As to what kind of future the kids can have, Long Jianyou, the president of Anhua School, says, "In the best scenario, graduates from Anhua' s vocational high school can find employment."
Anhua caters for children from pre-school through to high-school ages.
This year, 12 of the graduates have already found jobs in reputable hotels, doing fairly menial jobs such as changing bed sheets. "They could earn as much as 1,700 yuan a month," says Long.
"The employers offering jobs to our kids are all China-based foreign companies," says Long.
"There is not a single domestic company doing this. They might employ physically disabled persons, but never those mentally challenged," Long says, blaming Chinese people's poor understanding of autism for this.
Monday, May 31, 2010
Sunday, May 30, 2010
The District's top special education official apologized to a roomful of anxious parents Wednesday night for mishandling an attempt to remove their children from private schools where they had been placed at public expense because the city was unable to meet their needs.
Richard Nyankori, deputy chancellor for special education, acknowledged serious problems with the initiative known as the "reintegration plan," which he undertook because he says the city now has the capacity to serve more students with disabilities in public and public charter schools or through some other form of support.
But many parents were angered and alarmed by what they described as the ad hoc, uncommunicative execution of the plan, saying they were informed without any previous consultation that their children would be moved at the end of the current school year. They said placement specialists hired by the District had notified them of the impending moves, in some cases just weeks after their individual education plans -- the documents specifying the special support their children would receive -- were reviewed.
There are a lot of shocking statistics coming out of School Chancellor Joel Klein’s mouth recently – including news of a $750 million deficit and 4,400 teacher layoffs. But one other startling fact almost got lost this week.
“For this school year, the current one, our schools enrolled 14,000 more students than had been projected and about half of them require special education services,” Klein said.
Officials still don't know for sure why there are so many more special education students. Is it better diagnosis? Less of a stigma? Or is special ed being promoted by school officials who see it as a source of federal aid?
“We really don't want to speculate,” said Laura Rodriguez of the Department of Education. “Part of what we do is analyze our data, get better at it, and have more consistent numbers, but we do understand that there is a rise in the numbers.”
But advocates say DOE should at least know more about these children, since fewer than 25 percent of special education students graduated last year.
Saturday, May 29, 2010
Parents who alleged that their autistic children had been tied to chairs with bungee cords and duct tape in a Scranton-area schoolroom have agreed to settle a federal civil-rights suit for $5 million.The Age reports on a case in Australia:
Plaintiffs' attorneys said the settlement reached Thursday appeared to be the largest ever in Pennsylvania involving the abuse of children in a special-education classroom.
A report issued last year by the U.S. Government Accountability Office said such cases were on the rise nationally. A bill in Congress would set standards for when and how children could be restrained in schools for their own safety or the safety of others.
The allegations in the Scranton-area case went beyond restraint.
The parents of seven children at the Clarks Summit Elementary School in the Abington Heights School District contended that teacher Susan Comerford Wzorek slapped children, pulled them by the hair, and deliberately stepped on the insoles of their feet.
In one instance, an attorney said Friday, the teacher pulled a child across the room by a cast on his broken arm.
"These children were nonverbal, so they were not in a position to go home and tell their parents what was happening," said James J. Conaboy, a Scranton lawyer for several of the plaintiffs.
POLICE handcuffed a 10-year-old autistic boy at a Geelong primary school after a breakdown in which he threw a compass that speared a classmate's leg.
The incident has sparked outrage from disability advocates, who say mainstream schools are struggling to cope with students with autism-spectrum disorders (ASD).
It comes as several parents are suing the state government under discrimination law and considering a class action over failure to provide adequate ASD support at school.
Friday, May 28, 2010
To hear Wakefield's defenders tell it, this noble scientist's untiring quest to understand the causes of autism has been quashed by the unholy combination of "Big Pharma" and pliant governments. And it's true, large pharmaceutical companies vigorously defend themselves against disparaging claims of this nature, even when those claims have validity. And the U.S. government has strenuously avoided releasing information about lawsuits it's been involved in over vaccines.
But another culprit here is the press, always eager to shed light - and inadvertently far too prone to sow confusion - by pouncing on each new medical story. Stories that prominent journals like The Lancet dole out in press releases to the mainstream media find their way into the conventional wisdom, often without the qualified context that's taken for granted in the scientific community. Propagated on the Internet, where even the standards of the mainstream media are not necessarily operative, the stories often take on lives of their own. When a story turns out to be wrong, no matter what is done to debunk it, it may still live on, often as a conspiracy theory.
Read more: http://www.sacbee.com/2010/05/28/2783721/fear-of-immunization-a-symptom.html#ixzz0pGC3S3kq
Thursday, May 27, 2010
In a scene from NBC's "Parenthood," two parents are attempting to get their 8-year-old son ready for school. The child insists on wearing a pirate costume to class, again. His father asks him to take it off so he won't get teased. His mother says it's OK, mainly so she can get him out the door on time.
It could be a scene from any prime-time comedy. But its context in "Parenthood" is unusual.
The 8-year-old boy, the son of main characters Adam and Kristina Braverman, has been diagnosed with Asperger's syndrome, an autism spectrum disorder.
Hollywood has been portraying autism spectrum disorders for some time. In its first season (1974-1975), Police Woman occasionally showed the autistic sister of the title character. The star of the series, Angie Dickinson, had a daughter with Asperger's Syndrome. The daughter, Nikki Bacharach, committed suicide in 2007.
Wednesday, May 26, 2010
At the rally, held in conjunction with a conference hosted by the organizations Generation Rescue and Autism One, Wakefield said national vaccine policies had failed children and their families and it was time for "science and medicine to stand up for itself."
"In the end, it's about choice," he told a small, cheering crowd. "Medicine has to choose — does it serve the patients or the pharmaceutical industry?"
Wakefield on Monday was barred from practicing medicine in his native Britain, following a ruling from the country's General Medical Council that he had "repeatedly breached fundamental principles of research medicine." The journal Lancet retracted his paper linking autism to the measles, mumps and rubella vaccine earlier this year.
But the gastroenterologist still enjoys strong support from many parents of children with autism who believe vaccines cause the disorder. Until recently, he was executive director of an Austin, Texas, clinic that treated children with developmental disorders with unproven alternative therapies.
Tuesday, May 25, 2010
In a study presented recently at the International Meeting for Autism Research, experts analyzed about 160 of the most visited autism sites to determine how often they met measures of quality and accountability, including whether or not the site was selling something; if citations about research supposedly showing the efficacy of a treatment included author identification and references; if the information was current; and if the site asked visitors for personal information (a red flag).
Most sites did not meet all of the criteria for quality, said lead study author Brian Reichow, a post-doctoral associate at Yale University Child Study Center. And about 17 percent of the sites offered or sold treatments that had little or no scientific support.
"The Internet can provide parents with a lot of useful and helpful information, but there is a lot of misinformation online as well," Reichow said. "When using it to gain online health information, parents need to be cautious."
The desire to help their children and the lack of mainstream medical treatments for autism drives parents to seek alternatives, according to Dr. Paul Law, director of Kennedy Krieger Institute's Interactive Autism Network.
"You don't see lots of ideas for how to treat ear infections, because the treatment for that is well established," Law said. In contrast, "there are very few autism-based treatments that the field agrees on, so we don't have complete answers for those who are suffering from autism," he said. "That naturally triggers families to seek answers."
Monday, May 24, 2010
The doctor who first suggested a link between MMR vaccinations and autism has been struck off the medical register.
The General Medical Council found Dr Andrew Wakefield guilty of serious professional misconduct over the way he carried out his controversial research.
It follows a GMC ruling earlier this year that he had acted unethically.
Dr Andrew Wakefield's 1998 Lancet study caused vaccination rates to plummet, resulting in a rise in measles - but the findings were later discredited.
The GMC ruled in January he had acted "dishonestly and irresponsibly" in conducting his research, but under its procedures the sanctions are made at a later date.
The case did not investigate whether Dr Wakefield's findings were right or wrong, instead it focused on the methods of research.
Sunday, May 23, 2010
When a child dies of brain disease at Children's Hospital of Orange County, Philip H. Schwartz meets with the parents, explains his research and asks them to donate their child's brain to his quest for a cure.
"These are not easy conversations to have," he said. "There are expectations by parents that if they allow us to do that to their child, it will serve a useful purpose."
But for three years, the cells derived from many of those children's brains have been suspended in limbo, frozen in Thermos bottles. The nonprofit Southern California hospital has shut down the research, intimidated by a patent claim from the Palo Alto biotech company StemCells. The company's co-founder is esteemed Stanford stem cell scientist Dr. Irving Weissman, one of the world's most passionate advocates for giving scientists access to a field entangled by politics, ethics — and now money.
"You can create the battle in a culture dish," said Schwartz, saying it could also benefit research into diseases like Alzheimer's and Parkinson's. "Autism — we don't even have a blood test. We don't understand what it is. In metabolic diseases that affect the brain, what is the sequence of events? What kills them?
"These cells can be used to help us get an idea."
Saturday, May 22, 2010
PARENTS of autistic children are suing the state government for failing to provide learning assistance at mainstream schools.
Students with autism spectrum disorders win government funding for a classroom assistant if they have a speech delay. Children who speak capably, but without social or emotional understanding, are generally refused funding and decipher the world unaided.
Disability discrimination advocates have told The Sunday Age at least seven parents have had their complaints against the state government over autism funding referred to the Federal Court.They are suing under discrimination law, arguing that the withholding of funds means their children are not getting the necessary support in the class.
Friday, May 21, 2010
Measles is making a rapid comeback in African, Asian and even some European countries despite being easily avoided through vaccination, the World Health Organizations said Friday as countries pledged to sharply cut infections and deaths worldwide by 2015.
Since 2008, funding cuts for vaccination campaigns have allowed measles to spread again where previously it was close to being eradicated, the global body said.
"Being one of the most contagious diseases, measles is making a rapid comeback," said Dr. Peter Strebel, who leads WHO's work on measles.
Measles deaths among young children fell to 118,000 in 2008, compared with 1.1 million in 2000, according to WHO.
But the number of cases has surged over the past year, with large outbreaks reported in 30 African countries — from Mauritania to Zambia and Angola to Ethiopia — and Indonesia, Thailand, Vietnam and Bulgaria.
Even Britain experienced a worsening measles outbreak.
The disease's resurgence in Britain follows a sharp drop in immunization rates in the late 1990s sparked by the publication of a flawed paper linking autism to the combined measles, mumps and rubella vaccine.
Britain has reported 1,000 cases in each of the last two years — more than 10 times the figure a decade ago.
Thursday, May 20, 2010
Wednesday, May 19, 2010
''There really weren't any significant differences in terms of family structure when you consider children with autism and those without," says study researcher Brian Freedman, PhD, clinical director of the Center for Autism and Related Disorders at the Kennedy Krieger Institute in Baltimore.
''In fact what we found is that children with autism remained with both biological or adoptive parents 64% of the time, compared with children in families without autism, who remained [with both biological or adoptive parents] 65% of the time," Freedman tells WebMD.
''That debunks the myth of an 80% divorce rate," Freedman says. An 80% rate is roughly double the U.S. divorce rate for first marriages.
Freedman is due to present his findings Friday at the International Meeting for Autism Research in Philadelphia.
Tuesday, May 18, 2010
The Washington Post reports:
The wave of aging "baby boomers" needing public health services in Northern Virginia -- once thought to be the greatest healthcare and fiscal threat facing local governments in the coming decades -- will be far outnumbered by the skyrocketing percentage of young adults with autism diagnoses, Fairfax County human services officials said Tuesday.
According to statistics compiled by the Fairfax County Public Schools, 1 in 83 enrolled students are now diagnosed with some form of autism, an 846 percent growth since 1997.
Pat Harrison, a deputy county executive in Fairfax overseeing human services programs, said the county's 65-and-older population will reach 138,000 by 2020, but that the population of young adults with autism is growing at a far faster rate.
Monday, May 17, 2010
Responding to an explosion in the number of autism cases in the past 20 years, California is requiring thousands of veteran special-education teachers to return to school to learn about the developmental disorder. For many, it will be their first training on the challenging behaviors that often accompany autism.
Autism spectrum disorder, which includes mild to the most severe cases, "is not like any other disorder," said Ruth Prystash, autism specialist for the Riverside County Office of Education. "ASD individuals are completely unique, so the training given to most special educators is not relevant or applicable much of the time."
Sunday, May 16, 2010
A mumps outbreak on the East Coast — the largest in the United States in four years — may be spreading to Los Angeles County.
Nine cases of mumps have been reported so far this year, two more than were seen in all of 2009, according to county health officer Jonathan Fielding.
There is also a rise in whooping cough cases, which killed two infants in L.A. County this year, and an increase in measles cases to four so far in 2010, up from one last year.
"I'm always concerned when we see an increase in what has become a rare disease," said Fielding, who added that the infant deaths were particularly disturbing....Health officials have been concerned about a drop in childhood vaccinations based on allegations, since discredited, that vaccines cause autism. The Times in 2009 reported that a rising number of California parents were choosing to send their children to kindergarten without routine vaccinations, putting hundreds of elementary schools in the state at risk for outbreaks of childhood diseases eradicated in the U.S. years ago.
Saturday, May 15, 2010
Friday, May 14, 2010
The couple were living with their older daughters, Iris and Laura, in a Chicago suburb when Christopher was born. Both girls were interactive, affectionate babies, but Christopher paid little attention to his mother, his family or his surroundings. As a toddler he spent most of his time lining up his favorite toys in order or spinning himself in circles — over and over again. When the Xu family went to an air show, his mother pointed to the planes roaring overhead, saying, “Christopher, look at that! Look up!” but the little boy just spun around and around, oblivious to the noise or the world surrounding him.
Now Christopher is 11, and he will soon graduate from the fifth grade at Madison’s John Muir Elementary to head off to middle school. Thanks to the love and persistence of his family, powerful early training, insightful teachers and accepting classmates, his story has changed dramatically, and his remarkable abilities are increasingly apparent.
He is among Wisconsin’s most gifted math students, recently earning top state honors among 1,477 students in the American Mathematics Competition for grades 8 and under. In another math competition, he placed third against high school students. He is his school’s chess champion, and his recreational reading includes such books as “Freakanomics” and “The Mathematical Universe.” He is an excellent musician with perfect pitch who’s composing his own work with the help of a UW music school doctoral candidate. And he’s a top city speller.
The first of the vaccine court autism cases has been denied by the United States Court of Appeals, Federal Circuit. The Vaccine court (or, more accurately, the U.S. Court of Federal Claims) grouped the autism claims into an “Omnibus”, something like a class action case, where evidence to prove vaccines cause autism was presented in a few “test cases”, rather than hearing all the cases individually. The Omnibus Autism Proceeding heard six test cases, three on the theory that the MMR vaccine causes autism and three on the theory that thimerosal (a mercury containing perservative) causes autism.
The text of the decision is here. Key excerpts:
Based on all the evidence of record, the special master concluded that the Hazlehursts’ causation theory depended on evidence that was discredited, unreliable, or inapposite. The special master therefore denied the petition for compensation. The Hazlehursts then appealed to the Court of Federal Claims, which affirmed the special master’s decision in a comprehensive opinion. The Hazlehursts appealed that decision to this court.
Compensation under the Vaccine Act is limited to those individuals whose injuries or deaths can be linked causally, either by a Table Injury presumption or by a preponderance of “causation-in-fact” evidence, to a listed vaccine. The special master concluded that the Hazlehursts’ evidence failed to demonstrate the necessary causal link, and the petitioners have not identified any reversible error in the special master’s decision reaching that conclusion.
Thursday, May 13, 2010
Wednesday, May 12, 2010
Missouri is poised to become the 20th state to require insurers to cover treatment for autism under a bill the Legislature passed and sent to Gov. Jay Nixon on Wednesday.
The measure, a compromise between activists and insurers, would require state-regulated insurance companies to cover up to $40,000 a year in therapies for children with autism, up to age 18. The cap would be adjusted for inflation every three years.
"Honestly, we're thrilled with the bill," said Lorri Unumb, senior policy adviser and counsel for Autism Speaks, a national advocacy group. She called the coverage "as expansive as a state bill can be."
But advocates said their job is not done.
The bill covers only state-regulated insurance plans, which make up about 40 percent of the insurance market. Larger companies' plans often are self-funded, which puts them under federal regulation and exempt from the state mandate.
A Rochester lawmaker's three-year quest to pass a bill requiring insurance companies to cover treatment for children with autism has hit a major roadblock.
A House-Senate conference committee recently stripped Rep. Kim Norton's language out of a larger Health and Human Services bill. The Rochester Democrat had fought hard to got the insurance mandate into the House version of the bill, but Senate members refused to accept it.
"I am just really, really disappointed that the Senate is not willing to stand by families," Norton said.
Tuesday, May 11, 2010
The Athens Herald-Banner reports:
On days when kindergartner Wesley Childers gets too antsy, his teachers at Rutland Academy in Athens usher him into a special calming room and let him crawl through a canvas tube, swing in a hammock or sit on a bean-bag chair that vibrates and makes ocean-like sounds.
Sometimes, the 6-year-old and his teacher read together in the room, often called a "sensory room" or "calming room," used by some Georgia schools to head off fits or tantrums so students can return to class and focus on their work.
As more schools face the challenge of teaching a rising population of students with autism spectrum disorders, administrators are considering the use of sensory rooms as a tool to better manage students' behavior.
"There really isn't research to support these as things to help kids," said Kevin Ayres, an assistant professor of special education in the University of Georgia's College of Education. "They look like fun - kids have fun in them - but there's no research to say they improve educational outcomes."
Monday, May 10, 2010
The letter cut right to the point: Hawah Jackson’s lights would be turned off by the end of the month if she didn’t pay overdue utility bills totaling hundred of dollars. Jackson, a nurse at a rehabilitation hospital, said she didn’t have the money and worried how her 22-year-old severely disabled daughter, Binah, would cope if the power in their Dorchester home was shut off.“She can’t stay in the darkness,’’ Jackson said. Binah, who has autism and doesn’t speak, often calms herself by switching on all the lights in the middle of the night, her mother said.
Jackson told Binah’s pediatrician about the impending crisis. He called a lawyer and within days, Jackson had sent a partial payment to the electric company, which acknowledged that because of her daughter’s disability it couldn’t legally stop providing electricity.
Jackson’s predicament is evidence that good health — particularly for people with modest financial resources — can be as much about legal issues as medical ones.
Dr. Barry Zuckerman, head of Boston Medical Center’s pediatric department, says he realized that years ago. In 1993, he hired a lawyer for the department to deal with legal issues associated with patients’ medical problems. The medical-legal partnership that resulted from his idea is now a national phenomenon, used in nearly 200 hospitals and clinics, with 15 participating law firms.
Sunday, May 9, 2010
Elizabeth Emken remembers clearly the brief conversation she had last summer with Democratic Rep. Jerry McNerney outside the House Energy and Commerce Committee hearing room.
As a 13-year advocate for a national autism research organization, Emken was pushing for an amendment within the fiercely contested national health care reform bill that would ban insurance company discrimination against certain treatments for autistic children.
"I didn't feel there was an understanding of the issues before him," Emken said. "I had one of those moments where you think, 'I can do this. I should be the one making the decisions.' "
Emken resigned from Autism Speaks the day after her amendment passed and immediately applied the organizational and persuasive skills she learned in the halls of the Capitol to her new quest: running for McNerney's 11th Congressional District seat.
Saturday, May 8, 2010
Vermont lawmakers have approved a bill requiring health insurance companies to cover some therapies used to treat autism.
The bill applies to children with autism who are between 18 months and 6 years old. It calls for a study to determine whether a similar insurance mandate should apply for coverage of older children.
Autism is a complex biological condition that affects a person's ability to communicate and develop social relationships, and is often accompanied by behavioral challenges.
One mother of a 6-year-old with autism told lawmakers her family had been spending $30,000 a year on therapy for her son — a cost that would largely be covered by health insurance under the bill.
AP reported on Friday about another state:
Some health insurers would be required to cover as much as $45,000 annually of intensive therapy for autistic children under legislation passed yesterday by the Missouri Senate.
Some parents of autistic children, who have lobbied for several years for an insurance mandate, expressed hope that lawmakers finally have hit upon a version that can reach the governor’s desk by next Friday’s end of the legislative session.
The Senate’s 27-6 vote sends the bill back for final approval to the House, which passed a version with lower coverage caps earlier this year.
Friday, May 7, 2010
A proposed scholarship program for special needs students would easily withstand a federal constitutional challenge and could make Oklahoma a national leader, according to a respected legal expert and a former school superintendent whose child has multiple disabilities.
“Oklahoma would not be breaking new ground with this law but would still be one of the more advanced states when it comes to serving children with special needs,” said Richard “Dick” Komer, senior attorney at the Virginia-based Institute for Justice. “There are already five other states with similar scholarship programs that so clearly constitutional that no one has even tried to challenge them under the federal constitution.”
House Bill 3393, by state Rep. Jason Nelson, creates the Scholarships for Students with Disabilities Program. Under the bill, students with disabilities (such as those with Down's syndrome or autism) who have an individualized education program (IEP) would qualify for a scholarship to attend any public or private school that meets the accreditation requirements of the State Board of Education.The scholarship program would not require new spending during the downturn, but would merely redirect existing funds that are currently spent on the student.
Other states with similar laws include Florida, Georgia, Utah, Ohio and Arizona, Komer said. He noted the Florida program has been in place since 1999 and now serves approximately 20,000 students with special needs.
Thursday, May 6, 2010
- Jonathan Young "is partially paralyzed from a spinal cord injury."
- Carol Reynolds "has struggled with and overcome several mental health and substance abuse issues and has been in recovery for 26 years."
- Fernando Torres-Gil "is a polio survivor."
- Chester Alonzo Finn "is blind and is developmentally disabled and is committed to fighting for the civil rights of people with disabilities."
- Sara Gelser has a son with "FG Syndrome, a rare developmental disability."
- Dongwoo Pak's " left arm was paralyzed by the disease polio."
Wednesday, May 5, 2010
For the first time since he was elected in 1982, the majority of voters Tuesday did not back U.S. Rep. Dan Burton in the 5th Congressional District's Republican primary.
In fact, 70 percent voted against him. And it didn't matter.Burton still won, collecting 30 percent of the vote -- enough to edge out six contenders and all but ensure him a 15th term in Congress, representing a district that has never sent a Democrat to Capitol Hill.
In November, Burton will face Democrat Tim Crawford, who defeated Nasser Hanna.
Former state Rep. Luke Messer came the closest yet to knocking off Burton, collecting 28 percent of the vote.
He and the other five challengers who ran against Burton tried to tap into a national mood swing against Washington incumbents and growing concerns about the policies of President Barack Obama, and it almost worked.
Politico earlier reported: "Health and pharmaceutical executives are throwing thousands of dollars to the Republicans challenging Indiana Rep. Dan Burton in next week's House primary, deepening the longtime industry critic's woes as he battles to capture his party's nomination." But a search of FEC records reveals that such contributions accounted for only a small fraction of Messer's total.
Tuesday, May 4, 2010
Last Friday was my first meeting as a public member of the Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee (IACC). It was a particularly momentous meeting for the IACC because, for the first time, Kathleen Sebelius, Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), attended the meeting along with two colleagues from DHHS, Howard Koh, Assistant Secretary for Health, and Henry Claypool, Director, Office on Disability. In addition, two representatives from the White House, Michael Strautmanis, Chief of Staff to the Assistant to the President for Intergovernmental Relations and Public Engagement, and Kareem Dale, Special Assistant to the President for Disability Policy, attended the meeting. Moreover, Francis Collins, Director of the National Institutes of Health, addressed the IACC. It was an auspicious beginning to my experience on this committee, to be sure.
Last year, The Huffington Post reported:
In a new video on the White House health care rumor-rebutting website, Mike Strautmanis, Chief of Staff for Valerie Jarrett and father of a child with autism, addresses rumors that health insurance reform will deprive children with disabilities of care.
Monday, May 3, 2010
The CDC estimates that about one in 110 children in the U.S. have an autism spectrum disorder, the umbrella name given to a group of disorders that can range from the mild to the severe that often affect social and communication abilities.
One study shows that 21% of children with autism spectrum disorder are using complementary and alternative medical therapies. Of these, 17% were on special diets, most commonly a gluten-free or casein-fee diet.
Another study shows that more than one-quarter of children with autism spectrum disorder receive at least one psychotropic medication to treat some of their behavioral symptoms such as hyperactivity or irritability.
This paper systematically reviews research on the effects of gluten-free and/or casein-free (GFCF) diets in the treatment of ASD. Database, hand, and ancestry searches identified 15 articles for review. Each study was analyzed and summarized in terms of (a) participants, (b) specifics of the intervention, (c) dependent variables, (d) results, and (e) certainty of evidence. Critical analysis of each study’s methodological rigor and results reveal that the current corpus of research does not support the use of GFCF diets in the treatment of ASD. Given the lack of empirical support, and the adverse consequences often associated with GFCF diets (e.g., stigmatization, diversion of treatment resources, reduced bone cortical thickness), such diets should only be implemented in the event a child with ASD experiences acute behavioral changes, seemingly associated with changes in diet, and/or medical professionals confirm through testing the child has allergies or food intolerances to gluten and/or casein.
Sunday, May 2, 2010
It's been called "the dirty little secret" of special education.
New Jersey gives schools a virtual free pass to forcibly restrain unruly kids with disabilities or confine them in "timeout" rooms until they calm down.
School employees can use "bear hugs," "basket holds" and "takedowns," which sound more like wrestling moves than anything you'd expect to see in school.
Nationwide, the use of extreme restraints has led to the deaths of at least 20 schoolchildren, and three others in New Jersey medical facilities.
It's also OK for school employees to spray kids in the face with water or noxious chemicals, snap their wrists with rubber bands or put hot sauce on their tongues -- aversive techniques legally used on severely autistic kids who habitually injure themselves by banging their heads, biting their hands or other compulsive behaviors.
As the paper reports, New Jersey is one of 19 states without statewide rules on seclusion and restraint. Federal legislation is pending, but it would not go into effect for at least two years. Meanwhile...
Currently, New Jersey law allows school employees to use reasonable amounts of force to protect a child or others from being harmed, or to prevent school property from being damaged, but it doesn't specify what methods can and can't be used.
Policies vary among school districts and private schools, and they're rarely written down, special-education advocates say.
The Middlesex Regional Educational Services Commission uses "time-out" rooms in its schools when an aggresssive student can't be calmed down safely in class. There are two such rooms at the MRESC's Academy Learning Center in Monroe, which specializes in autism. The rooms are padded, well-lit and closely supervised, said school principal Erik R. Solberg. The rooms don't have doors but sometimes a staff member may have to use pads to block an aggressive student from exiting, he said.
Saturday, May 1, 2010
A Perry Meridian Middle School teacher and classroom aide accused of improperly restraining a special-education student have been charged with two felonies.
Catherine Littleton and instructional aide Jeffery Stokes in February allegedly used belts to strap a seventh-grade student to his chair and bound his hands with masking tape, said Perry Township Superintendent Thomas Little.
According to court documents filed this week in Marion Superior Court, Littleton and Stokes face three charges: criminal confinement, a Class C felony; neglect of a dependent, a Class D felony; and battery, a Class B misdemeanor.
Advocates for people with disabilities said Friday that the charges reflect an increase in reports of abuse of special-education students. Perry Township has dealt with two previous reports, and earlier this week, an Indianapolis woman claimed in a lawsuit that an Indianapolis Public Schools teacher's aide traumatized her developmentally disabled son in January by tying him to a chair with a belt.
Autismis the fastest-growing developmental disability in the nation, and Indiana ranks near the top. The state is fourth highest for the number of children living with the challenging and confusing disorder, 6News' Stacia Matthews reported. Across the country, the number of children diagnosed with autism has exploded upward by 600 percent in the last 20 years.
Nationwide, the disorder strikes 1 in 110 kids, while the rate is 1 in 100 in Indiana.
Doctorsattribute the higher number to a statewide system of highly trained doctors who can diagnose the disorder early on.
In 2008, Danish researchers found that the mortality rate among the autism population is twice as high as the general population. In 2001, a California research team found that elevated death rates were due to seizures, respiratory problems, and gastrointestinal bleeding. Deaths were also attributed in large part to suffocation and drowning. The National Autism Association is working to address the external factors in particular, most notably suffocation due to improper restraint procedures and drownings. Drownings, prolonged exposure, and other wandering-related factors remain among the top causes of death within the autism population.The fact that we are unable to provide data showing how many adults and children die each year due to wandering is why we are here today. We can assure you that deaths are increasing each year, but we have no research to back our claims. Without hard data, it has been difficult to gain the attention of lawmakers, government health agencies, media and law enforcement agencies.