Friday, January 6, 2012

CEC SmartBrief: Can Students with Autism Learn Social Skills Through Theater?

CEC News Brief

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January 5, 2012

Can students with autism learn social skills through theater?
A researcher at the University of Virginia is studying the use of theater education as an alternative to rote instruction for teaching social skills to students with autism. The approach is based on the assumption that students with autism know how to behave socially but cannot always act upon that knowledge at appropriate times, and allows students to practice their skills as part of role-playing. Harvard Education Letter
(January/February 2012)        
Students consider inclusion of those with disabilities at school events
Students at several schools in San Francisco recently participated in activities to commemorate national Inclusive Schools Week. In one school, students had to think about how to better include classmates with physical disabilities on the playground by participating in disability simulations. "They're definitely empathizing with what it could be like to have a challenge," said parent Catherine Dauer, whose son has cerebral palsy. "They're learning to be helpful and respectful, but they're realizing that if they had a challenge, they wouldn't want help all the time." The Examiner (San Francisco)
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  Educational Leadership 
Many schools lack full-time school nurses amid budget cuts
At least 50% of U.S. schools do not have a full-time nurse on staff, and that number is expected to grow amid ongoing budget cuts. "Children are coming to school with increasingly complex medical conditions that need to be managed on a daily basis. And when there is no school nurse available, those kids are not going to be well-managed in school, and so it puts them at risk for complications," said Linda Davis-Alldritt, president of the National Association of School Nurses.
How should teachers establish goals for the new year?
Teachers should establish goals -- not resolutions -- that they want to achieve in the new year, says Elena Aguilar, a district leadership coach in California. She offers two examples in which teachers establish clear goals, "take small steps" toward achieving them, and "focus on new actions" by devoting several evening hours to personal time and assigning less homework. Aguilar's blog
Other News
Experts weigh in on teacher-compensation issues The New York Times (tiered subscription model)

  Technology Trends 
What is the relationship between tech and personalized learning?
The success of student-centered personalized learning is largely dependent on technology, according to this article. The model incorporates aspects of both differentiated and individualized instruction, and requires students to have broad access to technology tools that allow them to connect with peers, learning communities, online tutors and many other resources, the writer finds. T.H.E. Journal
Here's what you can expect in 2012 from education technology
The use of mobile phones as well as other mobile devices, including those owned by students, is expected to be an increasing trend in education technology for 2012, says education writer Audrey Watters. Other growing trends include the use of data to improve teaching and learning, and instruction based on the principles of gaming. blog
  Policy News 
Mass. to consider oversight of special-education collaboratives
Lawmakers in Massachusetts are set to begin consideration of a bill that would increase oversight of special-education collaboratives funded by taxpayers. Some of the collaboratives, which allow school districts to share resources for students with disabilities, have been criticized for financial mismanagement as part of an investigation by state auditors. The Boston Globe (tiered subscription model)
Colo. businesses to provide safe haven for students who are bullied
School-board officials in Pueblo, Colo., have adopted a new anti-bullying program in which students who are being bullied can seek refuge at selected local businesses. The participating businesses will display a poster to identify them to students and will be trained in how to provide a safe haven. The Pueblo Chieftain (Colo.)
Where has No Child Left Behind succeeded and failed?
No Child Left Behind went into effect nearly 10 years ago, and among the most recent criticism is in a report released this week that described the federal education law as a "policy failure." Some observers say that the law's focus on accountability is important, even if there is too much reliance on standardized testing to measure achievement. Laura Hamilton, senior behavioral scientist at RAND Corp., says stakeholders should discuss how they might "expand the measures tested." U.S. News & World Report/High School Notes blog
  Eye on Exceptionalities 
Respite for caregivers lowers hospitalization rate of those with autism
The provision of respite services for caregivers of children and young adults with autism may reduce hospitalizations among those with the disorder, a study shows. "In many cases, hospitalization may result as much from the stress the child's behavior places on the family as from the behavior," University of Pennsylvania researcher David Mandell and his colleagues wrote. However, the study did not find a link between various therapies and lower incidences of hospitalization. Disability Scoop
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  CEC Spotlight 
Make the most of your convention experience with a workshop
It's not too late to register for one of CEC 2012 Convention & Expo's Preconvention Workshops, to be held on April 11. These workshops provide opportunities to explore important topics in depth and interact with experts. Register for any preconvention workshop and earn CEUs. Find out more.        
CEC 2012 early-bird deadline fast approaching
The CEC 2012 Convention & Expo -- the largest professional-development event dedicated to special and gifted education -- will be held April 11 to 14 in Denver. Attendees should register by Jan. 17 to take advantage of the early-bird discount and save up to $100 off onsite registration. Find out more and register now.        

The vitality of thought is in adventure. Ideas won't keep. Something must be done about them."
--Alfred North Whitehead, British mathematician and philosopher


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