December 2010 | News You Can Use

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Photo of three gingerbread men cookies in a box, all smiling.December 2010



NICHCY is pleased to send you the latest issue of News You Can Use. Our special topic for December is Home for the Holidays, with an emphasis on keeping the kids engaged during this great (especially to them!) break time.

The icon of the Technical Assistance and Dissemination Network funded by OSEP.There are many great resources coming from OSEP’s TA&D Network (these are marked with the TA&D logo you see to the left) and from organizations beyond the network. May these help you and yours, personally and professionally, now or when the holiday tempest has passed.

We welcome your feedback. Please feel free to contact us at

Our best to you, as always.

Your friends
at the National Dissemination Center
for Children with Disabilities



The icon of the Technical Assistance and Dissemination Network funded by OSEP.This month, we’re pleased to offer two updated resources on our website, because using evidence-based practices is a fine way to fly. These updates may not come in handy right now, but there’s a New Year a’coming.

Special Education Research: Where to Start?
For all the stakeholders out there who are teaching in classrooms, administrating in schools, getting trained to work in schools, or who just want to know where to start looking for research in special education that will help guide their work or study or advocacy on behalf of children, this update’s for you.

What Works? Can We Say?
After these many years of special education research, what do we know about effective practices in….you name it, there are so many aspects involved in addressing the needs of the little ones with disabilities and in educating the bigger ones who grow older every day.

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Celebrating 35 years of IDEA.
Can you believe that it’s been 35 years since our nation’s special education law was first passed? The Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services is ready to celebrate! Find out what’s up, at:

Disability etiquette.
Here’s a 56-page, easy-to-read, text-light resource from the United Spinal Association. It discusses many different disabilities and offers very good suggestions on disability etiquette.

Choosing your battles: Targeting behavior problems worth fighting for.
Children with special needs sometimes present parents with so many opportunities for behavioral correction that, if they pursued every one, children would never leave the time-out chair. How do parents let them know the rules are important, and still use discretion when it comes to discipline?

Sexuality and developmental disability: A guide for parents.
This 15-pager comes from the Calgary Health Region.

Parent-teacher conference tipsheets | Available in Spanish, too!
Face-to-face interactions between parents and teachers are still the cornerstone of school family engagement efforts. These newly revised tip sheets from the Harvard Family Research Project provide key strategies for both parents and teachers to walk into conferences informed and prepared, in order to ensure the most successful outcomes. A tipsheet aimed at school principals also outlines how school administrators can support parents and teachers to that end.

Two new (as-always-terrific) resources from Wrightslaw.

Physical Education and Adapted PE
If your child cannot be included in regular physical education, an effort must be made to involve him using supplementary aids and services or through adapted physical education.

Paper Trails: How Good Is Your Documentation?
The success of your child’s education may depend on how well you document what happens during the IEP process.

Are you a grandparent raising grandchildren?
You may find the AARP Foundation GrandCare Support Locator helpful. A service of the American Association of Retired Persons, the locator connects grandparents with national, state and local groups, programs, resources, and services that support grandparents and other relatives caring for children.

Review of the research literature on serving adults with learning disabilities.

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Making life easier.
The icon of the Technical Assistance and Dissemination Network funded by OSEP.That’s the name of the new series launched by TACSEI, the Technical Assistance Center on Social Emotional Intervention for Young Children. Find helpful tips on how to make often challenging events easier to navigate and even enjoyable. Topics include Bedtime and Naptime, Running Errands, and Diapering.

Learning to talk and listen.
An oral language resource for early childhood caregivers.

Make time to talk.
Here are some language building tips for center-based and home-based child care providers.

CONNECT Module 4: Family-Professional Partnerships.
The icon of the Technical Assistance and Dissemination Network funded by OSEP.Learn about building trusting family-professional partnerships when working with families of young children.

Webinar series on the social emotional development of young children.
The icon of the Technical Assistance and Dissemination Network funded by OSEP.This series was developed in response to the emerging body of research related to the importance of social emotional development as a stepping stone to positive outcomes for young children. The series was developed collaboratively by the IDEA Infant & Toddler Coordinators Association (ITCA), the IDEA 619 Consortium, and the Technical Assistance Center on Social Emotional Intervention for Young Children (TACSEI). It’s relevant to individuals who serve infants, toddlers, and preschoolers with disabilities.

Addressing the mental health needs of young children in the child welfare system: What every policymaker should know.
From the National Center for Children in Poverty, this issue brief explores what we currently know about the prevalence of young children (ages birth to 5) in the child welfare system, how maltreatment or neglect affects their development, and the services currently offered versus needed for these young children.

Preparing professionals to work in early childhood.
In 2009, NAEYC (the National Association for the Education of Young Children) revised its Standards for Programs that Prepare Early Childhood Professionals. Clinical field experiences are emphasized for teachers working with children birth through age 8.

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Webinar | “Preparing Students with Disabilities for Success in Postsecondary Education.”
The icon of the Technical Assistance and Dissemination Network funded by OSEP.December 7 (Tuesday) | 3 – 4:30 PM (Eastern)
Hosted by the Exiting Community of Practice within the TA&D network. Register at: , select “Public Sessions” (it’s at the top left in the reddish menu options), then click to register for the webinar with this title.

Webinar |”Mentoring Instructional Support Staff: Strategies for Achieving Recruitment, Retention and Successful Service Delivery”
The icon of the Technical Assistance and Dissemination Network funded by OSEP.December 9 (Thursday) | 3:00 – 4:00 pm EST
This free webinar is co-sponsored by the National Coalition on Personnel Shortages in Special Education and the Related Services and the National Association for Elementary School Principals (NAESP).

Apply for an Implementation Award—deadline December 17, 2010.
Doing What Works (DWW) is seeking proposals for Implementation Awards to integrate DWW resources into professional learning or school improvement efforts. Grants range from $15,000 to $75,000. Read all about it at:

Dealing with reading disabilities in children while teaching.
Here’s a 4-page, easy-to-ready synopsis and suggestions for teachers.

Accommodating students with psychiatric disabilities.
And here are 13 very good pages for teachers.

Two guides for out-of-school-time program practitioners.
Both are hot off the press from Child Trends.

Assessing Self-Regulation in Children and Youth
Being able to suppress impulsive behavior and to adjust behavior as appropriate has been linked to positive outcomes for children and adolescents. This brief defines self-regulation and why it is important, provides three measures of self-regulation skills of children and teens, and includes tips for enhancing self-regulation skills in out-of-school time programs.

Assessing Stress in Children and Youth
This brief identifies characteristics of youth who may be particularly vulnerable to stress, provides two scales to measure stress among adolescents, and includes tips and resources for helping youth deal with stress.

Home-to-school connections guide.
Here’s Edutopia’s latest classroom resource guide highlighting new solutions for connecting home and school in order to improve student learning and success.

Student data privacy.
Basic Concepts and Definitions for Privacy and Confidentiality in Student Education Records discusses basic concepts and definitions that establish a common set of terms related to the protection of personally identifiable information, especially in education records in the Statewide Longitudinal Data Systems (SLDS). A product of the National Center for Education Statistics at the Institute of Education Sciences.

Video | Health and Transition in the IEP.
“Embedding Health Outcomes in the Individualized Education Program” is
a video recording of a 40-minute teleconference that provides information and specific examples of health-related goals for an IEP. From the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction.

CD | Health and the IEP.
The Wisconsin Community on Transition Health Practice Group has developed health-related training materials that can be used with schools, health providers, families, and directly with youth to help youth with disabilities learn to more effectively manage their health care concerns.

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Department of Education releases finalized National Education Technology Plan.

What are states doing to recruit and retain qualified special education personnel, including related service providers?
The icon of the Technical Assistance and Dissemination Network funded by OSEP.Project Forum and the Personnel Improvement Center have recently published this report, which summarizes the results of a survey of SEAs on special education recruitment and retention strategies.

Revised Q&A for the Part C Child Count data collection.
The icon of the Technical Assistance and Dissemination Network funded by OSEP.From the Data Accountability Center (DAC), find this document at the link below, under the TA materials tab, 618 Data Collection Information.

State systems for tracking outcomes for students with disabilities through postsecondary activities.
The icon of the Technical Assistance and Dissemination Network funded by OSEP.President Obama’s administration has made the development of longitudinal data systems that are able to track individual students from preK through their postsecondary activities a key component of education reform. Findings from the survey describe the number and status of states that are at varying levels of development and implementation of these data systems and the barriers and benefits to this development. A Project Forum brief policy analysis.

Data stewardship.
This Statewide Longitudinal Data Systems Technical Brief focuses on data stewardship, which involves each organization’s commitment to ensuring that privacy, confidentiality, security, and the appropriate use of data are respected when personally identifiable information is collected. Data stewardship involves all aspects of data collection, from planning, collection and maintenance to use and dissemination. A product of the National Center for Education Statistics at the Institute of Education Sciences, part of the U.S. Department of Education.

Study of states’ monitoring and improvement practices under IDEA.
This report provides a description of the nature and scope of states’ Part B and Part C monitoring systems. Data on 20 states’ monitoring systems in 2004-05 and 2006-07 were collected during two site visits. The report describes states’ approaches to monitoring and how states’ monitoring systems and processes mapped onto a framework developed for the study. From the National Center for Special Education Research.

Computer-based testing in large-scale assessments.
The icon of the Technical Assistance and Dissemination Network funded by OSEP.Computer-based testing (CBT) has emerged as one of the recent “innovative” approaches to state and district-wide assessments and as an avenue toward greater accessibility for students with disabilities. This report explores the context of CBT, current state computer-based tests, and considerations for students with disabilities. NCEO Synthesis Report 78.

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SPECIAL FOCUS:  Home for the Holidays

Last month’s special focus was on gift and activity ideas for the upcoming holiday season, as well as how to cope with the hubbub. Continuing (somewhat) in the same vein, this month’s special focus is on ways to engage children with disabilities during whatever breaks they have from school. We’ve thrown in a few last-minute gift ideas, too.

Many thanks to’s for offering such rich and varied articles in its Special Needs Children pages. These are invariably insightful, yet delightfully brief. We hope you’ll enjoy the articles mentioned. There are many more besides at, so poke around and find what else might be of use to you especially.

Last-minute gift ideas

Gifts for children with asthma

Gifts for children with diabetes

Gifts for children with cancer

Keeping the Kids Engaged

Keep a big “bag of tricks.”

101 things to do when there’s nothing to do.
Sometimes you get caught with bored kids away from home — in traffic, on a plane, at a family gathering. Here are 101 activities that use nothing more than your clothing, your accessories, and whatever wits you have about you.

Five ways to keep occupational therapy going over school breaks.

Keep physical therapy going over school breaks.

Keep speech therapy going over school breaks.

Keep sensory integration therapy going over school breaks.

Worshiping with a special-needs child.

We hope you have a peaceful, fun, and fulfilling holiday season, and we will most definitely see you in 2011! Until then!

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Publication of this eNewsletter is made possible through Cooperative Agreement #H326N080003 between AED and the Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP) of the U.S. Department of Education. The contents do not necessarily reflect the views or policies of the Department of Education, nor does mention of trade names, commercial products, or organizations imply endorsement by the U.S. Government or by the National Dissemination Center for Children with Disabilities.


Comments on our newsletter? Too long? Too short? Off-target? Right on? Suggestions for future topics? Please feel free to contact us at We’re here to help you help children with disabilities.

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