July 2010 | News You Can Use

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July 2010




NICHCY is pleased to send you the latest issue of News You Can Use and to say Happy Birthday, USA! We hope you had a great 4th of July and that the rest of the month treats you fine, too.

There are lots of new resources to report 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.

We’ve had many recent requests for info on severe or multiple disabilities, so we’ve made this our Special Focus this month. For those of you who communicated your interest via our Rate This Page feature, thanks! We appreciate the input and hope these resources are helpful.

We welcome your feedback. Please feel free to contact us at nichcy@aed.org.

Our best to you, as always.

Your friends
at the National Dissemination Center
for Children with Disabilities



This month, we’re pleased to offer four updated resources on our website. They are:

Autism spectrum disorders.
We’re updating all our disability fact sheets in English, and this one’s the first one off the press. It includes very new content that reflects our ever-growing understanding of the disorders on the spectrum.

Cerebral palsy.

Deafness and hearing loss.
It’s been expanded to include a more indepth discussion of hearing loss in children, its causes and signs, and the systems of help available.

Emotional disturbance.
The 2010 edition of this oft-requested fact sheet will give you an overview of ED in general, but it now includes brief sections describing 6 emotional disorders or types of disorders that fall under the umbrella of the term: anxiety disorders, bipolar disorder, conduct disorder, eating disorders, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and psychotic disorders. Lots of connections to resources on these disorders, too.

We’re working on getting the remaining fact sheets revised, too, and hopefully they’ll be available before summer’s end.

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National Family Support Survey.
You are invited by the PACER Center to take part in a national research study of supports for families of youth with disabilities. This survey (available in English and Spanish) is for the parent or primary caregiver of a young person with disabilities between 12 and 22 years old. Interested?

What do those symptoms mean?
Investigate using the Symptom Checker, sponsored by the American Academy of Pediatrics. Working from a diagram of the body, click on the body part that’s being affected. The Symptom Checker will help you narrow the problem to fit your situation (as much as possible, anyway!), will describe it medically, suggest when to call for help, and give care advice. Find all this at:

What does the new health care act mean for people with disabilities?

Info on GINA–the law against genetic discrimination.
With genetic testing becoming increasingly pervasive in medical care and our daily lives, three of the most prominent organizations in genetics-the Genetics and Public Policy Center at Johns Hopkins University, the National Coalition for Health Professional Education in Genetics, and Genetic Alliance-have teamed up to produce educational materials about the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA), a landmark federal law that protects individuals from the misuse of genetic information in health insurance and employment. Start in at:

Looking for info on deafness and other communication disorders?

Check out NIDCD’s new website. That’s the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders. Call and talk to a health information specialist toll-free! Voice: 1.800.241.1044 or TTY: 1.800.241-1055. NIDCD supports and conducts research and research training on the normal and disordered processes of hearing, balance, smell, taste, voice, speech and language, and provides health information, based upon scientific discovery, to the public.

Are you the mom of a child with hearing loss?
Would you like to participate in a research study about parents’ responses to the identification of their child’s hearing loss? Researchers at Gallaudet University would love to hear what you have to say. They’re asking interested moms to set up an appointment for an individual interview. (Both parents are not required to participate, nor is your child.) Participation takes about an hour and involves filling out a few questionnaires and completing a videotaped interview. To compensate for your time, you’ll receive $30. If you’re willing to participate, please email the primary researcher to set up an interview! Reach her at: elizabeth.adams@gallaudet.edu

If you’re estate planning or thinking about it…
You may want to read Planning for Your Child’s Future… What Every Family of a Child with Special Needs Ought to Know.

More on estate planning: 10 tips for parents of children with disabilities.
As part of their estate planning, parents of children with special needs should also use a binder that contains all the information that future caregivers will need to carry on after the parents are gone. Here are 10 things to put in that binder:

Autism corner.
What’s new for those concerned with disorders on the autism spectrum? Here are several of potential interest:

Ten ASD tips from a parent.
Leslie Drinkwine is a parent of a boy with autism.  She shares her experience and tips with readers about many aspects of life with autism, including her 7th tip:  Do Not Hide in Your Home. Take your child out to public events, shopping, to play in the park.  These interactions will help him/her develop social skills.

Being autistic, being human.
Step back from public controversies over causes and cures and explore the mystery and meaning of autism in one family’s life, and in history and society. This program’s guests say that life with their child with autism has deepened their understanding of human nature, of disability, and of creativity, intelligence, and accomplishment.

Be part of research through the Interactive Autism Research Network.
Every day thousands of people from across the country are coming together through IAN Research, an online initiative connecting researchers with individuals and families affected by ASD. The dynamic exchange is the nation’s largest online autism research study. Find out more at:

Mastering life skills.
Last month we mentioned the Casey Foundation’s life skills guide, and that seemed to catch many people’s interest, so here’s another on the subject, this one from education.com.

Planning for transition to postsecondary education and adulthood.
Disability.gov offers a new guide for parents to help them prepare for this important transition in their child’s life. The guide includes information about laws that protect parents’ rights as well as the rights of adult children in college.

Free online course for transit advocates.
Easter Seals Project Action is offering an online course called Forming Partnerships with Transit from August 2 – September 10 for transit advocates interested in increasing their role in the planning, design, and implementation of community transit service. Human services providers involved in local coordinated planning efforts and private transportation providers also may find this course useful. The course covers: transportation planning, transportation funding, becoming a transit supporter, and strategies for taking on an effective role in supporting transit. Registration deadline: July 23.

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Supporting the social-emotional well-being of children in early intervention.
A new brief from the National Center for Children in Poverty discusses exemplary policies and practices that highlight the potential of Part C to play a major role in reducing the risk of long-term social-emotional and behavioral difficulties of vulnerable children.

Online module on embedded interventions.
Learn about the practice of embedded interventions to help children participate in a variety of early learning opportunities and environments promoting high-quality inclusion. From Project CONNECT.

The Right Stuff: Resources to support your work.
This handout was presented at the 2009 Conference on Inclusive Education and includes a list of resources on collaboration, inclusion/natural environments, quality, and more. From the National Professional Development Center on Inclusion.

Including children with disabilities in state pre-K programs.
This 21-page policy brief is from the Education Law Center.

Assistive technology for preschoolers to support socialization.
If so, have a look at the June 2010 newsletter of the Tots ‘n Tech Research Institute, which looks at using AT with young children to support socialization in a variety of ways. For example, AT can be used to help children express themselves, build friendships, explore their environment and reduce frustrations that may be associated with challenging behaviors.

WWC rates study of the Ready to Learn Initiative.
A new Quick Review from the What Works Clearinghouse (WWC) looks at the summative evaluation of theReady to Learn Initiative, which examined whether preschoolers who were exposed to a media-rich literacy curriculum had better early reading skills than preschoolers who were exposed to a media-rich science curriculum.

Comparing child care quality rating systems.
A number of states are developing Quality Rating Systems to improve the quality of early care and education programs for young children. Here’s a new compendium profiling 26 child care Quality Rating Systems.

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Travel training: A guide for school administrators.
Travel Training for Student Success: The Route to Achieving Post-Secondary Student Outcomes is a primer for school administrators interested in learning how high schools across the country are connecting students to travel training services, developing and adapting goals, and supporting local implementation of travel training programs.

Register for the 10th Annual Association of Travel Instruction (ATI) Continuing Education Conference.
August 13-15, 2010 in Baltimore, Maryland.
The ATI conference sessions can benefit new, growing, and experienced travel training programs. There will be presentations about hiring and training new travel trainers; documents needed to manage a travel training program; partnering with ADA paratransit staff at a transit property to achieve positive travel training outcomes; and more. The conference will also focus on a travel training growth area: teaching high school students in transition how to use local public transportation safely and independently. Read all about it and register at:

Looking for resources to support teacher development pre-K-12 over the summer and during the next school year?
Visit the IRIS Center, which offers 19 modules in all areas of academic and behavioral disabilities.

Webinar series | National Center on Accessible Instructional Materials.
If you’re interested in learning more about and implementing AIM and NIMAS, check out this webinar series on the subject. There are 3 audience-specific types:

AIM Basics | for all audiences as a prerequisite for other AIM webinars.
Offered twice:

July 13th from 1-2pm (EST) | Register at:

August 10th from 3-4pm (EST) |
Register at: https://aim.ilinc.com/register/tvtbzrx

The SYSTEM-LEVEL LEADERS SERIES | for SEA and LEA leaders with responsibilities related to the development of systems that ensure the provision of AIM in a timely manner. Offered July 13th from 3-4pm (EST). Register at:

The STUDENT-LEVEL LEADERS SERIES | for educators, families, and others who are members of IEP teams and other decision-making teams. Offered August 10th from 1-2pm (EST). Register at:

Roles and responsibilities of speech-language pathologists in schools.
Two new documents from the American Speech and Hearing Association (ASHA) describe the critical roles and responsibilities  of SLPs that should provide the basis for speech-language services in schools to promote efficient and effective outcomes for students.

Linguistic modification of math test items helps English language learners.
REL West’s study on Middle School Math Assessment Accommodations found that simplifying the language on standardized math test items made it easier for ELLs to focus on and grasp math concepts. The result? A more accurate assessment of their math skills. http://ies.ed.gov/ncee/edlabs/projects/project.asp?ProjectID=92

Bringing literacy strategies into content instruction.
This newly released document from the Center on Instruction provides research-based guidance on academic literacy instruction in the content areas, specifically focusing on the effective use of text in content areas.

Eight WWC reports focus on multisensory programs for students with LD.
The What Works Clearinghouse has released eight new Intervention Reports that review the research on Orton-Gillingham-based programs for students with learning disabilities.

Preparation for postsecondary life for students with disabilities.
This brief policy analysis identifies collaborative strategies that states have implemented to address the needs of students with disabilities whose IEP transition services specify postsecondary career and technical education, vocational rehabilitation, and/or immediate employment upon departure from secondary school.

Professional development in transition planning.
To help states and local school districts with professional development efforts in the area of secondary transition, NSTTAC (National Secondary Transition Techical Assistance Center) has created presenter guides on (a) Indicator 13, (b) Self-Determination, and (c) Transition Assessment. These guides include ready-made power points, scripted notes, and all necessary materials needed to complete the activities included in the presentation. Each topic includes a 3-hour presentation and a 1-hour presentation.

More on transition: Follow-up materials from Secondary Transition State Planning Institute.
The IDEA Partnership at NASDSE, the National Dropout Prevention Center for Students with Disabilities, the National Post-School Outcomes Center, and the National Secondary Transition Technical Assistance Center have made the presentation materials and recordings of sessions available at:

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Now posted! Part C data collection forms for 2010-11.
At the link below, see “new” on the left side.

PowerStats, an easy-to-use analysis tool for PSE data.
PowerStats gives you access to nine NCES postsecondary education datasets and the thousands of variables they contain. Create tables and regressions now with a visually intuitive drag and drop interface, and receive results in a range of formats, including Excel and PDF.

How does OSEP evaluate a request from a state to reduce MOE?
The U.S. Dept. of Education has released a statement detailing its procedures in considering state requests to reduce financial support to local districts due to economic hardship.

Update on IEPs and evaluation from the U.S. Department of Education.
The U.S. Department of Educationhas issued a revised Q&A document to provide states, SEAs, LEAs, parents, and other stakeholders with information regarding the IDEA requirements relating to IEPs, evaluations, and reevaluations.

Standards-based IEPs: Implementation update.
This brief policy analysis updates the May 2006 Project Forum document based on staff interviews in 18 states about their use of standards-based individualized education programs (IEPs).

Resource guide to developing a Quality Rating and Improvement System (QRIS).
Many states have implemented a statewide QRIS to assess, improve, and communicate the level of quality in early childhood care and education programs. The National Child Care Information and Technical Assistance Center recently launched an online QRIS Resource Guide to help states and communities better understand key issues and decision points during the planning and implementation of such a system. It contains an explanation and history of QRIS, descriptions of the key components of a QRIS, and state-specific resources.

Recruiting, developing, and retaining highly qualified special education teachers.
This six-series podcast provides information about how this challenge can be addressed through effective partnerships among SEAs, LEAs, and institutions of higher education as well as strong induction and mentoring programs. Find all at the National Center to Improve Policy and Practice in Special Education Professional Development.

Does the path to teaching affect teacher effectiveness?
There are currently more than 125 alternative teacher certification programs throughout the USA. The American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education prepared this summary of research that examines the features and effectiveness of alternative routes to certification.

Results of the National Indian Education Study.
The National Indian Education Study has revealed little academic progress and widely varying cultural and school experiences for American Indian and Alaska Native (AI/AN) students in grades 4 and 8.
The study includes results for 12 states with relatively large populations of AI/AN students, in addition to the national results. The report also shows results for schools administered by the Bureau of Indian Education (BIE).

NCEE releases report evaluating charter school impacts.
Adding to the growing debate and evidence base on the effects of charter schools, this evaluation was conducted in 36 charter middle schools in 15 states. The study is the first large-scale randomized trial of the effectiveness of charter schools in varied types of communities and states.

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SPECIAL FOCUS:  Severe and/or Multiple Disabilities

Severe and multiple disabilities can be very challenging to individuals, families, educators, and service providers alike. The term itself—severe/multiple disabilities—is actually an umbrella term for a wide range of disabilities that have certain characteristics in common, as the resources below explain. We hope these will help you address the needs of those who have severe or multiple disabilities.


TASH is an international association of people with disabilities, their family members, other advocates, and professionals fighting for a society in which inclusion of all people in all aspects of society is the norm. Topics on their site include positive behavior support, inclusive education, communication, and community living.

National Center on Severe and Sensory Disabilities.
NCSSD is a resource center for information, training, and technical assistance for families and educators of children who are deaf and hard-of-hearing, visually impaired, or who have severe disabilities.

Teach SSD | Teaching Students with Severe and Sensory Disabilities.
Sponsored by the National Center on Severe and Sensory Disabilities (NCSSD).

Defining and Describing Severe and/or Multiple Disabilities

What are severe and multiple disabilities?

Intro to multiple disabilities.

Issues in severe disabilities

On multiple disabilities, when one disability is visual impairment.
Family Connect offers info and guidance to parents of children with visual impairments. This section of their site focuses on resources for parents whose children also have another disability.

More on multiple disabilities, when one disability is visual impairment.
Perkins Scout is a searchable database of carefully evaluated online resources related to blindness and visual impairment. This page of resources focuses on educating visually impaired or blind students who have another disabilities as well.

Educating Students with Severe and/or Multiple Disabilities

Education of individuals with severe and multiple disabilities.

Serving students with significant disabilities.
A wealth of guidance from the Louisiana Department of Education.

Evidence-based practices for students with severe disabilities.
A great Powerpoint presentation by Dr. Diane Browder, at UNC Charlotte.

Severe and  multiple disabilities in and out of the classroom.

Low-incidence disabilities: Severe/multiple disabilities, deaf-blindness, and traumatic brain injury.
This is chapter 12 of Pearson’s Exceptional Children: An Introduction to Special Education (8th ed.).

Teaching learners with multiple special needs.
Visit this website, whose tagline reads “Resources and ideas for teachers of learners with severe, profound, intensive, significant, complex or multiple special needs.”

Resources to address the needs of  students with severe/multiple disabilities.

Communication strategies for students with severe multiple disabilities.

Severe and multiple disabilities-Focusing on inclusion.

Activity ideas for students with severe/profound/multiple disabilities.

Lecture # 106: Severe and multiple disabilities.

Serving students with severe and multiple disabilities: A guide to strategies for successful learning.
Designed for educators, this resource provides guidance and practical instructional tools to enhance services for hard-to-serve students with severe and multiple disabilities. Cost: $64.95.

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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 nichcy@aed.org. We’re here to help you help children with disabilities.

NOTICE: NICHCY is going away, but its resources are not. Find hundreds of legacy NICHCY publications, as well as our training curriculum on IDEA 2004, in the Center for Parent Information and Resources' Library at http://www.parentcenterhub.org/resources. This website will remain available until September 30, 2014. After that date, web visitors will be automatically redirected to http://www.parentcenterhub.org.