Week in Review - July 23, 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.

NASETNews Team

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New This Week on NASET

Lesser Known Disabilities

July 2010    

Disorders in this issue:

  • Osteogenesis imperfecta (OI)-Brittle Bone Disease
  • Multiplex Developmental Disorder
  • Addison's Disease
To read or download this issue - Click here

Quick Links To NASET

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Autism Study: Baby's Babble May Contain Vital Clues

To a parent's ears, there's nothing more enchanting than the babble of a child learning to talk. Now research shows that those nonsense syllables could contain coded signals that a toddler has autism. In a study released today, scientists report that they have designed a computer program that can distinguish between the speech of normal children and those with autism. Even though the work is only a first stab at analyzing audio recordings for signs of autism, it can correctly identify more than 85 percent of children with and without autism. "We had no idea that this was possible," Kim Oller of the University of Memphis, head of the research team behind the study, told AOL News. "It's very surprising that you can use a totally objective system and get this much information so quickly." The finding could eventually help doctors diagnose autism early in a child's life. Early diagnosis is crucial, because the earlier autistic children start intensive therapy, the more they improve. To read more, click here

School Districts Slow to Tap into Federal Stimulus Funds for Special Education

Federal authorities are encouraging school districts to spend education stimulus money to save jobs and blunt the effects of statewide budget cuts, but districts have been slow to draw their share of the funds."We really hope that you'll do your best to see how these funds can help alleviate the layoffs and budget crises that your districts or states are facing," Maura Policelli, a senior adviser with the U.S. Department of Education, said in an online seminar, or webinar, last month. "That does require some courage, and it does involve the possible risk of investing in staff that you may not be able to retain in the 2011-12 school year," she said. Districts across the nation have been slow to tap stimulus money that is targeted for specific programs - particularly the money intended to bolster programs for students with disabilities or those who come from low-income households. To read more, click here>

New R.I. School Funding Formula Aims at Equity

For the first time in more than 15 years, Rhode Island has a statewide school funding formula that supporters say will more equitably dole out money to its public schools, though the new system has hardly settled the debate over how best to divvy up state aid for public education. The formula, approved by Rhode Island legislators and signed into law late last month by Republican Gov. Donald L. Carcieri, establishes a baseline funding amount for every student in the state. It also provides additional money-40 percent over the base-for every student who meets the poverty guidelines for the federal free- and reduced-price meals program. Rhode Island had been the only state in the nation without a statewide formula for distributing education aid. To read more, click here

Cerebral Bioelectricity Analysis Detects Epilepsy

A group of researchers from Universidad Carlos III de Madrid (UC3M) has presented a new algorithm that uses a new method to analyse the information obtained from electroencephalograms to detect neurodegenerative diseases, such as epilepsy, using the bioelectric signals of the brain. The research project is a joint effort among engineers and doctors from UC3M, the Clínica Universitaria de Navarra and Universidad Pública de Navarra. It began as a collaborative project designed to discover and interpret bioelectric phenomenon originating in the cerebral cortex. The objective of this research was to apply these studies to the analysis of different pathologies such as Parkinson's disease, Alzheimer or epilepsy. Electroencephalography was used as a means of obtaining cerebral signals. This technique uses electrodes placed on the surface of the scalp to perform a test that measures and records the electrical activity generated in the brain.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:
Rachel Dougherty            Heather Shyrer          Catherine Cardenas
Nancy Johnsen                 Karen Riggs               Amanda McClure
Gloria Ortiz                          Donna Yap                 Julio Torres
Olumide Akerele                Patrick Crandon

who correctly identified the answer to last week's trivia question:

In 1990, the Education for All Handicapped Children Act was renamed to the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). In this same year under IDEA, two new categories of disabilities were added.  What were the 2 new categories of disability added in 1990 under IDEA
ANSWER: Autism and Traumatic Brain Injury
Under the federal law (IDEA 2004), an initial IEP must be developed within how many calendar days of a determination that a child requires special education and related services?
If you know the answer, send an email to contactus@naset.org
All answers must be submitted no later than Monday, July 26, 2010 at 12:00 p.m.

NASET Member Benefit - Group Savings Plus from Liberty Mutual 

Liberty Mutual Savings

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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.

Family at Front of Autism Insurance Push Forced to Move Out of State

The Rohde family has spent years leading the fight to get autism covered by Oklahoma insurance companies, but they say they cannot afford to fight any longer. Oklahoma's autism coverage mandate effort is called Nick's Law. It's named after Wayne Rohde's son Nick. The Rohde family said the $40,000 per year they are forced to spend out of pocket on Nick's treatments have gotten to be too much. "We knew we were in trouble financially. We were selling off everything we have just to support what happens here. You don't have assets. You liquidate everything. We liquidated our retirement accounts," Rohde said. It's why the family will move to Minnesota by the end of July where the state is more autism friendly. To read more, click here

Attention Disorders Can Take a Toll on Marriage

Does your husband or wife constantly forget chores and lose track of the calendar? Do you sometimes feel that instead of living with a spouse, you're raising another child? Your marriage may be suffering from attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. An A.D.H.D. marriage? It may sound like a punch line, but the idea that attention problems can take a toll on adult relationships is getting more attention from mental health experts. In a marriage, the common symptoms of the disorder - distraction, disorganization, forgetfulness - can easily be misinterpreted as laziness, selfishness, and a lack of love and concern. Experts suggest that at least 4 percent of adults have the disorder, that as many as half of all children with A.D.H.D. do not fully outgrow it and continue to struggle with symptoms as adults, and that many adults with the disorder never received the diagnosis as children. To read more, click here

Study Notes Eating Issues in Children With ASD: Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders Choosy but have Similar Calorie Intake, Growth as Controls

Children with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) appear to have feeding-related issues starting in infancy, and eat a less-varied diet starting at a young age, although their growth and energy intake are not impaired compared with children without ASD, according to research published online July 19 in Pediatrics. Alan Emond, M.D., of the University of Bristol in the United Kingdom, and colleagues analyzed data from 79 children with ASD and 12,901 controls drawn from a longitudinal cohort study in which mothers enrolled during pregnancy. Data on the children's eating habits were collected at several points from 6 to 54 months of age. The researchers found that infants later diagnosed with ASD were more likely to be described by their mothers as "slow feeders" at 6 months. To read more, click here

Did You Know That.....

The age of onset of a visual impairment often affects a child's educational and emotional needs

Some Teachers Moving to Nevada Struggle with Licensing Process

Ira Madnikoff seemed to be just the kind of social studies teacher the Clark County School District was eager to hire. He came from Florida with four years' experience and a strong track record, and he had a law degree to boot. But when Madnikoff went to the Nevada Education Department's Las Vegas office in 2007 to see about getting a teaching license, he was in for a shock - in the eyes of the Silver State, he wasn't qualified. The Clark County principals who had expressed interest in bringing him on board were out of luck. When it comes to teacher licensing, Nevada offers reciprocity with many states, which means teachers who are in good standing can move and resume their careers, albeit with certain conditions. Nevada also has an "alternative route to licensure" program to encourage people who have a bachelor's degree to consider teaching. People can qualify in less time than it takes to follow the traditional college path of taking education classes, passing the requisite competency exams and completing an apprenticeship as a student teacher. To read more, click here

Of Bugs and Brains: Gut Bacteria Affect Multiple Sclerosis

Biologists at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) have demonstrated a connection between multiple sclerosis (MS) -- an autoimmune disorder that affects the brain and spinal cord -- and gut bacteria. The work -- led by Sarkis K. Mazmanian, an assistant professor of biology at Caltech, and postdoctoral scholar Yun Kyung Lee -- appears online the week of July 19-23 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Multiple sclerosis results from the progressive deterioration of the protective fatty myelin sheath surrounding nerve cells. The loss of myelin hinders nerve cells from communicating with one another, leading to a host of neurological symptoms including loss of sensation, muscle spasms and weakness, fatigue, and pain. Multiple sclerosis is estimated to affect about half a million people in the United States alone, with rates of diagnosis rapidly increasing. There is currently no cure for MS. 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.....

Visual impairment is a low incidence disability affecting fewere than 2 of every 1,000 children in he school-age population..

Dumbing Down? Think Tank Slams Costly Move to Common Core Curriculum

On Wednesday, the state's Board of Elementary and Secondary Education will vote on the standards, which could require schools to buy new books, teachers to learn new curriculum and MCAS tests to be rewritten - gutting the state's multibillion-dollar 1990s education reform, critics say. Education Commissioner Mitchell D. Chester on Friday said he's backing the standards, known as Common Core. Among the Pioneer "National Standards Still Don't Make the Grade" criticisms: The national English/Language Arts standards require the teaching of fewer literary works. They delay the grade in which kids learn to sound out words independent of context, pushing it back to fourth and fifth grade. They provide vague, overly technical guidelines for teachers. For example, Massachusetts standards call for students in grades 3 and 4 to "identify subject and verb agreement in a simple sentence." The national standards call for teachers to use "use modal auxiliaries to convey various conditions." To read more, click here

All Grown Up - And No Place to Go:  In England, Three Mothers Whose Children have Learning Difficulties Talk about the Challenges They Face

When your child has a learning disability, the official end of childhood is a clearly defined and very real watershed. Up until the age of 18, your son or daughter has been the responsibility of your local council's Children's Services department. You've probably had to fight for a proper diagnosis of your child's condition, then for a place at the right school and the appropriate benefits - but your child has, at least, been entitled to full-time education. 'At school, children are supported. Their week is structured, and you've got access to specialist services when you need them,' explains David Congdon of mental-health charity Mencap. But young people with learning disabilities don't stop needing care at 18. And from this age onwards, the responsibility switches to the local authority's Adult Social Services department - a dramatic shift. To read more, click here

Therapy Dog Helps Golden Gate Child with Autism

A 6-month-old golden retriever leaps out of the white sedan onto the gravel driveway. A few yards away, pasted on the front door of the Golden Gate Estates home, is a picture of a dog with a red heart drawn around it. "Welcome Falcon!" it states. Slowly, Kathy Lowers leads her 3-year-old son Nate toward the dog with the wagging tail. She puts her son's hand on Falcon's back and looks at Nate expectantly. Nate doesn't react. At first he appears the same as his siblings - Abraham, 11; Victoria, 9; Catalina, 7; Isabella, 5; and Maggie, his twin, who all squeal in delight and crowd around the dog. But when Nate was 2 1/2 he was diagnosed with a severe, regressive form of autism. Call his name, he does not turn around; toss him a ball, he does not try to catch it; ask him a question and he does not answer. PAWS for Love Assistance Dogs placed Falcon with Nate and his family July 9. The specially trained golden retriever was bred for five generations for his temperament and training abilities. Since the fall of 2008, the PAWS program, sponsored by the Humane Society Naples, has trained dogs to help people with developmental disabilities. To read more, click here

Inclusion Within Exclusion

Inclusion is the goal of every student with special needs placed in a public school setting. However, often "inclusion" consists of classrooms located in areas that are distant from other classrooms, sometimes even located in basements or annexes. Special education teachers may find themselves and their students isolated in a public school with little, if any, contact with other students and teachers. There are remedies for this exclusionary inclusion. Appearing on television with Susan Axelrod, wife of White House Chief of Staff, David Axelrod, to discuss epilepsy, Tim Shriver who is the national Special Olympics director offered a bit of wisdom about inclusion. "The only person who can make a 12-year old (with special needs) feel included is another 12-year old." Mr. Shiver further suggested that special education teachers become proactive and arrange for some of their students to visit other classes and talk to the students and teachers to eliminate their fears of interacting with students with disabilities. To read more, click here

Did You Know That......

Braille is still the primary means of literacy for students who are blind.

How Technology May Improve Treatment for Children With Brain Cancer

A study presented at the 52nd Annual Meeting of the American Association of Physicists in Medicine (AAPM) shows that children with brain tumors who undergo radiation therapy (the application of X-rays to kill cancerous cells and shrink tumors) may benefit from a technique known as "intensity modulated arc therapy" or IMAT. This technique relies upon new features on the latest generation of X-ray therapy equipment that allow X-ray sources to be continuously rotated in any direction around a patient during treatment, potentially increasing the number of directions that the beams come from.To read more, click here

Food for Thought........

Nothing gives one person so much advantage over another as to remain cool and unruffled under all circumstances.
                                                       Thomas Jefferson

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