Week in Review - July 2, 2010


NewNASETPublications 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.

NASETNews Team

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New This Week on NASET

Q & ACorner

Issue #28 - June 2010

IDEA and its implementing regulations continue to address transition services for children with disabilities. Transition services may be special education, if provided as specially designed instruction, or a related service, if required to assist a child with a disability to benefit from special education.  The term "transition services" means a coordinated set of activities for a child with a disability that: (a) is designed to be within a results-oriented process that is focused on improving the academic and functional achievement of the child with a disability to facilitate the child's movement from school to post-school activities, including postsecondary education, vocational education, integrated employment (including supported employment), continuing and adult education, adult services, independent living, and community participation; (b) is based on the individual child's needs, taking into account the child's strengths, preferences, and interests; and (c) includes instruction, related services, community experiences, the development of employment and other post-school adult living objectives, and, if appropriate, acquisition of daily living skills and functional vocational evaluation.  The focus of this issue of NASET's Q & A Corner is taken from the U.S. Department of Education and addresses questions on secondary transition for children with disabilities.

To read or download this issue - Click here


NASET Special Educator e-Journal

July 2010

In this issue:

  • Update from the U.S. Department Education

  • Update from the National Collaborative on Workforce and Disability (NCWD)

  • Calls to Participate

  • Update From The National Dissemination Center for Children with Disabilities

  • Latest Job Opportunites Posted on NASET

  • Special Education Resources

  • Upcoming Conferences, Workshops, and Events

  • Funding Forecast and Award Opportunities

  • Acknowledgements

To read or download this issue - Click here 
Questions and Answers on Secondary Transition

Quick Links To NASET

FDA Warns Lexington Maker of Product Used as Alternative Autism Treatment

A product developed by a retired University of Kentucky chemist and promoted to parents of children with autism is not a harmless dietary supplement, as claimed, but a toxic unapproved drug that lacks adequate warnings about potential side effects, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration says. Potential side effects of the product, targeted for use by children, include hair loss and abnormalities of the pancreas. The FDA sent Boyd Haley, the former UK chemist, a June 17 letter detailing five  violations of the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act related to his product, OSR#1. Failing to correct such violations can result in fines, seizure of products and criminal prosecution. The Chicago Tribune in January reported that the compound had been developed as an industrial chemical aimed at treating wastewater at sites such as acid mines and that it had not undergone rigorous testing to ensure it is safe and effective. The report was part of an investigation into risky, unproven autism therapies offered by health providers who say they can reverse the disorder. To read more, click here

On Long Island, More Students with Down Syndrome are Attending Public Schools

Increasingly, school districts across Long Island are keeping students with Down syndrome and other disabilities in regular schools - a shift from just a few years ago, when many more of those students would have been sent to special centers. Officials say the change has been brought about, in part, by a generation of parents and teachers who believe in "inclusive" education. At the same time, tightened federal disability laws demand that schools mainstream as many children as possible. In 2001-02, for example, 9.3 percent of all Long Island students with disabilities were in separate settings, meaning they were educated only with other students with disabilities, according to the state Department of Education. That number fell to 5.5 percent this academic year.  And that's indicative of a "growing trend" across the country, said Stephanie Smith Lee, senior policy adviser for the National Down Syndrome Society's Policy Center. "The whole key is to . . . lower the percentage in segregated settings and be in the least restrictive or more inclusive settings,"said Gary Bixhorn, chief operating officer of Eastern Suffolk BOCES. To read more, click here

Breast Milk Transmits Drugs and Medicines to the Baby

Give up smoking, do not drink more than three cups of coffee per day, do not take any kind of drug, or if you do, take it as long as possible before feeding your baby. These are some of the recommendations contained in a study produced by Spanish researchers on methods for detecting medicines and drugs in breast milk. The study shows that the risk from substances such as alcohol is still not well understood. There is great confusion among the scientific community about whether women who are drug abusers should breast feed their babies. In order to shed some light on this issue, scientists from various Spanish hospitals and research centres are reviewing the methods used to detect substances in breast milk, their adverse effects, and the recommendations that mothers should follow in this month's issue of the journal Analytical and Bioanalytical Chemistry.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:
Patty Arvin                Donna Yap              Peggy Woodall               
Paula Burdette   Catherine Cardenas     Norma Earle Williams    
Karen L. Riggs      Tina Theuerkauf         Rajasri Govindaraju        
Brian Merusi
who correctly identified the answer to last week's trivia question:
In 1982, the first case based on Public Law 94-142 reached the United States Supreme Court.  What was the name of this New York case that addressed the question of what defines a free "appropriate" education for students with disabilities? 
Hendrick Hudson District Board of Education v. Rowley
In 1963, who coined the term "Learning Disabilities" while giving a speech to a group that would become the Association for Children with Learning Disabilities (and, ultimately, the the Learning Disabilities Association of America, and of many other countries, too)?
If you know the answer, send an email to contactus@naset.org

NASET Member Benefit - Group Savings Plus from Liberty Mutual 

Liberty Mutual Savings

As a member of NASET you 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.

South Carolina Parents Protest Gifted Program

Gifted children learn better when they are in classes with only other gifted children, say some Berkeley County parents. They are members of a Facebook group concerned about changes to the Eagle Program for gifted and talented third- through fifth-graders. The group, "Keep Eagle Soaring All Day Berkeley County School District," has 201 members. Some schools place gifted students in classes with other gifted students all day, said Archie Franchini, chief academic officer for the Berkeley County School District. But for the 2010-11 school year, gifted third- through fifth-graders in all schools will have only math and English classes together. During the rest of the day, they will be dispersed into mainstream classes.  Cassie Farias, who has a son who will be part of the Eagle Program at College Park Elementary School in the fall, said she was disappointed when she learned from other parents that the program no longer would run all day.  "Gifted children learn differently than other children," she said. When they are in classes with other gifted children, "they can learn the material faster and in more depth." To read more, click here

There are Ways to Manage ADHD Symptoms on the Jobs

Daryl Wizelman was diagnosed at age 6 with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, also known as ADHD, when he couldn't concentrate in class and teachers considered him hyperactive. His pediatrician put him on medication, which he said was a "real life-changer." Fast forward a couple of decades. Wizelman starts his own company, but employees say he doesn't seem to listen to them, rushing through meetings and showing little interest in their ideas. Again, his ADHD has come into play, and he struggles to find ways to take a childhood disorder and make it fit into a working world that expects top performers to be focused and organized. More years pass. Wizelman now says he has learned to be more aware of the appropriate way to behave and even sees the positive aspects of his disorder. "It gives me a lot of empathy toward other people with whatever struggles they may be facing. It teaches you to treat others how you want to be treated," said Wizelman, a speaker and author from Calabasas, Calif. To read more, click here

Babies' First Bacteria Depend on Birthing Method, Says New Study

A new study indicates different delivery methods of newborn babies has a big effect on the types of microbial communities they harbor as they emerge into the world, findings with potential implications for the heath of infants as they grow and develop. The study, led by the University of Puerto Rico and involving the University of Colorado at Boulder and two Venezuelan institutes, showed that babies delivered vaginally had bacterial communities resembling their mother's vaginal bacteria, while Caesarian section newborns had common skin bacterial communities. Researchers believe many of the different microbial communities residing on humans -- each of which is personally unique -- may help protect individuals from various diseases.To read more, click here

Did You Know That......

More than ever before, students with disabilities are included in the high performance standards states establish and in the required testing they conduct. In fact, federal law mandates it.

Healthier Cafeteria Food, More Intense Gym Classes Lower Students' Diabetes Risk

Healthier cafeteria choices, longer and more intense periods of physical activity and robust in-school education programs can lower rates of obesity and other risk factors for type 2 diabetes, according to a national study called HEALTHY. The findings are being presented at the American Diabetes Association's 70th Scientific Sessions event in Orlando, Fla., and will appear online and in the June 29 issue of The New England Journal of Medicine. UC Irvine was among eight academic medical centers nationwide chosen to participate in the three-year effort, funded by the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive & Kidney Diseases, a branch of the National Institutes of Health, and the American Diabetes Association. "This is the first-ever study to show you can reduce obesity and other risks for type 2 diabetes in kids and do it in schools with at-risk, high-ethnic-minority populations," said pediatrics professor Dr. Dan M. Cooper, UCI's principal investigator for HEALTHY. "It emphasizes that schools can have a tremendous positive impact on a child's health." To read more, click here

Safety Concerns for Special-Education Students

In the summer of 2007, a student with an intellectual disorder arrived at her adult transition class, ready to be assessed for possible placement in a work program. However, half-way through the assessment she suddenly became lethargic and nonresponsive. Then, without warning, she passed out, nearly collapsing to the floor before the examiner caught her fall. The incident startled the special education providers and other students who were in the room. Luckily, the examiner - who had knowledge that the girl suffered from various conditions such as fainting and seizures - knew how to aid her during this moment while another teacher in the classroom called 911. While this incident was sudden and dramatic, it is not uncommon, especially for those who work with students with special needs. This incident also reveals the need for teachers, parents, and other special education providers the need to ensure a student's safety and well-being. To read more, click here

Bill Passed in New York to Make Insurers Pay for Autism Care

State lawmakers passed legislation this week that would require insurers to cover autism-related screenings, diagnoses and treatments. The move was a relief for parents of children with autism spectrum disorders, but was sure to increase insurance premiums across the board. The State Assembly passed the measure Monday night, a few weeks after it passed in the Senate. The measure passed unanimously in both houses. It now goes to Gov. David A. Paterson. New York would become the 22nd state in which insurers are required to cover autism-related treatments. 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......

Federal law (IDEA 2004) mandates that all students with disabilities participate in statewide and districtwide testing "with appropriate accommodations and alternate assessments where necessary and as indicated in their respective individualized education programs".

Blind Children Compete in Braille Challenge

Fingers fly over the raised dots, doing the work that eyes cannot. Eleven children in yellow T-shirts are reading one of three passages - "Rainy Day Fun," "Two Great Vacation Ideas" and "Velveteen Rabbit." Then they turn to their Perkins Braillers, which look like a manual typewriter with just nine keys, and stamp out answers to questions that test their reading comprehension. "I'm not very nervous," 9-year-old Ashlee Thao said before the 50-minute test began. "I got all of the nervousness out of my mind. Now I'm just very excited." Thao was among 60 blind students ages 6 to 19 who gathered at the Braille Institute of America in Los Angeles on Saturday for the 10th annual Braille Challenge, a competition aimed at drawing attention to the declining use of Braille and its importance to literacy in the blind community. To read more, click here

Forced to Hire From Within, Principals Balk

Amid all the recent talk of possible teacher layoffs, New York City's Department of Education is actually on a hiring spree, but hiring restrictions are making it difficult for principals to fill open jobs. "We found a fantastic science teacher," said Anna Hall, principal at the Bronx Academy of Letters, but she said she was prevented from taking on the applicant. Since May 2009, the department has restricted schools to hiring from an existing pool of teachers, except for certain areas, such as teachers who are trained in special education, speech and certain bilingual subjects. New schools can also hire external candidates for up to 40% of their vacancies in the first three years of their existence. While most of Bronx Academy's teacher openings are usually filled by this time of year, Ms. Hall's four postings are still open, and "it's not for lack of looking," she said. At a DOE job fair this week in the armory at the cavernous indoor track at 168th Street in Washington Heights, Ms. Hall noted that the number of teachers looking for jobs appeared to be a fraction of the number at earlier job fairs. To read more, click here

How Lead Exposure Damages the Brain: New Research Fills in the Picture

Effective brain function depends on the efficient signaling from one neuron to the next, a lightning-fast process that depends on a quick release of neurotransmitters at synapses. Exposure to lead during early childhood and even later in life has long been known to affect the release of these critical neurotransmitters. However, the precise mechanism by which lead ions (Pb2+) impair this process has remained unknown. A new study led by Tomás Guilarte, PhD, chair of Environmental Health Sciences at Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health, helps fill in the picture. Guilarte's study demonstrates that during the formation of synapses -- synaptogenesis -- exposure to lead alters the levels of several key proteins involved in neurotransmitter release. Specifically, it produces a loss of the proteins synaptophysin and synaptobrevin. It also increases the number of pre-synaptic contact sites, but these sites appear to be missing these key proteins. His work suggests that these changes are mediated by the inhibition of the N-methyl-D-aspartate receptor (NMDAR), disrupting the release of the trans-synaptic signaling neurotrophin, brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF).
To read more, click here

Website Rates Businesses' Service for Disabilities

Few restaurants or retail businesses can afford to shy away from nearly 20 percent of their potential customers, particularly in this economy. Yet consumers with physical or developmental disabilities -- who spend an estimated $175 billion a year -- aren't always served with respect or understanding. "A lot of businesses don't look at people with disabilities as a marketplace," said JJ Hanley, founder of jjslist, a website that rates how local businesses accommodate what is the fastest-growing minority in the country. "There is true value in making their workplaces flexible and respectful of people with disabilities." Since going live in March 2009, jjslist has published more than 1,000 reviews of 750 local businesses across more than 50 Chicago-area communities. Businesses rated by the site vary from the Joliet Wal-Mart to Homer's Ice Cream in Wilmette. Reviews are almost always written by people with disabilities and/or their family members and companions. To read more, click here

Travel Trainers Help People With Disabilities Gain Independence

Public transit services are helping people with disabilities become more independent by deploying trainers to teach individuals how to use fixed route buses rather than rely on door-to-door service. While public transportation providers offer special bus service designed for people with disabilities and other special needs, rides often must be arranged at least a day in advance, limiting the number of trips a person can take and hindering flexibility. Now, under a federal grant program, special travel trainers are helping adults with disabilities in cities across the country to overcome this hurdle by teaching individuals how to use their local fixed route bus system. In Ohio, a travel trainer recently helped Mary Ricketti learn to navigate the bus system. After 20 years relying on door-to-door service the woman with an intellectual disability says being able to use the bus stop right outside her front door will be liberating. To read more, click here

Colleges Will Need to Take a Broader View of Discrimination, Campus Lawyers Say

The nation's shifting racial demographics and the growing number of government regulations will force colleges to consider issues of discrimination more broadly than in the past, say higher-education legal experts from across the country who are meeting here this week. And those trends present a growing challenge to colleges as they seek to balance the shifting needs of students and society against the limited resources of their institutions, they say. Lawyers representing colleges and private practices that specialize in higher education are here for the annual conference of the National Association of College and University Attorneys, which is marking its 50th anniversary. That milestone places the association's founding just a few years after the U.S. Supreme Court's landmark 1954 decision, in Brown v. Board of Education, that required colleges and schools to desegregate. And since that ruling, the history of higher-education law has been inextricably linked to the nation's civil-rights movement, said Robert M. O'Neil, director of the Thomas Jefferson Center for the Protection of Free Expression in Charlottesville, Va. To read more, click here

Researchers Call for Support for Parents of Children With Disabilities 

Caring for a child with a disability can be challenging, but many of these challenges are due to a lack of necessary environmental supports, according to a study conducted by researchers at the Texas A&M University Center on Disability and Development. Results of the study, a part of a larger statewide needs assessment for families that have children with disabilities, is published in the current issue of Rehabilitation Psychology. Seven focus groups were conducted in Texas with 40 parents of children with disabilities, and data collected from these focus groups were coded into themes. "The qualitative data analysis yielded four significant themes that serve as barriers to positive parent wellbeing: access to information and services, financial barriers, school and community inclusion, and family support," notes Aaron Resch, the lead author of the article, whose expertise includes caregiver well-beings. To read more, click here

Did You Know That......

Approximately two-thirds of special education students have been afforded accommodations in statewide assessments, the most common being extended time, alternative setting, and/or read-aloud accommodations.

Psychotropic Medications Can Cause Birth Defects, Study Finds

A new study shows that use of psychotropic medications during pregnancy increase the probability of birth defects. Researchers at the University of Copenhagen have published an article that documents the serious side effects that can be associated with these types of medications. Between 1998 and 2007, psychotropic medications were associated with 429 adverse drug reactions in Danish children under the age of 17. Researchers from the University of Copenhagen's Faculty of Pharmaceutical Studies have published an article in the open access journal BMC Research Notes concluding that more than half of the 429 cases were serious and several involved birth defects, such as birth deformities and severe withdrawal syndromes. To read more, click here

North Carolina Lawmakers To Vote On Autism Insurance Bill

A Triad mom's fight for better health insurance coverage for children with autism could get a big push next week. Debroah Merchant's 10-year-old son Jordan has Autism Spectrum Disorder.  She pays the cost of his specialized treatment out of pocket at the tune of $15,000 a year. "We pay our insurance premiums every month thinking it'll be there to help us and it wasn't.  I spent months and hours at a time getting the bills and sending them into the insurance company and they rejected them," said Merchant. Merchant took her fight to the insurance company first. "He told me if there is a law that requires this to be paid, we will pay it.  But until then we will not." When that failed, Merchant teamed up with hundreds of other parents of children with autism to take their concerns to lawmakers. "Diabetes for children is covered. Any kind of disorder is covered. Autism is not covered and it's just not fair. And it's awful when it's your child." To read more, click here

Food for Thought........

If you're not careful, you can reach a point where you've made choices without thinking; without planning. You can end up not living the life you'd meant to. Maybe one you deserve, but not one you intended. Make sure you think, make sure you plan.
                                                   Scott Smith, from his book The Ruins

**Thanks go out to Ross Jones for submission of this quote to us.

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