Week in Review - February 24, 2012
WEEK IN REVIEW
NewNASETPublications and Articles of Interest in Special Education and Disabilities That Were Reported This Week
February 24, 2012 - Vol 8, Issue 8
Genetics in Special Education
Genetics Components Presented in this issue:
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IEP Components Series
Accommodations in Assessment
IDEA requires that students with disabilities take part in state or districtwide assessments. These are tests that are periodically given to all students to measure achievement. It is one way that schools determine how well and how much students are learning. To support the participation of children with disabilities in such large-scale testing, accommodations or modifications may be necessary in how the test is administered or how a given child takes the test. It's the responsibility of the IEP team to decide how the student with a disability will participate, and then to document that decision in the child's IEP. Alternatively, the IEP team may decide that a particular test is not appropriate for a child. In this case, the IEP must include: an explanation of why that test is not suitable for the child, and how the child will be assessed instead (often called alternate assessment). The focus of this issue of NASET's IEP Components Series is to address accommodations in assessment in an IEP.
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Motor Impairments Appear to Be a Characteristic of Autism
Autism itself seems to be responsible for the problems children with the disorder have in developing motor skills such as running, throwing a ball and learning to write, according to a new study. Previously, it wasn't clear whether these motor skill difficulties ran in families or were linked to autism, said the researchers at the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis. The investigators studied children from 67 families that had at least one child with autism spectrum disorder and a sibling in the same age group. Twenty-nine families had two children with autism, including six identical twins, and 48 families had only one child with the disorder. To read more,click here
President's Budget Would Boost Spending for Infants, Toddlers
While in general, President Barack Obama's2013 budget proposalkeeps special education spending at about the same level as in the 2012 budget, a few programs would get a boost if he gets his way. The president proposes increasing special education programsfor infants and toddlersby $20 million for a total of $462.7 million-that would be a 5 percent bump for a relatively small program that serves only a few hundred thousand children, in comparison to the millions of students with disabilities in public schools. (In another nod to early intervention and support, the president also calls for an increase in the budget for Head Start of about $85 million, for a total of $8 billion.) To read more,click here
Did You Know That....
Anencephaly is a defect in the closure of the neural tube during fetal development. The neural tube is a narrow channel that folds and closes between the 3rd and 4th weeks of pregnancy to form the brain and spinal cord of the embryo. Anencephaly occurs when the "cephalic" or head end of the neural tube fails to close, resulting in the absence of a major portion of the brain, skull, and scalp. Infants with this disorder are born without a forebrain (the front part of the brain) and a cerebrum (the thinking and coordinating part of the brain). The remaining brain tissue is often exposed--not covered by bone or skin. A baby born with anencephaly is usually blind, deaf, unconscious, and unable to feel pain.
C-Sections Linked to Breathing Problems in Preterm Infants, Study Suggests
Research conducted at Yale School of Medicine shows that a cesarean (C-section) delivery, which was thought to be harmless, is associated with breathing problems in preterm babies who are small for gestational age. The study was presented at the 32nd Annual Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine (SMFM) Meeting in Dallas, Texas, by Heather Lipkind, M.D., assistant professor in the Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Sciences at Yale School of Medicine, and co-author Erika Werner, M.D., who is now at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine. Preterm birth, which is delivery before 37 weeks of pregnancy, is a serious health problem that costs the United States more than $26 billion annually, according to a 2006 Institute of Medicine report. To read more,click here
NASET MEMBER'S BENEFIT -
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 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
Possible Link to Hyper-Excitability Factors in Epilepsy, Autism and More
A UT Dallas undergraduate's research is revealing new information about a key protein's role in the development of epilepsy, autism and other neurological disorders. This work could one day lead to new treatments for the conditions. Senior neuroscience student Francisco Garcia has worked closely with Dr. Marco Atzori, associate professor in the School of Behavioral and Brain Sciences (BBS), on several papers that outline their findings about interleukin 6 (IL-6) and hyper-excitability. An article on the project is slated for publication in Biological Psychiatry later this year. To read more,click here
Mom's Vitamin D Levels Linked to Language Problems in Kids
Pregnant women with low levels of vitamin D may be putting their children at risk for language difficulties, Australian researchers report. Taking vitamin D supplements during pregnancy may relieve the problem, they suggest. "Adequate vitamin D levels among pregnant women may be important for the optimal development of their baby," said lead researcher Andrew Whitehouse, an associate professor and reader in developmental psychopathology at the Telethon Institute for Child Health Research at the University of Western Australia. "However, it is important for the findings of this study to be replicated before any strong conclusions are made." To read more,click here
Did You Know That....
The cause of anencephaly is unknown. Although it is thought that a mother's diet and vitamin intake may play a role, scientists believe that many other factors are also involved.
Over-Expression of a Protein Responsible for Neuronal Damage in Individuals with Down's Syndrome
The study coordinated by the Centre for Genomic Regulation (CRG) reproduced the same morphological and functional patterns of neuronal connections in a transgenic mouse as seen in people with Down's syndrome. Regulating the activity of this protein produced very similar neuronal growth to that in a healthy mouse. The neural dendritic spine structures make connections between neurons possible (the neuronal synapses). In the case of patients with Down's syndrome, the morphology of the neuronal information-receiving system, the dendritic tree, is altered. The dendrites are shorter and the trees are less complex, reducing and altering the flow of information via the neuron endings. It is possibly this that inhibits the development of certain normal cognitive skills, one of the characteristics of people with Down's syndrome. To read more,click here
NASET Sponsor - AbleNet
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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.
Congratulations to: Alexandra Pirard, Karen Bornholm, Joan Manchester, Willie Mae Wigfall, Jessica L. Ulmer, Olumide Akerele, Kimberly Niersal, Deanna Krieg, Marilyn Haile, and Marlene Bennet who all knew the answer to last week's trivia question was (1) penetrating injuries and (2) closed head injuries.
THIS WEEK'S TRIVIA QUESTION:
Who was the first U.S. President to create a "Presidential Panel on Mental Retardation" (a panel of outstanding scientists, doctors, and others to prescribe a plan of action in the field of mental retardation)?
If you know the answer, send an email firstname.lastname@example.org
All answers must be submitted no later than Monday, March 2, 2012 at 12:00 p.m.
Psychiatric Diagnoses: Why No One Is Satisfied
As the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders is revised for the first time since 1994, controversy about psychiatric diagnosis is reaching a fever pitch. Suggested changes to the definitions of autism spectrum disorders and depression, among others, are eliciting great concerns. However, there are larger concerns about the DSM as a whole. "Almost no one likes the DSM, but no one knows what to do about it," said University of Michigan psychiatrist Randolph Nesse. To read more,click here
Music Therapy has Benefits for Children with Disabilities
Music therapy is a significant support for children with different disabilities. Not just singing, but also using instruments. Matthew Dinkel, 11, has liked music since he was a baby. "Every time he'd play music, he perked up, smiled, it calmed him down," said his mother, Kristen. "So finally, when he was healthy enough, my sister got him a guitar for Christmas." Matthew was born with down syndrome and kidney failure. "He had kidney transplant at 15 months," Kristen said. "We were in and out of the hospital for about the first three years of his life. He is immune suppressed, he has AA1 Hypothyroidism, asthma and being that he is immune suppressed, he gets a lot of bacterial infections.".To read more,click here
Sleep Breathing Machine Shows Clear Benefits in Children With Sleep Apnea, Study Suggests
Children and adolescents with obstructive sleep apnea had substantial improvements in attention, anxiety and quality of life after treatment with positive airway pressure (PAP) -- a nighttime therapy in which a machine delivers a stream of air through a mask into the nose. "The benefits occurred even when children didn't fully adhere to the treatment," said study leader Carole L. Marcus, M.D., a sleep specialist and director of the Sleep Center at The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia. The Sleep Center follows thousands of children and adolescents with sleep problems. To read more,click here
NASET MEMBER'S BENEFIT -
Group Savings Plus from Liberty Mutual
As a member ofNASETyou qualify for a special group discount* on your auto, home, and renter's insurance through Group Savings Plus® from Liberty Mutual. This unique program allows you to purchase high-quality auto, home and renters insurance at low group rates.
See for yourself how much money you could save with Liberty Mutual compared to your current insurance provider. For a free, no-obligation quote, call 800-524-9400 or visitwww.libertymutual.com/naset,or visit your local sales office.
*Group discounts, other discounts, and credits are available where state laws and regulations allow, and may vary by state. Certain discounts apply to specific coverage only. To the extent permitted by law, applicants are individually underwritten; not all applicants may qualify. Coverage provided and underwritten by Liberty Mutual Insurance Company and its affiliates, 175 Berkeley Street, Boston, MA.
New Orleans School 'Equity Reports' Chart Number of Students with Special Needs
Responding to persistent charges thatcharter schools under the state's watch in New Orleansexclude certain children to boost test results, state officials released new data Wednesday detailing the number of special-needs students individual schools accept each year, as well as the percentage of students that schools are holding on to from one year to the next. The figures are laid out in what the state-runRecovery School Districtis callingan annual "equity report"for each campus, comparing each school to the district or state average on a variety of different benchmarks. To read more,click here
Higher Cancer Rate Seen in Children With Juvenile Arthritis
The cancer rate in children with juvenile arthritis is four times higher than in other children, a new study says. This increased risk of cancer isn't necessarily linked to arthritis treatments, such as tumor necrosis factor (TNF) inhibitors, according to the study published online Feb. 13 in the journal Arthritis & Rheumatism. In the United States, TNF inhibitors carry a "black box" warning about the potential cancer risk associated with the drugs. In this study, the researchers analyzed 2000-2005 Medicaid data from more than 7,800 children with juvenile arthritis and comparison groups of about 650,000 children with asthma and nearly 322,000 children with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). To read more,click here
New Imaging Methods Show Challenges of Identifying Cognitive Abilities in Severely Brain-Injured Patients
Only by employing complex machine-learning techniques to decipher repeated advanced brain scans were researchers at NewYork-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell able to provide evidence that a patient with a severe brain injury could, in her way, communicate accurately. Their study, published in the Feb. 13 issue of the Archives of Neurology, demonstrates how difficult it is to determine whether a patient can communicate using only measured brain activity, even if it is possible for them to generate reliable patterns of brain activation in response to instructed commands. Patients in a minimally conscious state or who have locked-in syndrome (normal cognitive function with severe motor impairment) and can follow commands in the absence of a motor response may not generate clearly interpretable communications using the same patterns of brain activity, the researchers say. To read more,click here
Using iPads for Autism: Are There Still Too Many Questions?
Parentshave told mehow iPads and other tablet computers have given their children with autism a voice they never had. Students with autism are communicating in new ways and the secrets of their minds are for the first time, being unlocked. But ina recent articlein CIO (Chief Information Officers) magazine some members of the autism advocacy community are questioning the therapeutic value of iPads. No one has actually studied which apps have a therapeutic benefit, Mark Sirkin, vice president of social marketing and online fund-raising forAutism Speaks, told the magazine. Parents may hear anecdotes about apps dramatically changing a child's life, but there is no measurable proof that the apps really work. To read more,click here
Did You Know That....
Recent studies have shown that the addition of folic acid (vitamin B9) to the diet of women of childbearing age may significantly reduce the incidence of neural tube defects. Therefore it is recommended that all women of childbearing age consume 0.4 mg of folic acid daily.
Six to Nine-Month-Olds Understand the Meaning of Many Spoken Words
At an age when "ba-ba" and "da-da" may be their only utterances, infants nevertheless comprehend words for many common objects, according to a new study. In research focused on 6-to-9-month-old babies, University of Pennsylvania psychologists Elika Bergelson and Daniel Swingley demonstrated that the infants learned the meanings of words for foods and body parts through their daily experience with language. Bergelson is a doctoral student and Swingley an associate professor in Penn's Department of Psychology. Their study was published this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences Early Edition. To read more,click here
Brain Scans Might Spot Autism as Early as 6 Months of Age
In children as young as 6 months old, changes in the brain that can lead to autism spectrum disorder may have already begun, preliminary research suggests. Although early signs of autism, such as problems communicating and repetitive behaviors, can often be seen as early as 1 year, processes in the brain linked to communication are seemingly being altered months earlier, University of North Carolina researchers report. "We know that there is evidence that autism affects the ability of different brain regions to communicate with each other. This study confirms that this atypical brain development begins very early in life," said study co-author Geri Dawson, the chief science officer at Autism Speaks. To read more,click here
Puzzle Play Helps Boost Learning Math-Related Skills
Children who play with puzzles between ages 2 and 4 later develop better spatial skills, a study by University of Chicago researchers has found. Puzzle play was found to be a significant predictor of spatial skill after controlling for differences in parents' income, education and the overall amount of parent language input. In examining video recordings of parents interacting with children during everyday activities at home, researchers found children who play with puzzles between 26 and 46 months of age have better spatial skills when assessed at 54 months of age. To read more,click here
Traumatic Brain Injuries Are Likely More Common Than Previously Thought
Though researchers are becoming increasingly aware of the long-term effects of head injury, few studies have looked at the prevalence of traumatic brain injury (TBI) in all age groups, including males and females, taking into account both mild and serious events. In a recent study published in Epidemiology, Mayo Clinic researchers applied a new, refined system for classifying injuries caused by force to the head and found that the incidence of traumatic brain injury is likely greater than has been estimated by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). "Even mild traumatic brain injuries can affect sensory-motor functions, thinking and awareness, and communication," says study author Allen Brown, M.D., director of brain rehabilitation research at Mayo Clinic. "In assessing frequency, we have likely been missing a lot of cases. This is the first population-based analysis to determine prevalence along the whole spectrum of these injuries." To read more,click here
Food For Thought..........
"Would you like me to give you a formula for success? It's quite simple, really. Double your rate of failure. You are thinking of failure as the enemy of success. But it isn't at all. You can be discouraged by failure or you can learn from it, So go ahead and make mistakes. Make all you can. Because remember that?s where you will find success."
Thomas J. Watson