Tag Archive for 'ADHD'

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.

Sugar’s still not to blame

The sugar-makes-kids-hyper hypothesis is still false. Dan Willingham stuck another fork in it. Roasty-toasty. All done. Fizzle.

Now, I’m not advocating a high-fructose, feed-’em-soda-and-sweets diet, to be sure. It’s just that folks need to disabuse themselves of the popular myth that children’s levels of behavioral activity are governed by consumption of sucrose (whether from sugar cane or sugar beet).

Professor Willingham, who pops bubbles with the best of them, lanced this one in his guest post, “The Answer Sheet: How sugar really affects kids.” The evidence is basically the same as what I covered in the mid 1990s under the title “Sugar High?.”

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.”
Continue reading ‘First Step takes off’

Systems of care for ADHD

Children and youths with ADHD and their families ought to know about systems of care. Systems of care are networks of services that are coordinated across different agencies and groups within the community. A system of care focuses on the needs of individuals and should be designed so that it takes advantage of that person’s strengths (i.e., is “strengths based”) and unique characteristics (e.g., ethnic background and native language).

Systems of care have been studied extensively in the disciplines focused on Emotional and Behavioral Disorders. They are not just for kids “lost to the streets.” The coordination of services can be beneficial for individuals with ADHD, too.

Learn more about ADHD and systems of care from the SAMHSA, the US Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. Download a PDF.

Daytrana patch recall

Over on Kenny Handleman’s ADDADHDBlog I learned of a product recall for Daytrana.

Do you or your child take the Daytrana patch for ADD/ADHD? If you do you need to know that the company that manufactures this drug, Noven Pharmaceuticals, is recalling two lot numbers.

Fortunately, the recall is for problems with the packaging. Parents still probably should learn about this product recall. Here’s link to Dr. Handleman’s blog entry.