February 2020

By Anne Dachel, Media Editor, Age of Autism and LossofBrainTrust.com



Pocohantas (WV) Times School system increasing medical staff for student safety  Staff reporter Suzanne Stewart made it clear that students are coming to school with really serious health issues/learning problems although the reasons for this happening are not addressed.

“… the medical issues of students today have grown to the point that a medical professional is needed full-time.”

“To meet the needs of the students, superintendent of schools Terrence Beam said the Pocahontas County Board of Education is seeking two LPNs to assist school nurse Jenny Friel.”

 “Our kids are coming to us with all kinds of emotional and physical issues that – up to this point – we have been unable to provide the assistance that was necessary.”

 ‘The actual physical condition of the kids is different than it was twenty years ago. We have more diabetic students. We have more kids with major allergies. We have kids with seizure disorders.

 “In addition to physical medical concerns, there is also an increase in social and emotional issues.”

Sometimes we focus a lot on the academics and the athletics in our school systems, but we really need to look at the physical and the mental condition of our kids, because it is difficult.”

Charlottesville (VA) Daily Progress: Bell’s inhaler, EpiPen, bus driver, Scottsville bills advance

A bill in the state legislature would authorize all school nurses to stock Albuterol inhalers for students with asthma.

Leghbridge News (Canada): New severe allergy protocols a welcome sight at Holy Spirit schools

The government of Alberta, as of Jan 1st, “has required all K-12 schools in the province to have at least one epinephrine auto-injector.”


Jan 25, Charlotte (NC) Observer: CMS needs hundreds of social workers to meet national standards. Can county afford them?

$5.6M in county funding will be used to hire 25 new social workers for the district. In addition:

“The district is looking to hire 30 additional mental-health professionals, including counselors and psychologists.”

“Staffing deficits at CMS call for recruiting 500 more social workers, as well as 150 counselors and 115 psychologists, according to an analysis provided to the Mecklenburg County commissioners ahead of their annual board retreat next week. …

In recent years, the number of students screened for suicide risk at CMS has soared.”

WAAY-TV Huntsville, AL: State Department of Education Wants to Add More Funding for Mental Health Services in Schools

Alabama Department of Education is asking for $7.7M in additional funding to address student mental health.

“I think across our state and certainly across our district, we’re seeing an increase of mental health issues at an earlier age for students.”

“The money would also provide more full-time therapists to schools.”

Jan 24, NorthCentralPA,com:

Danville, Pennsylvania school district is shortening the school day and reducing class requirements to help improve student mental health.

Butte (MT) Standard: A social-emotional learning approach transforms an Anaconda school

“So this whole thing here is the sensory hallway, and we added it as a way for kids to calm down themselves,”

“While it helps students with motor skills and provides sensory input, the sensory hallway is part of a larger movement to get Lincoln students to learn how to ‘self-regulate.’”

“‘What’s self-regulate? So think of it like: When you get upset, are you able to calm yourself without assistance?’ explained Barney.”

 (UK) Exeter Fe News: How to support students with their mental health

“With one in eight children suffering from some form of mental health issue during their childhood years, it is important that we as parents and teachers are able to understand what this means for our children and how we can support them.”


 (UK) Barking and Dagenham Post: Council leader vows to ‘provide right infrastructure’ as demand for Barking and Dagenham school places is expected to soar

 “Barking and Dagenham has experienced rapidly increasing numbers of youngsters needing support for special educational needs and disabilities (SEND), councillors heard.”

“A forecast total of 113 primary and 353 secondary SEND pupils is anticipated over the next four years, the majority with autism.”

Trumbull (CT) Times: Trumbull schools face ‘dire’ budget situation

“[Superintendent] Iassogna had told the board the schools were running a deficit projected at up to $2 million and that he had implemented a spending freeze and a hold on overtime and substitute teacher costs”.

The biggest factor, though, is special education and transportation for students in special education programs.” 

“In October 2019, we identified $1.4 million in special education and transportation costs. That number has only grown.” 

AZFamily.com: Bill to address Arizona special education funding for first time in nearly 20 years

“With more students having more severe disabilities, there is a growing strain on general classroom spending in Arizona’s public schools.”

“Now, Arizona lawmakers are considering a bill that would help public schools manage the rising cost of special education services.”

“Dr. Kym Marshall, Director of Student Services for Chandler Unified School District says the special education population has exploded and so have the needs.”

“It’s not just about reading writing and math, it’s more about mental health, social emotional.”

“What we do know is that the population keeps growing without any additional funding.”

“Between the 2007 to 20017 school years, the number of Arizona students diagnosed with autism more than doubled.”

“There are just too many children who fall into these classifications that haven’t been true in the past,” said Sen. Allen. “I don’t know all the reasons and I guess it doesn’t matter for this argument. We have the issue now let’s try to help these kids.”

South Portland (ME) Press Herald: Center’s disabilities awareness programs in high demand

As schools deal with an increasing number of children with disabilities like autism, demand for disabilities awareness and sensitivity programs has increased, meaning Portland-based organization The Cromwell Center currently has a waiting list of 25 schools.”

“She estimates that between 10 and 12 percent of the school’s students have some type of disability and said that while she has not noticed more autism diagnoses in recent years, she said the number of students who are in special education or require an individualized education plan has increased over the last few years.”

North Somerset Times: Overwhelming support for special school expansion

“A special school has received overwhelming support for its expansion ambitions, during a five-week consultation.”

“Baytree School, in Weston, is desperately in need of more space to cope with the growing demand for children with  special educational needs.”

Independent (UK): ‘Heartbreaking’: Parents of autistic children face waits of up to three years for diagnosis and support, charity warns

 “Around half (46 per cent) of families waited 18 months or longer for a formal diagnosis for their autistic child, according to a survey of nearly 4,000 parents by Ambitious about Autism.” 

“Once a diagnosis is made, nearly three in four (70 per cent) parents said they were still not offered adequate support for their child – such as therapies that help with speech and language.”

Texarkana (AR) Gazette: Cost of special education keeps rising

Over the past decade, greater numbers of Arkansas children have been diagnosed with disabilities that require them to receive education.” 

“Consequently, Arkansas public schools are spending greater amounts of money on special education.” 

“Last year, there were almost 64,000 students with a diagnosed disability in Arkansas public schools. That is 13.4% of the state’s total student enrollment.” 

“The number of students diagnosed with autism has gone up 55% since 2013. The increase is attributable to an increased awareness among educators and others of the characteristics of autism.” 

“The growth in children diagnosed with dyslexia has followed a similar trend. In 2014, for example, 957 students received therapy for dyslexia.” “In 2014, only 89 school districts and one charter school reported results from screening for dyslexia.” 

Guardian (UK): New Rush Hall school to increase capacity

“A special needs school has welcomed plans to increase its capacity in the face of growing demand.”

“New Rush Hall school, in Fencepiece Road, Fairlop, will be expanded from 64 places to 80 after Redbridge Council gave plans the green light on Tuesday, January 7”.

“The school – rated outstanding by Ofsted in 2016 – is a specialist school for children and young people experiencing significant social, emotional, behavioural and/or mental health difficulties.”

“Executive headteacher, Sam Walters, welcomed the news, saying the demand for places had greatly risen in recent years.”

“There has been a huge increase in the number of young people needing EHC plans, particularly for social and mental health needs, has naturally meant that there are not enough appropriate school place to meet the populaces needs.”

“Since 2014, the number of Redbridge resident pupils with an EHC plan has risen approximately 35 per cent.”

“Council officials estimate the borough’s special educational needs and disability (SEND) pupil population will grow by 16.5 per cent (153 school places) for primary education and 33.7 per cent (248 places) for secondary by 2025.”

NJ Spotlight: Sweeney Looks to Help Districts with Special Education Costs

“Tuition for out-of-district placement of some students often runs well into six figures.”

“The high cost of special education in New Jersey is getting renewed attention, as Senate President Steve Sweeney presses the state to do more to help districts pay for students with severe disabilities.”

“Long an advocate for special education as a parent of a child with special needs, Sweeney said he wants to ease the tension that arises with the high costs of serving these students, and said the state can and should do more.”

“But the rising costs of special education — and specifically those of specialized outside schools where tuition costs can reach six figures — has been a contentious issue for years, if not decades….”

KLFM, Norfolk (UK): More special needs learning places might be created in west Norfolk

The plan is part of Norfolk County Council’s £120 million [$160M US] transformation of special educational needs”.

“The programme seeks to create 500 extra school places by building up to four new specialist schools and expanding existing SRBs or building new ones.”

(EpiPen) on-site at all times” in case of a severe allergic reaction.


Cedar Rapids Gazette: School districts reverse course, won’t provide student seclusion data

Cedar Rapids elementary school students were held in seclusion rooms or physically restrained 237 times in the first month of this school year — more than 10 times a day and more than four times as much as in the first month of the 2015-2016 school year.”

“School seclusion has been a lightning rod in recent years as more parents learn about 6-by-6 foot rooms with padded walls used to contain overwrought students in schools across Iowa.” 

“…most elementary students were put into seclusion for violent behavior that included kicking, biting, hitting and throwing items that could harm others.” 

“Teacher and staff injuries that involved students rose 88 percent, from 226 to 425, in the past five years in the Des Moines Public Schools…”

Sunderland Echo: Echo readers back a call for an end to use of isolation booths in schools

With concern growing that an increasing use of the booths for disruptive students could have serious effects on young people’s mental health, we asked if their use should be stopped.”



The post February 2020 appeared first on Children's Health Defense.

© 04 Feb 2020 Children’s Health Defense, Inc. This work is reproduced and distributed with the permission of Children’s Health Defense, Inc. Want to learn more from Children’s Health Defense? Sign up for free news and updates from Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. and the Children’s Health Defense. Your donation will help to support us in our efforts.

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