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Wednesday, July 18, 2018

The Lazare Incident

In The Politics of Autism, I discuss the civil rights of people with autism and other disabilities

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

The Graham Incident

In The Politics of Autism, I discuss interactions between police and autistic people.   Police officers need training to respond appropriately.  When they do not, things get out of hand 

Nichole Manna at The Fort Worth Star-Telegram:
If Graham police had proper training on how to approach people with autism and if all information given to dispatch had been relayed to officers, it’s likely that 19-year-old Michael Moore would have never been cuffed, wrestled to the ground and stunned twice by officers on June 26, according to experts.
That day, a neighbor in the 900 block of Texas Street called 911 to report that someone was throwing rocks into her yard and at her dogs. It wasn’t the first time he had done it, she said. She told dispatchers that Moore seemed to be “not all there.” She also asked dispatch to tell the officers to talk to her before they approached Moore. She said she had asked Moore not to throw rocks before, and just wanted officers to talk to him, reports say.
However, records show that dispatch didn’t tell police that the caller described Moore as “not all there” — which she meant as “mentally,” she wrote in an account to police.

Sunday, July 15, 2018

California Vax Law and Bogus Medical Exemptions

In The Politics of Autism, I look at the discredited notion that vaccines cause autism

Soumya Karlamangla at the Los Angeles Times:
California lawmakers took action after a measles outbreak that began in Disneyland in 2014 was linked to children whose parents had refused vaccines.

Despite parents’ fears, vaccines are largely safe, experts say. The most common side effects are soreness at the injection site or developing a fever or rash, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“Everything else people are worried about doesn’t happen, like autism or developmental delays,” said Dr. Paul Offit, an infectious diseases expert at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.

With the personal belief exemption banned in California, the only way to skip the required shots is by homeschooling kids or having a doctor state that a child can’t tolerate vaccines because of a health reason.

The law, known as SB 277, has largely been effective. The vaccination rate among kindergartners is up to 95%, from 93% before the law took effect in 2016.

But doctors say that preventing outbreaks requires high vaccination rates not just statewide, but also in each neighborhood or school. Otherwise, diseases can spread in pockets with low immunity.

But at 785 of the roughly 6,500 elementary schools in the state, 90% or fewer kindergartners had all of their required shots. Some of those students were planning to get their shots later in the school year and they hadn’t come due yet. But many had notes from their doctors saying they shouldn’t be vaccinated for the rest of their childhood.

Doctors say that at most, 3% of people could have a medical reason for not tolerating vaccines, such as a gelatin allergy or because they’re undergoing chemotherapy. But at 20 schools, more than a quarter of students had a medical exemption, according to state data.

“One can only conclude that children are getting bogus medical exemptions and the doctors are willing to give them,” Offit said. “It’s unconscionable — suddenly, 25% of children can’t get vaccines? Really? It doesn’t make any sense.”

Saturday, July 14, 2018

The Antivax Movement and the Dunning-Kruger Effect

In The Politics of Autism, I look at the discredited notion that vaccines cause autism

At Social Science and Medicine, Matthew Motta,Timothy Callaghan, and Steven Sylvester have article title:: "Knowing less but Presuming More: Dunning-Kruger Effects and the Endorsement of Anti-vaccine Policy Attitudes.
  • Low knowledge about autism is associated with thinking one knows more than experts.
  • “Overconfidence” is associated with anti-vaccine policy attitudes.
  • Overconfidence is also associated with support for non-experts’ role in policymaking.
Although the benefits of vaccines are widely recognized by medical experts, public opinion about vaccination policies is mixed. We analyze public opinion about vaccination policies to assess whether Dunning-Kruger effects can help to explain anti-vaccination policy attitudes.
People low in autism awareness – that is, the knowledge of basic facts and dismissal of misinformation about autism – should be the most likely to think that they are better informed than medical experts about the causes of autism (a Dunning-Kruger effect). This “overconfidence” should be associated with decreased support for mandatory vaccination policies and skepticism about the role that medical professionals play in the policymaking process.
In an original survey of U.S. adults (N = 1310), we modeled self-reported overconfidence as a function of responses to a knowledge test about the causes of autism, and the endorsement of misinformation about a link between vaccines and autism. We then modeled anti-vaccination policy support and attitudes toward the role that experts play in the policymaking process as a function of overconfidence and the autism awareness indicators while controlling for potential confounding factors.
More than a third of respondents in our sample thought that they knew as much or more than doctors (36%) and scientists (34%) about the causes of autism. Our analysis indicates that this overconfidence is highest among those with low levels of knowledge about the causes of autism and those with high levels of misinformation endorsement. Further, our results suggest that this overconfidence is associated with opposition to mandatory vaccination policy. Overconfidence is also associated with increased support for the role that non-experts (e.g., celebrities) play in the policymaking process.
Dunning-Kruger effects can help to explain public opposition to vaccination policies and should be carefully considered in future research on anti-vaccine policy attitudes.

Friday, July 13, 2018

Suing The Education Department Over IDEA

A press release from the Council of Parent Attorneys and Advocates (COPAA):
The Council of Parent Attorneys and Advocates (COPAA) filed a lawsuit today against the U.S. Department of Education (USDOE) for abdicating its responsibility to protect the civil rights of students. The suit alleges that the Department has taken actions that interfere with USDOE’s obligation under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) to ensure children with disabilities get the education services they need in the most appropriate setting without regard to their race.
COPAA filed the suit against the U.S. Department of Education, Secretary Betsy DeVos and Johnny W. Collett, Assistant Secretary for Special Education and Rehabilitation Services, to challenge the Department’s notice delaying the implementation of regulations on significant disproportionality, known as the Equity in IDEA regulations. The Department's actions are legally flawed and bad policy that stall much needed reform.

It is just the second time in its 20-year history that COPAA has sued a federal agency. The decision to delay the regulation is an assault on children and the Department’s action sends mixed messages to the states regarding implementation of a key tool for civil rights enforcement. “The delay harms children and we can't afford a delay. We have real stories of kindergartners suspended 60 times; older boys and girls pushed out and criminalized for behaviors that are related to their disability. The state is not doing what it should to properly identify and serve students. We need the federal government to implement the regulations now,” said Shenikwa Medlock, a parent and advocate COPAA member in Texas. COPAA’s Executive Director, Denise Marshall said “the regulations respond to the reality that, despite being a requirement under IDEA for almost 15 years, many school districts have not taken the steps to correctly identify whether students of color need special education, sometimes under-identifying, sometime over-identifying, but rarely just right.”

According to the complaint, the significant disproportionality provision was intended to serve as an early-warning system for possible problems, analogous to a “check engine” light. When a State identifies racially significant disproportionality in a school district’s identification, placement, or discipline of students with disabilities, the State must review the school district’s policies, practices, and procedures to ensure they comply with the IDEA; engage in an analysis that identifies the factors contributing to the significant disproportionality, i.e., a root–cause analysis; and spend a percentage of their IDEA funds on comprehensive coordinated intervention services. There is no requirement that a school district eliminate a significant disproportionality if the disproportionality is not a result of violations of the IDEA but instead reflects differences among different student populations in that community.

COPAA is represented in the lawsuit by the National Center for Youth Law (NCYL) and Sidley Austin LLP. According to Seth Galanter, Senior Director of Legal Advocacy at NCYL “It's well documented that students of color who are wrongly identified as needing special education are improperly placed in restrictive classrooms, lose access to challenging academics, and are subjected to unfair disciplinary measures.” Galanter says a delay in implementing the Equity in IDEA regulations will prevent COPAA from bringing these and other harms to the attention of USDOE and the public.###

Thursday, July 12, 2018

Darla Shine Spread Antivax Nonsense on Talk Radio

In The Politics of Autism, I look at the discredited notion that vaccines cause autism.  TwitterFacebook, and other social media platforms have helped spread this dangerous myth. So has talk radio.

Andrew Kaczynski, Nathan McDermott and Chris Massie at CNN report that Darla Shine had a radio show where she said that vaccines cause autism:
"When we come back, I want to ask you about this, what I believe is an obvious link to autism and mercury, the preservatives and the shots," Shine said on a May 2008 show. "But guys, we have a constitutional right to take care of her own family. This is ridiculous. You know what, instead of mandating the flu shot, the government should be worrying about creating jobs in America."

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Insurance in North Dakota

The Politics of Autism includes an extensive discussion of insurance.

Helmut Schmidt at The West Fargo Pioneer:
All insurance companies doing business in North Dakota will soon be required to provide coverage for autism spectrum disorders, the state insurance commissioner announced Wednesday, July 11.

A bulletin was issued Wednesday to insurers telling them that treatments for autism can’t be excluded from their policies, Commissioner Jon Godfread said in a news conference at the North Dakota Autism Center.

Coverage must be in place by Oct. 1 for policies “grandfathered in” under the Affordable Care Act, Godfread said. Coverage for policies purchased on the open market must be available by Jan. 1.
“Today’s a great day!” Godfread said, adding that insurance carriers “are being very cooperative.”North Dakota is the 48th state to require insurance coverage for autism spectrum disorders, said Lorri Unumb, vice president for state government affairs for the national group, Autism Speaks. Only Wyoming and Tennessee don’t require such coverage, she said.
From Autism Speaks:
The insurance bulletin also carries national precedence in clarifying that state-regulated insurance companies should be covering autism treatments under existing federal mental health parity law. Autism Speaks Vice President of State Government Affairs, Lorri Unumb, praised Insurance Commissioner Jon Godfread, noting that "laws are in place to prohibit the kinds of exclusions autism families routinely face; Commissioner Godfread had the guts to issue a bulletin and insist on compliance with the existing law."
 KFGO-AM reports:
In addition, Godfread notified insurance carriers in the Bulletin that they will no longer be allowed to exclude Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) therapy to treat children with autism on the basis that ABA therapy is experimental or investigative treatment.
“Working with our partners at the federal level and with health insurers operating in North Dakota, we can now say that ABA therapies are no longer experimental or investigational and are widely recognized as a leading treatment for children with autism. Therefore, North Dakota families should have access to ABA therapies through their insurance plan” Godfread said.
All grandfathered and transitional health insurance policies regulated by the Department, including the individual, small group, and large group insured markets, must follow the guidance set forth by the Bulletin beginning no later than Oct. 1, 2018. All non-grandfathered health insurance policies and self-funded Multiple Employer Welfare Arrangement health benefit plans regulated by the Department must follow the guidance of the Bulletin beginning no later than Jan. 1, 2019.
For more information or to read the Bulletin in its entirety, visit


Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Congressional Voting Scorecards

Scott Badesch at The Autism Society:
When the Autism Society is asked to take a position on a particular bill in Congress or action by the United States Government, we engage in a review process and assess how it matches with our policy positions, our strategic plan, and our mission and vision developed by our Board of Directors.
Our review process starts with the simple questions as to how the proposed policy might impact autistic individuals and families we represent. We then assess the impact of the planned or proposed action. We also know that we represent a diverse community that often reflects the differences in the politics of our nation. In spite of these challenges, we strive to ensure our actions match up with our mission and vision and are supported by data and evidence-based research.
I mention this because this November, elections will be held in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. In all 50 states, voters will have the opportunity to vote for who will represent them in the House of Representatives and in some states, who will represent them in the Senate. As we advocate for a comprehensive and effective Federal government response to helping individuals impacted by autism, we also know that election time is a good time for each person to assess how well their current elected officials running for re-election, as well as candidates running against such individuals, share our mission and values. We do not (and can not) endorse any candidate, but we can and should educate voters on the policy positions of these candidates related to autism services and supports. To provide this information, we will be developing “Scorecards” based on votes or positions taken by incumbents running for the Senate or House of Representatives. We expect this “Scorecard” will be available in early October 2018.
Advocacy has to be more than letting your elected officials know what you think or what you want regarding a particular piece of legislation. It has to also be about holding them accountable when they wish to represent us and our constituency.

Monday, July 9, 2018

Program for Autistic Students at Marquette

Jennifer Walter reports at the  Milwaukee Journal Sentinel about a program at Marquette University.
Along with her colleagues, Wendy Krueger and Mary Carlson, [psychologist Amy] Van Hecke had been developing On Your Marq for several years before funding came along.

Most college students with autism are high-functioning and do just fine academically, but can't find personalized resources to help with the social stuff. Van Hecke found herself turning prospective students away who wanted to come to Marquette but had a disability.

“You might have to look into other options,” Van Hecke would tell them. Even though Marquette has an Office of Disability Services and a social skills program for high school students, there was nothing specific for undergraduates.

Van Hecke saw a need to establish long-term, specialized resources at Marquette — something aimed at specifically helping students on the autism spectrum adjust to college life outside the classroom.

In addition to regular undergraduate courses, students will be enrolled in social skills classes through the PEERS program, which is already in place at Marquette for K-12 students. They'll also be paired with a coach and a peer mentor for one-on-one support. The goal is to get these students comfortably integrated into the Marquette community, academically as well as socially.

Peer mentoring works "kind of like a buddy program," Van Hecke said. Undergraduate volunteers will be paired with one participant to show them the ropes on and off campus — from eating lunch in the cafeteria to using the bus to get around town. Ideally, they will attend social skills classes with their mentee so that they can be on the same page with what they are learning and how they are adjusting.

Sunday, July 8, 2018

Darla Shine, Social Media Antivaxxer

In The Politics of Autism, I look at the discredited notion that vaccines cause autismTwitter, Facebook, and other social media platforms have helped spread this dangerous myth.

Caleb Ecarma at Mediaite reports on Darla Shine,, the wife of Bill Shine — former Fox News co-president who just became White House communications chief.
The belief that vaccinations cause autism, despite being thoroughly debunked, featured prominently on Shine’s social media accounts.

Of all her controversial opinions, conspiracy theories on vaccinations appears to be what Shine is most passionate about. Mediaite found that she has posted unfounded anti-vaccination theories over two dozen times.
“Our biggest national security threat isn’t ISIS it’s that 1 out of 2 boys will be autistic by 2050. @JohnKasich @BernieSanders #vaxxed,” she tweeted in 2016, which is pretty representative of the rest of her oeuvre.
Shine also frequently writes about vaccinations on her blog and her Facebook page.

Yashar Ali at The Huffington Post:
An November 2016, Shine tweeted an article from a blog that frequently promotes conspiracy theories and tagged Trump in it. The tweet read: “Putin says Western Civilization being destroyed by over vaccinating @realDonaldTrump #toomanyvaccines.”

The headline of the blog post Shine linked to read, “Russian president Vladimir Putin says that Western governments are enslaving humanity through vaccines.”
Shine also frequently tied the vaccination of children to autism, once tweeting: “Biggest national security threat is autism! @realDonaldTrump How can we run a country when half of all boys will be autistic by 2050?”

Saturday, July 7, 2018


In The Politics of Autism, I write:
For those who remain at larger residential institutions, the horrors of yesteryear have generally ended. In 2012, however, a ten-year-old video surfaced, showing disturbing image of an electric shock device at the Judge Rotenberg Center in Canton Massachusetts. Staffers tied one student to a restraint board and shocked him 31 times over seven hours, ignoring his screamed pleas to stop. The Rotenberg Center is the only one in the nation that admits to using electric shocks on people with developmental disabilities, including autism. Center officials said that they had stopped using restraint boards but insisted that shocks were necessary in extreme cases to prevent officials insist the shock program is a last resort that prevents people with severe disorders from hurting themselves or others. Though a majority of the FDA’s Neurological Devices Panel said that such devises pose “an unreasonable and substantial risk of illness or injury,” the agency had not banned them as of 2014.
From the Autism Society:
On June 27, a Bristol County judge sided with the Judge Rotenberg Center (JRC) located in Canton Massachusetts, allowing JRC to continue using electric shock on over 60 students with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (I/DD). The judge sided with the school stating that the State “failed to demonstrate that there is no professional consensus that the Level III aversive treatment does not conform to the accepted standard of care for treating individuals with I/DD”. Health and Human Services Secretary, Marylou Sudders, says the State must now decide within the next 20 days to file an appeal. Advocates continue to call on the Food and Drug Administration to act on its 2016 proposal to ban the use of electrical shock devices.
Emily Shugerman at The Independent:
Backlash against the treatment began in 2012, when video surfaced of 18-year-old Andre McCollins receiving more than two dozen electrical shocks while tied to a bed at the centre in 2002.

Mr McCollins mother, Cheryl McCollins, settled a lawsuit against the school for an undisclosed amount in 2012. JRC claims it has significantly changed its procedures since then.
But the treatment was met with protests from disability rights group ADAPT as recently as this month, when advocates picketed outside the home of Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar.

The protesters wanted the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to push forward A proposed regulation banning the practice, which the agency said in 2016 posed an “unreasonable and substantial risk” to public health.
“They have been sitting on these regulations for more than two years,” said Philadelphia ADAPT organiser German Parodi in a press release, “and they can stop this atrocity now with the stroke of a pen.”

Friday, July 6, 2018

South Carolina Has Low Medicaid Reimbursement Rates for ABA

The Politics of Autism includes an extensive discussion of insurance and Medicaid services for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities

Lauren Saussner at The Post and Courier that the mother of a six-year in Lexington County, South Carolina is filing a federal suit against South Carolina's Medicaid agency.
Identified in the lawsuit as Z.M., the child's pediatrician recommended in 2015 that he receive dozens of hours of therapy each week, including six consultation hours of applied behavior analysis therapy.

But the lawsuit alleges that Medicaid's reimbursement rates for applied behavior analysis, or ABA, are so low that Z.M.'s parents cannot find a provider willing to offer the therapy their son needs. The lawsuit calls South Carolina's rate "among the worst in the nation."
The agency recently increased its rate to about $31 an hour for this therapy, but last year the department paid about $17 an hour.

The new rate falls far short of most other states.

Lorri Unumb, vice president for state government affairs at Autism Speaks, a national advocacy group, calculated the average rate among 30 states is about $44 an hour.

Both North Carolina and Georgia pay closer to $50, she said.

Thursday, July 5, 2018

Vaccination: Good News, and Ongoing Challenges

 In The Politics of Autism, I look at the discredited notion that vaccines cause autism.

At Metro (UK), Chris of the National Autistic Society recalls the infamous 1998 Wakefield article making the bogus suggestion that vaccines cause autism.
Fortunately, I was only four-years-old at the time; but so many older autistic people have shared their memories of the months and years that followed, as thousands upon thousands of parents opted out of the MMR vaccine. Vaccination – one of the most incredible and life-saving discoveries in the history of medicine – was being avoided by parents so terrified that their child would be autistic, that they would put their child’s health at risk to avoid being like us.
Of course, 20 years later, we know that there is no scientific credibility in being anti-vaccination. However, what is more worrying for the autistic community is the ignorance which led to such a response in the first place. Parents whose only knowledge of autism came from TV tropes and media hysteria feared that having an autistic child would be the end for their family.
The devastating effects of that article in The Lancet 20 years ago are still being felt, with increased rates of measles this year from those who were not vaccinated when they were children. In order to prevent such an unpleasant chain of events from happening again, we need to work together for a world where autistic people are understood, supported, and included – not feared
Bob Egelko reports at The San Francisco Chronicle:
California did not violate freedom of religion or the right to an education when it required virtually all public and private school students to be vaccinated against contagious illnesses in 2016, a state appeals court says.
“Compulsory immunization has long been recognized as the gold standard for preventing the spread of contagious diseases,” the Second District Court of Appeal in Los Angeles said Monday. Citing California rulings as early as 1890 that rejected challenges to mandatory-vaccination laws, the court said the new law was not discriminatory and was a valid measure to protect public health.
The law was prompted by an outbreak of measles in 2014 that was traced to youngsters at Disneyland who had not been vaccinated. It requires all schoolchildren to be inoculated against illnesses including measles, mumps, chickenpox, tetanus, whooping cough and rubella.
Last week, Soumya Karlamangla reported at The Los Angeles Times:
In a decision that could signal how California’s fierce vaccine debates will play out in the coming years, the Medical Board of California has ordered 35 months’ probation for Dr. Bob Sears, an Orange County pediatrician well-known for being sympathetic to parents opposed to vaccines.

In 2016, the board threatened to revoke Sears’ medical license for wrongly writing a doctor’s note for a 2-year-old boy that exempted him from all childhood vaccinations. This week, the medical board settled on a lesser punishment.
Sears can keep practicing medicine but will be required to take 40 hours of medical education courses a year, as well as an ethics class, and also be monitored by a fellow doctor. He also must notify all hospital and medical facilities where he practices of the order and is not allowed to supervise physician assistants or nurse practicioners.

Wednesday, July 4, 2018

Another Bad Encounter with Police

Two Graham police officers are under investigation after handcuffing and using a stun gun on a teenager with autism last week, according to a Facebook post by the Graham Police Department.
The 19-year-old's mother — who said she watched body camera footage of the incident twice — says police have omitted some information about what happened.
The incident started when officers were dispatched to an alley in the 900 block of Texas regarding a man — identified as Michael Moore by family members — who was reportedly throwing rocks at a house on June 26. The caller described the man as “not all there,” but that information was not passed onto the responding officer and his ride-along passenger — an off-duty jailer with the county, police said.
Moore's mom, Tracie Moore, said the video clearly shows her son was "put into a choke hold" and that's when the three of them fell. She said there's a broken vessel in his right eye and scratches on his body.
Moore calmed down, police said, and then directed them to where he lived.
However, Tracie Moore said the video shows that her son immediately told police he lived at the house near them, and asked to get his mother multiple times.
"The video shows Michael at the corner of our house and when he sees the officers, he walks to the officers," she told the Star-Telegram on Tuesday. "They proceed to ask him questions, his age, date of birth and where he lived. He stated within the first two minutes of that conversation, 'I live here,' pointing to our house. 'My mama is inside let me get my mom.' "
Tracie Moore says she didn't learn a stun gun was used on her son until the next day.

Tuesday, July 3, 2018

Autism and Cost

Katie Parsons at The Orlando Sentinel:
“Many insurance plans do not cover evaluations. We are talking a cost of $700 to $2,000, just for the initial evaluation,” said Silvia Hierro, who has a son on the autism spectrum and is the founder of SOAK, a Florida nonprofit that focuses on raising awareness about autism and providing informational resources for families.
The fight for funding assistance continues from there, Hierro says, and the fact that each autistic child has custom needs for treatment makes it even harder. She says she’s found that self-funded insurance policies usually exclude everything related to autism treatment, thus starting a back-and-forth between families and insurers that can last the whole of childhood and into adulthood.
“The best example is a child who was born with a hearing problem, but later diagnosed with autism. The hearing problem has nothing to do with the autism but the insurance company will not approve speech therapy,” Hierro said.
For low-income families, Medicaid can cover the majority of costs, but Hierro says members of her group bemoan the lack of providers who accept Medicaid patients because the payout is so low. The wait list to obtain a Florida Medicaid Waiver is over a decade long, Hierro said. Families also have access to some services through the public school system for diagnosis and some therapies there.
Susan Belcher is the founder of Spring Forward for Autism, a Brevard County based organization that recently started awarding grants of up to $2,000 for therapies or equipment to families of children with ASD. In the first half of 2018, the organization approved grant applications of more than $30,000.

“We know that something as basic as an analysis for diagnosis is a cost too large for many families, and that keeps kids from receiving the treatments and therapies they really need,” Belcher said. “We don’t think that should happen to families, or kids with ASD.”

Monday, July 2, 2018

Study of Bullying

In The Politics of Autism, I discuss challenges facing autistic adults and children.  One is bullying.

At the Journal of Child and Family Studies, Lydie A. Lebrun-Harris and colleagues have a study titled "Bullying Victimization and Perpetration among U.S. Children and Adolescents: 2016 National Survey of Children’s Health."
Bullying is a serious public health issue among children and adolescents in the United States. Existing national data sources provide limited current information about involvement in bullying among youth. The purpose of this study was to estimate the prevalence of parent-reported bullying victimization and perpetration among U.S. children and adolescents ages 6–17 years using nationally representative data, and to examine health-related factors associated with bullying experiences. We conducted secondary data analysis of the 2016 National Survey of Children’s Health, and stratified the sample by age (6–11 years, 12–17 years). We performed bivariate analyses to examine prevalence of bullying experiences according to demographic characteristics, health conditions, health behaviors, health services, and family environment. Using multivariable logistic regressions, we assessed the association between these factors and bullying experiences. Results showed that 22.7% of U.S. children and adolescents were bullied by others and 6.4% bullied others. The rate of bullying victimization was slightly higher among 6–11 year olds than among 12–17 year olds (24.1 vs. 21.1%, p = 0.011). The rate of bullying perpetration was 7.2% among children and 5.6% among adolescents but the difference between age groups was not statistically significant (p = 0.086). Several health conditions and health services factors were associated with either bullying victimization or perpetration, including special health care needs, internalizing problems, behavior or conduct problems, speech or other language disorders, autism, and unmet need for mental health treatment or counseling. Bullying victimization was also strongly associated with bullying perpetration.
From the article:
This study is consistent with others (National Academies 2016) in highlighting the need for universal prevention efforts and targeted services for children and adolescents to address bullying, Findings from this study suggest that such efforts should begin at young ages and address the needs of those who are at greatest risk of being bullied, including those with special health care needs, internalizing problems, behavioral and conduct problems, autism, and speech or other language disorders. Results also reveal opportunities to improve access to mental health services for youth experiencing bullying. Efforts should be made to target Journal of Child and Family Studies bullying prevention strategies where children and adolescents at higher risk are served, such as during health care visits and mental health visits. Parents, educators, speech and occupational therapists, coaches, and other adults who are in frequent contact with children and adolescents, should be offered training on bullying, who is at the greatest risk, and prevention and intervention strategies

Sunday, July 1, 2018

Restraint in Texas

In Texas, Caitlyn Jones at The Denton Record-Chronicle:
“Unfortunately, restraints are very common,” said Elbe, the attorney for Disability Rights Texas. “It happens in large and small schools. It happens in high schools and at the elementary level.”
Texas law allows staff members to physically restrain special education students if there is a threat of “imminent, serious physical harm” to themselves or others or there’s a chance of serious property destruction. But Elbe said those terms are often vague and, in several cases, translate to persistent misbehavior.
The law also states that restraint must be limited to reasonable force and stop when the emergency no longer exists. School employees aren’t allowed to use mechanical restraints such as handcuffs, but peace officers who contract with the district, as is the case with Denton ISD, are.
Schools are required to make a “good faith effort” to verbally contact the parents when restraint is used. They must also provide parents a written report within one day of the restraint. In the April 30 incident at Lee, officials sent the report two days later.
According to TEA numbers, Denton ISD met the state average by restraining six out of every 100 special needs students during the 2016-17 school year. At the county level, the number jumped to 14 out of every 100 students. 
A student’s disability could affect their chances of being restrained.
Denton ISD restrained 24 of every 100 students diagnosed with autism and 32 out of every 100 students diagnosed with an emotional behavior disorder. Denton County restrained 38 percent of its autistic population and 59 percent of its emotional behavior population, while the state restrained 12 percent of kids diagnosed with autism and half of the kids who had an emotional behavior disorder.
“If a student was hard of hearing, you wouldn’t punish them for not hearing directions to sit down in their chair,” said Diane Myers, the chairwoman of the teacher education department at Texas Woman’s University. “With students who have emotional behavior disabilities or are on the spectrum, not being able to control their behavior is part of their disability."