Week in Review - July 20, 2012


NewNASETPublications and Articles of Interest in Special Education and Disabilities

July 20, 2012 - Vol 8, Issue 27


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Dear NASET News,

Welcome toNASET'sWEEK in REVIEWHere, we provide you with the latest publications fromNASETto read and or download, as well as some of the most interesting articles that have happened 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 theWEEK in REVIEWatnews@naset.org.Have a great weekend.


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New This Week on NASET

Q & A Corner July 2012

Accommodations for Diverse Learners

Teachers can accommodate diverse learner needs in the classroom by making adjustments in the materials or methods used. Although many instructional accommodations can be transferred into classroom tests, some should NOT be transferred into the testing situation. For example, during reading instruction, an appropriate accommodation might be to read along with the student, or perhaps have the student follow along as someone reads to him or her. When the student is taking a reading test that is designed to assess decoding skills, then the read-along accommodation is not appropriate. Making decisions about what accommodations confuse the construct that is being tested requires a good understanding of what knowledge and skills the test is intending to measure. Each state has written guidelines to indicate which accommodations are "allowed" and the states vary considerably on the specific accommodations that they allow.  The focus of this issue ofNASET's Q & A Cornerwill be to address various questions and answers pertaining to accommodations for diverse learners.

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Students with Special Needs at Greater Risk of Bullying, Being Bullied: Study

Students with visible disabilities and those receiving special education services for behavioral problems are at greater risk of being bullied and of bullying others, according to a new study. These children also are more likely to engage in antisocial behavior and have disciplinary problems at school, the researchers found. The findings reveal the complex nature of bullying, the study authors pointed out in the report, which was published June 27 in the Journal of School Psychology. "These results paint a fairly bleak picture for students with disabilities in terms of bullying, victimization and disciplinary actions," lead author Susan Swearer, professor of school psychology at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, said in a university news release. "Sadly, these are the students who most need to display pro-social behavior and receive support from their peers." To read more,click here

Did You Know That....

Phonemic awareness is the ability to notice, think about, and work with the individual sounds in spoken words. Before children learn to read print, they need to become aware of how the sounds in words work. They must understand that words are made up of speech sounds, or phonemes.

Governor of Illinois Issues Executive Order to Protect Adults with Disabilities

Governor of Illinois, Pat Quinn, issued an executive order to strengthen protections for adults who have disabilities. The Governor's action will ensure that potential cases of abuse and neglect of adults with disabilities who live in domestic settings will be investigated and referred to the appropriate authorities. "In Illinois we believe that every life deserves respect and dignity," Governor Quinn said. "My action today will strengthen the protection of adults with disabilities and ensure the necessary steps are taken if abuse or neglect takes place."Under Governor Quinn's executive order, the state will strengthen protections for adults with disabilities who are suspected victims of abuse and neglect. The order will ensure referrals to the appropriate authorities are made and follow-up occurs after any death of an adult with disabilities who is the subject of a pending complaint investigation by the Department of Human Services' (DHS) Office of the Inspector General (OIG), regardless of the circumstances.  To read more,click here

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Single-Embryo IVF Cuts Risk to Baby: Study

Transplanting just one embryo during assisted reproduction treatments reduces the risk of preventable infant deaths that occur just before or shortly after birth, which is termed perinatal mortality, Australian researchers report. "The number of embryos transferred per procedure is the major determinant of multiple pregnancy and multiple delivery, which contribute to an elevated risk of preterm birth and low birth weight, and its [health consequences]," said Elizabeth Sullivan, from the perinatal and reproductive epidemiology research unit of the University of New South Wales in Sydney. "These are risks in addition to those already faced by women being treated for infertility," Sullivan said in a news release from the European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology. To read more,click here

Are Sheltered Workshops for Individuals with Disabilities Exploitation, or a Lifeline?

Workers in wheelchairs swarm around a table, stuffing envelopes. One man runs in a circle, asking people to tie his shoe. At the next table, workers are prying plastic gaskets out of their casings. A woman is sprawled in an easy chair, sound asleep, her mouth wide open. Everything about that scene bothers Scott Schifsky. He and a growing number of advocates say sheltered workshops -- such as the one operated by Achieve Services Inc. in Blaine -- should be abolished. They say it's wrong for people with disabilities to be grouped together to do menial work for less than minimum wage. "This is a civil rights issue," said Schifsky, program director of The Arc of Minnesota, which advocates for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. "We are segregating a minority class." To read more,click here

Did You Know That....

Phonemes are the smallest parts of sound in a spoken word that make a difference in the word's meaning. For example, changing the first phoneme in the word hat from /h/ to /p/ changes the word from hat to pat, and so changes the meaning. (A letter between slash marks shows the phoneme, or sound, that the letter represents, and not the name of the letter. For example, the letter h represents the sound /h/.)

Infant Formula Can Be a Major Source of BPA: Experts

When Hacah Boros gave birth to her daughter three years ago, giving her infant formula was "completely out of the question," said the 35-year-old nurse from central Connecticut. She was worried about bisphenol A (BPA), a common chemical in plastics and also a "hormone disruptor" associated with changes in child growth and development. "I was aware that BPA was a problem and fortunately able to breast-feed," Boros said. Since then, Connecticut became the first state to ban BPA from infant-formula and baby-food containers, a law that went into effect in October 2011. Boros said she might not completely avoid formula for her second child, due in August. To read more,click here

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Pennsylvania Dental Association Applauds New Law Designed to Help Patients With Developmental Disabilities and Young Children

The Pennsylvania Dental Association (PDA) commends the General Assembly and Governor Corbett for passing and signing into law legislation (House Bill 532) requiring insurance companies to cover the costs of general anesthesia for young children and patients with developmental disabilities. Many young patients and those with mental or physical disabilities often experience stress when visiting a dentist's office. Some patients require general anesthesia before a dentist can treat them. However, many insurers have refused to cover the cost of anesthesia for dental patients. If a parent or caregiver cannot afford the cost, it could result in a patient delaying treatment or neglecting oral health. This could lead to a much greater cost, both in terms of money and in health. Small cavities that go untreated can develop into big problems. To read more,click here



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

Brain MRI Diagnoses Dyslexia Early

A recent study conducted at the Children's Hospital Boston has concluded that the brain activity recorded on MRI scans even before a child actually learns to read could provide an early diagnostic marker for Dyslexia. It has been found that children at risk for Dyslexia have significant differences in brain activity that can be captured through MRI scans even before the child is capable of picking up his first lessons. Now, developmental Dyslexia responds to medical treatment faster and since the disease affects 5 to 17% percent of all children, the findings of this study are significantly important as far as developmental dyslexia treatments are concerned. Did you know that 50% of all children with a family history of dyslexia to have significant difficulties in recognizing and pronouncing words fluently? That is shockingly true and if you add the probabilities of the 5 to 17% of the child population having dyslexia, the total number of children with dyslexia across the country at any given point in time would be huge. To read more,click here

Smog in Our Brains

That yellow haze of smog hovering over the skyline isn't just a stain on the view. It may also leave a mark on your mind. Researchers have known since the 1970s that high levels of air pollution can harm both cardiovascular and respiratory health, increasing the risk of early death from heart and lung diseases. The effect of air pollution on cognition and mental well-being, however, has been less well understood. Now, evidence is mounting that dirty air is bad for your brain as well. Over the past decade, researchers have found that high levels of air pollution may damage children's cognitive abilities, increase adults' risk of cognitive decline and possibly even contribute to depression. "This should be taken seriously," says Paul Mohai, PhD, a professor in the University of Michigan's School of Natural Resources and the Environment who has studied the link between air pollution and academic performance in children. "I don't think the issue has gotten the visibility it deserves." To read more,click here

Three Things to Unlearn About Learning

If you're not feeling uncomfortable about the state of education right now, then you're not paying attention to the pressures and challenges of technology," saidWill Richardson, a veteran educator author and consultant, at a talk atISTE 2012. "We need to acknowledge that this is a very interesting moment, and even though in a lot of ways this isn't what we signed up for when we went into teaching... as educators, it's our job to figure it out." Seeing the balance move from a place of scarcity of information to over-abundance on the web - and the ability to "carry around the sum of human knowledge on our phones" - Richardson said educators must start thinking of schooling differently. "This abundance has the potential to be amazing, but it's not amazing if we don't do anything with it," he said. "What is access to all this stuff if you don't know what to do with it?" To that end, Richardson proposed a challenge to educators to unlearn three important things that have been taken for granted as immovable, unchangeable ideas. To read more, click here

An Urgent Plea for Mercy

The Supreme Courtbanned the death penalty for mentally retarded offendersa decade ago, but Georgia apparently has not gotten the message. It is the only state with a statute requiring a defendant to meet the unfairly heavy burden of proving retardation beyond a reasonable doubt. This stringent standard could be readily manipulated by experts, resulting in unconstitutional executions.  Ina closely divided 4-to-3 ruling, the State Supreme Court wrongly upheld the statute on the grounds that the United States Supreme Court left it to the states to set procedures for deciding on retardation. This unjust procedural requirement effectively denies protection for the mentally impaired, as required by the Eighth Amendment.  Last week, Georgia issued a warrant to execute Warren Lee Hill Jr., a death-row inmate convicted of murder, who has an I.Q. of 70. TheGeorgia Board of Pardons and Parolesis the fail-safe in the state's criminal justice system, with a mandate to exercise mercy when the court system has failed to come to a just result. That is clearly true in this case. The trial judge found that Mr. Hill was mentally retarded by applying the fairer "preponderance of the evidence" standard in determining his mental impairment. To read more,click here

Washington and Wisconsin Approved for NCLB Waivers

Two more states-Washington and Wisconsin-have been approved today for waivers that will allow them to get out from under mandates of the No Child Left Behind Act. The two approvals mark an important milestone in the NCLB waiver process. Washington and Wisconsin's approval brings the total ofapproved statesto 26. That means that, officially, more than half the states in the country are no longer subject to the accountability system at the heart of the much-maligned NCLB law. U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, who dreamed-up the waiver plan, sent out a fist-bumping press release to celebrate. "It is a remarkable milestone that in only five months, more than half of the states in the country have adopted state-developed, next-generation education reforms to improve student learning and classroom instruction, while ensuring that resources are targeted to the students that need them most," said Duncan. "A strong, bipartisan reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act remains the best path forward in education reform, but as 26 states have now demonstrated, our kids can't wait any longer for Congress to act." To read more,click here

New Options Emerge to Enrich Gifted Students' Education

Liam Goodowens takes gymnastics and is learning hip-hop dance. The 6-year-old from Florida also likes playing with friends and going to classic rock music concerts with his dad. Liam even enjoys school. In fact, he wishes that it were more challenging. "They feed me peanuts all day. I like peanuts and I get full, but what I really want is one big juicy hamburger," he said. No, he isn't talking about school lunch. Rather, Liam uses the metaphor to describe the experience of being a profoundly gifted child in a mainstream kindergarten classroom. Liam has an IQ in the top two percent of the population. But his school, part of the Orange County Public School District, provides few services for gifted children. So Liam spends his days in a mainstream classroom, waiting for his peers to catch up.  According to the National Association of Gifted Children, there are three million elementary and secondary students in the United States who have been identified as gifted. "It's a bad time to be a gifted child in America," said Sally Reis, professor of education at the University of Connecticut. To read more,click here

Did You Know That....

Although phonemic awareness is a widely used term in reading, it is often misunderstood. One misunderstanding is that phonemic awareness and phonics are the same thing. Phonemic awareness is not phonics. Phonemic awareness is the understanding that the sounds of spoken language work together to make words. Phonics is the understanding that there is a predictable relationship between phonemes and graphemes, the letters that represent those sounds in written language. If children are to benefit from phonics instruction, they need phonemic awareness.

Teens' Lifestyle Choices Affect Their Blood Pressure

Teen girls who use birth control pills and teen boys who drink alcohol are at increased risk for elevated blood pressure, according to a new study. The risk is also greater among teens of both sexes who have a high salt intake and those with a higher body mass index (BMI), which is a measure of body fat based on weight and height. High blood pressure (hypertension) increases the chances of heart disease and stroke. Researchers looked at blood pressure, alcohol consumption, smoking, physical activity levels, prescription medicine use and eating habits among nearly 1,800 teens in Australia. To read more,click here

Hi-Tech Advances May Improve Diabetics' Lives

Many people with insulin-dependent diabetes embrace new technologies that promise to make management of their blood sugar levels easier. But a new analysis of 33 existing studies suggests that newer isn't necessarily better in terms of blood sugar control. "We found similar levels of glycemic control and hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) when we compared insulin pumps versus multiple daily injections," said the study's lead author, Dr. Sherita Hill Golden, an associate professor of medicine and endocrinology at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore. To read more,click here

Girls' Mathematics Performance More Likely to Suffer Than Boys' as a Result of Mathematics Anxiety

If a train is travelling a distance of 55 miles at 150mph, how long will it take to reach its destination? If the thought of having to answer this question makes you apprehensive, then you may have mathematics anxiety. A new study published July 9 in BioMed Central's open access journal Behavioral and Brain Functions reports that a number of school-age children suffer from mathematics anxiety and, although both genders' performance is likely to be affected as a result, girls' maths performance is more likely to suffer than boys'. Mathematics anxiety is a state of discomfort associated with performing mathematics tasks and is thought to affect a notable proportion of both children and adults, having a negative impact on their mathematics performance. Researchers from Cambridge University, UK, set out to investigate in 433 British secondary school children whether mathematics anxiety has any effect on mathematics performance on boys and girls. The team controlled for test anxiety, a related construct, but which isn't typically controlled for in mathematics anxiety studies. To read more,click here

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

Be who you are and say what you feel because those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind.

Dr. Seuss

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