Week in Review - June 11, 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

The Practical Teacher 

Applied Math Problems

Using Question-Answer Relationships (QARs) to Interpret Math Graphics

Students must be able to correctly interpret math graphics in order to correctly answer many applied math problems. Struggling learners in math often misread or misinterpret math graphics. Teachers need an instructional strategy to encourage students to be more savvy interpreters of graphics in applied math problems. One idea is to have them apply a reading comprehension strategy, Question-Answer Relationships (QARs) as a tool for analyzing math graphics. The focus of this issue of The Practical Teacher will be to explain how to use question-answer relationships (QARs) to Interpret Math graphics.
To read or download this issue - Click here

Quick Links To NASET

High Expectations Set For Special Education Under National Academic Standards

A final set of national academic standards released Wednesday by groups representing the nation's governors and state schools chiefs calls for students with disabilities to be "challenged to excel within the general curriculum." Known as the Common Core State Standards, members of the National Governors Association and the Council of Chief State School Officers collaborated to establish national guidelines for English and math instruction in kindergarten through twelfth grade. The final version unveiled this week reflects tweaks made in response to almost 10,000 public comments submitted after a draft plan was released in March. Each state will decide whether or not to adopt the recommendations, which are designed to establish high expectations that are uniform across the country and ensure students leave high school ready for college and careers. To read more, click here

Too Much Weight in Pregnancy May Lead to Future Heart Risks in Children, Study Finds

Researchers have uncovered evidence to show that piling on too many pounds in pregnancy may lead to future heart risks in the child. The new research from the University of Bristol's Children of the 90s project shows that women who put on more weight during pregnancy than recommended by the 2009 Institute of Medicine's guidelines had children who at the age of nine:
  • were 1 kg heavier than children of mothers who gained the recommended amount
  • had larger waists by 2 cm
  • had more body fat by 1 kg
  • had higher systolic blood pressure by 1 mmHg
  • had higher levels of inflammatory markers by 15 per cent
  • had lower levels of (good) HDL cholesterol by 0.03 mmol/l
To read more, click here

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 PlusĀ® 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.

Did You Know That.....

Generalized seizures are those involving the entire brain while parial seizures are those that involve only part of the brain

Lack of Skilled Birth Care Costs 2 Million Lives Each Year Worldwide, Study Estimates

A lack of skilled attendants at birth accounts for two million preventable maternal deaths, stillbirths and newborn deaths each year, according to the newly released Countdown to 2015 Decade Report (2000-2010). The report shows that nearly 50 percent of women in the 68 countries carefully tracked in the Countdown report -- most of which are in Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia -- still give birth without the aid of a trained midwife, nurse, doctor, or other skilled birth attendant. Only 10 of the 68 Countdown countries have increased the rate of skilled care at childbirth by at least 10 percent since 1990. Eleven countries made no progress, according Countdown to 2015, a global movement of academics, governments, UN agencies, foundations, health care associations and nongovernmental organizations formed in 2005 to track progress in reducing maternal and child deaths in the 68 countries where over 95 percent of these deaths occur. To read more, click here

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Robots Could Be Future Of Social Skills Therapy

As the number of children diagnosed with autism continues to rise, researchers are looking to robots to help children better understand how to relate to people. Developers at the University of Southern California are in the early phases of testing a robot called "Bandit" with young children who have autism. The rudimentary version of what researchers hope will be a dynamic tool for kids to learn social skills, is currently able to make expressions and move closer or farther from a child. A researcher in an adjoining room can listen in as the robot interacts with a child and instruct it to provide a speech response. So far results from early tests are mixed. Some children who have a history of struggling to interact with other people are drawn in by the robot, which researchers say is more predictable than a person could ever be. But other children are not the slightest bit interested in the electronic contraption. To read more, click here

More Choline for Pregnant, Nursing Women Could Reduce Down Syndrome Dysfunction, Guard Against Dementia

More choline during pregnancy and nursing could provide lasting cognitive and emotional benefits to individuals with Down syndrome and protect against neurodegenerative conditions such as Alzheimer's disease, suggests a new Cornell study of mice. The findings, published June 2 in Behavioral Neuroscience, could help lead to increasing the maternal dietary recommendations for choline (currently 450 milligrams a day during pregnancy, 550 milligrams for lactation), a nutrient found in egg yolks, liver, nuts and such vegetables as broccoli and cauliflower. "We found that supplementing the maternal diet with additional choline resulted in dramatic improvements in attention and some normalization of emotion regulation in a mouse model of Down syndrome," said lead author Barbara Strupp, professor of nutritional sciences and of psychology. The researchers also found evidence for "subtle, but statistically significant, improvement in learning ability in the non-Down syndrome littermates." To read more, click here

Principal's New Assignment: Fix Chicago Public Schools' Special Education Program

Longtime Chicago school principal Dick Smith has been given a mandate: take Chicago Public Schools' special education program, long subjected to withering criticism, and change it into a system focused on education and not simply compliance with federal laws, a system that responds rapidly and effectively to the needs of students and the concerns of parents. Smith was named the new head of CPS' Office of Specialized Services last week. His appointment came two months after the district promised a systemwide revamp in response to a series of Tribune stories highlighting widespread failures in the special education program. "This will be a shift for the Office of Specialized Services," said CPS superintendent Ron Huberman. "Previously, OSS didn't really have much accountability. It was the downtown system that would evaluate folks and send folks out, but it wasn't really an education-focused system, it was a compliance-based system. We're responsible for about 50,000 special needs kids, and what we're saying now is that we're focusing on pushing the needle forward." To read more, click here

With U.S. Stem Cell Treatments Limited, Patients Try Other Countries

Disillusioned by U.S. doctors who could not help their daughter with cerebral palsy, Kara Anderson's parents did something they could not have imagined a few years ago: They took her to China. Specialists in the Chicago area, where the family lives, said that Kara's brain injury was permanent and that the 9-year-old would probably end up in a wheelchair because of severe twisting in her leg muscles. But then her parents heard stories about children who had improved after receiving injections of stem cells. The treatment was not available in the United States. It was only commercially available abroad. That's how the Andersons joined the desperate people who are taking leaps of faith in seeking stem cell treatments in places as far away as China, India, Russia and Brazil. 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.

Julie Cudmore, Donna Trainer and Andra Hall, who correctly identified the answer to last week's trivia question:

What are the four kinds of speech-sound errors? (Hint--the mneumonic device to remember it is "SODA")

ANSWER:  Substitutions, Omissions, Distortions and Additions</font> 


Which United States' President signed into law the Education of All Handicapped Children Act (PL 94-142)?

 If you know the answer, send an email to:contactus@naset.org

Early Urine Test For Autism May Lead To Prevention

Researchers at the Imperial College London have discovered that children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) have unusual microbes in their gut that can be used to identify them as autism candidates as early as six months of age.  Identification would come from a simple urine test for the disease. Currently, children with autism are not identified with the disease until they start showing symptoms of it, which could be when they are anywhere from one to five years old.  Early symptoms, such as late speech onset, speech repetition, rocking, or social isolation, can also be symptoms of other disorders, or can even be within the normal range of behavior for the age group and/or gender.  So, a simple urine test that finds a 'chemical fingerprint' of autism is revolutionary considering its absolute certainty.  It also would enable professional intervention to begin months or years before behavioral symptoms appear. To read more, click here

A Marriage Falls Victim to a Child's Disorder

Researchers announced this month that having a child with autism does not increase the odds that parents will divorce. It was a refutation of the commonly held - but little documented - belief that the strain of caring for an ill or challenging child regularly tears couples apart. That divorce is not the norm is cold comfort to those couples who are buckling under the weight of special-needs parenting. One such couple are the parents of a 5-year-old boy with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, or A.D.H.D., pervasive developmental disorder, and psychosis, among other things. They wear the physical scars of being scratched and beaten when he rages.  Their son, who's taken a number of medications for several years, has been expelled from a therapeutic school intended for children with his kinds of challenges. His mother periodically writes about the family's tale on the Web site hopefulparents.org, identifying herself as cms8741 and her son as E-Niner. On Monday morning she wrote about the next steps looming for the family. 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

Students Develop Device to Help Blind Maneuver

Ben-Gurion University of the Negev students have developed an innovative optical radar system that helps blind people maneuver around obstacles. The radar system incorporates a computer, two video cameras and a scanning light source to warn the blind of obstacles with audible alerts. The system detects obstacles -- even those overhead -- by scanning the depth of its surroundings, taken from two different angles -- similar to that of the human eye. Developed by two engineering students, Elad Kuperberg and Einav Tasa, under the supervision of Professor Shlomi Arnon, the system was shown for the first time last week as part of the annual conference of projects in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering. To read more, click here

Did You Know That......

How well a person can use sight is known as visual efficiency.

Promising Treatment for Headache, Dizziness, Caused by Traumatic Brain Injury

Symptoms of headache, dizziness and anxiety in some patients with traumatic brain injury potentially could be alleviated or even eliminated with specialized eyeglass lenses containing prisms, says a new study. The investigators included doctors from three southeast Michigan hospitals and one in private practice, and involved 43 patients with TBI. "This represents a new approach to the treatment of post-concussive symptoms," says Mark S. Rosner, adjunct clinical instructor in the Department of Emergency Medicine at the University of Michigan Medical School and Emergency Department staff physician at St. Joseph Mercy Hospital in Ann Arbor. "Vision was known to be affected by TBI, but now it appears that the vision abnormalities caused by the TBI are causing the other post-concussive symptoms," he added. To read more, click here

Video Game Research Project to Help Blind Children Exercise

VI Fit, a project at the University of Nevada, Reno, helps children who are blind become more physically active and healthy through video games. The human-computer interaction research team in the computer science and engineering department has developed a motion-sensing-based tennis and bowling exergame. "Lack of vision forms a significant barrier to participation in physical activity and consequently children with visual impairments have much higher obesity rates and obesity-related illnesses such as diabetes," Eelke Folmer, research team leader and assistant professor in the computer science and engineering department, said. To read more, click here

In Manila, Department of Education Laments Failure of House to Ratify Special Education Act

The Department of Education (DepEd) expressed its disappointment on Saturday after the House of Representatives failed to ratify the Special Education Act of 2010 due to lack of quorum during its last day of session last Friday. Education Secretary Mona Valisno said the passage of the bill could have been the 14th Congress' parting gift and lasting legacy to the Filipino people. "Since this will finally give due attention to the education of 5.49 million children with special needs (CSN) and people with disability (PWD) in our country," she said. Valisno expressed her gratitude to the Senate for including this bill in its priority legislative agenda. However, she was dismayed that the House of Representatives was not able to concur in with the Senate before the session was adjourned. "It was such a disappointment because almost six million CSNs in the Philippines or 13 percent of the total children population can benefit from passage of this bill," she said. To read more, click here

Diagnosis of Boy's Autism Pits Doctors vs. Schools

A frustrated teacher and a child struggling with autism have combined for a tumultuous year for the Brunos. The Gilbert family spent months caught in an escalating dispute with Gilbert Public Schools officials about their son's disorder - autism - and his need for special services to help him succeed in school. Their battle represents a long-standing divide between the educational and medical worlds, in which experts dispute the diagnoses of child disorders and the therapies kids need to do well in school.  Valley doctors say the Brunos are among dozens of families who get caught in the middle. To read more, click here

Oncologists Fight Leukemia With Two-Pronged Therapy, Clinical Trials Planned

A new therapy mounts a double-barreled attack on leukemia, targeting not just the cancer cells but also the environment in which those cells live and grow, University of Florida researchers report. Like striking an enemy camp directly as well as cutting off its source of food and other resources, the agent, called Oxi4503, poisons leukemia cells and destroys the blood vessels that supply them with oxygen and nutrients. Use of the treatment in mouse models of acute myelogenous leukemia, or AML, is described online and in an upcoming print issue of the journal Blood. The researchers plan human tests of the drug at Shands at UF later this year. To read more, click here

Did You Know That......

Teaching functional skills in the environment in which they occur is known as community based instruction (CBI).

NASET Sponsor - Drexel University Online 


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Teaching Children Who Can Hear to Use Sign Language

If 2-year-old Max Wardell wants more to eat, he can tell his mother, Melissa, in more than one way. He can verbally ask for more crackers or use sign language to tell her what he wants. Signing has been a part of Max's life since he was an infant. His mother is a certified instructor for My Smart Hands - Des Moines, and can teach hearing children, parents and caregivers American Sign Language as another way to communicate. "I really think sign language would benefit anyone," she said. "It's easy for kids to sign first before they speak. It's great for kids who are developing normally and it's great for kids who are late speakers because it provides them a way to communicate with you." To read more, click here

Middle Schoolers' Films Focus on Disabilities

Students at Highlander Way Middle School in Howell are preparing to walk the red carpet in support of disability awareness. After a year of creating films related to the topic, the students will participate in the school's annual Academy Awards Night on Wednesday in which they will receive awards for their productions and host a silent auction to benefit Livingston County Special Olympics. More than 50 films have been nominated for awards. The movies were made by students in the school's technology classes. They researched a variety of disabilities, wrote scripts, and shot and edited their work. To read more, click here

Newborn and Carrier Screening for Spinal Muscular Atrophy Now Possible

Scientists in Ohio studying Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA) have concluded that the technology now exists to carry out nationwide screening of newborn children and pregnant mothers. The study, published in the American Journal of Medical Genetics, reveals that effective screening may allow parents to find proactive treatments before the symptoms become irreversible. SMA is the most commonly inherited lethal disease in infants, it is caused by gene mutations and affects approximately 1 in 10,000 live births. While a cure is not yet available the team, led by Dr Thomas Prior of Ohio State University, carried out pilot studies to discover if the screening of newborn babies could provide an early and definitive diagnosis, help parents to find proactive treatments earlier and allow at-risk family members to make informed reproductive choices." To read more, click here

Food for Thought.....

If you can read this, thank a teacher!
                                                       Author Unknown
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