Week in Review - January 1, 2021




National Association of Special Education Teachers

January 1 2021                 Vol 16 Issue #53

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



What to Know About Miguel Cardona, Biden’s Pick for Education Secretary

Teaching experience. An advocate for programs supporting underserved learners. A focus on tackling the digital divide and resource inequities laid bare by the pandemic. That’s the record that Miguel Cardona, Connecticut’s first Latino commissioner of education, would bring to the highest education office in the country, as multiple news reports say the Biden-Harris administration plans to name him as its nominee for Secretary of Education. (Update: The incoming administration has announced Cardon as the nominee.) If confirmed by the Senate, Cardona will hit the ground running. President-elect Biden has pledged to reopen schools within the first 100 days of his administration. (That would be by April 30, 2021.) That means, among many things, taking stock of the damage caused by long-term school closures, and creating plans for reopening amid steep budget cuts, increased costs for safety measures, and widening achievement gaps and learning loss that have hit low-income students and students of color the hardest. Read More


Virtual Learning Comes with Added Challenges, Small Successes for Students with Special Needs

Lisa Juliar was resolved when distance learning began last spring: She'd do whatever she could to offer her son the kind of one-on-one assistance he'd been getting at school. But even with her help, Cooper, a senior at Mounds View High School, has struggled mightily with distance learning. He has a rare chromosomal condition called Cri-du-chat that affects his speech and language, and he's had trouble expressing himself during Zoom classes. He sometimes grows so frustrated he starts screaming, grabbing at his mother's hair and even slamming the laptop shut. "These are not behaviors he had in school," Juliar said. "It's not that the teachers aren't doing as much as they can, but distance learning just isn't working for my son." Read More


Hot Topics in Autism Research, 2020

Despite a global pandemic and lockdowns that temporarily stymied research, autism scientists made significant progress in many areas in 2020 — from improving the diversity of people represented in their research to testing the mettle of gene therapies for several autism-related conditions. Some teams found new ways to parse autistic people into meaningful subgroups, and others delineated some of the neural cirsuits underlying autism-related behaviors. And advances in genetics reignited the debate about whether there is such a thing as an “autism gene”. Here are the Spectrum team’s top picks for the year’s hottest topics in autism research. Read More


Forward Genetics Used to Identify Gene Linked to Autism Spectrum Disorder

UT Southwestern scientists have adapted a classic research technique called forward genetics to identify new genes involved in autism spectrum disorder (ASD). In a study published this week in eLife, the researchers used this approach in mice to find one such gene called KDM5A. Approximately 1 in 54 children in the U.S. is diagnosed with ASD, a neurodevelopmental disorder that causes disrupted communication, difficulties with social skills, and repetitive behaviors. As a disease with a strong genetic component, it is hypothesized that thousands of genetic mutations may contribute to ASD. But to date, only about 30 percent of cases can be explained by known genetic mutations. For decades, forward genetics has been used to find mutations that cause disease. It involves inducing genetic mutations in mice, screening for certain phenotypes, and then identifying the causative mutation through sequencing of all genetic material of an organism, or its genome. Read More





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

They Don't Realize What They're Teaching Me: Special Education Teacher Opens Up About Teaching During Pandemic

A few minutes into talking about her career as an educator, Jena Bohn started to cry. “You go into this profession and you want to teach these kids everything that they need to know," she said choking back tears. "But they don't realize, what they're teaching me.” Bohn is a special education instructor at Festus High School where students have been learning in-person since the 2020-2021 school year began. Her classroom has eight students with severe physical and mental disabilities. She says they have taught her perseverance, strength and pure joy. “I have students who have conquered stuff that they didn't even think they could,” Bohn said. She’s been teaching for 16 years. Her classroom focuses on life skills like grocery shopping, laundry, ironing, and cooking.  “My goal is to get them ready to be out in the community and be as independent of an adult as they can be,” she said. Read More


Covering Faces Around Kids Won't Mask Emotions

The proliferation of face coverings to keep COVID-19 in check isn't keeping kids from understanding facial expressions, according to a new study by University of Wisconsin-Madison psychologists. It's easiest to understand the emotions of the people around you by taking in all the hints they're dropping, on purpose or otherwise. Yet when people cover some of their facial expressions, they take some of those cues away. "We now have this situation where adults and kids have to interact all the time with people whose faces are partly covered, and a lot of adults are wondering if that's going to be a problem for children's emotional development," says Ashley Ruba, a postdoctoral researcher in UW-Madison's Child Emotion Lab. Read More


Disposable Surgical Masks Best for Being Heard Clearly When Speaking, Study Finds

Researcher Ryan Corey recently heard from a friend who teaches at a school where some of the students have hearing loss. The friend wanted to know if he had any ideas to help her communicate with these students while wearing a mask to slow the spread of COVID-19. Corey, who also has hearing loss, did not know what to tell her. So, he headed to the Illinois Augmented Listening Laboratory to look for solutions. Corey, an electrical and computer engineering postdoctoral researcher under professor Andrew Singer at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, leads a team that studies audio signal processing, especially for listening devices like hearing aids. The results of the team's new study evaluating the acoustic effects of face masks on speech are published in The Journal of the Acoustical Society of America. Read More


Scientists Develop New Gene Therapy for Deafness

A new study from Tel Aviv University (TAU) presents an innovative treatment for deafness, based on the delivery of genetic material into the cells of the inner ear. The genetic material "replaces" the genetic defect and enables the cells to continue functioning normally. The scientists were able to prevent the gradual deterioration of hearing in mice that had a genetic mutation for deafness. They maintain that this novel therapy could lead to a breakthrough in treating children born with various mutations that eventually cause deafness. The study was led by Professor Karen Avraham of the Department of Human Molecular Genetics and Biochemistry at TAU's Sackler Faculty of Medicine and Sagol School of Neuroscience. The paper was published in EMBO Molecular Medicine on December 22, 2020. Read More





Congratulations to: Tammy Wade, Patsy Raul, Latorrya Blue, Laurie D'Amico, Karen Franzt-Fry, Olumide Akerele, Cindi Maurice, and Mariola Papa who all knew the answer to last 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?



Survey: Kids' Overuse of Social Media Major Health Concern During Pandemic

Nearly 75% of parents ranked overuse of social media during the pandemic as a leading health concern for their children, according to the results of survey released Monday by the University of Michigan. Just over 60% of parents surveyed described bullying or cyberbullying as a major concern, while more than half cited unhealthy eating, lack of physical activity and depression and suicide, the data showed. However, fewer than half named COVID-19 itself as a major health concern for their children, the researchers said. "This is an especially challenging time for families, with many children experiencing significant changes in routine that may negatively impact their health and well-being," Dr. Gary Freed, who directed the poll, said in a statement. Read More



COVID-19 Is Costing Students with Visual Impairments Time That Can’t Be Made Up

When it comes to troubleshooting for her children’s remote learning, it seems like Barbara Lopez has done it all. Depending on the day, the Miami mom could be supervising just two of her young children as they log into their virtual classrooms?or she could be helping all four. She’s handled Zoom breakdowns, juggled multiple parent support group chats and gotten her kids fed during their four different lunch times. And she’s done it all while working from home part time as a university lecturer (her husband works remotely full time). Varied as her days may be, one thing is constant: Her presence by the side of her youngest son, 8-year-old Logan, during class time. Logan has cortical visual impairment—a neurological condition—along with additional special needs, and Lopez stands in for the professionals who would be helping him in the classroom during a typical school year. Read More



Survey: Students Praise Teachers' Efforts, Have Concerns About Academic Declines

Middle and high school students gave high marks to their teachers for supporting their learning during the pandemic but said they crave more one-to-one interaction with educators, according to a national survey commissioned jointly by the National Education Association and the National Parent Teacher Association. While some students reported a preference for online learning because of the reduced social pressures and flexibilities with learning at home, only 32% of respondents said they were doing well academically now compared to 58% who reported having strong academic performance before the pandemic. The self-reported academic declines were consistent among different racial subgroups, although younger students and students whose parents did not attend college were more likely to report academic dips. Read More



Here’s How Distance Learning Impacts Mental Health of Students, Teachers

There was no echo of footsteps down the school halls. Classrooms were filled with dust, not students. The teachers’ break rooms were a ghost town. The school year started with an internet connection, a webcam and a computer screen. The identity of every teacher and student was confined to a tiny black box. “I didn’t really realize how deeply depressing and difficult it is to talk to a grid of squares,” said Rachel Prince, a high school teacher at Horizon High School. Teachers and students have felt mentally exhausted since the end of March. The coronavirus pandemic has forced many school districts across Arizona to transition to an online learning environment. Many students said that their days are morphing into each other; they’ve lost motivation to finish piles of homework. Teachers feel overworked and are afraid their students aren’t grasping information without in-person learning. Read More



Low-Income Preschoolers Exposed to Nurturing Care Have Higher IQ Scores Later On

Preschoolers living in impoverished communities who have access to a nurturing home environment have significantly higher intelligence quotient (IQ) scores in adolescence compared to those raised without nurturing care. That is the finding of a new international study conducted by University of Maryland School of Medicine (UMSOM) researchers, which examined data from more than 1600 children from Brazil and South Africa who were followed from birth through their teenage years. Results were published this week in The Lancet Child & Adolescent Health journal. 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


Do not wait until the conditions are perfect to begin. Beginning makes the conditions perfect.

Alan Cohen

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