Week in Review - September 24, 2010


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

Dear NASET Members:

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.

NASET News Team  

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New This Week on NASET

Discipline of Students in SpecialEducation 

Part 2 of 9

School Authority in Special Circumstances

In addition to the general authority of school personnel to remove a student with disabilities from his or her current placement in disciplinary situations, school personnel also have the authority to remove a student with disabilities for what's known as "special circumstances." These circumstances apply to a child with a disability:

  • who carries a weapon to or possesses a weapon at school, on school premises, or at a school function
  • who knowingly possesses or uses illegal drugs, or sells or solicits the sale of a controlled substance, at school, on school premises, or at a school function
  • who has inflicted serious bodily injury upon another person while at school, on school premises, or at a school function under the jurisdiction of a State educational agency (SEA) or a local educational agency (LEA).  [§300.530(g)]

In any of these circumstances, school personnel may remove a student to an interim alternative educational setting (IAES) for not more than 45 school days without regard to whether the behavior is determined to be a manifestation of the child's disability. The focus of this issue of NASET's Discipline of Students  in Special Education series will be to address the authority that school personnel have to remove a student with a disability whose violation of the student code of conduct involves any of these three factors.

To read or download this issue - Click here    

Genetics and Special Education

Genetic components presented in this issue:

  • Duane Syndrome
    To read or download this issue - Click here 

    PowerPoint Presentation

    Early Intervening Services and Response to Intervention

    In this Presentation:

    Early Intervening Services and Response to Intervention is a great way to learn about and train others on these two new elements in IDEA. Early Intervening Services (EIS) are for K-12 students with academic or behavioral difficulties who are not yet identified as having a disability. Response to Intervention (RTI) is a new approach to identifying whether a student has a specific learning disability.
    To review or download this presentation - Click here - (Login and go to the Learning Disabilities area to find this presentation)  
  •  Phenylketonuria (PKU) 

Quick Links To NASET

  • Forgot your User Name or Passord? - Click Here

  • Update/Manage Your Member Profile - Click Here (login required)

White Americans Living Longer With Muscular Dystrophy Than African-Americans

A new study shows that white men and boys are living longer with muscular dystrophy due to technological advances in recent years, but that the lives of African-American men and boys with muscular dystrophy have not been extended at the same rate. The research will be published in the September 14, 2010, issue of Neurology®, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology. Muscular dystrophy is a group of inherited muscle diseases that often lead to early death due to respiratory or heart failure."More research is needed to determine the causes of this difference between whites and African-Americans with muscular dystrophy so it can be addressed," said study author Aileen Kenneson, PhD, who conducted the study while with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. "Possible contributing factors could be differences in the types of muscular dystrophy, environmental or genetic factors, other health conditions such as high blood pressure, individual social and economic factors or access to and use of treatment options." To read more, click here

Moving Out of State to Get Treatment for Autism

Before Wendy Radcliff agreed to marry Scott Finn, she made it clear they would have to live in her home state of West Virginia. Politically active, Radcliff loved West Virginia and wanted to spend her life there, helping to make it a better place. The couple married, had a son, Max, and built their life together in Radcliff's hometown of Charleston. Then, just before his second birthday, Max was diagnosed with autism. Radcliff had insurance -- good insurance, she says -- through West Virginia's Public Employees Insurance Agency, which she received through her work for the state. But although PEIA paid for the autism diagnosis, it would not pay for the prescribed treatment -- applied behavior analysis, or ABA. There are a similar models that go by different names, but ABA is by far the best-known...."In West Virginia, because insurance will not cover ABA, it's very difficult to find people that know and are trained in how to do ABA -- they're just not available and around because of that," says Radcliff. They cobbled together a few hours a week of basic ABA therapy, sometimes administered by inexperienced, overwhelmed or noncertified therapists. At one point, desperate for help, Radcliff even had her brother trained to administer a few hours a week of basic ABA therapy, she says. To read more, click here


Traumatic Brain Injuries on the Rise in Youth Basketball

New data pulled from the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System suggests that minor injuries are common among youth basketball players, but serious injuries are becoming more common. The data was collected from roughly 4 million basketball players between the ages of 5 and 19 who sustained injuries from 1997 to 2007. Researchers found the roughly 24 percent of all basketball injuries were ankle injuries and 30 percent were lower body injuries. While ankle sprains and strains were no surprise to researchers, a marked increase in traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) was a cause for concern. These major traumas made up only 2.6 percent of all injuries reported, but this number has increased steadily from 7,030 in 1997 to 11,948 in 2007, a 70 percent increase. To read more, click here

Did You Know That.....

One of the many challenges facing special education today is bridging the research-to-practice gap (Heward, 2009).

D.C. School Chief Rhee's Next Move Probably Toward the Door

Their long-awaited meeting is set for next week. But when Schools Chancellor Michelle A. Rhee and mayor-apparent Vincent C. Gray do finally sit down, it is increasingly likely that the discussion will focus on the terms of her disengagement from the D.C. school system rather than how she might stay. Rhee moved her departure closer to certainty Wednesday night with comments to an A-list audience at the Newseum after the red-carpet premiere of "Waiting for 'Superman,'" the documentary that casts her as a tart-tongued heroine of the national education reform movement. At a panel discussion that followed the film, Rhee portrayed Gray's Democratic primary victory over Mayor Adrian M. Fenty on Tuesday as a catastrophe. "Yesterday's election results were devastating, devastating," Rhee said. "Not for me, because I'll be fine, and not even for Fenty, because he'll be fine, but devastating for the schoolchildren of Washington, D.C." To read more, click here

Children With Autism Improve Key Thinking Skills Over Time

Children with autism think differently, and that thinking changes over time-for the better. That first statement might not seem like news: Of course their brains are different, they have autism! But children with autism do improve their thinking skills over time, according to new research. That's encouraging, particularly because most research has focused on whether communication skills and behavior can change, rather than on cognitive skills. Thinking problems typical of autism include difficulties predicting other people's behavior based on their thoughts and feelings (known as theory of mind), and in problem-solving and planning (executive function). Children with autism also are often better than children without autism at focusing on tiny details, like a pattern in a carpet, or small parts of Legos. Previous research hasn't found much change in these cognitive skills, even though children with autism spectrum disorders (ASDs) can show big improvements in behavior, especially with intensive behavioral therapies. To read more, click here

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People with Mental Disabilities Most Vulnerable to Crime

Three out of four people with mental health conditions in low- and middle-income countries do not have access to needed mental health treatment. Even in high-income countries, this figure is relatively high at 35-50 percent, according to a WHO study. People with severe mental health conditions also are less likely to receive treatment for physical health conditions. People with schizophrenia are 40 per cent less likely to be hospitalised for ischaemic heart disease, compared with people without mental health conditions who suffer from the same heart problem. Case reports indicate that in many low- and middle-income countries, people in psychiatric hospitals lack access to basic health care including general health examinations, dental care, vaccines, medications, and treatments for cuts and bed sores. The disturbing findings are from a new World Health Organization (WHO) report on mental health and development. To read more, click here

Opinion: Do Over Two Million Children Really Need Ritalin?

The incidence of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, commonly called ADHD or ADD, has exploded -- a relatively uncommon syndrome has become a household word. Three to seven percent of the children in the United States, over 4 million of them, are being diagnosed with this "disease," and 2.5 million are being treated with Ritalin or some other long-term medication. This is a 1,600 percent increase since the 1970s! It sometimes seems that every time we turn around, another child has been diagnosed with ADHD and placed on pharmaceutical medication, which the child is expected to take throughout childhood and even for life. Worse yet, there is very little solid research concerning the long-term benefits or side effects of these medicines. What is going on here? Have millions of our children become so hyperactive and unable to focus that they are incapable of succeeding at school or dealing with the demands of normal life? Or are we creating an illness where there is none, calling normal variations in temperament and personality a "disease" that requires the intervention of long term, and extremely profitable, pharmaceutical medication? To read more, click here 

In Great Britain, Special Needs Education 'Has Been Abused'

Baroness Warnock - the architect of the modern system of special needs education in England - calls for a major public inquiry to be launched into the way pupils with learning problems are taught. Writing in The Daily Telegraph, she says the current structure allows schools to "slither out of their responsibility" to teach the three Rs and impose decent standards of behaviour. The comments come days after Ofsted warned that hundreds of thousands of children were wrongly being diagnosed as having special needs to disguise poor teaching. Inspectors said many of the 1.7m pupils with behavioural, communication and learning difficulties were "no different" to other children, suggesting that schools were encouraged to label them to win extra funding and climb league tables. 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:
Ross Jones
Christie Miller 
Evi Gounelas

who correctly identified the answer to last week's trivia question: According to the latest information just released from the U.S. Department of Education, Learning Disabilities remains the most common of the 13 classifications of children with disabilities receiving special education. Which disability is the LEAST prevalent?  ANSWER:  Deaf-Blindness 


Congenital malformations of the brain, spinal cord, or vertebrae are known as neural tube defects.  The most common neural tube defect is a condition in which the vertebrae does not enclose the spinal cord (Heward, 2009).  What is the name of the most common neural tube defect?
If you know the answer, send an email tocontactus@naset.org
All answers must be submitted no later than Monday, September 27, 2010 at 12:00 p.m.

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Asthma and Cavities Both Common in Kids but Not Linked, Study Finds

There is no apparent link between asthma and tooth decay, according to a study published in the September 2010 issue of the Journal of the American Dental Association. The study examined the 27 separate studies which looked for a link between asthma and cavities that were reported in 29 papers published between 1976 and March 2010. "The notion that there is a link between asthma and tooth decay may have its origin in anecdotal statements by emergency room workers who see children with poorly managed asthma. These children could also be more likely to have poorly managed dental conditions, and therefore tooth decay. It's reasonable to believe that poor clinical management may be associated with both conditions, not the asthma that is causing the cavities," said Gerardo Maupomé, B.D.S., M.Sc., Ph.D., professor of preventive and community dentistry at the Indiana University School of Dentistry and a Regenstrief Institute affiliated scientist, who is the first author of the new JADA study. To read more, click here

Children Under Four and Children With Autism Don't Yawn Contagiously

If someone near you yawns, do you yawn, too? About half of adults yawn after someone else does in a phenomenon called contagious yawning. Now a new study has found that most children aren't susceptible to contagious yawning until they're about 4 years old -- and that children with autism are less likely to yawn contagiously than others. The study, conducted by researchers at the University of Connecticut, appears in the September/October 2010 issue of the journal Child Development. To determine the extent to which children at various stages of social development are likely to yawn contagiously, the researchers studied 120 typically developing 1- to 6-year-olds. Although babies begin to yawn spontaneously even before they leave the womb, most of the children in this study didn't show signs of contagious yawning until they were 4. To read more, click here

Sniffing to Control Assistive Technology

A unique device based on sniffing - inhaling and exhaling through the nose - might enable numerous people with disabilities to navigate wheelchairs or communicate with their loved ones. Sniffing technology might even be used in the future to create a sort of 'third hand,' to assist healthy surgeons or pilots. Developed by Professor Noam Sobel, electronics engineers Dr. Anton Plotkin and Aharon Weissbrod and research student Lee Sela in the Weizmann Institute's Neurobiology Department, the new system identifies changes in air pressure inside the nostrils and translates these into electrical signals. The device was tested on healthy volunteers as well as quadriplegics, and the results showed that the method is easily mastered. Users were able to navigate a wheelchair around a complex path or play a computer game with nearly the speed and accuracy of a mouse or joystick. To read more, click here

Did You Know That....

One of the many challenges facing special education today is making early intervention programs more available to infants, toddlers and preschoolers who have disabilities or who are at-risk for developing them (Heward, 2009).

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

Children's Brain Development Is Linked to Physical Fitness, Research Finds

Researchers have found an association between physical fitness and the brain in 9- and 10-year-old children: Those who are more fit tend to have a bigger hippocampus and perform better on a test of memory than their less-fit peers. The new study, which used magnetic resonance imaging to measure the relative size of specific structures in the brains of 49 child subjects, appears in the journal Brain Research. "This is the first study I know of that has used MRI measures to look at differences in brain between kids who are fit and kids who aren't fit," said University of Illinois psychology professor and Beckman Institute director Art Kramer, who led the study with doctoral student Laura Chaddock and kinesiology and community health professor Charles Hillman. "Beyond that, it relates those measures of brain structure to cognition." To read more, click here

Standing Up for Special Kids: Special Needs PTA Working to Give Classrooms Resources They Can't Afford

Social worker Sebastian Oros has seen his students benefit from the efforts of the Indian Prairie Special Needs PTA. Using video equipment he purchased with a grant from the PTA, he has been able to teach students through video self-modeling. Students who have a social concern are recording performing the task correctly. Later, the student will watch the video of himself or herself, and then actually repeat the action afterwards. "There's nothing more profound really than watching yourself do something appropriately and trying to emulate it afterwards," Oros said. If a student is having difficulty transitioning from the classroom to the gym, Oros could use the flip camera to record the student performing the task appropriately. Then, he can send an e-mail of the video to the classroom teacher, who can show it to the student before he or she leaves for the gym. Oros can also create copies of the video to give parents a DVD with their child performing the social skills correctly so they can reinforce the skills at home, he said. If the student is going to a birthday party but has difficulty saying hello to peers, she or he can watch the DVD of himself or herself performing the task on the way there. To read more, click here

Haunted 'Asylum' At Site Of Former Institution Has Disability Advocates Cringing

Disability advocates are speaking out against a planned haunted house on the site of a former state institution for those with disabilities. The Halloween attraction dubbed the "Pennhurst Asylum" is expected to open Sept. 24 on the site of the former Pennhurst State School and Hospital outside of Philadelphia. The facility housed individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities for nearly 80 years before closing in 1987 after a lawsuit alleging neglect and abuse. "Not only does this place have an incredible ambiance, a built-in cult following and a treasure trove of unique props, it has a history; a history riddled with accusations of torture, abuse and neglect. A history of mental patients chained to the walls in dark tunnels, children left for years in cribs, sexual abuse by the staff and even murder. All this happened behind the walls of Pennhurst State School," reads information on a website promoting the haunted house. The plans are leaving advocacy groups none too pleased, charging that haunted house organizers are cashing in on stereotypes about individuals with disabilities and disrespecting those who lived at the facility. To read more, click here

Living with ADHD is Not Child's Play

Five percent of adults have attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and 90% of them are not diagnosed or aware of it. So the question is: Where have adults with ADHD been hiding? Dr Shabeer Jeeva, a specialist psychiatrist with expertise in ADHD, says adults with ADHD can be school dropouts, unemployed or under-achievers, compulsive gamblers, fast drivers, in the prison system, on substance abuse programmes or in marital therapy clinics. Antisocial disorder, depression, bipolar behaviour, anxiety and substance abuse often present as the underlying disorders of ADHD. These additional disorders are called "co-morbidity" and are common for those with ADHD as 84% develop it in adulthood. Up to 91% of it is genetic, says Jeeva. Recent studies show alcohol and cigarette exposure during pregnancy could also result in ADHD in children. Jeeva was diagnosed with the condition only at the age of 26: "I was very bright and always first in class, so there seemed no need to treat me," Jeeva says. "But I couldn't write an essay and I hated history." It was when he was practising as a child psychologist in Canada that he realised he could relate to the children with ADHD and, in fact, had the same symptoms. Jeeva trained in Boston under Dr Edward Hallowell who is considered one of the foremost experts on the topic. "Many people still think children outgrow it, but they don't," Jeeva says. To read more, click here

Did You Know That.....

One of the many challenges facing special education today is improving the ability of young adults with disabilities to make a successful transition from school to community life (Heward, 2009).

District's New Multi-Disabled Program Lauded

The New Jersey district of Bloomigdale's new multi-disabled program made its debut at the start of the new school year and has drawn rave reviews. At its Sept. 7 meeting, the school board praised the administration for its work in connection with establishing the new multi-disabled class. School officials indicated that there is a positive buzz circulating about the new program. Specifically, Superintendent of Schools Dr. Fredda Rosenberg and Supervisor of Special Services Cheryl Mallen received kudos for the tremendous amount of work they did to get the program up and running. When Rosenberg delivered her superintendent's report at the start of the meeting, she said, "Opening day went off without a hitch. Even our new multi-disabled program went very well." Board member Karen Peterson said she heard that the new multi-disabled program got off to a wonderful start. Peterson said she has also heard people praise the new teacher hired for the program. To read more, click here

Opinion: Social Obstacles are the Real Obstacles for Individuals with Disabilities

Reading obituaries, I am usually struck by a recurring narrative which often appears when high-profile people with disabilities die. Inevitably, the words "overcome" or "courage" crop up, often in the first line of the obituary - as seen in the case of Helen Keller, eulogised in the New York Times as a person who "overcame blindness and deafness" right in the opening line. Christopher Reeve, the attorney Thomas Siporin and the baseball pitcher Mordecai Peter Centennial Brown (known as "three finger" after his disability) are also regularly referred to in those terms. The most recent example was Ian Cameron's death last week, typified in this extract from an article in the Times: "Ian Cameron was determined not to be limited or defined by what he has always refused to call his disability." The term "in spite of their disabilities" is often used to describe successful disabled people, eliding the many factors that contribute to their success. Oddly enough, despite the assurance in the obituary that these individuals refused to be defined by their disabilities, their memorials often have the effect of reducing them, and their accomplishments, to their disabilities: they are role models and heroes because they had full lives while living with disabilities. To read more, click here

Aggressive Children with ADHD May Not Need Antipsychotic Meds

More and more children with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) who act out aggressively are being given antipsychotic drugs in addition to stimulant medications to help control their volatile outbursts. It's a trend that many parents and child mental health professionals find worrisome. However, a new study by researchers at New York's Stony Brook University School of Medicine suggests that, with careful tweaking, use of stimulant medication alone can significantly reduce or eliminate aggressive behavior in at least half of these children."There's a big push in this country to have pediatricians manage these kinds of behavioral difficulties in children because there's such a shortage of child psychiatrists," noted the study's lead author, Joseph C. Blader, an assistant professor of psychiatry at Stony Brook. "I hope our study will embolden more primary care physicians to push the limits of first-line [stimulant] treatment for ADHD before going on to the next thing." To read more, click here

Food for Thought........

Democracy does not guarantee equality, only equality of opportunity. 

                               Irving Kristol   

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