Week in Review - December 11 2020




National Association of Special Education Teachers

December 11 2020                 Vol 16 Issue #50

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 Q & A Corner

Implementation of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) Part B Provision of Services in the Current COVID-19 Environment


This issue of NASET’s Q & A Corner was written by the U.S. Department of Education’s (Department) Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services in response to inquiries concerning implementation of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) Part B provision of services in the current COVID-19 environment. Decisions about the 2020-2021 school year, including how and when educational and other services are provided, are being made by State and local officials, with continued academic growth and the safety of the local school community being of paramount significance. This document is meant to aid Local Education Agencies (LEAs) and parents in identifying steps they can take to ensure that as the 2020-2021 school year continues, children with disabilities are well-positioned with an educational program that meets each child’s unique needs. Just as a child’s needs may change during the school year, so can the circumstances needed to ensure the health and safety of children and the entire school community. Therefore, school staff and parents are encouraged to work together to find ways to meet the needs of children with disabilities, notwithstanding the COVID-19 challenges.

Read More



Steps to Creating Contingency Plans to Implement IEPs

As school buildings reopen to students only to be closed again because of renewed COVID-19 outbreaks, it’s clear that all school districts nationwide must have contingency plans. They must prepare for how they are going to implement students’ IEPs when they aren’t able to operate under standard conditions. These plans can also apply when there are natural disasters and other situations that prevent students from receiving services as detailed in their IEPs for an extended period of time. But if school-based teams just make decisions about these plans without parent involvement, they may impede parents’ ability to meaningfully participate in their child’s educational program. That can quickly lead to claims of predetermination. Discussing with parents the reality of what you can provide under abnormal circumstances before they happen is crucial. Read More


Autism Study Suggests Connection Between Repetitive Behaviors, Gut Problems

In children with autism, repetitive behaviors and gastrointestinal problems may be connected, new research has found. The study found that increased severity of other autism symptoms was also associated with more severe constipation, stomach pain and other gut difficulties. The research, which appears in the journal Autism, found no association between social and communication difficulties and gastrointestinal symptoms. The study doesn’t explain the biological mechanism for the relationship between repetitive behaviors, such as rocking back and forth and hand flapping, and gut problems. Read More


New Technology to Investigate Autism Spectrum Disorder

Technology to identify potential biological mechanisms underlying autism spectrum disorder has been developed by scientists at Harvard University, the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard, and MIT. The “Perturb-Seq” method investigates the function of many different genes in many different cell types at once, in a living organism. Scientists applied the large-scale method to study dozens of genes that are associated with autism spectrum disorder, identifying how specific cell types in the developing mouse brain are impacted by mutations. Published in the journal Science, the method is also broadly applicable to other organs, enabling scientists to better understand a wide range of disease and normal processes. Read More


NYC Students with Disabilities Face Widespread Staffing Shortage, Over-Enrolled Classes: Survey

Scores of city students with disabilities are stuck in understaffed and over-enrolled remote education classes, leaving them frustrated and falling behind, a new survey of more than 1,000 city families found. Hundreds of students legally entitled to two teachers because of special education needs are often getting just one, while contending with online classes of up to 80 students, according to the survey from the parent advocacy group Special Support Services, LLC. “No student is truly protected when our schools abandon their obligations to the most vulnerable children,” said Amber Decker, Senior Advocate at Special Support Services. “This is everyone’s problem. We must act now.” Read More


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

Special Olympics Virginia Asks for Support to Help Those with Intellectual Disabilities

In a year where the value of life has made headlines across our nation, Special Olympics Virginia hopes to continue that fight into 2021 with your help. The nonprofit works to improve the lives of children and adults with intellectual disabilities through sports. For every dollar donated, 89 cents goes right into the program to help athletes. “One of the things we want folks to do when they’re in our program as volunteers or coaches is to really take a look at getting to know our athletes and understanding the value of somebody who is simply a little different from you,” said Rick Jeffrey, Special Olympics Virginia, President. Read More


Dream Riders of Kentucky Helps Participants with Disabilities Through Horseback Riding

Giving Tuesday holds a lot of meaning for organizations across the country and here in the Tri-State. Since 2003, one Kentucky non-profit has been changing lives for children and adults facing challenges - in more ways than one - every day. At Dream Riders of Kentucky, giving back is nothing new. But on this Giving Tuesday, they’re asking the community for help so this non-profit can continue bringing joy and therapy to those in need. Dream Riders of Kentucky helps participants with disabilities find happiness and therapy all on horseback. “We help children and adults with disabilities; physical, cognitive, social and emotional differences and difficulties. Everything we do is to benefit the riders and participants that come here, whether it’s physically taking their first steps or whether it’s speaking their first words,” explained Program Director Sandy Webster. Read More


4 Criteria for Effective Directions

One of the most important, yet initially harsh seeming, pieces of advice my principal gave me was this: If multiple students aren’t following the directions, it most likely isn’t their fault, it’s yours. It quickly made me reevaluate the ways in which I gave directions to my students during class. Luckily, the principal who made me realize that it might be my directions that were the problem was the same principal who helped me figure out how to fix it. A major piece of the fix was in creating criteria for my directions and ensuring that every time I asked my students to do something, these criteria, outlined in detail below, were met. Read More


How Therapy Dogs Provide Moments of Calm to High School Students, Staff During Pandemic

Students and school staff members throughout Forsyth County felt devastated when the pandemic forced schools to close in the spring, and as they started to open back up again at the start of this year, many were unsure of what to expect. As students ventured back onto campus at Lambert High School, they were pleasantly surprised to be greeted by some new four-legged friends. Assistant Principal Dr. Ashley Johnessee worked with teachers and district leaders over the summer and through the year to begin the school’s therapy dog program, bringing four dogs to campus to help students and staff during what has been an unusually stressful year. Read More


How Autism Researchers Can Better Reach Black families

Black people with autism face numerous obstacles to care in the United States, including long wait times for evaluations and limited access to the services they need. And they are often not included in research, leaving them underserved in other ways. It’s a struggle that Kim Kaiser, director of programming at The Color of Autism Foundation, knows firsthand. Staff at her autistic son’s school initially told her he had oppositional defiant disorder, a misdiagnosis that research suggests may happen often with Black children. Another clinician didn’t understand the boy’s native language, Jamaican Patois, and so underestimated his language skills. It wasn’t until Kaiser found a Jamaican psychologist that her son was assessed correctly. “It was three completely different evaluations,” Kaiser says. Kaiser says her son’s diagnostic odyssey inspired her work at The Color of Autism, where she trains Black families to navigate the complexities of an autism evaluation and to advocate for their children at school and elsewhere. Read More




Congratulations to: Laurie D'Amico, Stephanie Jenkins, Patsy Ray, Olumide Akerele, Elizabeth Ciccarelli-Rosa, Diane Campbell-Mitchell, Mariola Papa, Karen Frantz-Fry, Cindi Maurice, and Catherine Cardenas who all knew the answer to last week's trivia question:

When addressing concerns for individuals with hearing impairments, we often look at the middle ear. The middle ear comprises the eardrum and three very tiny bones (ossicles), the Latin names for hammer, anvil, and stirrup. What are the names of these three tiny bones whose chain conducts the vibrations of the eardrum?



Kids' TV Teaching Children Wrong Lessons About Pain

Children engrossed in popular kids' TV programs such as Peppa Pig, or films like Toy Story or Frozen, are exposed to up to nine incidents of pain for every hour of TV watched, according to new research from psychologists. A new study -- published today [Wednesday 2 December 2020] in the international journal Pain from researchers at the universities of Bath (UK) and Calgary (Canada) -- analyzed how characters' experiences of pain were depicted across different media aimed at 4 to 6-year olds. The team behind the research were interested in assessing what painful incidents characters were subject to, as well as how they and others around them responded. Their analysis looked at 10 family movies from 2009 onwards (Despicable Me 2, The Secret Life of Pets, Toy Story 3 & 4, Incredibles 2, Inside Out, Up, Zootopia, Frozen and Finding Dory), as well as popular kids' TV programs (Sofia the First, Shimmer and Shine, Paw Patrol, Octonauts, Peppa Pig, Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood). Read More


National Autism Indicators Report: Health and Health Care of Individuals with Autism

People on the autism spectrum face barriers to comprehensive care that may cause their health and quality of life to be worse than that of their peers. While some people may be predisposed to worse health, preventive services and comprehensive health care can go a long way in improving the trajectory of health throughout their lives. In the recently published sixth report in the National Autism Indicators Report series, researchers from Drexel University's A.J. Drexel Autism Institute highlight a holistic picture of what health and health care look like across the life course for people on the autism spectrum. "Health and health care are critical issues for many children and adults on the autism spectrum," said Lindsay Shea, DrPH, director of the Policy and Analytics Center at the Autism Institute and interim leader of the Life Course Outcomes Research Program, an associate professor and co-author of the report. Read More


Less Siloed, More Inclusive: Changes to Special Education Teacher Preparation Expected to Have Big Impact on Schools

As the pandemic has drawn more attention to the needs of students in special education, the state is moving forward with changes to teacher preparation programs intended to improve learning conditions for California’s nearly 800,000 students with special needs. Last month, the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing approved the latest in more than a dozen changes to the requirements for credentialing aspiring special education teachers. With a focus on co-teaching and collaboration between special education and their general education colleagues, the changes are intended to boost achievement among students of all abilities. The changes are meant to address longstanding problems in special education, affecting more than 13% of California’s K-12 student enrollment. Read More


Mothers' Stress May Lead to Preterm Births, Faster Aging in Children

Why do some people age faster than others? One potential answer, a new UCLA-led study indicates, is that a mother's stress prior to giving birth may accelerate her child's biological aging. The researchers found evidence that maternal stress adversely affects the length of a baby's telomeres -- the small pieces of DNA at the ends of chromosomes that act as protective caps, like the plastic tips on shoelaces. Shortened telomeres have been linked to a higher risk of cancers, cardiovascular and other diseases, and earlier death. The findings are reported this month in the journal Psychoneuroendocrinology. "Research on aging is beginning to identify some factors that might put a person on an accelerated aging path, potentially leading to diseases of aging such as metabolic disorder and cardiovascular disease much earlier in life than would be expected," said the study's lead author, Judith Carroll, an associate professor of psychiatry and biobehavioral sciences at the Cousins Center for Psychoneuroimmunology, part of the Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior at UCLA. Read More


Companies Pry Open the Web for People with Intellectual Disabilities

Companies are looking to expand online accommodations. Many of their websites are accessible to people with visual and hearing impairments, and now some businesses are addressing accessibility for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities—often referred to as IDD—as well as learning disabilities. Because of the varying needs of people with these disabilities, there is no universal solution to the issues they encounter online. Negative experiences include getting timed out of a webpage for taking longer than most people to finish a form and confronting text that is too complicated linguistically. Read More


New Mural Celebrates Special Education Students

A mural recognizing Fort Worth ISD’s more than 14,000 special education students will be dedicated this month. Work on the approximately 13-by-26 foot mural, at 1900 8th Ave in Fort Worth, got underway during the Thanksgiving break. It was commissioned by the FWISD Special Education PTA. The mural illustrates a diversity of student hands releasing multi-colored butterflies to the east, FWISD explained in a news release. The butterflies will land in a companion mural being painted for the Grand Prairie ISD. The unique colors of the butterflies represent awareness ribbons and colors for the special education students represented within the District such as ADHD, limb loss, cerebral palsy, neurodiversity, Down syndrome and others. Read More


Pandemic Shows Students with Disabilities Need More Options

The end of November marks the 45th anniversary of watershed federal legislation now known as the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act. The law enshrined the idea that every child with disabilities is entitled to a meaningful education that is inclusive as possible. Even though time has changed many perceptions of what students with disabilities can achieve, progress toward fulfilling the vision has left many dissatisfied. This year’s experiences with pandemic learning have only mounted the frustrations. The sudden onset of COVID-19, with its many unknowns, challenged schools’ ability to help students with special learning challenges. Many people, including the Onyx family in Oakland County, have pleaded for face-to-face educational opportunities as “indispensable.” Both of their children need consistent access to aides and therapies that were suddenly denied to them when school buildings closed in the spring. Read More


Steps to Creating Contingency Plans to Implement IEPs

As school buildings reopen to students only to be closed again because of renewed COVID-19 outbreaks, it’s clear that all school districts nationwide must have contingency plans. They must prepare for how they are going to implement students’ IEPs when they aren’t able to operate under standard conditions. These plans can also apply when there are natural disasters and other situations that prevent students from receiving services as detailed in their IEPs for an extended period of time. But if school-based teams just make decisions about these plans without parent involvement, they may impede parents’ ability to meaningfully participate in their child’s educational program. That can quickly lead to claims of predetermination. Discussing with parents the reality of what you can provide under abnormal circumstances before they happen is crucial. Read More



* Teacher - JHU is looking for an energetic, flexible, and motivated teacher needed to work full-time with a young adult with autism. Teachers work on a multi-disciplinary team with specialists in autism, special education, speech-language pathology, fitness, art, and behavior analysis to address communication, academic, daily living, vocational, and leisure skills in home, educational, and community settings in and around New York City, Connecticut, and via Zoom. To learn more - Click here

* Assistant Professor; Collaborative Special Ed - The University of North Alabama invites applications for the position of tenure-track, Assistant Professor in the Department of Teaching, Learning, & Leadership. Qualifications include: an earned doctorate in special education; a minimum of three years of successful public school experience with students who have either mild, moderate, or severe disabilities in grades K-6, 6-12, or K-12; demonstrated university teaching experience to teach undergraduate courses required for a dual K-6 certification in elementary and special education, along with online graduate courses; excellent verbal and writing skills; the ability to advise teacher education candidates; and the ability to work with P-12 students as well as P-12 schools and administrators. To learn more - Click here

* Educational Instructional Support Specialists - The Collaborative for Educational Services (CES) is seeking Educational Instructional Support Specialists to assist with onsite coordination of hybrid and/or remote teaching and learning. The Specialist will provide structure, onsite support and the connection to teachers as needed. The Specialist's purpose is to make sure that students have what they need in order to actively, and successfully engage with their learning when done via remote instruction, or through a combination of in person and on-line (hybrid) programming. To learn more- Click here

* FT Special Education Teachers, (K-4, 5-8, 9-12) - PA Virtual has openings for Full Time Special Education Teachers at the Elementary, Middle and High School Levels. All teaching positions are remote and we require candidates to have a current, valid certification to teach in the state of Pennsylvania. The Teacher position is responsible for the planning, organization and implementation of an appropriate instructional program, in an elementary or secondary virtual learning environment. To learn more - Click here

* Special Education Teacher - A local school district in Charleston, SC has partnered with an industry leading healthcare job placement agency, to fill several vacant Special Education Teacher positions in Charleston, SC for the entire 2020-21 School Year. The Special Education Teacher is responsible for planning, coordinating and the provision of special education services to eligible students. This position assures adherence to timelines and federal and state requirements for special education services and the responsibility for monitoring compliance with Individualized Services Plans (ISP) and/or Individualized Education Plan (IEP). To learn more - Click here

* Special Education Teacher - Merakey is seeking a Special Education Teacher to join our Education Services within our Children's and Family division in our school in Chambersburg PA for the 2020-2021 school year. The Merakey Children's and Family Division focuses on a continuum of care throughout the lifespan. The core, fundamental principles of Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) are incorporated into a specialized approach across all service offerings. To learn more - Click here

* Special Education (Autism) PreK-4  - General responsibilities indlude aiding each student consistent with his or her abilities and educational needs. Develop competence in the basic learning skills, progress on the basis of achievement, and to qualify for further education and/or employment. To learn more - Click here

* Virtual Special Education Teacher Positions - K12 believes in education for everyone. We provide families an online option for a high-quality, personalized education experience. Students can thrive, find their passion, and learn in an environment that encourages discovery at their own pace. In support of this, we are committed to creating and maintaining a culture of inclusion and diversity. To learn more - Click here

* Special Education Teacher - $60,000/school year (185 days), summers off with year-round pay and year round appreciation. Special Education Teachers needed in Arizona (Phoenix and surrounding cities). Needs are in the self-contained and resource settings serving students with emotional disabilities (ED), Autism (A), Severe/Profound (S/P), and Intellectual Disabilities (ID). STARS is the largest school contract agency in AZ. STARS is owned and operated by Occupational Therapists. You will be an employee and receive full benefits - To learn more - Click here

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


For me, I am driven by two main philosophies: Know more today about the world than I knew yesterday and lessen the suffering of others. You'd be surprised how far that gets you.

Neil deGrasse Tyson

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