Week in Review - December 4 2020




National Association of Special Education Teachers

December 4 2020                 Vol 16 Issue #49

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.



December 2020 - Special Educator e-Journal

Table of Contents

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IDEA Turns 45: Is Congress Close to Guaranteeing Full Special Education Funding?

In the small Sweetwater County School District #2 in Green River, Wyoming, federal funding for special education services is a minor portion — just 2% — of the overall costs to educate the district’s 2,600 students. But when Sweetwater agrees to provide interventions to a student with disabilities, every dollar counts, said Special Services Director Alan Demaret. “We have an open door policy that we are not allowed to close,” Demaret said. That door can’t close because when schools commit to services to students eligible under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), those therapies and supports can’t be limited or eliminated based on available funding. In other words, schools are legally and financially responsible for each student’s plan for special education services. Read More


Pandemic May Lead to New Thoughts on Workers with Disabilities

With the COVID-19 pandemic pushing employers and governments to rethink how they do business, advocates for those with disabilities see a chance for positive changes. On Tuesday, the Vermont Center for Independent Living released a report on what people with disabilities face in the work force, in terms of working and finding work to begin with. Sarah Launderville, executive director at VCIL, said Wednesday that the report is a first for the group and took about eight months to complete. It was done by the Public Assets Institute, which collected data from documents as well as conducted interviews with employers and people with disabilities. Read More


Medicinal Marijuana Being Used as Treatment for Autism

This past August a bill was signed into law in Louisiana that allows doctors to prescribe medicinal marijuana more freely to patients with a wide array of ailments, but this is the latest in a series of actions that stem back to 1970’s in the state. “There’s a fear of addiction and a fear of seeing children or patients inebriated. Medical marijuana is not your first reaction when you hear the word autism, but when you work through your options, it might occur as a really good safe alternative,” said Katelyn Castleberry, a mother of two sons who have autism. Medical marijuana is gaining ground in acceptance in recent years, as the FDA continues to warn the country about opioids and more states legalize marijuana in various capacities. Read More


Gestational Weight Gain Associated with Increased Autism Risk for Children

Pregnancy weight gain in excess of recommendations is associated with a higher risk for autism spectrum disorder among offspring, according to results of a meta-analysis published in Obesity. “Because autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is estimated to affect approximately 1% of people globally, identifying modifiable risk factors for ASD is of great public health significance,” Ka Kahe, MD, ScD, MPH, the Virgil G. Damon professor of epidemiology and obstetrics and gynecology at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health, and colleagues wrote. “It has been suggested that gaining gestational weight outside the current recommended guidelines may play a critical role in triggering the manifestations of ASD phenotypes in predisposing individuals during the prenatal period. However, existing studies have provided inconsistent evidence.” Read More






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

Lawsuit Claims Students with Special Needs are not Receiving Adequate Education through Remote Learning

A new lawsuit filed by a group of parents of children with special needs claim that kids are not receiving adequate education through remote learning. The lawsuit was filed last week against both the city’s Department of Education and the state Education Department by a nonprofit called Advocates for Children. It claims that students with special needs have not received an appropriate education. The lawsuit also claims that their special needs have not been accommodated properly. They’re asking the court to require the city and state departments to provide makeup service to these students. "I want to get him as much help as I can get - tutoring, extra services - because he is going to need it. Read More


Tulsa Public Schools Hiring More Bilingual Staff to Assist Non-English Speaking Students

The pandemic has made education a challenge for most students, but it’s even tougher for kids who are not native English speakers. Tulsa Public Schools (TPS) is focused on making sure those kids don't fall behind. A third of Tulsa Public Schools students speak a language other than English. East Central High School and Hale High School are just two of 16 Hispanic-majority sites in the district. The district has been hiring more bilingual staff. It also has a 1-800-Spanish interpretation line that connects to all district departments. TPS is also using a new texting platform available in 72 languages where teachers can text parents and students in English. The students can then read the texts in their desired language. TPS executive director of language and cultural services Dr. Laura Grisso said communication with these families is not only the No. 1 priority but can also be the No. 1 hurdle. Read More


Digital Platform Offers Mental Health Support to Students

Universities in the US are implementing a digital healthcare platform that provides therapy and psychiatric services to students struggling to get these treatments because of the pandemic. Mantra Health offers teletherapy and psychiatric services to students who cannot access support because of appointment backlogs, or who are remote learning and therefore can't access their university's counselling services. The platform is integrated into universities' health and counselling centers, allowing them to make referrals to both board-certified psychiatric specialists and licensed therapists affiliated with Mantra Health via the counsellor portal, as well as collaborate on evidence-based treatment plans, coordinate the administration of care and track the student's progress over time. Read More


Parents Caring for Children with Disabilities Have Some Advice

Over the summer, Sherri Brady sent out messages to fellow parents of children with disabilities asking for help getting the word out about a virtual picnic she was organizing. The answers she received back made it clear the families needed more than an online get-together. Pandemic life had become overwhelming stressful, they told Brady, the Southern California representative for the Rett Syndrome Foundation. The parents were having a hard time keeping it together — supervising their kids’ online school and therapies, dealing with meltdowns, struggling with financial problems from lost employment, worrying about their medically fragile kids falling ill, and mourning the loss of social activities and the outlet they provided. Read More


COVID-19 is Forever Changing How Students Experience Libraries

There’s a ritual that kicks off every new quarter in Michelle Luhtala’s library at New Canaan High School, one where English teachers send a gaggle of students through her doors to pick a new batch of books. It looked different when the campus reopened in mid-October, when she had students select their books through an online portal to be delivered to their classrooms the next day. “We can’t have kids pluck books off the shelves,” says Luhtala, the library department chair for her Connecticut school and an expert in emerging library technology. “Typically droves of kids come down and get fresh books, and it’s a whole time for exchange and fun and conversation about what they read, and having to do that virtually is not nearly as fun as it is in person.” Read More




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

Federal reports have shown that the prevalence of gifted children in the school population varies according to state and local determinations of what actually constitutes giftedness. Eligibility requirements for a child to get into gifted programs can differ based on where the child lives and goes to school. According to the U.S. Department of Education's Office of Civil Rights, what percent of public school students are enrolled in gifted and talented programs throughout the United States?

Answer: SIX PERCENT (6%)

This 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?

If you know the answer to this week's trivia questions, email it to us at contactus@naset.org by December 7, 2020. If you are correct, you will be acknowledged in next week's NASET's Week in Review


Students in Special Education Continue with 'Real-World' Training Remotely

The Salem-Keizer School District's Community Transition Program is adapting to the pandemic, in order to address some of the unique problems facing students receiving special education. Community Transition Programs, or CTPs, are designed to meet the needs of adult students with disabilities who have completed high school with a Modified or Extended Diploma or Certificate of Attainment. The goal of the program is to help the students further transition into adulthood, with both in-person training and work experience.“Getting out into the community, learning to ride the city bus, and of course going to those businesses that partner with us," said Kyle Tower, a CTP teacher for Salem-Keizer. Read More


Families of Children with Special Needs Struggle with Distance Learning

With a recent spike in COVID-19 cases, many school districts that were offering hybrid or in-person learning are going to fully distanced, creating challenges for many families, especially those who have children with special needs. “My house is always a circus,” Kate Eichenamlee said. Kate has a kindergartener, Carter, and a second grader, Charlie, both learning entirely from home. Kate is also a teacher in another district, so she’s also teaching virtual class while trying to help the kids with their school work. “We’re all just trying to get through,” she said. Her second grader Charlie also has Down Syndrome. This means he needs extra help at home, something Kate is struggling to manage. “I worry ‘How I can best meet his needs?’ ‘How I can be monitoring,’ whether he’s getting what he needs,” she said. Read More


Despite Some Improvements, Remote Learning Still Disproportionately Affects Children with Special Needs

In the spring, adjusting to remote learning was all new. School districts, families, and students alike had to learn on the fly how to do something that’d never been done before. Students with special needs may have suffered most of all at that time, with little access to the services and therapies they need. But virtual learning isn’t so new anymore. Still, some students with special needs students are stuck. First grader Travis Tolbert is autistic and non-verbal. The Buffalo Public Schools student used to be able to spell his name without help. “With sight words, he needs assistance, when before, prior to March, he didn’t,” said his mother, Yolanda Young. Young is devastated by his regression. She says he hasn’t had the option to attend school in person yet. Read More


Feds: Texas Must Fix Therapy Program for Babies and Toddlers with Disabilities

Mariana Castillo looks at the colorful Ferris wheel in front of her and uses her little finger to spin the toy. Her mom immediately erupts into cheer. “Yay! Good job,” said Natalia Castillo. The spinning wheel is part of her therapy encouraging her to touch and strengthen her hand-eye coordination. “The therapist will tell me what to do, what kind of exercises to do with her, and they will guide me,” explained Castillo. The 14-month-old was diagnosed with Central Core Disease, which impacts her muscles. Castillo said she has a tracheostomy which helps her breathe and a feeding tube. “Whenever she came home from the hospital in January, they told me she was going to be bed bound,” Castillo said. “They told me that, you know, she wasn’t going to be able to move—that she wasn’t going to be able to get up out the bed—or do anything just because of her condition.” Read More


The Role of the Special Education Educator in Transportation Services

On the last day of the conference, Nov. 11, special education teachers joined together for a panel discussion on their role on the individualized education program (IEP) team and shared with attendees the successes, strategies and difficulties they have encountered with student transportation services. Sue Shutrump, supervisor of occupational therapy (OT) and physical therapy (PT) services at Trumbull County Educational Service Center in Ohio said she is finding that special educators and service staff have really limited knowledge when it comes to transportation operations. Laura Beth Blankenship, a physical therapist for Knox County Schools in Tennessee, explained that she had no formal training in student transportation and obtained all her knowledge on the job. She said her greatest challenge was getting the supervisory staff, special education and transportation teams in meetings and on the same page. Read More





* 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


No experience is wasted. It is the stepping stones for a great success.

 Lailah Gifty Akita

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