Archive for the 'Administration' Category

Students with EBD Hit Hardest by Texas Cap in Special Ed Enrollment

According to reports Brian M. Rosenthal published in the Houston (TX, US) Chronicle, since the early 2000s when the Texas Education Agency (TEA) essentially limited enrollment in special education to 8.5% of the school population, the category of students with disabilities that saw the largest decline in enrollment was emotional disturbance.

Mr. Rosenthal published a series of articles reporting his investigation of systematic denial of services to students with disabilities in Texas beginning in September 2016. The TEA created a system for rating local education agencies’ special education programs that included a benchmark for how many students should be be enrolled. In an installment published 19 November 2016 and entitled “Mentally ill lose out as special ed declines,” he begins the report with the story of Alston Jeffus, an adolescent who is on his way home after spending months in a state hospital. Here are a few paragraphs from Mr. Rosenthal’s article:

The Texas Education Agency’s decision to set an 8.5 percent target for special education enrollment has led schools to cut services for children with all types of disabilities, but mentally ill students like Alston have been disproportionately affected, the Houston Chronicle has found.

Federal law requires schools to provide counseling, therapy, protection from discipline and other support to children with “emotional disturbances,” including severe anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder. Today, however, Texas schools serve 42 percent fewer of those students, relative to overall enrollment, than when the TEA set the benchmark in 2004.

It is a bigger drop than has occurred in almost any other disability category.

In all, an estimated 500,000 school-age children in Texas have a serious mental illness that interferes with their functioning in family, school or community activities, according to the state Health and Human Services Commission.

Only 30,034 receive special education services.

There is a lot more to this story (subscription may be required). I recommend it to readers. Also, I encourage readers haven’t been following Mr. Rosenthal’s excellent reporting on this matter to catch up; the Chronicle published a guide to the series.

Georgia students with EBD unnecessarily segregated and denied equal services

On 15 July 2015, The Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Department of Justice declared that the U.S. state of Georgia had been illegally segregating students with behavior disorders from their peers and failing to provide them with appropriate educational services. The case arises because of a public system in Georgia called the Georgia Network for Educational and Therapeutic Support (GNETS) Program, a statewide system of services designed for students with emotional or behavioral health needs that began in the 1970s and today serves approximately 5000 students.

According to a letter sent to Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal and Attorney Gen. Sam Olens, Georgia

in its operation and administration of the GNETS Program, violates Title II of the ADA by unnecessarily segregating students with disabilities from their peers. In addition, the GNETS Program provides opportunities to its students that are unequal to those provided to students throughout the State who are not in the GNETS Program.

Continue reading ‘Georgia students with EBD unnecessarily segregated and denied equal services’

CCD applauds US Supreme Court ruling on Affordable Care Act

Donna A. Meltzer, Senior Director for Government Relations of the Epilepsy Foundation and current chair of the U.S. Consortium for Citizens with Disabilities (CCD), called today’s decision by the U.S. Supreme Court to uphold the majority of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) a “huge win” for the disabilities community. In the CCD press release she noted that the act prohibits denying insurance on the basis of pre-existing conditions, a tactic that has been used against individuals with disabilities. It will take a while to see how today’s decision affects individuals with emotional and behavioral disorders, but I certainly hope that it will make it more difficult for providers to deny services.

Consortium for Citizens with Disabilities, a group composed of a wide range of different disabilities organizations, issued a press release entitled “Healtcare Ruling a Victory for All Americans.”

US ED resource on restraint and seclusion

The US Department of Education (ED) published Restraint and Seclusion: Resource Document today. After the extensive discussions the last few years about abuses of management procedures (see , especially those used with children and youths with Emotional and Behavioral Disorders, ED contracted with an agency to create this document that provides guidelines for the appropriate use of restraints and seclusion.

The foundation of any discussion about the use of restraint and seclusion is that every effort should be made to structure environments and provide supports so that restraint and seclusion are unnecessary. As many reports have documented, the use of restraint and seclusion can, in some cases, have very serious consequences, including, most tragically, death. There is no evidence that using restraint or seclusion is effective in reducing the occurrence of the problem behaviors that frequently precipitate the use of such techniques.

Continue reading ‘US ED resource on restraint and seclusion’

First Step supported by WWC

The US What Works Clearinghouse (WWC) reviewed research about First Step to Success, an early intervention program for K-3 children who are at risk of developing antisocial behavior, and identified it as having positive effects on ratings of student behavior and potentially positive effects on ratings of emotions, social skills, and academic outcomes. The WWC based its review on two studies by the developers of First Step, Hill Walker and colleagues—alert readers of EBD Blog will recognize one of them (see “First Step Takes Off“).

What Works—which some folks have taken to calling “what doesn’t work,” because they say it rarely identifies practices that are effective—gave the research undergirding First Step a strong review:

The WWC review of interventions for Children Classified as Having an Emotional Disturbance addresses student outcomes in seven domains: external behavior, emotional/internal behavior, social outcomes, reading achievement/ literacy, math achievement, school attendance, and other academic performance. The two studies that contribute to the effectiveness rating in this report cover five domains: external behavior, emotional/internal behavior, social outcomes, reading achievement/literacy, and other academic performance. The findings below present the authors’ estimates and WWC-calculated estimates of the size and statistical significance of the effects of First Step to Success on children classified as having an emotional disturbance….

Two studies reported findings in the external behavior domain.

Walker et al. (1998) found, and the WWC confirmed, four positive and statistically significant differences between treatment and comparison groups on academic engaged time, the Child Behavior Checklist–Teacher Report Forms (CBCL-TRF) Aggression Subscale, the Early Screening Project (ESP) Adaptive Behavior Subscale, and the ESP Maladaptive Behavior Subscale.

Walker et al. (2009) found, and the WWC confirmed, four positive and statistically significant differences between treatment and comparison groups on academic engaged time, the Social Skills Rating System (SSRS) Problem Behavior Subscale for Parents, the SSRS Problem Behavior Subscale for Teachers, and the SSBD Maladaptive Behavior Index. Although the overall design of the Walker et al. (2009) study meets evidence standards, there was high attrition on one outcome: the SSRS Problem Behavior Subscale for Parents outcome. The authors established equivalence for the analytic sample for this outcome; thus, this finding meets evidence standards with reservations.

The mean effect size from the four outcomes in Walker et al. (1998) and the mean effect size from the four out- comes in Walker et al. (2009) were both statistically significant. Thus, for the external behavior domain, two studies with strong designs showed statistically significant positive effects. This results in an intervention rating of positive effects for the domain, with a small extent of evidence.

Walker, H. M., Kavanagh, K., Stiller, B., Golly, A., Severson, H., & Feil, E. (1998). First Step to Success. An early intervention approach for preventing school antisocial behavior. Journal of Emotional and Behavioral Disorders, 6, 66–80.

Walker, H. M., Seeley, J. R., Small, J., Severson, H. H, Graham, B. A., Feil, E. G., . . . Forness, S. R. (2009). A randomized controlled trial of the First Step to Success early intervention: Demonstration of program efficacy outcomes in a diverse, urban school district. Journal of Emotional and Behavioral Disorders, 17, 197–212.

Webinar on FBA and positive behavior support plans


Tim Lewis

If you and your colleagues need to obtain a good foundation on the use of functional behavioral assessment and positive behavior support plans, there is an opportunity coming to satisfy that need.Tim Lewis will present another Webinar under the auspices of the Council for Exceptional Children (CEC), and this one is entitled “Designing Individual Student Positive Behavior Support Plans Through Functional Behavioral Assessment.” It is scheduled for Tuesday 25 October 2011 from 4:00 to 5:00 PM (Eastern Time, US).

Professor Lewis is among the leaders in the area of Emotional and Behavioral Disorders and positive behavior interventions and supports (PBIS). He co-edits the journal Behavioral Disorders and co-directs major projects on PBIS. Follow this link to learn more about the event and how to register for it; it is the third in a series of Webinars on the topic of PBIS that Professor Lewis is providing via CEC. (I don’t have a financial interest in them; I’m just shilling for them for free here.)

Addressing bullying via PBIS


Tim Lewis

Do you want to learn how to do something about bullying in schools? Here’s a way to get started.

Under the auspices of the Council for Exceptional Children (CEC), Tim Lewis will present an online seminar (“Webinar”) entitled “Addressing Bullying Behavior Through Schoolwide Positive Behavior Supports” on Thursday 20 October 2011 from 4:00 to 5:00 PM (Eastern Time, US). Professor Lewis, who teaches and conducts research at the University of Missouri, has a wealth of experience and expertise in the area of Emotional and Behavioral Disorders and positive behavior interventions and supports (PBIS), so this an excellent opportunity to get a good grounding in how to use the features of PBIS to help a school manage bullying problems. Follow this link to learn more about the event and how to register for it; it is one in a series of Webinars on the topic of PBIS that Professor Lewis is providing via CEC. (I don’t have a financial interest in them.)

ASAT newsletter pending

Do you want to know more about evidence-based interventions for Autism? Are you weary of wading through a lot of over-hyped-and-not-well-tested methods hoping to find one gem? Do you come back to EBD Blog because you pine for trustworthy news about Autism?

There is an alternative, another source: The Association for Science in Autism Treatment has a regular newsletter and a new one is about to be released. If readers hustle their bustles, they can register in time to receive the next issue which includes (according to a mailer I received)

  • A feature article in which Dr. Thomas Zane discusses the adoption of Fad Treatments in Autism.
  • Four research article summaries (ranging from treatment comparisons to prevalence of adults with autism).
  • Spotlight on a new organization Advancing Futures for Adults with Autism.
  • Two Clinical Corners (Food Selectivity and Help with the Dentist).
  • Consumer Corner (Review of Transition Resources for Adolescents and Adults with Autism).
  • An in-depth group interview about fostering positive portrayals of science-based treatment in the media.

…and for the rest, you’re just going to have to read to find out!

Here’s a link to register for the newsletter: http://www.asatonline.org/signup. I encourage folks to do.

And, if you ever forget how to find ASAT, you don’t have to poke around looking for this message. Just check over there in the siderail. You’ll find it listed in the “Web Resources.”