Most sections of the Autism Insurance Act in Illinois went
into effect in December of 2008. Implementing and understanding this act is an
ongoing process. Autism Speaks through its Autism Votes initiative with the
help of George Washington University Law School, has created fact sheets for
each state. There are 28 states that currently have autism insurance laws. The Illinois fact sheet includes the purposes of the act, what is
covered and the limitations of the act. This is useful information for any
parent seeking help from their insurance companies to cover the exorbitant medical
costs associated with autism. Here is a fact sheet from Pennsylvania
Going into an IEP meeting can be an intimidating thing for any parent, even when they have an attorney or advocate in their corner. Feeling that you are on a level playing field with the school could provide peace of mind. The new I-phone application, the IEP checklist, would provide that peace of mind. The application was created by the Parent Educational Advocacy Training Center, a Virginia center that’s part of a national network of special education parent information and training centers funded by the Department of Education. This new app is so cool and should justify the purchase of an I-phone, if just for the look on the school personnel and their attorneys faces.
This application allows you to look up everything from notification time requirements, to scientifically-based research, and it leads you to a brief description and lists the section of the IDEA that addresses each issue. This is a great tool to balance the powers between the school districts and families. The application allows you to take notes under each section to keep your thoughts organized. You can also save your notes in the application in order to refer back to them at another time or at the next IEP meeting. Next we need a goal writing app and apps for literature that applies to your child's/client's disability. School districts that would take advantage of unsuspecting parents have been fairly warned that parents are now fully loaded with the law for their next meeting.
The proposed DSM V, the primary psychiatric manual, is about to bring big changes. The proposed changes will add cutting as a recognized disorder not just a symptom of another diagnosis, and bing eating will be recognized as its own separate disorder. Bi-polar disorder for children, which is a diagnosis that has increased over the last 15 years at geometric rate, will be reclassified under a new heading such as "temper dsyregulation disorder." Perhaps one of the most controversial changes will be that Aspergers and PDD-NOS will officially fall within the heading autism spectrum disorder. The most welcome change will be that the term mental retardation will be retired and the new term will be intellectual disability. The criteria to meet this new diagnosis will also be refined for more accurate diagnosis. Overall the DSM V will downplay the checklist means of diagnosis and will instead emphasize qualitative considerations that are more specific to the individual. The public and professionals will be able to comment on the proposals until April 20, 2010.
I will be posting my own commentary on the blog and at the DSM website, but I wanted to get this up and publicized with the immediacy it deserves.
Brian R. King is a well-respected social worker who has Aspergers, writes extensively on topics related to Aspergers, and counsels and works with many individuals with a variety of social and emotional needs. He has graciously permitted me to reprint in full his commentary on the prospect that the upcoming DSM-V will no longer include Aspergers as a diagnosis. Apparently the draft new criteria is due to come out on February 10, 2010 and the new edition is due out some time in 2013.
Sarah Palin has issued a statement through her spokesperson against Rush Limbaugh's comments on Raum Emmanuel's potty-mouthed stupid use of the word "retard." I want to be clear, I think Sarah Palin is about one thing, ill thought-out shallow drivel, to serve her selfish political interests, including using her son as a political prop (yuck!!). So I derive little pleasure from the fact that she has come out against the use of the word retard, which needs to be retired from our language, and while we are in a retirement mood, Ms. Palin get off the stage!
The House bill H.R. 4247 regulating restraint and seclusion in schools successfully passed out of committee today. There are a lot of additional hurdles with the full House yet to vote on the bill, and ultimately conference committee to reconcile the bill with a Senate version. In this process there are many interests that would like to kill or weaken this bill, so we must keep those calls and emails coming to your respective Congressperson. It may seem odd that schools and other lobby groups could array themselves against a clear effort to protect children from harm in school. However, schools view this issue as a matter of law and order, discipline in school and being able to have complete autonomy. Those concerns are the standard arguments which are used to rebut any form of regulation or perceived expansion of parents' rights, in this instance these "concerns" must give way. The objective data has demonstrated the pervasive harm that children have suffered from inappropriate restraint and seclusion. This bill is a key piece of legislation that needs to be passed this term.
Below is a summary of the bill from the House EdLabor committee's website .