Week in Review - May 20, 2011


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

May 20, 2011 - Vol 7, Issue 18


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In This Issue

New This Week on NASET .........

Separate and Unequal: Why Are so Many Minority Students in Special Education?.......... 

Elephants Help Children with Autism in Thailand............ 

Washington D.C. Special Education Deputy Chancellor Leaving..........

Speed Bumps on the Way to an ADHD Diagnosis.......... 

UN Human Rights Official Lauds Ratification Milestone for Disability Pact......... 

The Highs and Lows of Virtual School: One Teacher's View........ 

Gifted Teenagers:...High Schoolers in College.............. 


Alternative Assessments Time Consuming for Special Educators........... 

National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders Creates Resources............. 

More than Able to Succeed......... 

Texas Lawmakers Reject Bill to Curtail Student Paddling............ 

Autism Takes Heavy Toll on Dads...........

Will Supreme Court Agree to Hear Child Find Case?............. 

Special Education Resources for Spanish Speaking Families Now Available................ 

President Obama Taps Disability Advocates for Presidential Committee............... 

Including Individuals with Disabilities is Critical to Health Studies................ 

South Korean Study Suggests High Autism Rates........... 


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

Lesser Known Disorders in Special Education Series

Disorders in this issue:

SL 5.00-Voice Disorders (Dysphonia)
OI 1.00 - Bone Diseases.

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

Genetics in Special Education Series

Genetic Components Presented in this Issue:

Cystic Fibrosis
Tay-Sachs. - 

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


Separate and Unequal: Why Are so Many Minority Students in Special Education?

Education researcher Lloyd Dunn first documented the disproportionate assignment of minority students to special education in 1968. Since then, the United States has made little progress toward equity. Over the past eight years, Edward Fergus, deputy director of the Metropolitan Center for Urban Education at New York University. His team, the Technical Assistance Center on Disproportionality (TASD), has worked with about 40 districts in New York State that were cited for disproportionality. The goal is to identify the problem's root causes, and develop strategic solutions. TakePart spoke with Fergus to learn why racial, ethnic and linguistically diverse students continue to be funneled into special education, and what school districts can do about it. To read more, click here


Elephants Help Children with Autism in Thailand

Are elephants the best medicine for autism? Therapists in Thailand are finding out. In what's believed to be the first program of its type, they've enlisted Nua Un and Prathida - two gentle female elephants - to provide therapy for children with autism. The kids scrub and soap the elephants' bristly hides, play ball games with them, and ride them bareback, smiling. "Chang, chang (Elephant, elephant). Children, have you ever seen an elephant?" the group sings, clapping hands to the traditional Thai nursery tune and hugging the elephants' trunks. Disco-like, Nua Un bobs her head and sways. Animal therapy for people with developmental disabilities - notably using dolphins, dogs and horses - is not new, and some are skeptical that it works. But anecdotal evidence and some studies have shown positive results. Wittaya Khem-nguad, the elephant project's founder, says parents "see improvements after the elephant therapy and that gives them this hope."  To read more, click here


Washington D.C. Special Education Deputy Chancellor Leaving

Deputy Chancellor Richard Nyankori is leaving after four bruising years as head of special education at D.C. Public Schools. He'll be replaced by Nathaniel Beers, director of the District's Early Stages diagnostic center for learning disabilities. Acting Chancellor Kaya Henderson confirmed the move a few minutes ago. Nyankori is generally credited with improving the timeliness with which families and kids can receive special ed services. But he also leaves as the District is struggling to improve its capacity to serve the more than 2,300 students who have been placed in private schools at public expense because DCPS can't help them. To read more, click here

Did You Know That....

Sudden unexpected infant deaths are defined as infant deaths that occur suddenly and unexpectedly, and whose manner and cause of death are not immediately obvious prior to investigation.


Speed Bumps on the Way to an ADHD Diagnosis

WHEN Liz Goldberg, 53, was growing up, she always felt "a little off." She received good grades and even completed a master's degree in health administration, but it was always a struggle. 

In school, she would procrastinate and then pull desperate all-nighters to study for an exam. She'd become hyperfocused on a project and let everything else fall by the wayside. Maintaining relationships was tricky. "I would concentrate intensely on a friend and then move on," she said. She commuted to college one year simply because she had missed the deadline to apply for housing. "I managed to achieve a lot, but it was difficult," said Ms. Goldberg, a mother of three who lives near Philadelphia. "I sensed something was wrong, but others would always talk me out of it." Finally, in her late 40s, Ms. Goldberg was given a diagnosis of ADHD. To read more, click here


UN Human Rights Official Lauds Ratification Milestone for Disability Pact

The United Nations human rights chief today added her voice to the chorus welcoming the 100th ratification of the UN's disability convention, but warned that too few countries currently have laws protecting persons with disabilities from discrimination. "The adoption of this treaty brought great hope to many individuals with disabilities," UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay said. "It is great news that 100 States have now taken these standards on board in their legal systems and committed to making life better for people with disabilities." On Tuesday, Colombia ratified the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, which supports greater access for such persons to participate in their communities. It is widely regarded as the first international human rights treaty of this century. To read more, click here

 Did You Know That....

Each year in the United States, more than 4,500 infants die suddenly of no obvious cause. Half of these Sudden Unexpected Infant Deaths (SUID) are due to Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS), the leading cause of SUID and of all deaths among infants aged 1-12 months.


The Highs and Lows of Virtual School: One Teacher's View

For Rian Meadows, an economics instructor at Florida Virtual School (FLVS) - the nation's first-ever statewide virtual public high school - the newly passed legislation requiring every K-12 student to take an online course prior to graduation makes sense. "I think it'll bring students into the 21st century," she says. Requiring a virtual course will give students additional skills and a taste of what's to come: Florida State University, Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University, and the University of Central Florida all offer many of their undergraduate and graduate courses online. "It gives our students a leg up to require them to see what it's like," says Meadows. "Plus, giving students the choice of which course they take online empowers them." It might sound counter-intuitive, but Meadows, who spent eight years in a traditional classroom and at the Florida Department of Education before coming to FLVS, loves her job largely because of the school's culture. She appreciates the one-on-one connection with students and administrators and the team-oriented, non-hierarchical approach. "This is a philosophy that I agree with and a culture that I feel passionately about," she says. To read more, click here



Group Savings Plus from Liberty Mutual

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Gifted Teenagers: High Schoolers in College

Michael Jokl enrolled in an algebra class at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis when he was a 14-year-old 8th-grade home schooler. Four years later, he has earned 43 college credits under a dual-enrollment program that lets him simultaneously satisfy the state's requirements for a high school diploma. He holds a 3.9 grade-point average at the university, which is known as IUPUI; he has completed an entire freshman-year college curriculum and has taken all the math he'll need toward an engineering degree. Now he's "applying to the Ivies" to complete his undergraduate degree, he says. A century ago, often under pressure from labor unions, states passed seat-time and mandatory-attendance laws that compelled youngsters to stay in school, and out of the competition for jobs. The laws haven't changed much today, but kids have, and by their midteens, many of them-bored with high school or academically beyond it-are ready for the next step 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:  

Alexandra Pirard,  Debbie Innerarity, M.A. Creitz, Jennifer Possanza, D'Anne Weitzman, MaryLouise Torre, Tabitha Garrett, Chaya Tabor, Deanna Krieg, Lois Nembhard, Kathleen Moulton, Jessica L. Ulmer, Amanda L. Davis-Holloway, Joan R. Manchester, Christie Miller, Marilyn Haile, Pattie Komons, James Hannon, Phyllis Wilson, & Shilpa Sanghavi:  who all knew that "scolionophobia" is the fear of school.



According to recently published reports on medication for depression, anxiety and other psychological disorders in the United States, what is the most commonly prescribed psychiatric medication in the USA?

If you know the answer, send an email to contactus@naset.org 
All answers must be submitted no later than Monday, May 23, 2011 at 12:00 p.m.




As 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 Educationestablishes a much needed standard for professionals, across disciplines, who work with exceptional children.  
For more information on Board Certification in Special Education, click here


Alternative Assessments Time Consuming for Special Educators

It's not a test. Not in the traditional sense. It doesn't involve sitting down with a No. 2 pencil and racing the clock to fill in bubbles because, in some cases, there are no wrong answers. No, the alternative assessment is more complex, more in-depth and far more personal than any Ohio Graduation Test. Providing students with disabilities the opportunity to demonstrate their skills and abilities involves significant time and work from special education teachers, who are required to establish guidelines, define benchmarks and provide an in-depth collection of evidence that proves exactly what each student is capable of. "Alternative assessments are for students who have specific cognitive and physical disabilities," Patrick Gallaway, associate director of communications for the Ohio Department of Education, explained. "These are sometimes so severe that the student may not be able to hold a pencil. Instead of taking the standardized pencil-and-paper test, the assessments are more task-oriented in nature." To read more, click here


National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders Creates Resources Available for National Stuttering Awareness Week

To promote National Stuttering Awareness Week, the Stuttering Foundation and the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association have teamed up to promote early interventions for children who stutter. The National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD) offers additional resources for people who stutter and their families as well as professionals who work with them. To view the various resources available, click here


More than Able to Succeed

They told her she shouldn't even be in college. That's the advice Alex Carrano, 24, received from staff to deal with her learning disability and test anxiety at a former university before she transferred to University of Illinois Springfield. But Carrano, originally from LaGrange, a Chicago suburb, will prove them wrong May 14 when she walks across the stage at the Prairie Capital Convention Center to receive her bachelor's degree in liberal studies. "I think about that and it brings me down a little," says Carrano. "But since UIS, I haven't had any problems. They've definitely been willing to help." With help from the Office of Disability Services at UIS, she is one of 40 students with a diagnosed disability who will graduate with a bachelor's degree or higher. The number of graduates with disabilities is up at UIS by 33 percent from 2010, when 30 students with disabilities graduated from UIS. Twelve students with disabilities graduated in 2009, according to ODS staff. The numbers show that more students are willing to step forward to get help than in years past. To read more, click here


Texas Lawmakers Reject Bill to Curtail Student Paddling

Efforts to curtail paddling in public schools went down to defeat Wednesday in the Legislature as the House voted 73-69 to reject a bill that would have required parental consent before school officials could administer corporal punishment. Rep. Barbara Nash, R-Arlington, who was a leading co-author of the bill, dabbed tears from her eyes after the vote. "We just didn't work it hard enough," she said. Supporters later indicated that they might try to bring the bill back up Wednesday night if they could persuade enough opponents to switch their votes. HB359, by Rep. Alma Allen, D-Houston, would have required school districts to get signed written consent from a parent or guardian before administering corporal punishment, described in the bill as "the deliberate infliction of physical pain by hitting, paddling, spanking, slapping or any other physical force used as a means of discipline." To read more, click here


Autism Takes Heavy Toll on Dads

More than 30 percent of fathers of grown children with autism experience symptoms of depression so severe that they warrant clinical attention, first-of-its-kind research indicates.

In a study presented Friday at the International Meeting for Autism Research in San Diego, researchers found that fathers of adolescents and young adults with autism experience high levels of depression and are pessimistic about what the future holds for their son or daughter, much more so than dads whose kids have other disabilities like Down syndrome and fragile X. "Fathers of adolescents and young adults with autism are really faring the worst," says Sigan Hartley, a University of Wisconsin-Madison researcher who led the study, which was recently accepted for publication in the journal Family Relations. To read more, click here


Will Supreme Court Agree to Hear Child Find Case?

In Compton v. Addison, a school district failed to identify or evaluate a child who was failing academic classes, functioning years behind her peer group, and suffering from severe, disabling anxiety. Despite clear signs that Addison had a disability and needed special education services, the district failed to evaluate her. The district did not advise her mother of her right to request an evaluation for her daughter. Sound familiar? To read more, click here


Special Education Resources for Spanish Speaking Families Now Available

Parents, educators and administrators, are you looking for sources of information on special education for Spanish-speaking families? Send them a link to NICHCY's "commonly asked questions" in Spanish. It's a great starting point for families to learn more about disabilities, special education services, and participation in educational decisions. To access these resources, click here

Did You Know That....

Although the overall rate of SIDS in the United States has declined by more than 50% since 1990, rates have declined less among non-Hispanic Black and American Indian/Alaska Native infants. Preventing SIDS remains an important public health priority.


President Obama Taps Disability Advocates for Presidential Committee

President Barack Obama has appointed 15 disability advocates hailing from New York to Oregon to a federal advisory panel on intellectual disabilities. The advocates will join the President's Committee for People with Intellectual Disabilities, a 24-member panel tasked with advising the president and the secretary of health and human services on issues of concern to those with intellectual disabilities. New members range from national leaders like Peter Berns who serves as CEO of The Arc to locally-focused advocates including Micki Edelsohn who works to boost housing and employment options in Delaware for adults like her son who has an intellectual disability. To read more, click here


Including Individuals with Disabilities is Critical to Health Studies

The first formal guidelines for a new model called "universal design of research," to address the underrepresentation of people with disabilities in mainstream health research was proposed Wednesday by researchers at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland. "We want to change the way health-care research is done so that people with disabilities are routinely included in studies," Ann Williams, a researcher and adjunct faculty member at Case Western Reserve University's Frances Payne Bolton School of Nursing. Universal design of research, which was described in a commentary published in this week's Science Translational Medicine, provides researchers with practical guidelines to promote inclusion of people with disabilities in biomedical and psychosocial research as participants. To read more, click here


South Korean Study Suggests High Autism Rates

A population-wide study of South Korean children has shown autism rates much higher than in the United States, suggesting more people worldwide may have the disorder than previously thought.

By examining 55,000 children age 7-12, even those not enrolled in special education programs, researchers found that one in 38 children had some form of autism, including the more mild social disorder known as Asperger's Syndrome. In the United States, the autism prevalence rate is believed to be one in 110. However, US studies have tended to focus on children in special education programs, and have not screened entire populations in the regular school system where high-functioning children with autism may be enrolled. "These findings suggest that ASD (autism spectrum disorder) is under-diagnosed and under-reported and that rigorous screening and comprehensive population studies may be necessary to produce accurate ASD prevalence estimates," said Geraldine Dawson, chief scientific officer at the research and advocacy group Autism Speaks. To read more, click here

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

Some people walk into your life and quickly go. Others walk into your life, leave footprints and then leave. After that, you are never, ever the same. 

         Flavia Weedn

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