Oral Microbiota and Autism
Best of: Frau Koma Returns After Another American Mass Shooting

American Education Becomes Special Education

Abadnonned schoolBy Anne Dachel

This Week, Feb 11-17 

We have more shocking stories that testify to what’s happening to our children. Schools are now focused on behavior/trauma/mental health issues. They’re trying to explain all this as the result of bad parenting/social media, but suddenly the concerns of autism parents—sensory issues, social skills, self-harm, anxiety, melt-downs—are the concerns of the parents of the general school population. After the heinous shooting in Florida, how can we continue to turn a blind eye?

Feb 11, 2018, (Israel) Haaretz News: Educational Psychologists in Israel Sound Alarm as Demand Rises Among Students

“Though educational psychologists are responsible both for treating children and advising parents, teachers and principals, most of their time is devoted to advising rather than treating individual children, due to their excess workloads. …”

Feb 11, 2018, (Australia) Victoria, Border Mail: Rutherglen high joins Victorian Doctors in Schools Program

“STUDENTS at Rutherglen High School will be able to access a GP on campus thanks to the Doctors in Schools program.

“Equally crucial are the kinds of services available – Mr Rogers said research had shown as many as 40 per cent of students across the state had used the program to seek treatment for mental health issues.”

Feb 11, 2018, WDAY—TV, Fargo, ND: South side growth requires new look at Fargo school enrollment

The early childhood special education program, located at Agassiz School and Madison Elementary School, must deal with an increase in children ages 3 through 5 who are diagnosed with special needs.

"That is front and center our most urgent facility need right now," Johnson said.

Feb 11, 2018, Atlanta Black Star: Report: Flint Sees 75 Percent Drop In School Reading Proficiency In Wake of Water Crisis

The city of Flint is in crisis mode yet again, except this time, there’s no water involved — at least not directly.

Just as Gov. Rick Snyder failed to inform thousands of residents they were being poisoned via lead-tainted drinking water, he also failed in his mission to improve the city’s reading proficiency. A Detroit Free Press report found that the city’s third-grade reading proficiency took a nearly three–quarter nosedive, falling from 41.8 percent in 2014 to a measley 10.7 percent in 2017.

Feb 11, 2018, (UK) The Isle of Thanet News: Children’s Mental Health Week: How one Thanet counsellor uses ‘Sunbeams’ to help youngsters explore feelings

As Prince Harry has helped bring the conversation on mental health into the mainstream, a Thanet-based counsellor and creative arts therapist is showing the importance of starting early, building confidence and resilience in children of infant school age. …

Mrs Joulianou said: “Many factors in a child’s circumstances or sensitive personality, pressures from limiting stereotypes in the wider culture or a lack of self-confidence can all contribute to a child feeling unhappy, limited and not ready to learn and reach their potential.

She said: “A change in family circumstance such as a bereavement, break up, or house move typically manifests itself in changes of behaviour.

“Children are often unable to express themselves fully verbally so could become withdrawn or aggressive and may find it difficult to interact with children or adults and in turn may be unable to focus on their learning. …

Feb 11, 2018, Gainesville (GA) Times: On-site mental health services at schools showing promise

Addressing the mental health needs of students has become a school mission, and no longer are the resources spread thin or across a wide geographic area. Instead, a clinical professional counselor now works on-site as part of the Georgia Apex Program.

Feb 11, 2018, CNBC: We’re almost in a mental health epidemic, says Goldie Hawn, and change needs to start young

Does social media play a role in endangering the mental health of young people? Absolutely, the actress believes….

Feb 12, 2018, (UK) Lincolnshire Today: £150,000 allocated to support children with SEND

North Lincolnshire Council has allocated £150,000 for all mainstream schools and academies across the area. …

 “The changes being made in the schools will make a real difference for pupils and their education. Having an area for SEND pupils to go to or breakaway from the main school will be very beneficial and help develop their learning.

Feb 12, 2018, NPR Buffalo, NY: Concerns about allergies spreading throughout Buffalo schools

Buffalo schools are becoming concerned about food allergies among the students. That ranges from the peanut issue to determining what is in other food brought into the buildings, like cupcakes for birthdays. …

The school board is looking at establishing a 14-page food allergies policy. Schools Superintendent Kriner Cash admits it's more than a little complicated. …

Feb 12, 2018, Press of Atlantic City: Commercial Township dog goes for gold at Westminster dog show

Daniel J. Dooley, Skye’s owner and Commercial Township schools superintendent, said Skye works with students from pre-kindergarten to eighth grade.

“He works Monday through Thursday, and he sees 70 students per week,” Dooley said.

The presence of a therapy dog helps students who are in need of positive rewards, such as students with behavioral conditions or autism, he said. The district’s special education percentage is 27 percent, while the state’s average is 16 percent.

Feb 12, 2018, Salt Lake City, Deseret News: Committee approves telehealth mental health pilot for schools

Rep. Ken Ivory, R-West Jordan, sponsor of HB308, said there is tremendous need for mental health services in Utah schools such as crisis intervention and to buttress the labors of the extremely limited number of school counselors and social workers. Rural schools have especially limited resources, he said.


HB308, which seeks an appropriation of $590,000, would require the Division of Substance Abuse and Mental Health to create a telehealth mental health pilot grant program. …


Feb 12, 2018, (Australia) West Bridgford Wire: New sensory room for Edwalton Primary

Edwalton Primary School are to get a ‘Sensory Room ‘ – works will commence soon to transform a storage room into a multi-sensory space which will be located in the heart of the building.

Feb 13, 2018, NY Jewish Week: The Next Steps On Inclusion For The Jewish Community

More students are in need of special education services than decades ago when the original law was enacted. The lack of federal funding is particularly problematic as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in 2014 found the rate of autism among children to be 1 in 68, compared to 1 in 150 in 2000.

Feb 13, 2018, Albuquerque Journal: New Mexico kids highest in nation for ACEs

New Mexico and Arizona tie as the states with the highest rates of children suffering from adverse childhood experiences, or ACEs.

The two states have an ACE rate of 18 percent …

ACEs are traumatic childhood events that include abuse and neglect, living with someone who has an untreated mental illness, the death of a parent, and living in extreme economic insecurity.

“When children experience more than one of these traumatic events they can end up suffering from toxic stress, which releases hormones into the brain that actually disrupt healthy brain development, according to scientific research,” said Sharon Kayne, spokeswoman for New Mexico Voices for Children.

Feb 13, 2018, (Ireland) Dundalk Democrat: Ardee school set to be 17 times bigger than current site

…The Department of Education approved plans for a new school building as far back as 2012. 144 pupils on site, seven more than last year, are spread out amongst five mainstream classes and two autism classes. All but around 20 pupils are being taught in prefabs, which have been added as the need has arisen over the years.

Feb 13, 2018, (UK) Tes: Trainee teachers unable to spot signs of mental ill-health in pupils

It has been estimated that 10 per cent of school pupils have a diagnosable mental illness. According to NHS figures, around one in 10 girls aged 16 or 17 was referred to specialist mental health services in England last year.

Feb 14, 2018, Alliance (OH) Review: Study: Many Ohio kids experience early childhood trauma

A new report based on data from the 2016 National Survey of Children’s Health found that Ohio is among five states with the highest share of children — as many as one in seven — who had faced three or more of the potential trauma measures known to researchers as adverse childhood experiences.

“Some of what puts Ohio in the higher levels is that almost a third of children have experienced economic hardship in their lives,” said study co-author Vanessa Sacks of Child Trends, a nonpartisan research organization in Bethesda, Maryland. …

Since then, Sacks and others say, a growing body of research has supported the view that adverse childhood experiences are a major public-health issue. …

Feb 14, 2018, (UK) Fife Today: Call for permanent school counsellor at Fife academy https://www.fifetoday.co.uk/news/education/call-for-permanent-school-counsellor-at-fife-academy-1-4688969

Cllr Colin Davidson believes a counsellor being based at the school, working with children at the academy and at nearby primary schools, would help tackle disruptive behaviour. 

He said: “The government has indicated there’s a lack of mental health provision for pupils in schools.

“Teachers are ill equipped to deal with it and some of these kids have complex needs which manifest as extreme levels of behaviour and disruption. “


Feb 15, 2018, Leesburg, VA, Loudoun Times: The Isolation Room: Loudoun County parents alarmed at treatment of students with special needs


Concerns and complaints are mounting over Loudoun County Public Schools' treatment of students with special needs, particularly the system's use of isolation and seclusion practices.

A photo obtained by the Times-Mirror underscores the severe and seemingly painful tactics used in some schools, parents say.

Feb 15, 2018, Los Angeles: KTLA—TV: Proposed Legislation Would Allow California Special Needs Students to Use Medical Marijuana in School

California minors with special needs or severe disabilities who rely on marijuana for medical purposes would be allowed to use the drug at their school under legislation introduced this week by state Sen. Jerry Hill (D-San Mateo).

Feb 15, 2018, Clanton (AL) Advertiser: Grant helps students with special needs

The Clanton Elementary School sensory room will get some needed updates thanks to a Partners Enhancing Education in Chilton County grant for $1,500 from the Chilton Education Foundation. …

“Our vision is to set this up more to meet the needs of our kids with special needs, like autism or sensory processing problems, just to make it more user friendly where they can come in and get their sensory needs met,” Loftis said.

Feb 15, 2018, Winter Haven (FL) News Chief: Mental health money sought as state reels from shooting

Less than 24 hours after a troubled gunman killed 17 people — most of them teenagers — at a Broward County high school, a top state senator released a plan Thursday to steer $100 million to public schools for mental-health screening and services and to boost funding for school safety programs….

“We have to address the things that we can take immediate action on that aren’t steeped in controversy, such as being more aggressive on mental health and illness, making sure we are taking steps, physically, at our schools to make it more difficult for a perpetrator to conduct this type of activity. …

Galvano’s proposal would more than double the $40 million now earmarked for a Senate plan that would create a special category for mental health in the annual funding formula for Florida’s 67 school districts.

Feb 15, 2018, Baltimore Sun: Pressure points: Howard County schools look to address mounting mental health concerns

I’m seeing an increased level of emotional concerns, mental health issues in our schools. I want to take the lead in that and begin to provide a social worker to be somebody who can navigate for children who are in crisis.” …

Feb 15, 2018, WLRN—TV, Miami: Broward County School Board Members: 'We Need Help' With Mental Health Services For Kids

Broward County school board members say schools and churches need to pay more attention to the mental health needs of children. …

Bartleman said the demands on guidance counselors and social workers in schools is “astronomical.”

Feb 15, 2018, Pittsburgh Tribune—Review: School leaders say more resources needed for student mental health

In the past, school psychologists have been responsible for testing students in need of special education or gifted education services, Lillenstein said. More recently, they've also recognized a need to use their training and expertise to work with students on violence prevention and with other educators on trauma-informed care. They're likely to work with smaller numbers of students in more severe situations, he said.

“Our students are experiencing more trauma — not just because of school violence — but in general, there's a lot more that kids are dealing with,” he said. …


Feb 16, 2018, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: Borsuk: Reflection on Parkland — many kids need more help than they're getting

…One thought arises from the public hearing on Feb. 2 at James Madison High School in Milwaukee of the state’s new Blue Ribbon Commission on School Funding. Milwaukee School Superintendent Darienne Driver was testifying. State Rep. Joel Kitchens (R-Sturgeon Bay) asked her what her priorities would be if aid to Milwaukee Public Schools was changed.

“I would highly, highly, highly stress the importance of the mental health needs,” Driver responded.

There are so many kids, not only in Milwaukee, not only statewide, but everywhere, who need more help than they are getting.

Feb 16, 2018, Suffolk, VA, ABC13: Suffolk high schools tackle mental wellness

In Suffolk, Kings Fork, Nansemond River, and Lakeland High Schools students will be taught a new mental health curriculum.


Feb 16, 2018, 2018, (UK) Daily Mail: Councils pay out more than £600,000 to assaulted

teachers in two years as staff are attacked with chairs and have doors kicked at


More than £600,000 was paid out in compensation in the last two years to schoolteachers who were injured by violent students.


And many of the cases involved teachers trying to restrain violent pupils when they lost their temper, to stop them harming their peers.


Christopher McGovern, chairman of the Campaign for Real Education, said: ‘These compensation awards represent only the tip of iceberg in terms of classroom violence and stress caused to teachers by unacceptable pupil behaviour.

The disclosure comes after the GMB union revealed last week the number of serious injuries suffered by education workers following violent assaults has surged by almost a quarter in five years.

Feb 16, 2018, Annapolis (MD) Patch: Superintendent's Contract, Budget On School Board Agenda

Dr. Arlotto's recommendation would add …16 additional positions would address the needs of special education students.  …

The proposal also includes $1.1 million for 10.4 positions to help address increasing issues related to the social and emotional wellness of students. Those include 5.4 school counselors, two school psychologists, two social workers, and one pupil personnel worker.

Feb 16, 2018, Fox4, Fort Myers, FL: Teachers union wants more mental health professionals in schools

Teachers devastated after Wednesday's Parkland shooting. A teacher in Port Charlotte says enough is enough.

Congressman Rooney wrote about another recent law aimed to increase funds to train teachers, EMS, and other professionals on how to intervene before someone with a mental illness experiences a crisis.

He also cited a law meant to reauthorize programs that focus on early treatment of children with severe emotional issues.

Feb 16, 2018, Keene (NH) Sentinel: Keene program focuses on how to identify, alleviate, stress among kids and parents

While stress in children and parents can be difficult to identify until it’s too late, a relatively new test seeks to change that.

The ACE test, which can reveal the level of emotional duress and what can be done to stabilize it, was the subject of a discussion drawing scores of people to The Colonial Theatre on Main Street in Keene Thursday night.

The study has demonstrated an association between adverse childhood experiences, again ACEs, and health and social problems as an adult, according to the websites. …

 “We want to make every parent aware of this test because it can be tremendously beneficial,” White said. “You don’t have to feel alone anymore.”

The ACE test asks questions covering 10 types of childhood trauma before the age of 18, according to the ACEs Connection Network. Those questions include, “Did a parent or other adult in the household often or very often … swear at you, insult you, put you down, or humiliate you? Or act in a way that made you afraid that you might be physically hurt?” A “yes” answer gives a person a one, and a “no” answer gives that person a zero. There are nine more questions with similar themes and the same scoring method.

As a person’s ACE score increases, so does the risk of disease, social and emotional problems, according to White. …

Feb 17, 2018, Emporia (KS) Gazette: Student safety top priority for Emporia Public Schools

Another area where the district is working to prevent a tragedies before they begin locally is through the Kansans Can social - emotional learning initiative….

 “We’re looking at that social - emotional piece at all levels,” Landgren added. “From preschool to seniors, it’s all levels.

Feb 17, 2018, Minneapolis Star Tribune: More college students seek emotional support animals

Being able to accommodate a student's need for a support animal is another way to help them manage their emotional and mental health while at college.

"We're just seeing students that are struggling more with mental health issues and that's across the United States," said the Rev. Jay Fostner, vice president for mission and student affairs at St. Norbert College.


Feb 17, 2018, Buckhannon (WV) Inter—Mountain: Youth experiences make a difference

In West Virginia, 52.4 percent of children under 18 had experienced ACE events in 2016, and 26 percet had two or more ACE events. In the USA 46.3 percent had one ACE event, and 21 percent had more than one ACE. …


Feb 17, 2018, (UK) Daily Mail: Nursery faces Ofsted probe after staff used 'strap chair' to restrain children with special needs

A nursery is facing an investigation by education watchdogs after staff admitted using wrist straps to restrain special needs children. …


One parent said another child had refused to go to the nursery after telling her parents: 'I don't want to go in the strap chair'.


Ms Bakewell said the wrist straps is part of a strategy discussed with parents of special needs children to stop them hurting themselves on pieces of furniture.

Feb 17, 2018, Greenwich (CT) Time: Greenwich superintendent outlines steps taken for student safety

In the aftermath of Wednesday’s deadly school shooting in Florida, Greenwich Superintendent of Schools Jill Gildea has sent a letter home to parents assuring them safety measures are in place in the town’s schools.


Gildea’s letter, which was sent to parents Thursday, also said mental health and security staff at the schools are trained to recognize students who are at risk of harming themselves or others. …


Gildea also cited several other proactive district policies, including social emotional learning and the “Our Safe School Climate” programs that promote positive behaviors….


Greenwich’s schools are on winter recess, but once classes resume Tuesday, Gildea said administrators will meet with staff to discuss the Florida shooting. Mental health staff will be checking in with students who are “known to be vulnerable or at risk of excessive anxiety or distress,” she said.

Feb 17, 2018, Monroe (MI) News: A room with a view — of the ocean

Monroe Road Elementary School has transformed a storage room into an underwater retreat.

Chapman said the school is embracing proactive discipline by instituting the ocean-themed sensory room.

“A sensory room is a therapeutic space with a variety of equipment that provides students with a space of calm and focus so they can be better prepared for learning and interacting with others,” Chapman said.

After returning from winter break, students started visiting the room. Chapman said the room gives students a mental break. An overwhelmed student can meet a teacher in the sensory room and work through therapeutic exercises.


susan welch

Aimee and Anne. What a great idea.

Anne McElroy Dachel

Aimee, message me on Facebook.

Aimee Doyle

Thank you Anne, for your tireless research. When one puts it all together (as you do) the impact is staggering.

I think there's another book here! Interested in taking the plunge again? Your first book was great. I'd be happy to help - the first fifteen years of my career I taught in the Professional Writing Program at University of Maryland The second 15 years I've been an attorney focusing on disability issues, including special education. I've been an autism mom for 25 years...

I do think your research on education would make a good book, and in case you want someone to share the load the second time around...just thought I'd throw that out there. : - )


Given this community's familiarity with so many children in the school system having neurological disorders, what are anyone's thoughts on the introduction of gender fluidity in our schools? This is happening now. ( I know several gay couples, am pro-gay marriage, not 'transphobic')
I simply happen to think that this is very confusing for young students who are learning to deal with emotional regulation and have limited ability to process concrete information. Teachers are actually reading trans stories to children without parent permission (it is not deemed as sex education) Thoughts?

susan welch

Anne, Thank you again for this research which illustrates how serious the mental health of children is.

Again, I have sent it (in a Tweet) to BBC, our UK Health Dept. and Private Eye asking if they will ignore this problem until 2032 when the predicted rate will be 1 in 2 children on the spectrum. Once again, it will, I am sure, it will fall on deaf ears.

I am hoping to get out another 'missive' to various M.Ps, Health Dept., media etc in the next week or so, which will include some of your info, which will also be ignored, I'm sure.

As Bob says, the band plays on and on.......

Verify your Comment

Previewing your Comment

This is only a preview. Your comment has not yet been posted.

Your comment could not be posted. Error type:
Your comment has been saved. Comments are moderated and will not appear until approved by the author. Post another comment

The letters and numbers you entered did not match the image. Please try again.

As a final step before posting your comment, enter the letters and numbers you see in the image below. This prevents automated programs from posting comments.

Having trouble reading this image? View an alternate.


Post a comment

Comments are moderated, and will not appear until the author has approved them.

Your Information

(Name and email address are required. Email address will not be displayed with the comment.)