Providing the best transportation support for students with special needs requires various members of the education team work as a team, experts noted during a recent conference. Working together with principals, teachers and therapists helps troubleshoot transportation issues, said special-education program administrator Chris Mulhern, who also suggested that transportation personnel be included in students' IEP meetings.
Some school districts and organizations, such as the American Federation of Teachers, are offering grief training to educators to help them support students coping with the effects of the coronavirus pandemic. Alexandra Hinkson-Dutrevil, a fourth-grade teacher, recalls stopping a lesson and shifting to give students time to express their feelings after a classmate who experienced trauma broke down in tears during a Zoom lesson.
Assessment of students with special needs is especially difficult in a distance learning setting, as some issues are challenging to evaluate remotely and students' caregivers are not always able to record progress in the same manner as a trained educator, some educators and administrators say. One approach that may help improve the process, according to school psychologist Soye Zaid-Muhammad, is comprehensive data-driven assessment, which considers input from physicians and caregivers together with educator evaluations.
During his campaign, President-elect Joe Biden promised to address current issues in special education, attention that some advocates say is long overdue. Elizabeth Kozleski, an expert on special education and professor at the Stanford University Graduate School of Education, says that reauthorization of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, which has not been updated in more than 15 years, and working to accurately diagnose and support Black and Latino students with special needs are key to ensuring educational equity for all.
Researchers studied 913,301 children in Denmark and found that children with prenatal valproate exposure had an increased risk of intellectual disability as well as intellectual disability with delayed childhood milestones, compared with those with no prenatal valproate exposure. The findings in JAMA Network Open also showed that prenatal exposure to other antiepileptic drugs -- such as oxcarbazepine, clonazepam and carbamazepine -- was also associated with an increased risk of intellectual disability in children.