May 2010 | News You Can Use

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May 2010



NICHCY is pleased to send you the latest issue of News You Can Use. It’s May, drawing closer to the end of the school year and the promise of summer.

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 as time goes by. Our Special Focus this month is in the nature of the Happy Mother’s Day wishes we’d like to send to every mom out there who’s reading this newsletter. You give your all to raise great kids, so we’d like to share a few resources with you that are just for you. We sure do hope you’ll have a spare moment to enjoy them!

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



We know that May and June are especially busy times for families and schools, and it can be a challenge to juggle so many things that need to be done. So we’d like to mention several resources here at NICHCY that may be relevant to the juggling act you’re up to this month…

Have an IEP meeting coming up?
Find a wealth of information on all aspects of the IEP, for families and educators alike.

Deciding children’s placement.
What types of placement are there? How is placement decided? What does the law require?

What are extended school year services (ESY)?
Go to the link below, scroll down the page a bit, and you’ll see ESY discussed.

Are you moving to a new location this summer?
If you’re the parent of a child with special needs, here’s a checklist to help you get ready.

If you are moving, check out what’s available in your new state.

Is there a dispute between school and family?
Five ways to resolve the dispute.

Planning summer fun.
Visit our Summer Camps page, at:

A reminder…

…to tap into the brand-new NICHCY en español–our Spanish website on disabilities in children, early intervention, and the special education process. Bring all your Spanish-speaking friends, too, beginning at the Spanish homepage:

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Aprenda inglés gratuitamente via Internet.
That’s Spanish for, literally, Learn English for Free on the Internet, aka the U.S.A. Learns site, which is designed as an on-line tool to help Spanish speakers learn English outside of the classroom. The site offers practical and contextualized activities in reading, writing, understanding, conversation, and skills necessary to success at work and in the community.

Finding quality child care.
The National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) offers this website for families and teachers, including tips, links, and general information about young children and early childhood education.

Children’s health insurance. offers a new toolkit developed to help organizations increase awareness and understanding of children’s health insurance programs and ultimately motivate eligible parents and guardians to apply for coverage on behalf of their uninsured children.

Summary of the new health reform legislation.
On March 23, 2010, President Obama signed into law the Patient Protection and Affordability Act. This summary reflects provisions of the new law and changes made by subsequent legislation, including provisions to expand coverage, control health care costs, and improve the health care delivery system.

And here’s CBS News’ summary of what’s in the bill.

Autism corner.
We bring your attention to several new resources on autism spectrum disorders.

For those involved with autism spectrum disorders.
“Autism Spectrum Disorders: Diagnosis, Prevalence, and Services for Children and Families” is a new Social Policy Report from the Society for Research in Child Development.

Sound advice on autism.
To answer parents’ questions about autism spectrum disorders, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) offers a collection of interviews with pediatricians, researchers, and parents in this new website.

The Gateway Project: Sign up to take part in this research.
The Gateway Project is recruiting participants (18 years or older with access to the Internet) to participate in a series of continuing online research studies on topics such as health care, well-being, and problem solving. Adults on and off the autism spectrum are encouraged to participate.

11th edition of Intellectual Disability: Definition, Classification, and Systems of Supports.
A classic publication of the American Association on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (AAIDD), the 11th edition contains the most current and authoritative information on intellectual disability, including best practice guidelines on diagnosing and classifying intellectual disability and developing a system of supports for people living with an intellectual disability. Cost to members: $ 76.50; Non-member cost: $ 90.00.

Understanding the new AAIDD definition manual.
Watch these 3 videos, to get the 411 on the 11th edition of the definition manual for intellectual disability.

Children’s Book Week, May 10-16.
Since 1919, Children’s Book Week has been celebrated nationally in schools, libraries, bookstores, clubs, private homes–any place where there are children and books. There are events all around the country.

Parents’ experiences with the IEP process.
This CADRE publication reviews literature and explores findings from 10 studies published after 2004 that focus on the experiences and perceptions of parents or other caregivers related to the IEP process.

Social networking site for young adults living with mental health concerns.
The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) has launched, a new online community where young adults living with mental health concerns can provide mutual support in navigating unique challenges and opportunities during the critical transition years from ages 18 to 25.

What transition planning resources are offered by parent centers?
Free webinar | Tuesday, May 25 3:00 – 4:30 p.m. EDT
The webinar is sponsored by the Exiting Community of Practice. To register, go to:

Social Security benefits and employment for young people with disabilities.
The 2010 edition of Going to Work is now available from the Institute for Community Inclusion.

More on employment: The What Can YOU Do? site.
Through its What Can YOU Do? website, the Campaign for Disability Employmentreinforces that people with disabilities want to work and that their talents and abilities positively impact businesses both financially and organizationally. The website offers a range of education and outreach tools, all designed to engage employers, people with disabilities, family and educators, and the general public.

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Early childhood education interventions for children with disabilities.
That’s the newest topic area from the What Works Clearinghouse. The first release on this topic is the WWC Intervention Report on Dialogic Reading, an interactive shared picture-book reading practice designed to enhance young children’s language and literacy skills. The WWC found Dialogic Reading to have potentially positive effects on communication and language competencies for children with disabilities. Read the report at:

Hands-on ways to build social emotional skills through everyday routines.
Visit the Book Nook at CSEFEL (Center on the Social and Emotional Foundations for Early Learning) and have a look at the guides offered there for teachers/caregivers and parents. Examples of suggested activities include using rhymes to talk about being friends, making emotion masks to help children identify and talk about different feelings, playing games around what to do with hands instead of hitting, and fun music and movement activities to express emotions.

Supporting children’s mental health and reducing challenging behaviors.
Visit the Center for Early Childhood Mental Health Consultation, whose target audiences include Head Start administrators, staff, and programs, as well as mental health consultants and families. The Center translates research in healthy mental development into materials tailored to the needs of each of the target audiences, and makes them available on this website.

Encourage children’s imaginations with CELL’s Act Natural.
This Practice Guide for Parents is designed to help parents and caregivers encourage their toddler’s imagination. Ideas are given on incorporating pretend play into story time, outdoor activities, and other daily routines.

Tips for using assistive technology with young children.
This issue of the Tots’n’Tech newsletter focuses on the ways to adapt materials using low-tech solutions so that children can participate in activities and routines that require use of arms and hands.

What’s your state’s early childhood profile?
Visit the National Center for Children in Poverty and find out. NCCP’s profiles highlight state policy choices that promote health, education, and strong families alongside other contextual data related to the well-being of young children.

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What you need to know about IEPs: Legal requirements.
This issue of the Special Ed Advocate (from Wrightslaw) gives an overview of the significant changes to IEPs in IDEA 2004.

Reading software: Finding the right program.
Since different reading software applications contain different features, it is important that students are matched with software that best meets their specific needs. LD Online has identified five web-based resources that contain detailed information on reading software programs and address specific needs of students with special needs in reading.

Principals talk about effective practices for ELLs.
Looking at key practices in schools with high populations of non-native speakers of English who’ve achieved exemplary academic success, Effective Practices for English Language Learners: Principals from Five States Speak details findings from 49 school principals on nine factors, including school and student characteristics, instructional supports and strategies for ELLs, and barriers to effective instruction for ELLs.

Starting up RTI: First steps for district leaders.
This Ask The Expert video from the National Center on RTI answers the question, “If I were a leader in a district and we decided we wanted to implement RTI district-wide, what would be the top three things you would encourage me to figure out first?”

Essential components of RTI.
A 2nd new resource from the National Center on RTI.

Which RTI product to buy?
With a growing array of RTI-related products on the market, schools need to make purchasing choices carefully. This article from Education Week takes a close look at the challenge.

Intellectual disability and special education.
How the AAIDD Definition System Applies to School Psychologists, Teachers, and Educational Teams is the subtitle of this video featuring Dr. Martha Snell, who discusses the definition system of intellectual disability described in the 11th edition of the classic manual by the American Association on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (AAIDD).

1-to-1 aides for students with autism: A practical and legal guide.
Pairing case summaries with practical advice, this 44-page publication from LRP is intended to help schools fulfill their legal obligations to provide aides plus communicate more effectively with parents–so that students are served better and legal disputes are minimized. Cost: Under $30.

Visit the LearningPort.
LearningPort is a new online library of general and special education professional development resources. 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.

Two new modules from the Iris Center.
IRIS STAR Legacy Modules are Web-based instructional materials that provide information about working with students with disabilities. Two sweet new ones are available:

Bookshare: Providing Accessible Materials for Students with Print Disabilities

Fidelity of Implementation: Selecting and Implementing Evidence-Based Practices and Programs

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Using the TANF emergency fund to create summer jobs for youth.
TANF stands for the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program. TANF agencies and workforce investment boards previously have worked together to use TANF funds to support summer jobs for low-income youth. However, the TANF Emergency Fund’s requirements are complicated, and may be particularly confusing to workforce agencies that are not already familiar with the underlying TANF rules. This 8-page brief from CLASP explains the rules and requirements, based on TANF regulations and guidance issued by the Administration for Children and Families.

Children’s mental health: What every policymaker should know.
This new paper from the National Center for Children in Poverty (NCCP) provides an overview of the current state of the mental health service delivery system in the U.S., the needs of children with mental health problems and their families, and effective policy strategies to enhance mental health for children, youth, and families.

Administrator’s guide to building and maintaining a comprehensive autism program.
Here’s a one-stop guide to building a reliable system for determining and delivering appropriate services and ultimately avoiding lawsuits. Written for district administrators by a district administrator, it’s a firsthand account of how one public school district created a high-quality, legally compliant program. Available from LRP, cost is under $40.

Meeting the educational needs of youth exposed to the Juvenile Justice system.
This Transition Toolkit brings together strategies, existing practices, and updated resources and documents on transition to enable administrators and service providers to deliver high-quality transition services for children and youth moving into, through, and out of education programs within the juvenile justice system.

Upcoming webinars on research funding opportunities.
The National Center for Special Education Research and the National Center for Education Research within the Institute of Education Sciences will host a series of webinars related to research funding opportunities between May and August. For more information regarding webinar topics, dates, and registration process, visit:

State complaints: Summary of how states apply the exceptional circumstances extension.
This brief publication from CADRE is provided to assist states in making decisions about when to extend timelines for state complaints.

The Nation’s Report Card: Mathematics 2009.
This report presents results of the 2009 National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) in mathematics at grades 4 and 8.

And now…the Nation’s Report Card: Reading 2009.
This report presents results of the 2009 National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) in reading at grades 4 and 8.

Updated multistate review of professional teaching standards.
This review of teaching standards in six states–California, Florida, Illinois, North Carolina, Ohio, and Texas–focuses on the structure, target audience, and selected content of each state’s standards.

School Improvement Grant (SIG) program resources.
Here are 2 resources on SIGs that may interest you.

The SIG recorded Webinar series.
A series of recorded webinars that explain the four intervention models related to the SIGs: Turnaround, Restart, Closure, and Transformation.

The SIG Transformation Toolkit.
As a companion piece to the SIG Handbook and recorded webinar “The Transformation Model”, the Center on Innovation and Improvement (CII) has developed a Transformation Toolkit. This resource was developed to provide states and districts with action items and resources for implementing the SIG transformation model, and to help districts and schools in their school transformation efforts. It is available in both Word and PDF format.

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SPECIAL FOCUS:  Thanks to All the Moms

Happy Mother’s Day! Having been kids once ourselves (all of us), and being parents ourselves now (some of us), we appreciate the incredible things that moms pull off every day. This is especially true for special needs moms.

Love Notes for Special Parents Gallery.

Mom Moments: Read, reflect, respond.

A Special-Needs Mother’s Day Wish List.

10 Great Traits of Parents of Children with Special Needs.

Special Needs Moms Like Me.

5 minutes for special needs.

5 minutes for YOU to read, relax and connect with other moms online.

Share with other moms, at Mothers of Special Needs Children.

Here’s another.
Formerly known as Autism in the Neighborhood, the Special Needs Moms congregate to share information with one another.

Wordless Wednesday: Mom Books.

Special-needs books written by moms.

Some Days You’re a Hero, Some Days a Monster Eats You for Lunch.

Nah. In our book, you’re always a hero. Thanks, Mom.

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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.

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 This website will remain available until September 30, 2014. After that date, web visitors will be automatically redirected to