CASE Weekly Update
Dec. 21, 2012

Happy holidays
Facebook For all of us, this holiday season has taken a different turn after the events at Sandy Hook just last Friday. Our hearts reach out to all those impacted there and beyond. If we are truly honest, we know that every teacher, student and family of students in our entire country have been effected. My niece is a high school teacher with 2 children in Kindergarten and second grade. On her Facebook page this past Monday she expressed the pain so well, "For three years I have sent my precious little girls off to school without a single thought of their safety. Never again ... I am just so thankful my district is out for the holidays and I am able to go and volunteer at their school for these next two days to love on as many of our little ones and support their teachers as much as I can." These comments from a teacher and mother 9 states away from the point of the tragedy. There have been many emails from various agencies and organizations reminding people of the existing resources on crisis responses. CASE will be working on making a list of these various websites to place on our website. There are articles included in this issue with various resources. We all need to be as prepared as possible but then recognize that even when prepared, even when doing all you can, bad things can still happen. Thank you all for all you do for so many — students, staff, parents and the community.

CASE joined many educational associations as well as some of the leading researchers in the area in signing a joint statement in regards to the recent shooting at Sandy Hook. Click here to view.


From the CASE office, our President Laurie VanderPloeg, our Executive Committee and Board of Directors, we wish for you a time of family, friends and fellowship ... A time to reflect, refresh and rejuvenate ... A time for thankfulness, talking over coffee or tea, and taking pictures ... but mostly we wish for you wonderful memories — both old ones and hopefully brand new ones, too!


CEC signs onto statement on Sandy Hook shooting: the priority is to keep our children safe
CEC Policy Insider
CEC shares the nation’s grief over the lives lost in a Connecticut elementary school. Our thoughts are with the families of everyone involved and our fellow educators. As we all try to cope with this tragedy, we would like to share an excellent tool created by our friends at the National Education Association designed for use during this type of tragedy, providing advice to educators about how to talk about these incidents with children and youth in an age-appropriate way. More

Thanks you for your advocacy on 12/12/12 to stop sequestration and save special education
CEC Policy Insider
Thanks to everyone who participated in our National Call-in Day to stop sequestration and save special education. More than 700 CEC messages were sent to Congress on 12/12/12 asking for a balanced budget plan. You asked Congress to keep vital resources such as education, housing, medical research and law enforcement, funded and available for students, teachers and families. As the fiscal cliff looms closer, your advocacy is a vital part of preventing these detrimental budget cuts. More

Speak out on behalf of special education and share your story with CEC
CEC Policy Insider
Every year, CEC publishes the Federal Outlook for Exceptional Children, providing an overview of federally-funded programs — IDEA and Javits grants — that impact the lives of children and youth with disabilities and/or gifts and talents. The outlook is distributed to members of Congress, federal agencies and other leaders in the education community with the hope that a better understanding of such programs will lead to increased federal funding for special/gifted education programs. More

Tackling special education teacher evaluation
Education Week
For several years now, teacher evaluation has dominated education-policy discussions in statehouses and otherwise. But for the most part, the country's 430,000 special education teachers have been left out of the discussion. The Council for Exceptional Children is trying to change that. In October, the advocacy group released a paper detailing its position on special education teacher evaluation. And recently, about 30 leaders from membership organizations, state and local education offices, and schools gathered in Arlington, Va., to discuss the CEC's recommendations. More

Public support for special education strong
Disability Scoop
As the fiscal cliff looms, most Americans believe that special education programs should be spared from federal budget cuts, a new poll suggests. In a survey asking over 1,000 adults from across the country about their views on education funding, some 57 percent said it's "very important" that Congress protect money for programs serving students with disabilities. That's a higher level of support than was expressed for any other education program including prekindergarten, college financial aid and programs helping school districts with large numbers of students living in poverty. More

The nation heads back to school with new worries about safety
The New York Times
In Boston, the public schools have asked the police to step up visits to elementary schools throughout the day. In Denver, psychologists and social workers were prepared to visit students. Schools in New York City were encouraged to review safety measures, which include posting security officers in lobbies and requiring identification from all visitors. And the Chicago school district urged principals to conduct lockdown drills, with reminders to stay low, keep quiet and turn off classroom lights. Parents, teachers and school administrators in Newtown, Conn., confront the most immediate and raw tasks of helping children respond to the horrifying killings of 20 children at Sandy Hook Elementary School. More

Unspeakable tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School
Words fail. Our hearts are broken. Only deeds matter after tragedy takes away our children and the adults who teach and care for them. Our thoughts and prayers are with the families of Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn. President Barack Obama spoke to the nation about this morning's heartbreaking events. More

How schools communicate with parents during a crisis
In the nightmare situation of the shooting in Newtown, Conn., how did parents communicate? How did the school inform parents about what was happening, if their children were safe and what they can do? Numerous elementary schools around the country have alert systems in place in case such a situation occurs.More

How schools can better address mental health in wake of Sandy Hook shooting
Fox News
Hindsight may be 20/20, but as we look back, it appears Sandy Hook Elementary School was as well-prepared as it could have been for such a horrific scenario. Part of the healing process in a tragedy like this is moving forward and implementing procedures that will prevent another awful situation from happening. There are changes to be made in schools throughout the country — and now is the time to make them. More

Newtown, Conn., shooting: Teachers and parents turn to school security
ABC News
Teachers and students across America are confronting the issue of safety and security in the classroom today after a weekend of grappling with the deadly massacre at a grade school in Newtown, Conn. "It's very important that we address their concerns [about safety]," teacher Lauren Marrocco of New Jersey said. "I think my students will have a lot of questions and, as adults, we don't have answers to those questions." More

Parents struggle to explain death of teachers, friends in school shooting
Every time the doorbell rings at Aidan Licata's home, the 6-year-old fears the gunman has returned. He worries the man in black fatigues and military-style vest who opened fire on his Sandy Hook Elementary School classroom — hitting his teacher and his fellow students — has found him. "He still hasn't internalized the fact this gunman, this bad guy, is gone," the boy's mother, Diane Licata, said. "He wants to know if there are more bad guys in the world, and I don't know how to answer that for him." For now, the Licatas have put a sign on the door asking people not to ring the bell. More

Special education students seeing benefits from baking program
The Shawnee Dispatch
Every Friday morning, the smell of peanut butter, pumpkin and maybe even a hint of mint baking in an oven wafts through the west wing of Shawnee Mission North in Kansas. But it's not cookies that special education students are baking in the kitchen with the help of their teachers. Earlier this year, Judi Albors and some of the other special education teachers had been trying to come up with a new approach to teaching their students, who have communication or behavioral disorders, meaningful work skills outside of the classroom setting. That's when they landed on what they thought was the perfect idea. More

Research reveals hidden anguish of schoolchildren with autism
Medical Xpress
Schoolchildren on the autistic spectrum experience worrying levels of mental health difficulties, according to a new study by research psychologists from The University of Manchester. The findings, published in the Journal of Research in Special Educational Needs, reveals the difficulties endured by many young people on the autistic spectrum, compared with their peers. More

New study says exercise good for kids with ADHD
Chicago Sun-Times
A few minutes of exercise a day can help children with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder do better at school, according to a small new study. The findings suggest that exercise could provide an alternative to drug treatment. While drugs have proven largely effective in treating children with ADHD, many parents and doctors are concerned about the medications' side effects and costs. The study included 20 children with ADHD and 20 children without the disorder, ages 8 to 10, who for 20 minutes either walked briskly on a treadmill or sat and read. More

NASA to mentor students with disabilities
Disability Scoop
A unique partnership kicking off early next year will allow students with disabilities a firsthand look at what it takes to work for NASA. The space agency will provide mentors for a handful of high school students who have autism, learning difficulties or multiple disabilities through an agreement with the District of Columbia Public Schools' transition program. The collaboration is designed to encourage careers in the areas of science, technology, engineering and math, NASA officials said. More

Mistaking OCD for ADHD has serious consequences
American Friends of Tel Aviv University via ScienceDaily
On the surface, obsessive compulsive disorder and attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder appear very similar, with impaired attention, memory or behavioral control. But, Professor Reuven Dar of Tel Aviv University's School of Psychological Sciences argues that these two neuropsychological disorders have very different roots — and there are enormous consequences if they are mistaken for each other. More