Week in Review - December 24, 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

Genetics in Special Education Series

Genetic components presented in this issue:
  • Tuberous Sclerosis
  • Marfan syndrome 

    To read or download this issueClick here    


    Discipline of Students in Special EducationSeries


    In this Issue:
    Both the LEA and the parent of the child with a disability have the right to request a due process hearing to appeal decisions taken during disciplinary procedures, although the reasons these parties may do so differ. The focus of this issue of NASET's Discipline series will be to examine the appeals process and due process complaints
    To read or download this issue - Click here

Quick Links To NASET





To learn more
 - Click here

Brain Activity Pattern Signals Ability to Compensate for Dyslexia

Brain scans of adolescents with dyslexia who were later able to compensate for their dyslexia showed a distinct pattern of brain activity when compared to scans of adolescents who were unable to compensate, reported researchers funded in part by the U.S. National Institutes of Health. The finding raises the possibility that, one day, imaging or other measures of brain activity could be used to predict which individuals with dyslexia would most readily benefit from various specific interventions. "This finding provides insight into how certain individuals with dyslexia may compensate for reading difficulties," said Alan E. Guttmacher, M.D., director of the NIH's Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, which provided funding for the study. "Understanding the brain activity associated with compensation may lead to ways to help individuals with this capacity draw upon their strengths. Similarly, learning why other individuals have difficulty compensating may lead to new treatments to help them overcome reading disability." To read more, click here


Visit by Russian Educators Focuses on Teaching People with Disabilities

Russian educators from St. Petersburg to Siberia are learning this week how East Tennesseans educate and care for people with mental and physical disabilities. "I can see there is something we can take back to Russia," said Irina Monkhorova, speaking through an interpreter. She's with a Siberian republic's education ministry. Monkhorova and four other Russian educators are touring schools and special centers for children and adults with disabilities in Oak Ridge and Kingston before returning to Moscow on Saturday. The art therapy program she saw Tuesday at Kingston's Michael Dunn Center fascinated her, Irina Polyanskaya said. A psychologist for children in St. Petersburg orphanages, Polyanskaya said she would "definitely use that program." To read more, click here

Helping Gifted Children Succeed Should Be a No-Brainer

It may not be a mere coincidence that, as the government has proceeded to further shift, over recent years, to an economy based on consumption of goods, our education system has continued to decline. The basic Keynesian view of stimulus- that if the government gives people and institutions money, there will be more consumption and improvement in service, and, consequently, growth and progress- has proven to be a faulty model for both the general economy and education as well. A recent article in The Economist, examined a new study, released by the McKinsey consulting group, which focused on how to improve school systems. The authors of the study found that centralized government investment in education yields good results in still developing countries in which all children do not attend school. Yet, in those in which all children are required to be educated, the same government investment has not proven to be effective. For example, the article demonstrates that, between 2000 and 2007, both America and Britain increased spending on schools by 21% and 37%, respectively. Yet, in both of these countries, reading, math, and science skills standards dropped. To read more, click here


New Industry Standard Promises Accessibility for Assessments

A new development in the assessment world could make tests more accessible to students with disabilities, and more portable, experts in the field said earlier this week. One of the experts that worked on the project likened it to the development of HTML coding, which created a common language for the Web. The news is that a new, voluntary industry standard has been created for test-writing for all types of students. If widely adopted, it would essentially mean that tests would be written with a shared set of codes, or "tags," that create a common language describing their content. This would allow states, for instance, to switch test vendors without having to undertake a laborious translation process from one test-maker's digital "language" to another's. The new standard also would mean that assessments could be designed with adaptations for various learning disabilities up front, rather than having to make accommodations at the test site and risk changing the test or test items in ways that could undermine their validity. To read more, click here

Did You Know That......

If hearing loss is the result of damage to the outer or middle ear, the loss is called conductive.

Student's Special Needs Leave Mom, School at Odds

If nothing is done to assist her son, Katherine Smith fears "he is going to hurt one of the students." Those fears are grounded in the discipline notes her son Thomas brings home every week. On Nov. 17, the 5-year-old "punched child in the back", "spit on girl's face" and "destroyed property." On Nov. 15, he was "winging his arms around as people came into the cafeteria and students avoided his helicopter arms." This is the language used by Thomas' teachers in numerous behavior referral notices Smith provided. She received five such notes in November, more than one per week, all similarly worded. He is "referred to administration" in nearly every note. Except administration is why he is here in the first place. To read more, click here


Tough Going After School

Many special-needs youth in Hawaii leave high school ill-equipped for the world and are not linked with services that could help them pursue higher education, secure a job or live independently, say advocates, who want more attention paid to what happens after graduation. Statewide, they say, there is a lack of occupational skills programs at high schools, and some campuses do not do enough to help students make transitions into adulthood -- though such planning is required starting at age 16 under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act. "They're not achieving to the level that they need to just go into the world and work. They're not really connected with the agencies or departments that can help them get there," said Phyllis Dekok, who is on the Special Education Advisory Council's transition committee and is a "family success coach," working with special-needs students, on the Big Island. To read more, click here

Autism Risks Linked to Freeway Proximity

A recent study has revealed a somewhat bizarre fact: Mothers who live close to freeways are twice as likely to give birth to children who have problems with autism. Researchers announced their findings last Thursday. Apparently there are certain environmental factors which have a significant impact on the child, leading to a dramatically increased risk of autism. Researchers made it clear that they are not stating that exposure to traffic or pollution directly causes autism, but they could be contributing factors. To read more, click here


With Reading Help from Quest, Words Start to Fall into Place for Kids

The classroom fills with applause after Caliel Rivera successfully pronounces a string of tongue-twisting words in a reading exercise. He gives each approving audience member a quick glance, and with the secret wisdom of children, he senses an opportunity for reward. "Pizza?" he asks innocently. Applause then gives way to laughter. The 8-year-old Caliel, who has autism, shrugs his shoulders as if to say, 'Hey, it was worth a shot.' Caliel, along with his 9-year-old brother Omaet, are sitting in a small classroom at Quest Inc., an Orlando organization that provides education and a guiding hand to kids struggling with developmental and learning disabilities. It's one of the many nonprofit agencies supported by the Orlando Sentinel Family Fund Holiday Campaign. To read more, click here

Teacher Efforts Is Linked to Difficult Students' Inherited Traits

Challenging students take up more of their teachers' time -- and the difference between a tougher student and an easier one appears to be genetic, according to a new study published in Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science. The study looked at young twins in the U.K. and asked their teachers how much of a handful they are. "Policy-wise, there's a lot going on, blaming teachers for what's going on in the classrooms," says Renate Houts of Duke University, who cowrote the study with Avshalom Caspi and Terrie E. Moffitt of Duke, Robert C. Pianta of the University of Virginia, and Louise Arseneault of King's College London. Many school systems have considered paying teachers based on how much the children in their classes improve. "One of the things that seems to be missing is that teaching is more of a relationship. You have to consider both sides of that relationship, the children and the teachers," Houts says. To read more, 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: 

Shilpa Sanghavi, Jayne Pettifor, Kevin Monaghan, Julie Cudmore, Mary A Rosti, Deanna Krieg, Joanie P. Dikeman, Jessica L. Ulmer, Heather Benson, Gretchen van Besouw, Kuricheses Alexander, Shan Ring, Tabitha Garrett, Dawn Cox & Christie Miller

who correctly identified the answer to last week's trivia question: What do Aristotle, Aesop, Isaac Newton, Winston Churchill and James Earl Jones have in common? They all had difficulties with stuttering or stammering



Who coined the term "autism" and in what year did he do so?
If you know the answer, send an email to contactus@naset.org
All answers must be submitted no later than Monday, December 27, 2010 at 12:00 p.m.



NASET Member Benefit - Group Savings Plus from Liberty Mutual

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ADHD & Fetal Alcohol Syndrome: Similar But Different

On the surface, children with fetal alcohol exposure and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) appear to have similar symptoms and issues, but this study shows that each disorder appears to affect different areas of the brain. The researchers used number processing to show that difference in brain stimulation, and the results shows that the treatments for one might not be effective for the other, meaning there's a need to create tailor-made interventions for each.

In children, the brain is in a constant state of flux as it analyzes and evaluates stimuli from the environment. Fetal alcohol exposure and ADHD represent two disorders that can affect children's ability to learn and process information from a very young age. Both ADHD and fetal alcohol exposure are linked to poor academic performance in cognition and attention, so the researchers decided to try to pinpoint the exact brain areas affected by each disorder with the hope that this research could lead to the creation and development of new and improved treatments. To read more, click here


Kids Thrive in Cherokee Co. Pre-K Inclusion Program

For special needs students, school isn't always easy. But one Metro Atlanta school system has a program to make it somewhat easier. Brody Moses, 4, is just like any other child in this pre-k class at the Primrose School in Cherokee County. But according to his mother, that wasn't always the case. She says at around 15 months, she noticed he was different from other kids his age. "My son couldn't get on a bus without putting his hand over his ears," said Mary Moses, Brody's mom. "He couldn't go into an auditorium. We couldn't go to church because he would be upset by the noise. He couldn't convey to us how he was feeling." Moses was determined to get help for her son early, so she sold her house in Tennessee and moved to Cherokee County. Under Georgia's Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, the Cherokee County school district has an inclusion program for pre-k children with special needs. Along with what is called Typical Students, special needs children are immersed and learn alongside other students, before they get to elementary school. To read more, click here

Did You Know That......

If a hearing loss is the result of damage to the sensory cells or nerve fibers in the ear (inner ear damage), the loss is called sensorineural.

Mom's Voice Plays Special Role in Activating Newborn's Brain

A mother's voice will preferentially activate the parts of the brain responsible for language learning, say researchers from the University of Montreal and the Sainte-Justine University Hospital Research Centre. The research team made the discovery after performing electrical recordings on the infants within the 24 hours following their birth. The brain signals also revealed that while the infants did react to other women's voices, these sounds only activated the voice recognition parts of the brains. "This is exciting research that proves for the first time that the newborn's brain responds strongly to the mother's voice and shows, scientifically speaking, that the mother's voice is special to babies," said lead researcher Dr. Maryse Lassonde of the University of Montreal's Department of Psychology and the Sainte-Justine University Hospital Research Centre. To read more, click here

University of Tennessee Reaches Out with Program Designed for Individuals with Intellectual Disabilities

Students with intellectual disabilities and autism will soon be able to attend the University of Tennessee through a special program allowing them to work jobs on campus, sit in on courses and possibly live in dorms. At the end of the two-year curriculum, the students would graduate with a certificate and the education to help them tackle full-time jobs and live independently, said David Cihak, an associate professor of special education. The program is funded through tuition paid by the students and a $321,683 grant from the U.S. Department of Education. The grant is expected to be renewed for four more years, after which the school hopes the program will be self-sustaining. To read more, click here

Therapy Dogs on Campus

It has long been known that the enjoyment of interacting with an animal can lower stress levels in most people. When you reduce stress, you lower blood pressure and reduce heart rate, both very important to good health and mental functioning. Dogs are commonly used in nursing homes, retirement centers, and hospitals, as therapy for patients, as well as, those who have learning disabilities. They are also used for people in stressful situations, such as those in a disaster area, with much success. The role for therapy dogs has expanded through the years and it seems to be expanding again. Tufts University, in Medford, MA is now offering therapy dogs for students during final exam time. Other Colleges and Universities are jumping in on this, as well. Universities are bringing therapy dogs on campus in hopes that by providing a play break with the dogs it will give the students an opportunity to relax, reduce stress, and result in more effective study and test time. 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

Did You Know That......

In addition to conductive and sensorineural hearing losses, there is a third type of hearing loss, a "mixed" loss.  A mixed type loss is one in which both conductive and sensorineural components are present.

Novel Drug Offers Hope for Early Intervention in Individuals with Cystic Fibrosis

Cystic fibrosis (CF) patients with normal to mildly impaired lung function may benefit from a new investigational drug designed to help prevent formation of the sticky mucus that is a hallmark of the disease, according to researchers involved in a phase 3 clinical trial of the drug. Called denufosol, the investigational medication can be given early in the CF disease process, and may help delay the progression of lung disease in these patients, the researchers found. The findings were published online ahead of the print edition of the American Thoracic Society's American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine. "Although the lungs of children with CF are thought to be normal at birth, studies have demonstrated significant lung damage that occurs early in life in children suffering from cystic fibrosis," said lead investigator Frank Accurso, MD, professor of pediatrics, University of Colorado School of Medicine, Denver. "Many patients continue to suffer progressive loss of lung function despite treatment of complications. Because denufosol can be used early in life, it offers hope for delaying or preventing the progressive changes that lead to irreversible airflow obstruction in CF patients." To read more, click here

It Could Be Adult Attention Deficit Disorder

The holidays make many of us feel forgetful, disorganized and stressed out. But many people feel that way all the time. Four percent of adults have ADHD -- attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder -- although many don't know it. And only about 25 percent of the 10 million adults in the United States with ADHD receive treatment for it. Among the signs to look for, according to psychiatrist Marc Swartz, co-editor of AdultADD.info, are chronic lateness, difficulty staying on topic during conversations, procrastination, disorganization, inefficiency in work, being forgetful about things that need to be done, trouble staying focused, trouble completing tasks, problems affecting work, relationships or schoolwork that cause moderate distress, anxiety or depression.

Here are 10 coping strategies that make life easier if you have ADHD. To read more, click here

iPad Apps are Changing the Lives of Children with Autism

Kyle and Tina Carkhuff have plenty to celebrate. Their five year old son Evan was diagnosed with autism. Like many autistic children he cannot talk. But in the last two months he's made astonishing progress. "He started to play more with his brother. He's more interactive with us," said Tina Carkhuff, Evan's mother. The couple purchased an iPad, then discovered it had many learning applications that help give Evan a voice. "We started using the iPad to put pictures of the food on the iPad. And then Evan can tap or scroll and show us exactly what it is that he's looking for," said Tina.Now Evan has a voice through pictures. His dad, Kyle Carkhuff, said Evan can tap out sentences such as "Evan goes to the car. Evan goes to the playground." The director of the autism psychology services program at Seattle Children's said the staff is helping parents customize applications for their children.  To read more, click here

Food for Thought........

When you do more than you're paid to do, you will eventually be paid more for what you do.

                                Author Unknown

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