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US Autism & Asperger Association, Inc. August 24, 2009

Welcome to USAAA Weekly News, an email newsletter that addresses a range of topics on Autism Spectrum Disorders and Asperger's Syndrome.


Headlines:
Students With Disabilities More Likely To Face Physical Punishment In School

Bumps Abound When Students Become Their Own Advocates

Autism - Transitioning between environments

Judge Says Yes to Autistic Boy's Dog

Little Autistic Drummer Boy - the highlights

Shop Online and Support USAAA


Students With Disabilities More Likely To Face Physical Punishment In School

Huffington Post

The ACLU and Human Rights Watch released a disturbing report [August 10] which claims that "students with disabilities face corporal punishment in public schools at disproportionately high rates." From the release:

In the 70-page report, "Impairing Education: Corporal Punishment of Students with Disabilities in US Public Schools," the ACLU and Human Rights Watch found that students with disabilities made up 18.8 percent of students who suffered corporal punishment at school during the 2006-2007 school year, although they constituted just 13.7 percent of the total nationwide student population. At least 41,972 students with disabilities were subjected to corporal punishment in US schools during that year. These numbers probably undercount the actual rate of physical discipline, since not all instances are reported or recorded.

Some parents reported that students with autism became violent toward themselves or others following corporal punishment.

Corporal punishment, legal in 20 states, typically takes the form of "paddling," during which an administrator or teacher hits a child repeatedly on the buttocks with a long wooden board. ACLU and Human Rights Watch interviews found that students with disabilities also suffered many other forms of corporal punishment, including beatings, spanking, slapping, pinching, being dragged across the room, and being thrown to the floor.

The report found that some students were physically abused for conduct related to their disabilities, including students with Tourette syndrome being punished for exhibiting involuntary tics and students with autism being punished for repetitive behaviors such as rocking. In some cases, corporal punishment against students with disabilities led to a worsening of their conditions. For instance, some parents reported that students with autism became violent toward themselves or others following corporal punishment.

Click here for entire article on Students With Disabilities More Likely To Face Physical Punishment In School.


 

Bumps Abound When Students Become Their Own Advocates
Special Needs Can Make Transition to College Tricky

By Susan Kinzie
Washington Post Staff Writer

After a decade of worrying about her son's attention-deficit disorder, meeting with teachers, calling around to get lost homework assignments and getting advice on SAT test accommodations, Lori Spinelli-Samara is facing this simple truth: Next year, in college, Nick is on his own.

Schools must provide assistance to students, but only if the students disclose their disabilities.

The Olney mother knows he's plenty smart enough. But will her son, a senior at Our Lady of Good Counsel High School, get to the assignments due in three weeks without his parents, teachers and cross-country coach keeping tabs on him? Keep his focus during lectures? Lose afternoons playing Guitar Hero instead of studying?

"If you have ADD," she said, only half laughing, "how do you remember to take your medication?"

American University has a small group of first-year students who, among other things, meet with an adviser weekly and take the introductory writing class with a professor who has specialized knowledge about teaching students with learning disabilities.

A generation of students accustomed to receiving help for special learning needs is entering college.

Click here for entire article on Bumps Abound When Students Become Their Own Advocates.



Autism - Transitioning between environments

One of the most difficult issues parents of a child with autism may face on a regular basis are environmental changes. These can be as small as going from the house to the car, or larger changes like coming home from school back into the home. Because there are both lack of understanding by the child as to why these events are occurring and countless sensory issues that they are experiencing, behaviors may become a real challenge.

The transitions between environments may either cause significant behavioral changes or minor things that only parents may notice, but almost no one else outside the child's family would see.

Depending on the child's level on the autism spectrum, the transitions between environments may either cause significant behavioral changes or minor things that only parents may notice, but almost no one else outside the child's family would see. Managing these behavioral changes is part of the parent's daily routine and takes some time and possibly some professional advice to master. Most parents know their child very well and can balance the behavior quickly by using different techniques or by simply "changing the channel", which simply means diverting attention toward an activity or object that could be enjoyable or more calming than the one they were experiencing. Taking the true sensory disturbance away can be done once parents recognize some of the specific issues that seem to affect their child. No child seems to be the same on these matters, so it is a trial and error project beginning very early after initial diagnosis and lasting (while probably changing or incurring new issues along the way) through childhood.

Click here for entire article on autism - transitioning between environments.


 

Judge Says Yes to Autistic Boy's Dog
Orders Columbia Schools To Allow Service Dog in School

By Betsey Bruce
fox2now.com

WATERLOO, IL ( KTVI - FOX2Now.com ) - An autistic boy will be allowed to take his new service dog to school in Columbia, IL. Monroe County Circuit Judge Dennis Doyle issued a preliminary injunction ordering the Columbia School District to permit the highly trained dog to accompany Carter Kalbfleisch to his special needs class.

The judge cited an Illinois state law that permits children with disabilities to have service animals in school if the animals help them complete beneficial tasks . The school district attorney had argued the dog had nothing to do with the child's educational needs. Christi Flaherty insisted since the dog was not part of the child's IEP or individual education plan, the animal should not be allowed.

Just one month of working with the dog, her son could calm down and focus on tasks without throwing disruptive tantrums.

The five year old boy's mother, Melissa Kalbfleisch testified that after just one month of working with the dog, her son could calm down and focus on tasks without throwing disruptive tantrums. For the first time, she and her husband were able to take Carter on family excursions and shopping trips. Kalbfleisch said she and her husband are trained to handle the dog in public. She plans to come to school with her child to be sure there are no problems.

Click here Judge Says Yes to Autistic Boy's Dog



Little Autistic Drummer Boy - the highlights

An 11yr old autistic boy goes from "drifting along..." to "Full Steam Ahead!" in one 1/2 hr session after 2 & 1/2 yrs of lessons.

Click here to view the story on YouTube.



GoodSearch: You Search...We Give!Shop Online and Support USAAA

What if USAAA earned a penny every time you searched the Internet? Or how about if a percentage of every purchase you made online went to support our USAAA? Well, now it can!

GoodSearch.com is a new Yahoo-powered search engine that donates half its advertising revenue, about a penny per search, to the charities its users designate. Use it just as you would any search engine, get quality search results from Yahoo, and watch the donations add up!

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Just go to www.goodsearch.com and be sure to enter US Autism and Asperger Association as the charity you want to support. And, be sure to spread the word!


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