Week in Review - February 12, 2010


New NASET Publications and Articles of Interest in Special Education and Disability Awareness 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 fields of special education and disability awareness.  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

Parent Teacher Conference Handout 

What is Inclusion?

Many times  children in special education may change their placement to an inclusion classroom. Consequently, parents may ask many questions about this arrangement. To reduce anxiety on the part of parents we should provide as much practical information as possible. This Parent Teacher Conference Handout provides information to parents on certain facts about inclusion. 
To read of download this issue - Click Here   (login required)

Classroom Managememt Series

Series IV - Part #16

Initiating Compliments

The purpose of this Classroom Management Series is to provide information on how to avert negative behaviors that student exhibit for attention.
To read or download this issue - Click Here  (login required)

Quick Links To NASET

President Obama Proposes Eliminating the Only Federal Program for Gifted Education

One would think President Obama of all people would value gifted education, considering he has two young children and he and his wife are certainly of above average intelligence. So, why is the President proposing the elimination of the only federal program dedicated to the needs of our gifted students? According to a February 2 press release, issued by The National Association for Gifted Children (NAGC), President Obama's 2011 budget will increase educational spending overall by 6% but will remove the 22-year-old program for gifted education research and development. The Jacob Javits Gifted and Talented Students Education Program will be consolidated with other programs which do not address gifted education. The Javits program was passed by Congress in 1988 and supports high-ability learners from under-represented populations (disabled or economically challenged, minorities, or those who have limited English proficiency). To read more, click here

Use of Acetaminophen in Pregnancy Associated With Increased Asthma Symptoms in Children

Children who were exposed to acetaminophen prenatally were more likely to have asthma symptoms at age five in a study of 300 African-American and Dominican Republic children living in New York City. Building on prior research showing an association between both prenatal and postnatal acetaminophen and asthma, this is the first study to demonstrate a direct link between asthma and an ability to detoxify foreign substances in the body. The findings were published this week in the journal Thorax. The study, conducted by the Columbia Center for Children's Environmental Health at Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health, found that the relationship was stronger in children with a variant of a gene, glutathione S transferase, involved in detoxification of foreign substances. The variant is common among African-American and Hispanic populations. The results suggest that less efficient detoxification is a mechanism in the association between acetaminophen and asthma. To read more, click here

NASET Sponsor - Empowering Educators 


For more information - Click Here

Genes May Influence Preterm Births

Researchers say they've discovered genetic traits in mothers and fetuses that appear to boost the risk of premature labor and delivery. The traits are found in genes that regulate inflammation -- the immune system's response to invaders -- and the material that holds cells within tissues. "A substantial body of scientific evidence indicates that inflammatory hormones may play a significant role in the labor process," Dr. Alan E. Guttmacher, acting director of the U.S. National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, said in an agency news release. "The current findings add evidence that individual genetic variation in that response may account for why preterm labor occurs in some pregnancies and not in others." To read more, click here

Scientists Discover Alterations in Brain's Reward System Related to Attention-Deficit/hyperactivity Disorder

Until now, attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) was related to alterations in the brain affecting attention and cognitive processes. Researchers at Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona and the Vall d'Hebron University Hospital have now discovered anomalies in the brain's reward system related to the neural circuits of motivation and gratification. In children with ADHD, the degree of motivation when carrying out an activity is related to the immediacy with which the objectives of the activity are met. This would explain why their attention and hyperactivity levels differ depending on the tasks being carried out. Susanna Carmona, researcher at the Cognitive Neuroscience Unit of the UAB Department of Psychiatry and Legal Medicine (URNC-IAPS-Hospital del Mar), has worked in collaboration with clinical researchers of the Vall d'Hebron University Hospital on the first research which relates the structure of the brain's reward system, the ventral striatum, with clinical symptoms in children suffering from ADHD. To read more, click here

NASET Member Benefit - Group Savings Plus  from Liberty Mutual 

Liberty Mutual Savings

As a member of NASETyou qualify for a special group discount* on your auto, home, and renter's insurance through Group Savings Plus® from Liberty Mutual. This unique program allows you to purchase high-quality auto, home and renters insurance at low group rates.
See for yourself how much money you could save with Liberty Mutual compared to your current insurance provider. For a free, no-obligation quote, call 800-524-9400 or visit www.libertymutual.com/naset, or visit your local sales office.
* Group discounts, other discounts, and credits are available where state laws and regulations allow, and may vary by state.  Certain discounts apply to specific coverage only.  To the extent permitted by law, applicants are individually underwritten; not all applicants may qualify.  Coverage provided and underwritten by Liberty Mutual Insurance Company and its affiliates, 175 Berkeley Street, Boston, MA.

Autism and Asperger Syndrome Underdiagnosed in Women, Researchers Say

Autism and related conditions are being underdiagnosed in women and teenage girls, with many cases being confused with eating disorders or other problems, researchers say. With symptoms such as social isolation, communication difficulties or a fanatical interest in categorising objects or obscure mathematical problems, autism has previously been seen as a male preserve. Up to 80 per cent of diagnosed cases of autism are in boys, with the proportion rising to an estimated 15 male cases for every female with Asperger syndrome, a milder form of the condition. However, researchers due to speak at Britain's first academic conference on the issue will suggest that many more girls are on the autistic spectrum than previously thought, with doctors and parents failing to notice or misinterpreting the telltale signs. To read more, click here

Concerns Raised About Unsubstantiated Use of Antipsychotics in Children

Second-generation antipsychotics (SGAs) are frequently prescribed for children and adolescents for a nebulous range of indications that are not approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and not supported by research evidence. In the Arkansas Medicaid program, the number of patients under age 18 who were put on SGAs for the first time more than doubled from 1,482 in 2001 to 3,110 in 2005, according to a study in the February Psychiatric Services. The most common diagnosis that these patients received was attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), followed by depression, conduct disorder, oppositional defiant disorder, and adjustment reactions disorder. The first SGA approved by the FDA for pediatric use was risperidone for irritability associated with autistic disorder, with approval granted in October 2006. Thus, all the SGA prescriptions for nonadult patients during the study period were for off-label use. To date, some but not all SGAs have been approved for pediatric use, but only for the acute treatment of schizophrenia, manic or mixed episode of bipolar I disorder, or autism-related irritability. To read more, click here

Genes of Pregnant Women and Their Fetuses Can Increase Risk of Preterm Labor

New evidence that genetics play a significant role in some premature births may help explain why a woman can do everything right and still give birth too soon. Researchers at the National Institutes of Health have identified DNA variants in mothers and fetuses that appear to increase the risk for preterm labor and delivery. The DNA variants were in genes involved in the regulation of inflammation and of the extracellular matrix, the mesh-like material that holds cells within tissues. "A substantial body of scientific evidence indicates that inflammatory hormones may play a significant role in the labor process," said Alan E. Guttmacher, M.D., acting director of the NIH's Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD). "The current findings add evidence that individual genetic variation in that response may account for why preterm labor occurs in some pregnancies and not in others." To read more, click here

White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel Takes Pledge Not to Use R-Word

White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel took the online pledge to end the use of the R-word. Emanuel apologized to Tim Shriver, the CEO of the Special Olympics after the Wall Street Journal reported the fiery Chicagoan privately called a group of liberal activists "f---ing retarded."Last August, Emanuel "showed up at a weekly strategy session featuring liberal groups and White House aides," the Journal's Peter Wallsten reported last Tuesday."Some attendees said they were planning to air ads attacking conservative Democrats who were balking at Mr. Obama's health-care overhaul. 'F-ing retarded,' Mr. Emanuel scolded the group, according to several participants. He warned them not to alienate lawmakers whose votes would be needed on health care and other top legislative items." To read more, click here

New Data Shows More People With Disabilities Out Of Work

The unemployment rate among people with disabilities climbed back up in January after a two month decline, the Labor Department reported Friday. Last month, unemployment reached 15.2 percent, up from 13.8 percent in December among Americans with disabilities. In comparison, unemployment also grew among the rest of the population, but not nearly as high. In January, unemployment reached 10.4 percent versus a rate of 9.5 percent in December for the general population. Variances in seasonal work opportunities could play a role in the changing employment landscape since these numbers are not seasonally adjusted. Typically researchers need several years worth of data to calculate seasonally adjusted employment rates. To read more, click here

Parents of Deaf Children Emphasize Importance of ASL

Parents of deaf children are trying to educate lawmakers and teachers on the value of teaching children more than one language, especially American Sign Language. The Deaf Bilingual Coalition says teachers often don't have the background they need in American Sign Language to educate deaf children. And they say a lot of parents are misinformed about what they should do to help their deaf children. They say parents are often looking for a quick fix like cochlear implants, or they put pressure on their children to learn how to speak without hearing. Thursday, the Alaska Deaf Council talked about the importance of teaching both sign and English, to help deaf children easily communicate and find a sense of identity. To read more, click here

Opinion: Politicians Should Pay Attention to Special Needs

For too many years in this country and especially in Illinois, politicians have not paid attention to and have many times ignored the issue of funding and providing adequate services for an exploding population of special needs children and their families in Illinois. Being a father of a special needs boy, my wife and I have experienced first hand the lack of help and compassion from federal and state agencies and politicians in Illinois. Every year I update my son's eligibility for benefits and have been told by state workers that my family would have a greater chance of winning the lottery, than receiving help from the state to deal with my son's autism. Because of programs that are overflowing with people in need and lack of funding support from state and federal politicians, Illinois is 51st in the nation, behind every state including Washington DC . The condition of programs for special needs is pathetic to families like myself with a with a special needs child. If President Obama is promoting the Race to the Top Program to improve education in this country, where are the plans to improve special education in every school district in Illinois and this country? 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 and our partnership with the Association of American Educators (AAE), click here

Federal Judge Orders the National Conference of Bar Examiners to Provide Individualized Testing Accommodations to Blind Law School Graduate

A federal court has ruled that the National Conference of Bar Examiners (NCBE) will cause a blind law school graduate irreparable harm unless it provides her the technology-based testing accommodations she needs to take two exams required to become a member of the State Bar of California.  The court issued its ruling in an order granting the law school graduate's motion for preliminary injunction on Thursday, February 4, 2010.  The court's ruling allows the plaintiff, Stephanie Enyart, to take the February 2010 Multistate Bar Examination (MBE) and March 2010 Multistate Professional Responsibility Examination (MPRE) on a laptop computer equipped with the assistive technology software Ms. Enyart relies upon for screen reading (JAWS) and screen magnification (ZoomText). Dr. Marc Maurer, President of the National Federation of the Blind, said: "The National Federation of the Blind is extremely pleased with the ruling in this case.  Law and equity simply do not permit the NCBE to dictate a one-size-fits-all solution for all bar candidates with disabilities.  We hope that this ruling will cause the NCBE to think long and hard before it denies the requested accommodations of applicants to take its examinations." To read more, click here

Concussion Awareness for Young Athletes Gets Big Play

Efforts to improve treatment of concussions in youth sports are making headway on several fronts: Washington state's new laws governing head injuries in scholastic sports will get big play Sunday at Super Bowl XLIV, and Texas researchers report that an online test can help athletic trainers and doctors determine when it's safe for an athlete to return to the field after a concussion. "Players often return to the field before they should, thinking they just got their 'bell rung' and that everything will be fine," Dr. Damond Blueitt, a primary care and sports medicine physician at Texas Health Harris Methodist Hospital Fort Worth, said in a news release. To read more, click here

Man Denied Hotel Room For Bringing Guide Dog

A blind man claims he was denied a room at the Clarksville Microtel Inn and Suites for trying to bring his guide dog in, too. It appears to be a violation of the federal Americans With Disabilities Act, passed in 1990. Michael Turner, 37, a Clarksville native currently studying in Boulder, CO, said the hotel clerk called 911 on him August 10, 2009. Turner also called police since the hotel staff, in his words, was violating his civil rights. The managing attorney at the Disability Law and Advocacy Center of Tennessee, Martha M. Lafferty, could not comment on the Turner case per se, but she was willing to talk in generalities. To read more, click here<

Ancient Human Teeth Show That Stress Early in Development Can Shorten Life Span

Ancient human teeth are telling secrets that may relate to modern-day health: Some stressful events that occurred early in development are linked to shorter life spans. "Prehistoric remains are providing strong, physical evidence that people who acquired tooth enamel defects while in the womb or early childhood tended to die earlier, even if they survived to adulthood," says Emory University anthropologist George Armelagos. Armelagos led a systematic review of defects in teeth enamel and early mortality recently published in Evolutionary Anthropology. The paper is the first summary of prehistoric evidence for the Barker hypothesis -- the idea that many adult diseases originate during fetal development and early childhood. 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</font> 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

Gifted Kids Let Down By System

For some of WA's 35,000 gifted children, their overlooked "gifts" have become a burden, forcing them to turn to misbehaviour or switch off from lessons. According to US child intelligence expert Deborah Ruf, the education system - particularly primary schools - is failing to get the most out of gifted children. Dr Ruf, who will be speaking at the University of WA this week, said schools spent more time focusing on struggling pupils. "The brightest children spend nearly the entirety of their school years being instructed far below their capacity to learn, with the result that we are losing them and what they could become." To read more, click here

School Restraint, Seclusion Bill Clears House Committee

A bill which would establish federal oversight of seclusion and restraint tactics used in schools is one step closer to becoming law. The House Education and Labor Committee voted Thursday to pass the bill known as the Preventing Harmful Restraint and Seclusion in Schools Act by a vote of 34 to 10. Now, the measure must be considered by the full House and it must be taken up in the Senate before it can become law. The legislation would prohibit any use of mechanical restraints and any method that restricts a student's breathing. Furthermore, use of any type of restraint or seclusion would only be allowed in schools when there is imminent danger and when administered by a trained staff member. To read more, click here

Food for Thought........

We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.

                                                                             Winston Churchill

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