The Spirit Club

Their mission  is to create socially inclusive and integrated opportunities for those who may need extra guidance and encouragement to learn to maintain and appreciate a healthy & active lifestyle.

From the Spirit Club website:  “The S.P.I.R.I.T. Club (acronym for Social, Physical, Interactive, Respectful, Inclusive & Teamwork) is an 8-week health and fitness program for teens and adults with developmental disabilities. Since April 2013, our weekly class of 6 people has grown to 6 weekly classes of over 60 people!

Physically, the S.P.I.R.I.T. Club focuses on improving its member’s balance, stability, flexibility, agility, strength, cardiovascular endurance and nutritional habits. Mentally and emotionally, the program is designed to encourage high levels of social interaction and integration to ensure that every member feels comfortable and excited about the healthy and active choices that they are making. Each class meets once per week and lasts for one hour.”

NPR: National Data Confirm Cases Of Restraint And Seclusion In Public Schools

The practice of secluding or restraining children when they get agitated has long been a controversial practice in public schools. Now, new data show that it’s more common than previously understood, happening at least 267,000 times in a recent school year.

NPR worked with reporters from the investigative journalism group ProPublica, who compiled data from the U.S. Department of Education to come up with one of the clearest looks at the practice of seclusion and restraint.

In most cases, the practice is used with students with disabilities — usually with those who have autism or are labeled emotionally disturbed. Sometimes the students will get upset; they might even get violent. To calm or control them, teachers and aides might isolate them in a separate room, which is a practice known as seclusion. Or they might restrain them by holding or hugging them, or pinning them to the ground, or by using mechanical restraints, such as a belt or even handcuffs.

An analysis by ProPublica and NPR of data for the 2011-2012 school year of school discipline practices from the U.S. Department of Education’s Civil Rights Data Collection shows:

  • Restraint and seclusion were used at least 267,000 times nationwide. That includes 163,000 instances in which students were restrained. Mechanical restraints were used 7,600 of those times.
  • Schools reported that they placed children in seclusion rooms about 104,000 times.
  • In 75 percent of the cases, it was kids with disabilities who were restrained or secluded.

This was the first time that federal officials required schools to report their use of seclusion and restraint. But the true numbers are almost certainly higher: Many of the nation’s largest school districts reported no use of seclusion or restraint. Federal officials say it’s unclear whether those districts don’t use either technique or if they simply didn’t report cases.

visit the site

NYT Opinion: Expand Pre-K, Not A.D.H.D.

BERKELEY, Calif. — The writing is on the chalkboard. Over the next few years, America can count on a major expansion of early childhood education. We embrace this trend, but as health policy researchers, we want to raise a major caveat: Unless we’re careful, today’s preschool bandwagon could lead straight to an epidemic of 4- and 5-year-olds wrongfully being told that they have attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.

Introducing millions of 3- to 5-year-olds to classrooms and preacademic demands means that many more distracted kids will undoubtedly catch the attention of their teachers. Sure, many children this age are already in preschool, but making the movement universal and embedding transitional-K programs in public schools is bound to increase the pressure. We’re all for high standards, but danger lurks.

The American Academy of Pediatrics now endorses the idea that the diagnosis of A.D.H.D. can and should begin at age 4, before problems accumulate. In fact, Adderall and other stimulants are approved for treatment of attentional issues in children as young as 3. Continue reading NYT Opinion: Expand Pre-K, Not A.D.H.D.

Students United for Campus-Community Engagement for Post-Secondary Success

SUCCESS (Students United for Campus-Community Engagement for Post-Secondary Success), a partnership of UMBC and the Maryland Department of Disabilities, is the first 4-year college experience for young adults with intellectual disabilities in Maryland.
The primary goals of SUCCESS are:
  • Employability
  • Independent Living
  • Critical Thinking
  • Problem Solving Skills Development

These goals exist within the context of an integrated environment, the UMBC campus. Continue reading Students United for Campus-Community Engagement for Post-Secondary Success

Calling Kids With Disabilities ‘Heroes’ Can Be Damaging, Says Parent

from NPR:

I’m Michel Martin, and this is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. They say it takes a village to raise a child, but maybe you just need a few moms or dads in your corner. Every week, we check in with a diverse group of parents for their common sense and savvy advice. And if you’re a parent, you’ve probably enjoyed moments when your child is praised for something – a teacher calling her smart or another mom saying he’s so well behaved.

Mom Sarah Sweatt Orsborn has gotten a lot of praise for her daughter who has a developmental disability. And she says that kids like her daughter are even referred to as heroes. But Sarah says that that label could be doing more harm than good to her daughter and other children like her. She wrote about all this in a piece called, “My Child With a Disability is Not My Hero,” for the Huffington Post. And she is with us now to tell us more.


ArtStream: perform your art out

ArtStream is a regional organization based in the Washington D.C. Metropolitan area whose mission is to create artistic opportunities for individuals in communities traditionally under-served by the arts. From their site:

“We are a consortium of compassionate, professional, experienced artists who wish to serve the needs of our clients. Our goal is to reach out to members in various groups such as persons with disabilities, seniors, people with short or long term illnesses and their families or caregivers, immigrants, veterans, people who are grieving, and students and teachers.

Our purpose is to inspire and help heal through various art forms such as theatre, puppetry, visual arts, multimedia, music, and dance. This is accomplished through interactive workshops and productions, on-going classes, seminars, performances, and training.”

visit the site

2013 Social Security Benefits Workshop

[from the Catholic Coalition for Special Education]: Since a major barrier in the transition process is the fear of losing a Social Security (SSA) cash or health benefit, understanding the rules surrounding SSA benefits prior to working will help reduce these fears. An interactive discussion on the differences between the SSDI and SSI programs, what happens at age 18, and a description of work incentives will be highlighted. Self-advocacy tips for interacting with SSA and a description of the State Medicaid threshold amounts will be highlighted.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Catholic Coalition for Special Education & the Blessed Sacrament disAbilities Ministry
proudly present:

Amy Wallish
Certified Benefits Counselor
Founder of Full Circle Employment Solutions

Saturday, September 21, 2013
9:30 a.m. – 11:30 a.m. Continue reading 2013 Social Security Benefits Workshop

Autopsy report gives details in death of man with Down syndrome at Md. theater

Robert Ethan Saylor didn’t like to be touched, and suddenly an off-duty deputy had his hands on him. Within moments, two more deputies would grab him, the four men would fall in a heap on the floor, and Saylor, who had been shouting and resisting their attempts to restrain him, would grow quiet and still.

More than two months after a man with Down syndrome died at the hands of three off-duty Frederick County sheriff’s deputies, these details about his death emerged in an autopsy report released this week. The 11-page report, which offers the most comprehensive account yet on how the 26-year-old who went to see a movie ended up dead, was made available Tuesday, the same day local and national advocacy groups met with the U.S. Department of Justice to discuss the need for better police training. Continue reading Autopsy report gives details in death of man with Down syndrome at Md. theater