Top 10 Trainings Every Bus Driver and Matron Should Have

Transporting a child with a disability to school on a bus is indeed a huge responsibility. For children with a disability, alertness matters as well ensuring bus drivers and matrons are trained on managing many issues that can arise on the bus. the following are the top ten trainings every bus driver and matron should have:

CPR. Although in adults cardiac arrest is often sudden and results from a cardiac cause, in children with cardiac arrest is often secondary to respiratory failure and shock. A CPR course will teach the sequence of steps for children including basic steps for calling for additional assistance.

First Aid. A course in first aid will train bus drivers and matrons steps to take in the case of an emergency. Children with disabilities have a variety of issues, taking a course in a first aid course can help to save a child’s life. Courses should include topics on choking, bleeding, injuries, allergic reactions, sudden illnesses and signs and symptoms.

Disability Awareness. This will  help both bus drivers and matrons identify and understand their own personal attitudes and perception regarding children and adults with disabilities.

Overview of Developmental Disability. Understanding the various types of developmental disabilities is vital in transporting children and adults from home to school. A course on developmental disability should include information on learning about the different types of disabilities,  including cognitive, physical and invisible. An overview should also include information on barriers that exist for people with disabilities.

Introduction to Epilepsy. Children and adults with disabilities tend to experience a high prevalence of epilepsy. Both drivers and matrons should be aware there are several types of seizures from generalize seizures to partial seizures. Some children experience seizures where it may appear they are simply staring. A training on epilepsy will teach ways to recognize the signs of epilepsy what do to in the event of a seizure while driving.

Understanding Behaviors. All behaviors have a meaning . It is a way of communicating for children and adults who may not have the ability to express pain, fear or anger verbally.

Bus Safety and Disabilities. Bus drivers are generally taught how to drive the bus or van in a safe manner. But what in instances when there is an emergency with children with disabilities on board? There should be training on emergencies that can occur on the bus including fires, accidents, and vehicle breakdown.

Recognizing Abuse. Studies show a large number of children with disabilities are abused and even larger numbers are bullied. a training course in recognizing abuse should cover not only looking for physical signs, but also children who are mistreated and neglected as well.

Safe Loading. Keeping children safe on the bus on van is one of the key responsibilities of the bus driver and matron. Some children with disabilities may use wheelchairs and other adaptive equipment. Trainings should include knowledge on using the wheelchair lift including the manual lift in the case of an emergency. Vital information includes safe securing of lap trays, electrical wheelchairs, vest of harness which should be monitored during the bus ride.

Overview of Autism. While no two students are alike. there are general characteristics that children with autism may exhibit including, anxiety, depression, seizure disorder, cognitive delays, sensory challenges and repetitive behaviors. Being well-informed of autism and how to mange will make the bus ride go smooth on those challenging days.

Can you think of any other important trainings bus drivers and matron should have when transporting a child with a disability?

 

 

2020 Special Needs Conferences and Seminars for Professionals and Families

The following are upcoming special needs and developmental disability conferences and seminars for the year. The conferences include annual meetings, specialty conferences and professional development courses. Click on the highlighted title to get further information.

January

27th Annual Florida Statewide Card Autism Conference
Date: January 17-19, 2020
Location: Orlando, Fl.

Annual Autism conference for families, educators, professionals and autistic adults.

ICADD International Conference on Autism and Developmental Disorders
Date: January 30-31, 2020
Location: Dubai, United Arab Emirates

CASP The Council of Autism Service Providers Annual Conference
Date: January 13-14, 2020
Location: Scottsdale, AZ

7th Annual Conference on Depression, Anxiety and Stress Management
Date: January 20-21, 2020
Location: Barcelona, Spain

Autism Spectrum Disorder Across the Life Span
Date: January 11, 2020
Location: Boston, MA

DADD 21st International Conference on Autism, Intellectual Disability and Developmental Disabilities
Date: January 22, 2020
Location: Sarasota, FL

Future Horizon
An Evening with Temple Grandin
Date: January 28, 2020
Location: Atlanta, GA

Features Renown Dr. Temple Grandin who will give insight backed by research evidence and own experience.

February

Council for Exceptional Children
February 5-8, 2020
Portland, Oregon

DFW Autism Conference
Date: February 6-7, 2020
Location: Hurst, TX

Autism Conference and Training
Date: February 7-8, 2020
Location: Vancouver, BC

Special Needs Planning Symposium
Date: February 7-9, 2020
Location: Napa, CA

Future Horizon
An Evening with Temple Grandin
Date: February 11, 2020
Location: Oklahoma City, OK

Features Renown Dr. Temple Grandin who will give insights backed by research evidence and own experience.

Future Horizon
An Evening with Temple GrandinDate: Lubbock, TX
Location: February 17, 2020

Features Renown Dr. Temple Grandin who will give insight backed by research evidence and own experience.

Learning Disabilities Association 57th Annual International Conference
Date: February 17-20, 2020
Location: Orlando, FL

National Autistic Society- Autism Professional Conference
Date: February 27-28, 2020
Location: Birmingham, London

19th Annual Alabama Autism Conference
Date: February 28, 2020
Location: Tuscaloosa, AL

2nd European Autism Congress
Date: February 28-29
Location: Budapest, Hungary

March

Professional Development and Parent Seminars
Date: March 5, 2020
Location: Albany, New York

Autism Conference and Training
Date: March 5-6, 2020
Location: Edmonton, AB

Southern Maine Autism Conference
Date: March 7, 2020 8am- 4pm
Location: South Portland, ME

2020 Autism Matters Conference
Date: March 20, 2020
Location: Orange Beach, AL

Autism Through the Life Span
Date: March 21, 2020 8:45-4:30
Location: Li Ka Shing Conference Center
291 Campus Drive, Stanford University

Autism Society National Conference
2020 Disability Policy Seminar
Date: March 23-25, 2020
Location: Washington, DC

11th Annual Honestly Autism Day
Date: March 28, 2020
Location: Hunt Valley, MD

April

Autism Conference and Training
Date: April 2-3, 2020
Location: Ottawa, ON

Nebraska ASD Network State Conference
Date: April 2-3, 2020
Location: Lincoln, NE

Autism Conference and Training
Date: April 16-17, 2020
Location: Halifax, NS

International Conference on Physical Disability Treatments and Therapies
Date: April 23-23, 2020
Location, New York, NY

Autism Converge Autism Summit 2020
Date: April 23-25, 2020
Location: Greenville, SC

Autism Society of Greater Wisconsin 31st Annual Conference
Date: April 30- May 2, 2020
Location: Wisconsin Dells, WI

May

International Society for Autism Research
Date: May 6-9, 2020
Location: Seattle, Washington

Autism Conference and Expo Georgia
Date: May 13-14, 2019
Location: Georgia State University
Atlanta, GA

June

American Association on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities
Date: 1-4, 2020
Location: Pittsburg, PA

Autism Research Conference
Date: June 4
Location: New York, NY

National Autism Conference
Milestones Autism Resources
Date: June 11-12, 2020
Location: Cleveland, OH

European Academy of Childhood Disabilities
Date: June 17-20, 2020
Location: Poznan, Poland

48th Annual National Down Syndrome Congress Convention
Date: June 25-28, 2020
Location: June 25-28, 2020

August

National Association of QDIP’s Annual Conference
Date: August 4-7
Location: New Orleans, Lousiana

September

American Academy for Cerebral Palsy and Developmental Medicine Annual Meeting
Date: September 22-26, 2020
New Orleans, Louisiana

October

Autism New Jersey Annual Conference
Date: October 15-16, 2020
Location: Atlantic City, N.J.

Council for Learning Disabilities
Date: October 15-16
Location: Richmond, VA

November

Annual 32nd International Conference on ADHD
Date: November 5-7
Location: Dallas, Texas

December

2020 CPISRA Conference on Physical Activity and Health for People with Cerebral Palsy or Acquired Brain Injury
Date: December 4-6, 2020
Location: Sydney, Australia

11 Resources on Teaching Personal Safety Skills To Special Needs Children and Adults

Studies show that both children and adults with developmental disabilities are vulnerable to incidents of abuse and injuries. Personal safety includes learning about being safe and dangerous environments. The following articles focus on teaching tips in both the community and in the home.

5 tips on teaching safety skills to children with autism

A guide to personal safety

Community safety skills

How to help individuals with disabilities be safe in the community

Personal safety programs for children with intellectual disabilities

Safety First: Teaching safety skills to children with Autism Spectrum Disorder

Teaching people with intellectual disabilities about fire emergencies

Teaching safety awareness skills to children with autism

Teaching stranger safety skills to children and adults with disabilities

Safety Activities

Activities that teach safety

Safety worksheets from Teacher Vision

January Day Habilitation Activity Ideas

Januay is considered the coldest month of the year in the Northern Hemisphere. The following are January observances, celebrations, events, and holidays that can be used as ideas for your Day Habilitation Program.

You can download the PDF format here:January Day Habilitation Activity Ideas

Keep in mind the following when planning activities:

  • People with intellectual/developmental disabilities are more likely to learn when using a multi-sensory approach which includes engaging people on all levels where they are able to use some of their senses. For example a cooking activity should include, allowing individuals to see what they are doing, taste, smell, and touch, etc.
  • Make sure each activity is broken into small steps
  • Use continuous probing
  • Provide prompting strategies such as independence, verbal, gestural, hand over hand and physical prompting.
  • Allow extra time to complete the task
  • Give immediate feedback including praise.

What You Should Know About GERD and Developmental Disabilities

Feeding problems are common in people with an  intellectual/developmental disability. For example, it is reported that 37% of individuals with diplegia or hemiplegia and 86% of individuals with quadriplegia experience GERD. It is very common in people with cerebral palsy and can show up as anemia, failure to thrive and reoccurring infections.

It is usually missed by people who have been feeding and serving food to individuals with disability due to its subtle signs.

What is Gastroesophageal Reflux? (GERD)

GERD occurs when the muscle connecting  to the esophagus is weak and opens under pressure, allowing the stomach contents to flow back into the esophagus. It is the acid from the stomach to the esophagus. this will irritate the lining of the esophagus and causes heartburn. Without treatment, GERD can cause complications.

What causes GERD?

GERD is usually caused by inflammation from the exposure of the esophagus to the stomach acid. The following can cause GERD:

  • diet such as fatty foods, coffee, peppermint and chocolate
  • decreased muscle tone
  • overweight
  • backup in blockage of the intestinal tract.

There are many reasons for the high incidence of GERD in individuals with intellectual disability including immobility and positioning, abnormal postures, medication use and excessive drooling.

What is a developmental disability?

A developmental disability is described as an assortment of chronic conditions that are due to mental or physical impairments or both. For example, you may have a child or an adult with an intellectual disability or perhaps a person diagnosed with cerebral palsy and an intellectual disability. It is also considered a severe and chronic disability that can occur up to the age of 22, hence the word developmental. A developmental disability can occur before birth such as genetic disorders (i.e. cri du chat, fragile x syndrome,) or chromosomes ( i.e. Down syndrome, Edwards syndrome); during birth (lack of oxygen) or after birth up to the age of 22 (i.e. head injuries, child abuse or accidents).

For people with limited communication, the following are possible signs of gastroesophageal reflux:

If you suspect GERD, make arrangements for the person to be evaluated by a physician.

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

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

Dysgraphia and Workplace Accommodations

Some might be surprised to learn that there are several types of learning disabilities. Dysgraphia is describes as a learning disability that affects writing, spelling and fine motor skills. Dysgraphia is a neurodevelopmental disorder that can occur as a stand alone disorder or part of a co-occurring disorder with other disabilities such as ADHD, Autism, and Dyslexia. Typically it is diagnosed or discovered in the early years when children are beginning to learn how to write. Most adults often remain undiagnosed.

Early Signs of Dysgraphia

Signs and symptoms of dysgraphia generally begin to show up when children began to lean how to write. Early signs of Dysgraphia include:

  • Inconsistent spacing between letters
  • Poor spatial planning
  • Poor spelling
  • Unable to read own handwriting
  • Poor fine motor skills
  • Omitted words
  • Writes slow
  • Pain in hand from writing
  • Messy unorganized papers
  • Difficulty organizing thoughts on paper
  • Illegible printing and cursive letter formation
  • Slopping handwriting
  • Tight, cramped pencil grip
  • Tires quickly when writing
  • mixes upper and lower case or irregular sizes and shapes of letters.

Download a free dysgraphia checklist

Signs and Symptoms in the Workplace

A early signs that rarely disappears is having a “sloppy” handwriting. The person when writing leaves out letters at the end of a sentence, difficulty reading own handwriting after meetings, trouble with filling out routine forms, displays unorganized papers on the desk, difficulty thinking and writing at the same time and tends to mixes upper and lower case letters when writing. The person will also avoid writing when possible and show a preference to using a computer or texting neatness, line spacing, staying inside margins and capitalization rules.

Strategies to Use in the Workplace
  1. If you have a smart phone, you can use the device to record meetings, interviews or instructions that are given to you.
  2. Assitive technology such as tablets, computers and Apps are also useful in transcribing information
  3. Take the time to organize your desk before you leave work in the evening. Prioritize your workflow and create a plan for the next day.
  4. Pre-write. Before you take on the task of writing, create an outline on paper.

Signs and Symptoms of Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders

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

Aspiration Precautions

Children and adults with developmental disabilities often face challenges with eating, drinking and swallowing disorders than the general population. It is estimated that adults with intellectual disabilities require support from caregivers during mealtime. It is common among people who have a diagnosis of cerebral palsy, intellectual disability, physical  disability and muscular dystrophy.

Dysphasia is a medical term used to describe any person having difficulty swallowing foods and liquids taking  more energy and time to move food from the mouth to the stomach. Signs of dysphasia may include:

  • Drooling
  • Food or liquid remaining in the oral cavity after swallowing
  • Complaints of pain when swallowing
  • Coughing during or right after eating or drinking
  • Extra time needed to chew or swallow
  • Reflux of food

Dysphasia can lead to aspiration. Aspiration is defined when food, fluid, or other foreign material gets into the trachea or lungs instead of going down the esophagus and into the stomach. when this occurs, the person is able to cough to get the food or fluid out of their lungs, in some cases especially with children and adults with disabilities may not be able to cough. This is known as Silent Aspiration.

A complication of aspiration is Pneumonia which is defined as inhaling food, saliva, and liquids into the lungs

According to the Office of People with Developmental Disabilities Health and safety Alert, factors that place people at risk for aspiration include:

  • Being fed by others
  • Weak or absent coughing, and/or gag reflexes, commonly seen in people with cerebral palsy.
  • food stuffing and rapid eating/drinking
  • Poor chewing or swallowing pills
  • GERD- the return of partially digested food or stomach contents to the esophagus
  • Providing liquids or food consistencies the person is not able to tolerate such as eating whole foods.
  • Seizures that may occur during eating and/or drinking.

How to recognize signs and symptoms of Aspiration:

  • Choking or coughing while eating or just after eating
  • Drooling while eating or just after eating
  • Eyes start to water
  • Shortness of breath
  • Fever 30 minutes after eating
Intervene immediate if there are signs of aspiration:
  • Stop feeding immediately
  • Keep the person in an upright position
  • Call 911 if the person has difficulty or stops breathing and no pulse
  • Start rescue breathing

Minimize aspiration from occurring by serving the appropriate food texture and liquid consistency. If you are not sure of the right consistency, check with your health care provider. The following are pictures of food consistencies.

Courtesy of OPWDD

Courtesy of OPWDD

Whole. Food is served as it is normally prepared; no changes are needed in
preparation or consistency

Courtesy of OPWDD

1 ” Pieces cut to size. Food is served as prepared and cut into 1-inch pieces
(about the width of a fork).

Courtesy of OPWDD

1/4 Pieces Cut to Size. Food is cut with a knife or a pizza cutter or placed in a food
processor and cut into ¼ -inch pieces (about the width of a #2 pencil)

Courtesy of OPWDD

Ground. Food must be prepared using a food processor or comparable equipment
until MOIST, COHESIVE AND NO LARGER THAN A GRAIN OF RICE, or relish
like pieces, similar to pickle relish. Ground food must always be moist. Ground meat
is moistened with a liquid either before or after being prepared in the food processor
and is ALWAYS served with a moistener such as broth, low fat sauce, gravy or
appropriate condiment. Hard, dry ground particles are easy to inhale and must be
avoided.

 

Courtesy of OPWDD

Pureed. Food must be prepared using a food processor or comparable equipment.
All foods are moistened and processed until smooth, achieving an applesauce-like or
pudding consistency. A spoon should NOT stand up in the food, but the consistency
should not be runny. Each food item is to be pureed separately, unless foods are
prepared in a mixture such as a soup, stew, casserole, or salad.

Aspiration Precautions

  • Make sure the person eats slowly and takes small bites of food
  •  Ensure the person takes small sips of liquids
  • Focus on the person’s swallowing
  • Make sure the person remains upright for a minimum of thirty minutes after eating