June 2011 | News You Can Use

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June 2011



June is the time of year when most schools let out for the summer and students breathe a sigh of relief for completing another school year. For teachers and families, though, the start of summer is an opportunity to catch your breath…and catch up on all of the information that we’ve been too busy to absorb throughout the school year.

This month, we’re featuring information sources and learning opportunities to help us adults to “sharpen the saw” so that we can better support students with disabilities throughout the year. We hope that you’ll find time to engage in reflection as well as activities to stimulate your own learning and creativity.

We’ve also included a variety of new and updated resources for families, early childhood providers, K-12 educators, and state and district administrators to help support the work and learning that you do all year ’round.

As always, we welcome your feedback. Please feel free to contact us at nichcy@aed.org.

Our best to you,

Your friends
at the National Dissemination Center
for Children with Disabilities



Learning the Language of Websites
We’ve told you about some of the new features and sections of nichcy.org over the past two months. This month we’d like to “teach you to fish” by explaining some basic organizational features that structure many online web tools, as well as to explain how we’ve made these structures obvious on our site to help you navigate more easily:

Named after the (sadly, ineffective) trail left by Hansel and Gretel to find their way home in the beloved fairytale, these navigation aids mark your path through a website. On nichcy.org, you will find “breadcrumbs” in a gray bar near the top of the page you’re on. Each step in your path is marked by a forward slash. You can click on any of those parts and go to THAT page in the path, or just click HOME and go to the home page and start over.

Example: Say that you’ve traveled to the internal page called Contents of the IEP. The Breadcrumb trail will read: You are here: HomeChildren (3 to 22)All About the IEP / Contents of the IEP. You can click on any one of those items in the breadcrumb and jump to that page without further ado.

Many websites, blogs, and resource libraries organize content material using “tags,” which are basic topic labels. Our website displays tags on the upper right corner of each of the internal pages of our website (not on our Home page) to help users find what they’re looking for.

Example: Our Children (3 to 22) page displays these tags: “accommodations-classroom, child with a disability, effective practices, eligibility, evaluation, IDEA, IEP, Part B, placement, preschool, related services, special education, transition to adulthood.” You can click on any one of those tags, and you’ll get all the content on our site that is labeled the same way.

Related Information.
We’ve added this feature to the lower right hand corner of our internal pages. The resources listed there all relate topically to the page you’re on. This function is great for finding…well, related info! We hope you’ll like it as much as we do.

Example: If you’re on our Babies and Toddlers page, the Related Information on the right will identify resources relevant to babies and toddlers, such as “Importance of early intervention for infants and toddlers with disabilities and their families” or “Quality Indicators for Inclusive Childhood Programs.”

We hope these ‘inside tips’ will help you find more information on our website and others. The more you know . . . the more you know!

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Thought Leader Forum:  Cradle to College and Career

The IDEA Partnership is an affiliation of 55 national organizations that work across groups and within their own networks on common issues. As organizations worked together on persistent problems, it became clear that much worthy work was being done within groups; yet, all too often that work was not known or recognized outside the group. The Partners found it necessary to translate the concepts and terminology used by one group to another, even though many of the ideas were same.

Based on this experience, the Partnership began to cross-walk initiatives and ground specific issues in the larger reform agenda, P-16/P-20: Cradle to College and Career. Find out more about P-16/20 through the Partnership’s three briefs at:  http://tinyurl.com/3r538ze

This month, on June 7 and 8, the Partnership and its Partners will be hard at work to articulate how their unique initiatives support common goals. They plan to create a ‘plain English’ glossary of key terms that will help them connect and design a repository of the existing work on common issues, among other goals. We look forward to benefiting from this important cross-walking dialogue.

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The 411 on 504s.
Children with disabilities may be eligible for special education and related services under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended. Schools and parents develop what is known as a Section 504 plan to guide the student’s special education. This resource page at About Parenting Special Needs connects you with multiple articles and resources on Section 504.

Resources for the summer and the kids.
It’s almost time for summertime! Here are some tips and tools for passing those long summer days with energetic children.

Summer learning from Reading Rockets’ May 2011 newsletter.

Weekend rescue tips from About Parenting Special Needs.

Special-needs beach reads, also from About Parenting Special Needs.

Choosing the right treatment: What families need to know about evidence-based practice.
This guide from NAMI is designed to inform families about evidence-based practices(EBPs) in children’s mental health and to share information on an array of treatment and support options.

Tapping into the power of families.
Tapping into the Power of Families: How Families of Youth with Disabilities Can Assist in Job Search and Retention explores the role that families and other caring adults play in helping young people with disabilities plan for careers, search for jobs, build work skills, and be successful in employment. From the National Collaborative on Workforce and Disabilities.

Autism Now: New resource for you!
Check out the newly launched website of the National Autism Resource and Information Center. It offers resources and information for individuals with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) and other developmental disabilities, their families, and other targeted key stakeholders.

Deaf and Hard of Hearing Children: Federal Support for Developing Language and Literacy.
This report comes from the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO). The report looks at the extent of hearing loss among children, the settings in which children with hearing loss are educated, the factors that help these children acquire language and literacy skills, and the challenges to providing appropriate interventions for them.

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Training modules in early childhood.
Visit Project CONNECT, and you’ll find training modules in both English and Spanish specifically developed for early interventionists and early childhood educators.

Staff training and development in early childhood.
Visit NICHCY’s page of resources on the subject, which will connect you with available online modules and other training materials that early childhood educators and programs can use in professional development.

Part C eligibility considerations for infants and toddlers who are deaf or hard of hearing.
Thanks to NECTAC for alerting us to this new document from the National Center for Hearing Assessment and Management (NCHAM) and the IDEA Infant and Toddler Coordinators Association (ITCA). The document is intended to help those responsible for state Part C systems make evidence-based decisions as they develop or review eligibility criteria related to infants and toddlers who are deaf or hard of hearing. It also provides resource information to families of children who do not meet the eligibility criteria established by the state’s Part C program.

State profiles of Early Childhood Advisory Councils.
The National Governors Association, Center for Best Practices (NGA Center), in partnership with the Department of Health and Human Services, has developed state profiles of all the state councils receiving federals funds to develop coordinated systems of early childhood education and care. Each profile provides an overview of the state council’s administering agency, history, membership, activities, priorities for ARRA funds, and communication strategies.

Brain Hero | 3-minute video.
This new video (only 3 minutes long!) comes from the Center for the Developing Child at Harvard University. It depicts how actions taken by parents, teachers, policymakers, and others can impact child development and affect life outcomes for both the child and the surrounding community.

Videos en español.
For all who are Spanish speakers, who serve Spanish-speaking families, or who have Spanish-speaking staff who work with young children: You’re gonna love this! The Center for the Developing Child offers fascinating videos about child development. Three are now available in Spanish!

  • La Ciencia del Desarrollo Infantil Temprano | The Science of Early Childhood Development
  • El Impacto de la Adversidad Temprana en el Desarrollo de los Niños | The Impact of Adversity on Children’s Development
  • Los Pilares de la Salud Durante el Transcurso de la Vida | The Foundations of Lifelong Health

These videos in English:

These videos in Spanish:

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Rights of students with disabilities when educational institutions use technology.
The U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights (OCR) has issued guidance to the field through Dear Colleague Letters to elementary and secondary schools and institutions of higher education. Also issued is a Frequently Asked Questions document on the legal obligation to provide students with disabilities an equal opportunity to enjoy the benefits of technology. These guidances supplement a June 2010 letter that explained that technological devices must be accessible to students with disabilities, including students who are blind or have low vision, unless the benefits of the technology are provided equally through other means. Find all at: http://tinyurl.com/3cr4m64

Preparing general educators to improve outcomes for students with disabilities.
Today 57% of students with disabilities spend more than 80% of their day in general education classrooms, yet general education teachers consistently report that they do not have the skills they need to effectively instruct diverse learners, including students with disabilities. This 32-page report was prepared for American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education (AACTE) and the National Center on Learning Disabilities (NCLD), because they believe that “improving the skills of general education teachers is a lynchpin to improving outcomes for students with disabilities.”

Evidence-based practices in secondary transition.
NSTTAC, the National Secondary Transition Technical Assistance Center, has updated and reorganized its Practice Descriptions of evidence-based practices in secondary transition. There are now 64 evidence-based practices identified.

Considering special education in high school redesign.
In this era of school reform and redesign, educational leaders will appreciate the research reviewed in this new annotated bibliography from the National High School Center (NHSC) and the National Secondary Transition Technical Assistance Center. The robust list of special education and general education articles is organized around the NHSC’s Eight Elements of High School Improvement: A Mapping Framework to ensure a more comprehensive set of resources that address the key systemic elements of high school improvement.

Free professional learning resources: Your tax dollars at work.
All of the following are products of the OSEP-funded Technical Assistance & Dissemination network.

IRIS Resource Locator.
Modules, case studies, activities, info briefs, and podcasts on a variety of topics.

NIUSI-LeadScape’s Professional Learning Modules.
Find free, high-quality learning for individuals or groups on topics related to inclusive school practices. Each module includes all of the materials you need for nine hours of professional learning on a topic, including facilitator’s manuals, powerpoints, and handouts. Use them for your own learning or to plan your school’s professional development for next year!

Effective Staff Development.
From NICHCY, this page will connect you with evidence-based practice in staff development, the heavy-hitters in developing professional learning communities or a coaching and mentoring program, connections in your own state, and last but not least…. training resources on specific disability topics.

The Learning Port.
Across states, national organizations and technical assistance investments, an extensive amount of professional development material is available. This library provides local educators with easy access to an array of resources that can be used or customized to meet their needs. Brought to you by the IDEA Partnership.

National Center on Response to Intervention’s new website.
We love their “What’s New?” section, with videos, transcripts, and links to recent publications. And their archived webinars are great resources for improving practice.

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National Standards for Quality Online Programs.
This document is the third in a series of iNACOL’s online education standards and addresses what is needed for a quality online program, including course design and online teaching. It provides states, districts, and other organizations with a set of quality guidelines for online programleadership, instruction, content, support services and evaluation.

Participation and performance reporting for the Alternate Assessment Based on Modified Achievement Standards.
This document from the National Center on Educational Outcomes examines publicly reported participation and performance data for the alternate assessment based on modified achievement standards (AA-MAS). Analysis included all states publicly reporting AA-MAS data, regardless of whether they had received approval to use the results for Title I accountability calculations. Data were examined for school years 2006-07 through 2009-10.

NCES releases The Condition of Education 2011.
At the link below, you’ll find the full report as well as an “in brief” summary.

Building the components of an early childhood system.
Again, thanks to NECTAC for the heads-up about this resource. The Build Initiative has published a report entitled A Framework for State Leadership and Action in Building the Components of an Early Childhood System (2011), which contains practical examples of successfully applied policies within and across state early childhood systems. It is the culmination of two years of research and is meant to be a resource for systems builders and members of state advisory councils involved with the delivery of comprehensive services to young children and families.

Children’s mental health: What every policymaker should know.
This policy brief presents statistics about the extent of child and adolescent mental health challenges in the United States; the difficulties these children confront in school and in child welfare and juvenile justice systems; the barriers that can prevent access to services; and weaknesses in the service-delivery system. The brief recommends policy strategies to enhance mental health for children, adolescents, and families.

Class size: What research says and what it means for state policy.
In recent decades, at least 24 states have mandated or incentivized class-size reduction. This Executive Summary from the Brookings Institution examines “what the research says” about whether class-size reduction has a positive impact on student learning and, if it does, by how much, for whom, and under what circumstances.

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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.

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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.