From ABCs to IEPs Anne Dachel Reports on Radical Changes in Schools
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From ABCs to IEPs Social Emotional and Behavioral Problems Plaguing Schools

Abadnonned schoolBy Anne Dachel

Here is yet another look at the fall of education in America (and everywhere else in the English speaking world).

Months and months of stories have shown what should be obvious to all: our schools are noticeably different from what they were fifteen and twenty years ago, and certainly a world away from schools thirty and forty years ago.

What is undeniable is the fact that schools have to provide for more and more students who can’t learn or behave normally, and the demands for accommodations keep increasing.

So why isn’t this a critical issue?

How can “experts” make absurd claims that dismiss what’s happening and they’re never challenged?

Why is the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention allowed to produce the science that supposedly shows the explosion in social/emotional/behavioral problems is due to an increased number of parents abusing their own children and inflicting “adverse childhood experiences” on them?

Why are we just supposed to accept the claim that one in every five children now has a mental illness?

Why has there been a coincidental increase in students with a whole host of chronic health conditions?

Why doesn’t Education Secretary Betsy DeVos say anything about the increase in special education students, the millions being spent to address mental health issues in school districts, and why teachers still have to be trained to teach kids with challenging behavior?

Over forty years ago the federal government required schools in the U.S. to teach the disabled. So why don’t they have everything under control? After all these years every school in America should be able to provide for the kids with learning problems, but they’re not.

Stories from the last couple weeks were not hard to find. Anyone in authority who starts to add them all up has got to be a little worried that it’s not just a couple of incidents from local communities here and there, IT’S EVERYWHERE.

It’s the cost, the increases, and it’s the inability of schools to provide for children.



April 8, 2018, (UK) South Wales Argus: Newport special needs school to be expanded by 50 places

NEWPORT'S only dedicated school for youngsters with special needs will be expanded by 50 places if a decision is signed off next week….

And next week Newport City Council's cabinet member for education and skills Cllr Gail Giles is due to sign off on a plan to increase the number of places at the school from 100 to 150 from next April.

A council report said the school, which also operates at sites in Brynglas and Eveswell and is open to children and teenagers aged from three to 19 had found itself under increasing pressure with the number of youngsters in need of specialist education….

April 8, 2018, Fall River (MA) Herald News: Free-Lake School Committee tackles reserve fund problem

Key points are no staff increases, required employee salary increases are less than previous years, enrollment and special education services continue to rise and be unpredictable…

The issue of reserve funds was the most discussed matter of the night. Since late last year, the Free-Lake Committee has discussed the establishment of a special education stabilization fund, designed to offset all increasing and unexpected costs for special education services throughout the district. A total of $250,000 from both towns is being requested to set up this account, which requires approval at upcoming special town meetings. If approved, all withdrawals from the fund would require approval from both towns’ selectmen boards.

April 8, 2018, NBC12—TV, Montgomery, AL: [New Mexico] Teacher files police report after child with autism hits her

An 8-year-old boy with autism is charged with battery after his special education teacher filed a police report against him for punching her in the face.

April 9, 2018, Fox4, Kansas City, KS: Kansas lawmakers approve school mental health pilot program, select KCK district

Kansas lawmakers are signing off on a new pilot program that would expand mental health services for students.  The measure, tied into the school funding bill, comes with $10 million of funding and big goals….

"It’s not just the school violence. It’s not just the growing recognition we need to treat mental illness, especially in students, but both," said Kyle Kessler, executive director of the Kansas Association of Mental Health Centers.

The state legislature's approved $10 million that will help create "behavioral health improvement teams," made up of a clinician and case manger from community mental health centers in Kansas and a school behavioral health liaison employed by the district. …

April 9, 2018, WNCT—TV, Greenville, NC: Beaufort Co. considers school safety changes

… The proposed changes, which are expected to cost $250,000, address student mental health, add more school resource officers to the community college and public schools, and include design changes….

He hopes to hold training as early as the summer for teachers regarding the mental health of students. …

April 9, 2018, Raleigh (NC) News Observer: NC is in desperate need of school nurses. Will it foot the $45 million to $79 million bill for more?

It’s more complex being a nurse now, according to Nienow, because they're dealing with an increased number of student health issues. More prematurely born children are surviving infancy, which has led to an increase in the number of students with moderate to severe disabilities.

Schools also dealt with a 75 percent increase in student chronic health conditions such as asthma, diabetes and food allergies from 2002-2015….

April 9, 2018, New York Times: Life-Threatening Allergic Reactions Rising in Children

… A new report from Blue Cross Blue Shield looked at allergy diagnoses and at emergency room visits for anaphylaxis from 2010 to 2016 among their subscribers, who include 9.6 million children 18 and under all over the country. The report showed an increase in the incidence of children being diagnosed as “at risk” for anaphylaxis over the course of those seven years. And correspondingly, the rate of emergency room visits for anaphylaxis more than doubled, to 3.5 visits per 10,000 children in 2016 from 1.4 in 2010. …

April 10, 2018, (UK) Independent: Teachers grappling with surge in pupil violence as students ‘throw objects, cut car brakes and smash windscreens’

Teachers have had heavy objects thrown at them by violent pupils, and have had their car brakes cut and their windscreens smashed, an education union has heard.


School staff are increasingly not reporting assaults on them and their colleagues as they believe it is just “accepted and expected”, the ATL section of the National Education Union (NEU) said.


Delegates at the union’s annual conference in Liverpool raised concerns about growing levels of aggression and violence which, they claim, has “increasingly found its way into schools”.


Peter Shreeve, from the Isle of Wight, said he was “personally aware” of objects being thrown, heavy objects being slammed into bodies, and spitting….


“We’re calling for a reverse of austerity. Children now receive less support than they used to, staff have no time to deal with issues, hence an increase in anxious students lashing out,” Mr Shreeve said.  …


Emma Quinn, from Northern Ireland, described her school – which has a high number of pupils with special educational needs – as “hell” at times because of violence and aggression….

April 10, 2018, (UK) Northern Ireland, Irish News: Leona O'Neill: We urgently need to offer our children hope for a better future  

…STARTLING research released last week revealed that nearly half of young people in Northern Ireland have experienced a mental health problem and that almost 70 per cent of our children say they regularly feel stressed. …

The trust found that 44 per cent of young people in the north have experienced an issue with their mental health. They found 68 per cent of young people here regularly feel stressed and a third go as far as to say they regularly feel hopeless….

We here in Northern Ireland have a 25 per cent higher rate of mental illness than England and health experts say they are hugely concerned about the worsening mental health crisis here….

In response to the mental health crisis affecting young people in the north, a group of young people from The Prince's Trust Team programme in Belfast have created a mental health programme to support their peers….

April 10, 2018, (New Zealand) Voxy: Asthma and Respiratory Foundation NZ announces South Island tour

… It's a sad fact that one in seven children have asthma in New Zealand and therefore we are really focussing on helping to support and educate children in school.

April 10, 2018, KMUW—Public Radio, Wichita, KS: Kansas Turns To School Psychologists For An Education Fix But Finds A Shortage

Increasingly, Kansas looks to school psychologists to cure its education woes — banking that their expertise can help students meet ambitious education goals and tackle a growing student mental health crisis. …

April 10, 2018, Nutley, New Jersey, A Snapshot of Autism Spectrum Disorder in New Jersey

 About 1 in 41, or 2.5% of 8-year-old children were identified with ASD by NJAS in 2012….

April 10, 2018, (UK) Basingstoke Gazette: Catch 22 Multi Academy Trust will sponsor new special free school

A NEW 125-place free school for children with autism spectrum disorder and communication needs has taken a step forward.

The Department for Education has announced the sponsors for 14 new special free schools for children with additional needs, including children with autism set to be delivered around the country.

Catch22 Multi Academy Trust – which already runs five special schools and an alternative provision school – will open the 125-place special school for children aged four to 16 with autism spectrum disorder and social communication needs in Basingstoke. …

April 10, 2018, (UK) Independent: Children with special needs lose out as schools reach 'breaking point' over funding cuts, says teachers' union

Vulnerable children are at risk of receiving “little or no education” due to their “social and emotional difficulties”, members of the National Education Union (NEU) have suggested.

Children with special educational needs or disabilities (SEND) are not getting the support they need as schools are at “breaking point” amid funding cuts, the largest education union said.


There is a crisis of “epidemic proportions” in education for children with SEND, teachers warned at the conference of the NEU’s Association of Teachers and Lecturers (ATL) in Liverpool….


Another straw poll of parents, released at the union’s conference, found that nearly a quarter (24 per cent) of children with SEND are not in school at all.  


Proposing a motion – which said schools were at “breaking point” – Emma Parker, from Durham, called the findings from the survey of parents “shocking” and added that she’d been “reduced to tears”.


She warned: “The crisis in SEND has reached epidemic proportions. Children and their families are in crisis. There is no money, there are no places, there is no support.”


April 10, 2018, Middle School Adds ‘Calming Room’ As Mental Health Resource


Tilden Middle School has added a “calming room” where students can chill out and relax.

Just as the name says, it’s a place for students to settle down and take a moment when things get overwhelming or upsetting, they can turn to the calming room….

The furry pillows are meant to help students refocus their anger and begin to relax.

April 10, 2018, Marshall (MN) Independent: Schools facing mental health challenge

The statistics on children’s mental health are startling — 1 in 7 U.S. children aged 2 to 8 years old has a diagnosed mental, behavioral or developmental disorder. One in 4 children are affected by an anxiety disorder, though 80 percent are never treated, according to the Center for Disease Control. …

“(According to National Alliance on Mental Illness), 1 in 5 children ages 13-18 have or will have a serious mental illness,” she said. “What we’re seeing in schools is anxiety — general anxiety and separation anxiety — depression and then toward the top of that tier is mood disorders as well.”…

April 10, 2018, Michigan MLive: Michigan lacks much-needed mental-health support for K-12 students 

Childhood mental illness affects one in five kids. …

One in five children in the country ages 3 through 17 have a diagnosable mental, emotional or behavioral disorder in a given year,…

April 11, 2018, (Australia) Adelaide’s Independent News: Why suspending or expelling students often does more harm than good

The number of students being suspended or expelled from Australian schools is “skyrocketing”, according to news reports.

These note a 10% increase in suspensions over two years at NSW primary schools and that students in south-western Sydney are being suspended more than four times as often as students in other parts of the city.

Suspension and expulsion are widely used in Australia, the UK and the US to respond to problematic behaviour…. Students most affected tend to be those with higher and more complex needs, such as those with disabilities and mental health issues….

April 11, 2018, (UK) Northumberland Chronicle: More school places to be created in Northumberland for pupils with special educational needs

Between 2013 and 2017 there was a 32% increase in the number of pupils at Northumberland's eight maintained special schools

Northumberland County Council is urgently creating more school places in the face of a huge increase in the number of pupils with special educational needs. …

April 11, 2018, Newburyport (MA) Daily News: Amesbury school officials OK 5.3 percent budget increase

Reese began the meeting by informing the committee the special education line item had to be increased by $300,000 over the past week due to an unexpected addition of special needs students.

April 11, 2018, Lewiston (ME) Sun Journal: Lewiston School Board sends $82.9 million budget to City Council

Many of the new teachers and education technicians will serve a growing number of special education students in Lewiston. The city schools have no choice but to meet the needs of those students, according to Webster.

April 11, 2018, Sandy, UT, West Jordan Journal: Mindful of mental health 

“No other school has a green room—a room that is completely different than any other place in the building, where kids can completely get out of the stream—the noise, crowd and commotion, and enter a sanctuary,” said Olin Levitt. …

Daily morning announcements at West Jordan Middle School include a “mindful moment” in which Levitt guides the whole school—students and faculty—through breathing, meditation and relaxation techniques.

Principal Dixie Garrison believes this is helpful for students who may be coming from a stressful home environment where many deal with trauma…….

…He said research shows 10 percent of middle school students experience suicidal thoughts.

“That means on any given day, I’ve got about 85 kids in the building that are having thoughts like that,” he said. …


April 11, 2018, Miami Community Newspapers: Teachers can help reduce mental health problems in children, study finds

School-based mental health services delivered by teachers and staff can significantly reduce mental health problems in elementary-aged children, according to a new study by researchers at FIU’s Center for Children and Families.

The implications are significant considering approximately 30 to 40 percent of youth in the U.S. will be diagnosed with at least one mental health disorder by adolescence.

“More than half of children in the U.S. who receive mental health care receive those mental health services in a school setting, which makes educators frontline mental health providers for affected children,” added the study’s senior author, Jonathan Comer, …


April 11, 2018, Central Maine: RSU 9 directors review budget that includes alternative for ‘non-regulated’ students 

Elementary school principals proposing alternative schooling for students whose behavior is disruptive. …

Directors received another presentation from elementary school principals on a proposed kindergarten through second-grade alternative education program for students who are considered non-regulated. It would serve a total of eight students at a time at one location, most likely W.G. Mallett School in Farmington. Students in need of the services from other schools would be bused to the school.

April 12, 2018, Duluth (MN) News Tribune: Dayton proposes new special education money

Gov. Mark Dayton has proposed an additional $19 million in special education funding for next year, as such expenses rise throughout the state.

His plan would increase spending by $22 million the following year….

She noted that costs are rising from increased numbers of students needing services, more staff, lower staffing ratios and inflationary increases in staff salaries and benefits….

"All of that has to come from somewhere, and if special education had better funding, we'd be able to expand on what we can offer students," he said in a news release. "This is happening at schools across our state, and it's not fair to our students and staff."…

April 12, 2018, Steamboat Springs, CO, Steamboat Pilot and Today: Funding mental health focus of grant commission in support of safe Steamboat schools


… the members of the Steamboat Springs Education Grant Commission voted this week to recommend increasing funding for mental health specialists in the public schools.

April 12, 2018, ABC10, Miami: Miami-Dade to hire mental health counselors in bid to prevent school violence—Superintendent holding town halls on school safely

…In response to the mass shooting at Parkland’s Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, Miami Dade County Public Schools Superintendent Alberto Carvalho announced Thursday that the district will hire 75 mental health professionals. 

"We will expand by hiring mental health professionals for the benefit of our students to be able to identify mental issues and deviant behavior prior to a tragedy happening," Carvalho said.

April 12, 2018, St. Cloud (MN) Times: 'It's a crisis situation:' Underfunded special education mandates cost district $11.7M

The St. Cloud school district plans to spend about $31 million this school year on special education. 

But more than $11 million of that will not be provided from federal or state funds. Instead, the district will tap its general fund for those special education costs.


April 13, 2018, Courier-Gazette & Camden Herald (ME): 'Resilience' screening, discussion

Through May, the Midcoast Resilience Project is hosting free documentary screening and discussion programs for the Midcoast community. …


“Resilience” (2016, USA) is a one-hour documentary that delves into the science of Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) and the birth of a new movement to treat and prevent toxic stress. One of the leading causes of everything from heart disease and cancer to substance abuse and depression, extremely stressful experiences in childhood can alter brain development and have lifelong effects on health and behavior.

However, as experts and practitioners profiled in “Resilience” are proving, what is predictable is preventable. Physicians, educators, social workers and communities are daring to talk about the effects of divorce, abuse and neglect … and using cutting edge science to help the next generation break the cycles of adversity and disease.

April 13, 2018, Lansdale, PA, Souderton Independent: Souderton Area School District set to propose 2.4% tax hike

After five years in a row of 1 percent or less tax hikes, Souderton Area School Board is poised to vote at its April 26 meeting on a proposed budget raising taxes 2.4 percent for the 2018-2019 school year.

Transportation costs for special education students increases in the budget, but the district is hoping to cut the costs for transporting other students. …

“This is a tight year because of charter school increases, special ed increases,” Gallagher said.

April 13, 2018, South Washington County (MN) Bulletin:  Dayton proposes $19 million additional special education funds

  1. PAUL -- Gov. Mark Dayton has proposed an additional $19 million in special education funding for next year, as such expenses rise throughout the state.

His plan would increase spending by $22 million the following year. …

She noted that costs are rising from increased numbers of students needing services, more staff, lower staffing ratios and inflationary increases in staff salaries and benefits.


April 14, 2018, (UK) Nantwich News: New special free school for South Cheshire children to open in Crewe

A new special free school for South Cheshire children with social, emotional and mental health needs is to open in Crewe.

East Cheshire Youth Achievement Free School Trust, which runs Fermain Academy in Macclesfield, has been approved to open a 40-place special free school for children aged 4-16.

It is one of 14 new ones to be opened across the country after the area was identified as in need of additional special school places in the borough….

 “We have a growing need for school places for children with special educational needs and disabilities within the borough. …


April 14, 2018, West Australian: Meet Rigby the furry teacher assistant helping Mindarie Primary School kids chill out

Rigby the border collie is one of a growing band of four-legged teaching assistants working in WA schools.

Job-sharing with Maxi the beagle at Mindarie Primary School, she reassures anxious students, listens to reluctant readers and helps shy pupils build social skills.

Mindarie principal Barbara Bromley said she had researched the benefits of therapy dogs after noticing an increase in the number of primary school children dealing with anxiety.

April 14, 2018, (UK) Tewkesbury Town Crier: Social emotional learning and digital citizenship

The Lou­ise Davy Trahan Elemen­tary School recently hosted an information night for parents which focused on social and emotional learning standards. Competencies for so­cial and emotional learning (SEL) are increasingly being incorporated into the school curriculum, reinforcing the importance of social awareness, responsible decision making, self-management and self-awareness. …

April 15, 2018, New Bedford, MA, South Coast Today: Dartmouth officials gather to discuss town’s fiscal 2019 needs

School budget

The Dartmouth School Committee was looking for input on its proposed fiscal 2019 budget of $43 million, a 2.8 percent increase of funding over fiscal 2018, Assistant Superintendent for Finances & Operations James Kiely reported.

…Superintendent Bonny Gifford said a few new positions were proposed in the budget, mostly dealing with the district’s increasing focus on the social and emotional needs of growing numbers of students.

Most of the new positions called for in the public school district are for counselors, therapists and support specialists, the superintendent said.

Dealing with the ups and downs, mostly ups, of rising special education costs is an ongoing financial challenge, Kiely said. …

April 16, 2018, (UK) Manchester Evening News: New school for 200 children with special educational needs could be built in order to cope with demand

Demand for primary school places for children with special educational needs and disabilities is so high in Stockport that council bosses are planning to build a huge new ‘hub’ for up to 200 youngsters. …

Coun Dean Fitzpatrick, cabinet member for education, presenting a report on the issue to the town hall’s children and families scrutiny committee, said: “In September 2018, due to insufficient capacity, there [will be] 33 reception pupils who require a special school place, but cannot be accommodated – and this demand will continue.

“As an alternative some children, who cannot be provided with a local authority place, [will be] sent to six independent schools, two of which are now at capacity. …

“These are temporary measures applied to meet the increasing demand, …


April 19, 2018, (Ireland) Irish Examiner: Suicide claims 70 school children in one year 

Seventy children of school-going age died by suicide last year as mental health professionals begged for more staff.

The 70 children whose deaths were recorded by the National Educational Psychological Service did not include children aged 16-18 who were not at school, so the overall figure is likely to be higher.

The Oireachtas Committee on the Future of Mental Health Care heard yesterday that the loss of lives happened against a backdrop of repeated calls for more medical professionals, support staff, and facilities for children in need of psychological and psychiatric care. …


April 19, 2018, (Ireland) Independent: School puts something special into education

Principal Joe McKeown is proud of his three special classes for pupils with autism, but he is prouder again when he walks in and finds one of the classrooms empty. …

It's a tribute to the enthusiastic and highly skilled staff at the 368-pupil De La Salle primary school in Kilkenny City, and proof that the policy of integrating special classes for children with an autism spectrum disorder (ASD) into schools works. The past decade has seen a proliferation

There are almost 18,000 children with ASD in Irish primary and post-primary schools, including 3,800 in special classes. ASD classes are not the only response to the educational needs of children with autism, but they are increasingly sought by parents. …

Currently, there are 1,307 special classes of which 1,048 are designated for students with ASD, more than double what it was a decade ago, and The National Council for Special Education (NCSE) expects to open about 180 more next September.

Most ASD classes are in primary schools and more are needed.

April 19, 2018, Springville (NY) Journal: WVCS board adopts $9m budget

After discussing other sections of the budget at previous meetings, O’Brien presented the final section of the budget to the board at its most recent meeting. One of the biggest changes from last year’s budget will be a $150,982.72 increase in the special education program. In previous years, the district has had a significant surplus, but when projecting the remainder of this year, the surplus is decreasing as costs are increasing, with those numbers continuing to go up next year.

“It doesn’t take that many students for these numbers to skyrocket really quickly depending on their needs,” O’Brien said. “At [2018-19], I see it even going up more and that is why we needed an increase in that area … I don’t have cushion there at this point.”

April 19, 2018, EcoChildsPlay: Yoga School Reduces Children’s Anxiety

Many public schools have embraced mindfulness practices into daily activities. From teaching children to take belly breaths to body scans, education is seeing positive results in their students. …

Students today are more anxious than previous generations.

April 19, 2018, (UK) Daily Mail: Soundproof rooms, special lighting, aesthetic gardens and classes with just eight students: Inside Australia's first-ever school for children with autism

The school boasts special LED lighting, fans, quieter air con and dark areas 

16 students are currently enrolled and it costs $6,480.00 a semester to attend …

Josiah College has been specifically designed to cater to primary-school aged children with autism. …

Vicki Bitsika from Bond University says the school was needed because mainstream learning environments were stressful for autistic children….


Currently, 86 per cent of children with autism who are attending a mainstream school report 'having difficulty' with fitting in socially, learning and communicating with others.  …


April 20, 2018, (NPR) KASU Radio, Bentonville, AR: Learning To Behave: Bentonville School District Experiments With Behavior Intervention Classrooms

…Today, many public schools offer alternative learning environments for students with behavioral and emotional problems. Bentonville Public School District in Northwest Arkansas, however, has installed two intervention-rich elementary “behavior classrooms” to help children learn how to overcome chronic disruptive behavior….

To help disruptive students learn to overcome anti-social tendencies, the district is sequestering children in two new behavior classrooms.  Teacher Stefanie Siedsma says the rooms have been given a special name.  …

“We work on students' mindfulness and being flexible with their thinking,” she says, “which is helpful with social skills and the ability to communicate with other people.”

Tamara Gibson serves as executive director of elementary education. She says the district decided to install the special classrooms because of escalating bad conduct district-wide, especially among the youngest children….

“Being aggressive towards their peers or other staff members,” she says, “destroying property, or elopement — kids that run out of their classrooms, or even out of the building. Verbal aggression, threats. But these are repeated things.”…

Lovelady says a nationwide uptick in maladaptive behavior has been linked, in part, to overexposure to screens at too young an age.

April 20, 2018, WGEM—TV, Quincy, IL: School raising money to build new playground

… Karr said not only is it time to replace this equipment, she says it’s time to upgrade it with a playground that is more inclusive and offers more types of learning experiences.

"Sensory needs are one of those things that have kind of changed and we're able to address that differently. That's something a lot of students would benefit from. Not just special education students but students, in general, are able to use it." she explained.

April 20, 2018, (UK) Evening Standard: Plans to expand primary school in worst borough for pupil places

The new buildings would include the borough’s first special needs school and would cater for 530 pupils, a rise on the 368 children there now. Eighty places will be at the special school and 30 will be available as part of the new nursery. …

Speaking after the planning meeting, Barlby’s headteacher Anthony Mannix said the demand for school places — particularly for those with additional needs — was “very much an issue”. 

“Our primary school is heavily oversubscribed, therefore not all parents are getting their first choice because they want us as their first choice,” he said. …

A council spokesman said: “There is growing demand for a local special school as the number of children with autism continues to increase…

April 21, 2018, Andalusia (AL) Start—News: Autism awareness: Local program is hyper-focused on early intervention

… ACS District Administrator Sonja Hines previously worked as the system’s special education coordinator. Twenty years ago, she said, the system had seven students on the spectrum. This year, there are 30, and educators are working to develop individual education plans for four more students who are being evaluated. …

April 22, 2018, Bloomington (IL) Pantagraph: Saving lives: Pilot project responds to

increased student anxiety

More than 200 McLean County children and teenagers  experiencing a mental health concern or crisis have more people listening to them — and more youth will be helped in the months to come — thanks to an innovative partnership among several area schools, two mental health agencies and the McLean County Health Department….

Local junior high school students and educators explain how the embedded therapists' project is leading to mental health progress and stability in their schools….

April 23, 2018, Rochester (NY) Democrat and Chronicle: Demand grows for special-ed preschool teachers in Finger Lakes region

… Job openings for special-education preschool teachers are projected to rise 16.1 percent between 2014 and 2024, with 20 annual openings, reports the New York State Department of Labor.

April 23, 2018, Fort Wayne (IN) News Sentinel: Autism in education

For the second year in a row, Jenn Kersey has advocated for a legislative summer study committee to look at issues focused on autism and public education. …

According to the Indiana Department of Education, last year, the state identified 15,210 school-age students whose primary disability was autism spectrum disorder; this year, it is 15,721, an increase of 511 or 3.3 percent. “This has been the trend for the last several years,” said Pamela Wright, director of the office of special education, Indiana Department of Education. …

Cathy Pratt, director of the Indiana Resource Center for Autism at Indiana University, has witnessed the increase in children diagnosed with autism….

And not only is she seeing more children with ASD, “I’m seeing more children who have co-occurring mental health issues as well. We know that anxiety is very common among children on the spectrum, and with anxiety comes depression,” Pratt said. “But in addition to that, I also see children who have other co-occurring issues going on. So we have more kids who are coming to us with more complex issues.” …

April 24, 2018, (Ireland) Leitrim Observer: More Leitrim Autism Units to be built this year

A number of Autism Units are expected to be built in Leitrim during this school term 2018/19.
Minister Richard Bruton informed the Dáil that 12 Autism Units will be built within Sligo/ Leitrim and Donegal this year.

Since 2011 the number of ASD special classes have increased from two to five in Co. Leitrim.

The new ASD classes will include five new Primary ASD classes and seven new Post-Primary ASD classes….

Since 2011, the increase in [Special Needs Assisants] SNAs has been 3,545, including an additional 2,080 posts in the last two years.

The number of resource teachers has increased by 3,660 since 2011, including 1,600 additional posts in the past two years.

The number of special classes has risen by 712 since 2011, including 277 new classes in the past two years.

April 24, 2018, Grand Forks (ND) Herald: Special elementary school planned for students with severe behavioral problems would be first of its kind in ND

The Fargo and West Fargo public school districts plan to join forces to create a small unified school specially designed to help kindergarten and elementary-age students with severe behavioral problems….

School districts around the country are seeing an increase in student behavioral problems that often disrupt classrooms and sometimes lead to staff injuries. ….

 Beth Slette, a West Fargo schools assistant superintendent who in July will become the next superintendent, said the area has seen an increase in the frequency and severity of students with significant behavioral and mental health needs, and it's starting at younger and younger ages. The rise of behavioral issues has grown beyond the disruption of classes. West Fargo has seen an increase in staff injuries due to student behavior.

Reports of staff injuries nearly doubled between December 2015, when 68 reports were filed, and December 2017, when 125 reports were filed.  ….

April 24, 2018, North Carolina Health News: School Safety Committee Considers Mental Health Needs in Recommendations

After two hearings, a subcommittee dedicated to looking at what mental health supports North Carolina students need to increase school safety is recommending increased staffing to address mental and behavioral health needs in the state’s schools.

April 24, 2018, Longview (WA) Daily News: Kelso introduces elementary school assistant principals

… The four schools have never had assistant principals. The board approved them at its March 19 meeting as part of an ongoing effort to address the social and emotional needs of students.

At the March meeting, Superintendent Glenn Gelbrich said increased trauma and adverse childhood experiences show up in student behavior, which requires “more time, more support (and) more investment.”

April 24, 2018, Minneapolis Star Tribune: Minnetonka school for autistic children grows with need

… Brown is one of several parents who have enrolled their children at the academy, one of a small but growing number of Minnesota schools in recent years specifically designed for students with ASD or related learning differences.

From six students in 2004, when it was set up, to 60 students, the school has come a long way in enrolling students with special needs from places as far away as Wisconsin. It expects to enroll 66 students next year in the new building, which can accommodate 100. …

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that 1 in 68 children in the U.S. has autism, and the rate is higher in Minnesota. In Minneapolis alone, one in 48 children has been diagnosed with ASD, the CDC says. …


April 24, 2018, Schenectady (NY) Daily Gazette: Saratoga School District levy increase aims to smooth out capital costs

City School District voters will be asked next month to approve a 3.9 percent levy increase aimed partly at absorbing a big drop-off in state building aid associated with projects from over a decade ago. …

The budget supports six new staff positions and maintains a position that was added during the current school year. The new additions, which will cost around $465,000, are driven by rising needs in special education students and English language learners, Hilker said.

The new positions include staffing a special classroom for an influx of kindergarten students with special needs, teaching assistants dedicated to students with specific needs

April 25, 2018, (UK) Nottingham Post: School 'over the moon' with new extension which will increase the intake by 25 percent [Over $3 million U.S.]

A school for children with special education needs will be able to increase its intake by 25 percent after a £2 million investment.

Ash Lea School in Cotgrave has received a £2.3 million investment from Nottinghamshire County Council which has allowed it to build an extension to increase its capacity.

G F Tomlinson built the two storey extension, which means the school now has space for an extra 18 pupils, taking its total capacity to 90.

"We are all over the moon with the finished school and delighted that the pupils will have the environment they all deserve.”

April 25, 2018, (UK) Sutton Guardian: New school for children with autism opens in Cheam

The opening of a new school that caters for kids with special needs has been hailed as a success for the area.

Brookways School officially opened in Cheam this week and will be offering places to kids on the autism spectrum for whom other education environments have not been able to meet their needs. …

April 25, 2018, (UK) Hunts Post: Parents hit out at shortage of places at special schools in Huntingdonshire

Desperate parents of youngsters with Special Educational Needs (SEN) fear their children be left without a school to go to in September because of a shortage of places in local special schools….

April 25, 2018, WI Radio Network: AG Schimel announces School Safety Grant Initiative

Wisconsin Attorney Genral Brad Schimel has announced the opening of the state’s $100 million School Safety Grant Initiative. K-12 schools, both public and private, are encouraged to apply for the grants, which will be awarded starting in June. …

One of the School Safety Grant prerequisites is providing all full-time teachers, aides, counselors, and administrators with a minimum of three hours combined training in Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE) and Trauma Informed Care/Trauma Sensitive Schools (TIC/TSS) before the end of the 2018-2019 school year; or demonstrate that staff has already received such training.

Anne Dachel is Media Editor for Age of Autism.


susan welch

Jeannette, Thank you very much for the Andrew Wakefield lecture link. Have just go round to watching it and, as you say, very sobering.

His explanation of the situation we are now in is very clear and, as a non scientific person, I found it easy to understand.


The human race is going to be long gone before the planet. There is no planet B, although I think the movie Planet B is already in the making. If only environmental activists could understand that the scientific reality that explains why it is that we have extreme weather, is that same scientific reality that explains why we have so many disabled.

Jeannette Bishop

Thank you again and again for your work, Anne!

We're seemingly going nowhere good, and fast... (not sure where best to share as this is marginally pertinent for many posts here...but here is a look at some of what we're exchanging for this loss of intellectual and emotional health of our youth....another very good, and sobering lecture from Dr. Wakefield):


Guardian Article that Susan speaks of says:

"If there’s a news development that reflects poorly on the state, you better believe national media will follow up eventually with coverage not of the story itself, but of how conservatives are supposedly exploiting it."

susan welch

Interesting news on UK Column today. At 38.42 the situation with UK schools not coping with budgets/special education is covered and AoA gets a mention, Anne.

The first 10 minutes is about Alfie Evans and I must admit I concur with their views regarding the Guardian articles.


Now we're being told that better diagnosis among minorities is probably responsible for the increase in autism diagnoses, ignoring the special education explosion worldwide and in non-minority communities in the US.


Global warming is perhaps the top priority at least for Bill Gates. His little formula:

Population x Services(per Person) x Energy(Per Service Unit) x Carbon dioxide(per Energy unit) = CO2

According to him population growth can be reduced with vaccines, healthcare, reproductve health services. They seem to invest the most in vaccines, probably the preferred way is to lower the population.

So vaccines can stop global warming. One can see why children are not the top priority in this equation.

Anne McElroy Dachel

Thank you, Aimee. A long time ago, when I came to understand the extent of the corruption, collusion, and cover-up, I realized that the denials would continue UNTIL all the sick and disabled kids everywhere threatened the future of our country.

SO NOW, with an autism rate of one in every 34 kids in NJ, one in every 22 boys, we're hearing that the increase in autism is real. So what about the explosion in special needs kids apart from autism? Will we now finally admit to the damage before it's too late? No society can continue to function with this kind of dependent population.

Anne Dachel, Media

Aimee Doyle

Anne - thank you so much for all the hard work you have done on this topic for years and years. I always read your posts, and like you, I am totally baffled as to why these issues are ignored.

bob moffit

Wonder why global warming is such a "global priority" .. at the very same time every country in the world is experiencing the same inexplicable increase in deteriorating health for children.

Common sense suggests the priority given global warming over deteriorating health for decades of children may not be an accident .. instead .. global warming may be not be as Al Gore says .. an "inconvenient truth" .. instead global warming may actually be a CONVENIENT deflection from the inescapable TRUTH that generations of children are less healthy and neurologically sound that all previous LESS VACCINATED GENERATIONS.

Even if global warming poses a serious threat to mankind .. a rise in global temperature will likely require another century to become as serious a threat to mankind as today's deteriorating health of children is TODAY.

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