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.

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. Emotional disturbance- a condition exhibiting one or more of the following characteristics over a long period of time
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. 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)
  9. 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.
  10. 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.
  11. 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.
  12. 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.
  13. 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.

On the Autism Spectrum and Career-Ready: How We’re Preparing Students for Life After College

Source: Adelphi University

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

Down Syndrome and Obesity

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:

  1. 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.
  2. Swimming is an effective exercise. Many pool have walking exercises in the pool as well.
  3. Exercise should be fun, socially and realistic.
  4. For older adults with Down syndrome, look for teachable moments to teach portion control, drinking enough fluids, and eating a well-balanced meal.

Reference

Chicoine, B. and McGuire, B. (2010). The Guide to Good Health for Teen and Adults with Down Syndrome. Bethesda, MD

When Autism and Anxiety Go Hand in Hand

Source: Lifestyle Yahoo

Written by: Molly D. Dann-Pipinias

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

Making the Museum Autism Friendly – best practice from around the world

Source: Museum Next
Written: Charlotte Coates

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

Facts and Statistics- Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD)

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.
  • Many people still hide their OCD behaviors.
Beyond OCD.org
Healthy Place.org
National Institute of Mental Health

Meet the woman fighting to change people’s views of autism

Source: Devonlive
Written by: Charlotte Vowles

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.”