Week in Review - February 5, 2021




National Association of Special Education Teachers

February 5, 2021                 Vol 17 Issue #6

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.




February 2021 - NASET Special Educator e-Journal

Table of Contents

  • Special Education Legal Alert. By Perry A. Zirkel
  • Buzz from the Hub
  • Considerations for Culturally Linguistically Diverse Nonverbal Children and Families when Introducing Augmentative and Alternative Communication Systems. By Laurinda Flores 
  • Take Nothing Personal. By Sandra Davis (Special Education Teacher)
  • Do Haitians Parents of Children with Disabilities Fully Understand their Roles and Services Provided to their Children? By Stephania P. Desir
  • Reading Education for Students with Cerebral Palsy in the School and Home: A Literature Review. By Yvana Puerto
  • Book Reviews
    • Feeding Teachers Through Their Masks: Applying the themes of Neila A. Connors’ If You Don’t Feed the Teachers They Eat the Students in the Times of COVID-19. By Rebecca Nicks
    • The 360-Degree Leader: Developing Your Influence from Anywhere in the Organization. By Melisa F. Hughes
    • Is My School A Better School Because I Lead It? By Baruti K. Kafele. By Zarkia Jones
  • Latest Employment Opportunities Posted on NASET
  • Acknowledgements

Read More



Federal Probes into Lack of School Services for Special Needs Students Reflect Nearly a Year of Parental Anguish, Advocates Say

Luis Martinez, an 11-year-old fifth grader with autism, rarely missed a day of school before the pandemic. Though non-verbal, he delighted in seeing his friends and teachers, and his mother, who quit her job five years ago to care for him, was thrilled for his small gains in communication. But that all changed during the shutdowns: Luis, a student in the Los Angeles Unified School District, has logged 14 absences since fall and no longer makes any attempt to interact with his peers online. After 10 months of remote education, he barely looks at his tablet during class and acts out nearly every day, scratching and biting himself and members of his family out of frustration. “He almost never threw tantrums during in-person learning,” said his mother, Tania Rivera, speaking through a translator. “This has been a very difficult experience. He cries a lot. We both do.” Rivera believes LAUSD should have done more for her son, and other parents within her district feel the same. Their complaints reached the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights, which opened a flurry of investigations in the waning days of the Trump administration seeking to uncover whether the district — alongside school systems in Seattle and Fairfax County, Virginia, as well as the Indiana Department of Education — failed to serve disabled students during the pandemic.  Read More


Detecting ADHD with Near Perfect Accuracy

A new study led by a University at Buffalo researcher has identified how specific communication among different brain regions, known as brain connectivity, can serve as a biomarker for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).  The research relied on a deep architecture using machine-learning classifiers to identify with 99% accuracy those adults who had received a childhood diagnosis of ADHD many years earlier.  "This suggests that brain connectivity is a stable biomarker for ADHD, at least into childhood, even when an individual's behavior had become more typical, perhaps by adapting different strategies that obscure the underlying disorder," said Chris McNorgan, an assistant professor of psychology in the UB College of Arts and Sciences, and the study's lead author.  The findings, published in the journal Frontiers in Physiology, have implications for not only detecting ADHD, a common but diagnostically slippery disorder that's difficult to identify, but can also help clinicians target treatments by understanding where patients sit on a broad-spanning continuum. Read More


The Spectrum of Autism Symptoms

Autism spectrum disorder is diagnosed by specialists or teams of specialists who usually have significant experience. They use various tests to help determine if someone has the symptoms of the disorder. Then they select one of three levels of severity and can select from a slew of specifications (such as intellectual disability) that may or may not be present. But even all those tools don't provide enough information to help a parent, teacher, or therapist accurately envision a particular individual's strengths, challenges, behaviors, or needs. Just as significantly, they have no real role to play in choosing the most appropriate treatments or predicting outcomes over the lifespan. In fact, an autism spectrum disorder diagnosis tells you remarkably little about any individual person, their particular challenges and strengths, or the therapies that would help them cope with or overcome symptoms. Read More


Art Teacher Builds Adaptive Art Class for Special Education Students

One art teacher at Hamilton Southeastern High School is truly living the cliche: ‘art is for everyone.’ Mr. Dan Moosbrugger recently created a peer mentoring art class, combing general education students and HSE’s “Exceptional Learner” students, or those with moderate to severe disabilities. The class continues even though HSE high school is running virtually. Two students, Bridget Bell and Olivia Schenck, were paired up and began making art together. Schenck explains Bell was shy at first, only answering her with one word replies and was hesitant to participate. Schenck, herself, says she preferred engineering and science classes. “I was nervous for the first time,” said Bell. Read More


Teacher Discusses Adapting Instruction for Her Students with Special Needs During Pandemic

This year, amid a pandemic, FOX 12 will regularly go inside Keizer Elementary to share the stories of teachers, staff and students firsthand, in a new series called "Keizer Strong." FOX 12 most recently looked at some of the unique challenges students with special needs have faced while learning online. Most students are still learning online, at least for now. But that's not the case for all students. “They were so excited to be back in person," said Britney Griffith. "I was excited." "I almost cried and, you know, my first instinct was to run up and want to give them a hug and of course, I couldn’t do that,” she continued. Read More


Making Wheat and Peanuts Less Allergenic

The United States Department of Agriculture identifies a group of "big eight" foods that causes 90% of food allergies. Among these foods are wheat and peanuts. Sachin Rustgi, a member of the Crop Science Society of America, studies how we can use breeding to develop less allergenic varieties of these foods. Rustgi recently presented his research at the virtual 2020 ASA-CSSA-SSSA Annual Meeting. Allergic reactions caused by wheat and peanuts can be prevented by avoiding these foods, of course. "While that sounds simple, it is difficult in practice," says Rustgi. Avoiding wheat and peanuts means losing out on healthy food options. These two foods are nutritional powerhouses. Read More



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

How Business Leaders Can Create True Inclusion for People with Disabilities

People with disabilities are some of the most under-represented individuals in the workplace. Gender is often touted as a more important priority for diversity and inclusion activity – because more than half the population is female. But people with disabilities make up the next largest group yet they are often overlooked. And even when organizations do seek to include people who are differently abled, they often start with an occupational health assessment – telling people what they already know about themselves at a cost to the business. Here are five practical tips and insights that can help business leaders progress towards true inclusion for people with disabilities. Read More

Diversity in STEM Includes Scientists with Disabilities

When Kelly Gilkey was in high school, she sent an email to astronaut Pamela Melroy, asking if it might be possible for a person with a hearing loss like Gilkey to become a NASA astronaut. “Amazingly, she responded and said the sky was the limit,” Gilkey recalled. “If NASA could fly astronauts who needed glasses to see clearly, who was to say what might be possible some day?” Gilkey got her first chance to work for NASA as a participant in Entry Point!, the American Association for the Advancement of Science's internship program for undergraduate and graduate students with disabilities in science, engineering, mathematics, and computer science. As an Entry Point! intern, she worked at NASA Glenn Research Center and NASA contractor Wyle Laboratories. Read More

I Can’t Do This Anymore’: How Four Middle Schoolers are Struggling Though the Pandemic

Anuar awoke one day last spring in the front seat of his mother’s car outside the construction site where she worked. It was around 11 a.m. He was supposed to be attending his virtual, sixth grade English class, but the computer on his lap signaled that he’d been kicked out after falling asleep. It felt, to Anuar, like another sign that remote learning wasn’t going to go well for him. After Philadelphia schools closed in March for the coronavirus, he’d dutifully logged in each morning to online classes on the laggy computer his mother got for him years earlier. But the distance between him and his teachers felt too great. Friends sent him texts during online class, distracting him. He missed the boxes teachers had used to collect students’ cell phones back at school, to discourage their use. He knew that his seventh grade performance was critical in determining if he’d win entry to one of the city’s selective high schools, and he worried that if remote learning continued into the fall his entire future would be jeopardized. Read More

4 K-12 Professional Development Trends to Watch in 2021

Integrating technology into the classroom has been the overwhelming focus of teacher professional development in recent years. EAB K-12 Strategic Research Director Ben Court estimates nearly 70% of professional learning programs have centered around that topic, compared to 30% on instruction methods. “Teachers still have a lot of opportunities to become more comfortable or use advanced methods, but other key areas are rising to the top for professional learning,” said Court, who specializes in K-12 leadership development, planning and strategy. “It’s time to flip the ratio to focus more on instruction.” The coronavirus has required teachers, like their students, to shift how they receive training and support. Even when schools can return to “normal,” these forced changes are resulting in long-term benefits. These are four PD trends to watch in 2021 and beyond.  Read More

State Orders to Bring Some Students with Disabilities Back In-Person

Milwaukee Public Schools is required by the state to resume in-person instruction for some students with disabilities, starting in early February. The Department of Public Instruction sent three letters to MPS, in October, December and January, ordering the district to resume in-person services and education for certain students with disabilities. In the first letter, dated Oct. 16, State Superintendent Carolyn Stanford Taylor explained that federal and state special education laws still apply during the pandemic. "Under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) ... school districts must provide each eligible student with a free appropriate public education by providing specially designed instruction and related services, as determined and documented by the student's Individualized Education Program (IEP) team," Stanford Taylor wrote. Read More



This Week's Trivia Question: 

Inclusion refers to a classroom that has a diverse group of students with a variety of learning needs. In an inclusion setting, there are two co-teachers to provide extra support for students who need it, or whose academic plan requires it. There are many different models for co-teaching that work in a variety of settings.

QUESTION: Which type of co-teaching model refers to two teachers teaching the same content simultaneously in one classroom? (Note: The purpose of this model is to lower the student to teacher ratio while delivering the same content).

If you know the answer to this week's trivia questions, email it to us at contactus@naset.org by February 9, 2021. If you are correct, you will be acknowledged in next week's NASET's Week in Review

Advocacy Group Fights for Vaccine Priority for Those with Disabilities

With South Carolina health officials now administering ten thousand coronavirus vaccines a day, one segment of the population says they’re feeling ignored. “The disability community is concerned because we feel like we’re being overlooked. And our lives are most at risk,” said Kimberly Tissot. Tissot serves as the executive director for Able South Carolina, which is an organization that is fighting to get people with physical, development and intellectual disabilities quicker access to the coronavirus vaccine. “I actually have an amputation and I am a cancer survivor. I currently walk on crutches,” said Tissot. “I’ve seen people who are healthy who are working from home that are being vaccinated while we have people fearful to go into the community, or having to put their lives at risk to care for their families who have disabilities not be vaccinated and not be considered at this time.” Read More

Machine Learning Finds Potential Biomarkers Associated with Autism

Machine learning tools identified patterns of maternal autoantibodies indicating the likelihood and severity of autism in children, according to a study published in Molecular Psychiatry. The team noted that while the incidence of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) has been rising, ASD-risk biomarkers are still lacking. According to the researchers, in 2018 the CDC estimated that one in 59 children are affected with autism in the US, making ASD a top health concern and a substantial socioeconomic burden for affected families and the healthcare system. Autoantibodies are immune proteins that attack a person’s own tissues. Previously, the research team found that a pregnant mother’s autoantibodies can react with her growing fetus’s brain after its development. Read More

Toddlers Who Use Touchscreens May be More Distractible

Toddlers with high daily touchscreen use are quicker to look at objects when they appear and are less able to resist distraction compared to toddlers with no or low touchscreen use -- according to new research from Birkbeck, University of London, King's College London and University of Bath. The research team say the findings are important for the growing debate around the role of screen time on toddlers' development especially given the increased levels of screen time seen during the COVID-19 pandemic. Lead researcher Professor Tim Smith, from Birkbeck's Centre for Brain and Cognitive Development, said: "The use of smartphones and tablets by babies and toddlers has accelerated rapidly in recent years. The first few years of life are critical for children to learn how to control their attention and ignore distraction, early skills that are known to be important for later academic achievement. There has been growing concern that toddler touchscreen use may negatively impact their developing attention but previously there was no empirical evidence to support this." Read More

Analysis: Survey of District Leaders Shows Online Learning is Here to Stay. Some Ways of Making it Work for Students Beyond the Pandemic

Many teachers and students are struggling with online learning during the COVID-19 pandemic. And with a new, nationally representative survey of school district leaders confirming that remote coursework is likely here to stay, school systems are going to need to apply the lessons from their forced experiments with remote learning during the COVID-19 pandemic to better adapt. The first survey conducted through the new American School District Panel shows 1 in 5 districts are considering, planning to adopt or have already adopted a fully online school in future years. One in 10 has adopted blended or hybrid instruction, or plans to. Of all the pandemic-driven changes in public education, the creation of virtual schools was the change that the greatest number of district leaders anticipated would continue into the future. Read More



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* Special Education Director - 15,000 student school district is looking for special education leader. 27J Schools is one of the fastest growing school districts in Colorado and located in the North Denver Metro Area - 30 minutes from Denver and Boulder and adjacent to Denver International Airport. The Director of Special Education is responsible for the leadership, supervision, guidance and support for all school support staff providing services to students with disabilities across special populations, including preschool. To learn more - Click here

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One of the most important things you can do on this earth is to let people know they are not alone.

Shannon L. Alder

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