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.

What is a Multiple Disability?

According to the Individuals with Disabilities Act (IDEA), multiple disabilities refers to simultaneous impairments such as intellectual-blindness, intellectual disability-orthopedic impairment. The combination of which causes such severe educational needs that cannot be accommodated in a special education program solely for one of the impairments, meaning a student has more than one or multiple impairments. According to the U.S. Department of Education, 2.0 percent of students currently are diagnosed with multiple disabilities.

The term multiple disability is a broad term and can include a number of disabilities. For example, a person diagnosed with cerebral palsy may also have a diagnosed of epilepsy, intellectual disability  and ADHD. The Center for Parent Information and Resources explains that from the term, your cannot tell how many disabilities a child has, which disabilities are involved or how severe each disabilities are involved or how severe each disability is. It is important to know the following in orde to support the child:

  • which individual disabilities are involved;
  • how severe (or moderate or mild) each disability is; and
  • how each disability can affect learning and daily living.

Support should include the following areas:

  • caring for oneself;
  • performing manual tasks;
  • seeing, hearing, eating, and sleeping;
  • walking, standing, lifting, and bending;
  • speaking and communicating;
  • breathing;
  • learning;
  • reading;
  • concentrating and thinking; and
  • working.
Resources

Parent Center Hub

Teaching Strategies for Individuals with Multiple Disabilities

 

Evidence based practices for students with severe disabilities 

Instructional strategies for students with multiple disabilities

Multiple disabilities in your classroom: 10 tips for teachers

Severe and education of individuals with multiple disabilities

Strategies for inclusion of children with multiple disabilities including deaf-blindness

Students who are blind or visually impaired with multiple disabilities

Students with multiple disabilities

Supporting young children with multiple disabilities: What do we know and what do we still need to learn?

Teaching students with multiple disabilities

Teaching students with severe or multiple disabilities

What is Sepsis?

While Sepsis is a severe life-threatening medical condition, it can also affect people with disabilities. According to the Centers for Diseases and Control (CDC), Sepsis is the body’s extreme response to an infection. It is a life-threatening medical emergency. Sepsis happens when an infection you already have —in your skin, lungs, urinary tract, or somewhere else—triggers a chain reaction throughout your body. Without timely treatment, sepsis can rapidly lead to tissue damage, organ failure, and death. Sepsis kills more than 250,000 people a year with 1.5 million diagnosed each year.

Signs and Symptoms
  • An initial infection
  • Fever
  • High heart rate
  • heavy breathing

Severe sepsis occurs during organ failure. signs include:

  • decrease urination
  • breathing problems
  • body chills
  • extreme weakness

Sepsis is caused by:

  • Pneumonia
  • Kidney infection
  • Bloodstream infections.

if you work with an individual displaying any of these signs and symptoms, seek medical attention.

Resources

Recovering from Sepsis– NHS

Sepsis Overview– Science Direct

What is Sepsis?– Sepsis Alliance

Early Intervention Training Resources

The following training resources are from the Center for Parent Information and Resources:

Key terms to know in early intervention– Parent Center Hub. 6-page pdf document

Identification of Children with Specific Learning Disabilities– reviews the process by which schools identify that a child has a specific learning disability

Individualized Family Service Plan (IFSP)– the module includes 1 sideshow presentation, trainer’s guide, speakers notes and 2 handouts

Introduction to Procedural Safeguards- Part C of IDEA designed to protect the rights of parents and their infant or toddler.

The basics of early intervention– Includes a 64-page trainer’s guide in PDF or Word format

Screening, evaluation and assessment procedures– Module 4

Material and Resources from the CDC:

Autism Case Training– Web-based continuing education introductory course on autism.

Preventing Shaken Baby Syndrome-PDF format including resources on the topic

Specific Special Needs Topics:

Getting to know cerebral palsy- training resource in pdf format for facilitators

Supporting the student with Down syndrome in your classroom– created by Down Syndrome Association of West Michigan.

Summer Sensory Activities

June 20th mark the first day of summer. In many places with Covid-19 still looming around, summer fun may be limited but still there is always an opportunity to create sensory activities. the following links below are some suggestions. Some of the links show ways to create sensory bins using different themes. Enjoy and stay safe.

5 summer sensory activities

10 awesome summer sensory play activities

10 washing activities summer sensory play ideas

17 cool summer sensory activities that help kids

Ideas for summer sensory play

Must-try summer sensory activities

Sensory Summer

Spring and summer sensory bins

Summer Sensory Bins

Summer sensory play ideas for kids with ice and water