Week in Review - May 14 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.

NASET News Team

New This Week on NASET

Classroom Management Series

Research Based Strategies for the Classroom

 Part II-Identifying Similarities and Differences

Learning to classify and discern differences and similarities prepares students for employing metaphor, analogy, and higher-order thinking skills. This issue of the Classroom Management provides research findings and methods to implement these finding in the classroom.
To read or download this issue -  Click here

Resource Review

In this issue you will find resources in the following areas:

  • Assistive Technology
  • Child Abuse and Neglect
  • Children and the Internet
  • Classroom Accommodations
  • Colleges and Disabilities
  • Dispute Resolution
  • Early Intervention
  • Educational Collaboration
  • English Language Learners
  • Family Information
  • Functional Behavioral Assessment
  • Inclusion
  • Insurance Issues
  • Learning Disabilities and Reading-Research Studies
  • RTI
  • Spanish Language Articles From NICHCY
  • Special Education Resources
  • State and System Tools
  • Technical Assistance
  • Transition Services
  • Work and Disability Information 
To read or download this issue - Click here 

Quick Links To NASET

Evaluating Special Educator Performance A Struggle

Lawmakers across the country are considering measures to up teacher accountability, but when students have disabilities measuring the success of their teachers can be tricky. Just last month, a major push to link teacher pay to student performance was derailed in Florida over concerns about the impact such change would have on special education teachers. Now educators and lawmakers alike are scratching their heads, looking for ways to measure the success of teachers whose students don't always meet traditional benchmarks. Despite the failure of the proposed Florida law, at least one area of the state will push forward with a teacher evaluation system heavily based on student performance as a condition of a prestigious education grant. Beginning next fall, test scores will factor into the grades teachers receive in Hillsborough county, which includes Tampa. To read more, click here

Genetic Pattern That Predicts Leukemia Relapse Discovered

A genetic pattern that predicts the likelihood of relapse in patients with one of the most aggressive forms of childhood leukemia has been discovered. Researchers publishing in the open access journal Molecular Cancer have identified a consistent pattern in five genes that has the potential to enable doctors to identify which patients would benefit from more aggressive treatment when first diagnosed with T-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia (T-ALL). Co-author Dr Alex Beesley of Perth's Telethon Institute for Child Health Research said "While up to 80% of children with T-ALL achieve complete remission, there are around 20% who relapse and whose prognosis can be very poor," Dr Beesley said. "In this study, we found a consistent pattern in the expression of five genes in patients that relapse. Importantly, this pattern was found to hold true across multiple patient cohorts, the first time that such a robust gene signature of this kind has been found for T-ALL. This gene signature would enable patients with T-ALL to be classified according to risk at the time of diagnosis." To read more, click here

New Study Disproves Traditional Neurological Autism Theory

A new study, published today in Neuron, counters traditional theories on autism. It previously was thought that people with autism have difficulties understanding the goals and intentions of others because of a fundamental neurological dysfunction in something called the "mirror neuron system." The mirror neuron function activates across multiple areas in the brain when a person wishes to move a leg or arm. This function also activates when a person observes another person's action. This system also has interestingly been the targeted center of "figuring out" what is happening around you, and been linked to determining the motivations of others. To read more, click here

NASET Member Benefit - Group Savings Plus from Liberty Mutual

Liberty Mutual Savings

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In Denmark, 99% of students with learning difficulties are placed in general education classrooms full time

Rare Disease in Amish Children Sheds Light on Common Neurological Disorders

So often the rare informs the common. Penn researchers investigating a regulatory protein involved in a rare genetic disease have shown that it may be related to epileptic and autistic symptoms in other more common neurological disorders. A team of researchers from the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, led by Peter B. Crino, MD, PhD, associate professor of Neurology and director of the Penn Epilepsy Center, demonstrate how mutations in the STRAD-alpha gene can cause a disease called PMSE (polyhydramnios, megalencephaly, and symptomatic epilepsy) syndrome, found in a handful of Amish children. PMSE is characterized by an abnormally large brain, cognitive disability, and severe, treatment-resistant epilepsy. To read more, click here

NASET Sponsor - Drexel University Online

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Phoenix Special Education Program Receives Highest Honor By National Association Of Special Education Teachers

Residential special education program Life Development Institute has been selected as a 2010-2011 NASET School of Excellence. Only one other Arizona special education program has received this distinction. Selection as a NASET School of Excellence is the highest level of recognition a private special education school can achieve through NASET. This honor is presented to private special education schools that meet rigorous professional criteria and have demonstrated truly exceptional dedication, commitment and achievement in the field of special education. Rob Crawford, CEO of Life Development Institute, said "Our staff, students, and family made this award possible for LDI. We have a great team and the level of program quality is the best it has ever been for our students." Life Development Institute is a residential special education program that serves young men and women between the ages of 18-30 who have cognitive, emotional, or neurological conditions such as learning disabilities, ADHD, Asperger's Syndrome, NLD, depression, anxiety and other related disorders. To read more, click here

Differences in Language Circuits in the Brain Linked to Dyslexia: Important 'Information Highway' Less Well Organized in the Dyslexic Brain

Children with dyslexia often struggle with reading, writing, and spelling, despite getting an appropriate education and demonstrating intellectual ability in other areas. New neurological research has found that these children's difficulties with written language may be linked to structural differences within an important information highway in the brain known to play a role in oral language.The findings are published in the June 2010 issue of Elsevier's Cortex. Vanderbilt University researchers Sheryl Rimrodt and Laurie Cutting and colleagues at Johns Hopkins University and Kennedy Krieger Institute used an emerging MRI technique, called diffusion tensor imaging (DTI), to discover evidence linking dyslexia to structural differences in an important bundle of white matter in the left-hemisphere language network. White matter is made up of fibers that can be thought of as the wiring that allows communication between brain cells; the left-hemisphere language network is made up of bundles of these fibres and contains branches that extend from the back of the brain (including vision cells) to the front parts that are responsible for articulation and speech. To read more, click here

Summer School for Special Education Students in Detroit

The Detroit Public Schools officially announced they would offer expanded  summer school programs for nearly 40,000 students in the district this year.  While the idealistic objective is aimed at helping early and struggling learners, the reality of summer school and, its subsequent funding, often falls short of educational objectives other than filling seats and offering extended job opportunities for hand picked staff members.  The majority of these students were given ample opportunity throughout the regular school year to fulfill their academic obligations but neglected to do so for a variety of reasons.  The real beneficiaries and intended targets of a year long school program would be better suited if tailored towards special education students exclusively. 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 NASETand our partnership with the Association of American Educators (AAE), click here

High School Students Organize Effort to Include Everyone

On May 21, Montville Township will become a sea of yellow as students and staff from all of the town's schools, as well as many residents, don bright yellow T-shirts emblazed with "Include ME!" in black print. And this fashion is a true statement. The design team, of sorts, behind the shirts is the Lead Mentors of Pathways for Exceptional Children, a group of youngsters ranging from sixth graders to high school seniors. They initiated "Paint the Town Yellow" to let everyone know the importance of including children with special needs in communities and schools. The following day, May 22, the students will host the "Include Me!" Walkathon in Montville Township Community Park. Designing it to be more of a rally with speakers, games, activities, music, and food, the Lead Mentors again hope to drive home the message that everyone likes to be included. It is a message they have delivered to Trenton by testifying before the New Jersey State Board of Education and to the State Special Education Advisory Committee, all the while wearing the yellow T-shirts that have become their trademark. To read more, click here

Disability Advocates Reserving Judgment On High Court Nominee

Advocacy groups are taking a wait and see approach with Elena Kagan who the president nominated to the Supreme Court on Monday. Kagan, who currently serves as the country's solicitor general, will replace Justice John Paul Stevens if she is confirmed by the Senate. A former Harvard Law School dean, Kagan has never been a judge. She would be the court's youngest member at age 50 and the fourth woman to serve on the court. Disability advocates were hesitant to say much about Kagan. Without a judicial record, they said little is known on her positions regarding disability rights law. "I think her hearings are going to be important," Louis Bossing, senior staff attorney at the Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law, said of Kagan's upcoming Senate confirmation process. "We're going to spend time working with the judiciary committee so the senators can ask questions we'll need to know whether to support or oppose her nomination." To read more, click here

No Clear Criteria for Diagnosing Food Allergies, Researchers Find

A new study shows that confusion over how to identify and treat food allergies is creating the potential for misdiagnosis of this condition. In a review of existing literature on the subject, researchers with RAND Corp., Stanford University and the Veterans Affairs Palo Alto Health Care System found differing definitions of food allergy. "There is lack of agreement over what criteria should be used to diagnose this type of allergy," said Jennifer Chafen, MD, a fellow with the Stanford Center for Health Policy/Center for Primary Care and Outcomes Research and the VA-Palo Alto. "There needs to be standardized criteria of what constitutes a food allergy -- then we can move forward more quickly on management and prevention." To read more, click here

Toddlers and TV: Early Exposure Has Negative and Long-Term Impact

Want kids who are smarter and thinner? Keep them away from the television set as toddlers. A shocking study from child experts at the Université de Montréal, the Sainte-Justine University Hospital Research Center and the University of Michigan, published in the Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine, has found that television exposure at age two forecasts negative consequences for kids, ranging from poor school adjustment to unhealthy habits. "We found every additional hour of TV exposure among toddlers corresponded to a future decrease in classroom engagement and success at math, increased victimization by classmates, have a more sedentary lifestyle, higher consumption of junk food and, ultimately, higher body mass index," says lead author Dr. Linda S. Pagani, a psychosocial professor at the Université de Montréal and researcher at the Sainte-Justine University Hospital Research Center. To read more, click here


In North America, special education is commonly abbreviated as special ed, SpecEd, SPED, or SpEd in a professional context.

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

Padraig Harrington New Special Olympics Global Ambassador for Golf

Special Olympics announced this week, professional golfer Padraig Harrington has joined the Special Olympics family as the movement's newest Global Ambassador. In his new role as a Global Ambassador for Golf, three-time major winner Harrington will build on his already established reputation as a humanitarian to help spread the Special Olympics' message of acceptance and inclusion for people with intellectual disabilities across the world. His announcement was made during a press event for the Players Championship at TPC Sawgrass in Florida earlier today. Harrington will specifically serve as an advisor to the Special Olympics Sports Resource Team on golf, offering his professional expertise to help further the sport of golf within the movement. He will be the face of the movement's upcoming new Sports Resource website, where he hopes coaches will provide leadership and guidance to athletes on the development and execution of golf training and competition. Harrington will also take an active role on the golf range, as he will participate in special golf training sessions with athletes and coaches. In addition to sharing his golfing knowledge, he will front a recruitment campaign targeted towards securing more Special Olympics' golf coaches. Overall, Special Olympics will partner with Harrington to implement golf programs and initiatives that will further spread respect for people with intellectual disabilities to an international audience. To read more, click here

Mozart's Music Does Not Make You Smarter, Study Finds

For over 15 years, scientists have been discussing alleged performance-enhancing effects of hearing classical music. Now, University of Vienna researchers Jakob Pietschnig, Martin Voracek and Anton K. Formann present quite definite results on this so-called "Mozart effect" in the US journal Intelligence. These new findings suggest no evidence for specific cognitive enhancements by mere listening to Mozart's music. In 1993, in the journal Nature, University of California at Irvine psychologist Frances H. Rauscher and her associates reported findings of enhanced spatial task performance among college students after exposure to Mozart's music. Mozart's 1781 sonata for two pianos in D major (KV 448) supposedly enhanced students' cognitive abilities through mere listening. Scientific articles only rarely attract such public attention and excitement as was the case for Rauscher's publication: the New York Times wrote that listening to Mozart would give college-bound students an edge in the SAT. What is more, other commentators hailed Mozart music as a magic bullet to boost children's intelligence. To read more, click here


In England and Wales, the acronym SEN for Special Educational Needs, denotes the condition of having special educational needs, the services which provide the support and the programs and staff which implement the education.

Zero Tolerance Ineffective in Schools, Study Finds

Zero tolerance policy in schools -- which can mandate automatic punishment for weapons, drugs, profanity and various forms of disruptive behavior -- is failing to make students feel safe, contends a new study by two Michigan State University researchers. The policy, established in the mid-1990s to address gun violence in schools, has become plagued by inconsistent enforcement and inadequate security, according to the study, which appears in the May issue of the journal Urban Education. As a result, the very students zero tolerance was designed to protect overwhelmingly say the policy is ineffective, said Laura McNeal, assistant professor of teacher education and lead researcher on the project. To read more, click here

Teacher Reforms Raise Question: How to Measure Special Education?

Sarah Fridy is a special education teacher and some of her third-graders read at a first-grade level. They can't get through the questions even on the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test, which they're required to take, yet their scores may determine how much Fridy earns and whether she keeps her job. "It puts me in a weird position," said Fridy, who has been teaching seven years. Under a new system beginning this fall, student learning gains account for 40 percent of the annual evaluation of most of Hillsborough County's 13,000 public school teachers. But what about special needs students like Fridy's? Or gifted children who perform at such a high level that their gains look smaller? Or teachers of art, music and physical education, where progress can't be measured with the precision of FCAT subjects? All told, these teachers account for just under a fourth of all the district's educators. To read more, click here

Early Childhood Experiences Have Lasting Emotional and Psychological Effects

Experiences between birth and age 5 matter significantly to children's long-term emotional and psychological health, and changing these experiences for the better pays dividends, according to an editorial and several new reports in the May issue of Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine, one of the JAMA/Archives journals. This month's journal is a theme issue devoted to the science of early life experience. The articles provide "key, actionable evidence of how we can manipulate the early environment of children and make a tangible difference in their health," write Dimitri A. Christakis, M.D., M.P.H., and Frederick P. Rivara, M.D., M.P.H., both of the University of Washington and Seattle Children's Research Institute as well as associate editor and editor of the Archives, in the editorial. To read more, click here


The fundamental difference between a norm referenced test and a criterion referenced test is that a norm referenced test focuses on comparing students to the norm of their age group while a criterion referenced test focuses on mastery of the material

NASET Sponsor - Drexel University Online


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How Darwin's Little-Known Work Impacts Current Schizophrenia and Autism Treatment

Historical research by Peter J. Snyder, PhD, reveals more of Charles Darwin's thinking when he completed what may be the first example of a prospective "single-blind" study of human perception of emotional expression. Through scrutiny of Darwin's work, including previously unpublished handwritten notes on his experiments, Snyder explains how this early experiment has direct implications to current work today in the areas of schizophrenia, autism spectrum disorders and other neuropsychiatric conditions. The paper is published in the Volume 19, Issue 2, 2010 of the Journal of the History of the Neurosciences. Charles Darwin is well-known for his pioneering theory of evolution, but far less is known about some of his later work, such as delving into experimental psychology. While researching his book, The Expression of the Emotions in Man and Animals (1872), Darwin corresponded with a French neurologist, G.B.A. Duchenne. Duchenne conducted experiments on human facial expression of emotion by applying electrical stimulation directly to facial muscles. He produced a set of 65 photographic plates to show his belief that there are different muscles in the face that are responsible for every single, discrete emotion. To read more, click here

Many Gifted Children Fail Academically

It may seem contradictory, yet many gifted children struggle academically. Some 33 to 50 percent of intellectually precocious children will fail at least once in their academic career. According to a 2003 study, a mere 40 percent of gifted children will complete an undergraduate degree or pursue graduate studies. The rest drop out. Université de Montréal psychology instructor Geneviève Piché, along with five students, sought to clarify the fundamental notions of academic success and review data on why gifted students don't always succeed. According to experts, children are considered gifted or a high potential when their mental age is at least one year older than their physical age. A child is intellectually precocious when his or her IQ is 130, which is the case for two to three percent of children. Only one percent of children have IQs of 140 and over compared to IQs of 90 and 120 amid the general population. To read more, click here

Food for Thought........

I am a success today because I had a friend who believed in me and I didn't have the heart to let him down.

                                             Abraham Lincoln

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