Sunday, May 31, 2009

Fw: May 27, 2009 - Study: Early attention problems are predictor of academic performance

  Curriculum & Instruction 

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CEC SmartBrief
May 27, 2009

* Study: Early attention problems are predictor of academic performance
* Do tests gloss over special challenges?
* Inclusive class shows off skills for parents
* Nation's top spellers bond over being "nerds"
* End of loan-forgiveness programs troubles educators
* Doctors: Constant texting may reshape adolescent development
* Sotomayor's record provides clues on special education
* Obama administration explores solutions on restraint, seclusion
* Arizona lawmakers to vote on revamping special-education funding
* Lawsuit says drug for autism, ADHD affected boys' development
* Study: Parents' vaccine refusals lead to resurgence of whooping cough
* Study: Eye exercises do little to help those with dyslexia
* "Engaging and Empowering Families in Secondary Transition: A Practitioner's Guide"
* The CEC Web site makes a great home page

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Friday, May 29, 2009

Staten Island autism advocates rally at City Hall - the article from the Advance


Staten Island autism advocates rally at City Hall

Advocates gather at City Hall to seek retention of $1.5M for after-school program for children
Thursday, May 28, 2009
Staten Island Advance

STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. -- In a budget just shy of $60 billion, $1.5 million to fund an after-school program for autistic children might seem like a drop in the bucket.

But the organizations and advocacy groups that need those precious dollars aren't taking them for granted: They gathered yesterday at City Hall to pressure legislators to keep that funding in the fiscal year 2010 budget.

"The money goes a long way. We stretch it as far as it could go," said Donna Long, executive director of G.R.A.C.E. (Getting Resources for Autistic Children's Equality) Foundation, a Staten Island nonprofit that gets about $50,000 of the funding.

All told, 22 organizations -- two of them on the Island -- receive funding through the City Council's "1 in 150" Autism Initiative Services, to provide after-school and weekend activities for autistic children. The name of the initiative, which is sponsored by the Council's pool of discretionary funds, comes from a study by The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which found autism affects one in every 150 children and has become more prevalent today than pediatric cancer, diabetes and AIDS combined.

The program includes sports and various activities at community centers and schools throughout the city, where, experts say, the children acquire invaluable social skills that help them to a better quality of life.

While the state and federal government provide some funding for children with more severe autism through school and health care, those parents who have children with mild cases are often on their own. There is some money earmarked for autism research in the federal stimulus package, but none for autism programs.

"This is a population that we are providing a service for that would otherwise fall through the cracks," said City Councilman David Weprin (D-Queens), who helped initiate the funding two years ago.

It does not appear the funding for the program will be cut from the upcoming budget, Weprin said, though he did add that "there are many other competing priorities."

If not for the economic downturn, advocates might be asking for more money to fund the initiative. According to Mrs. Long, G.R.A.C.E. has 20 children, ranging in age from 3 to 16 years old, in its five-days-a-week programs, but more than 50 on a waiting list. The Jewish Community Center in Sea View has another 12 in its program, with dozens more on a waiting list.

Peter N. Spencer covers city government for the Advance. He may be reached at

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Hugs - Sociology- NYT

For Teenagers, Hello Means 'How About a Hug?'

Fred R. Conrad/The New York Times

To hug or not to hug is never in question for Ashley Rocha and friends at Pascack Hills High.

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Published: May 27, 2009

There is so much hugging at Pascack Hills High School in Montvale, N.J., that students have broken down the hugs by type:

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Teenage Fads, Forever Young

Room for DebateHow do trends among high school students develop and spread so quickly?

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Jim Wilson/The New York Times

Katie Dea and Henry Begler, both 14, at the Claire Lilienthal School in San Francisco, prefer a friendly hug to a high-five greeting.

There is the basic friend hug, probably the most popular, and the bear hug, of course. But now there is also the bear claw, when a boy embraces a girl awkwardly with his elbows poking out.

There is the hug that starts with a high-five, then moves into a fist bump, followed by a slap on the back and an embrace.

There's the shake and lean; the hug from behind; and, the newest addition, the triple — any combination of three girls and boys hugging at once.

"We're not afraid, we just get in and hug," said Danny Schneider, a junior at the school, where hallway hugging began shortly after 7 a.m. on a recent morning as students arrived. "The guy friends, we don't care. You just get right in there and jump in."

There are romantic hugs, too, but that is not what these teenagers are talking about.

Girls embracing girls, girls embracing boys, boys embracing each other — the hug has become the favorite social greeting when teenagers meet or part these days. Teachers joke about "one hour" and "six hour" hugs, saying that students hug one another all day as if they were separated for the entire summer.

A measure of how rapidly the ritual is spreading is that some students complain of peer pressure to hug to fit in. And schools from Hillsdale, N.J., to Bend, Ore., wary in a litigious era about sexual harassment or improper touching — or citing hallway clogging and late arrivals to class — have banned hugging or imposed a three-second rule.

Parents, who grew up in a generation more likely to use the handshake, the low-five or the high-five, are often baffled by the close physical contact. "It's a wordless custom, from what I've observed," wrote Beth J. Harpaz, the mother of two boys, 11 and 16, and a parenting columnist for The Associated Press, in a new book, "13 Is the New 18."

"And there doesn't seem to be any other overt way in which they acknowledge knowing each other," she continued, describing the scene at her older son's school in Manhattan. "No hi, no smile, no wave, no high-five — just the hug. Witnessing this interaction always makes me feel like I am a tourist in a country where I do not know the customs and cannot speak the language."

For teenagers, though, hugging is hip. And not hugging?

"If somebody were to not hug someone, to never hug anybody, people might be just a little wary of them and think they are weird or peculiar," said Gabrielle Brown, a freshman at Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School in Manhattan.

Comforting as the hug may be, principals across the country have clamped down. "Touching and physical contact is very dangerous territory," said Noreen Hajinlian, the principal of George G. White School, a junior high school in Hillsdale, N.J., who banned hugging two years ago. "It was needless hugging — they are in the hallways before they go to class. It wasn't a greeting. It was happening all day."

Schools that have limited hugging invoked longstanding rules against public displays of affection, meant to maintain an atmosphere of academic seriousness and prevent unwanted touching, or even groping.

But pro-hugging students say it is not a romantic or sexual gesture, simply the "hello" of their generation. "We like to get cozy," said Katie Dea, an eighth grader at Claire Lilienthal Alternative School in San Francisco. "The high-five is, like, boring."

Some sociologists said that teenagers who grew up in an era of organized play dates and close parental supervision are more cooperative with one another than previous generations — less cynical and individualistic and more loyal to the group.

But Amy L. Best, a sociologist at George Mason University, said the teenage embrace is more a reflection of the overall evolution of the American greeting, which has become less formal since the 1970s. "Without question, the boundaries of touch have changed in American culture," she said. "We display bodies more readily, there are fewer rules governing body touch and a lot more permissible access to other people's bodies."

Hugging appears to be a grass-roots phenomenon and not an imitation of a character or custom on TV or in movies. The prevalence of boys' nonromantic hugging (especially of other boys) is most striking to adults. Experts say that over the last generation, boys have become more comfortable expressing emotion, as embodied by the MTV show "Bromance," which is now a widely used term for affection between straight male friends.

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More Articles in Style » A version of this article appeared in print on May 28, 2009, on page A1 of the New York edition.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Interesting article- autism CEC

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May 15, 2009 News for special education professionals
  Curriculum & Instruction 
  • Children with autism can overcome summer challenges
    Summer provides challenges for children with autism, with less structure and more isolation causing some children to regress. Expert Deb Schipper says children with autism need to continue to practice their social skills during the summer, but do best when they are prepared for new environments and have visual and verbal supports. KARE-TV (Minneapolis-St. Paul) (5/14) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Teen earns bachelor's degree in nursing
    Danielle McBurnett, 17, graduated from Arizona State University on Wednesday with a bachelor's degree in nursing and will begin a doctorate program in nursing practice this fall. McBurnett, who was home-schooled, says she wants to become a pediatric nurse practitioner and help disadvantaged children. The Arizona Republic (Phoenix) (5/12) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Other News
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  Educational Leadership 
  • Layoffs may continue to hurt schools after economy recovers
    Young Minnesota teachers laid off because of the recession are increasingly moving to other states to find work, a move that could hurt the state's schools when the economy rebounds, some educators say. When veteran teachers begin to retire in several years, schools will lack junior teachers ready to take over, says Dan Weisberg, whose New Teacher Project was hired by the Minneapolis district to examine how turnover affects its schools. Minnesota Public Radio (5/14) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  Technology Trends 
  Policy News 
  • Texas, federal government near deal on state's schools
    Texas has offered its preliminary agreement to a U.S. Justice Department deal that seeks to improve the state's 13 schools for people with mental disabilities following a federal investigation that discovered abuse and civil rights violations. The agreement -- which requires the approval of Texas legislators -- calls for more staff, better training and greater opportunities for residents to move into community-based group homes, a state official said. Houston Chronicle (5/14) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Study: As many as 20% of top high-school girls may burn out
    High-achieving high-school girls may be especially at risk of burnout, which can cause them to be less successful as they transition to college, according to a Finnish study of 1,800 young people. "They tend to develop feelings of inadequacy, in particular, in upper secondary school. By contrast, boys who enter upper secondary school tend to develop more of a cynical, negative stance towards school," says lead researcher Katariina Salmela-Aro, a University of Jyväskylä professor. ScienceDaily (5/14) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Survey: Many adolescents not treated for depression
    A 2007 government survey found that only 40% of the 2 million children ages 12 to 17 who had at least one major depressive episode in the previous year were treated for it. The study also showed adolescents without health insurance were less than half as likely to get treatment as those with private or SCHIP coverage. Medscape (free registration) (5/14) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  Eye on Exceptionalities 
  • Woman with quadriplegia to graduate from law school
    Sara Granda, 29, who 12 years ago was paralyzed from the neck down, will graduate Saturday from the law school at the University of California, Davis, and hopes to pursue a career in health policy. "I have never met anyone like Sara in my life," said Kevin Johnson, dean of the law school. "It's not within her to quit on anything." The Sacramento Bee (Calif.) (free registration) (5/15) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Author: Adults with autism need help too
    When children with low-functioning autism grow up, they continue to need intensive support, writes Karl Taro Greenfeld, whose 42-year-old brother was institutionalized because of the degree of his maladaptive behaviors. While funding has poured into research for earlier diagnoses and children with autism, too little attention has been paid to adults with the disorder, writes Greenfeld, author of a book about his experience. TIME (5/25) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  CEC Spotlight 
  • "Engaging and Empowering Families in Secondary Transition: A Practitioner's Guide"
    The new edition of this CEC best-seller gives schools and agencies the tools and strategies they need to foster family partnerships and promote positive post-school outcomes for youths with disabilities. Find out more. LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Submit a proposal for CEC's 2010 convention
    On behalf of Doug and Lynn Fuchs, program chairpersons, CEC invites you to submit a proposal for the CEC 2010 Convention & Expo, April 21 to 24, 2010, in Nashville, Tenn. The call for papers closes May 27, 2009. Find out more. LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story