Week in Review - September 10, 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

Parent Teacher Conference Handout 

Characteristics Checklist for Gifted Children 

There may be times when parents ask about the possibility of their child with a learning disability or emotional disability also possibly being gifted. While this is certainly possible, providing information to the parent may clarify the characteristics of children who are deemed gifted.
Often the earliest  identification of gifted children takes place by simple observation of the child's behavior by an educational professional, a parent or friend. Far from undermined by being subjective, identification by characteristic traits is generally accurate, and is less intrusive or conspicuous than other methods. It also readily allows types of giftedness to be detected, and is often valuably used with young children. Nonetheless subjective elements are certainly involved particularly in comparisons with other children of the same age.
The latest issue of theParent Teacher Conference Handout provides lists that were adapted from various sources. Note it is not expected that any gifted child will show all the traits listed in any section.
 To read or download this issue - Click here (login required)

Classroom Management Series V

Research Based Strategies for the Classroom

Nonlinguistic Representation

All the senses come into play in learning. In most classrooms, however, reading and lectures dominate instruction, engaging students through the linguistic mode. Learners also acquire and retain knowledge nonlinguistically, through visual imagery, kinesthetic or whole-body modes, auditory experiences, and so forth. Teachers who wish to take advantage of all modes of learning will encourage students to make nonlinguistic representations of their thinking.
These can take many forms. When students make concept maps, idea webs, dramatizations, and other types of nonlinguistic representation, they are actively creating a model of their thinking. Computer simulations also encourage exploration and experimentation by allowing learners to manipulate their learning experience and visualize results. When students then explain their models, they are putting their thinking into words. This may lead to new questions and discussions, which will in turn promote deeper thinking and better understanding.
This issue of the Classroom Management Series provides research findings and implementation steps for the findings.
To read or download this issue - Click here (login required)


Transforming Schools from Bully-Havens to Safe Havens

Given the importance of starting the new school off right, as well as making it a safe place for all children, we're running this issue of the Practical Teacher again for you to review so that your classroom and school can be a safe haven for all children.
To read or download this issue - Click here 


Identification of Children with Specific Learning Disabilities 

Description:  Identification of Children with Specific Learning Disabilities looks closely at the process by which schools identify that a children has a specific learning disability (LD). 
To preview or download this presentation, click on the link, login to NASET and then look for the Learning Disabilities in the Powerpoint presentations table.Link to PowerPoint Presentations 

Quick Links To NASET

'Temple Grandin' Wins Big at Emmys...But Who is She?

Who is Temple Grandin? Her name was called out seven times at last weeks's Emmy Awards, where the rancher-attired Grandin herself was "a palpable presence," in the L.A. Times' words, "at one point, rising and excitedly swinging her hand lasso style from the audience." Grandin was there, of course, as part of the HBO movie named after her, in which she was played by the Best Actress in a Miniseries or Movie-winning Claire Danes. Born in 1947, Grandin was diagnosed with autism at a young age due to her inability to speak or function socially like other children. As an adult, Grandin became a renowned public advocate for those born on the autistic spectrum. Her high-functioning autism ultimately allowed her to earn a doctorate in animal science, become a university professor, and pen an autobiography about her experiences. She has also made notable contributions to the ethical treatment of livestock. Grandin, who believes that her autism helps gives her insight into the feelings of farm creatures, famously designed more humane corrals for cows headed for slaughter. To read more, click here

Revaccination Could Benefit HIV-Infected Children

HIV-infected children receiving highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) may require revaccination to maintain immunity against preventable diseases. There remains no standard or official recommendation on revaccination of children receiving HAART, an effective intervention in reducing morbidity and mortality in HIV-infected children. Researchers at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health reviewed published data to assess these children's immune responses to vaccines and found that most children treated with HAART remained susceptible to vaccine-preventable diseases, but responded well to revaccination. Their review was published in the September issue of the Lancet Infectious Diseases. "Most children on HAART responded to revaccination, although immune reconstitution was not sufficient to ensure long-term immunity for some children," said William Moss, MD, MPH, senior author of the review and an associate professor with the Bloomberg School's Department of Epidemiology. "Because of the progressive effects of HIV infection on the ability of the immune system to mount an effective response, many infected children have poorer responses to vaccines than do uninfected children. In addition, fewer children infected with HIV achieve protective immunity, and those who do might experience greater and more rapid waning of immunity. These results suggest that children on HAART would benefit from revaccination, but levels of protective immunity might need to be monitored and some children may need additional vaccine doses to maintain protective immunity." To read more, click here

Head Games and Youth Sports: Have We Gone Too Far?

"Hit em! Take him down -- harder! Knock him out." Are you among crazed spectators at a boxing match? Far from it -- these comments are coming from "normal" parents at middle school or high school football games around the country. Worse yet, they may even be thrown around at Pee Wee Youth football games on Saturday mornings. As a neurologist who specializes in brain injury and more importantly as a father and grandfather who has witnessed this phenomenon, I have a "dog in this fight." Just log on to YouTube and search "Helmet on Helmet" and you will find an alarming number of videos with even more disturbing comments from the viewers. The video I find the most disturbing is titled "Big Football Hit -- Helmet to Helmet," that shows two eight-year-olds in full football gear running toward each other, colliding and dramatically knocking one to the ground after a vicious helmet-to-helmet hit. You can hear the one boy crying and the shock in the videographer's voice. To read more, click here



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Kindergarten: It's the New First Grade

Gracie Murphy is not shy. Talking to an adult she just met, the 6-year-old Skokie girl improvises a conversation between two tubes of sunscreen - "Hello! My name is Husband! Hello! My name is Wife!" She proclaims her love of recess, introduces a blue teddy bear named Peace Sign, and ducks under the kitchen table only to emerge, seconds later, with an impish smile: "Mama's ticklish part is her feet!" But the real drama comes when Gracie's mom, Susan Derex, quietly pulls out a letter her daughter composed as a kindergartner last year. Written in pink marker in a steady, even hand, it begins: Dear Mama, I love you up high. I love you down low. You are the best Mama that I ever new. I love you so much becus you take me to the park and I go on the swing and the slide and the monky bars and evrey thing in the park....Derex, a former middle school teacher, smiles and shakes her head: "At the end of kindergarten, I certainly couldn't have written that." Wait a minute: Gracie wrote that herself? "Yes." She didn't dictate it to her teacher? "She wrote all that." Forget cookies and milk, nap time and finger painting. Kindergarten has gotten serious in the past 20 years - and even more so in the past 10. To read more, click here

Did You Know That.......

The 5 categories of learning disabilities, speech and language impairment, mental retardation, other health impairments, and emotional disturbance make up almost 90% of all children classified in special education.

Businesses Find Niche Audience by Catering to Families of Children with Autism

A niche need is getting growing recognition and attention from some businesses and organizations. Movie theaters, restaurants and theme parks are offering the parents of children with autism family activities in social settings tailored to their special sensory circumstances.

Autism spectrum disorder is a lifelong developmental disability that impairs communication, self-control, social interaction and learning in people as young as 3. Parents of children with autism frequently encounter strange looks, and, on rare occasions, physical confrontations. Richard Bennett says he was grabbed and struck by another patron in a Boynton Beach restaurant recently because his then-4-year-old son with autism was making too much noise. Raising a child with autism is a challenge and most people mistake the behavior as that of a "bratty kid," but Bennett said he wishes people were more understanding and tolerant. "Most are, once they are told the child is autistic," he said. "It's very difficult," said Jaclyn Merens, of Autism Speaks Inc. in Deerfield Beach. "You have to put blinders on and ignore the looks and stares of other people." To read more, click here

Low Grades in Adolescence Linked to Dopamine Genes, Says Biosocial Criminologist

The academic performance of adolescents will suffer in at least one of four key subjects -- English, math, science, history -- if their DNA contains one or more of three specific dopamine gene variations, according to a study led by biosocial criminologist Kevin M. Beaver of The Florida State University. The research sheds new light on the genetic components of academic performance during middle and high school, and on the interplay of specific genes and environmental factors such as peer behavior or school conditions. "We believe that dopaminergic genes affect GPA because they have previously been linked to factors associated with academic performance, including adolescent delinquency, working memory, intelligence and cognitive abilities, and ADHD, among others," Beaver said. "So, the genetic effect would operate indirectly via these other correlates to GPA and school performance." To read more, click here

Are Boys Really the Weaker Sex?

My four-year-old son starts school next week, and is already fizzing with excitement. But if recent gloomy reports are to be believed, the lot of a British schoolboy is fated to be one of slowly shrinking self-belief. Last week it was revealed that almost three out of 10 primary schools are now staffed exclusively by women. It also emerged that, by the age of four, little girls generally hold the opinion that they are cleverer, more successful and harder-working than boys. By the age of seven or eight, the downtrodden boys are inclined to agree. We are wont to wring our hands at this, foreseeing a generation of boys set adrift on a sea of unsympathetic femininity, glumly squandering chances while their smarter sisters sashay past to grab all the prizes. But before the mothers of sons march upon Whitehall, it is worth remembering that boys have always struggled more vigorously against the restrictions imposed by education. 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:
Lara Nkume       Beth Bartson                    Patrick Crandon
Christie Miller    Heather Shyrer                 Karen Megay -Nespoli
Edil Solis            Sarah Champ                  Catherine Davis 
Ross Jones        Monica Cardarelli
who correctly identified the answer to last week's trivia question: What is the only specific psychological disorder mentioned in the definition of emotional disturbance under the federal law (IDEA)? 



In the 1994 movie, Forrest Gump, what was Forrest Gump's IQ?
If you know the answer, send an email to contactus@naset.org
All answers must be submitted no later than Monday, September 13, 2010 at 12:00 p.m.

Turning Dyslexia Into a Virtue

Kendrick Meek and Francesca Yabraian are two fighters in a vast army that has been waging war against a common foe, for what seems like forever. They don't know each other - he is a Florida congressman now running for a Senate seat; she is a researcher and a computer expert. But they shared a common struggle to learn and accomplish, because they are among the millions of Americans who have been diagnosed with dyslexia, a learning disability in makes it difficult to process letters and words. Dyslexia has been known to lead others to misjudge an individual's true intelligence and ability to learn and accomplish. Indeed, Meek and Yabraian have spoken separately to Florida audiences about their battles - telling stories that are heartbreakingly poignant and strikingly similar. Meek, an African-American Democrat from Miami who was raised in the inner-city community known as Liberty City, tells his story these days as a way of introducing himself as the Democratic candidate for Senate. (He won last week's primary as a long shot, defeating mega-spending billionaire, Jeff Greene. Now he's again a long-shot, facing two powerfully financed opponents: former state House Speaker Marco Rubio, a conservative Republican; and the current governor, Charlie Crist, an ex-Republican who just declared himself an independent.) To read more, click here

New Common Core Tests to Shelve "Modified Achievement Standards

I've been pecking away at an article about the push toward common academic standards and students with disabilities for a little while now, but this tidbit is too interesting to hold on to: Today, Education Secretary Arne Duncan announced the winners of a competition to design tests that will accompany these state standards. In his remarks, he made several direct references to what these new tests may mean for students with learning differences:

This new generation of mathematics and English language arts assessments will cover all students in grades 3 through 8 and be used at least once in high school in every state that chooses to use them. In addition, the [Parternship for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers] consortium will develop optional performance tasks to assess literacy and mathematics knowledge and skills in kindergarten through 2nd grade.

All English language learners and students with disabilities will take the new assessments, with the exception of the 1 percent of students with the most significant cognitive disabilities. Unlike existing assessments, which often retrofit mediocre accommodations into tests, the new assessment systems will be designed, from the start, to accurately assess both English learners and students with disabilities and provide appropriate accommodations. And for the 1 percent of students with the most significant disabilities, states will have funds to develop an alternate assessment as a result of a soon-to-be completed competition. To read more, click here

New Animal Model for Hemophilia A Developed

Researchers at Yale School of Medicine have developed a new animal model for studying hemophilia A, with the goal of eventually treating people with the disorder. Hemophilia A, a hereditary defect that prevents blood from clotting normally, is caused by a variety of mutations in the factor VIII gene. Published online in the Journal of Thrombosis and Haemostasis, the study aimed to provide a better understanding of hemophilia A, according to first author and veterinarian Carmen Jane Booth, assistant professor of comparative medicine, and co-director of Mouse Research Pathology at Yale School of Medicine. Booth and her team studied an inbred colony of rats that lived healthily for many years before spontaneously exhibiting symptoms similar to those of humans with hemophilia A, including hemorrhage, spontaneous bruising, swollen joints, prolonged bleeding from minor wounds and unexplained deaths among pregnant and postpartum rats. To read more, click here

Child's Ordeal Shows Risks of Psychosis Drugs for Young

At 18 months, Kyle Warren started taking a daily antipsychotic drug on the orders of a pediatrician trying to quell the boy's severe temper tantrums. Thus began a troubled toddler's journey from one doctor to another, from one diagnosis to another, involving even more drugs. Autism, bipolar disorder, hyperactivity, insomnia, oppositional defiant disorder. The boy's daily pill regimen multiplied: the antipsychotic Risperdal, the antidepressant Prozac, two sleeping medicines and one for attention-deficit disorder. All by the time he was 3. He was sedated, drooling and overweight from the side effects of the antipsychotic medicine. Although his mother, Brandy Warren, had been at her "wit's end" when she resorted to the drug treatment, she began to worry about Kyle's altered personality. "All I had was a medicated little boy," Ms. Warren said. "I didn't have my son. It's like, you'd look into his eyes and you would just see just blankness." Today, 6-year-old Kyle is in his fourth week of first grade, scoring high marks on his first tests. He is rambunctious and much thinner. Weaned off the drugs through a program affiliated with Tulane University that is aimed at helping low-income families whose children have mental health problems, Kyle now laughs easily and teases his family. To read more, click here


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'The Closed Digital Door': State Benefits' Websites Inaccessible to People with Disabilities

A June 22, 2010 report finds that state public benefits agencies are relying more on their websites as a means of providing information to the public, and as a means for applicants to secure Medicaid, food stamps, and cash assistance. However, the report, by the National Center for Law and Economic Justice (NCLEJ)  at www.nclej.org , shows that at least five states - California, Florida, Michigan, New York and Texas - have agency websites with problems that make them inaccessible to people with disabilities who are users of assistive technology, and many websites are difficult for anyone to navigate.  The report, "The Closed Digital Door: State Public Benefits Agencies' Failure to Make Websites Accessible to People with Disabilities and Usable for Everyone," describes barriers to access for people with disabilities when applying for cash and other benefits online, requesting an application, searching the website, or contacting the agency by email. To read more, click here

Did You Know That.....

The 2 primaary purposes of IDEIA 2004 are to provide a free appropriate public education for all students with disabilities and to protect the rights of parents and their children with disabilities in school.

Infants May Display Subtle Autism Signs at 6 Months

Scientists report that they may have detected signs of autism in 6-month-old babies, but it's too early to know if the findings could lead to earlier diagnosis of the condition. Currently, doctors can only diagnose autism in the second year of life or later, Robert T. Schultz, director of the Center for Autism Research at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, explained in an interview. Earlier diagnosis could make a difference for kids because "generally, the feeling in the field is that the earlier the intervention, the better the child's outcome," said Schultz, who was not involved in the study but is familiar with the findings of the new research. The researchers studied 25 babies who had siblings with autism, putting them at higher risk for the disorder, and 25 other babies whose families didn't have a history of autism. The investigators allowed the babies to figure out how to play with a toy while their caregivers sat nearby. The babies at higher risk of autism spent more time fixated on the toy than the other babies and less time looking at their caregivers when the caregivers weren't engaging them. To read more, click here

Opinion: Don't Neglect the Nation's Gifted Students

Here's an educational irony: As students across the state start another school year ready and eager to learn, lawmakers in Washington, D.C., are poised to eliminate the only federal program that supports our most academically promising students. For more than 20 years, the Javits Gifted and Talented Students Education Act has focused on research to assist students who traditionally had been underrepresented in gifted education. This includes students from rural or low-income households, children with disabilities and those for whom English is a second language. Rather than eliminate the program - supported by less than $8 million of the $30 billion K-12 education budget - Congress should use it as the foundation upon which to build a comprehensive strategy to support our most academically and creatively promising students. As the only federal program focused on underserved, high-ability learners, the Javits program impacts students here in Iowa and nationwide by developing model curriculum that can be used by all teachers to meet the special needs of gifted students. Moreover, the program incorporates gifted education strategies into regular classrooms to improve outcomes for all students. To read more, click here

Hasbro-Brown Study Shows More Youngsters Suffering Concussions

The statistic is startling: the number of children ages 8 to 19 who were taken to the emergency room for a sports-related concussion more than doubled from 1997 to 2007. "We were expecting to see big numbers, but not the huge rise," said Dr. Lisa Bakhos, lead author of a study conducted by researchers at Hasbro Children's Hospital and Brown University. The study, published earlier this week in the journal Pediatrics, reports that the increase in the number of reported concussions occurred during a time period when participation by youngsters in the top five organized team sports - football, basketball, baseball, soccer and ice hockey - had declined by 13 percent. Rhode Island Interscholastic League executive director Tom Mezzanotte says he might have been surprised by those results a year or so ago. But not after what he's learned from attending conferences on the subject. And certainly not after listening to athletes like Dylan Mello of Portsmouth or Neal Rooney, a former All-State football player from La Salle, talk about how their lives were adversely affected after suffering concussions. In fact, Mezzanotte would venture to guess that there are even more concussions occurring every year that are unreported or untreated. To read more, click here 



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<font face="Times New Roman,Times,serif" color="#ffffff">Report Documents 60% Taxi Discrimination Against Riders with Disabilities</font>
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A recent report, "No Dogs Allowed; Discrimination by D.C. Taxicabs against People Who Use Service Dogs," uncovered a 60% rate of discrimination against individuals who use service animals when attempting to hail a cab. Released by Equal Rights Center (ERC), the Washington Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights and Urban Affairs, and Hogan Lovells US LLP, the report investigations were spurred after the ERC received numerous complaints from ERC members and collaborative partners who use service dogs and had experienced refusals of service by D.C. taxi cabs. When discussing the discrimination, Charles Crawford, an ERC member who is blind stated, "While being denied cab service is sufficiently annoying in itself; these instances further demean the guide dog user; they are both hurtful and an insult to those of us who must rely upon the loving assistance of our dogs to travel independently." To read more, click here

New Arizona Law: Future 3rd-graders to Have to Read to Pass Grade

The 25 children in Jenny Willman's class at Navarrete Elementary School in Chandler are like most kindergartners: fidgety, rambunctious and quick to blurt out answers.
But they also are different in a crucial way: Starting in 2013-14, the Navarrete students - along with every other third-grader in Arizona - must prove that they are reading proficiently. If they fail, they will not be allowed to advance to fourth grade. The new high-stakes reading mandate, House Bill 2732, was modeled after a Florida law that went into effect in 2002. Indiana has a similar law, and Utah and Massachusetts have set statewide goals of reading proficiently by third grade. "Move on when reading" is becoming a national priority because research shows that students who fail to learn to read by third grade struggle to learn the rest of their academic careers, according to Strategies for Children Inc., an advocacy group in Boston. To read more, click here

Children Who Eat Vended Snack Foods Face Chronic Health Problems, Poor Diet, Study Finds

School children who consume foods purchased in vending machines are more likely to develop poor diet quality -- and that may be associated with being overweight, obese or at risk for chronic health problems such as diabetes and coronary artery disease, according to research from the University of Michigan Medical School. The study also looked at foods sold in school stores, snack bars and other related sales that compete with USDA lunch program offerings and found that these pose the same health and diet risks in school-aged children. "The foods that children are exposed to early on in life influence the pattern for their eating habits as adults," says lead study author Madhuri Kakarala, M.D., Ph.D., clinical lecturer of internal medicine at the U-M Medical School. Previous studies assessing the nutritional value of school lunches and the impact they have on children's overall health have found similar results, but this study is the first to look specifically at competitive foods and beverages -- those sold at snack bars or vending machines, rather than through the USDA lunch program. To read more, click here

Food for Thought........

Look for the opportunities in the difficulties, not the difficulties in the opportunities.
                       Victor Fiorelli

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