Many adult responsibilities require focus, organisation and composure, as a person is expected to juggle different tasks to effectively manage their career, family and home.
An adult with undiagnosed attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) can struggle with some of these responsibilities. For example, they may underperform academically and professionally or have trouble maintaining relationships. These issues can then leave a person battling with low self-esteem as they question why they encounter such difficulties when other people don’t seem to.
If you think that someone you’re close to has undiagnosed ADHD, or if you are looking to get information for yourself, we have listed the common symptoms of ADHD in adults, and outlined the steps a person needs to take to receive a diagnosis and any necessary support. Click here to read the rest of the story.
Down Syndrome is a chromosomal disorder caused by an extra cell division that results in an extra 21st chromosome. This causes developmental delays both intellectually and physically. The disorder is named after John Langdon Down, a British physician who was the first to describe the syndrome in 1866. The disorder was later identified by Jerome LeJeune in 1959 as a condition associated by the chromosome structure. Down syndrome is the most common chromosome disorder. Each year, about 6,000 babies are born with Down syndrome.
An estimate of 1 in 700 babies born. The life expectancy of people with Down syndrome increased between 1960 and 2007. In 1960, an average person with Down syndrome lived to be 10 years old compared to 2007 with people with Down syndrome living to 47 years of age. Often, people born with Down syndrome may develop health issues and a cognitive development ranging from mild to severe. There is often a speech delay and children may lag behind with fine and gross motor skills. Physical characteristics may include a flat nasal bridge, single, deep creases across the center of the palm, protruding tongue, large space between the large and second toe, low muscle tone, almond shape to the eyes.
The causes of Down syndrome is due to an extra copy of chromosome 21 in every cell. This is the most common form of Down syndrome. It represents 94% of all cases of Down syndrome. Congenital heart failure affects 300,000 or 40% of individuals with Down syndrome. There are 3 types:
atrioventricular septal defect (AV Canal)- a condition caused by the Septum failure to close properly. This occurs during the embryonic stage and results in a large opening at the center of the heart.
Persistent Ductus Arteriosus- when a tube that continues to exists after a baby is born. It is a persistent opening between the two major blood vessels leading from the heart.
Tetralogy of Fallot- a heart condition composed of four abnormalities: 1) Ventricular Septal Defect 2) a narrowing of the passage from the right ventricular to the lungs 3) an over enlarged right ventricle due to blood back up 4) an over enlarged aorta, which carries blood from the left ventricle to the body.
Congenital Heart Disease can range from severe to mild. Typically, students do not require special care. For those with more severe heart issues, be aware of the signs and symptoms of a student heart disease is getting worse. This include:
Arrhythmia, an abnormal heart rhythm that can cause the heart to beat fast or too slow
Congenital heart failure- when the heart cannot pump enough blood and oxygen to meet the needs of the body.
Pulmonary hypertension- a type of high blood pressure that affects the arteries in the lungs and the right side of the heart.
Signs and symptoms include:
shortness of breath
fatigue and weakness
rapid or irregular heartbeat
Things to be aware of in students with Heart Issues:
Tires easily or becomes short of breath after exercise
I work in a multidisciplinary office, meaning that there are always kiddos running around who are working with other therapists – occupational therapists, speech therapists, behavior therapists, and preschool teachers. In such a busy environment, I’ll often get pulled aside by another therapist to take a look at a child who is walking on their toes. This is always an interesting scenario, since toe walking can range from a totally normal developmental phase to a larger issue.
What is toe walking?
Toe walking is a very common developmental phase that most children go through as they learn to walk. From when your child learns to walk until around 2 years old, it is not out of the ordinary to see your toddler up on their tip toes, and taking steps with their heels not touching the ground. Concerns may arise when the child continues to walk on their toes beyond that age range. In these cases, it can simply be a habit that the child has developed, a sensory seeking behavior, or a sign of a larger issue. Click here to read the rest of the story.
It’s hard to imagine a time when children with disabilities did not have access or the rights to an equal education as those students without disabilities. Prior to 1975, many children with disabilities were living in large institutions or went to private schools.
President Gerald Ford signed into the Education For All Handicapped Children Act (Pubic Law-94-142) now knowns as the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). The purpose of IDEA is to protect the rights of infants, toddlers, children and youth with disabilities and to provide equal access to children for children with disabilities. The following list describes the 13 categories of IDEA eligibility including the definition below:
A child with a disability is defined as a child evaluated as having an intellectual disability, hearing impairment (including deafness), a speech or language impairment, visual impairment (including blindness), a serious emotional disturbance, an orthopedic impairment, autism, traumatic brain injury, an other health impairment, a specific learning disability, deaf-blindness, or multiple disabilities who need special education and related services.
Autism means developmental disability significantly affecting verbal and nonverbal communication and social integration, generally evident before age 3, that adversely affect a child’s educational performance. Other characteristics often associated with autism are engagement in repetitive activities and stereotyped movements, resistance to environmental change or change in daily routines, and unusual responses to sensory experiences.
Deaf-blindness- defined as having both visual and hearing impairments. The combination of which causes such severe communication and other developmental and education needs that they cannot be accommodated in special education programs.
Deafness- a hearing impairment that is so severe that the child is impaired in processing linguistic information through hearing, or with or without amplification, that adversely affects a child educational performance.
Emotional disturbance- a condition exhibiting one or more of the following characteristics over a long period of time
Hearing impairment- an impairment in hearing, whether permanent or fluctuating that adversely affects a child’s performance but that is not included under the definition of deafness.
Intellectual disability- significantly lower general intellectual functioning, existing concurrently with deficits in adaptive behavior and manifested during the developmental period, that adversely affect a child’s educational performance.
Multiple disabilities- A combination of impairments (such as intellectual disability-blindness or intellectual disability-orthopedic impairment). The combination causes severe educational needs that they cannot be accomplished in special education program solely for one of the impairments.
Orthopedic impairment- a severe orthopedic impairment that adversely affects a child’s educational performance. The term includes impairments caused by a congenital anomaly, impairments caused by diseases (e.g. Poliomyelitis) and impairment causes (e.g. cerebral palsy, amputations, and fractures or burns that cause contractures)
Other health impairments- having limited strength, vitality, or alertness including a heightened alertness to environmental stimuli that results in limited alertness with respect to the educational environment that is due to chronic or acute health problems such as asthma, ADHD, diabetes, epilepsy, heart condition, sickle cell anemia and Tourette syndrome which adversely affects a child’s education performance.
Specific learning disability- a disorder in one or more of the basic psychological processes involved in understanding or in using language spoken or written that may manifest itself in the imperfect ability to listen, think, speak, read, write, spell or to do mathematical calculations including conditions such as perceptual disabilities, brain injury, dyslexia and developmental aphasia.
Speech or language impairment- a communication disorder such as stuttering impaired articulation, a language impairment, or a voice impairment that adversely affects a child’s educational performance.
Traumatic brain injury- An acquired injury to the brain caused by an external physical force, resulting in total or partial functional disability or psychosocial impairment or both. Traumatic brain injury applies to open or closed head injuries resulting in impairments in one or more areas, such as cognition, language, memory, attention, reasoning, abstract thinking, judgement, problem-solving, sensory, perceptual motor abilities and information processing and speech.
Visual impairment including blindness- an impairment in vision that, even with correction, adversely affects a child’s educational performance. The term includes both partial sight and blindness.
Adelphi students with autism or nonverbal learning disorders will have even more resources at the University this year, thanks to a $50,000 grant awarded to the Bridges to Adelphi program.
The Bridges to Adelphi program has helped students on the autism spectrum and those with nonverbal learning disabilities navigate the college experience since 2007. The new funds, from The Disability Opportunity Fund (DOF) of Rockville Centre, New York, will be used to expand the program’s vocational services and better prepare students for their postcollege careers.
The grant allows the program to hire a transition coordinator who will work with seniors and alumni looking for job placements and a community partnership developer who will help recruit organizations interested in making jobs or internships available to Bridges students.
“We need to be out in the community looking to build new partnerships because our graduating classes are growing,” said Mitch Nagler, MA ’06, director of the program. “This May, we’ll graduate 22 students, and this is a huge challenge for us to put them out there and get them into the right place.” Click here to read the rest of the story
Obesity is a major health concern and is more common in individuals with Down syndrome than the general population. Obesity is defined as excessive fact accumulation that increases health risk. It is an abnormal accumulation of body fact usually 20% of a person’s ideal body weight.
Medical complications of obesity includes sleep apnea, lung disease, pancreatitis, heart disease, cancer, arthritis, inflamed veins and gout. When the body mass increases, so does the risk of having a heart attack or heart failure.
In a study published by the American Association Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities found a difference between studies on children versus adults with Down syndrome. Children with Down syndrome have consistently been found to exhibit a reduced resting metabolic rate meaning children with Down syndrome are at a great risk for weight gain since they will burn fewer calories. at rest during activities.
Children with Down syndrome also tend to have a condition known as hypothyroidism. Approximately 10 percent of children with Down syndrome have hypothyroidism. As children with Down syndrome get older, eating behaviors change leading to obesity (Approximately 30%). These changes may be due to low muscle tone or inactivity due to thyroid problems or heart conditions.
Exercise and recreation are crucial to the well-being of individuals with Down syndrome. The following are strategies for helping to maintain weight control and to live longer and healthier lives:
Develop a regular exercise program. According to Drs. Chicoine and McGuire, authors of The Guide to Good Health for Teens and Adults with Down syndrome, Exercise should be free of risk. Push ups and weightlifting are not appropriate due to many people with Down syndrome who have issues with the upper 2 vertebrates.
Swimming is an effective exercise. Many pool have walking exercises in the pool as well.
Exercise should be fun, socially and realistic.
For older adults with Down syndrome, look for teachable moments to teach portion control, drinking enough fluids, and eating a well-balanced meal.
Chicoine, B. and McGuire, B. (2010). The Guide to Good Health for Teen and Adults with Down Syndrome. Bethesda, MD
Which came first? The anxiety or the autism? For me, anxiety and autism have always gone hand in hand. I have heard from multiple people, including past agoraphobics, that my anxiety is the worst they’ve ever experienced. My anxiety manifests in many different ways. My panic attacks can range from a five-minute crying spree to not being able to breathe correctly for a week. I also have a relatively new type of panic attack that feels like an actual heart attack. I have a lot of trouble with highway driving anxiety as well, especially when I’m going through a difficult time. It can cause me to become disassociated and make me feel unsafe.
When I get anxious, I can get really fixated on things. I need to complete the task or find the object before my anxiety can go away. This can lead me to do the same things over and over again, even when I know it won’t work. I can usually tell when something actually needs to be worried about vs. my irrational anxiety, but I don’t have the capacity to stop the irrational anxiety. Click here to read the rest of the story
There are many museums working hard to make Autistic people feel welcome.
Autism is a condition which affects how a person experiences the world around them. Autistic people see, hear and feel the world in a different way to other people.
It is a spectrum condition, and Autistic people are not all the same. All share some difficulties in how they interact with the world. But this affects them in different ways. The amount of support that an Autistic person will need depends on the individual. Having some knowledge of the common challenges they face can help museums learn to support them. Click here to read the rest of the story
Obsessive- Compulsive Disorder (OCD) is defined as a disorder that includes two core symptoms- obsessions and compulsions. According to the Census for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), obsessions are defined by:
Thoughts, impulses, or images that occur over and over again. These thoughts, impulses or images are unwanted. They cause a lot of anxiety and stress.
The person who has these thoughts, impulses or images tries to ignore them or tries to make them go away.
Compulsions are defined as:
Repeated behaviors or thoughts over and over again or according to certain rules that must be followed exactly in order to make an obsession go away.
The person feels that the purpose of the behaviors or thoughts is to prevent or reduce distress or prevent some feared event or situation.
The following are facts and statistics on Obsessive Compulsive Disorder:
1.2% of U.S. adults had OCD in the past year.
OCD was higher for females (1.8%) than males (0.5%).
Among adults with OCD, approximately one half (50.6%) had serious impairment
34.8% of adults with OCD had moderate impairment
14.6% had mild impairment.
OCD affects 2.2 million adults
The average onset is 19 with 25% of cases occurring by age 14
One-third of affected adults first experience symptoms in childhood
17% of autistic people may specifically have OCD
Because of similar characteristics, it is often overlooked
It affects people of all races, ethnicities, and socioeconomic backgrounds
OCD is one of the top 20 causes of illness-related disability worldwide for individuals between 15 and 44 years of age
1 in 40 adults are affected.
1 in 100 children are affected
Other conditions may co-exist with OCD including anxiety, bipolar, ADHD, autism spectrum, Tourette syndrome, and major depressive disorder.
Worldwide, OCD is approximately 2% of the general population
OCD ranks 10th place among all diseases
1 in every 200 children has the disorder 60 to 70% of OCD children improve significantly with therapy.
Growing up, Heidi Slatter always felt she was different from other children.
Heidi, who lives in Paignton, grew up and went to school in Totnes. Unfortunately for Heidi, school was a traumatic experience, a place where she said she experienced bullying from teachers as well as other pupils. Click here for the rest of the story.
She said: ”I was highly sensitive, intelligent and doing life differently.’
”I had a horrendous time at school. Which has now left me with childhood trauma. I left with no GCSES or qualifications. The school system completely failed me and I suffered intense bullying. I was not being listened to, or got told I was a naughty child.”