What is Hydrocephalus?

Some people refer to hydrocelphus as ‘water on the brain.” The name is taken from the greek words “hydro” meaning water and “cephalus” referring to the head. Hydrocephalus is actually a build up of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) within the cavities in the brain inside the ventricles. The purpose of the Cerebrospinal fluid is to serve as a protective cushion surrounding the brain and the spinal cord.

The fluid moves in constant circulation and is then absorbed into the blood stream. Hydrocephaly occurs when the fluid begins to build up in the cavities causing excess fluid to increase in the ventricles adding pressure on the brain which can cause damage to the brain tissues.

Types

There are two major types of hydrocephalus:

Congenital. In this case, a child was born with it. The cause could be due to both genetic or environmental factors during the early stages of fetal development such as an infection or a birth defect or rubella.Through advanced technology, hydrocephaly can now be diagnosed through ultra sound testing

 

Acquired.  Occurs when it is developed after birth. It may be due to a brain tumor, stroke, head injury or meningitis

Communicating.  (Obstructive) Occurs when the CSF becomes blocked after leaving the ventricles

Non Communicating. (Non-Obstructive) occurs when the craniospinal fluid becomes blocked after leaving the ventricles.

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How Autism And Visual Perception Affect Train Travel

Train operator GWR is now working for their second year in providing bespoke autism awareness raising sessions for their front line staff, allowing them to be better prepared to help people living with the condition use public transport.

Looking to provide the best possible experience for all passengers, GWR is working in collaboration for a second year with UK Autism charity Anna Kennedy Online increasing autism awareness to help its staff improve in meeting the needs of those travelling with autism.

For many with an Autism spectrum condition, some of the more commonly experienced issues is increased anxiety and sometimes overwhelming sensory processing information as well as the need for structure and reassurance. Click here to read the rest of the story.

15 Facts About Cri Du Chat Syndrome

Cri-Du Chat (cat’s cry) is a rare genetic disorder that results when a piece of the 5p chromosome is deleted. The name is French for “cry of the cat,” referring to the high-pitched cat-life cry. Other characteristics include intellectual disability, hyperactivity, and delay development. below are some more facts on this rare disease.

Click here to download PDF article

  • Cri du Chat is French for cat’s cry or crying cat
  • The syndrome gets its name from the infant cry which is similar to a meowing kitten
  • The cry is due to issues with the larynx and nervous system
  • About one third of children lose the cry by the age of 2 years.
  • It is also known as 5p- (5p minus)
  • The size of the deletion varies among affected individuals
  • Cri du chat syndrome is not inherited.
  • About 10 percent of people with cri du chat syndrome inherit it from an unaffected parent.
  • Is a chromosomal condition that results when a piece of chromosome 5 is missing
  • People diagnosed with cri du chat tend to have distinctive facial features
  • Occurs in an estimated 1 in 20,000 to 50,000 newborns
  • Cri du chat is found in  people of all ethnic backgrounds
  • It was first described by Jerome Lejeune in 1963
  • It is more common in females by a 4.3 ratio
  • It is a rare genetic disorder
  • In some cases, cri du chat syndrome may go undiagnosed
  • Children born with cri du chat syndrome are more likely to have developmental delays
  • The symptoms of cri du chat vary from person to person
  • Both children and adults with cri du chat are often seen as cheerful and friendly.

 

References

Genetic and Rare Diseases Information Center

National Organizations of Rare Diseases

Williams Syndrome and Teaching Strategies

Williams Syndrome also known as Williams-Beuren syndrome was discovered in 1961 by J.C.P. Williams, a Cardiologist from New Zealand. Williams Syndrome is a rare disorder with a prevalence of in 7,500 to 20,000 caused by the deletion of genetic material from chromosome 7. Williams syndrome symptoms include heart problems, low birth weight, l problems and developmental delays. 75 are diagnosed with mile to moderate intellectual disabilities or a learning disability.

Click here to download PDF article

Physical characteristics include:

Musculoskeletal

Almond shape eyes

Broad forehead

long neck

Longer upper lip

Puffiness around the eyes

sloping shoulders

Small chin

Small upturned nose

Wide mouth

Learning Characteristics

  • ADHD
  • Enjoys music
  • Developmental delay
  • Excellent long-term memory
  • Learning disability
  • Poor fine motor skills
  • Seizures
  • Tactile defensiveness

Teaching Strategies

Students with Mild intellectual disabilities will have difficulty with abstract thinking, executive functioning including planning, prioritizing, and cognitive flexibility. According to the Williams Syndrome Association Website, Children with Williams Syndrome face challenges with processing non-verbal information and displays difficulty with attention to detail.

Strategies should include:

  • Using short sentences
  • Repeat directions
  • Break task into small steps
  • Use concrete examples when introducing new words or concepts.
  • Teach one concept at a time
  • Use a multisensory approach which will help to stimulate learning
  • Utilize visual learning style including the use of flash cars, pictures, images, handouts and colors.

Reference

Williams Syndrome Association

Williams Syndrome- Facts and Statistics

Click here to download PDF article

May is Williams Syndrome Awareness Month. It is a rare genetic condition that affects over 1 in 10,000 people worldwide. If you teach in a special needs classroom or work in an adult day habilitation program, it is likely you have experienced working and teaching a student or individual diagnosed with Williams Syndrome. Below you will find some interesting facts and statistics on the disorder:

  • It is a genetic condition that is present a birth.
  • It is a developmental disorder
  • Tend to have a mild or moderate intellectual disability.
  • It is also known as Beuren Syndrome and Williams-Beuren Syndrome.
  • The symptoms were first described by John C.P. Williams in 1961.
  • A year later, German Physician, A.J. Beuren described three new incidents of patients with similar facial features.
  • It is caused by the spontaneous deletion of 26-28 genes on Chromosome #7
  • The deletion is caused by either the sperm or the egg.
  • The deletion is present at the time of conception
  • The most common symptoms of Williams Syndrome includes unusual facial features and heart defects.
  • The diagnosis is typically confirmed after identifying facial features and genetic testing.
  • An individual with Williams Syndrome has a 50% chance of passing the disorder on to their children.
  • Williams Syndrome affects 1 in 10,000 people worldwide.
  • An estimated 20,000 to 30,000 people in the United States are affected.
  • It occurs in both males and females equally
  • It is found in every culture
  • Individuals with Williams Syndrome tend to be overly friendly.
  • People with Williams Syndrome often have difficulty with visual-spatial tasks
  • Congenital heart defects (CHD) occur in approximately 75 percent of children
  • By the age of 30, the majority of individuals with Williams Syndrome have pre-diabetes or diabetes.

 

 

References

Genetics Home Reference

National Organizations for Rare Diseases

William Syndrome Association

10 Important Facts On Trisomy 18

Today is National Trisomy Awareness Day. Below are 10 important facts on Trisomy 18.

  • It is also known as Edwards Syndrome
  • It is a condition caused by an error in cell division
  • An extra chromosome in 18 develops
  • Occurs in 1 out of every 2500 pregnancies in the United States
  • It is 1 in 6000 live births
  • Only 50% of babies who are carried to term will be born alive
  • Children are often born with heart defects
  • Features include a small head, small jaw, clenched fists and severe intellectual disabilities
  • It is named after John Hilton Edwards, who first described the syndrome in 1960
  • It affects different organ systems

 

25 Developmental Disability Links and Resources You Should Know About

March is Developmental Disabilities Awareness month! Although I blogged  the definition of developmental disabilities here, I wanted to give you more information besides the Federal regulation. Quite often, people are confused between the definition of an intellectual disability and 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).

The disability is likely to occur indefinitely meaning the person will require some type of ongoing service throughout their lives. Finally, the person must show limitations in 3 or more of the following areas of major life activities:

  1. Self-care– brushing teeth, hand-washing and combing hair independently
  2. Receptive and expressive language-ability to understand someone talking and to also be understood
  3. Learning– ability to read and write with understanding
  4. Mobility-ability to move around without any assistance
  5. Self-direction– time management, organization
  6. Capacity for independent living– requiring no supervision
  7. Economic self-sufficiency – having a job  and purchasing what one needs

The following are links to articles on various types of developmental disabilities including resources with facts and statistics, organizations, and sign and symptoms.

22q11.2 Deletion Syndrome

27 things to know about Fragile X Syndrome

ADHD- facts and statistics

Angelman Syndrome

Angelman syndrome resources

Cri Du Chat Resources

Developmental disability acronyms you should know 

Developmental disability awareness ribbons

Down syndrome-facts and statistics

Down syndrome timeline

Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy

Early Intervention- Resources and Information

Edward Syndrome Resources

Global developmental delays

Intellectual Disability Resources

Over 30 online resources on Rett syndrome

Pervasive DD-NOS

Prader Willi Syndrome Resources

Resources for teaching students with Down syndrome

Ring Chromosome 22 Resources

Teaching self-regulation and autism spectrum disorder

Things to know about Angelman Syndrome

Turner Syndrome Characteristics

What is Prader Willi Syndrome?

William-Beuren Syndrome Resources

Intellectual Disabilities And Epilepsy

According to the Epilepsy Foundation, epilepsy is the fourth most common neurological disorder and affects people of all ages. In fact, 1 in 26 people have seizures and while people who are diagnosed with epilepsy may have no other problems, this is not the case for children and adults with an intellectual and developmental disability where the rates are much higher.

Click here to download PDF format

It is estimated that 30% of children with epilepsy also have another type of disability. Some studies show that children with an intellectual disability and cerebral palsy, had a 35% chance of developing epilepsy, children with an intellectual disability alone had an 8% chance and children with a brain injury occurring after birth stood a 75% chance of developing epilepsy. Statistically, the risky of a child with a developmental disability experiencing an unprovoked seizure by age 5 is 4 times likely than the general population. It is estimated 1.8% of U.S. adults have epilepsy compared to 22% among people with intellectual disabilities.

People with intellectual disabilities tend to also have worse prognosis with adults having a higher rate of death including Sudden Unexplained Death In Epilepsy (SUDEP).

Epilepsy

Epilepsy is a chronic disorder with recurrent unprovoked seizures. According tot he National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS), epilepsys are a spectrum of brain disorders ranging from severe, life-threatening to ones that are more benign. The International League Against Epilepsy created a new definition of epilepsy. A person is considered to have epilepsy if they meet any of the following conditions:

  1. At least two provoked (or reflex) seizures occurring greater than 24 hours apart.
  2. One Unprovoked (or reflex) seizure and a probability of further seizures similar to the general recurrence risk (at least 60%) after two unprovoked seizures, occurring over the next 10 years.
  3. Diagnosis of an epilepsy syndrome

A seizure is defined as an event and epilepsy is the disease involving recurrent unprovoked seizures.

Intellectual Disability

According to DSM-5, an intellectual disability is a disorder with onset during the developmental period that includes both intellectual and adaptive functioning deficits in conceptual social, and practical domains including deficits in intellectual functions such as reasoning, problem-solving, planning, abstract thinking, judgment, academic learning and learning from experiences.  The severity levels range from mild to profound.

Although there is a high relationship between epilepsy and an intellectual disability, little research has been conducted on safe prescribing practices of an antiepileptic drugs for people with intellectual disabilities. What is known about epilepsy and an intellectual disability is that more severe disabilities are typically caused by damage to the brain

Why is it important to discuss?

Given the large number of people with an intellectual disability and epilepsy, treatment may be more complicated due to multiple impairments including people with a diagnosis of autism, intellectual disability and epilepsy. More research needs to occur which will help to reduce morbidity rates and help to develop accurate guidelines.

2019 Disability Awareness Month and Observance Calendar

Annual awareness observances are sponsored by federal, health and non-profit organizations. Awareness campaigns serve the purpose of informing and educating people on a certain causes. Each year, the number of special needs organizations bringing awareness to specific disabilities and disorders seem to grow. Awareness activities range from one day to a month.
Here is a calendar of major special needs awareness months, weeks, and days. Most websites include awareness toolkits, promotional materials and fact sheets. Since it is still early in the year, some of the campaigns still have 2018 campaigns on their websites. I will add new information once the changes are up on the websites.

January

National Birth  Defects Month

January 4- World Braille Day

January 20- International Day of Acceptance

January 24- Moebius Syndrome Awareness Day

February

Turner Syndrome Awareness Month

February 15- International Angelman Day

February 28- Rare Disease Day

March

Cerebral Palsy Awareness Month

Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month

Kidney Awareness Month

Multiple Sclerosis Month

Social Work Awareness Month

Trisomy Awareness Month

March 1- Self-Injury Day

March 1- International Wheelchair Day

March 21- World Down Syndrome Day

March 26- Purple Day for Epilepsy

April

April 2- World Autism Awareness Day 

May

Better Hearing and Speech Month

Ehlers-Danlos Awareness Month

Mental Health Awareness Month

National Asthma and Allergy Awareness Month

Prader Willi Awareness Month

Williams Syndrome Awareness Month

May 1- Global Developmental Delay Day

May 15- Tuberous Sclerosis Global Awareness Day

May 5-12- Cri du Chat Awareness Week

May 8-14- Brain Injury Awareness Week

June

Aphasia Awareness Month

June 17- CDKL5 Awareness Day 

June 23- Dravet Syndrome Awareness Day (Canada)

Tourette Syndrome Awareness Month

July

July 14- Disability Pride Parade (NY)

July 14- Disability Awareness Day (UK)

July 22- National Fragile X Awareness Day

September

Chiari Awareness Month

Craniofacial Acceptance Month

Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy Awareness

Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Syndrome Awareness Month

Hydrocephalus Awareness Month

National Spinal Cord Awareness Month

Sickle Cell Awareness Month

Sepsis Awareness Month

September 7- World Duchenne Awareness Day

September 9- Fetal Alcohol Awareness Day

October

ADHD Awareness Month

Down Syndrome Awareness Month

Dysautonomia Awareness

National Disability Employment Awareness Month

National Dyslexia Awareness Month

Occupational Therapy Awareness Month

October 6- World Cerebral Palsy Day

October 15- White Cane Awareness Day

October 13-19 Invisible Disabilities Week

October 13-19 International OCD Awareness Week

National Physical Therapy Month

Rett Syndrome Awareness Month

Special Needs Law Month

Spinal Bifida Awareness Month

November

22q Awareness Month

Epilepsy Awareness Month

November 1- LGS Awareness Day

November 7- National Stress Awareness Day

November 15- World Ohtahara Syndrome Awareness Day

December

December 3- International Day of Persons with Disabilities

4 Tips On Winter Safety For Individuals With Disabilities

Individuals with developmental disabilities have a greater chance of being impacted by the cold weather. for example people with disabilities are at a higher risk for hypothermia. Hypothermia is defines as a condition in which the body core temperature drops below the required temperature for bodily functions. Here are 5 tips on winter safety:

  1. Register with the Special Needs Registry for Disaster. This allows residents with disabilities and their families and caregivers an opportunity to provide information to emergency response agencies so emergency responders can better serve people during a disaster. The information is shared with local, state and federal agencies.
  2. For people using a wheelchair, make sure to wrap a small blanket around your legs by tucking it underneath the chair. This will help to maintain body heat.
  3. Wear multiple layers of clothing including a scarf around your neck, a winter hat and two pairs of socks.
  4. In the event of a winter storm, make sure your home is stocked with flashlights/batteries, non-electric can opener, bottled water, extra blankets and a first aid kit.