Mental health is one of those issues cloaked in social silence. The curtain is drawing back somewhat. The movement toward achieving mental health parity in the provision of health care benefits is one sign of that. Still, evidence remains strong in Alabama and elsewhere that more needs to be done. A recent research letter published on JAMANetwork.com serves as an example.
Children don't come with handbooks. Parenting can involve a lot of trial and error. That can create a lot of anxiety, a situation that only compounds if a child receives a diagnosis of having one of the developmental issues encompassed by the autistic spectrum.
Yogi Berra wisely said, "It ain't over till it's over." Quibble with his grammar, but the message is sound regarding his forte, baseball. Many experts agree it applies to education, too.
Imagine this picture. An 11-year-old student retreats to his room to do homework after supper. At 11 p.m. you knock and enter and find him surrounded by crumpled papers, broken pencils and in a sobbing heap. The child has attention deficit disorder (ADD), also called ADHD, and this is what hours of homework has led to.
A great deal of progress has been made in understanding individuals with Down Syndrome. Prior to the 1980s, history records that the vast majority of individuals with this genetic anomaly spent their lives in institutions. Experts generally believed those with the condition couldn't learn. Today, we know that isn't true. Indeed, the tide has shifted such that most children with Down syndrome in Alabama attend regular schools. Many live full lives. Some have even obtained college degrees.
The cost of living is high for anyone. Alabama families with special-needs children, whether they involve physical, developmental or educational issues, discover early on that expenses for those children are even higher and present significant challenges for their lifetimes.
The United States likes competition. It's a factor in nearly everything we do. Even school. The general rule of thumb is that school work gets graded on a standard scale with A being best and F being worst. C is considered average and passing, but many experts hold the view that such grades really only measure who is beating whom, not how well a child is learning. There's also the issue of grade inflation.
The law entitles all children in Alabama an education that prepares them to be as productive in life as they can be. Parents pay taxes to cover the cost of fulfilling that obligation and federal and state laws set minimum expectations for what is to be delivered. But the federal Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), anticipating that parents and administrators won't always agree on how to meet those standards, also spells out steps to take to ensure fairness in application.
In our inaugural blog post, we focused on a subject to which we are deeply dedicated – helping parents pursuing Individualized Education Program (IEP) plans. Our objective in that post was to highlight the steps involved in applying for an IEP and what a basic plan should include.
What's the lead level like in your home tap water? How about the water at your child's school? Since 2014, when lead contamination in Flint, Michigan, hit the headlines, public awareness about this issue has increased. Many experts say there's good reason for the concern.