Week in Review - December 3, 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 NASETto 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

NASET Special Educator e-Journal 

In this issue:
· Update from the U.S. Department Education
· Calls to Participate
· Update From The National Dissemination Center for Children with Disabilities
· Latest Employment Opportunities Posted on NASET
· Special Education Resources
· Upcoming Conferences, Workshops, and Events
· Get Wired! Websites and Listservs
· Funding Forecast and Award Opportunities
· Acknowledgements 

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Gene Linked to ADHD Allows Memory Task to be Interrupted by Brain Regions Tied to Daydreaming

Neuroscientists at Georgetown University Medical Center (GUMC) say brain scans show that a gene nominally linked to attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) leads to increased interference by brain regions associated with mind wandering during mental tasks. Presented at the annual meeting of the Society for Neuroscience, these researchers believe their findings are the first to show, through brain scanning, the differences in brain network relationships between individuals with this particular form of gene and others with a different form. "Our goal is to narrow down the function of candidate genes associated with ADHD, and in this study, we find this gene is tied to competition between brain networks. This could lead to increased inattention, but it likely has nothing to do with hyperactivity," says the study's lead author, Evan Gordon, a doctoral candidate in the Interdisciplinary Program in Neuroscience at GUMC. "This is just one gene, and it does not cause ADHD but likely contributes to it. The disorder is believed to be due to a myriad of genetic factors." To read more, click here

In San Francisco, School District Aims for More 'Inclusion'

A number of seats in next year's round of campus assignments will be set aside for special-education students - at the possible expense of general-education youths vying for a spot at one of their preferred schools. In a report delivered to the Board of Education in September, independent auditors called the current system in which many special-education students are grouped in separate classrooms "outdated." Setting aside seats for special-education youths classified as "inclusion" students in certain grade levels is one way to improve the old system, according to Cecelia Dodge, assistant superintendent for special education. The "inclusion" classification allows special-education students to participate in regular classroom settings and activities. Nearly 200 special-education students, out of the 7,000 in the district, are eligible for "inclusion" status in kindergarten and sixth and ninth grades. To read more, click here

Massachussetts State Report: Students Suffer from Poor Classroom Instruction

A new state report paints a troubling picture of the city's public schools, noting that many problems detailed in another scathing report three years ago still exist. The report, by an arm of the state Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, is especially critical of how students are being taught in the classroom. It says school leaders are doing a poor job using data to improve student achievement and classroom instruction, that teacher training is woefully inadequate and that parts of the district's math and science curriculums aren't in line with standards designed to prepare students for state testing. Many textbooks are old and outdated and technology is lagging, problems that have plagued the cash-strapped. To read more, click here

Did You Know That......

A Functional Behavioral Assessment (FBA) is a process of gathering information to understand the function (purpose) of behavior in order to write an effective Behavior Intervention Plan (BIP).

Weather Affects Children's Injury Rate

Every 5 degree Celsius rise in maximum temperature pushes up the rate of hospital admissions for serious injuries among children, reveals one of the largest studies of its kind published online in Emergency Medicine Journal. Conversely, each 5°C drop in the minimum daily temperature boosts adult admissions for serious injury by more than 3%, while snow prompts an 8% rise, the research shows. The authors base their findings on the patterns of hospital treatment for both adults and children in 21 emergency care units across England, belonging to the Trauma Audit and research Network (TARN), between 1996 and 2006. To read more, click here

New Jersey Reports that Curriculum for Autism Differs

In New Jersey, one in every 94 children has an autism spectrum disorder, the highest incidence rate among the 16 states surveyed by the federal government. Among New Jersey boys, the rate is one in 70, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta. The phenomenon is one of the greatest challenges facing New Jersey's special-education system today. Not only because of the sheer number of autistic students -- which has more than doubled in the past decade, to nearly 12,000 -- but also because of the very nature of autism. Autism is a complex biological condition that, to varying degrees, affects a child's ability to communicate and develop social relationship skills that are at the core of the educational process. That means that students with autism often must be taught in a completely different way. Yet as many parents soon discover, New Jersey has no uniform curriculum standards for autism programs or any special training requirements for teachers. To read more, click here

In Texas, 8th Grade Retention Rate the Same As Before Passage of Education Law

An education law that was designed to cause more eighth-graders who can't pass the TAKS test to be held back is actually having little impact on the percentage of students who are flunking. Although the retention rate for eighth-graders jumped the first year they were required to pass the TAKS (Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills) to be promoted to high school, the rate has now dropped back to what it was before the tough new standard was implemented to help stamp out social promotion in middle schools, new data from the Texas Education Agency shows. The percentage of students retained for the 2009-10 school year - 1.5 percent of all eighth-graders - was identical to the figure from two years earlier when there was no state requirement for those students to pass the TAKS. In the first year of the testing mandate, nearly 2 percent - 6,323 pupils - were held back in the fall of 2008. To read more, click here

One Step at a Time: How to Toilet Train Children with Learning Difficulties

Toilet training children with learning difficulties can present challenges and requires careful assessment and management. The decision to start toilet training a child with a learning difficulty should take into account not only the parents' expectations of how independent the child will be in terms of toileting, but also the child's physiological development in terms of maturing bladder and bowel so that a realistic time scale for toilet training can be implemented. This article examines strategies for toilet training using a five step approach to achieve bladder and bowel control. 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</font>

Helping Non-Verbal Children Communicate

Some U.S. students are getting hands-on experience helping non-verbal children with autism, Rett syndrome, cerebral palsy and/or Down syndrome communicate. Students majoring in communication disorders at Baldwin-Wallace College in Berea, Ohio, participate in a program offering a summer camp that runs two days a week; and a 10-month program that meets once a week during the academic year. The children are functionally non-verbal with an average age of 7 or 8. "There is nothing like this program anywhere else in the country," Colleen F. Visconti, chairwoman of the communication program and director of the speech clinic, says in a statement. "Word is spreading and we have already been contacted by parents from across the country expressing interest." 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:
Gretchen van Bestouw
Christie Miller

who correctly identified the answer to last week's trivia question: According to controlled studies in research done of the effects of Ritalin on children with ADHD, what percentage of school-aged children with ADHD respond positively (e.g., reduction in hyperactivity, increased attention and time on task, increased academic productivity, and improvements in general conduct) to the stimulant medication, Ritalin? ANSWER: 70-75%


A manifest determination hearing must occur within how many school days after the date on which a decision was made to suspend or expel a student with a disability?

If you know the answer, send an email to contactus@naset.org
All answers must be submitted no later than Monday, December 6, 2010 at 12:00 p.m.

In Special Education System, Innovation Leading the Way

In California, 25,000 veteran special-education teachers are being sent back to school this year to learn the nuances of teaching students with autism. In Florida, Georgia and Utah, parents who are unhappy with their local public school's special-education program can use taxpayer-funded vouchers to send their disabled child to another public or private school they think can do a better job. In Kansas, researchers are developing sophisticated "learning maps" to give educators a more holistic view of what special-education students are actually learning. To read more, click here

Breast Feeding While Taking Seizure Drugs May Not Harm Child's IQ, Study Says

There's good news for women with epilepsy. Breastfeeding your baby while taking your seizure medication may have no harmful effect on your child's IQ later on, according to a study published in the November 24, 2010, online issue of Neurology®, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology.  "While more research is needed with larger numbers of women and their babies, these results are reassuring to women who want to give their babies all the benefits of breastfeeding but also need to remain on their epilepsy medications to avoid devastating seizures," said study author Kimford Meador, MD, of Emory University in Atlanta and a Fellow of the American Academy of Neurology (AAN). To read more, click here 

NASET Member Benefit - Group Savings Plus from Liberty MutuLiberty Mutual Savingsal

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When Seeing is Believing: Advocates of Vision Therapy

Nick Matteucci was in third grade when his teacher reported that he was slow learning to read and not writing well. The teacher suggested he might have an attention deficit disorder, but because his IQ was high and he was not yet behind grade level, the school was not ready to test him. His mother Sandra, a faculty member in the School of Engineering at Washington University, didn't think that the attention deficit diagnosis fit Nick. He could play the same game for hours, and he could answer any question about a story read aloud to him. In fact, after a particularly bad social studies quiz, she persuaded the teacher to read the questions to him -- and he showed dramatic improvement. So Sandra went to the Web and found the home page of the Center for Vision and Learning in Creve Coeur. On a hunch, she made an appointment for testing. Nick's vision was 20/20 and his eyes were healthy. He was able to focus correctly for a time, but when Gail Doell, a developmental optometrist, and her therapists observed his eye movements, they found that his eye moved well for a short time and then stopped scanning correctly. His eyes were experiencing extreme fatigue. The good news was that Nick's problem was amenable to vision therapy, according to Doell. To read more, click here

Did You Know That.....

A Behavior Intervention Plan (BIP) takes the observations made in a FBA and turns them into a concrete plan of action for managing a student's behavior.

TSA: Pat-Downs a Must for Some Individuals with Disabilities

In an open letter to members of the disability community, a top Transportation Security Administration official says that some people with disabilities will be required to undergo "alternate screening techniques including pat-downs." The letter sent Monday was designed to clarify airport screening techniques ahead of the Thanksgiving travel rush. It comes as more airports shift their screening procedures from metal detectors to full-body scanners. Those who opt out of the machines or who trigger alarms are subject to intense pat-downs, which have been sharply criticized by some passengers who claim that they are too invasive. To read more, click here

Office of Civil Rights (OCR): No Rights Violated in Early Childhood Special Education Case

A plan to move preschool students with disabilities into a new center isn't discriminatory and doesn't violate their rights. That was the ruling released Monday by the U.S. Department of Education's Office of Civil Rights. A complaint filed by a local parent alleged that a new Early Childhood Special Education Center, expected to open in January, would segregate preschool students with special needs and limit their interaction with nondisabled peers. Springfield school officials countered that the center would meet the growing demand for early childhood special education services and address the lack of space and condition of existing classrooms.To read more, click here

Did You Know That....

Writing a FBA and BIP are essential steps when addressing concerns of a student with disability who has been recently suspended from school.

Group Teaches Scuba Divers with Disabilities

Scuba diving is the only activity in the world that has zero gravity. And the enjoyment of that zero gravity gives people with various physical disabilities a special freedom. Jim Elliott has been working with divers with disabilities since 1997. "There's a very, very short learning curve in scuba diving with for people with disabilities and without disabilities," said Elliot. In 2001, he started a organization called Diveheart. "Diveheart is a non profit whose mission is to build confidence and independence in children, adults and veterans with disabilities through the activity of scuba diving," said Elliot. "We serve all disabilities. Kids with autism and Down syndrome, the vets coming back with traumatic brain injuries, amputations it doesn't matter. The only thing that keeps you from diving is pressure related illnesses, open wounds and people with seizures can't go deep." To read more, click here

Special Hockey Opens Doors for Players with Disabilities

Minutes after completing the first hockey game of his life, 10-year-old Vincent Saturn entered the locker room and started bouncing. He ran toward anybody willing to listen, dressed in full New York Raptors regalia, and twirled around. "Look, this is my new number," he chortled, stretching his fingers behind his head to reach the giant No. 55 draped across his back. "I'm the new player." As Vincent talked and laughed, his father, Todd Saturn of Mahopac, watched with a look of unbridled bliss across his face. The notion of his son playing competitive hockey once seemed ludicrous. Nobody with special needs like Vincent could. But thanks to the Raptors and the sport of Special Hockey, Saturn discovered just how much Vincent could do. The Raptors, a local Special Hockey team, hosted their annual Thanksgiving tournament Saturday night at Hommocks Ice Rink. Three other clubs - the New Jersey Dare Devils, the Albany Cougars and the Long Island Blues - also participated. They gathered to play Special Hockey, a modified version of ice hockey designed for athletes with cognitive and developmental disabilities. For many families, Special Hockey made sports a reality for the first time. To read more, click here

Late-Preterm Babies At Greater Risks for Problems Later in Childhood

Late-preterm babies -- those born between 34 and 36 weeks -- are at an increased risk for cognitive and emotional problems, regardless of maternal IQ or demographics, according to new research published by Michigan State University researchers in the current edition of the journal Pediatrics.  While late-preterm births (full-term pregnancies last at least 37 weeks) have been associated with such problems before, the study represents one of the most rigorous looks at the issue by accounting for other potential causes, said the study's lead author, Nicole Talge, a postdoctoral research associate in MSU's Department of Epidemiology. To read more, click here

Food for Thought........

Education is the power to think clearly, the power to act well in the world's work, and the power to appreciate life.

                                                                Brigham Young

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