New Product Offers Hope

Brian Chavez's life changed forever on a spring day in 2005 when he fell six stories from a building and suffered a spinal cord injury, leaving him a paraplegic. "I was physically unable to do a lot of things for that first year," said Chavez, now 38. In addition to being unable to walk and perform everyday tasks as easily as he was able to before his injury, Chavez also had to face another harsh reality. "I was thinking I was never going to be able to have sex again," he said.

After a lot of experimentation with a variety of different positions and sexual aids, Chavez discovered one product that helped make sex easier and more pleasurable: the IntimateRider, a swing chair designed to help with motion and positioning during sex. To read read more, click here

Common Genetic Influences for ADHD and Reading Disability

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and developmental reading disability (RD) are complex childhood disorders that frequently occur together; if a child is experiencing trouble with reading, symptoms of ADHD are often also present. However, the reason for this correlation remains unknown. A new study reported in the latest special issue of Cortex, dedicated to "Developmental Dyslexia and Dysgraphia," has suggested that the disorders have common genetic influences, which may also lead to slow processing speed -- the brain taking longer to make sense of the information it receives. To read more, click here

Washington State Supreme Court Rules Against Increased Funding for Special Education

Washington's school districts won't be seeing any extra funding for special education programs anytime soon. The state Supreme Court ruled on the School Districts' Alliance for Adequate Funding of Special Education v. State on Thursday, deciding in an 8-1 vote that the alliance did not prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the state under funds special education. The Issaquah School District helped spearhead the lawsuit in 2004, joining 11 other districts that also called into question how the state pays for special education. The districts alleged that the state does not adequately fund special education, forcing districts to instead rely heavily on local taxpayer dollars. They asked the state to implement the constitutional mandate "to make ample provision for the education of all children residing within its borders, without distinction or preference on account of race, color, caste or sex." To read more, click here

Opinion: Making Disability Work

I will begin a new job for Citigroup in January, so this is my last article as a contributing columnist for The Times. I hope to see you again from time to time on the Op-Ed page. One of the gravest dangers posed by the weak economy is that the unemployed will become discouraged and give up looking for work, perhaps permanently as their skills atrophy. This would be harmful not only to the workers and their families, but also to the economy as a whole, as those people would no longer contribute to economic growth. The longer the labor market remains sluggish, the more pronounced this risk becomes. Unfortunately, at this point more than six million people have been unemployed for six months or longer. More than one million have already given up looking for work because they believe no job is available. And a drastic rise in applications for disability insurance suggests we may be headed for more long-lasting trouble. The number of disability applications has reached more than 750,000 a quarter, according to the Social Security Administration, an increase of more than 50 percent from four years ago. 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


Guess the answer to this week's trivia question and we'll recognize you in next week's Week in Review.
Congratulations to:
Heidi Kahulugan, Shilpa Sanghavi, Gretchen van Besouw, Wendy Mostafa, Christie Miller, & Julie Cudmore

who correctly identified the answer to last week's trivia question: What exceptionalities were added to the special education classification in 1991.  ANSWER:  Autism and Traumatic Brain Injury


What do Aristotle, Aesop, Isaac Newton, Winston Churchill and James Earl Jones have in common?
If you know the answer, send an email to contactus@naset.org
All answers must be submitted no later than Monday, December 20, 2010 at 12:00 p.m.

National Campaign to Challenge Disability Stereotypes, Promote Inclusion

Spearheaded by a group of 20 teenagers, a national campaign is kicking off this month designed to reshape youth perceptions of inclusion and ideas about what's "normal." The "I am Norm" campaign is centered on online videos, social networking and a series of advertising buys slated for next year, which organizers say they hope will spark conversation about inclusion of people with disabilities and what it really means to be normal. "Everywhere I go people say the biggest obstacle to inclusion is attitude," says Dan Habib, a filmmaker who first brought the teens together while promoting his documentary "Including Samuel," which follows the experience of Habib's son who has cerebral palsy. "The first step is challenging perceptions." To read more, click here


Beaten as a Toddler, Teen Struggles with Disabilities

When he was 2½, Oz Decatur was beaten and left for dead by a man who then killed his mother. Now 16 years old and living with his grandmother in Monroe, Oz still bears the scars. He experiences life from a wheelchair. He's learning to use a computerized voice box to speak for him. His disabilities all are a result of that beating in 1997, said his grandmother, Mary Decatur. Until then, she said, Oz was a healthy, energetic and chatty toddler who loved challenging his mother, Monica Decatur, to keep up with him. He still has a mischievous twinkle in his eye. Oz was born in Monroe. When he was 2, his mother and he moved to Oklahoma City. Monica Decatur moved in with Shelton Jackson, whom she knew from Neville High School. He cared for Oz while Decatur worked. Mary Decatur said her daughter returned home from work one afternoon and didn't see Oz. When she asked where he was, Decatur said, Jackson became enraged. She said he hit her daughter with a brick several times, stabbed her with a knife, and doused the house with gasoline and set it on fire. Police arrested Jackson later that day when he attempted to board a bus. He was convicted of murder, arson and abuse. Oz, beaten and wrapped in a piece of carpet, was found in the crawl space under a neighboring house. He spent two months in the hospital and another two months in rehabilitation before his grandmother could bring him back to Monroe. To read more, click here

Did You Know That......

More than 130,000 teenagers are in juvenile correctional facilities.  It is estimated that 30 to 70 percent of those youth have disabilities.

Indiana Program Helps Train and Place Individuals with Disabilities

Alex Onesti has just finished sweeping the floor and cleaning the stainless steel countertops in the Banfield Veterinary Clinic's treatment room when he hears a yipping noise. It's coming from Tofu - a white, 8-month-old Maltese who has fixed his gaze on Alex like a laser beam. "Hey Tofu, how are you?" Onesti says, placing his finger inside the cage so Tofu can lick it with his pink tongue. "You wanna go home?" Tofu wags his tail so hard it looks as if it's going to fly off his body. "It's OK, boy, I promise you'll get to go home," Onesti says. "Your owners are gonna come pick you up. I promise." After issuing that reassurance, Onesti picks up a doggie biscuit and slips it through the metal bars into Tofu's cage. Tofu wastes no time making it disappear. Onesti, a 25-year-old Bloomington man who has autism, is one of 13 people with disabilities who are working at various jobs in the area through Options' Work Experience Program. To read more, click here

Computer-Based Program May Relieve Symptoms in Children with ADHD

An intensive, five-week working memory training program shows promise in relieving some of the symptoms of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder in children, a new study suggests. Researchers found significant changes for students who completed the program in areas such as attention, ADHD symptoms, planning and organization, initiating tasks, and working memory. "This program really seemed to make a difference for many of the children with ADHD," said Steven Beck, co-author of the study an associate professor of psychology at Ohio State University. "It is not going to replace medication, but it could be a useful complementary therapy." To read more, click here

College Campus is Unique Site for Students with Special Needs

The Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College Jackson County campus is the site of a program that helps special education students bridge the gap from high school to work. The 10 students in the program are 19 to 21 years old and come from the Jackson County School District's three high schools -- St. Martin, Vancleave and East Central. Called "Linking Individuals N Community Supports," it is the only such program in the state and one of few in the nation, said Tonya Green, director of special education for the school district. "The types of students that are in that program are students that are going for gained employment. They are not going for a traditional diploma," she said. To read more, click here

Toddlers with Autism Show Improved Social Skills Following Targeted Intervention

Targeting the core social deficits of autism spectrum disorders (ASD) in early intervention programs yielded sustained improvements in social and communication skills even in very young children who have ASD, according to a study funded by the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), part of the National Institutes of Health. The study was published online December 8, 2010, in the Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry. Although some research suggests that ASD may be reliably diagnosed earlier than the current average age of 3 years, few interventions have been tested in children younger than 3. During the course of typical development, children learn to interact with others in socially meaningful ways. To read more, click here

Do Urban Schools Need Gifted Programs?

D.C. Schools Chancellor Kaya Henderson told me recently that a plan to hire a gifted-and-talented coordinator had been cut from her budget. Times are tough, she said. Sacrifices have to be made. But I don't think this is any great loss at all. God dispenses his blessings and talents to poor and minority kids, too, so our cities have many gifted children. Unfortunately public schools, including those in the suburbs, rarely have the resources or teaching expertise to challenge them much. For urban schools, the standard gifted and talented system is often a waste of time. I was reminded of this in a new book by the best inner-city high school principal I have ever known. Henry Gradillas, who ran two large high schools in Los Angeles, including Garfield in low-income East L.A., figured this out nearly 30 years ago. He had listened to his most talented teacher, Garfield Math Department Chairman Jaime Escalante, make fun of designating some kids gifted on the strength of a second-grade intelligence test. Gradillas began to see why Escalante (later made famous by the film "Stand and Deliver") was right. To read more, click here

Did You Know That......

Although incarecerated youth have been reported to have academic achievement one to several years below grade level, the extent of their special education services in correctional facilities tends to be about two thirds less than that offered in public schools.

Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy is Ultimately a Stem Cell Disease, Researcher Finds

For years, scientists have tried to understand why children with Duchenne muscular dystrophy experience severe muscle wasting and eventual death. After all, laboratory mice with the same mutation that causes the disease in humans display only a slight weakness. Now research by scientists at the Stanford University School of Medicine, and a new animal model of the disease they developed, points a finger squarely at the inability of human muscle stem cells to keep up with the ongoing damage caused by the disorder. "Patients with muscular dystrophy experience chronic muscle damage, which initiates a never-ending cycle of repair and wasting," said Helen Blau, PhD, the Donald E. and Delia B. Baxter Professor and a member of Stanford's Institute for Stem Cell Biology and Regenerative Medicine. "We found that in mice the muscle stem cells can keep up with the demands on them to cycle." To read more, click here

Canadian Teachers Mandated to Have Specialized Training in Special Education

All teachers who want to be licensed to work in B.C. in the future must have specialized training in special needs and aboriginal education, according to a new plan announced by the B.C. College of Teachers. The changes will be phased in by the nine teacher education programs in B.C., and the requirement will take effect in September 2012, the college said in a news release Wednesday that was overshadowed by fact-finder Don Avison's report slamming the college for being dysfunctional and unduly influenced by the B.C. Teachers' Federation. "This change is about making sure the teachers of the future have the academic background and the tools they need to meet the demands of the education system moving forward," said Mike Trask, the chair of the college's governing council. To read more, click here

Food for Thought........

Put your heart, mind, intellect, and soul even to your smallest acts. This is the secret of success.

                                 Swami Sivananda

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