As we enter 2013 we continue looking back at the year that was. Last week we covered the top 10 special needs videos of 2012. Today we highlight the top 10 special needs news stories of 2012. If you think there was a story that we should have highlighted please tell us in the comments below.
1. Changes Made To DSM-5
On December 1st the board of trustees of the American Psychiatric Association voted to approve the fifth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), which psychiatrists use to diagnose patients. Among the changes: Asperger’s disorder will no longer be classed as a separate condition but will be folded into an umbrella category called autism spectrum disorder.
Many parents are concerned that the new definition of autism will not include their child and therefore will not qualify him or her for services and therapies. Follow all of the coverage regarding the Autsim-DSM 5 debate here.
2. A Pattern Of Special Needs Abuse In Schools
During 2012 there were a number of students with special needs that were verbally and physically assaulted by their teachers. Around the country there has been huge concerns that students with special needs are left defenseless and are unable to communicate what has been going on in the Classroom.
Here are 10 of the many abuse stories that have happened in the last year.
- Whistleblowers allege special ed abuse at Conroe school
- New Jersey Autistic Boy Records Teachers’ Alleged Abuse
- Special ed teacher indicted for abusing Hopewell Middle students
- Parents of special needs students say school district covered up abuse
- Teacher sued over claims that autistic students abused
- Brevard teacher accused of abusing special needs students
- Former special needs teacher indicted for allegedly abusing her students
- UN calls for investigation of US school’s shock treatments of autistic children
3. Autism Now 1 In 88
In late March The Center For Disease Control And Prevention announced that they now estimate that 1 in every 88 children in the United States is being diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder.
Based on data taken from 14 communities, boys are almost five times more likely to be diagnosed then girls. The state with the highest prevalence of autism was Utah with 1 in 47 children being diagnosed and Alabama with only 1 in 210.
4. Asperger Syndrome And The Stigma Of Violence
First in the Aurora, Colorado Shootings and than in the Sandy Hook Shootings the media has immediately stated that the perpetrator of the shootings must have asperger syndrome or autism. Although the statements were eventually retracted the damage was already done. Many people are now associating Asperger Syndrome with someone who is violent. Here are some must read articles following the shootings in Aurora and Sandy Hook Elementary.
- Joe Scarborough: Suspected Aurora Shooter’On The Autism Scale’
- The Connecticut shootings: What’s autism got to do with it?
- Setting The Record Straight About Asperger Syndrome
- Troubling legacy of Sandy Hook may be backlash against kids with autism
- Why Asperger’s Didn’t Cause the Sandy Hook School Shooting
- Don’t Be Afraid of People With Autism
5. Children With Special Needs Are Included In Modeling Opportunities
For as far back as one can remember,it was unheard of to have an individual with special needs appear in a television show or an ad. This year saw three children with down syndrome appearing in ads for Nordstroms, Target, Marks And Spencer, and other retailers. Here are some articles covering these great stories of inclusion.
- 10-month-old girl with Down syndrome is the face of new swimwear ad campaign from designer Dolores Cortes
- Child model with Down syndrome inspires thousands
- Boy with Down syndrome stars in television ad for luxury UK retailer
6. The Affordable Care Act And Its Effect On Special Needs Families
By now, you have probably heard about the Supreme Court’s highly anticipated ruling on President Obama’s health care reform legislation, the Affordable Care Act. Much discussion has focused on what this ruling means for the general public; however, little attention has been devoted to what it means for people with disabilities. Here is a summary of the Act and how it affects individuals with special needs.
7. Denial Of Transplants To The Cognitively Impaired
Earlier this year a firestorm was raised when the world renowned Children’s hospital in Philadelphia refused to give a kidney transplant to a child with special needs because she is “mentally retarded” and would not be able to get on a transplant waiting list. A few months later a 23-year-old autistic man named Paul Corby, was denied a heart transplant by the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania. Here are some articles and discussions about denying medical services to individuals with special needs.
- Mom says disabled daughter denied life-saving kidney transplant
- Autistic Man Denied Transplant
- Should kids with disabilities be denied transplants?
- Should CHOP Refuse Transplants For “Mentally Retarded” Kids?
8. Finding Employment For Individuals With Special Needs
Individuals with Special Needs continue to have a hard time finding jobs. The debate heated up this year about finding meaningful jobs that would enhance the quality of life for adults with special needs. Here are some articles covering this issue.
- Don’t be afraid to hire people with disabilities
- Unemployment Falls Again For People With Disabilities
- In The News: Employing People With Special Needs
- Disabilities In The Workplace: 9 Videos That Prove Its Possible
9. ADHD Medications Abused By High school and College Students
Students are looking for any advantage they can get and that is leading them to abuse Adderall and other ADHD drugs. Students are taking the drug to help them stay focused, especially when preparing or taking a test. There has been much discussion about how prevalent the drug is on college campuses as well as the affects on students. Here are four articles that discuss the issue:
- As Crunch Time Hits, Some Students Turn to Dangerous Study Drug
- Risky Rise of the Good-Grade Pill
- Faking ADHD Gets You Into Harvard
- ADHD-awareness campaigns may increase stimulant use on campus
10. Airline Policy On Communication Devices Called Into Question
A recent incident reignited the passionate discussion if people should be allowed to use electronic devices during takeoff and landing. A teenager with autism, flying on American Airlines, was asked to turn off the iPad she uses to communicate. The 45 minutes during takeoff and landing is very difficult for those who use the iPad as a communication device. Here are some articles discussing the topic.