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|March 26, 2012|
Data show rise in the number of students with autism in the U.K.
The number of children in public schools in the United Kingdom who are classified as having autism has grown by 56% over the past five years, new data show. Some advocates say the numbers point to an increasing need for autism-specific training for educators. "It's very likely that all teachers and school staff will come into contact with children with autism at some stage during their teaching career, so it's vital that they receive quality training and strategies to support these children in the classroom," said Caroline Hattersley of The National Autistic Society. The Daily Mail (London) (3/23)
Md. forum focuses on issues in gifted education
Parents in Montgomery County, Md., attended a forum Thursday with superintendent Joshua Starr to discuss the way the district is meeting the needs of its students who are gifted. Some say the district's focus on narrowing the achievement gap has led to fewer services and programs for students who are gifted. The Washington Post (tiered subscription model)/Maryland Schools Insider blog (3/23)
Fla. student in special education prepares for state tests
Florida high-school student Carina Barajas, who has a learning disability and is in special education, is among the students preparing to take the state's new standardized tests in reading, math, writing and science. Students this year must score higher on the reading test to graduate. "School's a lot of pressure," Barajas said. "But I guess it's something I have to overcome." Orlando Sentinel (Fla.) (tiered subscription model) (3/25)
Changes to teacher-layoff policies are recommended in Calif.
A new report by the state legislative analyst's office calls for changes to the way teachers are laid off in California, urging a later June 1 deadline for the issuance of pink slips to ensure no more are issued than necessary and encouraging policymakers to consider basing layoff decisions on factors other than teacher seniority. "Ideally districts would use multiple factors in making layoff determinations -- factors that result in the least harm to students, the overall teaching workforce and the school community," the report states. Los Angeles Times (tiered subscription model) (3/26)
Top five news stories selected by CEC SmartBrief readers in the past week.
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Some school districts turn to virtual speech therapy
Some school districts in the U.S. are using virtual speech-language therapy resources amid a nationwide shortage of speech-language pathologists caused by too few spots available in graduate programs. The virtual programs offer flexible hours and part-time working arrangements for therapists, and are being used for students with mild to moderate communication disorders. District Administration magazine (3/2012)
Startup aims to place those with autism in high-tech careers
Eric Hogan, a cellphone repair technician who has Asperger's syndrome, is the founder of an information-technology startup aimed at helping those with autism spectrum disorders find technology-related jobs. The company, AutVantage, promotes the suitability of some individuals with autism for particular higher-wage technology jobs. "People with autism gravitate toward high tech careers, computer programming or engineering," Hogan said. "And they tend to do better than people without the condition." The Clarion-Ledger (Jackson, Miss.) (tiered subscription model) (3/22)
How to get the most from education technology
To benefit from education technology, such as iBooks and tablets, the devices must be integrated in such a way that they facilitate learning and inquiry, say William J. Oehlkers and Cindy DiDonato, adjunct professors at Providence College in Rhode Island. They recommend project-based learning, in which students identify a question and search for an answer using technology -- a method they describe as technology-inquiry education. Education Week (premium article access compliments of EdWeek.org) (3/23)
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Ga. lawmakers consider expansion of special-needs vouchers
State legislators in Georgia are considering a measure that would allow students with special needs to use the statewide voucher program without first attending a public school for one year. The change is part of repeated efforts to expand the state's growing voucher program, which was first established in 2007. Athens Banner-Herald (Ga.)/The Associated Press (3/24)
Kansas House approves autism coverage bill
The Kansas House voted 92-30 last week to approve a bill that would require private health insurers to cover behavioral therapy and other treatments for children age 19 and younger with autism spectrum disorders. The bill calls for an annual coverage of up to $36,000 for children with autism from birth to age 6 and $27,000 to age 19, Rep. John Rubin, R-Shawnee, said. The Topeka Capital-Journal (Kan.) (3/23)
Study finds age-dependent gene expression differences with autism
Researchers examined postmortem brain samples of 33 patients and found those with autism ages 2 to 14 had abnormalities in pathways responsible for cell number, cortical patterning and differentiation, while autism patients ages 15 to 56 had abnormalities affecting signaling and repair. The DNA extracted from the prefrontal cortex showed autism-specific copy number variations in genes responsible for cell cycle regulation. The study appears in the journal PLoS Genetics. PhysiciansBriefing.com/HealthDay News (3/23)
Happy Monday! Here's your Tool of the Week
The Tool of the Week "Learning Proper Manners and Eating Behavior" comes from the Life Centered Career Education Daily Living Skills CD and allows students to learn etiquette pertaining to proper manners and eating behavior. CEC's Tool of the Week is a FREE resource designed to support you in your special-education practice. Subscribe, and you'll find a free tool in your inbox every Monday morning. Get your Tool of the Week.
Honor the Best of the Best at CEC's Teacher of the Year Brunch
The CEC Teacher of the Year Brunch, held April 14 as part of the CEC 2012 Convention & Expo, will honor several truly remarkable special educators, including 2012 Clarissa Hug Teacher of the Year Hannah Ehrli. Guest speaker Sarah Helena Vazquez will share insights into her upbringing with cerebral palsy in Puerto Rican culture, and the can-do attitude her family instilled in her that has helped her achieve success. Learn more and purchase your ticket today!
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