Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Autism sets back families $35,000 a year, WA study finds - ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)

Autism sets back families $35,000 a year, WA study finds - ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)

Families of children with autism are facing tens of thousands of dollars in costs and lost income, a Western Australian researcher has found.
The study — thought to be the first of its kind in WA — set out to measure whether a delayed diagnosis increased long-term costs for families.
But the paper, published in this month's edition of journal PLOS ONE, also established the median cost of a child being diagnosed with autism as $34,900 per annum.
Curtin professor and joint author Torbjorn Falkmer said the findings, drawn from the responses of 317 Western Australian families, had huge implications for parents.
"The majority of that cost, 90 per cent of it ... is because of the lack of the chance to have employment because parents have to stay home and take care of the children with autism, because they don't get the support they need," Dr Falkmer said.
"I think the system we have right now is showing us that parents are being forced to stay home, because they can't take a job because someone's got to take care of the kids.
"This just goes to show, that if we had proper child care and of course early diagnosis as well ... the parents would be able to work."
He said the impact was not limited to families who were disadvantaged by the economic loss, but also wider society.
"Autism cuts across every socio-economic demographic from highest to lowest," he said.
"We are just losing out on people who can actually work."

Work flexibility needed: 'You never know what's going to happen'

Tanya Harding's daughter Tara, now 11, was diagnosed with autism when she was six.
Ms Harding said she had scaled back her hours and only did temporary work because she needed the flexibility.
"Work-wise, it does put a lot of pressure on," she said.
"The amount of time I have to take off because there's appointments, and trying to get the hours of work in, trying to keep a constant security at work because you never know what's going to happen."
She said the costs of therapy for children with autism were high, while daycare centres that understood their needs were difficult to find.
The kids on the spectrum, they see and they hear and they know absolutely every single thing that's going on around them.
South Guilford mother Tanya Harding
"Since [Tara] started school, ... that has been one of my biggest problems," Ms Harding said.
"In social situations, which first of all is their biggest trigger, ... it's difficult for them to understand.
"They don't process things and understand things, body language or the normal things that neuro-typical kids learn naturally.
"They do need a lot of extra supports, a lot of extra intervention, things you wouldn't even think of."
Children with autism can react to stimulus that would not affect other "neuro-typical" kids, she said.
"[In school] there's a lot of sensory processing going on around her, there's a lot of noise," she said.
"The kids on the spectrum, they see and they hear and they know absolutely every single thing that's going on around them.
"Where a neuro-typical child would be able to sit and focus on their work, and probably wouldn't even notice what's going on around them.
"But these kids are focusing on what they are trying to do plus trying to process everything going on around them, [like] the bus going past on the road on the other side of the school."

True cost may be higher, support coordinator says

The coordinator of a support group for parents of children with autism said she thought the $35,000 per annum cost may be an underestimate for many families.
"My business was thriving, I had to close it down; so I lost my career and income significantly higher than that amount," the mother, who asked not to be named, said.
Our kids are supposed to have 20 to 40 hours of therapy a week, which is just impossible to afford or to manage practically speaking.
Parent support coordinator
She said a Centrelink carer's allowance of $115 a fortnight did not begin to meet costs.
"That doesn't even cover one session a week of occupational therapy or psychology for our child," she said.
"Our kids are supposed to have at least 20 hours of therapy a week when they are small, which is just impossible to afford or to manage, practically speaking."
She also pointed out that the emotional and psychological costs of the diagnosis impacted on families well beyond finances.
"We've lost friendships, we've lost the ability to visit friends and invite friends over," she said.
"There's been a huge amount of strain on our family because of our daughter's lack of flexibility, controlling behaviour caused by anxiety and hyper-sensitivity to all sensory input.
"We've been really isolated at the schools that she's been to and just in the community in general because of those sorts of things, as well as her lack of social awareness."
But she said the solution may not be as simple as more child support or extra government money.
"There's problems in the medical system with long diagnostic wait lists, the welfare system with restrictive eligibility criteria and the child care system as well, and then on top of all that you have to deal with the impact on the child's, parents' and siblings' mental health," she said.
"It's not just as simple as ask the Government to give us more money or child care places and we'll just pop them in there and we'll go happily back to our career.
"It's certainly not that simple because its a 24 hour a day job being a parent of an autistic child."

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Inclusion Rates For Special Education Students Vary By State - Disability Scoop

Inclusion Rates For Special Education Students Vary By State - Disability Scoop

Where a child lives may significantly impact whether they are placed in an inclusive or segregated classroom, a new national analysis suggests.
Regional differences appear to play a role in education placements for students with autism, with those living in the West more likely to attend mainstream classes while students in the Eastern United States are more frequently assigned to segregated settings, according to findings publishedonline in the journal Focus on Autism and Other Developmental Disabilities.
For the study, Jennifer Kurth, an assistant professor of special education at the University of Kansas, combed through U.S. Department of Education data on placements for children with autism in the nation’s schools between 1998 and 2008.
On average, about 37 percent of students on the spectrum spent at least 80 percent of their school day in inclusive environments. But the numbers varied considerably from one place to the next, ranging from just 8 percent in Washington, D.C. to 62 percent in Iowa.
Similarly, Kurth found extreme differences across the states in the number of students placed in self-contained classrooms and residential or otherwise separate schools.
“If child-specific factors were solely responsible for education placement decisions, one would expect states to have similar rates of inclusive, self-contained, mainstreaming and separate school placements for students with ASDs,” Kurth wrote. “Instead, … results indicate that educational placement varies by state.”
Overall, the analysis found that Colorado, Connecticut, Idaho, Iowa, Minnesota, Nebraska, North Dakota, West Virginia and Wisconsin most consistently favored inclusion.
In contrast, Alaska, Delaware, Florida, Hawaii, Louisiana, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, South Carolina and Washington, D.C. generally leaned toward restrictive settings.
When funding formulas for each state were examined, Kurth found that a handful of states appeared to incentivize placing students in more restrictive environments, but said that these monetary policies did not appear to have a “clear impact” on educational placement decisions.

Monday, September 8, 2014

Lee's Summit R-7 School District: Please Help Us Get The Word Out About What Has Happened To Your Family

Lee's Summit R-7 School District: Please Help Us Get The Word Out About What Has Happened To Your Family

Has your child faced issues in the Lee's Summit School District?  Have you been forced to homeschool your child or pay for private school?  Has the district allowed your child to be bullied by peers or employees?  Is your child receiving the Free and Appropriate Education that they are Federally entitled to?  Are you willing to speak out?  You can do so anonymously.  I will be glad to forward your story to someone that is willing to investigate this and put a stop to this madness.  

Did you know that the district is actively advocating taking away your rights?  Did you know that they are using their power ad resources to make sure that you will no longer have the rights that you have right now?  Are you willing to help me stop them?  

I know that you are afraid of retaliation.  I won't begin to tell you that it won't happen.  I know of too many cases where it has.  I know of many lives that have been ruined and futures that have been lost.  I am standing up and saying that we won't take it any more.  Will you please help me?

I have been called "that Tucker Nut" by district personnel.  My son has been told that they are doing things to him because his mom won't back down.  My son has been told that I am making his life harder by standing up for what is right.  I told him that is a bully's way of quieting a person and I won't be bullied.  I was forced to have him drop out so that they couldn't damage him any further.  But, he wasn't receiving an education or the services that he was entitled to, so that was no great loss.

PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE help me to help other families.  Only when we stand together can we end this madness.

Lee's Summit R7 is using it's power, influence, and resources to promote the following bills.  If they are successful you will have even less of a chance of making the district do what is ethical, legal, moral, and right. Do you really believe the district should be promoting this?  I know someone that can help us end this madness.  

Controversial legislation proposing changes to the Missouri Human Rights Act earned a veto from Gov. Jay Nixon during last year’s legislative session — and the fight is on this year with the introduction of a similar bill.
Last year’s Senate Bill 188 and this year’s legislation, SB 592, have few differences, said Rich Germinder, chief of staff for Sen. Brad Lager, R-Savannah, who proposed both bills.
“The same components are still there,” Germinder said. “The primary component being the changing of the causation standard from a contributing factor to a motivating factor standard.”
The MHRA states that a fired individual can file a lawsuit against the employer because he or she thinks any one part of the decision related to the firing involved rights protected by MHRA, such as race, age or gender, Germinder said. Shifting to a motivating factor, which is what the federal standards use, would mean the human rights violation would have to be the main reason, he said.
Supporters of the bill, which was approved Jan. 12 by the Senate Committee on Commerce, said it will bring Missouri’s law in line with federal human rights legislation. Those opposing the changes said it will weaken the rights of individuals in discrimination claims. SB 592 is expected to be among the first debated in the 2012 session.
Nixon has a policy of not commenting on proposed legislation because it changes during the process, spokesman Scott Holste said.
But it seems unlikely his opinions have shifted much since last year’s veto.
In a news release after the veto last year, Nixon said SB 188 would undermine the MHRA and make it harder to prove discrimination.
Public School Liable for Sex Harassment of Student by Another Student. 
Doe ex rel. Subia v. Kansas City, Missouri Sch. Dist., (WD73800, 4/17/2012) 

o Doe alleged that he was sexually harassed and sexually assaulted by another student on multiple occasions during school hours on school grounds. Doe asserted the District's acts and omissions violated the MHRA because the sexual harassment and sexual assaults occurred on the basis of his gender and constituted sex discrimination. He claimed that the school is a public place of accommodation, and that he was deprived of the full, free, and equal use and enjoyment of the school and its services by way of the District's actions and inactions. 

o The public school district's liability for student-on-student sexual harassment under the MHRA is the same as that for an employer's liability for co-worker sexual harassment under the MHRA. The school district is liable if it knew or should have known of the harassment and failed to take prompt and effective remedial action. 

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Journal Retracts Autism Study Citing 'Serious Concerns' - Disability Scoop

Journal Retracts Autism Study Citing 'Serious Concerns' - Disability Scoop

A new study suggesting that decade-old data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention provides evidence of a link between autism and vaccines has been retracted amid concerns about its validity.
The paper published last month in the journal Translational Neurodegeneration concluded that African-American boys have a higher risk of autism if they receive the measles, mumps and rubella vaccine before age 2. The findings were based on a reanalysis of data from a 2004 CDC study.
The publication was accompanied by the release of a documentary-style video featuring Andrew Wakefield — whose since-debunked 1998 study first sparked concerns about a link between vaccines and autism — which includes allegations of fraud and a widespread cover-up by government scientists.
The video features recorded conversations between the author of the current study, Brian Hooker of Simpson University, and William Thompson of the CDC who worked on the initial study. In the video, Thompson is heard saying “we didn’t report significant findings.”
Now, however, the journal has withdrawn Hooker’s paper.
“This article has been removed from the public domain because of serious concerns about the validity of its conclusions. The journal and publisher believe that its continued availability may not be in the public interest,” reads a statement on the website for Translational Neurodegeneration.
The CDC is standing behind it initial study findings, which included information on the age of vaccination for kids with and without autism. Findings were not broken down by race because such information was not available for all study participants, the agency said.
“The data CDC collected for this study continue to be available for analysis by others,” the agency said in a statement. “Additional studies and a more recent rigorous review by the Institute of Medicine have found that MMR vaccine does not increase the risk of autism.”
For his part, Thompson said in a statement issued by his lawyer that he was unaware that Hooker was recording their conversations.
“I regret that my co-authors and I omitted statistically significant information in our 2004 article published in the journal Pediatrics,” Thompson said. “I want to be absolutely clear that I believe vaccines have saved and continue to save countless lives. I would never suggest that any parent avoid vaccinating children of any race.”