Week in Review - December 31, 2010


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 and a very ahppy New Year.

NASET News Team

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New This Week on NASET

NASET Q & A Corner 

Questions and Answers on No Child Left Behind and Accountability

Reports on individual schools are part of the annual district report cards, also known as local report cards. Each school district must prepare and disseminate annual local report cards that include information on how students in the district and in each school performed on state assessments. The report cards must state student performance in terms of three levels: basic, proficient and advanced. Achievement data must be disaggregated, or broken out, by student subgroups according to: race, ethnicity, gender, English language proficiency, migrant status, disability status and low-income status. The report cards must also tell which schools have been identified as needing improvement, corrective action or restructuring. Obviously, these report cards are now very important for administrators, educators and parents.  The focus of this issue of the NASET Q & A Corner is to focus on accountability issues under No Child Left Behind.

 To read or download this issue - Click here    

Resolving Disputes with Parents Series

The Resolution Process

The resolution process became part of IDEA in 2004! IDEA now requires that school systems convene a resolution meeting within 15 days of receiving notice that a parent has filed a due process complaint and before the school system initiates the due process hearing. The purpose of the resolution meeting is for parents to discuss their due process complaint and the facts that form the basis of that complaint, so that the school system has the opportunity to resolve the dispute without holding a due process hearing. This issue of the Resolving Disputes with Parents Series summarizes the resolution process. 

To read or download this issue - Click here 

NASET Special Educator e-Journal

January 2011

In this Issue: 

  • Update from the U.S. Department Education
  • Intersection: Navigating the Road to Work
  • Calls to Participate
  •  Special Education Resources & Update From The National Dissemination Center for Children with Disabilities
  • Latest Employment Opportunities Posted on NASET
  • Funding Forecast and Award Opportunities 

To read or download this issue - Click here  

Quick Links To NASET

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Choir Emphasizes Teens' Abilities to Sing

A slight boy with glasses, Chris Choe walked to the front of the choir room and raised his hand to signal for attention. The 16-year-old junior needed silence and support to rehearse the lines he would repeat in a week before an auditorium packed with students at New Trier Township High School. For him, it wasn't just about nerves. Choe has Noonan syndrome, a genetic disorder that can complicate speech and vocal articulation, among other symptoms. Introducing himself in a loud, clear voice to hundreds of his peers would be a challenge, but Choe knew he could rely for support on the High Five Choir, where students with special needs perform alongside general music students. To read more, click here

Attention Issues for Children with Tourette's Syndrome Likely Caused By Co-Occurring ADHD

Co-occurring attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) may be at the root of attention problems in children with Tourette syndrome (TS), according to NIMH-funded researchers. Their findings also support the theory that children with TS develop different patterns of brain activity in order to function at the same level as children without TS. The study was published in the November 2010 issue of the Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry. Tourette syndrome is a chronic neurological disorder associated with repetitive, involuntary movements and vocalizations called tics. Many with TS also experience neurobehavioral problems such as inattention, hyperactivity, and impulsivity-symptoms that overlap with ADHD. In fact, researchers estimate that between 50-90 percent of youth with TS also have ADHD. To explore the role of co-occurring ADHD in TS, Denis Sukhodolsky, Ph.D., of the Yale Child Study Center, and colleagues studied 236 children.  To read more, click here

MA Congressman Asks for Hearing on SSI Benefits for Children

US Representative Richard E. Neal called yesterday for a congressional hearing on whether low-income children are being overprescribed drugs so that their families can qualify for federal disability payments.  Neal, a Springfield Democrat, said his concern was raised by a three-part Globe series this week showing how the Supplemental Security Income program has changed from a federal initiative conceived to help poor children with severe physical disabilities to one that pays families of children with relatively common mental, learning, and behavioral disorders such as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. The Globe found that the program has created an incentive for poor families to seek prescription drugs to prove the severity of the child's behavioral or mental condition. The series also showed that teenagers on SSI had little incentive to work, because doing so could jeopardize their benefits. Qualifying families receive up to $700 a month, money that may be used to meet a range of household expenses. To read more, click here

For NYS Governor David Paterson's Parents, the Choice was Independence Over Special Education

It is a quandary that parents of children with disabilities grapple with early and often: What is the right balance between teaching them self-sufficiency and making sure they have the special accommodations they need? As Gov. David A. Paterson has discovered, the way parents answer these questions has a tremendous impact on how disabled children fare in the adult world. Mr. Paterson, in recent interviews, has expressed worry about leaving the governor's office and learning to live on his own again, after years of relying on others for a variety of tasks, like guiding him up stairs and reading his mail. He never learned to read Braille, as about 50 percent of blind children did at the time he was growing up. Instead, he used what little sight he had in his right eye to read with high-powered glasses, attending regular classes in a public school. To read more,click here

Did You Know That......

Although most educators refer to students as having "physical disabilities", under the federal law (IDEA), this disability category is called "orthopedic impairments".

Early Intervention Critical for Autism Care

John Mattan is a child like many others. He enjoys playing with his little sister, Molly. He even drew a picture of the two of them holding hands with a caption that read, "John and Molly BFFs." But John also has a disease that is becoming increasingly diagnosed - autism. John, 6, is a testament to the importance of early intervention in the treatment of children with autism. At 2, John could barely talk and at 3 he could speak only a few words at a time, but by the age of 5 he was able to communicate fluently and read a grade level ahead. "He has just done an excellent job," said his speech therapist, Martha Colgan-Reis, who has worked with John in the M-R schools since preschool. "He has improved by leaps and bounds." To read more, click here

Children's ADHD and Cognitive Problems Not Linked to Obese Moms-to-Be

Previous research has suggested that moms who are overweight or obese before they get pregnant are at risk for having offspring with behavioral such as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and cognitive problems, but a new study shows this is not the case.

The new findings appear in Pediatrics. Researchers analyzed two European pregnancy study groups comprising about 7,500 parents and children, and found no consistent link between pre-pregnancy maternal overweight and nonverbal skills, verbal skills, behavioral problems as a whole, hyperactivity, and attention issues in kids. There were some initial hints of an association between maternal pre-pregnancy weight and verbal skills, total behavioral problems, and externalizing problems such as aggression, delinquency, and hyperactivity, but this link was not substantiated between the two study groups. To read more, click here

Holidays Test Smoother Airport Security for Travelers with Disabilities

As holiday travelers submit to enhanced security measures at airports - sometimes begrudgingly - Marca Bristo empathizes but also thinks: Welcome to my world. "I say this tongue-in-cheek, but it sort of brought a new level of equality," said Bristo, of Chicago, who has used a wheelchair for a spinal-cord injury since 1977. "We have been going through pat-downs that are invasive forever." Treatment of individuals with disabilities at airport check-in lines has actually improved over past years, mostly because it is more consistent from one place to another, said Bristo, president of Access Living, a nonprofit advocacy group based in Chicago. To read more, click here

Does Playing Music Increase Cognitive Abilities in Children?

Dolls are still OK with 7-year-old Emma Culvahouse, but what she really wants for Christmas can't be found in a toy store. Emma has fallen in love with a violin -- the one she plays at school.

"She loves it so much," said her mother, Kim Culvahouse, "that she wants Santa Claus to bring her a violin so she can play it every day." Most kids who learn to play the violin typically wouldn't start lessons until they were in Grade 4 or 5. And in a small school like Attica Elementary, they wouldn't learn at all -- unless they could afford private lessons. Not much demand for that, though. Not in a town with 10 percent unemployment and about half the kids getting free or reduced-price lunches. But Emma and about 58 classmates are benefiting from an educational experiment and the charity of the tiny town's residents, who raised $40,000 to pay for three dozen violins and the salary of a qualified teacher. It's part of a program developed by Indiana University's music school to find out whether it's true that playing the violin can make you smarter. To read more, click here

Complementary Medicines May Be Dangerous for Children, Experts Say

Complementary medicines (CAM) can be dangerous for children and can even prove fatal, if substituted for conventional medicine, indicates an audit of kids' CAM treatment published online in the Archives of Disease in Childhood. But parents often misguidedly think CAM treatments are better for their children because they are "natural" and therefore less likely to have harmful side effects, say the authors. They base their findings on monthly reporting of adverse events associated with CAM to the Australian Paediatric Surveillance Unit between 2001 and 2003.

During this period, 46 instances of adverse events associated with complementary medicine treatment -- including 4 deaths -- were reported. But only 40 questionnaires were completed, and one of these was a duplicate, leaving 39 cases. 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: 

Barbara Heckelmann, Chaya Tabor, Gretchen van Besouw, Moon K. Chang, Debbie Innerarity, Catherine Cardenas, Betsy Mandel, Shan Ring, Rajasri Govindaraju, Christie Miller, Melinda Dinsmore, & Shilpa Sanghavi  who correctly identified the answer to last week's trivia question: Who coined the term "autism" and in what year did he do so? The term "autism" was first coined by Swiss psychiatrist Paul Eugen Bleuler in 1912.


When literally translated, what neurological disorder means "paralysis of the brain"? 
If you know the answer, send an email to contactus@naset.org 
All answers must be submitted no later than Monday, January 3, 2011 at 12:00 p.m.


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Brave Swimmers in Scotland Make a Splash for Charity

Brave members of the public stripped off lat week and ran into the freezing North Sea for charity. Dozens of people turned out at Aberdeen dressed in costumes to make the plunge despite freezing temperatures and a snow-covered promenade. The event, organized by Aberdeen Lions Club, attracted 170 participants last year, raising money for local causes.  Inspire, a charity providing support to hundreds of individuals throughout the north-east with learning disabilities and additional support needs, entered a large team into the annual Nippy Dipper Dip this year. To read more, click here

New Louisiana Hotline Will Help Parents of Children with Disabilities

About 86,000 students, or 12 percent, in Louisiana, receive special education services, and families of students with special needs frequently require support to understand how to access services. The Louisiana Department of Education has launched a toll-free hotline specifically to provide information on special education. Callers to the Special Education Hotline will be able to ask questions and learn about resources available to them, as well as seek assistance in accessing support from agencies overseeing services in their communities. "While the department has always been available to provide families with support and advocacy regarding special education, the establishment of this hotline will provide families with clear direction on where to seek guidance and assistance," Paul Pastorek, state superintendent of education, said. To read more, click here

Florida Teachers Give Higher Grade to Merit Pay

The teacher pay debate that rocked Tallahassee last spring is back. Already, legislation is being drafted that would overhaul the way teachers are evaluated and paid, and do away with tenure. But unlike its predecessor, which led to student sit-ins and teacher sick-outs, this bill is finding widespread support from educators and lawmakers on both sides of the aisle. Even the teachers' unions are willing to consider it. ``We're open to looking at paying teachers differently,'' said Andy Ford, president of the Florida Education Association.``It's really about how you develop the plan.'' To read more, click here

Did You Know That......

Although most educators refer to students as having "emotional and behavioral disorders", under the federal law (IDEA), this disability category is called "emotional disturbance".

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 Educationestablishes a much needed standard for professionals, across disciplines, who work with exceptional children.   For more information on Board Certification in Special Education, click here

California on Possible Verge of Special Education Teacher Shortage

A teacher is the single most important factor in a child's academic success, yet California may be on the brink of another teacher shortage, according to a new study. Thousands of teachers have been laid off in the midst of California's budget crisis and baby boomer teachers are reaching retirement age. But the pool of prospective teachers in training has dropped nearly in half over the past seven years, according to a study released by the Center for the Future of Teaching and Learning. "The writing's been on the wall the last three or four years that we're heading into another teacher shortage," said Mauricio Arellano, assistant superintendent of human resources at the Palm Springs Unified School District. "It's hitting us now, already," particularly in difficult to fill positions such as math, science and special education classes, he said. To read more, click here

Did You Know That......

Although most educators refer to students as having "autism spectrum disorders", under the federal law (IDEA), this disability category is called "autism".

NYC Education Department's Special Education Help Goes Mostly to City's Rich

The city Department of Education spent $140 million last year on private school tuition for more than 3,000 special-education pupils - most of them from the city's wealthiest neighborhoods.

Such tuition payments for children with dyslexia, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and autism have increased fourfold since 2005, school officials say, and the cost could approach $200 million by next year. Taxpayers support up to 80% of pupils at some private schools, where headmasters pull down huge salaries. Meanwhile, children of low-income and working-class parents remain stuck in underfunded and sometimes chaotic special-education programs in regular public schools. To read more, click here

Program Helps College Students with Developmental Disabilities Succeed

As a child, Megan McCormick of Lexington was told by her parents that her Down syndrome meant she would "have to work much harder" than those without disabilities to achieve what she wanted. Her parents, James and Malkanthie McCormick, both physicians, never treated her any differently than her five older brothers and sisters though, a fact she credits with helping her graduate high school in 2007 with a 3.75 grade point average, and give her the confidence to enroll in Bluegrass Community and Technical College in Lexington. "It's hard, but I'm pushing on," said the 22-year-old, who so far is earning As and Bs, and is focused on becoming a certified occupational therapy assistant. McCormick said her success is due in part to a program run by the University of Kentucky's Human Development Institute called the Postsecondary Inclusion Partnership. The program provides support for individuals with intellectual and related developmental disabilities to attend regular college classes at postsecondary institutions around the state. Those disabilities can range from Down syndrome to autism, and also can include individuals who have experienced brain injuries. To read more, click here

Food for Thought........

There are two primary choices in life: to accept conditions as they exist, or accept the responsibility for changing them.

                                                                     Denis Waitley

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