A new study out of South Korea suggests that 1 in 38 children have traits of autism. This finding is higher than previous estimates of 1 in about 100. The researches do not believe South Korea has higher rates of autism. They believe that autism often goes undiagnosed in many countries. The study was published this week in the Jounral of Psychiatry. 55,000 school children were screened, ages 7-12, in one district in South Korea. It must be pointed out that only two-thirds of mainstream children participated in the study. The study took five years to complete.
Note: I would be cautious of this study at this point. We would need to see if other studies show the same or similar outcomes.
In my last post, I remarked that we've made great strides in human dignity in terms of serving and supporting individuals with autism and developmental disabilities. However, we have a long way to go. And one of those areas that needs attention is the bullying of children with autism and developmental disabilities, especially in our schools. A study out of Massachusetts in 2009 found that 9 in 10 children with autism have been victims of bullying in school. The study surveyed 400 parents of children with autism. "Children with autism spectrum disorder are especially vulnerable targets because of the nature of their disability, " said Julia Landau, director at Massachusetts Advocates for Children. So how do we attack this problem? One way is to legally start addressing the problems in the child's IEP. This will give the power of law behind our advocacy. It will also give the child the tools and skills he or she needs handle those children who bully (after all, the reality is teachers, administrators and parents can't be everywhere).While I'm sure many school administrations and faculties have started programs regarding bullying; they must also start creating climates of acceptance of individuals with special needs at their schools. This can be done by initiating social curriculums which would teach children how to recognize bullying as well as how to react to bullies. And it is imperative that administrators, teachers, students and parents respond promptly to any reports of bullying. Those events should be documented on incident reports so timely "after action" responses are completed and appropriate actions are taken. This is a problem that can be solved if we all treat it more seriously.
4 Your Bookshelf:
- Since We're Friends: An Autism Picture Book by Lisa Jo Rudy. This book offers practical ideas for supporting friendships.
- Rules by Cynthia Lord. This is a book for families with children with autism. It's a great book for siblings. Great conversation starter.