New System Shown to Improve Early Diagnosis of Autism

Published by: Psych Central
Written by: Rick Nauert PhD

Researchers at Indiana University School of Medicine have developed a new system to screen and evaluate children for autism spectrum disorders. The primary care-driven system will be implemented statewide with a goal of determining if a children has an autism spectrum disorder (ASD) at an earlier age.

A 2020 report from the Centers for Disease Control estimates that 1 in 54 children in the United States is identified each year with ASD. While children can be diagnosed with ASD as early as 2 years old, most children are still being diagnosed after the age of 4.

A growing body of evidence supports the value of early diagnosis and treatment. Studies have found that early evidence-based interventions can significantly improve the quality of life of those with ASD as well as of their caregivers and families.

This study, published in Pediatrics, is the first of its kind in the U.S. to include health care systems across an entire state.

“One of the unique aspects of this effort is its scale. While similar innovative diagnostic approaches have previously been tested across the country, our primary-care based Early Autism Evaluation hubs provide data representing much of the state of Indiana,” said lead author Rebecca McNally Keehn, Ph.D., H.S.P.P. Click here to read the rest of the story.

Supporting a Special Needs Child with Sickle Cell Anemia in the Classroom

 

What is Sickle Cell Anemia?

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), SCD is a group of inherited red blood cell disorders. Healthy red blood cells are round, and they move through small blood vessels to carry oxygen to all parts of the body. In someone who has SCD, the red blood cells become hard and sticky and look like a C-shaped farm tool called a “sickle”. The sickle cells die early, which causes a constant shortage of red blood cells. Also, when they travel through small blood vessels, they get stuck and clog the blood flow. This can cause pain and other serious problems such infection, acute chest syndrome and stroke.

What is an Intellectual Disability?

DSM-V defines intellectual disability as a disorder with onset during the developmental period that includes both intellectual functioning including abstract thinking, judgment, academic learning, problem solving.  Adaptive functioning including limitations in activities of daily living, communication, social participation, and independent living across multiple environments such as home, school, work and community. Deficits are on the onset during the developmental period.

According the American Association on Intellectual Disabilities (AAIDD), Intellectual Functioning refers to general mental capacity such as, learning, reasoning and problem-solving.

Types

Although historically, the levels of severity was based on I.Q. scores, this has changed to adaptive functioning which determines the levels of support required.

Mild
  • Social Domain- There may be difficulties in regulating emotions and behaviors in an age-appropriate manner. There tends to be a limited understanding of calculated risk, and social judgment.
  • Practical Domain- May need assistance in independent living skills such as grocery shopping, transportation, banking and food preparation.
Moderate
  • Social Domain: Capacity for relationships is evident in ties to family and friends and may have successful friendships across life and sometimes relationships in adulthood.
  • Practical Domain: Can care for personal needs involving eating, dressing and hygiene and as an adult participate in all household task.
Severe
  • Social Doman: Spoken language is limited. Speech may be ingle words or phrases. The individual understands simple speech.
  • Practical Domain: Requires support for all activities of daily living, including meals, dressing and bathing. The person will require supervision at all times. Unable to make responsible decisions regarding self-care.
Profound
  • Social Domain: Has limited understanding of symbolic communication in speech and gestures. The person expresses his or her own desires and emotions through non-verbal communication.
  • Practical Domain: The child or adult is dependent on other people for basic needs including self-care and independent living including health and safety.

A sickle cell “crisis” occurs when the red blood cells decrease and the irregular sickle cells block the blood vessels leading to organ damage and pain. A person with an intellectual disability may not be able to communicate they are experiencing a crisis. signs and symptoms to look for include:

  • Pain
  • Tiredness
  • Fatigue
  • Leg Ulcers

Ways to support a student with sickle cell includes the following:

  1. Offer water throughout the day including frequent small amounts of water
  2. allow for accommodations during extreme weather conditions
  3. Watch for signs of a stroke
  4. Allow the student opportunities to make up homework if missed days from school are due to an illness or crisis.

Resources

Kids Health
Mayo Clinic
Medicine Net
NHLBI (National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute)
WebMD
Organizations

Children’s Sickle Cell Foundation, Inc.

Foundation for Sickle Cell Research

Sickle Cell Disease Association of America

Asthma and Allergy Awareness Information

Resources

Asthma and Allergy Foundation of American- Awareness Month Resources

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Resources

Healthlines

Mayo Clinic

United States Environmental Protection Agency- Resources

WebMD-Facts

Updated 9/23/2020

What is Tourette Syndrome?

According to the Tourette Association of America, tics are involuntary, repetitive movement and vocalizations. They are the defining feature of a group of childhood-onset, neurodevelopmental conditions known collectively as Tic disorders and individually as Tourette Syndrome.

Tics are common in childhood. The estimated prevalence of Tourette Syndrome disorder range from 3 to 8 per, 1,000 in school-aged children. Males are more commonly affected than females. Some people may have tic-free periods of weeks to months.

There are three types:
  1. Motor tics cause a movement including eye blinking, facial grimacing, jaw movements, and head bobbing
  2. Vocal/phonic tics produce a sound including throat clearing, grunting, hooting, and shouting
  3. Provisional tic disorders involve a person who experiences involuntary motor and/or verbal tics for one year.
Signs and Symptoms:

Tic Disorders:

  • eye blinking
  • coughing
  • throat clearing
  • sniffing
  • facial movement
  • shoulder shrugging

Vocal Tics:

  • barking or yelping
  • grunting
  • repeating what someone else says
  • shouting
  • sniffing
  • swearing
Co-Occurring Disorders Include:
  • Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)
  • Obsessive -Compulsive Disorder
  • Learning difficulties
  • Behavior problems
  • Anxiety
  • Mood problems
  • Sleeping issues
  • Social skills and deficits

 

Tourette Syndrome-It's not what you think it is » Movement ...

Risk Factors
  • Temperamental- it is worsened by anxiety, excitement and exhaustion.
  • Environmental- observing a gesture or sound in another person my result in an individual with a tic disorder making a similar sound.
  • Genetic- genetics and environmental factor influences tic symptoms.

The Deafening Silence of My Anxiety: ADHD and Sound Sensitivity in Lockdown

Published by: ADDitude
Written by: Cynthia Yoder

Teaching Strategies for Students with Cerebral Palsy

Cerebral palsy is a motor disorder which results from damage to the brain occurring before, during and after birth. Cerebral palsy is the most common motor disability in childhood and it is estimated that 1 in 323 individuals have been identified with cerebral palsy.

Since cerebral palsy is the result of damage to the brain, it impacts each person differently ranging from severe to mild symptoms. It is estimated that many children with cerebral palsy also have at least one co-occurring condition. For instance, 41% had co-occurring epilepsy and 40% of children were diagnosed with an intellectual disability.

Teaching strategies should focus on assistive technology, fine and gross motor skills, and personal care. Accommodations and modifications should include providing extra time for task completion.

The following links provide information on teaching strategies.

Accommodating a student with cerebral palsy

Cerebral palsy in the classroom

How to make your classroom inclusive for students with cerebral palsy

How to teach children with cerebral palsy

Inclusive teaching strategies for students with cerebral palsy

Students with mild cerebral palsy in the classroom: Information and guidelines for teachers

What teachers should know about children with cerebral palsy

Autism and Mental Health Resources

 

5 ways to help reduce anxiety in children with autism

Anxiety: children and teenagers with autism spectrum disorder

How can you support your teenager with autism spectrum disorder if they are depressed

Managing anxiety and depressive symptoms in adults with autism spectrum disorder

Managing anxiety in children with autism

Mental health and autism

Mental heath treatment for people with autism spectrum disorder

The deep emotional ties between depression and autism

The essential guide to anxiety and autism

Treating mental health disorders in kids on the autism spectrum

Invisible Disabilities You Should Know

What is an Invisible Disability?

According to the Invisible Disabilities Association, the term invisible disability refers to symptoms such as debilitating pain, fatigue, dizziness, cognitive dysfunction, brain injuries, learning differences, mental health disorders, as well as hearing and visual impairments. They are not always obvious to the onlooker, but can sometimes or always limit daily activities range from mild challenges to severe limitations and vary from person to person

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)

 Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is a neurological disorder characterized by a pattern of inattention and/or hyperactivity-impulsivity that disrupts functioning in both children and adults typically, a person with ADHD, the difficulties lies in the part of the brain that allows people to perform higher level task known as the executive function. 90% of people with ADHD also have an executive function disorder. This is the part of the brain that engages in goal-direction and self-regulations.

Two Types of ADHD:

Types of ADHD

Type 1: Inattention Without Hyperactivity

  • Trouble paying attention
  • Trouble following direction
  • Trouble following through with task
  • Easily distracted
  • Seems disorganized or careless
  • Slow to process information

Type 2: Hyperactivity Without Inattention

  • Trouble paying attention
  • Restlessness
  • Impulsive speech and action
  • Excessive talking
  • Difficulty waiting turns
  • May have a quick temper
  • Overactive

 Autism Spectrum Disorder

 Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is a complex neurodevelopmental disorder that impacts social, speech, behavioral and motor skills. It is a spectrum disorder meaning it varies from person to person. No two people have the same symptoms. It is estimated that 1% of the population is diagnosed with autism.

 Dyslexia

Dyslexia is also known as a language-based disability. It is defined as difficulties with accurate and word recognition and by poor spelling which can affect reading fluency, reading comprehension, recall, decoding, writing, spelling, and sometime speech. Signs of dyslexia in adults include:

  • Poor spelling
  • Avoids writing task
  • Gifted and creative
  • Difficulty in following oral and written instructions
  • Difficulty staying on task
  • High level of frustration
  • Difficulty in retaining information
  • Test-taking anxiety.
  • Highly curious
  • Insightful
  • Curiosity
  • Good communication of stories read to them

 Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder

Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD) according to the National Organization on Fetal Alcohol Syndrome describes the range of effects that can occur in an individual whose mother drank alcohol during pregnancy. These affects may include physical, mental, behavioral, and/or learning disabilities with lifelong implications.

Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders is not a diagnosed rather, it is a term that is used to describe a wide-range of effects on a person whose mother drank alcohol during her pregnancy. Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders, show in three areas: abnormal facial characteristics, slowed growth and the central nervous system.

Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders affects each person differently. Signs and symptoms include the following:

  • Abnormal facial features including a smooth ridge between the nose and upper lip
  • Small head size
  • Shorter than average height
  • Poor coordination
  • Hyperactive behavior
  • Difficulty with attention
  • Poor memory
  • Difficulty in school
  • Learning disabilities
  • Speech and language delays
  • Intellectual disability or low IQ
  • Poor reasoning and judgement skills
  • Sleep and sucking problem
  • vision and hearing problems
  • Seizures
  • Processing information
  • Problems with the heart and kidneys
  • Poor concept of time
  • Trouble getting along with others
  • Staying on task

Sensory Processing Disorder

Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD, formally known as sensory integration dysfunction) is a condition in which the brain has difficulty in receiving information from the senses.

Signs and symptoms may include:

·       Oversensitive

·       Common sounds may be overwhelming

·       Uncoordinated

·       Hard to engage in conversation or play

Social workers are poised to help Latino children get autism evaluations

Published by: Spectrum News
Written by:  KRISTINA LOPEZ

Autism can affect anyone, and yet there are stark disparities in how children of different races, ethnicities and income level are diagnosed and treated1.

Latino children are often overlooked in the United States. They comprise one-fourth of all children in the country under age 18 and are expected to make up one-third by 2050. However, U.S. prevalence data have consistently shown that fewer Latino children than white or Black children are diagnosed with autism2. Other research indicates that Latino children tend to be diagnosed later than white children3.

These findings are concerning, given the importance of identifying autism early and intervening to enhance a child’s social-communication skills. Researchers and clinicians need to consider the cultural factors that may influence autism diagnosis and treatment, develop new assessment tools and programs dedicated to the Latino population, and explore other means to lower the disparities. Click here to read the rest of the story.

Teaching Strategies for Students with Orthopedic Impairments

The definition of orthopedic impairment under IDEA means a severe orthopedic impairment that adversely affects a child’s education performance. Causes include:

  • genetic
  • disease
  • injury
  • birth trauma
  • burns
  • fractures
  • cerebral palsy amputation

There are 3 classifications that an orthopedic impairment can fall under:

  1. Neuromotor impairment, this would include cerebral palsy, spinal cord injuries, spina bifida, and seizure disorders
  2. Degenerative Disease such as muscular dystrophy and Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome
  3. Musculoskeletal Disorders including scoliosis and deformed limbs.

Students with orthopedic impairments often qualify for therapy including physical and occupational therapy. assistive technology should be included for accommodating the students needs.

The following links provide resources on teaching assessment, modifications, and teaching information.

Orthopedic impairment: A guide for parents and teachers

Orthopedic impairment characteristics: Classroom modification and assistive technology

Orthopedic impairment and special needs students

Orthopedic impairment disability

Teaching strategies for mobility impaired students

Teaching strategies for orthopedic impairment

Teaching students with disabilities: Orthopedic impairment

Teaching students with orthopedic impairment

Understanding individuals with physical, health, and multiple disabilities