Week in Review - January 27, 2012
WEEK IN REVIEW
NewNASETPublications and Articles of Interest in Special Education and Disabilities That Were Reported This Week
January 27, 2012 - Vol 8, Issue 4
NASET Q & A Corner
The mental health of our children is a natural and important concern for us all. The fact is, many mental disorders have their beginnings in childhood or adolescence, yet may go undiagnosed and untreated for years. We refer to mental disorders using different umbrella terms such as emotional disturbance, behavioral disorders, or mental illness. Beneath these umbrella terms, there is actually a wide range of specific conditions that differ from one another in their characteristics and treatment. The focus of this issue of NASET's Q & A Corner is to find out what different emotional disturbances have in common, how they are defined in federal law, and where to find more detailed information on specific disorders.
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January 2012 Resource Review
In this Issue You will Find Topics On:
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New Autism Definition Could Exclude Many From Diagnosis
A proposed new definition of autism could exclude many people now classified as having the disorder. News reports from around the country say that the definition of the disability is being reassessed by a panel appointed by the American Psychiatric Association. The group is wrapping up work on the latest edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, which The New York Times reports is the manual's first major revision in 17 years. The Times talked to Dr. Fred R. Volkmar, director of the Child Study Center at the Yale School of Medicine and an author of a new analysis designed to weigh the potential effect of the proposal. To read more,click here
'Team Amelia' Backs Transplant for Child with Special Needs
When Chrissy and Joe Rivera walked into a conference room at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) a few days ago, they thought they were going to see a slide show to help them start preparing their 3-year-old daughter Amelia for a kidney transplant. Instead, a doctor and social worker told the Riveras that Amelia, who has a rare genetic disorder calledWolf-Hirschhorn syndrome, would not qualify for a transplant because she is "mentally retarded" and has "brain damage," Chrissy Riveraclaimed in a blog post Thursdayand in phone interviews. The encounter shocked theNew Jerseycouple, but so did what happened next: The heavily connected online world of special needs parents kicked into high gear - and put one of the nation's top children's hospitals in a very hot seat. To read more,click here
Did You Know That....
Hydrocephalus is a condition in which the primary characteristic is excessive accumulation of fluid in the brain. Although hydrocephalus was once known as "water on the brain," the "water" is actually cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) -- a clear fluid surrounding the brain and spinal cord.
Many High-Poverty Schools 'Shortchanged' in Central Florida
At Hiawassee Elementary inOrange County, where nine out of every 10 students lives in poverty, the school district spent about $2,065 per student on teachers and other staff during the 2008-09 school year. By contrast, the county's Lake Whitney Elementary, where only about 10 percent of the students are poor, spent about $2,710 on staffing per student that year - nearly a third more. Across Central Florida, school districts spend less per pupil to staff many of their highest-poverty schools despite federal rules intended to make sure every poor school gets its fair share, according to an Orlando Sentinel analysis of federal data. 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
Districts Must Expand Definition, Services to Students With Disabilities
A new letter from the Office for Civil Rights at the federal education department details how school districts should act on some changes to federal law regarding people with disabilities. The way I'm reading it, the letter expands the range of students to whom school districts' may have to provide special education services and accommodations, including some who in the past may have been found not to need those services. The letter is intended to clarify school districts' obligations following amendments made to the Americans with Disabilities Act that took effect in 2009. Those amendments say school districts should define disability very broadly, writes Russlynn Ali, the assistant secretary for civil rights, in a set of questions and answers that accompany the letter. To read more,click here
Lots of Einsteins or Too Low a Bar? Houston School Districts Bursting at the Seams with 'Gifted' Students, Shelves Plan to Tighten Standards
Of all the challenges facing the Houston school system, here's one you probably haven't heard about: It may have too many gifted kids. About one student in every six in theHouston Independent School Districthas been identified as "gifted and talented" -- that's more than twice that of the Texas and national rates for gifted children, according to public records and a national expert. Just what will be done about it, though, is unclear. HISD administrators in August had considered making it more difficult for students to qualify for thegifted program, but that plan was shot down after "feedback from principals" said it would be "a bad idea," district spokesman Jason Spencer said. To read more,click here
Did You Know That....
Hydrocephalus is most often treated with the surgical placement of a shunt system. This system diverts the flow of CSF from a site within the central nervous system to another area of the body where it can be absorbed as part of the circulatory process. A limited number of patients can be treated with an alternative procedure called third ventriculostomy. In this procedure, a small hole is made in the floor of the third ventricle, allowing the CSF to bypass the obstruction and flow toward the site of resorption around the surface of the brain.
Rapid Infant Growth Linked to Asthma in Study
Rapid growth during the first three months of life is associated with an increased risk of asthma symptoms in preschool children, a new study indicates. The findings suggest that early infancy might be a critical period for the development of asthma, said the researchers at Erasmus Medical Center in the Netherlands. They examined data collected from 5,125 children who were followed from the fetal stage until they were 4 years old. The researchers found no link between fetal growth and asthma symptoms. But in children with normal fetal growth, accelerated weight gain from birth to 3 months of age was associated with increased risk of asthma symptoms, such as wheezing, shortness of breath, dry cough and persistent phlegm. 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.
Olumide Akerele, Jessica L. Ulmer, Lois Nembhard, Marlene Barnett, Lisa Keneally,Beverly Taylor, and Marilyn Haile who all knew that the two most common barriers preventing Americans from creating lifestyle and behavior changes are (1) lack of will power and (2) time
THIS WEEK'S TRIVIA QUESTION:
What is the name of the condition term tin which there is a decrease of oxygen supply to the brain even though there is adequate blood flow?
If you know the answer, send an email firstname.lastname@example.org
All answers must be submitted no later than Monday, January 30, 2012 at 12:00 p.m.
Feds Crack Down On Schools Skirting Disabilities Act
Congress awarded students with disabilities extra protections in recent years. Now, the U.S. Department of Education is stepping up its efforts to ensure that schools are following the new rules. In alettersent this week to school districts and state education leaders, officials at the Education Department's Office of Civil Rights took pains to spell out the obligations schools have under the Americans with Disabilities Act Amendments Act. Though the ADA update took effect three years ago, the correspondence suggests that many schools may not be abiding by it. In light of this, federal officials are offering technical guidance and say that they will be upping their enforcement efforts. To read more,click here
Smoking During Pregnancy Not Linked to Autism: But There are Many Other Reasons to Avoid Cigarettes while Pregnant.
Children born to women who smoke during pregnancy are not at increased risk for autism, according to a new study. Smoking during pregnancy has been considered a possible cause of autism in children due to known links between smoking and behavioral disorders and obstetric complications, but previous studies of a connection between smoking during pregnancy and autism have had mixed results. In this study, researchers analyzed data from nearly 4,000 Swedish children with autism and a control group of 39,000 children without autism. The results showed that 19.8 percent of the children in the autism group and 18.4 percent of those in the control group had mothers who smoked during pregnancy. To read more,click here
Wisconsin Proposes Law Limiting Use of Restraints, Seclusion
Wisconsin's legislature will consider a law restricting how students are restrained or secluded, a second attempt at such a law after a bill proposed in 2011 failed to pass. Reforming how restraint and seclusion are used, or banning them altogether, has been the focus of new laws and regulations around the country, and Congress has proposed legislation to address the issue as well. A U.S. Government Accountability Office study in 2009 about the use of the measures found some horrific scenarios, many involving students with disabilities. In one case a 7-year-old died after being held face down for hours by school staff. Some 5-year-olds were tied to chairs with bungee cords and duct tape by their teachers, their arms broken and their noses bloodied. A 13-year-old reportedly hung himself in a seclusion room after being confined for hours. 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.
Pediatricians Split on Heart Tests Before Kids' ADHD Meds
Some pediatricians continue to do electrocardiograms (EKGs) on children before starting them on medication for attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, new research suggests, even though many experts say the latest evidence shows it isn't really necessary. Several years ago, reports of sudden death, heart attack and stroke among children and adults taking stimulants to treat ADHD caused alarm among parents and health care providers about the safety of the medications. The reports prompted Canadian health authorities to briefly pull Adderall from the market in 2005, while the U.S. Food and Drug Administration now. To read more,click here
More People with Disabilities Find Jobs
The job market may be warming up a little for people with disabilities.TheBureau of Labor Statisticsis reporting that the unemployment rate for the 27 million U.S. residents ages 16 and older fell to 13.5% in December 2011, down from 14.3% in December 2010. For U.S. adults with no disabilities, the unemployment rate fell to 8.1%, from 8.9%. In some cases, economists say, the unemployment rate drops because the job market is so bad that many workers give up on trying to find work. To read more,click here
Study: Heading Soccer Balls Could Injure Brain
Soccer players need to use the correct techniques when "heading" -- using their unprotected head to stop or redirect the ball -- to prevent possible brain injury, researchers say. Although researchers have not yet proven a link between the sport and brain damage, Dr. Alejandro Spiotta and other experts from theCleveland Clinicsaid soccer balls are moving at high speeds when they come into contact with players' heads, putting athletes at risk for a possible traumatic brain injury. "Even if the cognitive impairment were to be mild, it would still present a major medical and public health concern because of the massive volume of soccer players worldwide," Spiotta and colleagues wrote. "Any possible detrimental effect may only become clinically evident decades in the future." To read more,click here
Children's Books Honored For Inclusive Storylines
Four children's books will be recognized this week for authentically portraying characters with developmental disabilities. The books - two chapter books and two picture books - are winners of the Dolly Gray Children's Literature Award. The honor handed out every other year since 2000 goes to books that include main or supporting characters with developmental disabilities. This year's award, which will be given Thursday at the Council for Exceptional Children's Division on Autism and Developmental Disabilities conference in Miami Beach, Fla., honors fictional books and biographies published in 2010 and 2011. To read more,click here
Did You Know That....
The prognosis for patients diagnosed with hydrocephalus is difficult to predict, although there is some correlation between the specific cause of hydrocephalus and the patient's outcome. Prognosis is further complicated by the presence of associated disorders, the timeliness of diagnosis, and the success of treatment. The symptoms of normal pressure hydrocephalus usually get worse over time if the condition is not treated, although some people may experience temporary improvements. If left untreated, progressive hydrocephalus is fatal, with rare exceptions. The parents of children with hydrocephalus should be aware that hydrocephalus poses risks to both cognitive and physical development.
Initiative To Address High Number of African Americans in Special Education
African-American children are traditionally overrepresented in special education. Now, one group is poised to do something about it. The National Association for the Education of African American Children with Learning Disabilities is teaming up with federal education officials to train parents across the country to effectively advocate for kids. The goal, they say, is to ensure that students are labeled appropriately by their school districts and receive the services they need. Statistics show that African-American children account for about 16.6 percent of students enrolled in the nation's public schools. But they represent 31 percent of students identified as having intellectual disability and 28 percent of those with emotional disturbance, the association found. To read more,click here
Florida: States Excluding Too Many Students from NAEP
Although there has been a push to make "the nation's report card"-the National Assessment of Educational Progress-better reflect the academic performance of all children in America's schools, the effort hasn't gone far enough, Florida Education Commissioner Gerard Robinson wrote recently. As colleague Lesli A. Maxwell and I noted late last year, overall, the numbers of 4th and 8th grade students who took NAEP and were identified as having disabilities or being English-language learners rose in 2011, continuing a long-term trend that began more than a decade ago when NAEP first allowed students to use accommodations, such as additional time, when taking the exams. To read more,click here
Why Are Kids Suddenly So Sick?
The three major "epidemics" of psychiatric illness occurring during the past 15 years -- childhood bipolar, autism and attention deficit disorder -- have all mainly involved children. And two new DSM-5 proposals that also apply mostly to youngsters --"psychosis risk"and"temper dysregulation"-- may trigger the next fads in psychiatric mislabeling. Giving a name to difficult problems that are poorly understood provides a kind of false comfort, but the label often doesn't really add to the understanding and may carry risks of its own -- especially unnecessary treatment, stigma and wasted resources. Two questions naturally come to mind. Why are the recent epidemics in psychiatric disorder all concentrated on children? And why is this happening now? To read more,click here
Food For Thought..........
First say to yourself what you would be; and then do what you have to do.