Week in Review - May 7, 2010


New NASET Publications and Articles of Interest in Special Education That Were Reported This Week

Dear NASET Member

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.

NASETNews Team

New This Week on NASET

Practical Teacher 

Breaking the Attention-Seeking Habit: The Power of Random Positive Teacher Attention
Some students misbehave because they are trying to attract teacher attention. Surprisingly, many students who value adult attention don't really care if it is positive (praise) or negative attention (reprimands)--they just want attention! Unfortunately, instructors with students who thrive on teacher attention can easily fall into a 'reprimand trap.' The scenario might unfold much like this: First, the student misbehaves. Then the teacher approaches the student and reprimands him or her for misbehaving. Because the student finds the negative teacher attention to be reinforcing, he or she continues to misbehave-and the teacher naturally responds by reprimanding the student more often! An escalating, predictable cycle is established, with the student repeatedly acting-out and teacher reprimanding him or her. Teachers can break out of this cycle, though, by using 'random positive attention' with students. The focus of this edition of the Practical Teacher will be to address the use of 'random positive attention' with students.
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Parent Teacher Conference Handout

How Parents Can Use Effective Discipline
There may be many times when a parent will turn to his or her child's teacher and comment about how difficult the child is at home and they have no idea what to do about his/her behavior. This Parent Teacher Conference Handout provides 10 tools for parents that will offer them a sense of control and parenting they may have been missing for a while.>
To read or download this issue - Click here  (login required)

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In New York City, Charters 'Fail' Special Education: Critics Knock Low Enrollment of Students with Severe Disabilities

City charter schools enroll far fewer of the most severely disabled students than traditional public schools, state records show. Only about 1% of special education students in charter schools are so disabled they require separate classes - compared with the 33% of special ed students in district schools. These include students who with emotional disturbance, severe autism with little verbal ability or those with mental retardation. This imbalance makes it impossible to compare charter schools with traditional public schools, special ed advocates say. "Most of the [special ed] kids are going to perform very poorly on the standardized tests," said Patricia Connelly, a special ed advocate. "These kids are a drag on a school's scores. It's not rocket science to figure out the impact." About 90% of special education students in charter schools can manage in mainstream general ed classes with extra help. That's true for only about 42% of district special ed students. To read more, click here

Gastrointestinal Problems Common in Children With Autism

Parents of children and adolescents with autism spectrum disorders (ASDs) sometimes report that their children suffer from gastrointestinal (GI) symptoms, such as diarrhea and constipation. However, studies on how prevalent these symptoms are have had conflicting results. A new study conducted by Autism Speaks' Autism Treatment Network (ATN) shows that GI symptoms occur in nearly half of children with ASD, and the prevalence increases as children get older. Results of the study, and three others conducted by the ATN, were presented on May 2 at the Pediatric Academic Societies (PAS) annual meeting in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. To read more, click here

Birth Defect Risk from Insect Bites Received by Mother During Pregnancy

A North Carolina State University researcher has discovered that bacteria transmitted by fleas-and potentially ticks-can be passed to human babies by the mother, causing chronic infections and raising the possibility of bacterially induced birth defects. Dr. Ed Breitschwerdt, professor of internal medicine in the Department of Clinical Sciences, is among the world's leading experts on Bartonella, a bacteria that is maintained in nature by fleas, ticks and other biting insects, but which can be transmitted by infected cats and dogs as well. The most commonly known Bartonella-related illness is cat scratch disease, caused by B. henselae, a strain of Bartonella that can be carried in a cat's blood for months to years. 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.>
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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.


The cateogory of Speech and Language Impairments is the second largest when only primary disability is counted but the largest when both primary and secondary disabilities are counted.

Special-Needs Students Sprout Job Skills at Moore-Mickens Garden Business

The workday at Mickens' Pickin's garden center starts early. Right around 8:30 a.m. students make their way to the greenhouse and pull on plastic gloves. There are tomatoes to check in the shade house. Then it's time to peek at the new hydroponic garden that's flush with arugula, cilantro, rosemary, peppers and crookneck squash. Bags of fresh soil need to be scooped into pots. Petunias, marigolds and forget-me-nots need to be transplanted. The cosmos and budding zinnias want some watering, too. It's busy work for exceptional education students at Moore-Mickens Education Center, which created the small garden business to teach practical and social skills to students with special needs. To read more, click here

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Being Obese Can Attract Bullies

Obese children are more likely to be bullied regardless of gender, race, socioeconomic status, social skills or academic achievement. Those are the findings of the study "Weight status as a predictor of being bullied in third through sixth grades," which is available online now and will be published in the June issue of the journal Pediatrics. Julie C. Lumeng, M.D., assistant professor in the Department of Pediatrics and Communicable Diseases at the University of Michigan's C.S. Mott Children's Hospital, is lead author of the study. Childhood obesity and bullying are both pervasive public health problems. Obesity among children in the United States has risen to epidemic proportions with 17 percent of 6 to 11 year olds estimated to be obese between 2003 and 2006. To read more, click here

New Genetic Clues to Autism Found

Researchers have discovered two new genes that may be involved with autism, the brain disorder marked by difficulty in communicating and relating to others. The evidence for one of the two new "susceptibility genes" is stronger than that for the other, says Daniel Notterman, MD, the senior author of the study and a professor of pediatrics, biochemistry, and molecular biology at Penn State College of Medicine in Hershey. One of the newly discovered gene mutations is in NCAM2 and the other is in PTPRD....The new finding, Notterman says, adds to the growing evidence for genetic links for autism but doesn't rule out a role for environmental factors. "Over the last couple of years, beginning in 2007, it's become clear that some cases of autism, maybe up to 15%, will be caused by rare mutations, either occurring spontaneously or that can be inherited by a parent," he says.  To read more, click here

Vitamin D Deficiency Associated With Chronic Fatigue in Individuals with Brain Injury 

European researchers have reportedly found that a vitamin D deficiency is closely linked with chronic fatigue among patients who suffered a traumatic brain injury. For the study, a research team led by Jessica Schnieders from Rijnstate Hospital in Arnham, The Netherlands, recruited 90 patients with brain injuries, half of whom reported being chronically fatigued. After evaluating each patient's pituitary hormones and behavioral factors such as sleep, daily activity, emotional well-being and quality of life, the investigators found that the biggest commonality among fatigued patients was their low vitamin D levels. 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

Earlier, Later Puberty May Trigger Aggression in Boys, Researchers Find

Puberty that arrives earlier or later in adolescent boys relative to their peers can trigger chemicals that are related to antisocial behavior, according to researchers, whose findings have key implications for parents with aggressive boys. "Aggressive behavior can begin very early, even in pre-school, and might be related to poor impulse control, difficulties in the family or just overall general problem behavior," said Elizabeth J. Susman, the Jean Phillips Shibley professor of biobehavioral health, Penn State. "We wanted to find out if earlier or later timing of puberty in adolescents has any biological factors related to it." To read more, click here

Parents Face Obstacles Over Restraint Law

One of the ironies of New Jersey's ambiguous policies on the use of physical force against unruly schoolchildren is that the state's ban on corporal punishment can be used to justify it. That's one of the legal obstacles that parents like Kathy Mills encounter when they object to such measures being used on their children. Mills, 50, of Upper Township, Cape May County, filed a complaint Jan. 28 with the Institutional Abuse Investigation Unit, an arm of the state Department of Children and Families. She said she filed the complaint after her 15-year-old son Jonathan came home from the Cape May County High School with a bruise on his back. According to Mills, Jonathan told her that a man at the school had knelt on his back while holding him face down on the floor. She says the school confirmed Jonathan had to be physically restrained after he became aggressive, but the IAIU's final report March 5 found no evidence of wrongdoing. It states that Jonathan threw a chair and kicked and spit at staff and "manifested a bruise on his back." To read more, click here

Living with Sensory Processing Disorder

It's a disorder that affects 1 in 20 people, yet not too many people have ever even heard of it. "He was having these tantrums where he was hitting; we were putting him in a time out, over and over again," recalls Amy Fitzpatrick. Amy and Dan Fitzpatrick thought their 2-year-old son, Rowan had a case of the "terrible two's." "The reactions progressively became more violent and hitting and throwing himself on the floor and crying and eventually, that just kind of built up," says Dan Fitzpatrick. The couple knew there had to be more to Rowan's unexplainable outbursts. "We kept bringing him to the Doctor and they kept telling us he was fine and no he's not fine, there's something, you know a mom knows, there's something wrong with him," says Amy. Amy's motherly instinct was right. After finally convincing their Doctor to take a closer look at Rowan, the Fitzpatrick's were referred to an occupational therapist. Doctors than realized Rowan suffers from Sensory Processing Disorder, a diagnosis that's not known to many. To read more, click here

Sleep Disturbances Associated With Behavior Problems in Children With Autism

Reports have suggested that sleep problems in children and adolescents with autism spectrum disorders (ASDs) are associated with challenging daytime behaviors. A new study on a large group of youths with ASD confirms these reports and will support the development of treatments for sleep disturbances as a way to improve behavior, according to researchers from Autism Speaks' Autism Treatment Network (ATN). Results of the study, and three others conducted by the ATN, was presented May 2 at the Pediatric Academic Societies (PAS) annual meeting in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. To read more, click here


Special education costs almost twice as much as general education.

Murder Case Puts Spotlight on Special Needs Programs

As John Odgren heads to prison today to serve a life sentence for murdering a fellow student, many are no doubt asking what went wrong. Despite what the prosecution characterized as multiple red flags, Odgren had remained in Lincoln-Sudbury High School after being placed there by the Great Opportunities Program, an initiative of the Concord Area Special Education Collaborative, which aids school districts in the region in developing programs for students with special needs. The goal with all such programs is to educate students in the least restrictive environment possible, and that means keeping students as highly integrated into a general classroom setting as circumstances allow. It's a legal, philosophical, and financial preference that state officials say works for the vast majority of special needs students. To read more, click here

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D.C. Teachers Contract Short on Money, Long on Hopes

While no serious city council opposition has emerged to the proposed D.C. teacher contract, school and budget office administrators failed during a lengthy hearing to say how that contract would be funded. "Everyone wants this to happen," said Council Chairman Vincent Gray. "The teachers deserve their raises." But according to the latest numbers from the city's Chief Financial Officer Natwar Gandhi, the $1.4 billion agreement, three years in the making, will leave the city on the hook for nearly $10 million over the course of its four years, and potentially far more. Gandhi testified before the council on Friday, along with Schools Chancellor Michelle Rhee and members of their staffs. To read more, click here


It is estimated that approximately 42% of children with ADHD also have emotional or behavioral disorders

Discrimination is Associated with Depression Among Minority Children

Minority children often encounter racism in their daily lives, and those who experience discrimination more often have more symptoms of depression, according to a study presented May 2 at the Pediatric Academic Societies (PAS) annual meeting in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. "Unfortunately, minority children perceive discrimination often in their lives," said Lee M. Pachter, DO, co-author of the study and professor of pediatrics at Drexel University College of Medicine and St. Christopher's Hospital for Children in Philadelphia. "Fifty-five years after Brown v. Board of Education and the civil rights movement, racism is still common in their lives." To read click here

In Taiwan, Fewer than 50% of Elementary Students with ADHD get Special Education

Fewer than 50 percent of elementary school students diagnosed with Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) receive special education and the government needs to set up more special education classes, experts said Saturday. According to a survey conducted by a special education center under National Hsinchu University of Education, there were 510 suspected or confirmed ADHD cases among 25,180 students in 40 elementary schools around the country, and fewer than half of the confirmed ADHD cases were provided with special education. Tsai Mei-hsin, secretary-general of the Naivety ADHD Taiwan Association, said the low ratio of students receiving special education is  mostly caused by the limited number of special education classes being provided. To read more, click here

Congress Announces Filing of 2010 Eunice Kennedy Shriver Act to Fund Special Olympics

On April 29, 2010 both the House of Representatives and the Senate filed identical versions of the 2010 Eunice Kennedy Shriver Act.  This is a renewal of the 2004 act which funded the Special Olympic's many programs.  The new bill will cover the next five years and also fund programs for Best Buddies International.  The success of this bill is the work of a dedicated team of lawmakers, Special Olympics representatives, coaches, and family members from 43 states.  Programs that will be funded include education, training, and health screenings for athletes. The act is named after Eunice Kennedy Shriver, the founder of Special Olympics.  She spent her life as a strong advocate for individuals with intellectual disabilities, creating programs to help them live rich and fulfilling lives.  The bill was named to honor Ms. Shriver's memory. To read more, click here


The term 'self-advocacy' refers to the ability to understand, request, and explain an individual's need for accomodations.

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Living in a High-Crime Neighborhood May Worsen Children's Asthma

Exposure to violent crime may exacerbate asthma in children, according to a study presented May 1 at the Pediatric Academic Societies (PAS) annual meeting in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. Emerging research suggests that violence and stress may influence the severity of a child's asthma. To explore this association further, researchers conducted a study of 561 children ages 8-14 years in Chicago who had been diagnosed with asthma by a physician. Investigators interviewed caregivers to determine their stress level and exposure to violence. They also reviewed data from the Chicago Police Department detailing the incidence of violent crime in the communities where the children lived. To read more, click here

Illinois Bill Would Allow Volunteer to Help Diabetic Students

Wrigleyville's David Medow remembers having to schedule his days around trips to his son's North Side grade school to give him insulin shots and count the carbohydrates in his snacks and lunches. Nathan Medow's Type 1 diabetes must be managed throughout the day with careful monitoring of glucose levels. "I had to drive to school three times a day every time he needed a shot," Medow said. "I stay up most of the night to check him." Parents like Medow have to make those trips because state law requires a licensed nurse to assist diabetic students, and not every school can afford a full-time nurse. But a measure approved Monday by the General Assembly would ease the restriction, allowing - but not requiring - a trained volunteer who works at the school to assist diabetics and students who feel comfortable enough to give themselves shots. To read more, click here

Catching Multiple Sclerosis Before it Strikes

Multiple sclerosis (MS) is an equal opportunity destroyer. It attacks the central nervous system and eventually renders most patients disabled. Among its high-profile victims are celebrated cellist Jacqueline du Pre, whose career was ended by MS, and Joan Didion, one of America's greatest writers -- but they are far from alone. The National MS Society estimates that there are currently about 400,000 cases in the U.S. and more that 2 million suffer from the disease over the world. Although there is currently no cure, a breakthrough finding from a Tel Aviv University scientist and physician may lead to earlier diagnosis, more effective intervention, and perhaps even a cure for the autoimmune disease. To read more, click here

Food for Thought........

Few things help an individual more than to place responsibility upon him, and to let him know that you trust him.

                                                         Booker T. Washington

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