Week in Review - January 29, 2021




National Association of Special Education Teachers

January 29, 2021                 Vol 17 Issue #5

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 Early Intervention Series

The Disparity of Early Intervention Services for Minority Families

This issue of NASET’s Early Intervention series was written by Iris DeVaughn. Early intervention services, which are services that are provided to children exhibiting developmental delays under the age of three, have been proven to be successful interventions that help children attain later school success (Bierman, Heinrichs, Welsh, Nix, & Gest, 2017). However, research has found that there has been a disparity in the usage and availability of services, and that minority children are less likely to receive early intervention services when compared to their Caucasian peers (Burchinal et al., 2011). This disparity in early interventions has been perpetuated by several causes, such as families lacking necessary information about how to attain services for their child. School leaders can help to end this disparity in their communities by educating the public on signs of developmental delays as well as how to attain early intervention services.Read More



Distance Learning Challenges Special Education Teachers

In the face of COVID-19, area special education programs have had to be more innovative than ever before. In an aspect of education that is heavily reliant on interpersonal relationships and in-person one-on-one instruction, the chasm created by the COVID-inspired classroom model has been difficult to bridge, said McCurdy Charter School Director Sarah Tario. “It has definitely been a challenge to support the unique learning needs of some of our students without being there with them,” she said. “Adapting to the at-home model has been difficult for all of our students but having a learning difficulty compounds that obstacle. Like teachers, students didn’t have time to prepare for a completely new system that happened overnight.” Read More


Advocates Call on State to Improve Response to Vulnerable Students

Now that Connecticut officials have data showing just how much school the state’s most vulnerable students are missing when they switch to remote learning, advocates are calling on Gov. Ned Lamont’s administration to do something to close those gaps. The data, which has been collected for months, shows that Connecticut’s homeless, special education, low-income and English-learning students are missing up to twice as much school as their peers when they learn entirely from home and are also twice as likely to be learning remotely. “We need to continue to drill down to understand the full impact for these students so that we can take the next steps to ensure access and the legal rights of all children, particularly our highest needs, to an education and urgently roll out an education recovery framework for these students,” the state’s child advocate Sarah Eagan said at a recent state Board of Education meeting. Joining Egan was Martha Stone, director of the Center for Children’s Advocacy. Read More


Will Holding Back Struggling Third-Grade Readers Improve Literacy?

Gov. Bill Lee’s proposal to take a more aggressive stance holding back Tennessee third-graders who are struggling to read is drawing criticism from educators and parents who question his logic and timing. As part of a plan to help stem pandemic-caused learning loss, Lee wants to strengthen a 2011 state law that has been largely unenforced, with few students actually being retained. Beginning with the 2022-23 academic year, the governor wants to require schools to hold back third-graders who don’t meet a certain threshold on state standardized tests. Those students will be given a chance to take the test again or improve through new summer school or after-school tutoring program slated to launch this year, but will be retained if they do not. Read More


Can You Provide a Quality Preschool Education Over Zoom?

Before the pandemic snarled daily routines around the world, Aria Jones’ 3- and 4-year-old students had a reliable schedule down pat in their Washington, D.C., preschool. They’d have breakfast at 8 a.m., come together for a morning meeting and then spend an hour in the library or doing dramatic play before nap time and a hard stop at 3 p.m. It was a pretty structured day.  Since March, things have been different as her school moved to a completely virtual model. She typically starts her day around 8:30 a.m. with a series of short one-on-one academic lessons, just 15 minutes each, giving her time to connect with each family. Then the whole class comes together for a 20-minute morning meeting where they might talk about patterns, simple math concepts or how the kids are feeling. Later there might be a story read aloud or a group activity mixing paints to make new colors before Jones dives into another round of one-on-ones. When they’re not on screen, students are asked to work independently with their caregivers on suggested activities—a game of kickball, maybe, to develop motor skills or an art project. Read More


The Childhood Obesity Crisis Started Before Covid-19. The Pandemic has Made it Much Worse

Earlier this year, Anisha Patel, a Stanford University pediatrics professor, started to notice a troubling trend: Child patients at the Atherton California clinic where she works have gained a distressing amount of weight. Since the spring, she says, her patients’ growth curves, which track body mass index, have climbed their clinical charts steeply. In a matter of months, many kids’ chartlines raced past the 85th percentile, which means a patient is overweight. Today, most have broken into the 95th percentile, which is when a child becomes clinically obese.The pattern is so common, Patel says, “that when we do see patients that aren’t on that trajectory, we’re actually kind of surprised.” It’s not just her. Angela Goepferd, a pediatrician at Children’s Minnesota, a hospital in Minneapolis, says children at her outpatient clinic frequently weigh 10 or 20 pounds more than they did in March. Read More


5 Ways to Remotely Engage Families of Students in Special Education

First things first: educators, you deserve a standing ovation for switching your classrooms to remote learning almost overnight this past spring. While you continue to have significant challenges facing you as remote learning continues in many districts, I have no doubt that you will all rise to the challenge and work to create amazing virtual special education learning environments. As you conceptualize your “return from break” plan, I encourage you to explore the power of supporting families in order to better reach all students. As an educator (and perhaps as a parent yourself), you most likely have insight into one of the hard truths about remote learning right now: caregivers are NOT all right. Families of students in special education are especially concerned by how much their students have to lose due to schools moving online. Many of our students require hands-on learning, take months or even years to learn certain concepts and routines, and can quickly lose skills without in-person school interactions. Repetition, social skills, and behavior plans are all part of our daily special education routines and everything changed when schools went virtual last spring. Read More


Facebook and Instagram’s AI-Generated Image Captions Now Offer Far More Details

Every picture posted to Facebook and Instagram gets evaluated by an image analysis AI in order to create a caption, and that AI just got a lot smarter. The improved system should be a treat for visually impaired users, and may help you find your photos faster in the future. Alt text is a field in an image’s metadata that describes its contents: “A person standing in a field with a horse,” or “a dog on a boat.” This lets the image be understood by people who can’t see it. These descriptions are often added manually by a photographer or publication, but people uploading photos to social media generally don’t bother, if they even have the option. Read More


The Family Cat Could Be Good Medicine for Kids with Autism

Cats have a long history of boosting people's moods and brightening their days. And that's probably true for kids on the autism spectrum as well, new research shows. The small study suggests that adopting a shelter cat may help reduce separation anxiety and improve empathy in kids with an autism spectrum disorder (ASD). "Cats, and companion animals in general, offer unconditional acceptance and someone to talk to that listens, and caring for an animal can help with learning responsibility," said study author Gretchen Carlisle. She's a research scientist at the Research Center for Human-Animal Interaction at the University of Missouri, in Columbia. ASD is a brain disorder that affects social skills, communication and impulse control. In the United States, it affects one child in 54, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Read More


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

Mental Health Conditions Alarmingly High Among Children with Autism, Study Finds

Nearly 78 per cent of children with autism have at least one mental health condition and nearly half have two mental health conditions or more, according to a new U.S. study from the University of British Columbia's department of psychology and the AJ Drexel Autism Institute at Drexel University (Pennsylvania). The study also found mental health conditions present in 44.8 per cent of pre-school age children with autism. The scope of the issue among that age group had not previously been established using a large, population-based sample. By contrast, the study found that only 14.1 per cent of youth without autism (ages 3-17) had mental health conditions. It is the first research since 2008 to examine the prevalence of mental health conditions among children with autism at a population level, and signals a need for healthcare systems to adapt to account for the overlap. Read More


Clumsy Kids Can Be Fit Too

Clumsy kids can be as aerobically fit as their peers with better motor skills, a new Finnish study shows. The results are based on research conducted at the Faculty of Sport and Health Sciences of the University of Jyväskylä and the Institute of Biomedicine of the University of Eastern Finland, and they were published in Translational Sports Medicine. Aerobic fitness doesn't go hand in hand with motor skills.According to the general perception, fit kids also have good motor skills, while low aerobic fitness has been thought to be a link between poor motor skills and overweight. This perception is based on studies whose methods do not distinguish between the roles of aerobic fitness and body fat content as risk factors for poor motor skills and overweight. Read More


Therapeutic Horsemanship Helps People with Disabilities

A Heartland program is helping individuals with disabilities through therapeutic horsemanship. “I call her my little rock star,” said Meredith Devenport. Once a week for the past three years, Lindyn Devenport and her mother Meredith Devenport travel 30 mins for therapy at Mississippi Valley Therapeutic Horsemanship. “Lindyn do you like to go slow or do you like to go fast,” asked Meredith. “Fast,” said Lindyn. Meredith said Lindyn started therapeutic horsemanship at age 5. “Back in 2017 she was doing occupational therapy, and the occupational therapist had recommended this place,” said Meredith Devenport. She said it worked as a source of therapy and fun for Lindyn. Read More


Program Lets Kids with Autism Express Themselves Through Artwork

Heather Wagner with the Eastern Iowa Arts Academy gets a little emotional flipping through photos of old artwork from her students. She’s taught art classes to students with autism at Washington High school for the past six years. “I miss them so much. I miss them all the time,” said Wagner. “Seeing what’s in their mind get put down on paper with different colors and different textures and different mediums, it’s an incredible experience to watch that come out on paper.” She hasn’t seen the kids since March when the pandemic put the program on pause. Amy Shoemaker teaches students with autism at Washington, and helps Wagner with the program. She says it’s been a struggle to raise money for it this school year. “With the lack of not being able to go into the community,” she said. “Grants weren’t available.” Read More




Congratulations to: John Picone, Bev Taylor, Tammy Wade, Patsy Ray, Laurie D'Amico, Susan Avery, Olumide Akerele, Cindi Maurice, Mariola Papa, Karen Frantz-Fry, Kimberly Potter, and Helma Wardenaar who all knew the answer to last week's trivia question:

In 1953, Canadian inventor George Klein, an engineer and designer at the National Research Council of Canada, developed what significant mobility device in the field of disability research and assistive technology--What did George Klein invent?



Many Parents Say Teens with Anxiety, Depression May Benefit from Peer Confidants at School

An estimated one in five teenagers has symptoms of a mental health disorder such as depression or anxiety, and suicide is the second leading cause of death among teens. But the first person a teen confides in may not always be an adult -- they may prefer to talk to another teen. And three-quarters of parents in a new national poll think peers better understand teen challenges, compared to teachers or counselors in the school. The majority also agree that peer support leaders at school would encourage more teens to talk with someone about their mental health problems, according to the C.S. Mott Children's Hospital National Poll on Children's Health at Michigan Medicine. "Peers may provide valuable support for fellow teens struggling with emotional issues because they can relate to each other," says Mott Poll Co-Director Sarah Clark, M.P.H. Read More


A Model Who Uses a Wheelchair is Working to Bring More Physical Diversity to Fashion

Disability has been an issue that society has been grappling with, even as diversity is now at the forefront of people's’ attention — but Jillian Mercado has been thinking about this form of representation for a long time. The model and actor has used a wheelchair since childhood as a result of muscular dystrophy. As her modeling career took off, she worked with friends studying photography and began to notice the lack of physical diversity on sets. Now, she is using her platform to open doors for other creatives with disabilities who may otherwise get overlooked in the fashion industry. This past summer, Mercado, along with her sister and a close friend, started the Black Disabled Creatives database in order to connect people with companies and brands who were preaching the values of diversity amid the Black Lives Matter protests in the summer of 2020. The site offers a roster of creatives from all different backgrounds and will begin posting job listings soon. Mercado spoke with BuzzFeed News about this initiative in a phone interview that touched on the power of representation, and the need for greater discussion around disability. Read More


* SETSS (Special Education Teacher Support Services) Teacher - At Zeta, we pursue an unprecedented combination of high academic achievement and social-emotional development. We insist that every child receives a world-class education while fostering a love for learning. We are changing the public education landscape for all of New York City’s children, and we are uncompromising in our mission. 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. You will be an employee and receive full benefits. To learn more - Click here

* 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

* 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

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


Sometimes all a person wants is an empathetic ear; all he or she needs is to talk it out. Just offering a listening ear and an understanding heart for his or her suffering can be a big comfort.

Roy T. Bennett

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