Week in Review - January 28, 2011


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

January 28, 2011 - Vol 7, Issue 4


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In This Issue

New This Week on NASET

Rhode Island Graduation Regulations Condemned

Parents of Children with Special Needs Threaten Civil Rights Complaint
Panel: How to Improve Special Education
Federal Agencies Team Up to Study Autism Rates in Somali-American
Fears Mount Over Fate of Gifted Programs in Mississippi
Doctors Working to Advance Brain Injury Therapy
Special Education Student's Change of Placement Did Not Trigger Due Process Violations
Ten Tips for Good Advocates
In Australia, Huge Rise in Prescriptions for Children with Hyperactivity
Children with Severe Asthma Experience Premature Loss of Lung Function During Adolescence,
Common Core's Implications for Students with Special Needs
In Ireland, People with Intellectual Disabilities 'Exported' by the State
Virginia Expecting Sharp Criticism Over Care of Individuals with Severe Disabilities

Dear NASET Members

Welcome to NASET's WEEK in REVIEW Here, we provide you with the latest publications from NASET to read and or download, as well as some of the most interesting articles 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

NASET Q & A Corner

Questions and Answers about Legal Requirements for Being a "Parent" Under Federal Law

Perhaps the most important element afforded under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act (IDEIA) is the right to parental participation at almost all stages of the special education process. To increase the odds that each child has a parent in the special education process, IDEIA does define the term "parent" but does so in a broad way.  The focus of this issue of NASET's Q & A Corner is on defining who is a parent and the guidelines mandated under the federal law, IDEIA.

To read or download this issue - Click here  (login required)

Resolving Disputes with ParentsSeries

Part 6 -  The Due Process Hearing, Summarized

There are times when the parties have been unable or unwilling to resolve the dispute themselves, and so they proceed to a due process hearing. There, an impartial, trained hearing officer hears the evidence and issues a hearing decision. This issue of Resolving Disputes with Parents Series provides a summary of the due process hearing. - 

To read or download this issue - Click here  (login required)


Rhode Island Graduation Regulations Condemned: "Devastating" Effects Possible for Children with Special Needs

Groups representing students at risk of not receiving a diploma next year under new state graduation requirements called the proposed regulations "devastating" Monday. At a news conference, leaders of organizations representing minority youth and students with disabilities said the rules would penalize students who have already been denied an adequate education. As many as 5,000 high school students could be at risk of not graduating in June 2012 if their scores on standardized tests are as low as those of previous classes. The groups asked state education officials to reconsider their plan and work with community groups to develop a better solution. According to results from statewide tests in past years, at least 70 percent of black and Hispanic students could be denied a diploma because of poor math scores. Eighty-six percent of special-education students and 94 percent of students who are learning English would similarly be at risk, according to the groups' analysis. To read more, click here

Parents of Children with Special Needs Threaten Civil Rights Complaint

Parents of special education students in Stamford schools are threatening to file a civil rights complaint against the district if Superintendent Joshua Starr's proposed cuts to the programs are passed. "I am promising that I am going to file a formal complaint with the office of civil rights, because (Starr) is asking for all the budgetary cuts to come from special education," said Anne Treimanis, an attorney representing parents special education students. Starr's $232 million budget proposal includes cutting 12 special education teacher positions, as well as five social workers and four speech and language pathologists for a savings of $1.3 million, while leaving the regular education teaching staff untouched. "The cuts are disproportionate," special education attorney Treimanis said during a Wednesday evening meeting between Starr and parents of special education students. To read more, click here

Panel: How to Improve Special Education

As the push for reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) increases, leaders in the field of special education recently debated whether the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) should be reworked to further align with ESEA, and how else the law might be improved to better meet the needs of students with disabilities. "The 2004 Individuals with Disabilities Education Act has changed priorities for special-needs students. It's been credited with improving outcomes for students but criticized for generating bureaucracy and rules and regulations that some believe stand in the way of providing more effective services," said Darrell West, vice president and director of governance studies for the Brookings Institution. West moderated a Jan. 18 panel discussion on how to improve special ed. To read more, click here

Federal Agencies Team Up to  Study Autism Rates in Somali-American Children

The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), along with three other NIH Institutes, will be supporting a joint effort with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Autism Speaks, a private advocacy organization, to investigate reports of elevated prevalence of autism spectrum disorders (ASD) among children born to Somali immigrants living in Minneapolis, Minn. At the October 2010 meeting of the Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee (IACC),  Idil Abdull, a Somali parent and founder of the Somali American Autism Foundation, described the disproportionate numbers of Somali-American children enrolled in preschool ASD special education programs-up to seven times higher than their non-Somali peers, according to a 2009 report by the Minnesota Department of Health. Committee members, which include NIH, CDC, and Autism Speaks, responded immediately by identifying ongoing research that may be expanded to help answer why such a disparity appears to exist, as well as to determine the service needs of children with ASD in Minneapolis and their families. To read more, click here

Fears Mount Over Fate of Gifted Programs in Mississippi

Carol Paola is worried about the future of gifted education in Mississippi. Paola has taught gifted students at Quarles Elementary School in Long Beach for more than 30 years. She is also the Executive Director of the Mississippi Association for Gifted Children. "We focus on critical thinking skills, creativity, developing the ability to stand in front of a group and speak, leadership skills," Paola explained. According to Paola, in years past, state lawmakers designated about $44 million directly to gifted education. The money funded the salaries of more than 900 gifted teachers. However, this school year, that money was lumped into the general education fund, allowing school districts to decide how much money went to gifted programs. Paola said if the state legislature slashes education funding again, the gifted program could lose even more money.  She said the move could affect more than 34,000 gifted students in Mississippi. To read more,click here

Did You Know That....

Broadly speaking, early intervention services are specialized health, educational, and therapeutic services designed to meet the needs of infants and toddlers, from birth through age two, who have a developmental delay or disability, and their families. 

Doctors Working to Advance Brain Injury Therapy

Doctors who treat traumatic brain injuries like those suffered by U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords retrain healthy brain cells to cover the tasks assigned to the ones ripped apart. But what if they could repair or even replace the damaged cells? Scientists hope in the future to be able to do just that. Techniques now in the experimental stage include using antidepressants, stem cells, electrodes or even induced hypothermia to not just prevent brain damage after traumatic injuries, but possibly to restore some of what was lost. To read more, click here

Special Education Student's Change of Placement Did Not Trigger Due Process Violations Against School District

A U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit three-judge panel has ruled that a special education student whose Individualized Education Program (IEP) team changed his placement from the regular high school to an alternative school for 38 days due to misconduct was not deprived of his right to procedural due process  by the school district.  Under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), the district was limited to the procedures governing the IEP team. The panel found that the student's removal from the regular high school for 38 days did constitute a long-term suspension, but did not trigger his constitutional procedural due process protections against the school district, because the school district lacked authority to overrule educational decisions made by the IEP team. Instead, it concluded that the IEP team's decision could only be reviewed in accordance the constitutionally adequate procedural safeguards provided by IDEA. To read more, click here

Ten Tips for Good Advocates

Parents need to understand that the law gives them power to use in educational decisions for their children. Parents should not be afraid to use their power. But, there are better ways to obtain positive results than to roar through IEP meetings in a Mack Truck. In 10 Tips for Good Advocates, Indiana Advocate, Pat Howey's explains how to polish the art of negotiation to a fine finish. To read this article, click here

Did You Know That....

At the discretion of each State, early intervention services can also be provided to children who are considered to be at-risk of developing substantial delays if services are not provided.

Medication Dosing Errors for Infants and Children

Preparing small doses of medication from syringes may be inaccurate and can result in crucial dosing errors for infants and children, according to a study published in CMAJ (Canadian Medical Association Journal). Because babies and young children require small doses of drugs, these are often prepared from stock of less than 0.1 mL which can result in dosing errors and possible adverse events. Medications most commonly requiring small doses include potent narcotics and sedatives such as morphine, lorazepam and fentanyl as well as immunosuppressants. "The safe administration of medications requires formulations that permit accurate preparation and administration," writes Dr. Christopher Parshuram, Department of Paediatrics, The Hospital for Sick Children (SickKids) and Director of Paediatric Patient Safety Research, University of Toronto Centre for Patient Safety, with coauthors. "Current equipment does not permit the accurate measurement of volumes less than 0.1 mL." To read more, click here

In Australia, Huge Rise in Prescriptions for Children with Hyperactivity

The use of stimulant drugs to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is soaring, with data showing prescriptions for some medications grew by 300 per cent over seven years. Prescription of the stimulant drugs rose by 87 per cent between 2002 and 2009, Australian researchers have found. Use of one drug commonly sold as Ritalin, methylphenidate, increased by 300 per cent. The increase was largely driven by prescriptions for male children and teenagers, although there was substantial prescribing of an often-misused form of the drugs, dexamphetamine, to over-25s, the study found. A leading critic of the over-use of psychiatric medication believes the results are worrying. To read more, click here

Children with Severe Asthma Experience Premature Loss of Lung Function During Adolescence, Study Finds

Severe asthma in early childhood may lead to premature loss of lung function during adolescence and more serious disease during adulthood, researchers at Emory University School of Medicine report. Early identification and treatment of children with severe asthma is important to help stem asthma progression. In an article available online in the January issue of the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, Anne M. Fitzpatrick, PhD, and W. Gerald Teague, MD, and colleagues report on their study of how airflow limitation changes throughout childhood and how this affects disease severity later in life. Fitzpatrick is an assistant professor of pediatrics in Emory University School of Medicine. Teague, who was formerly at Emory, currently is at the University of Virginia School of Medicine. To read more, click here

Common Core's Implications for Students with Special Needs

Forty one states, to date, have jumped on the Common Core State Standards bandwagon, adopting common curriculum benchmarks for general education courses in language arts and mathematics. The standards, created by the National Governors Association and the Council of Chief State School Officers, are raising the bar for special education students as well. According to the standards, students with disabilities- defined as students eligible under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA )-"must be challenged to excel within the general curriculum."  "We have to provide all students with an education to be ready to have a career when they leave their K12 experience," says Chris Minnich, senior membership director at the Council of Chief State School Officers. Special education students will be held to the same both in the classroom and on the assessments. Two consortiums- Partnership for the Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PAR CC) and SMARTER Balanced Assessment-were granted Race to the Top funds to develop assessments for the new standards by 2014. 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:  

Warren Roberts, Deanna Krieg, Christie Miller, Joanie P. Dikeman, Yvonne Allan, Karen Megay Nespoli, Julia Godfrey, and Mike Kieran 

 who correctly identified the answer to last week's trivia question: Who is credited with creating the first IQ test? 
ANSWER: Alfred Binet and Theodore Simon


Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) will often repeat sounds uttered by others/verbal information stated by others (e.g., people's conversations, books read aloud, songs, etc.).  What is this repetition of sounds called?

If you know the answer, send an email to contactus@naset.org 

All answers must be submitted no later than Monday, February 1, 2011 at 12:00 p.m.

Severe Mental Health Disorders Untreated in U.S. Teenagers

Among American teens, many with severe mental disorders never receive treatment, the results of a new study suggest. Researchers examined data from a nationally representative sample of 6,483 adolescents, aged 13 to 18, and found that only 36.2 percent of those with any mental disorder received treatment. While the severity of the disorder was significantly associated with the likelihood of receiving mental health treatment, only about half of the teens with severe mental disorders ever received such treatment, according to the report published in the January issue of the Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry. To read more,click here

Better Learning Through Handwriting

Writing by hand strengthens the learning process. When typing on a keyboard, this process may be impaired. Associate professor Anne Mangen at the University of Stavanger's Reading Centre asks if something is lost in switching from book to computer screen, and from pen to keyboard. 

The process of reading and writing involves a number of senses, she explains. When writing by hand, our brain receives feedback from our motor actions, together with the sensation of touching a pencil and paper. These kinds of feedback is significantly different from those we receive when touching and typing on a keyboard. To read more, click here

Did You Know That....

An Individualized Family Service Plan, or IFSP, is a written document that, among other things, outlines the early intervention services that a child and family will receive.

In Ireland, People with Intellectual Disabilities 'Exported' by the State

A damning report into services for Irish people with intellectual disabilities has claimed that 55 people have been "exiled" to agencies outside the country over the past 30 years. The study showed that 55 people with intellectual disabilities were "exported" because of the state's failure to provide adequate care, the Irish Examiner reports. While most people with an intellectual disability live at home and within their communities, a small number require long-term residential placements, according to the report entitled 'Excluded, Expelled and Exported: The citizens we've ignored and those we've exiled.' To read more, click here

Virginia Expecting Sharp Criticism Over Care of Individuals with Severe Disabilities

In coming weeks, civil rights lawyers from the U.S. Department of Justice are expected to deliver a searing critique of Virginia's system for caring for people with profound developmental disabilities. The commonwealth has been slower than most states in moving hundreds of developmentally disabled people out of large institutions such as the Northern Virginia Training Center on Braddock Road in Fairfax County, and state officials expect that to be one of many problems cited by the Justice Department. Originally launched as an investigation of the Central Virginia Training Center in Lynchburg, the federal probe widened after the Obama administration took office and the Justice Department began taking a harder look at states that continue to rely heavily on large institutions to care for people with profound developmental disabilities. To read more, click here



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Food For Thought..........

One of the most important things a teacher can do is to send the pupil home in the afternoon liking himself just a little better than when he came in that morning.

                   Ernest Melby

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