New Autism Toolkit launched to get support for children #RightFromTheStart – Special Needs Jungle


A new Autism Toolkit has been launched to help parents and schools get support for children #RightFromTheStart

Source: New Autism Toolkit launched to get support for children #RightFromTheStart – Special Needs Jungle

Whatever happened to 2 Point 4 children? | National Statistical


The phrase ‘2.4 children’ refers to the stereotypical family size in this country. But does it still hold true? As the ONS publishes its first analysis of births that took place in England and Wales in 2018, Nick Stripe takes a look at whether it’s time to change that number.

Cast your mind back to the nineties. The era of Britpop and football coming home, where things could only get better. The sitcom 2Point4 Children, starring Belinda Lang and Gary Olsen, introduced Bill and Ben Porter to BBC viewers on the 3rdSeptember 1991. It ran until the 30th December 1999, just as the new millennium party was getting into full swing.

Strictly speaking, Bill and Ben only had two children, David and Jenny. But dad, Ben, had juvenile tendencies which, helpfully, meant that there were 2.4 kids really. How typical were they then and now?

The broad picture painted by our analysis of births in 2018 is one of decreases and record lows. A birth rate of 11.1 births per 1,000 total population was the lowest ever recorded. And a fertility rate of 1.7 children per woman, was lower than all years except 1977 and 1999–2002.

How things have changed

At the height of the ‘baby boom’ in the late 1940s and mid 1960s, England and Wales was the scene of nearly 900,000 births per year. This represented a birth rate of around 20 births for every 1,000 people in the country. If the fertility rates of those years had persisted, women would, on average, have each given birth to around 2.8 children. This is known as the ‘total’ fertility rate. It projects forward how many children the average woman would have if she experienced that year’s ‘age-specific’ fertility rates throughout her life.

 

Source: Whatever happened to 2 Point 4 children? | National Statistical

Foster care is faced with a ‘looming crisis’ | Society | The Guardian


Foster care in Britain is facing a “looming crisis” because of lack of government funding and support, leaving carers feeling demoralised, overworked and struggling to cope with the complex needs of the vulnerable children they look after, experts have warned.

The Fostering Network, the charity representing foster carers, has accused the government of neglecting foster care, predicting that young people will not get the support they need if carers continue to be underpaid, ignored and undervalued.

The charity’s State of the Nation’s Foster Care report, seen exclusively by the Observer, reveals that almost half of carers would not recommend fostering to others, and almost two-thirds feel the allowance and expenses they can claim do not meet the full costs of looking after children. Four out of 10 foster carers are not paid any fee, and fewer than one in 10 are paid at or above the equivalent of the national living wage for a 40-hour week.

 

Source: Foster care is faced with a ‘looming crisis’ | Society | The Guardian

Help Your Child with ADHD Gain a Strong Sense of Self : Additude


It is one of life’s great ironies that our sense of self comes mostly from others.

As children, we learn who we are and how we are valued by the feedback we receive from other people. If we do something and others respond with warmth, admiration, and pleasure, we think of that action as reflecting the good part of ourselves. If, on the other hand, we do something and it is met with disapproval or withdrawal of love, we have been bad and we must not do it again.

How Kids with ADHD Are Perceived and Judged

There are three basic ways in which this feedback loop goes wrong for children with attention deficit disorder (ADHD or ADD). The first is that kids with ADHD rarely behave the same way consistently enough to get a consistent stream of feedback. Sometimes they are empathic and other times self-absorbed. If they find something interesting, they can achieve anything but they cannot do 20 minutes of homework without a meltdown. It can be hard to develop a singular sense of self while evoking contradictory feedback.

The second way things go wrong is when children receive feedback based on neurotypical expectations. While neurodiverse children are trying to discover themselves and what the world values in them, there is a fire hose of feedback telling them they should be like other children. The world tells them that having ADHD means they have “bad brains” and belong on the short bus.

These expectations are often expressed with questions that start with “Why.” “Why” questions demand a justification for failure or falling short: “Why did you get a D when you are smart enough to get an A?” or “Why did you do something so impulsive when you’ve already made this same mistake before?” Parents and others may not say it in so many words, but “Why” questions make a statement that says, “You are not the child I wanted or expected.” Pressure to conform to neurotypical expectations leads to shame. If guilt is the painful gut feeling about what we have done, then shame is that same feeling about who we are. Shame is the only emotion that wants to stay hidden.

 

Source: Help Your Child with ADHD Gain a Strong Sense of Self : Additude

These kids and young adults want their day in court on climate change : The Conversation


Humanity must rapidly decrease greenhouse gas emissions to avoid catastrophic levels of global warming, climate scientists have warned for decades. But America’s president has both feet on the fossil fuel accelerator.

One way to force President Donald Trump to put the brakes on his dangerous “energy-dominance” policy is a lawsuit filed on behalf of 21 young people. Using a barrage of legal motions, the administration’s lawyers are scrambling to keep this case, known as Juliana v. United States, from going to trial.

As environmental law professors, we have written about this remarkable case and are teaching our students about it. This case positions the climate crisis squarely in the realm of fundamental civil rights jurisprudence, where we believe it belongs.

 

Source: These kids and young adults want their day in court on climate change : The Conversation

Could poor protein trafficking be a factor in autism? : Medical News Today


A protein whose mutations are found in people with autism and other neurodevelopmental conditions helps keep connections between neurons in the brain running smoothly.

Newly published research — led by Rockefeller University in New York City, NY — reveals that the protein astrotactin 2 (ASTN2) can traffick receptors away from neurons’ surfaces and prevent them from accumulating there.

Connections between neurons are essential to brain function.

They work because receptors, which sit on the surfaces of cells, are always ready to partner with incoming neurotransmitters from other cells.

The process is dynamic and needs a continual cycle of receptors “on and off” the cell membrane to ensure rapid response to signals. Trafficking proteins help keep the receptors moving.

The recent study, which now features in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, has also suggested a mechanism through which autism spectrum disorders (ASDs), such as the neurodevelopmental condition autism, could arise from defects in ASTN2.

The exact causes of neurodevelopmental conditions are largely unknown, though many signs can be traced to early brain development. Scientists believe that the origins are complex and involve genetic, biological, and environmental factors.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), around 1 in 68 children from the United States have been “identified with ASD,” with boys over four times more likely be identified with it than girls.

Trafficking proteins

 

Source: Could poor protein trafficking be a factor in autism? : Medical News Yoday

Girls have ADHD too – here’s why we may be missing them : The Conversation


Asked what they know about attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, or ADHD, many people will likely tell you that it mostly affects children, and mostly boys. However, recent research has shown that neither of these perceptions is entirely true.

There is a striking difference in the sex of children diagnosed with ADHD, with boys more likely to be diagnosed than girls (the ratios can be as high as 9:1 in some studies). However, these studies are of children who have an established diagnosis of ADHD, and such estimates are affected by referral patterns (for example, parents may be more likely to take their sons in for an ADHD assessment), so they may not reflect the true sex ratio.

Indeed, when we estimate the occurrence of ADHD in the population as a whole, rather than just in children at clinics, we find that a lot more girls meet diagnostic criteria than is reflected in the estimates from clinics. The same equalising trend between the sexes is visible when looking at adults with a diagnosis of ADHD. Taken together, this suggests that there are a substantial number of girls with ADHD going undiagnosed in childhood, with potentially serious implications for the effects of their untreated symptoms in childhood, adolescence and adulthood.

Why are girls less likely to be diagnosed?

One reason that fewer girls are diagnosed with ADHD is that girls may be more likely to have the inattentive-type ADHD symptoms, rather than the hyperactive and impulsive symptoms that are more common in boys. The issue is that while inattention and an inability to focus will cause problems for a child, such symptoms may be less disruptive and noticeable for parents or teachers, which means that these children’s ADHD may go unrecognised.

Considering that diagnostic criteria were created based on studies of boys, they are likely to be better geared towards the identification of ADHD in males. This has led to a stereotypical image of ADHD as a “disruptive boy”, even though it is becoming more widely recognised that ADHD also affects large numbers of females and adults.

 

Source: Girls have ADHD too – here’s why we may be missing them  The Conversation

Asylum seekers are detained near McAllen, Texas, June 2018. Photograph: John Moore/Getty Images

Inspired by Trump, the world could be heading back to the 1930s | Jonathan Freedland | Opinion | The Guardian


You’ll remember Godwin’s law, which holds that the longer an online debate goes on, the likelier it is that someone will mention Hitler or the Nazis. It was an amusing observation and one that served a useful purpose, guarding against hyperbole and fatuous comparison. Except last August, as the American far right staged a torchlight parade in Charlottesville, Mike Godwin suspended his own law. “By all means, compare these shitheads to Nazis,” he tweeted. “Again and again. I’m with you.”

Despite that dispensation, I’ve tended to abide by my own version of Godwin’s law. I try to avoid Nazi comparisons, chiefly because they’re almost always wrong and because, far from dramatising whatever horror is under way, they usually serve to minimise the one that killed millions in the 1940s. And yet, there’s a cost to such self-restraint. Because if the Nazi era is placed off limits, seen as so far outside the realm of regular human experience that it might as well have happened on a distant planet – Planet Auschwitz – then we risk failure to learn its lessons. That would be to squander the essential benefit offered by study of the Third Reich: an early warning system.

So yes, when Donald Trump ordered US government agents on the southern border to separate migrant children from their parents, to tear screaming toddlers from their fathers and even to pull a baby from its mother’s breast, he was not re-enacting the Holocaust. He was not ordering the eradication of an entire people or sending millions to their deaths. But there were echoes. And we must hear them.

For one, there’s the elemental act of separation itself. If you interview survivors of the Holocaust, one thing you notice is that even those who’ve grown used to describing events of the most extraordinary cruelty, and who can do so without shedding a tear, often struggle when they recall the moment they were parted from a parent. Mostly now in their 80s or older, they are taken back to that moment of childhood terror, one that never leaves them.

 

Source: Inspired by Trump, the world could be heading back to the 1930s | Jonathan Freedland | Opinion | The Guardian