Week in Review - January 14, 2011
|WEEK IN REVIEW
New NASET Publications and Articles of Interest in Special Education and Disabilities That Were Reported This Week
January 14, 2011 - Vol 7, Issue 2
New This Week on NASET
Lesser Known Disorders
Disorders in this issue:
Discipline of Students in Special Education Series
In this issue:
The "default" placement during an appeal is the interim alternative educational setting (IAES). IDEA states that the child must remain in the IAES chosen by the IEP team until the hearing officer makes his or her decision on the appeal-or the time period specified in §300.530(c) or (g) expires, whichever comes first, unless the parent and the SEA or LEA agree otherwise. The focus of this issue of NASET's Discipline of Students with Disabilities' Series addresses a common concern-the child's placement during the appeal process. Where will the child be placed until a decision on the appeal is issued-the original placement from which the child was removed during the disciplinary action, the interim alternative educational setting to which he or she has been removed, or another setting that the parents and the school system agree to?
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Dr. George Giuliani, Executive Director of NASET, Addresses Mentoring Issues for Special Educatiors
While teacher mentoring has become nearly ubiquitous as an education reform, new research suggests state and district mentoring policies may leave gaps in support for special education teachers. Mentoring, in which a new or struggling teacher is matched with an expert instructor for support and training, has won broad support from union leaders to governors; federal school improvement grants even recommend it as an intervention for improving low-performing schools. Nearly all states have a teacher mentoring program of some sort-most as part of induction for new teachers-but some, such as Alabama and Virginia, for any teacher who isn't meeting state teaching standards. Most states require preservice student teaching for special educators, said George A. Giuliani, the executive director of the Washington-based National Association of Special Education Teachers, but he agreed that those teachers often have less access to mentors once they actually begin to teach....Mentors can help general and special education teachers alike, Dr. Giuliani said, if they focus on helping teachers differentiate instruction and use a universal design for learning. Universal design, a term taken from architectural design, involves teaching and classroom space that allow a wide variety of students, including those with disabilities or English-language learners, to access the curriculum. To read more, click here
Shortfall Gives Hope to Disability Rights' Advocates
Disability rights advocates try year after year to persuade lawmakers to close Texas' state-supported living centers, the large, institutional-care settings that the United States Justic Department has monitored for dangerous conditions. Every time, their efforts have been rebuffed - by the adamant parents who rely on the facilities to care for their loved ones and by the lawmakers who count on the centers as economic drivers in their districts. This session, advocates say they have a big plus in their column: the state's giant budget crunch. They hope lawmakers, facing an estimated $15 billion to $28 billion shortfall, will have to shutter some of the centers, which cost Texas $500 million a year to operate. "Does this economic reality make it easier for legislators to do it? I sure hope so," said Amy Mizcles, governmental affairs director for The Arc of Texas, which wants people with disabilities to receive community-based care. "We keep hearing this fiscal-responsibility mantra. We have a real opportunity to provide better quality care in a much less expensive setting." To read more, click here
Majority of Youth with Mental Disorders May Not Be Receiving Sufficient Services
Kathleen Merikangas, Ph.D., of NIMH and colleagues analyzed data from the National Comorbidity Study-Adolescent Supplement (NCS-A), a nationally representative, face-to-face survey of more than 10,000 teens ages 13 to 18. Previously published results found that about 20 percent of youth are affected by a severe mental disorder. For the most recent study, Merikangas and colleagues tracked the rate at which these youth reported having ever received services specifically to treat their disorder. They also were asked to specify what types of services they received and how often they received them. About 36 percent of youth with any lifetime mental disorder received services, and only half of these youth who were severely impaired by their mental disorder received professional mental health treatment. The majority (68 percent) of the children who did receive services had fewer than six visits with a provider over their lifetime. Service use was highest among those with ADHD (60 percent), and behavior disorders like conduct disorder or oppositional defiant disorder (45 percent). Among those with mood disorders such as depression or bipolar disorder, 38 percent received services, and 18 percent of those with an anxiety disorder received services. In addition, 15 percent of those with a substance use disorder received services, and 13 percent of those with an eating disorder received services. Girls were more likely to receive services for anxiety disorders, and boys were more likely to receive services for ADHD. Racial and ethnic minorities were less likely than non-Hispanic whites to receive treatment for any mood or anxiety disorder, and less likely to receive mental health treatment in general than their white counterparts. To read more, click here
British Medical Journal Declares MMR and Autism Study 'Elaborate Fraud'
The BMJ has declared the 1998 Lancet paper that implied a link between the MMR vaccine and autism "an elaborate fraud." Dr Fiona Godlee, BMJ Editor in Chief says "the MMR scare was based not on bad science but on a deliberate fraud" and that such "clear evidence of falsification of data should now close the door on this damaging vaccine scare." She is struck by a comparison between researcher Andrew Wakefield's fraud and Piltdown man, that great paleontological hoax that led people to believe for 40 years that the missing link between man and ape had been found. She also questions the veracity of Wakefield's other publications and calls for an investigation "to decide whether any others should be retracted." A series of three articles starting this week reveal the true extent of the scam behind the scare. The series is based on interviews, documents and data, collected during seven years of inquiries by award-winning investigative journalist Brian Deer. Thanks to the recent publication of the General Medical Council's six million word transcript, the BMJ was able to peer-review and check Deer's findings and confirm extensive falsification in the Lancet paper. To read more, click here
The Impact of Connecticut Governor's Inaugural Revelation about Learning Disabilities
Moments after taking his oath of office, Gov. Dannel P. Malloy mused about the tough road that lies ahead for Connecticut and offered some details about his own life -- being "different" -- because he had learning disabilities and how his parents never let him believe this might limit his future success. Elementary school classrooms in the 1960s when Malloy was growing up were not the inclusive places they are nowadays. A kid with dyslexia (if it was even diagnosed) might expect to be placed in a special class where expectations were a lot lower. Malloy's mom refused such a designation for him. He was a floppy kid, he says, "fairly spastic," with developmental delays that involved both gross motor and fine motor activities. He had coordination issues with his eyes and hands working in concert. And he had a hard time grasping a pencil and writing. With physical therapy both within and outside of school, Malloy caught up with his peers by the end of eighth grade. Reading, however, was always hard. Not because of any lack of intelligence. It's the written word that challenges him. It still does. Malloy has dyslexia. To read more, click here
Did You Know That.....
Until the 1980s, only two individually administered norm-referenced tests were specifically designed to measure overall academic achievement. Those two tests were the Peabody Individual Achievement Test and the Wide Range Achievement Test (Taylor, 2009).
Special Education in Washington D.C.: Who Gets Non Public Placements?
By official estimates, the District sends special education students to private schools at three times the national rate, spending more than a quarter-billion dollars annually on tuition, transportation and legal fees for about 2,300 children. Once the school system, or an independent hearing officer, decides that the city cannot provide the federally mandated "free and appropriate public education" to a student in the least restrictive environment, he or she is entitled to a private placement at public expense. It also turns out that the area of the city with the highest proportion of privately placed special needs students is its most affluent: Ward 3. As of Sept. 30, according to DCPS, 40 percent of Ward 3 special ed students, (119 out of 299) attended private schools. The next highest percentage is in Ward 7, where 27 percent (558 out of 2,074) are served privately. Ward 8 has the lowest proportion at 22 percent (548 of 2,473). To read more, click here
Battle Line Drawn Between Parents of Gifted Children and Children with Special Needs
A new gifted program that separates Grade 1 students into special classes has polarized parents and trustees in Halton region. Parents of gifted children say the program, which is being piloted at Burlington's Charles R. Beaudoin Public School and due to roll out to other schools in September 2011, is "fabulous." But parents of children with learning disabilities, behavioral issues or autism spectrum disorder say the board is giving unfair advantage to gifted children at the expense of their kids. "I think it's creating a two-tier system," says former school board trustee Philippa Ellis, who voted against the new program at a November board meeting. "It's saying that some children's needs are more important or worthy of more service and attention than other children's needs." To read more, click here
In the United Kingdom, New Guidelines Issued on Shaken Baby Syndrome
Head injuries alone are not likely to be enough to charge someone with homicide, attempted murder or assault in cases of so-called shaken baby syndrome, the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) said today. The CPS also urged prosecutors to challenge defense experts who claim the three head injuries generally associated with the syndrome may be explained by a lack of oxygen, infection, or raised intracranial pressure. The guidance updates that issued five years ago following concerns over the evidence of the paediatrician Professor Sir Roy Meadow in the Angela Cannings prosecution and other high profile cases. Karen Squibb-Williams, the senior policy adviser in the CPS's strategy and policy directorate, said: "These are complex and sensitive cases. The guidance makes clear that it is unlikely that a charge for a homicide or attempted murder or assault offence could be justified where the only evidence available is the triad of injuries." To read more, click here
Did You Know That.....
Semantics refers to the meaning of words. The assessment of semantic skills usually involves the measurement of a person's receptive and expressive vocabulary skills (Taylor, 2009).
Too Young to be on Anti-Psychotics?
When Chris and Jennifer Evavold adopted their son Cole as a newborn, they knew he would change their lives, but not this way. The last seven years have been a nightmare. Every morning Cole springs from bed screaming, flailing and sometimes punching anyone near him in the family's home in Buffalo, Minn. Just getting him fed and dressed is a feat. The seven-year-old Cole isn't just rambunctious. He was diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and a mood disorder at just three-and-a-half, and was prescribed medication to regulate his behavior. Since then he has been on an ever-changing cocktail of pills. His impulsiveness and violent language and behavior continue. "It's so hard to get anyone to relate to you," his mother said. "They just can't even fathom how out of control things are. And if you tell him one behavior that he did one day, they'll say, 'My kid did that.' But it's not the one behavior. It's the compounding of all of these things." To read more, click here
Snow is Tough on People with Disabilities
Getting around in snow and ice isn't particularly easy for anyone. But it's especially hard on people with disabilities. If you walk with a cane, or are in a wheelchair, even if you're pushing a baby stroller, a little snow can be a big obstacle. Darren Larson is 28-years-old. He has a good job and an active social life. He also has cerebral palsy. "Just because I have cerebal palsy," Larson says, " doesn't mean that I don't have a life." Darren gets around well with his electric wheelchair. But snow sometimes blocks crosswalk curb cuts. "I either get stranded on the sidewalk," he says, " and get stuck or I have to go down the bike lane path which is dangerous." To read more, click here
Research on Infant Hydrocephalus Linked to Seasonal Changes and Farm Animals in Developing Countries
Hydrocephalus in Ugandan children and other developing countries is seasonal, linked to farm animals and in part, caused by previous bacterial infection, according to an international team of researchers from Uganda and the United States, who believe that the best approach to this problem is prevention. "Hydrocephalus in infants in developing countries is a grand medical mystery," said Steven Schiff, the Brush Chair professor of engineering and director, Penn State Center for Neural Engineering. Hydrocephalus is a build up of the fluid that normally surrounds the brain. The increased pressure causes the head to swell and damages brain tissue. Treatment includes placing a shunt to drain the fluid, but inevitably these shunts become plugged and require emergency care, not always available in rural Africa and other resource-limited regions of the developing world. Surgeons vigorously explore the use of new brain endoscopes to divert fluid buildup internally in such children, but this approach addresses the fluid and does not fix previous infection damage to the brain. To read more, click here
Dog That Helps Boy with Epilepsy Will Get 2-Week Tryout in School
Fairfax County school officials and the family of an epileptic 12-year-old boy have worked out an agreement that will allow him to attend school with his specially trained service dog on a two-week trial basis. Beginning Tuesday at Fort Belvoir Elementary School, Andrew Stevens will have Alaya, a 5-year-old German shepherd who Andrew's parents say is trained to detect and respond to seizures that their son experiences as a symptom of Lennox-Gastaut syndrome, a severe form of epilepsy. The dog carries a magnet in her collar that she can swipe over a surgically implanted vagal nerve stimulator in Andrew's chest. The device sends electric signals to the brain that can ease or stop the seizures. The school system agreed to allow the dog in school on the condition that Andrew's father, Army Sgt. Angelo Stevens, accompany the boy and the Alaya. To read more, click here
TRIVIA QUESTION OF THE WEEK
Guess the answer to this week's trivia question and we'll recognize you in next week's Week in Review.
THIS WEEK'S TRIVIA QUESTION:
When the United States government first mandated Special Education, it promised to pay for 40% of the cost per pupil. What was the percentage of cost paid by the Federal government under the IDEIA 2004 budget?
Congratulations to: Christie Miller, Amanda Motes & Linda W. Stephens
who correctly identified the answer to last week's trivia question: Research suggests that African American males are overrepresented in special education programs, yet they are severely underrepresented in the special education teaching force. Approximately what percentage of the elementary and secondary special education teaching force in the United States is comprised of African American males? ANSWER: African Americans comprise 6.8% and 9.6% of elementary and secondary special education; Overall, representing 2.6% of the special education teaching force.
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To Care for Children and Young Adults with Disabilities, Parents Increasingly Turn to Group Homes
Soon after Scott Goldenberg's birth, his parents began thinking about something that rarely preoccupies the parents of a newborn: What happens to him when we're gone? Their infant son had survived meningitis, only to be left with multiple physical and intellectual problems: cerebral palsy, learning disabilities, limited vision and walking difficulties. When Joe and Zeena Goldenberg tried to enroll Scott in public school, they were told, "We've had kids with all these things, but not all in one child." It was a condition requiring special placement. The Goldenbergs - he, a pediatrician; she, a special education teacher - were especially well equipped to hurdle the roadblocks presented by their son's needs. They began saving for his future. They sought out every available resource in the Creve Coeur, Mo., area, and beyond.... "We would love to keep him at home, but there is no peer group for him, and he was so isolated," Zeena Goldenberg said. "He was a different kid when he was home; he would get frustrated and bored." To read more,click here
Women with Multiple Sclerosis (MS) More Likely to Have MS-Related Gene Than Men
Women who have multiple sclerosis (MS) are more likely to have a gene associated with multiple sclerosis than men with the disease and it is this gene region where environment interacts with the genetics, according to a study published in the January 5, 2011, online issue of Neurology®, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology. Research has shown that the number of people diagnosed with MS has been rising, and the rate has been rising faster for women than for men. The cause of MS is not known, but evidence suggests that it is triggered by environmental factors in people who are genetically susceptible to the disease. The main gene associated with MS is the human leukocyte antigen (HLA) class II gene, but most of the risk comes from interaction of both parental genes. To read more, click here
Did You Know That......
Adaptive Behavior addresses a person's ability to deal effectively with personal and social demands and expectations.
Job Growth Yields Few Gains for People with Disabilities
The economy added 103,000 jobs in December, but that did little to alter the employment situation for workers with disabilities, the Labor Department said Friday. The unemployment rate among Americans with disabilities was 14.3 percent for the last month of 2010, dipping slightly from 14.5 percent in November. This comes as the jobs picture appeared to improve among the general population with unemployment dropping to 9.4 percent, the lowest rate seen in 2010. To read more, click here
Model Predicts a Drug's Likelihood of Causing Birth Defects
When pregnant women need medications, there is often concern about possible effects on the fetus. Although some drugs are clearly recognized to cause birth defects (thalidomide being a notorious example), and others are generally recognized as safe, surprisingly little is known about most drugs' level of risk. Researchers in the Children's Hospital Boston Informatics Program (CHIP) have created a preclinical model for predicting a drug's teratogenicity (tendency to cause fetal malformations) based on characterizing the genes that it targets. The model, described in the March 2011 issue of Reproductive Toxicology (published online in November), used bioinformatics and public databases to profile 619 drugs already assigned to a pregnancy risk class, and whose target genes or proteins are known. For each of the genes targeted, 7426 in all, CHIP investigators Asher Schachter, MD, MMSc, MS, and Isaac Kohane, MD, PhD, crunched databases to identify genes involved in biological processes related to fetal development, looking for telltale search terms like "genesis," "develop," "differentiate" or "growth." To read more, click here
Food For Thought..........
Dreams come true; without that possibility, nature would not incite us to have them.