December 7, 2004

In this Issue:

1. John H. Hager Assumes Duties as Assistant Secretary for Special Education and Rehabilitative Services

Source: Dept. of Education Press Release - December 6, 2004

John H. Hager, a former lieutenant governor of Virginia, has been sworn in as assistant secretary for the U.S. Education Department's Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services (OSERS). To read the full press release go to

2. New indicator on Regular Bedtime and Mealtime

Source: Child Trends DataBank - November 29, 2004

Young children in low income families are much less likely to have both a regular bedtime and a regular mealtime than are those from more affluent families, putting them at a potential disadvantage in terms of their development and early school performance. To view this new indicator, go to

3. Brains of People with Autism Recall Letters of the Alphabet In Brain Areas Dealing With Shapes

Source: NIH News - November 29, 2004

In contrast to people who do not have autism, people with autism remember letters of the alphabet in a part of the brain that ordinarily processes shapes, according to a study from a collaborative program of the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development of the National Institutes of Health.

The study was conducted by researchers in the NICHD Collaborative Program of Excellence in Autism (CPEA) at the University of Pittsburgh and Carnegie Mellon University. It supports a theory by CPEA scientists that autism results from a failure of the various parts of the brain to work together. In autism, the theory holds, these distinct brain areas tend to work independently of each other. The theory accounts for observations that while many people with autism excel at tasks involving details, they have difficulty with more complex information. To read the full press release go to

4. Terrific Transitions: Supporting Childrens' Transition to Kindergarten

Source: SERVE - December 3, 2004

The SERVE Regional Educational Laboratory and the National Head Start Association have recently developed a new Web site,, to provide a wide variety of transition information and resources for families, preschool and kindergarten teachers and administrators, Head Start staff, and community partnerships to use as they address children's transitions into kindergarten. To visit the site go to