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?

 

 

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.

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.

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.

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  • 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.

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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.