This was sent from one of our readers. We welcome your discussion in the comments, and please share on FB and elsewhere. Thanks.
I write to you anonymously. I am a teacher and like other teachers, I am afraid of speaking up on the increasing numbers of ill, disabled and IEP students as I fear that my job will be on the line. I know others have spoken up who then had the hand of the dark Blogosphere then dial their Principals, Superintendents or Board of Education to make a complaint. It was not a complaint from a parent of a child at the school, a teacher there, or even a known person in the school district. It was a John Doe who scared that Administrator with words like "confidentiality," or "lawsuit." In not one of these teacher-sharing scenarios were names given of students, but the suffocating hand from the Internet only had to do a soft shoe bullying tactic to knee jerk that school boss into speaking to that teacher and curtailing any further information sharing of public school, health observations. It is meant as a message to all of us who work in the schools -- DO NOT TELL of what you see or suffer the consequences.
Why? Why do these anonymous folks do this and who might they be? To explore that situation is like asking why is Dr. Andrew Wakefleld continuously pursued by the leeches of the Wackosphere and the Medical Industry mob? Not too different really in destruction. Both doctor and teacher have information to share of what they are witnessing with their own eyes. Real evidence of a change, a pattern, a devastating increase in human suffering that they want to explore and discuss. But that message is ugly, toxic and so damning in its connection to public health that the messengers are being attacked. It may have to do with money. That's a big one. There is a lot tied into vaccines and health and it is no secret that to question vaccines causes a panic of future earnings, patents and revenue from mandating a sure thing. On the other side is public health concerns and the fear that if it gets out that there are so many kids chronically ill and in special education, parents will start to question the U.S. vaccination policy (and we are there now).
It's getting really hard to destroy the evidence -- that chronic medical and/or emotional issues are causing mild to profound changes in the children and vaccines are THE culprit is so many of the cases. What to do? One has to then go after the messenger. Destroy their credibility, change the facts, rearrange the players, begin to add untruths and then go for the jugular -- try to cut off their voice by taking away their connection to the evidence -- their job!
So I am here to anonymously say that the number of teens with diagnoses of Autism, Seizure Disorders/Epilepsy, Specific Learning Disability, Non-Verbal Learning Disability, Speech and Language Disorder, Other Health Impaired (ADHD/ADD, Bipolar, Social-Emotional Disorder), Crohn's, Irritable Bowel Disorder, Allergies (with significant Food especially Peanut), Asthma, and Diabetes are horrific. Connections, like seeing Specific Learning Disability AND Asthma as paired diagnoses in many children, makes one wonder if anyone is doing research on that curious and sad occurrence. I am also here to tell you that the increase is NOT because of improved diagnoses of the children or a loosening of criteria. If anything, the elementary schools are really trying to raise the bar on entering special ed. Meetings to bring up children's names as possible candidates will try to add tutoring services, peer homework buddies, or extra time with teachers as avenues to attempt to ameliorate student failure before setting up testing for Special Ed services. To enter into Special Ed begins a connection to not only teams of professionals trained to diagnose discrepancies in learning and bridge the gaps, but a very big connection to funding. Special Education is expensive. To enter into that relationship requires rigorous testing, observation, family input, teacher input, and often outside professional input. We have seen so many children enter into Special Education because they needed it. I am reporting on the teens, those born in the 1993-1997 era. Please be aware that this is a look at a public school. It does not have the severe forms of disability. The numbers of severe autism in the adolescent groups are high. Many of them are unable to handle a public school environment. The sensory issues are too much. The level of safety not enough. The extreme behaviors not appropriate for a public school nor easily contained in a traditional setting. Those private schools have popped up in the landscape over the years as they have been deemed necessary in this age of autism.
So how do the children function in a public school? Many need accommodations to get through the day - extended time on tests; projects; oral directions with written directions; books on cd; someone else to take notes; someone else to read directions; a stress ball near by; help organizing assignments, backpacks, and in general, organizing their lives. They need medication at the nurses office to help them focus, help them breathe, help them digest food, help them with migraines, help them prevent seizures, and help them cope with their emotions. We, teachers often say how we never saw this when we were growing up. We then go back in time a few decades or two and try to pinpoint...when did it change? It was subtle in the beginning. A small but noticeable increase in learning issues, then social-emotional issues began to pick up, then autism, then more learning disabilities, then allergies, then asthma until we are so used to seeing it that it becomes our new normal:
"Job Outlook: Special Education Teacher -Employment is expected to increase faster than the average for all occupations. Job prospects should be excellent because many districts report problems finding adequate numbers of licensed special education teachers.
Employment change. The number of special education teachers is expected to increase by 17 percent from 2008 to 2018, which is faster than the average for all occupations. Although student enrollments in general are expected to grow more slowly than in the past, continued increases in the number of special education students needing services will generate a greater need for special education teachers".
And this just out from California: (HERE) "Special education students with autism in California have more than tripled in number since 2002, even as overall special education enrollment has remained relatively flat, according to an analysis of state education data released yesterday."
"More than 680,000 students -- 11 percent of all California public school students -- are enrolled in special education. The number of students diagnosed with autism climbed from 17,508 in 2002 to 59,690 in 2010"
My message here is a look at a group of ages, birth cohorts of an era where vaccines increased in number, proximity to birth and amount of vaccine mercury, Thimerosal. It would be interesting to hear from the preschool/elementary scene and get a picture of those trends. Let's pray it is a better picture.