Archive for the 'Delinquency' 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.

Little Keswick to feature talk by Ross Greene

The Little Keswick Foundation for Special Education, a philanthropic group associated with the Little Keswick School in central Virginia, announced that Ross Greene, author of The Explosive Child and Lost at School, will speak at its 16th Annual Education Symposium scheduled for 10 October 2013 from 7:00 to 9:00 PM at Piedmont Virginia Community College’s V. Earl Dickinson Center. The session, entitled “Collaborative & Proactive Solutions: Understanding and Helping Behaviorally Challenging Kids (and their Caregivers),” is open to the public and there is no admission fee.

A child psychologist, Ross Greene has taught courses for the Department of Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School and the Department of Psychology at Virginia Tech. He is founder of Lives in the Balance, a non-profit devoted to explaining and supporting his theraputic approach, called “Collaborative Problem Solving.” In addition to his books, Professor Greene has published research articles in well-respected journals such as Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, American Journal of Psychiatry, and Journal of Emotional and Behavioral Disorders.
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Another photo for fun

I was moving some materials from one office to another when I came across this photo of some friends. Believe it or not, I took this with a film camera. Yes, it is from the 1990s, even before 1997 or so, I think.

I suspect it was at one of the annual meetings in Tempe (AZ, US) of the Teacher Educators of Children with Behavior Disorders, as these are some of the usual suspects who attended those meetings. A casual search on any of these folks’ names will reveal that they are prominent contributors to the literature about improving the lives of children and youths with Emotional and Behavioral Disorders, the families of those children and youths, other students who do and do not have disabilities, their teachers and administrators, and on and on. Students who studied just these people’s writing in detail would get quite a valuable education.

Virginia Campaign for Children’s Mental Health

Twelve key children’s services for community services boards
  1. specialized children’s emergency services;
  2. crisis stabilization;
  3. evaluations for Comprehensive Services Act services;
  4. psychiatric/medication;
  5. office-based mental health therapy;
  6. office-based substance abuse therapy;
  7. mental health case management;
  8. intellectual disabilities case management;
  9. substance abuse case management;
  10. home-based behavioral treatment and support for families;
  11. school-based day treatment; and
  12. local residential services.

Right here in my home commonwealth of Virginia last week, Mira Signe, Vicki Hardy-Murrell, John Morgan, and Margaret Nimmo Crowe explained why it is important that government and private organizations attend to and address issues in children’s mental health. By explaining that Virginia has inadequate services and that one in every five children or youths experience mental health problems at some time during their lives, they made the point that that there is a tremendous need for public focus on these issues. This was the kick-off event for the Campaign for Children’s Mental Health.

The Campaign for Children’s Mental Health is a 3-year sustained effort to make mental health services more available and accessible to Virginia children in need. It will strongly endorse Governor-elect McDonnell’s call for system improvements; urge the General Assembly and state and local government to work collaboratively with the administration to address system deficiencies; and conduct a high-profile three-year advocacy and education drive to build public and political support for improved mental health services for children.

Only about one in 20 of Virginia’s children have access to the key services listed in the accompanying box. So, four out of five children who need these services do not have access to them.

No, Virginia, this is not an acceptable way to treat our children. Let’s do better.

First Step takes off

Hill Walker and colleagues reported that the First Step to Success program benefitted young children at risk for developing emotional or behavioral disorders. In a longitudinal study of the three-year program conducted in Albuquerque (NM, US), the researchers found substantial reductions in disruptive behavior and improvements in social functioning.

In a press release, Professor Walker said, “Albuquerque was the first opportunity we had to mount a large-scale study of the program using a randomized control group, the gold standard for research. First Step has been implemented widely, but not [studied] in this way.”
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Evidence-based practices registry

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, which is a part of the US Department of Health and Human Services, maintains a Web site where users can search for and learn more about methods for preventing or treating some Emotional and Behavioral Disorders. It’s called the “National Registry of Evidence-based Programs and Practices” (NREPP) and, for those who are concerned about employing or recommending evidence-based practices, it’s worth reviewing.

The National Registry of Evidence-based Programs and Practices (NREPP) is a searchable online registry of mental health and substance abuse interventions that have been reviewed and rated by independent reviewers.

The purpose of this registry is to assist the public in identifying approaches to preventing and treating mental and/or substance use disorders that have been scientifically tested and that can be readily disseminated to the field. NREPP is one way that SAMHSA is working to improve access to information on tested interventions and thereby reduce the lag time between the creation of scientific knowledge and its practical application in the field.

NREPP is a voluntary, self-nominating system in which intervention developers elect to participate. There will always be some interventions that are not submitted to NREPP, and not all that are submitted are reviewed. In addition, new intervention summaries are continually being added. The registry is expected to grow to a large number of interventions over the coming months and years. Please check back regularly to access the latest updates.

Although NREPP originally focused on substance abuse, its coverage is broader now. Look for resources about, for examples, Across Ages; Aggressors, Victims, and Bystanders: Thinking and Acting To Prevent Violence; Al’s Pals: Kids Making Healthy Choices; All Stars; Caring School Community; CASASTART; Children’s Summer Treatment Program (STP); Coping Cat; Creating Lasting Family Connections (CLFC)/Creating Lasting Connections (CLC); Early Risers “Skills for Success”; Families and Schools Together (FAST); Guiding Good Choices; Incredible Years; Keep A Clear Mind (KACM); Keepin’ it REAL; Lions Quest Skills for Adolescence; Multisystemic Therapy (MST) for Juvenile Offenders; Multisystemic Therapy With Psychiatric Supports (MST-Psychiatric); Positive Action; Primary Project; Project Northland; Project Towards No Tobacco Use; Project Venture; Promoting Alternative THinking Strategies (PATHS), PATHS Preschool; Protecting You/Protecting Me; Right Decisions, Right Now: Be Tobacco Free; SAFEChildren; Second Step; SMARTteam; Storytelling for Empowerment; Strengthening Families Program; Strengthening Families Program: For Parents and Youth 10-14; Success in Stages: Build Respect, Stop Bullying; Too Good for Drugs; and Too Good for Violence;

Familiar concerns?

Summer in the US finds children and youths out of school and, perhaps, less vulnerable to some of the problems that are associated with the social and academic demands that are part of schooling. As a result, perhaps fewer of the familiar problems illustrated in this poster are apparent during summer.

If summer seems like a relief from such problems, though, that could be an important indicator that those very problems need to be addressed. A few weeks away from school probably will not cure them. Those same difficulties may still be occurring, just less obviously, and they are likely to recur soon.

Individuals or the families of children who experience the kinds of problems noted in the poster should consult the resources available from the US government’s Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. One will not find easy cures there, but by carefully perusing the resources available one can learn what signs to monitor and where to go to get help.

The image is hot. Click it to get to a good starting place.

Healthy youth

Even though many schools in the US have closed for the summer or are about to do so, I want to remind folks that this is not a good time to take a break from considering the mental health needs of children and youth. Although they are likely to wax and wane over time, mental health problems don’t take many vacations.

Learn more about US resources for individual children and youths who have emotional and behavioral disorders by surfing the rich resources assembled by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMSHA) of the US Department of Health and Human Services. Although some of the materials may be a tad out of date (e.g., prevalence figures have been updated for some disorders such as Autism), there are still plenty of valuable materials available from SAMHSA.

Go there! Compare what you see learn there with what’s available at other trustworthy sites. Learn what to do and from whom help is available.