Week in Review - August 21, 2020





National Association of Special Education Teachers

August 21, 2020                    Vol 16 Issue #33


Dear NASET Members and Guests,

Welcome to NASET's WEEK in REVIEW.  Here, we provide you with the latest publications fromNASET 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’s Inclusion Series


Challenges to Collaboration, Inclusion and Best Practices within the Special Education Community

Cecilia Scott-Croff, Ed.D. SAS, SDA, CPAC

Borough of Manhattan Community College Early Childhood Center Inc.

This issue of NASET’s Inclusion series was written by Cecilia Scott-Croff, Ed.D. SAS, SDA, CPAC, and was published in the Spring 2020 edition of JAASEP. The manuscript identifies the challenges of children with special needs and their families. This text further highlights the complexity of integrating children with intellectual differences into inclusive settings. Furthermore, the author incorporates the teamwork and collaboration principles and practices of the Division for Early Childhood (DEC) of the Council for Exceptional Children (CEC, 1990). In keeping with the Council’s principles, the most important aspect of the Council’s mission and goals is to work across systems to meet the needs of children and families (DEC 2009). These principles focus on the importance of parent involvement, collaboration and interdisciplinary approaches to services. Lastly, this paper examines inclusion, advocacy and support for parents while reflectively examining a study (Scott-Croff, 2017) that details the perspectives of parents and pediatricians caring for children on the autism spectrum.

Read More



Vaping Linked to COVID-19 Risk in Teens and Young Adults, Study Finds

Vaping is linked to a substantially increased risk of COVID-19 among teenagers and young adults, according to a new study led by researchers at the Stanford University School of Medicine. The study, which will be published online Aug. 11 in the Journal of Adolescent Health, is the first to examine connections between youth vaping and COVID-19 using U.S. population-based data collected during the pandemic. Among young people who were tested for the virus that causes COVID-19, the research found that those who vaped were five to seven times more likely to be infected than those who did not use e-cigarettes. "Teens and young adults need to know that if you use e-cigarettes, you are likely at immediate risk of COVID-19 because you are damaging your lungs," said the study's senior author, Bonnie Halpern-Felsher, PhD, professor of pediatrics. Read More

Excess Weight Among Pregnant Women May Interfere with Child's Developing Brain

Obesity in expectant mothers may hinder the development of the babies' brains as early as the second trimester, a new study finds. Led by researchers at NYU Grossman School of Medicine, the investigation linked high body mass index (BMI), an indicator of obesity, to changes in two brain areas, the prefrontal cortex and anterior insula. These regions play a key role in decision-making and behavior, with disruptions having previously been linked to attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), autism, and overeating. In their new study, publishing online August 11 in the Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, the investigators examined 197 groups of metabolically active nerve cells in the fetal brain. Using millions of computations, the study authors divided the groups into 16 meaningful subgroups based on over 19,000 possible connections between the groups of neurons. They found only two areas of the brain where their connections to each other were statistically strongly linked to the mother's BMI. Read More


Autism Therapy in the Palm of Your Hand

Though individuals on the autism spectrum often seem to exist in their own worlds, they still must learn to navigate life in the social world we all share. Early interventions are critical to their personal development and ability to thrive in modern society. Enabling parents to provide their children gold-standard treatment at home is the goal behind a mobile application being developed by Ty Vernon,  director of UC Santa Barbara’s Koegel Autism Center. The Department of Defense’s Autism Research Program is supporting Vernon’s effort by way of a $738,000 grant that will provide for two years of research, development and testing. “If we are less inclined to pay attention to and engage with other people, then we’re missing out on that rich learning experience,” he added, “which not only impacts language development, but also social and cognitive development. Pretty much every domain is affected if we don’t have strong desire for human connection.” Read More


Parents of Students with Special Needs Worry Their Kids Will Be Left Behind

Remote learning is expected to be an adjustment especially for special needs students. Many parents are on edge saying there hasn’t been a lot of direction about modifications that will be made for their kids with disabilities. The three largest school districts in the borderland El Paso Independent School District, Ysleta Independent School District and Socorro Independent School District combined, have over 17,000 students with special needs. That’s a lot of children who require special planning. Many parents feel these plans should’ve already been communicated. Read More

Special Education Students May Face Different Set of Challenges at School This Fall

While returning to school is presenting challenges for all students, special education students may face a different set of challenges. “It is probably the toughest time in education that I’ve ever been involved with,” said Perryton ISD Superintendent James Mireles. Perryton ISD staff members are taking what they learned from remote learning in the spring to create a plan for special needs students. “We are still working through what does that look like,” said Mary Nine, director of special education at Perryton ISD. “Especially we have some children who don’t respond very well to virtual screen time, and we have made packets and we have made kits for parents to work with them so we are in contact and the students. Well, we will be on a daily basis. “A lot of those kids are just children who we are going to educate the same way as other children who are choosing remote,” said Nine. “But we are putting in place that special needs and special needs instruction that they need.” Read More

NASET ADVOCACY - Board Certification for Advocacy in Special Education (BCASE)

Motor Difficulties in Autism, Explained

Most autistic people — 87 percent, according to the latest estimate — have some sort of motor difficulty, ranging from an atypical gait to problems with handwriting. These issues are distinct from the repetitive behaviors considered to be a hallmark of autism. And yet, despite their prevalence, motor problems are not considered a core trait of autism, because they also occur with other conditions, such as Down syndrome, cerebral palsy and ADHD.  Here, we describe what experts know about the causes, characteristics and consequences of motor difficulties, which they say are among the least understood and most neglected aspects of autism. They also call on researchers to better assess motor difficulties in autistic people and for clinicians to treat these problems, especially because motor setbacks may have consequences far beyond simply impeding movement. They may have gross-motor problems, such as a clumsy, uncoordinated gait; and difficulties with fine-motor control, such as manipulating objects and writing. Read More


Autism and Eating Disorders May have an Emotional Connection

Eating disorders have the highest mortality rates of any kinds of mental illness. They don’t discriminate, affecting people of all ethnicities, sexualities, gender identities, ages and backgrounds. However, one group is disproportionately affected by these disorders: people on the autism spectrum. Eating disorders in autistic people are poorly understood, but they tend to be more sever and long-lasting than they are in others. The longer a person lives with their eating disorder, the harder it is to recover. This may partly explain why some studies suggest autistic people have a poorer prognosis in therapy. Longer-lasting eating disorders are associated with a higher death rate. The fact that autistic people are vulnerable to chronic eating disorders, alongside other mental illnesses, may be one reason why they die one to three decades earlier, on average, than non-autistic people. So why are people with autism especially vulnerable to eating disorders? At least two reasons have been suggested. Read More

Officials Talk Special Education Distance Learning During Pandemic

More than 300,000 students within the Clark County School District are set to start distance learning, as officials continue to push for coronavirus-caused social distancing measures. Times are challenging for local educators and the families of the students they’re attempting to virtually teach.  At the center of this challenge is the student, an effort made even more fragile when he or she does not speak English or is now set to distance learning as a special education student. In the last report, the Clark County School District says they have about 42,000 special education students.  While all teachers are instructed to reach out directly to their students through distance learning, the instructors over special education students and English language learners are now tasked with taking that a step further. Read More

State Seeks to Address Shortage of Special Education Teachers

North Dakota is putting federal money into an effort to get more special education teachers into schools across the state. Superintendent of Public Instruction Kirsten Baesler made the announcement Wednesday morning. The state was using $750,000 from CARES Act funds it received to create 20 scholarships for paraprofessionals taking part in a program at Minot State University to teach special education students. That comes at a time when parents in the Fargo area said they’re concerned about the upcoming school year. Theresa Busche has two kids enrolled at Osgood Elementary in West Fargo. Last year, both abruptly transitioned like other students from in-class to remote learning once the pandemic forced schools to close. “My kids need stability. They like that. It’s something that is important to them. I mean, it’s important to all children,” Busche said on Wednesday. Read More


New Study Suggests ADHD- Like Behavior Helps Spur Entrepreneurial Activity

Many people have experienced a few nights of bad sleep that resulted in shifting attention spans, impulsive tendencies and hyperactivity the next day -- all behaviors resembling ADHD. A new study found that this dynamic may also be linked to increased entrepreneurial behavior. "We're not advocating depriving yourself of sleep to get ahead," said Jeff Gish, a professor of business at the University of Central Florida and co-author of the paper. "We're saying that there appears to be an interesting link between sleep and entrepreneurship. ADHD-like tendencies can be a benefit, rather than a hindrance in spurring ventures. But there is a potential downside. Even though sleep problems might lure an individual to an entrepreneurial career, if the sleep problems persist they can subsequently leave the individual without the cognitive and emotional competency to be an effective entrepreneur in-practice." Read More


Improving Treatment of Spinal Cord Injuries

When injured, the spinal cord swells, restricting blood flow, resulting in further, often critical and permanent motor, sensory, and autonomic function damage. Rapid prevention of spinal cord swelling immediately after injury is key to preventing more serious damage. The only treatment to date has been steroid therapy with methylprednisolone, which is minimally effective. Now, in an open-access paper published in Frontiers in Bioengineering and Biotechnology, a group led by Marlan and Rosemary Bourns College of Engineering Jacques S. Yeager, Sr. Professor of Bioengineering Victor G. J. Rodgers and UCR School of Medicine biomedical sciences professor Devin Binder describes an osmotic therapy device that gently removes fluid from the spinal cord to reduce swelling in injured rats with good results. The device can eventually be scaled up for testing in humans. Read More


Young Children Would Rather Explore than Get Rewards

Young children will pass up rewards they know they can collect to explore other options, a new study suggests. Researchers found that when adults and 4- to 5-year-old children played a game where certain choices earned rewards, both adults and children quickly learned what choices would give them the biggest returns. But while adults then used that knowledge to maximize their prizes, children continued exploring the other options, just to see if their value may have changed. "Exploration seems to be a major driving force during early childhood -- even outweighing the importance of immediate rewards," said Vladimir Sloutsky, co-author of the study and professor of psychology at The Ohio State University. "We believe it is because young children need to explore to help them understand how the world works." Read More



Congratulations to: Shirley Miles-Bell, Patsy Ray, Mariola Papa, Kimberly Rehbaum, Karen Frantz-Fry, Jamie Patton, Amanda Johnson, and Barry Amper, who all knew the answer to last week's trivia question:

What is the name of the IDEA disability that means “having limited strength, vitality or alertness, including a heightened alertness to environmental stimuli, that results in limited alertness with respect to the educational environment, that: (i) is due to chronic or acute health problems such as asthma, attention deficit disorder or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, diabetes, epilepsy, a heart condition, hemophilia, lead poisoning, leukemia, nephritis, rheumatic fever, and sickle cell anemia; and (ii) adversely affects a child's educational performance”?


This Week's Trivia Question: Which President of the United States signed a bill into law creating Gallaudet College (then called the Columbia Institution for the Instruction of the Deaf and Dumb and Blind), an institution of higher learning for the deaf, thereby forcing the federal government to become involved in special education in 1864?

If you know the answer to this week's trivia questions, email it to us at contactus@naset.org by August 24, 2020. If you are correct, you will be acknowledged in next week's NASET's Week in Review


Yoga Shown to Improve Anxiety, Study Shows

Yoga improves symptoms of generalized anxiety disorder, a condition with chronic nervousness and worry, suggesting the popular practice may be helpful in treating anxiety in some people. Led by researchers at NYU Grossman School of Medicine, a new study found that yoga was significantly more effective for generalized anxiety disorder than standard education on stress management, but not effective as cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), the gold standard form of structured talk therapy that helps patients identify negative thinking for better responses to challenges. "Generalized anxiety disorder is a very common condition, yet many are not willing or able to access evidence-based treatments," says lead study author Naomi M. Simon, MD, a professor in the Department of Psychiatry at NYU Langone Health. "Our findings demonstrate that yoga, which is safe and widely available, can improve symptoms for some people with this disorder and could be a valuable tool in an overall treatment plan." Read More

Adaptation in Single Neurons Provides Memory for Language Processing

Did the man bite the dog, or was it the other way around? When processing an utterance, words need to be assembled into the correct interpretation within working memory. One aspect of comprehension is to establish 'who did what to whom'. This process of unification takes much longer than basic events in neurobiology, like neuronal spikes or synaptic signaling. Hartmut Fitz, lead investigator at the Neurocomputational Models of Language group at the Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics, and his colleagues propose an account where adaptive features of single neurons supply memory that is sufficiently long-lived to bridge this temporal gap and support language processing. Read More

New School Year Means New Formats, Planning for Special Education Services

As the school year begins and districts weigh how to best and most safely educate students, they're also working through new challenges in ensuring students receiving special education services that equate to what they received before the pandemic. Meanwhile, families are trying to make the best decisions for their students as they navigate new and changing systems. State Sen. Jose Menendez said that, in a survey with over 15,000 parent and teacher respondents, he heard from many concerned about the prioritization of students who receive special education services. While many school districts say they are working closely with families to provide versions of the same resources and exercises they typically rely on, it is also uncharted territory—and parents and staff want to make sure the issue stays top of mind, and is supported logistically and financially on multiple levels. Read More


* Early Childhood Specialist - Willamette Education Service District is accepting applications for multiple full-time (1.0 FTE) EI/ECSE Specialist positions with the Special Education Department’s Early Intervention/Early Childhood Special Education (EI/ECSE) program. The positions are for the 2020-2021 school year and may be based in Marion, Polk and/or Yamhill County. Successful candidates will will follow a 190-day calendar and will begin on August 21, 2020. To learn more - Click here

* Special Ed Teacher - The Home at Walpole seeks a Special Education Teacher for their Massachusetts Chapter 766 Special Education School, Clifford Academy. Clifford Academy provides a year-round engaging and comprehensive program focused on education, career development, recreation/fitness, and an individualized therapeutic approach.Under direction of a Principal, participate in the implementation of individualized educational programs for special needs children at varying academic levels. To learn more - Click here

* Executive Director of Special Education - Garland ISD seeks an Executive Director of Special Education with the following qualifications, Master’s Degree, Special Education Certification, Principal/Mid-Management Certification, three (3) years’ teaching experience; special education preferred, experience in successful leadership role at the District or State level, earned or in progress doctorate. To learn more - Click here

* Special Education Teacher - Is sought who demonstrates a commitment to the success of all SLA students and specifically to raising the academic achievement of children in high-poverty communities and/ or children with special needs. Has a desire to grow professionally and seek out new opportunities to learn; and integrity and clarity in all communications and interactions. To learn more - Click here

* Special Education Teacher - We are looking for highly motivated and skilled Special Education teachers to join our team at District of Columbia Public Schools (DCPS). DCPS serves more than 51,000 students through the e?orts of approximately 4,000 educators in 117 schools. DCPS intends to have the highest-performing, best paid, most satis?ed, and most honored educator force in the nation and a distinctive central o?ce sta? whose work supports and drives instructional excellence and significant achievement gains for DCPS students. To learn more- Click here

If you are an Employer looking for excellent special education staff - Click here for more information


It’s your life; you don’t need someone’s permission to live the life you want. Be brave to live from your heart.

Roy T. Bennett

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