Week in Review - March 26, 2010


New NASET Publications and Articles of Interest in Special Education 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 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.

NASET>News Team

New This Week on NASET

Lesser Known DisabilitiesSeries

Disorders in this issue: 
  • Aicardi Syndrome (Aicardi-Goutieres syndrome)
  • Developmental Disorders affecting brain formation
  • Sensory Integration Disorders
To read of download this issue - Click Here  (login required)

Assessment in Special Education Series

Part 7 - Basic Statistics and Scoring Terminology Used in Assessment

To read or download this issue -  Click Here   (login required)
 As an educator, you will need to understand the scores that the various professionals of the multidisciplinary team report when they do their evaluations of children for a suspected disability.  You may even be required to administer certain educational tests for a student.  Therefore, it is essential that no matter what your role in the assessment process, you understand basic statistics and scoring terminology found in test manuals and used in assessment.  
This issue of the Assessment in Special Education Series will provide you with the most frequently used terms used in assessment regarding test administration, statistics and scoring terminology. 

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Obama Signs Health Care Bill, Enhancing Access For Those With Disabilities

With his signature Tuesday morning, President Barack Obama put in motion a complete overhaul of the American health insurance system, a move advocates say will bring greater access to those with disabilities. The new law, which takes effect immediately, will require most Americans to have health insurance. Further it will prevent coverage providers from excluding those with pre-existing conditions, setting annual or lifetime limits or dropping people who get sick. "We have now enshrined the basic principle that everybody should have some security when it comes to their health care," Obama said just before signing the bill into law during a ceremony in the East Room of the White House. To read more, click here

Tethered to a Friend: Dog Accompanies Student with Autism to Grade School

Wendy Going noticed her son Kegan had a natural inclination toward animals. Whenever Kegan saw an animal he would start making sounds - talking in his own way. This was unusual for the boy because most of the time he's silent, his mother said. Kegan is a student with autism. This week, Kegan, 8, brought his autism service dog Everett with him to Smith River Elementary School for the first time. Everett is expected to help Kegan stay calm and safe, both inside and outside the classroom. It was also a chance for Kegan's classmates to be introduced to the golden retriever and how they should act around him. "I saw how animals had an effect on him," Going said. "He's more vocal ... when animals are around he makes sounds." "I don't know how medically," she continued, "but that's the way it seems to me." To read more, click here

Exploring the Link Between Sunlight and Multiple Sclerosis

For more than 30 years, scientists have known that multiple sclerosis (MS) is much more common in higher latitudes than in the tropics. Because sunlight is more abundant near the equator, many researchers have wondered if the high levels of vitamin D engendered by sunlight could explain this unusual pattern of prevalence. Vitamin D may reduce the symptoms of MS, says Hector DeLuca, Steenbock Research Professor of Biochemistry at University of Wisconsin-Madison, but in a study published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, he and first author Bryan Becklund suggest that the ultraviolet portion of sunlight may play a bigger role than vitamin D in controlling MS. To read more, click here



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NYC Kindergarten Gifted Classes More Diverse Than Last Year

The percentage of minority students in the city's gifted and talented kindergarten classes increased this school year from last, according to data the Department of Education released today. But while the percentages of Hispanic, Asian and multi-racial students all increased, the ratio of black students to the whole class declined by just over one percentage point. Last year, more than half - 52.6 percent - of kindergartners in gifted and talented classes were white. This year, that percentage is lower, down to 43.5 percent. To read more, click here

Taxis: Picking Up People with Disabilities

People who use wheelchairs in Boston can take heart in several pieces of good news. First, Boston police are serious about enforcing laws that require cab drivers to pick up passengers with wheelchairs. The police have been conducting sting operations for a month and a half, with undercover officers posing as fares. And in that time, they've found no violations - which means cabdrivers seem serious about the law, as well. That's not to say that problems don't exist. The stings began after Shari Zakim, the daughter of the late civil rights leader Lenny Zakim, had trouble hailing a cab in her wheelchair on New Year's Eve. Other Bostonians with disabilities have complained of similar snubs. And it's possible that some cabdrivers are on their best behavior because they detect or suspect that police are watching. To read more, click here

Seattle Schools Expand Special Education Inclusion Program

When you were in school, chances are kids in special ed had their own classroom. These days, more and more districts integrate special ed students in mainstream classrooms. Seattle School District expanded its inclusion system this year. But many parents and teachers say the district is moving too quickly. Marni Campbell is Executive Director of Special Education for the Seattle School District. She says in 2007, Seattle Schools commissioned an external review of the district's special education (special ed) system. The review found that the district's special ed students were being taught in too many specialized, segregated programs. To read more, click here

Children with Lead Poisoning Called a 'Civil Rights' Issue

Some 16,600 kids in Connecticut are documented as having lead poisoning. Those are kids under the age of 6, based on a blood lead screening rate of only 25 percent. And there's no educational guidelines from the state or federal government to assist them. So Vivian Cross, executive director of the Foundation for Educational Advancement, told an attentive crowd of 100 at the 15th Annual African-American Women's Summit , held at Dixwell's Wexler-Grant School. "This is a civil rights issue for our kids." Cross was part of a panel called "Closing the Racial and Ethnic Disparity Gap & Pursuing Results-Based Accountability in Health, Education, Social Justice and the Political Activism." To read more, click here

Children With Insomnia May Have Impaired Heart Rate Variability

Children with insomnia and shorter sleep duration had impaired modulation of heart rhythm during sleep, Pennsylvania researchers reported at the American Heart Association's 50th Annual Conference on Cardiovascular Disease Epidemiology and Prevention. In a study of young children, researchers showed that insomnia symptoms were consistently associated with impaired heart variability measures. They also found a significant but less consistent pattern with shortened sleep duration and decreased heart rate variability. Heart rate variability is the beat-to-beat variations of heart rate. In a healthy person, beat-to-beat intervals change slightly in response to automatic functions like breathing. 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

Many Children with Traits of Autism are Never Diagnosed Clinically

A study has revealed that many children who have traits of those with autism are never diagnosed clinically, leading to them not receiving the support they need through educational or health services. There has been a major increase in the incidence of autism over the last twenty years. In recent studies these undiagnosed children have been included in estimates of how many children have autism spectrum disorder, or an ASD (which includes both autism and Asperger's syndrome). Such studies have estimated that one in every hundred children has an ASD. A study found that a large number of undiagnosed children displayed autistic traits: repetitive behaviors, impairments in social interaction, and difficulties with communication. To read more, click here

Hello! Your Psychiatrist Will Skype You Now

Kanina Chavez lives an hour away from Children's Hospital in Seattle and used to have to take a whole day off from work whenever her daughter, Rachel, had an appointment with a psychiatrist. Rachel was a teenager when she started treatment for bipolar disorder roughly six years ago. Back then, she and her mother had never heard of telepsychiatry. But now they're using real-time videoconferencing in Olympia, Wash., to make it easier for Rachel to remain in the care of experts in Seattle. During the videoconferencing sessions, her psychiatrist can monitor how Rachel is doing, and Kanina can sit beside her daughter and take notes on the recommended adjustments to her daughter's medications. "I was a little apprehensive about my daughter not being face to face with the doctor," says Chavez. "But the conversation was just as good as if we were in person." To read more, click here

Some Bullies Are Just the Shy Type: New Research Shows a Darker Side to Social Anxiety Disorder

When you think of people suffering from social anxiety, you probably characterize them as shy, inhibitive and submissive. However, new research from psychologists Todd Kashdan and Patrick McKnight at George Mason University suggests that there is a subset of socially anxious people who act out in aggressive, risky ways -- and that their behavior patterns are often misunderstood. In the new study published in Current Directions in Psychological Science, Kashdan and McKnight found evidence that a subset of adults diagnosed with Social Anxiety Disorder were prone to behaviors such as violence, substance abuse, unprotected sex and other risk-prone actions. These actions caused positive experiences in the short-term, yet detracted from their quality of life in the longer-term. "We often miss the underlying problems of people around us. Parents and teachers might think their kid is a bully, acts out and is a behavior problem because they have a conduct disorder or antisocial tendencies," says Kashdan. 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

Parents Say Children with Special Needs Falling Victim in Charter Battle for Space

Special education students are falling victim to the fierce battle to find space for charter schools inside city school buildings, parents and advocates say. At eight of the 15 buildings making room for new or expanding schools next year, at least a quarter of students are special education or seriously disabled. For these vulnerable kids, the space crunch may mean less one-on-one instruction, therapy sessions in the back of classrooms and cramped conditions for wheelchair-bound students, nearly two dozen parents said in interviews. To read more, click here

Low Levels of Vitamin D Linked to Higher Rates of Asthma in African-American Kids

Researchers at Children's National Medical Center have discovered that African American children with asthma in metropolitan Washington, DC, are significantly more likely to have low levels of vitamin D than healthy African American children. This study supports recent research that suggests vitamin D plays a greater role in the body than just keeping bones healthy. Vitamin D deficiency has been recently linked to a variety of non-bone related diseases including depression, autoimmune disorders, and now asthma. "It's been well-documented that as a group, African Americans are more likely than other racial groups to have low levels of vitamin D," said Robert Freishtat, MD, MPH, an emergency medicine physician and lead author on the study. "But we were shocked to see that almost all of the African American children with asthma that we tested had low vitamin D levels. To read more, click here

Food for Thought........

You can teach a student a lesson for a day; but if you can teach him to learn by creating curiosity, he will continue the learning process as long as he lives.

         Clay P. Bedford

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