Week in Review - May 21, 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

Issue # 5 - May 2010

Each issue of this series contains at least three lesser known disorders. Some of these disorders may contain subtypes which will also be presented. You will also notice that each disorder has a code. These codes represent the coding system for all disabilities and disorders listed in the Educator's Diagnostic Manual (EDM) Wiley Publications.
Disorders in this issue:
  • Developmental Anarithmetria Dyscalculia
  • Savant Syndrome Definition
  • Addition Articulation Disorder
To read or download this issue - Click here

Assessment in Special Education Series 

Part IX  Understand the Components of a Professional Report
Most, if not all, professionals on the Multidisciplinary Team will be required to write a professional report summarizing their findings and making recommendations.  Whether you have to write a report or just review various ones, it is essential that you understand the language that is used and the different sections found in most of them.  This next section will present the most practical guidelines for writing a professional report, as well as the most common compenents of professional reports in special education.
To read or download this issue - Click here

Quick Links To NASET

UT Study: No Proof that Eliminating Gluten, Casein from Diets of Children with Autism is Effective

A new study by researchers at the University of Texas says there is no evidence to support the hard-to-follow gluten-free and/or casein-free diets that some alternative-medicine practitioners routinely recommend for children with autism. Scientists at the Autism Spectrum Disorders Institute , part of UT's Meadows Center for Preventing Educational Risk, reached that conclusion after analyzing 15 major studies published on those diets, according to the study published in the summer edition of the peer-reviewed journal Research in Autism Spectrum Disorders. Gluten is found in wheat, barley and other grains, while casein is found in milk and other dairy products. Putting children on a gluten-free, casein-free diet was developed on the theory that people with autism "have insufficient enzymatic activity in the gastrointestinal tract and increased gastrointestinal permeability. It's suggested that they tend to absorb toxic byproducts of the incompletely digested proteins casein and gluten," Austin Mulloy, the study's lead researcher and a doctoral student in UT's Department of Special Education, wrote in a statement. But the study says there is no scientific evidence that the diets help, and in fact, they can lead to reduced bone thickness and cause other harm. To read more, click here

Pesticides Linked to ADHD

A new analysis of U.S. health data links children's attention-deficit disorder with exposure to common pesticides used on fruits and vegetables. While the study couldn't prove that pesticides used in agriculture contribute to childhood learning problems, experts said the research is persuasive. "I would take it quite seriously," said Virginia Rauh of Columbia University, who has studied prenatal exposure to pesticides and wasn't involved in the new study.
More research will be needed to confirm the tie, she said. Children may be especially prone to the health risks of pesticides because they're still growing and they may consume more pesticide residue than adults relative to their body weight. In the body, pesticides break down into compounds that can be measured in urine. Almost universally, the study found detectable levels: The compounds turned up in the urine of 94 per cent of the children. To read more, click here

High Lead Levels Hurt Learning for Children in Detroit Public Schools

More than half of the students tested in Detroit Public Schools have a history of lead poisoning, which affects brain function for life, according to data compiled by city health and education officials. The data also show, for the first time in Detroit, a link between higher lead levels and poor academic performance. About 60% of DPS students who performed below their grade level on 2008 standardized tests had elevated lead levels. The higher the lead levels, the lower the MEAP scores, though other factors also may play a role. The research -- the result of an unusual collaboration between the city's Department of Health & Wellness Promotion and DPS -- also reveals that children receiving special education were more likely to have lead poisoning. To read more, click here

NASET Member Benefit - Group Savings Plus from Liberty Mutual

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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.
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In most cases, the specific causes on inattention and hyperactivity that lead to a student's diagnosis of ADHD are not known.

Adults with Special Needs Help Educate Youngsters

A group of adults with learning difficulties are successfully spreading an anti-bullying message to children in Inverness schools. The adults, who attend the Corbett Centre in Inverness, have with the staff devised a presentation that hits the mark when it comes to getting the message across.

A recent visit to Kinmylies Primary School now means 3,000 young pupils have watched and taken part in the anti-bullying campaign. Now three members of staff and seven of the Corbett Centre students have a full diary of school visits planned to make young people more aware on what it is to have a learning disability and of the effects that bullying can have on a person.
The presentations, aimed at primary 3-7 pupils, are informative and interesting and use card games to enable children to interact and enjoy themselves while absorbing the important issues surrounding bullying and disability. The group also meets school-leavers to discuss the problem bullying has on other people.  To read more, click here

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In California, Program Helps Children with Learning Problems Soar

Pam, whose son has a learning disability, has a message for other parents of children who also have trouble learning: "I would like for parents to know they are not alone and not to give up on these kids." Pam's son Evan - both names have been changed - was in need of support heading into high school. "I was thrilled to find SOAR (Some Assembly Required) which can help him get into the school system and start to advocate for himself," Pam said. It is through her efforts that SOAR is being offered in Campbellford for the first time. The program is for students in Grades 7, 8 and 9. It was developed by the Learning Disabilities Association of Ontario to encourage self-awareness among students, to teach them how to express ideas and to follow directions, and how to become self-advocates in decision making and the learning process. "These kids are average to above average intelligence, but they need additional support and different learning strategies that can compensate for their learning difficulties," explained Maria Castiglione, program manager with the Learning Disabilities Association of Peterborough. To read more, click here

Tougher Job Hunt for Students with Special Needs

Terry Davis was driving one of her special education students through Venice when she saw a new ice cream parlor that was preparing to open. There was no "Help Wanted" sign, but Davis, who helps special education students find work, took the girl inside to ask for a job for her.
The owner told her 300 people had already applied. Jobs like shop server used to be good hunting grounds for Davis and other school staff who help special education students find mostly low-skilled jobs. But now, with unemployment at 13 percent, the students are competing with out-of-work adults desperate for any job. In Sarasota, only 40 percent of special education students graduating in 2008 found work within six months of leaving school, down from 60 percent four years ago. To read more, click here

Link Between Child Care and Academic Achievement and Behavior Persists into Adolescence

Teens who were in high-quality child care settings as young children scored slightly higher on measures of academic and cognitive achievement and were slightly less likely to report acting-out behaviors than peers who were in lower-quality child care arrangements during their early years, according to the latest analysis of a long-running study funded by the National Institutes of Health. And teens who had spent the most hours in child care in their first 4½ years reported a slightly greater tendency toward impulsiveness and risk-taking at 15 than did peers who spent less time in child care. Although the study followed children's experience in child care, it was not designed to determine cause and effect, and so could not prove whether a given aspect of the child care experience had a particular effect. It is possible that other factors, not measured in the study, were involved. The study authors noted that the differences in these measures among the youth in the study were small, but the magnitude of both patterns was consistent from early childhood to adolescence. Previous studies have noted similar trends, but the study is the first to track children for a full decade after they left child care. 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

Arizona's Schools' New Approach for Teaching Gifted Questioned

Throughout this school year, Gilbert Public Schools has been trying a new approach for teaching gifted students. Gifted elementary students are "clustered" in small groups but remain in the regular classroom with their peers. In addition, children in fourth, fifth and sixth grades may attend with other gifted students special accelerated classes for math or language arts to ensure they continue to advance their skills. Gifted students are identified through special testing. In the upper grades, students may qualify for the intermediate program for language arts - a 65-minute daily class - if they score 90 percent or higher on the verbal section of the exam. Also, students may qualify for the intermediate program for math - a 65-minute daily class - if their scores are 90 percent or better. Board members at a work study session Tuesday were updated about the program's implementation, which has been rocky from the start. To read more, click here

Children With Epilepsy Say Their Quality of Life Is Better Than Their Parents Think

Children with epilepsy often face multiple challenges -- not only seizures but learning, cognitive and school difficulties, side effects from medication, and, not surprisingly, social stigma from their peers. It's no wonder parents say their children with epilepsy have a substantially worse quality of life than their other, healthy children. But ask a child with epilepsy about his or her life, and the answer? Not so bad. Reporting in the current online edition of the journal Value in Health, lead study author Dr. Christine Bower Baca, a Robert Wood Johnson Clinical Scholar and a clinical instructor in the UCLA Department of Neurology, and her colleagues found that children with epilepsy say their quality of life is comparable to that of their healthy siblings. To read more, click here

Violent Teenage Girls Fail to Spot Anger or Disgust in Others' Faces

Girls appear to be "protected" from showing antisocial behaviour until their teenage years, new research from the University of Cambridge has found. The study sheds new light on antisocial behaviour in girls compared with boys and suggests that rather than violence or antisocial behaviour simply reflecting bad choices, the brains of people with antisocial behaviour may work differently from those who behave normally. Until now, little research has been done on antisocial behaviour (Conduct Disorder) in girls. According to Dr Graeme Fairchild of the University of Cambridge, one of the study's authors: "Almost nothing is known about the neuropsychology of severe antisocial behaviour in girls. Although less common in girls than boys, UK crime figures show that serious violence is increasing sharply in female adolescents." 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


A national study of more than 1,400 students found that 58% of those students receiving special education services under the disability category of Emotional Disturbance had ADHD.

California's Special Education Teachers' Training Will Focus on Students who have Autism

Responding to an explosion in the number of autism cases in the past 20 years, California is requiring thousands of veteran special-education teachers to return to school to learn about the developmental disorder. For many, it will be their first training on the challenging behaviors that often accompany autism. Autism spectrum disorder, which includes mild to the most severe cases, "is not like any other disorder," said Ruth Prystash, autism specialist for the Riverside County Office of Education. "ASD individuals are completely unique, so the training given to most special educators is not relevant or applicable much of the time." One parent that Prystash worked with at Rob ReinerChildren and Families Development Center in Perris spent her own money to hire a private occupational therapist and a neuropsychologist to help her initiate some changes in her child's classroom, she said. To read more, click here

New Program Attempts to Re-Train the Brain

Staying focused in class is not always easy for fourth grader Frank Schaul. He has autism and can sometimes become easily distracted. Integrated Listening Systems (ILS) is trying to change that. ILS is relatively new approach to helping students with autism and a variety of other learning disabilities. The Adams 12 Five Star School District decided to try the program at Rocky Mountain Elementary. During a one-hour session several times a week, Schaul puts on a headset with music picked specifically for his brain functions. A physical therapist then puts him through exercises. Together, the program is designed to stimulate different parts of his brain at the same time. "It makes the brain process multi-sensory information," Ilyne Engel, a physical therapist, said. "It combines [music] with balance activities and physical activities." To read more, click here

Talking Seriously with Children is Good for Their Language Proficiency

How adults approach children aged 3 to 6 years during conversations has a major influence on their language acquisition. Those who address children as fully-fledged conversation partners lay an early basis for the development of 'academic language', says Dutch researcher Lotte Henrichs. Children at a primary school need a certain type of language proficiency: academic language. Academic language is not an independent, new language, but is the language that teachers use and expect from the pupils. It enables children to understand instructions and to demonstrate their knowledge in an efficient manner. Academic language is characterised by difficult, abstract words and complex sentence structures. The language often contains a lot of clauses and conjunctions and due to the methods of argument and analysis it has a scientific appearance.
To read more, click here

Study Demonstrates Art Therapy's Effectiveness in Pediatric Asthma

In the first randomized trial of art therapy for asthma, National Jewish Health researchers found that children with persistent asthma enjoyed decreased anxiety and increased quality of life after seven weekly art-therapy sessions. It can be a terrifying experience when an asthma attack closes down a child's airways and makes the simple act of breathing a life-threatening struggle. The fear and anxiety associated with an asthma attack can last long after the attack has subsided. The research, published online May 1, 2010 in the Journal of Allergy & Clinical Immunology, reports that the art therapy showed benefits both during the therapy and for months afterward.
"Asthma impacts not only a child's physical well-being but also has a considerable effect on a child's quality of life and psychological development," said National Jewish Health Art Therapist Anya Beebe, MA. "Our study shows that art therapy for children with severe, chronic asthma is clearly beneficial. Our results were striking and persisted for months after treatment stopped."
To read more, click here

Major Depression Common after Traumatic Brain Injury

The incidence of major depression among 559 people with traumatic brain injury was nearly eight times greater than would be expected in the general population, the researchers report in the May 19th issue of the JAMA/Journal of the American Medical Association. While major depression during the first year was associated with a poorer quality of life and ability to function, "less than half of the people who were found to have major depression received any treatment during the first year," Dr. Jesse R. Fann from the University of Washington School of Medicine in Seattle and one the study's principal investigators told Reuters Health. An estimated three million Americans are living with a traumatic brain injury -- defined as a sudden violent blow to the head or penetrating wound that affects normal brain function. The most common cause is automobile accidents. Traumatic brain injury is also a "signature injury among wounded soldiers," the investigators note. To read more, click here

Teen Speaks Out Boldly to Dispel Myths About Tourette's Syndrome

During his first public presentation as Youth Ambassador for the National Tourette Syndrome Association, 14-year-old Nathaniel Ray was bombarded with questions from fifth-graders at Stone Lakes Elementary in Orlando, Fla., last week. "Is it when someone gets sick by bugs?" asked 11-year-old Isabella Ruiz. "Those are ticks. What people with Tourette Syndrome have is tics," said Nathaniel, holding up a laminate card explaining Tourette's trademark involuntary movements and vocal sounds. The card came from a stack given to him by the national Tourette's syndrome group to help spread the word about the disorder. Nathaniel and 13-year-old Jordan Bernstein of Boca Raton, Fla., were chosen as youth ambassadors from dozens of applicants submitted to the Florida Chapter of the National Tourette Syndrome Association. Among the teens' responsibilities are to go to schools and community organizations to teach understanding and tolerance of Tourette's syndrome and its symptoms, and to dispel myths and stereotypes about the condition. To read more, click here


According to the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders, over 25 million Americans have hearing loss difficulty in receiving and processing spoken communication

NASET Sponsor - Drexel University Online


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Opinion: Merit Pay: Bad Fit for Today's Schools

Bret Schundler, the NJ state commissioner of education recently outlined proposed education reforms, including merit pay for teachers. Merit pay would be like putting education on a factory mass production line. You up production and up goes your salary. Hey, it worked for Henry Ford, right? Is that what education should be, a factory production line of teaching to the test? Let's do an exercise in creative thinking. Say I'm the teacher with honors students. How would merit pay work for me? Suppose I'm the special education teacher. How would merit pay work for me? How about if I'm a school librarian (which I am, actually), a music teacher, an art teacher or a guidance counselor? How would merit pay work for us? Say I'm the teacher for students with disabilities. How would merit pay work for me? Or, I'm the teacher who chose to work in an inner-city district. How would merit pay work for me? Suppose I'm the teacher who made a C+ student feel like she got an A; the teacher who stopped a fight and got both sides to talk; the teacher who saw the warning signs of suicide and successfully intervened? How would merit pay work for us? To read more, click here

Higher Oxygen Levels Improve Preterm Survival, Increase Risk for Eye Condition

Two findings from an NIH research network study provide new information on how much oxygen very preterm infants should receive starting on the first day of life and the most effective means to deliver it to them. The first was that higher oxygen levels improve preterm infants' survival but increase the risk for a condition that can damage the retina. The second was that a treatment typically used for adults with sleep apnea also is as effective as the traditional ventilator and surfactant therapy used to treat breathing difficulties in preterm infants-and may result in fewer complications.  The treatment relies on a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machine to blow air through a preterm infant's nostrils, to gently inflate the lungs.  These findings appear in two articles published online by The New England Journal of Medicine. To read more, click here

Rate of Childhood Peanut Allergies More Than Tripled from 1997 to 2008

Results of a nationwide telephone survey have shown that the rate of peanut allergies in children more than tripled from 1997 to 2008. The data are reported in the May 12 issue of the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology. Led by Scott H. Sicherer, MD, Professor of Pediatrics, Jaffe Food Allergy Institute at Mount Sinai School of Medicine, researchers surveyed a total of 5,300 households, representing 13,534 individuals in 2008, a response rate of 42 percent. The survey was previously conducted in 1997 and 2002, with a 52 percent and 67 percent response rate, respectively. In 2008, 1.4 percent of children in the survey were reported to have peanut allergies, as opposed to just 0.4 percent in 1997. The prevalence of combined peanut or tree nut allergies in children was 2.1 percent in 2008, compared to 0.6 percent in 1997. To read more, click here

Food for Thought........

Do not expect to accomplish your dreams if you're not willing to help others accomplish their's.
                          Kaughee Vill

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