Week in Review - December 25, 2020




National Association of Special Education Teachers

December 25 2020                 Vol 16 Issue #52

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 Autism Spectrum Disorder Series

Can Robots Serve as an Effective Instructional tool for decreasing Off-Task Behaviors in Young Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders?


Amelia K. Moody

Sharon Richter


University of North Carolina Wilmington

This issue of NASET’s Autism Spectrum Disorder was written by Amelia K. Moody and Sharon Richter from the University of North Carolina Wilmington. The researchers conducted a single subject reversal design to compare the Superflex® curriculum and a researcher- developed Robotics-Enhanced Superflex intervention on off-task behavior among three elementary students with autism. Researchers implemented two phases of the study, including the Robotics- Enhanced Social Skills Instruction and traditional social skills instruction across a 10-week period. The results indicate that off task behaviors were decreased using Robotics-Enhanced Social Skills instruction over a traditional social skills lesson. Results were educationally significant for decreasing off-task behaviors while increasing cognitive demands.

Read More



Individuals with High ADHD-Traits are More Vulnerable to Insomnia

Individuals with high ADHD-traits that do not meet the criteria for a diagnosis are less able to perform tasks involving attentional regulation or emotional control after a sleepless night than individuals with low ADHD-traits, a new study from Karolinska Institutet published in Biological Psychiatry: Cognitive Neuroscience and Neuroimaging reports. While it can cause multiple cognitive impairments, there is considerable individual variation in sensitivity to the effects of insomnia. The reason for this variability has been an unresolved research question for long. In the present study, KI researchers investigated how sleep deprivation affects our executive functions, which is to say the central cognitive processes that govern our thoughts and actions. They also wanted to ascertain if people with ADHD tendencies are more sensitive to insomnia, with more severe functional impairments as a result. Read More


Virginia State Watchdog Report Finds Significant Flaws in State’s Special Education Efforts

Every year, more than 2,300 special education students — 20 percent — are awarded essentially worthless diplomas when they graduate. That is one of the key findings of a new report showing that, despite substantial improvements, significant flaws remain in the state’s K-12 education program for disabled students – particularly Black children — that leaves many ill-prepared for life after school. Issued Monday, the 132-page report from the watchdog Joint Legislative Audit and Review Commission buttresses concerns from parents and the federal government about a Virginia educational program that costs $2.6 billion a year. That’s about 15 percent of the $16 billion that is poured into the state’s public schools yearly in local, state and federal funds. Read More


How One Company Is Redefining Hiring and Working With People with Autism

Unemployment among those with autism is approximately 85 percent. This statistic means that roughly two-thirds of people with autism are not working. In general, those with autism had lower employment rates and higher social isolation rates than people with other disabilities. Dell Technologies has created a program to help solve this problem. Three years ago, they launched their Autism Hiring Programs. Their goal was to expand their talent pool while bringing traditionally underrepresented groups into their workforce. Since its launch, the program has helped individuals in the Boston and Austin areas who on the autism spectrum find employment outside of the traditional interview process. Read More


Researchers Discover Brain Pattern that Could Improve Mental Health Disorder Diagnosis

A pattern in how the brain breaks down tryptophan, a common amino acid consumed through food, was discovered by researchers at The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth). The finding, which could help physicians more accurately diagnose and treat several major mental health disorders, was recently published in Molecular Psychiatry. "Tryptophan can be metabolized to either a route where serotonin is produced, or to the kynurenine pathway," said Brisa Fernandes, MD, MSc, PhD, a postdoctoral research fellow with the Louis A. Faillace, MD, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at McGovern Medical School at UTHealth and co-senior author of the paper. "The research shows that people with mood disorders and schizophrenia not only have decreased levels of tryptophan overall, but the tryptophan they do have is being broken down more often in the kynurenine pathway, shifting away from the production of serotonin, the chemical made from tryptophan that is thought to regulate anxiety and improve mood." Read More




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

The Road to Inclusion: Empowering Employees with Disabilities

As we head into 2021, one topic on every employers’ agenda is the need to develop an actionable plan to address diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI). While the word “diversity” is often associated with racial diversity, especially following this summer’s social movements in response to the death of George Floyd and others, “diversity” has much broader implications. Gender diversity is probably the next that comes to mind, but what about physical diversity? Rob Rusch is a tax director for PwC. He also suffers from Spinal Muscular Atrophy, a neuromuscular genetic disorder that has left him in a wheelchair. He, and many others with physical limitations, know all too well the biases–implicit or conscious–that come with a disability. Rob recently took some time to share his experiences with BenefitsPRO and offer up some tips for employers to consider as they craft their DEI plans and other workplace initiatives for the coming year. Read More


Grant to Make STEM Education More Accessible to Students with Disabilities

The University of Maine at Farmington has received a National Science Foundation grant of $96,377 to engage rural students with disabilities in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) learning through accessible makerspaces. The innovative UMF incubator makerspace, Maine-Makerspaces for Abilities Driving Entrepreneurship (ME-MADE), is in the Mantor Library Learning Commons. It is available to the university community, with plans to be open to members of the public of all abilities and disabilities. A makerspace is an area that contains materials and tools for people to work together to learn, collaborate, create and share. They provide hands-on, creative ways to encourage students to design, experiment, build and invent as they engage in STEM. Read More


COVID-19 Means a lot More Work for Families of Children with Disabilities, But Schools Can Help

Children don’t come with how-to manuals. Even if they did, they would all require a manual of their own, tailored to their unique make and model. That’s why caregiving can be rewarding, as well as puzzling and demanding – particularly for family caregivers of children with disabilities. Although these caregivers often report that the role gives them a sense of purpose, it usually comes with physical, emotional and financial strains. COVID-19 has added major hurdles to accessing, delivering and evaluating special education services. Read More


Students’ Reading Losses Could Strain Schools’ Capacity to Help Them Catch Up

Children beginning their school careers during the pandemic are likely to need a lot more support than usual to build their foundational skills for reading. The most comprehensive study to date of pandemic-related learning loss in the earliest grades finds that some 40 percent of 1st graders have come to school this fall significantly behind in early literacy skills—particularly around phonics—and they will need intensive interventions to prevent them from ending the year reading below grade level. The study confirms that even the youngest students are experiencing the so-called “COVID slide,” and counters some recent studies that suggested there have been minimal losses in reading. Read More


Colorado’s Emphasis on Phonics in Reading Could Hurt English Language Learners, Advocates Say

A group of Colorado educators and advocates are raising concerns that the state’s new directives on reading instruction might harm one group of students who can’t afford to be left behind: those whose first language is not English. Officials across the country have been following a new push to align reading instruction with science that shows students need direct phonics instruction in the early grades to learn to read. But Colorado researchers who study strategies for English language learners say this push, and its research, have not specifically considered the needs of English learners. And they say that that while phonics instruction is important for all students, including for those who are learning English as a new language, teachers should not ignore other literacy components such as comprehension and oral language. Read More


'Hearing' Autism: Newborn Hearing Test May Enhance Early Detection

Autism spectrum disorder, estimated to affect one in 54 children in the United States, encompasses a range of complex neurodevelopmental conditions that typically emerge in the first few years of life. Yet for a variety of reasons, these conditions could be challenging to diagnose early when interventions are most likely to avert or mitigate some of the more serious long-term developmental consequences. Now research led by Harvard Medical School investigators and conducted in collaboration with colleagues at the University of Miami suggests that a relatively simple hearing test—already used in newborns worldwide—could enhance screening efforts. Read More




Congratulations to: Robin Calloway, Cindi Maurice, Laurie D'Amico, Olumide Akerele, Torrey Janssen, and Diane Campbell-Mitchell who all knew the answer to last week's trivia question:

Under the federal law, The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, an initial evaluation to determine whether a child is a child with a disability (an initial evaluation) must be made within how many days of receiving parental consent for the evaluation (20 USC 1414(a)(1)(C)(i)(I))?

Answer: 60 (SIXTY) DAYS

This Week's Trivia Question: According to recent research reported from the Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health, teens who are unhappy with their physical appearance are at significantly heightened risk of what disorder by the time they reach early adulthood?

If you know the answer to this week's trivia questions, email it to us at contactus@naset.org by January 1, 2021. If you are correct, you will be acknowledged in next week's NASET's Week in Review

Simulated Grocery Store Prepares Students with Special Needs for Life Beyond High School

Renee Nash at Copperas Cove High School has transformed her classroom into a simulated Walmart experience. Hoping, this problem-solving task, can prepare her special education students for their life's beyond the classroom one day. “The students are working on independence skills and employment. One of the skills the students are currently learning in this lesson is learning to count money, purchase items they would need in real life to survive on their own, and making sure they have enough money,” Nash said.  “The goal is to teach them to be independent and be able to shop for themselves.” she added. Student Kelsey Jones, excited, grabbed more than one chocolate Ding Dong box in her basket. Read More


Zooming In: What it’s Like to Student Teach During a Pandemic

Grace Brannen never thought she’d be student teaching from a ping pong table in her family’s basement, positioning herself against a wall so no one would walk behind her with a basket of laundry. She didn’t expect show-and-tell might include a student showing the inside of his fridge, or his mom sleeping after working all night. Young students had to be taught that if you whisper on Zoom, others can hear you. The special education major taught K-8 remotely at Clara Barton Elementary in Chicago. Before school began, she traveled with other teachers to students’ homes to help set up Wi-Fi. While still working at 11 p.m., one student asked them if they were going to sleep there, and asked if she wanted to play the video game Fortnite. This is the new world for student teachers, where they see into students’ lives, meeting families and pets, including bearded dragons. Read More


New Insights into Fragile X Syndrome and the Fetal Brain

Researchers at Tohoku University have revealed further insight into the fetal development of our brain and the potential causes of Fragile X syndrome (FSX). During brain development, the fetal period is vital in creating neurons from neural stem cells to build up a functional adult brain. Any impairment in the developmental program could result in severe defects in the brain. FSX is a genetic disorder characterized by intellectual disability and autistic symptoms. Children with FSX will generally suffer from developmental delays as well as social and behavioral problems. FSX patients have a defect in the fragile X mental retardation 1 (FMR1) gene, a gene that codes for the fragile X mental retardation protein (FNRP) -- the critical factor in normal brain development. Read More


Young People Who Go to Bed Later Drink and Smoke More Due to Their Impulsivity

Young people who prefer to stay up late are more impulsive than their peers who go to bed earlier, which makes them more likely to drink alcohol and smoke, a new study in the journal Chronobiology International, reports. In the first study of its kind, researchers from the University of Surrey and Brunel University London investigated how being an evening type (someone who prefers to stay up late and functions better in the evening) links to impulsivity, anxiety, and substance use. Young people often prefer to stay up late, and those who do are known to be at higher risk of mental health issues and problematic substance use. Read More


Using Play to 'School' Children’s Emotions

Being socially and emotionally competent from an early age is likely to help children win acceptance by their peers, build better relationships with teachers, and facilitate academic learning. Pretend play is a pedagogical tool that can be used to stimulate a child's socio-emotional competences. A curriculum based on this approach has been introduced in classes of pupils aged five and six by a research team from the University of Geneva (UNIGE), the Valais University of Teacher Education (HEP/Valais), the Vaud University of Teacher Education (HEP/Vaud) and the Vita-Salute San Raffaele University in Italy. The study evaluating the effects of the program, published in the journal British Journal of Psychology, shows that pupils who followed the curriculum increased their emotional recognition capacities and emotional lexicon compared to a control group. The use of pretend play as a teaching tool enables children to acquire emotional skills, with a potential positive effect on their prosocial behavior and, in the longer term, on their academic success. Read More



* Special Education Teachers - All areas - We are looking for highly motivated and skilled talent to join our team at District of Columbia Public Schools (DCPS). We seek individuals who are passionate about transforming the DC school system and making a signi?cant di?erence in the lives of public school students, parents, principals, teachers, and central o?ce employees. To learn more - Click here

* 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


You cannot swim for new horizons until you have courage to lose sight of the shore.

William Faulkner

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