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Shortage of Programs for Adults with Developmental Disabilities; Guest Blog by Crawford Dedman, Special Education Consultant
Shortage of Programs for Adults with Developmental Disabilities
Lately I have been thinking a lot about what happens to students with developmental disabilities when they become adults and leave the education system.
In the province of Ontario, these students are able to attend school up to the age of 21. The reality is that many of these students will not graduate from secondary school. Some graduate and go on to the workplace or post-secondary education (i.e. apprenticeship, college and university programs). For these students, if they have the right supports in place they can manage this transition successfully. However, the students I am concerned about are the ones that do not graduate and have a difficult time transitioning to work and independent living.
Recently I had the opportunity to visit a day-treatment program for children and adults with Autism at the MukiBalm Treatment Centre in Toronto. The children and young adults at the centre have high-needs, including difficult behaviours and sensory needs that require high teacher and education assistant to student ratios. I had the opportunity to meet several students and staff at the centre and I thought they did a wonderful job in providing education and treatment to these students who are unable to attend their local community school.
Often our focus in education is trying to figure out a student’s special education needs early in Kindergarten to Grade 3. In providing treatment programs for young children with Autism, the focus is on getting them into an Intensive Behavioural Intervention (IBI) program before the age of 6 to obtain the maximum benefit from therapy. I as well clearly support intervening early and supporting children early in life. However, when you sit down and talk with dedicated professionals that work with these young adults you get a different perspective.
The perspective I heard is that government is not doing enough to support these children and their families when they become young adults. Waiting lists are long for day programs for young adults that are not able to go onto post-secondary education and/or work. I heard stories of parents having to quit their jobs to stay home and look after their child because they are over 21 and they are on a long waiting list for an adult based program day program.
I do believe that governments are going to have to face some decisions in the future of balancing their spending on programs both for children and adults. To fund one at high levels and then to fund the other at such low levels is a recipe for disaster in the future. Eventually these children will become the young adults that need meaningful programs, services and supports so they too can reach their full potential.
Special Education Consultant
The FDA has approved a clinical trial to implant a prosthetic hearing device (also known as the ABI) in children. The ABI will stimulate neurons directly at the human Brainstem, therefore bypassing the inner ear & auditory nerve completely. Different from a cochlear implant, the ABI can only be used on people who are deaf because their auditory nerve and cochlea are non-functioning or they cannnot benefit from hearing aids. If the patient wanted to qualify for a cochlear implant, their auditory nerve would have to had been intact.
To read more about the ABI go to this link
One (1) in fifty (50) children now diagnosed with Autism, up from one (1) in eighty-eight (88) in 2007. What can cause such an increase in such a short a period of time? Is it more of an awareness? An epidemic? Better testing? Or is it in fact over - diagnosis?
As we know, Autism is a spectrum disorder, which means a person can have it and be on the very low end or go all the way to the very high end of the spectrum.
I've worked in a District 75 environment (not naming names) at the beginning of my career with let's call them for now mostly high functioning children where I was pressured to do things and write reports that I believed to be false and not entirely accurate . Why did I do those things? Believe me, I argued and cried. I knew it was wrong. But it was my first job, I was bullied, I left after 2 months and learned a very valuable lesson.
The improper reports on the Speech and Language side of things, consisted mostly of 4 and 5 year old children who when tested/evaluated mostly passed via the CELF-4 and the PLS -4. When reporting the passing results to my Supervisor, not only was I asked, but at times she took over and re-wrote sections of my report to creatively make it appear as though these children had "difficulty paying attention" in order to keep these children in Speech Services, keep them in Early Intervention and keep them with a diagnosis of Autism. By keeping the child in that or any District 75 school, that school continues receiving their funds on that childs' behalf. I was informed by my superior that it was not such a big deal b/c by the time the child "aged out", most of these children would lose their diagnosis...
Can situations like the one I described above be contributing to the over diagnosis of Autism?
We also need to consider the change in the diagnostic criteria not too long ago.....
You can read more about this article at Reuters.com
I found as a parent the joy and importance of creating pleasant moments within the everyday things we do. Did you ever experience simple activities turning into extremely unpleasant experiences? Standing in line, sitting at dinner, visiting family and friends, or going to a park, etc. could become so stressful.
I found these helpful hints to be “rule of thumb”:
One, leave at the height of fun and that way everyone is coasting on a good sensory cloud, no one is tired, and most prepared to be organized and listen well. Don’t spend that extra hour, more is not necessarily better. You don’t have to do everything in one day. This rule was such a friend to me with my children as well as children I had the pleasure to work with. I experienced children with and array of sensitivities, ADD behaviors, developmental delays, and all sorts of “typical developing” personalities and behaviors. They all do better when organized, calm, happy, and alert.
Secondly, I found having a bag of “tools” whenever I left the house was so helpful with my own children especially when sitting at a restaurant, waiting in line, or even taking a ride in a car. Children’s singing tapes/CDs (now you can tell how long I have been a parent!) are awesome and so much fun for all, visual and proprioceptive fidget activities that don’t have small parts to lose, coloring, even stretchy gummy action figures. What does your child enjoy or need most: visual, oral, proprioceptive, or tactile sensory input? I knew some children that loved puzzles so bring along puzzles. In some cases something more active works better (however not over stimulating). Books are fabulous too!
Weighted blankets, a favorite snuggle toy, are great in the car for the ride home.
A little preparation goes a long way.
I really enjoyed it so much, I miss having small children every single day.
Think a little like a child, it’s a wonderful state of being!
To find out more about Susan Donohoe and her products Kozie Clothes visit her website here www.kozieclothes.com
What are the benefits of Compression Clothing? Weighted Vests & Blankets? ; Guest Blog by Susan Donohoe @ Kozie Clothes
I just wrote my first guest blog in partner with CaregiverPartnership.com in what will be a series of blogs on first Dysphagia and then Language in the aging population and the caregiver. To see the first blog click here: http://blog.caregiverpartnership.com/2012/08/dysphagia-is-hard-to-swallow-get-facts.html
I am excited to announce that metrochildren will be conducting another 3 Day Introductory ABA Training on August 14th, 15th & 16th 2012 in the NYC area. Our last series of Introductory ABA Trainings was very successful and very well received by all the therapists/teachers who attended.
This training is appropriate for Special Instructors, Social Workers and Psychologists who are looking to add to their skill set when dealing with early intervention, pre-school and school age children; as well as SLPs and OTs who are looking for additional strategies to use when encountering children with the diagnosis of PDD.
In addition, this time SLPs will be able to receive CEU credits from ASHA. Please pass this information along to any other appropriate colleagues.
To avoid being closed out, please reserve your seat early. Contact 718-264-7250 x119 or check out our website at www.metrochildren.com.
Diagnostic Criteria for Alzheimer's Disease from National Institute on Aging; Alzheimer's Association
The National Institute on Aging revised the diagnostic criteria for Alzheimer's disease also endorsed by the Alzheimer's Association, published in the May 2011 issue of Alzheimer's and Dementia: The Journal of the Alzheimer's Association. The introduction and three articles can be accessed at http://www.alz.org/research/diagnostic_criteria/. Drafts of the revised criteria for Alzheimer's disease (AD) were initially released for discussion and review at the Alzheimer's Association International Conference on Alzheimer's Disease in July 2010. Similar to the old criteria, the revised are aimed primarily at researchers, to help improve the characterization of research volunteers and set a scientific framework for defining the key elements of the disease process. Nonetheless, just like their predecessors, they are sure to cross over into clinical practice. This is the first major update for Alzheimer's diagnostic criteria since 1984.
Perhaps the most important conceptual change in the criteria is a journey even further into the past, beyond 1984, to a time when the lexicon more clearly separated the clinical state of dementia from the pathological process of Alzheimer's disease. Before the new criteria, the pre-1984 terminology "Dementia of the Alzheimer type," was - if not extinct - certainly close to the brink.
Echoing the old way of thinking, the new criteria lay out broad three phases of AD, 1) Dementia due to AD, 2) Mild Cognitive Impairment due to AD, and 3) Preclinical stages of AD. The role of biomarkers to identify underlying AD pathophysiology increases in importance for the more mild MCI and preclinical phases.
Again click on the link below to access all articles:
Amy Reinstein, M.S., CCC - SLP