Archive | Developmental Disability RSS feed for this section

Robert Saylor’s death ruled homicide

19 Feb

A gentleman with Down Syndrome went to the movies recently. When the movie was finished, he decided to stay to see it again. In other words, he did not get out of his seat; he did not buy a new ticket. The theater has security guards. Three of them.  Off duty police who were in police uniforms.  All three were called in to deal with this gentleman who would not get out of his seat.

The gentleman, Robert Saylor, died of asphyxiation.

Yes, for “resisting arrest” the off-duty police used enough force to result in the death of the gentleman. Because he wouldn’t buy an $11 ticket.

More at:

Autopsy finds that Md. man with Down syndrome died of asphyxia while in police custody

Robert Saylor death ruled a homicide


By Matt Carey

“We want respect”: adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities address respect in research.

21 Aug

The concepts of neurodiversity are not complex and yet are often misunderstood and misrepresented. Respect is not a difficult concept. The need for research to respect those who are the focus is not difficult.  Respect includes aknowleging that disability does not disenfranchise a person from her human rights. Respect means including the views and opinions of those involved in the research, even if they are intellectually disabled.

Consider this recent study:

“We want respect”: adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities address respect in research.

Abstract Respect is central to ethical guidelines for research. The scientific community has long debated, and at times disagreed on, how to demonstrate respect in research with adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities. To illuminate the voices of those most affected, the author studies the views of adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities on respect in research. Findings are consistent with disability rights’ ideas and indicate that adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities have much to contribute to the discussion, that they value participating, and that they agree with calls to focus on human rights and dignity. Notably, participants spoke at lengths about the nature of interactions between researchers and participants. Implications are discussed, including how to infuse research standards with community-supported values and preferences.

For emphasis: ” . Findings are consistent with disability rights’ ideas and indicate that adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities have much to contribute to the discussion, that they value participating, and that they agree with calls to focus on human rights and dignity.”

Call it “human rights and dignity” and it isn’t a controversial concept. It may not be always followed but it isn’t controversial. Call it “neurodiversity” and somehow it’s a big deal.

One of the misconceptions I’ve read is that neurodiversity is a topic for so-called “high functioning” autistics. Many comments have come through this site calling my child “high functioning” because of the views expressed here. (Those commenters assumed incorrectly).  Here’a something to consider: the study noted above not only focuses on people with intellectual disability, it makes no mention of autism in the abstract.   The study did not even come through in my daily email of pubmed autism abstracts.

How Americans would slim down public education

12 Aug

With economic troubles in the U.S. and worldwide continuing for years, schools are facing tough decisions.  A recent survey, How Americans would slim down public education, in the U.S. taps into the public’s support for education in general and also for special education. 

With budget shortfalls predicted for schools (at least in the area I know best: California) people are thinking of how to react in case of budget shortfalls.  There is no support for increasing taxes to support schools, instead “dramatically changing how [schools] do business”:

End Business as Usual
Which would be the best approach for your district to take if it was facing a serious budget deficit?

48% Cut costs by dramatically changing how it does business.

26% Change as little as possible; wait for times to get better

11% Rely on tax increases

7%  Something else

8%  Don’t know

Which begs the question of how dramatic changes might affect special education.  While there is broad support for special education, there is a strong sentiment that there are children in special ed who do not belong:

When it comes to budget cuts, special education is not immune as far as most Americans are concerned. That’s not to say the commitment of Americans to educate children with special needs is waning—it’s not. But they have concerns about the growth, cost, and effectiveness of serving these kids well.

The overwhelming majority of the public, 83 percent, believes that “the public schools have a moral obligation to educate kids with special needs and learning disabilities, even if it’s more difficult and expensive to do so.”

76 percent believe that “too many students are being mislabeled as having special needs when they just have behavior problems or weren’t taught well in the first place.”

71 percent believe that special education programs should be “evaluated according to whether they help students learn—when students don’t learn, the programs should be replaced

The public is split on supporting the law’s provisions that cost should not be a factor in deciding a special education placement:

According to federal law, districts are required to provide special education services, but they are not allowed to consider the costs of those services. Do you think districts should be allowed to weigh costs when considering which special education services to choose, or do you think the law should be left as is?

44 Districts should be allowed to weigh costs when considering which special education services to choose

47 The law should be left as is

9 [Vol.] Don’t know

There is a lot more discussion in the report on ways schools could (e.g. cut pay, change retirement) and should not (e.g. lay off faculty) reduce costs. More can be found in the report.

Most people think that their schools are an asset to thrir community , but also that the schools have been hit hard by the recession and (77%) that the financial problems will last a long time.

__
By Matt Carey

Social-sexual education in adolescents with behavioral neurogenetic syndromes

30 Mar

A recent paper abstract I read brought up a very important topic which I don’t see discussed much: sex education for adolescents with developmental disabilities. I don’t know how good the paper itself is, but I agree with the conclusion: “Social and sexual education programs are of the utmost importance for adolescents with neurogenetic developmental disabilities. ” On one level I don’t want to think about sex and my kid. But I also have run into a belief that sex isn’t a topic to consider for people with developmental disability and autistics in particular. Perhaps I am naive, but I don’t see this as a good approach. I think sexuality is too important a topic to leave unaddressed. The discussion is going on. Just rarely in the parent-oriented online world.

Isr J Psychiatry Relat Sci. 2010;47(2):118-24.
Social-sexual education in adolescents with behavioral neurogenetic syndromes.

Plaks M, Argaman R, Stawski M, Qwiat T, Polak D, Gothelf D.
The Behavioral Neurogenetics Center, Feinberg Department of Child Psychiatry, Schneider Children’s Medical Center of Israel, Petah Tikwa, Israel.

Abstract
BACKGROUND: Adolescents with developmental disabilities have unmet needs in their sexual and social knowledge and skills. We conducted a sexual social group intervention in adolescents with neurogenetic syndromes, mainly with Williams and velocardiofacial syndromes and their parents.
METHOD: Ten adolescents with neurogenetic syndromes and 14 parents participated in a Social Sexual Group Education Program. The program was delivered in 10 biweekly sessions to the adolescents and their parents separately.
RESULTS: The focus of psychoeducation in both groups was the adolescents’ self-identification, acceptance of the developmental disability, independence, establishment of friendship and intimate relationship, sexual knowledge and sexual development, and safety skills. Change in independent activities of adolescents and in their concept of “Friend” was measured.
CONCLUSIONS: Social and sexual education programs are of the utmost importance for adolescents with neurogenetic developmental disabilities. These programs should start already before adolescence and follow the children into young adulthood.

March Is Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month

3 Mar

For the past few years, each April gets a lot of attention for Autism Awareness Month. All well and good but are you aware that Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month has already started?

A message from The Arc:

March Is Our Month

Thanks to the advocacy efforts of The Arc in the 1980s, President Ronald Reagan officially declared March to be Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month in 1987. For nearly a quarter of a century, The Arc and its network of 700+ chapters across the country have fostered respect and access for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities (i/DD). We have made tremendous progress in promoting and protecting the rights of people with I/DD and creating opportunities for them to live, learn and work as valued members of their communities.

However, it’s time more people became aware of the challenges faced by more than 7 million Americans and their families as they strive to be fully included in society. Join us during March to help raise awareness. Volunteer at a local chapter of The Arc. Donate. Or simply speak up and help enlighten those around you. Find out more about I/DD and what you can do at www.thearc.org today. Watch our blog, Facebook page and Twitter profile for messages all month about things you can do as an individual to help raise awareness then spread the word…share and retweet and let’s get everyone talking about I/DD during March.

The Arc Action Alert – Do You Want “Congregate Care”?

25 Feb

The Arc sends out periodic Action Alerts. I just got this one in my email inbox. Do you think the government should go back to segregated living and institutions for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities? Now is your chance to add your comments and be heard.

Do You Want “Congregate Care”?
Then now is the time to counter calls for institutions and other segregated settings

institution for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. The Administration on Developmental Disabilities (ADD) has just extended the deadline for submitting testimony for its national listening sessions. And people who support institutions are wasting no time in letting ADD know what they want. In fact, VOR is calling on its membership to “Tell ADD to support Choice” in residential settings for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

Please take a minute to provide your comments to ADD and let them know that segregated, congregate living for people with disabilities should NOT be a choice. We know all too well that abuse, neglect and other forms of denigration are far more likely to occur in large congregate settings. Integrated, community based housing is the only policy the federal government should be supporting.

It’s critical that ADD hear from many people with intellectual and developmental disabilities or their family members. Please submit your comments before March 4 at:
http://www.envision2010.net/comment_submit.php

Thank you in advance for your advocacy.

Work stress, burnout, and social and personal resources among direct care workers.

18 Feb

No surprise, people who have jobs caring for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities face a lot of stress. A recent paper has looked into what causes and alleviates the stress for these workers.

Work stress, burnout, and social and personal resources among direct care workers.

Gray-Stanley JA, Muramatsu N.

School of Nursing and Health Studies, Northern Illinois University, 253 Wirtz Hall, DeKalb, IL 60115, United States.
Abstract

Work stress is endemic among direct care workers (DCWs) who serve people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Social resources, such as work social support, and personal resources, such as an internal locus of control, may help DCWs perceive work overload and other work-related stressors as less threatening and galvanize them to cope more effectively to prevent burnout. However, little is known about what resources are effective for coping with what types of work stress. Thus, we examined how work stress and social and personal resources are associated with burnout for DCWs. We conducted a survey of DCWs (n=323) from five community-based organizations that provide residential, vocational, and personal care services for adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Participants completed a self-administered survey about their perceptions of work stress, work social support, locus of control, and burnout relative to their daily work routine. We conducted multiple regression analysis to test both the main and interaction effects of work stress and resources with respect to burnout. Work stress, specifically work overload, limited participation decision-making, and client disability care, was positively associated with burnout (p<.001). The association between work social support and burnout depended on the levels of work overload (p<.05), and the association between locus of control and burnout depended on the levels of work overload (p<.05) and participation in decision-making (p<.05). Whether work social support and locus of control make a difference depends on the kinds and the levels of work stressors. The findings underscore the importance of strong work-based social support networks and stress management resources for DCWs.

What adds to burnout? Work overload. Not being involved in decision making. Also, levels of client functioning, mobility, and intellectual abilities are a factor. If I read the paper correctly, levels of client functioning are a bigger factor than work overload.

Supervisor support and coworker support alleviated some of the stress and burnout.

The study concludes:

Policies or interventions developed as a result of this analysis might include strategies to foster work-based social support networks (i.e., team building efforts), as well as interventions to help workers develop personal stress management resources (Tierney, Quinlan, & Hastings, 2007). Successful protocols, once identified, can contribute to improved DCW job morale and ultimately better client care.

I don’t think stress and the sources of stress come as any great surprise. However, the more information available to make notions into supported facts, the better. If this can help caregivers and caregiver organizations support in reducing workload and adding methods to alleviate stress, so much the better for all. Especially the clients.