Week in Review - November 19, 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

Genetics in Special Education Series 

November 2010
Genetic components presented in this issue:

         · Spinal muscular atrophy
         · Severe Combined Immunodeficiency (SCID)
To read or download this issue - Click here    

NASET Resource Review

November 2010

         · Assistive Technology
         · Autism
         · Child Behavior
         · Early Intervention
         · Health Issues
         · IEP
         · Inclusion
         · Instructional Materials
         · Math Instruction
         · Parenting Issues
         · Reading
         · RTI
         · Survey Participation Requests
         · Technology 

To read or download this issue - Click here 

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The Impact of Therapy Dogs on Children with Disabilities

Shadow, a black Labrador retriever, knows how to interact with people without overreacting to them - a necessity for a well-trained therapy dog, said her owner and handler, Ani Shaker.

Considered "bombproof," meaning she will remain calm in nearly any situation, Shadow, and Ms. Shaker, volunteer at the Anderson Center for Autism in Staatsburg, N.Y., in the Hudson Valley north of New York City.  "As soon as I get her working vest out, she jumps up and her little tail starts wagging," Ms. Shaker said. "She loves the work. That's what she lives for, and I can tell she knows she is helping someone else feel good." Shadow and Ms. Shaker, an equestrian trainer, are one of six teams that have been volunteering at the Anderson Center for two years. They are part of the Good Dog Foundation, a nonprofit based in New York that provides therapy services throughout the East Coast. To read more, click here

Adults Born Deaf See Better Than Individuals Who Can Hear

Adults born deaf react more quickly to objects at the edge of their visual field than hearing people, according to groundbreaking new research by the University of Sheffield. The study, which was funded by the Royal National Institute for Deaf People (RNID), has, for the first time ever, seen scientists test how peripheral vision develops in deaf people from childhood to adulthood. Dr Charlotte Codina, from the University's Academic Unit of Ophthalmology and Orthoptics, led the research and found that children born deaf are slower to react to objects in their peripheral vision compared to hearing children. However, deaf adolescents and adults who have been without hearing since birth can react to objects in their peripheral vision more quickly.To read more, click here

Office of Civil Rights: No Rights Violated in Early Childhood Special Education Case

A plan to move preschool students with disabilities into a new center isn't discriminatory and doesn't violate their rights. That was the ruling released last Monday by the U.S. Department of Education's Office of Civil Rights. A complaint filed by a local parent alleged that a new Early Childhood Special Education Center, expected to open in January, would segregate preschool students with special needs and limit their interaction with nondisabled peers. Springfield school officials countered that the center would meet the growing demand for early childhood special education services and address the lack of space and condition of existing classrooms. "We believed all along that what we were doing was the right thing for early childhood special education students," said Associate Superintendent Teresa White. "We're very pleased that the OCR found there was nothing discriminatory." To read more, click here

IPad a Therapeutic Marvel for Individuals with Disabilities

Owen Cain depends on a respirator and struggles to make even the slightest movements - he has had a debilitating motor-neuron disease since infancy. Owen, 7, does not have the strength to maneuver a computer mouse, but when a nurse propped her boyfriend's iPad within reach in June, he did something his mother had never seen before. He aimed his left pointer finger at an icon on the screen, touched it - just barely - and opened the application Gravitarium, which plays music as users create landscapes of stars on the screen. Over the years, Owen's parents had tried several computerized communications contraptions to give him an escape from his disability, but the iPad was the first that worked on the first try. To read more, click here

Shaken Baby Abuse is on the Increase

Defenseless babies in our community are suffering abuse more often. Doctors have confirmed an increasing number of shaken baby syndrome cases and they don't know why it's happening. Shaking can kill a baby. Others suffer lifelong debilitating conditions. Dominik Dewitt plays like any other toddler. He's happy, energetic, and lucky to be alive. Dominik's father shook him at three months old. His mother Stefany says the resulting brain damage caused epilepsy and learning disabilities. "He may never be able to drive a car because he has epilepsy. He may never be able to hold a respectable job because of his disability. That person that shook him was the one that ruined his life." Shon Forant lives with that guilt everyday. One morning he lost control and shook his daughter Chelsea while she was crying. Chelsea now suffers from cerebral palsy. To read more, click here 

Low Birth Weight May Cause Lifelong Problems Processing Medications

New research has found that a mother's poor nutrition during pregnancy and nursing can cause problems for her offspring's ability to process medications, even well into adulthood. The results of the study, by Oregon State University researchers, suggest that in the future physicians prescribing drugs ranging from Tylenol to cancer chemotherapies may need to factor birth weight along with body weight into dosing decisions for their patients. In this laboratory study, the kidneys of underweight animals born to mothers fed low-protein diets during pregnancy and nursing had significantly less ability to process and transport drugs than animals whose mothers had adequate protein. This finding suggests that low birth weight may hinder the body's ability to process therapeutic drugs, thereby jeopardizing their effectiveness.To read more, click here 

Did You Know That.......

The National Research Center on Learning Disabilities has defined Response to Intervention (RTI) as, "an assessment and intervention process for systematically monitoring student progress and making decisions about the need for instructional modifications or increasingly intensified services using progress monitoring data".

Autism Therapy Group Says It "Cured" Six Children

Results from a Phoenix study of a behavior therapy designed to cure autism give hope to thousands of Arizona families and could revamp special education in the state's public schools.

But the costly price tag could keep the treatment out of reach for many families. And the state's budget crisis could mean implementation is years away at the school level. The Center for Autism and Related Disorders says it has cured six of 14 children with autism who participated in a $5.4 million, state-funded study in the Phoenix area. CARD, a nationwide private treatment and research organization with a program in Phoenix, received the state money for a three-year study to determine whether its intensive behavior therapy could cure young children who had been diagnosed with autism. To read more, click here

Advocates for the Blind Allege Penn State Services Not Blind Friendly

A national advocacy group for the blind has called for an investigation of alleged "pervasive and ongoing discrimination" at Pennsylvania State University in the availability of technology-based services for blind students and faculty.  The National Federation of the Blind sent a seven-page complaint letter dated Friday to the U.S. Department of Education's Office of Civil Rights, alleging that Penn State is violating the Americans with Disabilities Act. "Penn State's persistent failure to abide by the law has resulted in gratuitously denying its blind students and faculty equal access to information and thereby to an equal-education opportunity," the complaint states.

It is the first such comprehensive complaint filed by the federation against a publicly funded university, group spokesman Chris Danielson said. "Penn State is certainly not out of the ordinary," Danielson said, adding that his group hoped the complaint spurs changes at other schools. To read more, click here 

New Report on Black Male Achievement Gap Spurs Calls for Action

How many studies does it take to prove there is a crisis? That is the question some educators are asking as a new study argues that the achievement gap between black male students and their white counterparts in American schools is far worse than anyone thought. The study, published this week by the Council of the Great City Schools, found black males are twice as likely to drop out of high school than white males, and only 12 percent of them are proficient in reading by the fourth grade, compared with 38 percent of white males. What's even more disquieting, some educators say, is that this was already known. "They haven't said anything new," James Comer, a child psychiatry professor at Yale University and founder of the Comer School Development Program in New Haven, Conn., told AOL News today. To read more, click here

Evidence of Link Between Acetaminophen Use in Pregnancy and Childhood Asthma

Evidence suggesting that the risk of childhood asthma associated with prenatal exposure to acetaminophen (also known as paracetamol) may depend on antioxidant genes in the mother has been found by a team of UK scientists. The results of their study, which strengthens the argument for a causal link between acetaminophen exposure in early life and later childhood asthma, are published online Nov. 10 in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology. Led by Seif Shaheen, Professor of Respiratory Epidemiology at Barts and The London School of Medicine and Dentistry, the team examined data from the British Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children (ALSPAC) which has followed 14,000 children since birth -- beginning with their mothers' pregnancies and continuing into the children's 8th year. Researchers looked for evidence of interaction between acetaminophen use during pregnancy or infancy and antioxidant genes in the mother or child. Variants in such genes may influence the toxicity of acetaminophen.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.
Congratulations to:
Rhonda Matera, Jessica L. Ulmer, Phillip Hernandez, Karen Bornholm, Lisa Rotella, Yvonne Allan, Jennifer Goldman, Gretchen van Besouw, Ross Jones, MaryLouise Torre, Rajasri Govindaraju, Alexandra Pirard, Phyllis Wilson, Christie Miller, Jennifer R. Aguilar, Suzanne Taffet, Amanda McClure & Dawn Cox
who correctly identified the answer to last week's trivia question: 

There are many types of health conditions that children may have in order to be classified as a student with special needs under the classification of Other Health Impairments (OHI).  STORCH is an acronym for a group of congenital infections that have the potential of causing severe, multiple impairments in children.  What does STORCH stand for? Syphilis, Toxoplasmosis, Other, Rubella, Cytomegalovirus and Herpes Simplex Virus


Children who are Gifted and Talented are considered exceptional children. One could make the argument that because they are exceptional, they should receive a "special education". Yet, being gifted and talented does not make children eligible for special education services under the federal law, IDEIA.  Why?
If you know the answer, send an email to contactus@naset.org
All answers must be submitted no later than Monday, November 22, 2010 at 12:00 p.m.


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In California, Special Education Could Bankrupt Certain School Districts

The budget problems facing schools across California are getting even worse. There has been a dramatic increase in the number of special education students in recent years and the added cost of teaching them could bankrupt some school districts. A UC Davis study found that before 1990, nine in 10,000 kids were diagnosed with autism by age six. Ten years later it jumped to 44 in 10,000. Today, according to the Centers for Disease Control, one in 110 have an autism spectrum disorder. "It was something you had to explain every time and now it's sort of like, you know, he has that popular thing autism," Jane LaPides, whose son Travis has autism, said. "It seems like everybody knows now which makes it easier but it's hard for me to imagine how there are so many new cases." To read more, click here 

New Jersey State Department of Education to Conduct Long-Delayed Study on Special Education Funding

The state Department of Education is spending $174,225 for an independent study of New Jersey's method of funding special education for students with disabilities, officials confirmed Friday. The study, mandated by the Legislature in the state School Funding Reform Act should have been completed by June 30, the non-profit Newark-based Education Law Center noted after making the DOE's action on the study public. "We are completing the study as required," Alan Guenther, a DOE spokesman said when asked about the Law Center announcement.

In response to a state Open Public Records Act (OPRA) request filed by the center, the DOE provided documents showing that, on Sept. 10, a purchase order in the amount of $174,225 was issued to the Denver consulting firm Augenblick Palaich and Associates (APA) to conduct the study. To read more, click here

Did You Know That.......

A key element of RTI has always is the provision of early intervention when students first experience academic difficulties, with the goal of improving the achievement of all students, including those who may have a learning disability.

Citywide Smoking Ban Contributes to Significant Decrease in Maternal Smoking, Preterm Births

New research takes a look at birth outcomes and maternal smoking, building urgency for more states and cities to join the nationwide smoke-free trend that has accelerated in recent years. According to the new data, strong smoke-free policies can improve fetal outcomes by significantly reducing the prevalence of maternal smoking. The study, which was presented November 10 at the American Public Health Association's 138th Annual Meeting & Exposition in Denver, compared maternal smoking prevalence in one Colorado city where a smoking ban has already been implemented to that of a neighboring city where there is no ordinance. Researchers from the University of Colorado School of Pharmacy collected data from mothers residing in Pueblo, Colo., before and after a citywide smoking ban took effect. Results show a 23 percent decrease in the odds of preterm births and a 37 percent decrease in the odds of maternal smoking in Pueblo following the ban. Birth outcomes in El Paso County, Colo., however, showed no such drop during the same time period. Findings in this first-ever study in United States reflect similar findings as national data from Dublin, Ireland. To read more, click here

Gifted-What Is It Good For?

The applicants at this Calgary school for gifted students are already younger than most: Unlike a lot of similar programs, it starts with kindergarten. But according to Hal Curties, the vice-principal of the Westmount Charter School, inquiries skew even earlier. "One was for someone who was 18 months old. And one from a mother whose child was in utero - but she was convinced that the child was going to be gifted." Such manoeuvres speak to an enduring misconception among parents about the "gifted" label - that it's a prize to covet, a first fateful step on a path to a child attaining the best education and the brightest future. But a growing group of parents, educators and critics say striving parents should be careful what they wish for. The downsides of both special gifted programs and of childhood giftedness itself are leading some to question the logic behind the label. To read more, click here 

Children with ADHD Can Benefit From Coaching

Tell students with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder to show up for an appointment to learn how to manage a calendar, and here's what's going to happen: They won't show up, they'll forget their calendar, or they won't follow through, says David Parker, a researcher at Wayne State University. Instead, Parker and colleagues argue, college students with ADHD benefit from a more inclusive, personal model of learning how to manage their time and organize their lives. These researchers found that college students got enormous benefits in scholastic life from a "coaching" model designed by the Edge Foundation, an organization that helps young people with ADHD reach their potential in their academic and personal lives. They presented their results Friday at an international ADHD conference sponsored by the non-profit organization Children and Adults with Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder, known as  CHADD. To read more, click here

Scientists Find Learning in the Visual Brain

A team of researchers from the University of Minnesota's College of Liberal Arts and College of Science and Engineering have found that an early part of the brain's visual system rewires itself when people are trained to perceive patterns, and have shown for the first time that this neural learning appears to be independent of higher order conscious visual processing. The researchers' findings could help shape training programs for people who must learn to detect subtle patterns quickly, such as doctors reading X-rays or air traffic controllers monitoring radars. In addition, they appear to offer a resolution to a long-standing controversy surrounding the learning capabilities of the brain's early (or low-level) visual processing system. To read more, click here 

 Did You Know That.....

RTI incorporates a multitiered system of service delivery in which each tier represents an increasingly intense level of services

Learning Disabilities in Children Linked to High Blood Pressure

Children who have hypertension are much more likely to have learning disabilities than children with normal blood pressure, a new study by University of Rochester Medical Center (URMC) has indicated. In fact, when variables such as socio-economic levels are evened out, children with hypertension were four times more likely to have cognitive problems. "This study also found that children with hypertension are more likely to have ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder)," said Heather R. Adams, an assistant professor of Neurology and Pediatrics at URMC, and an author of the study. To read more, click here 

Art Therapy Builds Confidence in Children with Disabilities

Kaylin Brice offered a choice of glitters to 15-year-old Jonathan Greene - gold or silver.

Jonathan gave her a Cheshire cat grin, but didn't answer. Brice, 20, may have picked for him - had she not learned some tools for working with people with disabilities. She held the two glitter bottles out in front of him last week. He pointed to gold. "Using nonverbal cues lets them participate," Brice said. She is one of 13 students in an art therapy class at the University of Tampa. The students, under the direction of adjunct professor Heather Spooner, designed a project for an art class at LaVoy Exceptional Center. Making art is therapeutic because it allows the release of emotions, Spooner said. People who have developmental disabilities, such as autism or cerebral palsy, often have difficulty putting their thoughts and experiences into words. Art therapy gives them a venue to express their feelings and thoughts through images without getting frustrated with the difficulties of verbal speech. To read more, click here

Food for Thought........

You can teach a lesson for a day, but if you teach curiosity, you teach for a lifetime.


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