Week in Review - September 3, 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.

NASETNews Team

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New This Week on NASET

Resolving Disputes with ParentsSeries

In the monthly e-Publication, Resolving Disputes with Parents Series you'll find authoritative information about critical aspects of resolving conflicts under IDEA. 

Informal Approaches to Resolution

In all cases where the family and school disagree, it is important for both sides to first discuss their concerns and try to compromise. There are several less formal ways in which parents and school staff might attempt to work out disagreements regarding a child's special education program. The first of these is to review the child's IEP. A second is to hold a facilitated IEP meeting.

To read or download this issue - Click here 


NASET Special Educator e-Journal

September 2010

In this Issue:

  • Update from the U.S. Department Education
  • Calls to Participate
  • Update From The National Dissemination Center for Children with Disabilities
  • Special Education Resources
  • Upcoming Conferences, Workshops, and Events
  • Funding Forecast and Award Opportunities
  • Acknowledgements 

To read or download this issue - Click here

Quick Links To NASET

NASET Executive Director Questions Teachers Getting Crash Course on Special Education

Standing at the front of a darkened room in a Capitol Drive office building in late July, teacher-trainer Betty Menacher clicked through a presentation on a highly technical but essential topic - how to assess students' reading. Her audience was a group of career-switchers who within weeks would be using what they'd learned during the five-week Milwaukee Teacher Education Center crash course to tackle one of education's most difficult challenges: teaching special-education students. Fast forward to Wednesday, the first day of school: Those individuals will join others with no previous teaching experience or traditional training who'll also be teaching in special-education classrooms in Milwaukee Public Schools. Some experts and advocates argue that a few weeks of preparation over the summer - and even less time for teachers who start training in the winter - isn't enough to help individuals, regardless of their passion and motivation, deal with the often profound needs of special-education students. "My view is that you need the extensive training," said Dr. George Giuliani, Executive Director of the National Association of Special Education Teachers. "Even though the need for special-education teachers is there, I am in no way an advocate" of these programs." To read more, click here

Appeals Court Rejects Autism Vaccine Link

A federal appeals court on Friday upheld a ruling that vaccines are not to blame for autism. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit upheld a decision last year by a special vaccine court, which concluded there's little if any evidence to support claims of a vaccine-autism link.

Scientist years ago reached that conclusion, but more than 5,500 families sought compensation through the government's Vaccine Injury Compensation Program. Friday's ruling came in the case of Michelle Cedillo of Yuma, Ariz., who is disabled with autism, inflammatory bowel disease and other disorders that her parents blame on a measles vaccine given at 15 months. In the 2009 ruling Special Master Denise Vowell wrote that the evidence "is weak, contradictory and unpersuasive. Sadly, the petitioners in this litigation have been the victims of bad science conducted to support litigation rather than to advance medical and scientific understanding" of autism. To read more, click here

Some Fake ADHD to Get Meds, Special Treatment

While attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a real and pervasive condition, new research suggests there is a cluster of kids and adults who successfully fake the condition either to get drugs or gain special privileges in school. "People who want to fake ADHD could be able to do a good job of faking on a number of standard clinical instruments that are used to diagnose ADHD," said David Berry, senior author of the report appearing in the current issue of Psychological Assessment. Obviously, health-care professionals need to be concerned, he said, adding that "our evidence suggests [fakers] are pretty good at it if they want to be." "This goes on around the country," confirmed Dr. Ana Campo, an associate professor of clinical psychiatry at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine. "There's an overuse of stimulants around the country [among students] to get any competitive edge. There's blatant misuse. We need to be really careful when we're prescribing medications." To read more, click here


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Nine States and the District of Columbia Win Second Round Race to the Top Grants

U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan announced today that 10 applicants have won grants in the second phase of the Race to the Top competition. Along with Phase 1 winners Delaware and Tennessee, 11 states and the District of Columbia have now been awarded money in the Obama Administration's groundbreaking education reform program that will directly impact 13.6 million students, and 980,000 teachers in 25,000 schools. The 10 winning Phase 2 applications in alphabetical order are: the District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Maryland, Massachusetts, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, and Rhode Island. "These states show what is possible when adults come together to do the right thing for children," said Secretary Arne Duncan. "Every state that applied showed a tremendous amount of leadership and a bold commitment to education reform. The creativity and innovation in each of these applications is breathtaking," Duncan continued. "We set a high bar and these states met the challenge." To read more, click here

U.S. to Freeze New Grants After Stem-Cell Decision

Blindsided by a court ruling blocking federal funding for research involving human embryonic stem cells, the U.S. government plans to freeze all new grants for scientists and impose other restrictions on this burgeoning area of science. The National Institutes of Health said it has abandoned its planned review of 50 new grant applications, and will not proceed with a second-level review of about a dozen applications valued at $15 million to $20 million. Also frozen is a planned review in September of another 22 grant applications totaling $54 million. The preliminary injunction against federal funding for the research was issued last Monday by Judge Royce Lamberth of U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C. The judge said that federal funding violated a 1996 law prohibiting federal money for research in which an embryo was destroyed. To read more, click here

Arlington School Helping Special Needs Students

There's an Arlington school that has 10 times the number of students attending than just a few years ago. The increase still means there are fewer than 50 students in the Green Oaks School, but they're in an environment that's in growing demand. Eleven years ago, three moms whose kids all have Down syndrome, found their children's education was lacking. "We were griping about how our kids' needs were not being met in their public school and how much time they were wasting," explained mother and school co-founder Kim Marshall. "And we got this great idea that we could do better ourselves." The women started a school with a curriculum that focuses on basic skills, like reading and writing.  Each child gets a one-on-one lesson based on ability, not just age. To read more, click here

Did You Know That.....

Federal law (IDEA) requires that, at the request of the parent, public education agencies provide parents with information concerning where they can get an Independent Educational Evaluation done for their child, including a list of qualified examiners.

Child Abuse Declines Nationally in U.S. in Spite of Economic Deterioration, Study Finds

Child abuse declined nationally in the United States in 2008 compared to 2007, according to a new report by the Crimes against Children Research Center at the University of New Hampshire. Sexual abuse declined 6 percent, physical abuse 3 percent and neglect 2 percent. The report also found that child maltreatment fatalities stayed stable from 2007 to 2008. These trends are noteworthy, according to the report's authors, because 2008 marked the first full year of the current recession, and economic downturns are generally thought to be associated with increased family stress and child maltreatment. "This is good news, but we need to be very cautious," said lead author David Finkelhor, director of the center and professor of sociology. "It could be that discouragement and despair in families about their deteriorating economic situation take longer than a year to show their effects." To read more, click here

Sad Mothers Have Small Babies, Rural Bangladesh Study Finds

Clinical depression and anxiety during pregnancy results in smaller babies that are more likely to die in infancy, according to new research published in the open access journal BMC Public Health. The study, which focused on women living in rural Bangladesh, provides the first finding of its kind in a non-Western population. The research indicates that mental health issues are likely to be a primary contributor to infant mortality and poor child health, above poverty, malnutrition or low socio-economic status. A collaboration between researchers at the Karolinska Instituet in Sweden and the Bangladesh Rural Advancement Committee (BRAC) assessed the mental health of 720 women in the third trimester of pregnancy from two rural sub-districts of Bangladesh for symptoms of antepartum depression (Edinburgh Postpartum Depression Scale) and antepartum anxiety (State Trait Anxiety Inventory) and followed them until 6-8 months postpartum. 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:

Dr. Kathy Pluymert    Ross Jones    Kim Riley                               Rajasri Govindaraju  Christie Miller  Heather Driggs                        Edil Solis               Catherine Cardenas      Donna Yap
who correctly identified the answer to last week's trivia question: When discussing Response to Intervention (RtI), what is the term that means, "the delivery of instruction in the way in which it was designed to be delivered"? ANSWER:  FIDELITY or FIDELITY OF IMPLEMENTATION


What is the only specific psychological disorder mentioned in the definition of emotional disturbance under the federal law (IDEA)?
If you know the answer, send an email to contactus@naset.org
All answers must be submitted no later than Monday, September 6, 2010 at 12:00 p.m.

Gifted Children and Social Skills

How many parents of gifted children are told that their children have social skills deficits? I suggest, quite a few. But, do they really? Let's put things in context here. The average child, by definition, has an IQ of one hundred.  The IQ of ninety-five percent of children falls between seventy and one hundred and thirty. A child with an IQ of 70 or below is considered to have a learning disability. By the simplest and most common definition, a gifted child has an IQ of 130+. 

Consider, for one moment, a school specially set up to teach children whose IQ falls below seventy. In a school for the intellectually disabled, everything would go at a pace to suit the slow learner and content would be kept relatively simple. Now imagine that an average child, with an IQ of one hundred, ends up in this school. They are eight years old, so they must join the class for eight year olds. Would you expect this child to be a model student who would sit still and engage enthusiastically with the classwork and their classmates. Would you expect them to make lots of friends with whom they were keen to socialize outside school? To read more, click here

Opinion: Motivating Kids to Read is Key to Literacy Success

When the Sudanese refugees known as the "Lost Boys" were being resettled in America, educators here were thrilled to find that many of the young men were good readers. That point nags at me every time I see another report about the dismal reading levels of many U.S. students.  These Sudanese youths witnessed atrocities, endured homelessness and learned letters by scratching them into the dirt in refugee camps. How did they get better reading skills than U.S. kids who, if nothing else, have the benefit of consistent schooling? For Connie Campbell, the contrast poses no mystery. "They were motivated," she said. "When they were in the refugee camps they focused on life goals and the tools they needed for their future." To read more, click here

New Orleans Schools Seize Post-Katrina Momentum: Special Education Drawing Attention

As public schools open all over the city this month, you don't have to look far for signs of how the education landscape here has changed since Hurricane Katrina struck five years ago.
There's the towering billboard visible from Interstate 10 near the Superdome urging families to enroll at Sophie B. Wright Charter School, just one example of the dominant place charters now fill in New Orleans' mix of schools. There are the arrays of portable classrooms that still serve as homes for some schools awaiting permanent facilities. And there are the many new faces of educators who have come from all over the country to a city where an unprecedented, state-led effort has been under way to reinvent public education after the devastating storm and the mass exodus of students it caused. To read more, click here

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Ski Safety Legislation Hits Governor's Desk to Protect Children from Traumatic Brain Injuries

On a bipartisan 22-11 vote, the California Senate sent Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger (R-Los Angeles) legislation to safeguard children who enjoy California´s alpine sports: skiing and snowboarding. SB 880, authored by Senator Leland Yee (D-San Francisco), would require all children under age 18 to wear helmets while skiing and snowboarding. The bill would also require resorts to post signs about the law on trail maps, websites, and other locations throughout the property. Following the lead of California´s bicycle helmet law, SB 880 would impose a fine of not more than $25 on the parents of a child who fails to wear a helmet while skiing or snowboarding. In addressing ski safety, Senator Yee is teaming up with Assemblyman Dave Jones (D-Sacramento) who is authoring AB 1652, which would require ski resorts to develop and publish safety plans as well as submit a report to Cal-OSHA after any fatality occurring at the resort. AB 1652 was also approved by the Assembly on a 51-22 vote and will also be heading to the Governor´s desk. To read more, click here

Court: Mental Disability Not a Death Sentence

Pennsylvania's Supreme Court has ruled against family members who wanted to end the life of a man with mental disabilities.  The court ruled that state law requires life-preserving treatment for people who are not near death and have not refused treatment. Randall Wenger of the Independence Law Center and an allied attorney with the Alliance Defense Fund (ADF) tells OneNewsNow the court stood with 53-year-old David Hockenberry, who has had acute mental disabilities since birth. "His guardians -- his parents -- decided that they wanted to withhold medical treatment for him when he had pneumonia," Wenger explains. "They went to the courts to try to get the medical treatment stopped because basically they thought he'd be better off dying from pneumonia than being treated for pneumonia." The trial court disagreed, so Hockenberry was treated and recovered from the illness within a few weeks. However, his parents appealed the decision to the state Supreme Court in order to deny medical treatment in the future. To read more, click here

Did You Know That.....

If a parent requests and Independent Educational Evaluation, the public agency may ask the parent the reasons he or she objects to the public evaluation.  The parent is not required to give reasons.

More Induction, Less-Intense Professional Development for Teachers, Report Finds

Most beginning teachers now appear to be receiving induction services, but teachers overall are spending less time in some kinds of sustained professional development activities than just a few years ago, according to a new analysis of federal data. Released by the National Staff Development Council, a membership group supportive of school-based teacher training, the report was penned by three researchers at the Stanford Center for Opportunity Policy in Education. It is the second of a three-part research study on professional development. The study draws on data from the 2000, 2004, and 2008 administrations of the federal Schools and Staffing Survey, a nationally representative data set. As of 2008, the scholars found that 78 percent of beginning teachers report having had a mentor, though not always in the teacher's content area. That's a big leap from 71 percent of teachers in 2004 and just 62 percent in 2000.
To read more, click here

APC Protein Connected to Autism and Mental Retardation

New findings are taking researchers and scientists one step closer to a better understanding of autism and mental retardation, the causes of which have long been the subject of intense study. A study completed by neuroscientists at Tufts University School of Medicine (TUSM) and Sackler School of Graduate Biomedical Sciences at Tufts suggests that the causes of these disorders may rest with the dysfunction of a protein called adenomatous polyposis coli (APC), an important element that ffects the synapse's ability to mature. A key player in the body's nervous system, the synapse provides a gateway for neurons to quickly pass important signals to other cells and is essential for neurons to function properly. To read more, click here





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Smoking Can Increase Depressive Symptoms in Teens, Study Finds

While some teenagers may puff on cigarettes to 'self-medicate' against the blues, scientists at the University of Toronto and the University of Montreal have found that smoking may actually increase depressive symptoms in some adolescents. Published in the journal Addictive Behaviors, the findings are part of the long-term Nicotine Dependence in Teens (NDIT) study based at the University of Montreal Hospital Research Centre. "This observational study is one of the few to examine the perceived emotional benefits of smoking among adolescents," says lead author Michael Chaiton, a research associate at the Ontario Tobacco Research Unit of the University of Toronto. "Although cigarettes may appear to have self-medicating effects or to improve mood, in the long term we found teens who started to smoke reported higher depressive symptoms." To read more, click here

Board Certification in Special Education Available to NASET Members

Through an agreement with The American Academy of Special Education Professionals (AASEP), NASETmembers 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

Problems with the Use of Student Test Scores to Evaluate Teachers Hotlist

If new laws or policies specifically require that teachers be fired if their students' test scores do not rise by a certain amount, then more teachers might well be terminated than is now the case. But there is not strong evidence to indicate either that the departing teachers would actually be the weakest teachers, or that the departing teachers would be replaced by more effective ones. There is also little or no evidence for the claim that teachers will be more motivated to improve student learning if teachers are evaluated or monetarily rewarded for student test score gains.
That is a quote from the Executive Summary of one of the most important policy briefs about education in recent years.  At a time when the Dept. of Education is pushing to tie teacher evaluation and compensation to student test scores, this Economic Policy Institute Briefing Paper (whose title is the same as this diary, and which is a pdf), pulls together the extensive relevant research that demonstrates the dangers of pursuing such a path.  To read more, click here

Agencies Employ 2.9 Percent of People with Disabilities

The federal government employs about 2.9 percent of all people with disabilities. The Labor Department's Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) found that agencies employ 3.2 percent of all men with disabilities, and 2.7 percent of all women, who are considered disabled. These numbers are little bit more than the total percentage of non-disabled people across the country who work for the government. BLS issued its 2009 report on labor force characteristics about persons with disabilities. BLS found that the federal government employs about 2.6 percent of all employees without disabilities in the country. And when BLS breaks down by the employee's gender, the percentage of employees without disabilities is lower. BLS states of all employees without disabilities 2.7 percent of men and 2.4 percent of women are federal workers. To read more, click here

Did You Know That....

A parent is entitled to only one publicly funded Independent Educational Evaluation for each time a local education agency evaluation is conducted over which there is disagreement.

Study: Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Works For Adult ADHD

Adults with attention-deficit/hyperactive disorder (ADHD) are showing greater improvement when receiving individual sessions of cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) in addition to their monthly medication. "Approximately 4.4 percent of adults in the United States with ADHD, which is a disorder characterized by impairing levels of inattention, hyperactivity, and impulsivity. Medications have been the primary treatment; however, many adults with ADHD cannot or will not take medications while others show a poor medication response.  Furthermore, those considered responders to medications (i.e., 30 percent symptom reduction) may continue to experience significant and impairing symptoms.  Thus there is a need for alternative and next-step strategies," study authors were quoted as saying.  To read more, click here

Seeing the World With New Eyes: Biosynthetic Corneas Restore Vision in Humans

A new study from researchers in Canada and Sweden has shown that biosynthetic corneas can help regenerate and repair damaged eye tissue and improve vision in humans. The results, from an early phase clinical trial with 10 patients, are published in the August 25th, 2010 issue of Science Translational Medicine. "This study is important because it is the first to show that an artificially fabricated cornea can integrate with the human eye and stimulate regeneration," said senior author Dr. May Griffith of the Ottawa Hospital Research Institute, the University of Ottawa and Linköping University. "With further research, this approach could help restore sight to millions of people who are waiting for a donated human cornea for transplantation." To read more, click here

New Orleans' Rising Charter Schools

There were six schools in New Orlean's lower ninth ward before the area was wiped out by Hurricane Katrina, but the Dr Martin Luther King Jr Charter school is the only one that has re-opened. The school made a quick recovery because its staff made a crucial strategic decision to become a charter school - partially funded by the state, as well as private corporations and non-governmental organisations - but they are not bound to the same rules and regulations as traditional schools. Before Hurricane Katrina, just two per cent of schools in New Orleans were charters. By next year, it will be closer to 70 per cent.To watch the video, click here

Food for Thought........

Be the change you want to see in the world.
                                                              Mahatma Gandhi

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