It’s Almost Back-to-School Time for Children and Tees with Autism, ADHD, and Learning Disabilities. Here Are Some Useful Resources

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Back to school can be stressful for most children. For children with a learning disability, ADHD, dyslexia, or autism, these worries are often more severe. Our latest blog piece offers parents tips to make this transition ritual much less stressful.

Last Friday, we posted a link to our latest blog piece for parents of anxious children (often those with a learning disability, ADHD, or autism).

We add another free resource, from Autism Parenting magazine. It was published last year, but it is still available:

 

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Here is another helpful link for parents of a child with autism. This free resource has been around since last year, but it is still available for free. It contains much helpful material. Of course, we have advocacy services for parents in New Jersey.

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The State of Learning Disabilities: A New Report

Advocacy report on learning disabilities - awareness

This report, from the National Center for Learning Disabilities, is now available for reading and can be downloaded.

The National Center for Learning Disabilities, a leading advocacy group, just came out with a report, The State of Learning Disabilities: Understanding the 1 in 5. That figure, one in five, or 20 percent, refers to the number of students who have a learning disability, such as attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) or dyslexia. This population is very much misunderstood; all too often, these children are (mis)labeled as lazy or unmotivated or just not as smart as their peers. More often than not, these labels are untrue. Not only are these students at risk of failing school, but also they all too often struggle finding or keeping employment and are disproportionately represented in the prison population.

Despite one in five students having some sort of learning disability, according to this report, only one in 16 receive proper special-education services with an Individualized Education Plan (IEP) and only one in 50 receive services under Section 504.  This detailed report covers the following:

  • The neuroscience, stigma, and federal laws concerning these students
  • How to identify struggling students
  • Supporting academic success
  • The social, emotional, and behavioral challenges these students face and pose
  • Issues regarding the transitioning to life after high school
  • Recommended policies.

The report provides summaries for each state, with “key data points and comparisons to national averages in several areas such as inclusion in general education classrooms, disciplinary incidents and dropout rates for students with learning and attention issues.”

The bibliographic citation for this report is:

Horowitz, S. H., Rawe, J., & Whittaker, M. C. (2017). The State of Learning Disabilities: Understanding the 1 in 5. New York: National Center for Learning Disabilities.

Knowing About and Living with Mental Illness

Migrant_Mother,_Dorothea Lange

Migrant Mother (1936), by Dorothea Lange

It is indeed hard to talk about most disabilities. Talking about mental health is among the hardest. Yet, nearly 44 million Americans—that’s one in five—suffers from some form of mental illness. To foster an understanding of the importance of mental health and reduce the stigmas associated with mental illness, Mental Health America in 1949 named May as Mental Health Month. The theme this year is Risky Business. It addresses the dangers of a number of risky behaviors:

  • Drugs (including alcohol, tobacco, and marijuana)2017 MHM Twitter Header - Icons
  • Compulsive sex
  • Impulsive buying
  • Internet addiction
  • Extremes of exercise.

The New Jersey affiliate, Mental Association of New Jersey, has also published an informative page, “When are behaviors risky business?”

The National Alliance of Mental Illness (NAMI), an important advocacy group, is also helping spread the message. In addition, NAMI has created a safe space, where it is asking people to share their experiences anonymously.

2017 IntoMH-Facebook

Mental illnesses include a wide range of conditions, including attention-deficit anxiety disorder (ADHD), anxiety, autism, bipolar disorder, depression, eating disorders, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), panic disorders, and phobias. For us at Advancing Opportunities, it is important to know that some of these conditions occur together. For example, people on the autism spectrum have difficulty in social situations; they may also exhibit depression, anxiety, OCD, or ADHD—or a combination of these conditions. Many children with learning disabilities have ADHD and behavioral disorders. In working with children with autism or a learning disability, it is important to have patience and understanding. It is not uncommon for these children to act out, not out of defiance, but either in frustration because they are unable to express themselves in a more socially appropriate way. Among children with autism, many are unable to communicate in words the frustrations they are experiencing, in addition to having a high degree of difficulty.

 

Did You Know?

  • One in five children ages 13-18 will experience a serious mental illness; 11% have a mood disorder, 10% a behavioral disorder, and 8% anxiety.
  • Depression is the leading symptom and cause of disability worldwide.
  • More than one-third (37%) of students who drop out of school have a mental illness.

 

Ending a Serious Discussion with a Laugh

In 2015, comedian John Oliver devoted a segment on mental illness. To quote, “Mentally Ill People are more likely to be the victims of violence than the perpetrators.” The video is included below, with a warning that John Oliver often uses mature language, so discretion is advised.

College for Students with Disabilities: An Update

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A forthcoming New Jersey conference, Sunday, October 23, will addresses strategies for learning with LD and ADHD.  A myriad of workshops are offered to help parents, professionals and students discover more about learning disabilities and attention issues.

This week also saw an excellent Huffington Post article: “Beyond IEPs: Learning Disabilities Go to College”

 

Our Most Notable and Favorite Disability Articles for the Week Ending July 15, 2016

At Advancing Opportunities, we excel in providing residential and respite services to people of with all disabilities, along with advocacy and education services for parents and guardians and assistive technology support.  As a leader in the field, we are pleased to share our experience, knowledge, and expertise with the disability community through our social media outlets: Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn, and Pinterest.  In our Disability and Ability Highlights of the Week column, we will select the best of what we found and shared and present them.  Please click on the titles with embedded links to find the full article.

Horse and Sleigh in the Summer

Even with the brooding skies, a one-horse open sleigh may look out of place in the summer. Then, again, maybe not. This team was spotted just outside Reading, PA. Photo: Daniel L. Berek, 2016

 

 

Disability in the news (mostly in New Jersey, the population we serve):

The Boggs Center receives $2.2 million for student training in autism and related disabilities.

More than half the US states need assistance with requirements to meet the needs of students with needs and special education requirementsassistance with requirements to meet the needs of students with needs and special education requirements.

Should voucher programs be subject to the same non-discrimination rules as public schools? 

The U.S. Senate approved a bill to fund tracking devices to help prevent children with autism from running away.

 

 

For parents of a child with a disability (parenting, special needs):

People & Families – Magazine for parents of children with developmental disabilities in New Jersey

 

 

“I used to think my daughter with dyslexia just needed to try harder.”

Sports can be a highly productive outlet for children with ADHD for many reasons.

 

 

Special education (including college for students with disability):

We have always believed that many students on the autism spectrum, along with those with other disabilities, could – and should – attend college.  So does ASAN, the Autistic Self Advocacy Network, which has just announced its 2017 college scholarship for students with autism.

“The Social Construction of a Reading (Dis)Ability”

 

 

Inspirational and Informative (or Both!):

July 19: UN Secretary Ban Ki-moon pays tribute to Nelson Mandela. Thank you, Mr. Secretary, and thank you, Madiba! Heroes both.

A little girl with severe autism nevertheless connected with another girl.  Seventeen years later, the two young women are still together.

After a long battle with Crohn’s disease, Olympic swimmer Kathleen Baker makes it to Rio.

 

 

Advocacy and self-advocacy:

Revisiting Steve Silberman’s ground-breaking talk at the United Nations on autism acceptance, self-acceptance, and self-determination, in a world that embraces neurodiversity.

 

 

Assistive technology:

Here’s a fine TED talk on how new technology helps blind people explore the world.

 

 

Disability awareness and appreciation:

Sculpture of President Franklin D. Roosevelt greeting a young girl who is also disabled, will be the first memorial dedicated to FDR and his disability.

 

 

Medical news – research:

New neurons reveal clues about an individual’s autism.

A new study reports that variations in a genome associated with risk of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) have distinct effects on cognition. The findings highlight the diversity of people with ASD.

Scientists call for use of ecstasy in autism research; the drug, more commonly known as ecstasy, promotes strong feelings of empathy in users and is classified as a Schedule 1 drug – a category reserved for compounds with no accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse.

 

 

People with disabilities in the arts:

A Canadian artist is inspired, not defined by his autism in creating his own gallery space.

 

 

Employment for people with disabilities:

Ruderman Family Foundation White Paper: Nearly all TV roles of people with a disability are played by able-bodied actors.

Our Most Notable and Favorite Disability Articles for the Week Ending June 17, 2016

At Advancing Opportunities, we excel in providing residential and respite services to people of with all disabilities, along with advocacy and education services for parents and guardians and assistive technology support.  As a leader in the field, we are pleased to share our experience, knowledge, and expertise with the disability community through our social media outlets: Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn, and Pinterest.  In our Disability and Ability Highlights of the Week column, we will select the best of what we found and shared and present them.  Please click on the titles with embedded links to find the full article.

Appalachian Trail Boardwalk

This is the perfect time to discover and enjoy one of New Jersey lesser-known treasures. This section of the Appalachian Trail comprises several boardwalks that travel a scenic and diverse landscape in the northern part of Sussex County, New Jersey. Photo: Daniel L. Berek 2016

 

 

Disability in the news (mostly in New Jersey, the population we serve)
A New Jersey mayor recommends centralizing all state supports for people living with disabilities under one state office.

Experts – professionals, academics, and parents – testify at the U.S. Senate on the importance of dyslexia in the workplace and society and the many talents people with dyslexia have.

The US Supreme Court is consulting with the Obama administration on a case involving the definition of a Free and Appropriate Public Education.

UN conference emphasizes the need for the proper diagnosis for people with autism.

 

 

For parents of a child with a disability (parenting, special needs):
Blog piece from an autistic writer and advocate:  Autistic behavior and consequences.

A recent study confirms what parents of children with ADHD have known all along:  these children take longer to fall asleep and sleep less.

Visually impaired young golfers have big dreams at New Jersey golf clinic.

 

 

Special education (including college for students with disability):
A primer on assistive technology in the classroom for students with special needs.  Digital devices and screen capability have helped countless students overcome communication hurdles and obstacles to class participation.

Using drama to boost social skills among students on the autism spectrum.

 

 

Inspirational and Informative (or Both!):
A former Rutgers football player paralyzed in 2010 game asks a friend with cerebral palsy to her prom.

 

 

Advocacy and self-advocacy:
Numerous people thought that Jocelyn, who has dyslexia, wasn’t smart.  Her mom knew better and took her story to the U.S. Senate.

A leading UK advocate for people with learning disabilities speaks out.

 

 

Assistive technology:
From the Ruderman Family Foundation:  When Mass Production Doesn’t Work: The Story of the Adaptive Design Association

The Apple Watch will enable wheelchair users to track their fitness goals.

 

 

People with a disability in the community (disability rights and acceptance):
What started out as therapy, has turned into a business for a young man with Down syndrome in Yukon OK.

 

 

Disability awareness:
A deaf person uses “the music of sign language” to express how sound is very much a part of her life.   She chooses to be empowered by embracing sound in her art and her life, leading to the music of ASL.  This is a fascinating and very positive TED Talk on how a person with a disability can use that very disability to explore and enlighten.
 

Medical news – research:
Research shows that having a first-degree relative with epilepsy significantly increases the risk of being diagnosed with autism; greater similarities in the brain have been identified.

A new study using fMRI finds that the brains of people with dyslexia work differently from those of people with dysgraphia.

A new look at sensory symptoms in autism: is it one or two?

 

 

People with disabilities in the arts:
An interesting conference on disability and the arts is scheduled to take place this September in Norway.

Knowing About and Living with Mental Illness

MHM 2016 Social Media Images-FB Share Image

It is hard to talk about most disabilities.  Talking about mental health is among the hardest.  Yet, nearly 44 million Americans – that’s one in five – suffers from some form of mental illness.  .  To foster an understanding of the importance of mental health and reduce the stigmas associated with mental illness, Mental Health America in 1949 named May as Mental Health Month.  This theme this year is Life with Mental Illness.  The National Alliance of Mental Illness (NAMI), an important advocacy group, is also helping spread the message.  And both organizations are asking people to share their experiences anonymously.

Mental illnesses include a wide range of conditions, including attention-deficit anxiety disorder (ADHD), anxiety, autism, bipolar disorder, depression, eating disorders, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), panic disorders, and phobias.  The family support and residential specialists at Advancing Opportunities know that some of these conditions occur together.  For example, people on the autism spectrum have difficulty in social situations; they may also exhibit depression, anxiety, OCD, or ADHD – or a combination of these conditions.  Many children with learning disabilities have ADHD and behavioral disorders.  In working with children with autism or a learning disability, it is important to have patience and understanding.  It is not uncommon for these children to act out, not out of defiance, but either in frustration because they are unable to express themselves in a more socially appropriate way.  Among children with autism, many are unable to communicate in words the frustrations they are experiencing, in addition to having a high degree of difficulty.

 

 

Good to Know!

  • One in five children ages 13-18 will experience a serious mental illness; 11% have a mood disorder, 10% a behavioral disorder, and 8% anxiety.
  • More than one-third (37%) of students who drop out of school have a mental illness.
  • Depression is the leading symptom and cause of disability worldwide.