Browsing: Developmental Disabilities

Everything About Down Syndrome

The people who suffer from Down syndrome have average to low cognitive abilities and the chances of Down syndrome are 1 to 1000 births. Also this ratio greatly depends upon the age of the mother and many other factors. Many of the symptoms of down syndrome may also be found in normal people such as poor muscle growth, ear infections, obstructive sleep, thyroid dysfunctions etc. It is advised that as soon as this syndrome is detected in children they should be treated in a conductive family environment and voluntary training should be provided to them for their development. All of the symptoms of Down syndrome can not be overcome but with proper care and education, the life of the people affected from syndrome can be greatly improved.

Characteristics of Down syndrome:

People suffering from Down syndrome may have some of the following physical characteristics:

o Oblique eye fissures

o Muscle hypotonia

o Flat nasal bridge

o Single plamar fold

o Short neck

o White spots on the iris

o Congenital heart defects

o Single Flexion furrow of the fifth finger

o Higher number of ilnar loop dermatoglyphs

Some mental characteristics include:

o Mental retardation

o Low IQ due to above factor

These are just some of the symptoms of the Down Syndrome. They are many other symptoms of this dreadful disorder.

Health of people:

The people suffering from this syndrome can experience any organ or organ system failure at any time. This type of syndrome can result from many genetic disorders. These results in wide variety of symptoms and even wider variety of problems and complications in the individuals. Prior to birth it can be tested and found out that the individual which will develop will have Down syndrome while some symptoms are clearly visible after the birth like heart malfunctions others come to light in the later years.

A survey conducted in United States showed that the life acceptancy of such people is around 49 years up from 25 years in 1980.The life expectancy also depends on many factors like the social environment of the individual as well as the family environment. Fertility is drastically reduced with males suffering the worst. Only 3 instances of a male suffering from Down syndrome becoming a father have been recorded.

People who support such people advise that such people should be given special guidance as well as education as well as a home environment which is suitable and caring for them and then only that develop their minds to live like a normal person. With special care and understanding the world can be made a better place to live in for individuals suffering from Down syndrome.

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Cleft Lip Palate Treatment

Cleft lip and palate is a treatable birth defect. The availability of treatment can easily be acquired and started as soon as the condition has been determined and diagnosed. Infants and children are the most common patient treated for cleft lip and palate condition. Being “one of the most common birth defect” of our time, babies born with this condition are treated right away and placed under the care of multidisciplinary team of specialists.

It is very important to treat and complete the treatment for this condition as early as possible that is why every attempt to do it should be made possible. There are several factors critical for early treatment and care of patients such as speech, growth, hearing, breathing and teeth development.

However, treatments for adult with this particular condition are also available and it's not limited to infants and kids alone. As the child with oral condition grow, some treatments may still be onoing. In some cases, special needs or necessary treatments are not quite met become more apparent through in later years.

Treatment procedures to manage oral cleft condition invent new innovative approaches as time passes. An adult with an oral condition will be evaluated to determine the specific treatment he will need. The adult will be counseled as well prior to any treatment about clefting, its condition and its management. It's treatment, procedures and surgeries are performed by a team of multidisciplinary specialists who are particularly involved and have excellent expertise. The team will be compiled with oral and plastic surgeons, pediatrician, pediatric dentist, orthodontist, otolaryngologist (specializes in areas of the eyes, ear and nose), prosthodontist (tooth replacement expert), nutritionist, geneticist and a psychologist.

This condition among adults brings the same concerns of youngger individuals affected by the consequences bought by the condition. These individuals are most concerned on how they look. These concerns include the appearance of the affected area, their lip and nose, as well as their quality of hearing, speech ability and the functionality and development of their teeth.

Reconstructive surgery is the main treatment that will improve all of these concerns. The scar after reconstructive surgery will be permanent however. But there are still ways to improve even this. The patient can opt to have revision surgery. To know what can be done surgically to improve your appearance even more, it is best to address it and have it discussed with your surgeon.

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How Do You Live With A Loved One Who Has Mental Illness And Avoid Becoming Ill In Your Thinking?

The choice is truly yours to receive your loved ones mental illness as a beautiful gift or a ride on a never ending roller coaster. I have a daughter, who is now 13, and has been given at least 8 different mental disability labels and three different places living in treatment facilities with various cocktail brews of medicines up until 3 years ago. The kindest way people in social service fields could offer support was to tell me “she's complex”

I learned to live with a few simple thoughts to keep some perspective in my life. If I did not she could wear me out to the point like I felt my brains have just been dumped out on the floor. I think being in a catatonic state of mind sounds a little less out there, huh?

See their in differences from ours as unique and treasured gifts!

My daughter was unique before she was even born to the outside world. Most the time her excessive line of questioning would send my head in a tail spin. If I could not quickly respond with an acceptable answer then off to the opera stage I went. It was more like screaming in fits of rage, but hey I managed to find a gift out of that, maybe an opera singer in the family?

Let go, let go, and I mean quickly let go and laugh!

When she use to ride the special ed bus one day she decided to unbuckle the seat belts of all the special ed children riding the bus. She told them to stand up on their seats because they were all free from restraints. Of course I took it serious but can you just imagine the poor bus driver. Try running this scenario as if it was a movie produced with Will Ferrell in the lead role or maybe a scene from the movie “Free Willy”.

Start everyday and sometimes every micro second as a renewed learning experience for both of you!

Many people would not be able to last a day with my daughters irrational behaviors be it verbal or physical and rapidly unpredictable mood swings. I would be in denial if I said it was not challenging but I feel blessed. My daughter keeps me in the present to never forget what it really means to be patient and forgive in an instant. Remembering to live humbly and what it means to really feel humility helped me see progress in her daily. It could be as simple as her saying she was sorry even though I may know the same scenario could happen again in an hour.

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Adult Problems Caused by Childhood Ailments

Among my childhood ailments was the measles, which caused in meningitis of the brain when I was two years old. Eight years later, my only older brother died at age 14.

Now, at age 56, I still live with my parents, and am being treated for Asperger's (a form of autism), and have not been on a date with a female in over 10 years. No wonder I suffer from depression.

I left the bank for a sales position with Craftmatic, which makes and markets their own adjustable beds. I went broke after a month and was terminated because I did not meet the sales demo quota, so I promptly went to Ohio's Employment Connection. One of the first things I learned during the career workshop was that mailroom jobs were being eliminated due to the advent of electronic mail. According to CareerBuilder, California, New York, Texas and Florida had several hundred mailroom jobs available.

Besides the difficulty in finding work, my parents starting going downhill in term of health. My mother slipped and fell in the basement in summer of 2006, had her hip replaced at age 80 and was in and out of the hospital the rest of the year, spending the holidays with one my brothers and his family. As if that's not enough, she suffices from glaucoma (which she passed on to me), lactose-intolerant, arthritis and diverticulosis. A year later, my dad (age 85 at the time) went in for a stress test and was sent to the hospital for quadruple bypass surgery. They panicked and moved into a retirement center. I wound up with a minimum wage factory job across the street from my church, but the two bus rides and one mile walk each way were just too much, so I flew to Tampa / St. Pete in January last year.

My stay in Florida was short-lived. In the six weeks I was there, the only position I found was as a telemarketer selling tanning oil to beauty and tanning salons. That worn three days; I was fired due to lack of sales. When the cash ran out, I came back to Cleveland via Greyhound, just in time for the ice storm and blizzard.

I took to applying and searching for work online because it's the way everyone does it now. All the states have their own job boards. Even the federal government has USA Jobs. When you go to a career fair, unless it's a hospitality position, you have to apply online. One of the problems with applying on line, though, is that it pegs you based on your last lengthy job. Here, the job boards match me with mailroom jobs. Believe me when I say that there is nothing in Cleveland, although I could probably get a shipping / receiving job. My problem with that is I have a Florida driver's license and do not want to drive in the snow.

There are so many people applying for work here in Cleveland that the employers pretty much hire through a temp firm or ask you apply on line. What's really bad is that my employment record since leaving the bank is shot, so even if the state paid for my retraining, I doubt if it would do any good, because all they're pushing here in Cleveland is health care and manufacturing. At 56, I'm not too crazy about either one. (I can understand the need to go into health care. People are losing their minds just trying to find employment).

You can believe me on that last statement. I was so furious with myself upon returning to Cleveland that I grabbed the kitchen pantry door and smashed my forehead against it, promptly knocking off its hinges. As a result, I'm being treated for depression / bipolar disorder with a medication that makes it difficult to lose weight. Since my return, I worked with Ohio's Bureau of Vocational Rehabilitation, but what I wanted to do did not fall within their guidelines. They recently sent me to the local Jewish Family Services, which is trying to find work for me.

In the meantime, I can offer only these words of advice:
1) If your environment makes you miserable, leave as soon as possible, even if it means just going to the library or taking a walk in the park.
2) Do not spend too much time at the library because everything is electronicized. You can send several e-beams and cover letters and never receive a reply.
3) Stay physically active even if you are out of work.
4) Network with other people in person, not through the Internet.

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Focusing On Inclusion In All Aspects of Life

Terry Mackey thought he understood the world of disabilities; after all, he had been in the field for many years. But, until he became the father of five sons, three of whom have developmental disabilities, he did not really grasp the issues people with disabilities and their families face every day. As Mackey has gone from member to waiter to chair of the Missouri Planning Council for Developmental Disabilities (MPC), he has gained considerable insight.

The MPC – one of 55 such councils in the US – is a federally funded, 23-member body made up of people with developmental disabilities or their families, as well as representatives of involvated state agencies. The council's mission is to advocate for people with developmental disabilities and influence public policy that affects them. There are 4.5 million people in this country and more than 100,000 in Missouri who have a developmental disability: a long-term condition, with anger before age 22, that limits development and the ability to engage in the everyday activities of life.

“In a perfect world,” says Susan Pritchard Green, executive director of the MPC, “people with developmental disabilities would be able to work, live wherever they choose to live, access public transportation, and have systems in place to support them in their communities. ” In other words, they would be included in all aspects of life, which is the reason the committees were created by Congress in 1970 by the Developmental Disabilities Assistance and Bill of Rights Act.

People with developmental disabilities know what they want, “says Pritchard-Green.” It is simply a matter of asking. “That is exactly what the council had done in 2005, it embarked on a two-year, statewide needs assessment. With assistance from other agencies and UM, the council gathered information from 1,700 Missouri residents with developmental disabilities and their families through focus groups, surveys, and e-mails. and target dates. Narrowing down the concerns of so many people was a formidable task, but some priorities clearly stood out.

Employment was one. “People with developmental disabilities want the opportunity to support themselves, to have the dignity of saying this is who I am; this is what I do ,” says Terry Mackey. “People are tired of feeling dependent on the whims of the legislature, the economy, or some organization's budget.”

Shelly Shetley, the current chair of the MPC, agreements. “People with disabilities can work and want to work,” she says. “The problem is that most people with disabilities are on Medicaid; and, if they go to work, they have a chance of losing it. work, we often do not earn enough to make up for what we've lost. ”

Another high priority for council members Gary Stevens and Sharon Smith is helping the general public feel more comfortable with people with disabilities. Stevens is a self-advocate who has been on the council for eight years. He travels all over the state, meeting people and learning about their needs. He has learned a lot, he says. “People with developmental disabilities have to go out in the community. We have to let ourselves be seen, and people have to make it their business to talk to us. I'm just like everyone else,” insists Stevens. “I'm friendly; I have a good personality.

Sharon Smith, also a self-advocate makes very sure people know who she is and what's important to her. Hand-lettered on the side of her wheelchair are these words: “My name is Sharon. I have cerebral palsy. I can think for myself. I love to be independent.

To address these and other priorities, MPC has instituted a number of projects across the state.

People First is a self-advocacy and self-help organization that empowers self-advocates to speak for themselves, make decisions, and implement plans. “Like MPC members, their goals are to be included in their communities and have real jobs,” explains Joann Noll, former chair and chair-elect of MPC. “We have had people with disabilities and council members help help establish chapters in several communities. Most of those organizations are still in existence, and some of them are stronger than ever.

Partners in Policy Making is an innovative leadership-training program that teaches self-advocates and family members of young children with developmental disabilities how to become leaders in their communities. The program is based on the belief that the most cost-effective and enduring public-policy decisions are made by people who use the services and who form partnerships with elected officials, school personnel, and other decision makers. Noll observes that some of the parents and people with disabilities who have graduated from this program are now strong advocates for change in their own communities.

The Missouri Developmental Disabilities Resource Center (DDRC) helps guide families through the disability experience with a network of support options, information, referrals, and volunteer opportunities. An invaluable resource for in-depth research on a wide range of disability-related topics, DRC is free to all Republicans.

Sharing our Strengths , a part of DDRC, is a support network for families, self-advocates, and professionals. “While there is one in almost every state,” according to Susan Pritchard-Green, “Missouri's system is not just family-to-family, but also people with disabilities to others with disabilities. . However a person comes to us, we can set him up with the appropriate type of mentor. ”

These initiatives barely scratch the surface of MPC's statewide efforts. While the needs of people with developmental disabilities may seem daunting, they are exactly what all people want – to live and participate fully in their communities and to have a voice in the decisions that affect their lives.

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Treating Cerebral Palsy With Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy

What is Cerebral Palsy?

The term cerebral palsy refers to a class of disorders which results in severely impaired motor skills, leading to spastic movements, loss of fine motor control, and awkwardly contracted muscles. While the exact cause of cerebral palsy is can not always be determined, complications or injuries sustained during birth account for many cases of cerebral palsy.

There is no known cure for cerebral palsy; it is a lifelong disorder. However, with intensive treatment and therapy regimens, as well as attention and care from parents and medical personnel, many children with cerebral palsy can become functional, reliably independent adults.

An Overview of Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy

Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy (HBOT) is the administration of high concentrations of pure oxygen in a strong- but controlled-pressure environment. Originally developed as a treatment for decompression sickness in divers, HBOT essentially creates an extremely oxygen-rich blood supply and internal body environment. HBOT has also proven effective in promoting the healing process for severe burn victims and patients with severe, slow-healing wounds.

HBOT for cerebral palsy is generally administrated at a pressure equivalent to being 16.5-25 feet below sea level, in one-hour sessions. Studies have supported the benefits of HBOT in cerebral palsy patients, improving the patients' speech, hearing, and vision abilities, while reducing spasticity by up to 50%.

Scientists theorize that the effectiveness of HBOT in terraating the symptoms of cerebral palsy goes back to the root causes of cerebral palsy. In patients with cerebral palsy, the brain has difficulty communicating with the rest of the body, leading to the characteristic spastic, jerky movements. In some cases, where cerebral palsy is caused by traumatic head injuries associated with birth complications, a lack of oxygen flow to and increased swelling in certain areas of the brain causes these sections to fall into a dormant state. The hyper-oxygenated environment created by HBOT appears to promote a revival of these dormant areas and reduce the brain boiling by constricting blood vessels.

As with many forms of treatment, HBOT has proven more effective if administrated in the early stages of cerebral palsy; however, some evidence exists which shows benefits for HBOT even years after symptoms first appear.

The risks of properly-administrated HBOT are fairly minor. The most common side effect of HBOT therapy is ear discomfort, similar to the effect of rapidly ascending in an aircraft. This is due to the pressure differential created by the HBOT's high-pressure environment. In very rare cases, damage to the eardrum may result if the pressure is not alleviated. Simple techniques such as swallowing, jaw movements, or the Valsalva maneuver are all capable to equalize this pressure difference.

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Developmental Delay Syndrome – The “Real” Diagnosis for Autism Spectrum Disorders, ADHD, and LD?

According to Robert Melillo and Gerry Leisman (2004) in their textbook, Neuro behavioral disorders of Childhood, “Attention deficit disorder (ADD), attention deficit hyperactive disorder (ADHD), pervasive developmental disorder (PDD), obsessive-compulsive disorder (ODD) , Asperger's syndrome, and autism, to name but a few, may be viewed as points on a spectrum of developmental disabilities in which those points share features in common and possibly etiology as well, varying only in severity and in the primary anatomical region of dysfunctional activity (p. 1). ”

These authors state that the child behavioral disorders share many things in common, including learning disabilities. Their theory is based on the idea that the human ability to think (cognition) is tied inextricably with movement and that, indeed, cognitive and motor functions are actually part and parcel of the same biological function.

They cite as evidence that problems of motor movement such as in coordination or clumsiness are very common symptoms of developmental disabilities. The following are some further core tenets of their theory:

1) Under-stimulation of the cerebellum and thalamus affects both executive and motor functions. In other words, the cerebellum and thalamus (portions of the brain) are under-stimulated, and this affects the ability to move in a fully coordinated way and to think and process information in optimal ways.

2) A primary problem is dysfunction of hemisphericity, ie the right and left hemispheres are not talking to each other properly.

3) Most conditions in this spectrum are the result of a right hemisphere dysfunction or delay.

4) Environment is a fundamental problem. The authors point out that if these disorders were initially genetic, they would not be increasing at such an alarming rate.

5) All of these disorders are variations of the same problem. They point out that there is a high rate of comorbidity for all these conditions.

6) These problems are correctable. They state that the main focus of treatment should be on improving motor function in conjunction with cognitive training and behavior modification.

7) Hemisphere specific treatment is the key to success. “Motor activity, sensory stimulation, and cognitive functions directed towards the under-functioning hemisphere is the most important consideration in treatment (p. 4).”

Hyperactivity may actually be the brain's attempt to correct itself, ie provide enough stimulation to the under-stimulated cerebellum. Further, this may be why stimulant medications such as Ritalin, Adderall, Concerta, etc., allow some children with hyperactivity to calm down and focus.

Robin Pauc, author of The Learning Disability Myth, puts the neuro behavioral behaviors (ADD, ADHD, OCD, Asperger's, autism, PDD, etc.) under one umbrella and calls it Developmental Delay Syndrome (DDS). Notice that he calls it “delay” and not “disorder.” Pauc, Melillo and Leisman are among a growing number of clinicians and researchers who believe that the areas of the brain that are immature due to genetics or environment can be brought to maturity through cognitive-motor treatments. This is very exciting indeed!

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What is Cerebral Palsy?

Cerebral palsy is a disorder of movement that occurs before, during or shortly after birth usually due to a lack of oxygen to the brain. Within the overall category of cerebral palsy there are many different types, each with their own particular symptoms and characteristics.

Cerebral Palsy is a Disorder of Movement

Cerebral palsy is a disorder of movement; this disorder may include tight muscles that result in stiff, jerky movements such as spastic cerebral palsy or uncoordinated movements such as athetoid cerebral palsy. The severity will also vary from person to person and could be very different where the patient is confined to a wheelchair and where there is very limited movement in any part of the body, or it could simply be a slight limp or movement problems in the hands and arms.

Cerebral Palsy is Not Mental Disability or Lack of Intelligence

Many people tend to get confused with this and feel that because someone is perhaps severely affected, confined to a wheelchair and has very limited movement that they must also have mental disability or be less intelligent. This is not the case and many people who have very severe physical disability have either normal or superior intellects.

CP is Caused by a Lack of Oxygen to the Brain Before, During or After Birth

CP is caused by a lack of oxygen to the brain resulting in damage to different parts of the brain. This can be caused by abnormal development or diseases of the mother before birth, a cord tied around the neck or other problems during the birth process, or near drowning, meningitis or other causes leading to a lack of oxygen within the first few years after birth .

CP is a disorder of movement caused by lack of oxygen that starts in infancy or before birth and can vary in severity from a very mild form to severe physical disability. It does not necessarily affect the intelligence and in many cases those who are severely affected physically have normal or superior intellects.

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Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy and Cerebral Palsy Children

One of the treatments that is increasingly being used to treat cerebral palsy is hyperbaric oxygen therapy. This treatment involves administering pure oxygen to patients at controlled pressures in a chamber. This has been found to be very useful in the treatment of some symptoms of it as we will discuss below.

What is Cerebral Palsy?

Cerebral palsy is a disorder of movement that is caused by damage to the brain before, during or shortly after birth. This results in the muscles and brain not being able to communicate effectively leading to disordered movement, problems with muscle tone, and other symptoms.

What is Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy?

Hyperbaric oxygen therapy is the administration of pure oxygen to patients in a chamber which has a controlled pressure. It is used to treat a number of different disorders and diseases, one of them being cerebral palsy. In the case of children with cerebral palsy oxygen is administrated at a pressure of 1.5ATA which is the equivalent of 16.5 feet below sea level. Treatments may take place twice a day, five days a week though the number of treatments given will vary.

Research Studies Done Involving Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy and Cerebral Palsy

Research that has been done to determine the effect of using hyperbaric oxygen therapy on patients with cerebral palsy has been positive and a Brazilian study showed a 50% reduction in spasticity for 94% of the patients who took part in this study.

If your child has this and you feel that they may benefit from this treatment then you can speak to your medical practitioner about its use and get referred for treatment to a center near you.

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State Councils for Development Disabilities – Changing Lives and Communities for the Better

If anything can be described as “equal opportunity,” it is developmental disabilities (DD), which affect 4.5 million Americans of all ages, religions, ethnic backgrounds, economic status, and political affiliation. A developmental disability is one that seriously limits a person's everyday living activities, mentally or physically, or both. It may be obvious to others or invisible. It is usually diagnosed some time in the first 21 years of life and is almost always permanent.

Until 1970, people with developmental disabilities and their families had few options. There was little awareness of what they were experiencing or many place to turn for help. If families were unable to keep their children or loved ones at home, often they had no choice but to place them in institutions. In 1970 a groundbreaking piece of legislation – the Developmental Disabilities Assistance and Bill of Rights Act – created a system of state councils designed to help people with DD live with dignity as productive, independent, and integrated members of their communities.

Karen Flippo, executive director of the National Association of State Councils for Developmental Disabilities (NACDD), believes that DD councils have changed communities by making them more vibrant and livable for everyone. “The councils help people live fuller lives, navigate the confusing maze of agencies and community organizations, and make choices about issues that affect them.” Flippo was named executive director of the NACDD when it was formed in 2002. The association plays multiple roles, including serving as a voice in Washington for people with DD and their families.

Advocating for the continued reauthorization and full funding of the Developmental Disabilities Act is NACDD's number one priority at the moment. “If the act is not authorized this year,” explains Flippo, “it will roll over for another year at the same amount of money. If it is never reauthorized, there would be no state councils, but I do not see that happening. The DD Act has always enjoyed bipartisan support. It has been a hallmark of disability legislation and the basis for many other disability-related laws. ”

As with most domestic and discretionary programs, the councils' challenges have increased in the last few years, and they are receiving less money than in the past. Some have had scale on back programs; others have cut staff. “At the same time, there have been some fascinating projects and new cooperatives formed within the states,” says Flippo. “And by virtue of state funding, the councils are still extremely viable.”

What makes the state councils unique is both their mandate and their membership. Council members are appointed by rulers to represent and advocate for people with DD in their states. They have broad authority to set priorities and work towards public policies that provide self-determination, inclusion, and assimilation of people with DD. With the exception of the executive director, all of these people volunteer their time; and at least 60 percent of them have developmental disabilities or have family members who do.

The NACDD board is made up of representatives of various state councils, many of whom wear two hats. Becky Harker, NACDD president, is one of them. As board president, she is a volunteer who helps to set policy for the national association; as executive director of the Iowa Governor's DD Council, she oversees a staff that carries out policy. “As a national board member, it's easy to fall into micromanaging,” she says, “but our job is to make policy, not to implement it.”

Harker feels the biggest challenge the national and state councils face is finding ways to work collaboratively with other organizations that serve the same population. “In the world of disabilities,” she explains, “there is an intense competition for limited resources and a tendency to divide things into categories: mental, physical, and developmental. at functional needs rather than categories or diagnoses – we would see the commonalities. We would see people for whom mobility is an issue and people for whatever employment or education is an issue. ” It is the challenge of the puzzle that intrigues her – first, looking at the whole picture and, then, determining the pieces where the council can make a difference.

One of the major strengths of the DD councils is their ability to take a wide-angle view of the needs in their individual states. “We're involved across all life areas – employment, education, health, housing – so we tend to see a bigger picture,” Harker explains. “We can connect the education people with the employment people because we walk in both worlds. We can create links between various agencies and groups that may have similar results but have not really talked to one another.”

The DD committees have led the way on many issues, especially those concerning self-advocacy, which has always been part of their core mission. Since the self-advocacy movement has gained strength in the last decade, one of their principal goals now is to shift that lead to the people who are directly affected by disabilities. In Iowa, for example the long-term vision of the DD Council is to be responsive to what advocates need in terms of research and support.

“There are many people with developmental disabilities who do need help advocating for themselves,” says Harker, “and that's why family members are a part of the DD committees. “Even with simple choices, people really do have preferences and should participate in the decision-making process that affects them.”

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Down Syndrome – High Risk Mothers And Early Detection

As an expecting mother, please be sure to keep all doctor's appointments, take all prenatal vitamins and dietary supplements, and be absolutely certain to begin taking care of your child from the moment you find out you're pregnant. Prenatal care is essential for any expecting mother. Down Syndrome, as a primary concern for pregnant women over the age of 35, or for women genetically predisposed to give birth to a child with this condition, can sometimes be detected as early as the first trimester. Please see your doctor regularly and as soon as possible for an ultrasound.

Although there is not much that advanced medicine, as of yet, can do to prevent this troubling disease, there are ways a woman can prepare herself and her family to care for a child with Down Syndrome. This, of course, applies to many pregnancies and potential birth defects, such as Trisomy-18 and other chromosomal abnormalities that may occur. Taking care of yourself while you are pregnant is the most important thing you can do.

Any pregnancy is important, and many variables are certainly worth attending to during those critical months before your child is born. Whether it has already been determined that yours is a high-risk pregnancy, or if you may possibly be a high-risk pregnancy, even if (as far as you know) you and your baby are in perfect health, medical attention is essential from the earliest possible point in your pregnancy.

One very important thing to do, in addition to all other prenatal care, is to have an ultra-screen done in your first trimester. An ultra-screen is a procedure that has been extensively studied. Screening is recommended for all pregnant patients, not just women over the age of 35. Of all Down syndrome pregnancies, 91 percent can be detected by use of an ultra-screen in the first trimester. There is, however, a five percent chance of getting a false-positive result, therefore, if the first ultra screen is positive, reschedule another to be sure. If the screening detects a Trisomy-18 defect it is likely to be accurate. The false-positive rate on the ultra screen for Trisomy-18 is more like one percent. The ultra screen can detect, incredibly early, the chances of Trisomy-18 with up to 98 percent accuracy.

So, some of you eager expecting mothers are probably wondering, how exactly is the ultra-screen test performed? A combination ultrasound and blood test are keys to this procedure and the accuracy of its results. According to experts who routinely use the equipment, “the test begins with an ultrasound examination between 11w1d and 13w6d gestation.” The CRL needs to be between 45 and 84 mm. CRL is measured for accurate pregnancy dating (ie the date of conception) and nuchal translucency (NT) is measured as well before the procedure can be performed. NT is a specific marker for chromosomal aneuploidy which can be detected by this procedure. At the time of the ultrasound exam, the doctors will collect a discharged blood sample via fingerstick.

Along with the treated blood sample taken, the ultrasound data is entered onto the test requisition form and sent to laboratories for complete analysis. The blood sample is screened for free Beta HCG and Plasma Protein A (PAPP-A), a pregnancy-associated plasma protein. The risk for Down Syndrome in the fetus as well as the risk for Trisomy-18 are calculated based on the patent's age, the nuchal translucency, as well as the freepeta and PAPP-A. After the medical jargon that is sometimes difficult to get around, get the ultra-screen in your first trimester, and ask your doctor specific questions no matter how much you do not understand. The number one objective is to understand as much as you possibly can when it comes to your unborn child.

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Dyslexia Testing – Which Level of Dyslexia Symptoms Do You Want to Identify?

Much of the confusion over dyslexia testing centers around not understanding the two primary levels of dyslexia testing that exist. There are two Principal levels, depending on the types of dyslexia symptoms you wish to identify.

Initial Screening Tests.

The first level, that of initial screening, is broad, shallow and non-specific. The objective is only to identify any of the tell-tale signs of dyslexic impairment and screen out the subjects for further testing. These tests are made to be given to large groups of people, quickly and easily.

They tend to be in the form of short questionnaires of 20-30 questions or so, asking about any of the known dyslexia symptoms. Questions such as, “Do you ever have trouble writing down telephone numbers, license plate numbers or other numbers given to you over the phone?” are common.

There are other, less formal tests, such as the special computer games offered by The Diagnostic Gaming Company (R). Using these games, designed for different age groups, parents or teachers can easily tell if a child shows signs of dyslexia by its ability to play the game.

Another screening test used by educators is simply observing if a child's reading ability matches its age and intelligence. Any child that is generally bright, attentive and a normal or above-average student but who substantially underperforms in reading, becomes a candidate for full dyslexia testing.

Full Dyslexia Testing.

The second level, that of full testing, is more focussed, addresses different specific potential dyslexic problems and is usually based on demonstrable abilities. Brief exercises or tasks are used, with time limits. Each set of test tasks is aimed at a different specific type of dyslexia symptom.

The test subject is then rated on his or her relative ability to quickly and easily complete the specified tasks. The goal is to identify potential problems and rate them as to severity. To do this the subject may be asked to translate between visual images and sounds, sounds to written text, transpose characters and syllables, etc.

A full dyslexia test is more formal, make one-on-one, with the observations made by the skilled professional administering the test being part of the test results. Response times are important so they are measured. It is a time of paying close attention in order to get accurate readings.

The full dyslexia test will determine if a person is dyslexic or not. And, if so, what specific problems were detected and what was their level of severity. If a subject tests positive for dyslexia, the full test results will be the starting point used by therapists to help the subject overcome these problems.

I n summary , the type of dyslexia testing that would be appropriate to use depends on the goals of the test. For a quick check and to identify possible dyslexia symptoms in members of a group, screening tests are used. To identify, pinpoint and measure the severity of potential problems, a full dyslexia test is required.

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ADHD in Adults and in Children

More than half of children diagnosed with Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) will carry its symptoms to adulthood. ADHD is a neurological condition where sufferers are inhibited (to a certain degree) from the efficient conduct of routine tasks due to the mind's lagging ability to concentrate, prioritize, accomplish basic tasks and decide on matters.

What is ADHD?

The problems with ADHD encompass the decelerated attention and concentration spheres of the brain that directly affects productivity and interaction with other people. Thus, ADHD children will likely have limited attention spans and make frequent mistakes while an adult with ADHD will easily succumb to forgetfulness.

What are its symptoms?

The symptoms may vary from one person to another, but its outcome all boils down to the inefficient conduct of tasks (whether at work or in school), difficulty in the upkeep of relationships and in accomplishing lifelong goals. Surveys indicate how poor academic performance mars ADHD children, besides from being frequently involved in clinical cases and the tendency to change schools more often. This is analogous to adult ADD where sufferers have a lower tolerance to change that makes it difficult to adjust to work conditions or relationships for that matter. Counteracting this disorder therefore requires careful analysis in the context of behavioral modification, through proper therapy and medication.

Studies indicate that this childhood developmental disorder is caused by a chemical imbalance in the brain with the disorder revealing a similar similar pathology to that of depression. Nonetheless, symptoms of ADD or ADHD are treatable which may even lead to the eventual dissolution of the disorder. Management of adverse lifestyle factors, such as alcohol binging and smoking, matters a lot in the course of treatment since addictions can aggravate the symptoms of ADHD. More importantly, ADHD sufferers need to be further educated or counseled with regards to the availability of both medical and alternative treatments.

What are the prescribed medications for ADHD?

ADHD children or adults with ADD can revive efficiency in cognitive functioning through the administration of psychiatric medication. There are mental stimulants such as Methylphenidate and Amphetamines that can restore neurotransmitter balance in the brain. Although the intake of these medications require monitoring and supervision because drug dependence can reasonably ensue from its continued administration. Meanwhile, loss of appetite and insomnia are among the common side effects to the use of ADHD medications.

What are ADHD Natural Treatments?

Natural treatments, in the form of herbal remedies, have been formulated to correct neurotransmitter imbalance in the brain and treat symptoms of ADHD without triggering the risks of addiction and other side effects.

As an alternative to stimulants, the herbal remedies Panax Ginseng and Gotu Kola are recommended in alternative practice to restore neurological wellness. ADHD herbal remedies are also available in standardized format such as the herbal supplement Focus ADDult

ADHD is something that needs immediate treatment to prevent further behavioral complications. Furthermore, treatment entails aa step-by-step process and patience is required to overcome the disorder.

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The Importance of Secure Attachments in Childhood

Attachment may be described as a bond or an affectionate tie between a child and it's primary caregiver, characterized by a loving and enduring relationship. All theories of infant social and emotional development emphasize the child's relationship to parents and other caregivers. One reason for this emphasis is the assumption that an attachment between child and caregiver is important for providing a foundation of emotional security for the child, and forms a basis for the parent's later influences on the child.

A prominent figure in the study of attachment behaviors is Mary Ainsworth. Using a technique known as the strange situation, Ainsworth was able to identify 3 different patterns of attachment that emerge in children at around 8 months of age. She felt all children could be classified into one of these three attachment patters;

a) secure attachment

b) insecure-resistant attachment

c) insecure-avoidant attachment.

It is becoming increasingly known that securely attached infants tend to be more socially competent than insecure attached infants. Studies show that children classified as strictly attached are rated by teachers as having enhanced popularity and social skills. They also seem to be less sooner to bullying than other children. Why might this be so?

Enhanced social competency may be explained by finds that secure attachment is associated with higher self-esteem, autonomy and empathy towards others. Studies show that securely attached infants have a healthy sense of self, in that they tend to acknowledge mostly positive attitudes about themselves, while also being aware of their imperfections. On the other hand, insecure attached infants tend towards an excessively negative or positive view of themselves (depending on the type of insecure attachment). It is probable that the qualities linked with secure attachment make children more likeable, popular and attractive, leading to better friendship networks ..

Significantly, socially competent and self-confident individuals are likely to make better relationships with others, while also mingling with peers of similar social standing. This means that secure attachment in early infancy sees to lead to a greater quality and quantity of social experience, leading to a continuously progressive social development through childhood and adolescent years. This is an ongoing cycle of events, appearing to have it's origins in early attachment formation.

The question should be raised – how does this social competency and heightened self esteem develop? Under Piagetian thought, a child gains knowledge by acting upon the environment – the more experience that a child can gain, the more learning that occurs. Research findings indicate that secure attachment is associated with greater exploratory behavior in infancy. For example, when kindergartens aged children are placed in cognitively challenging situations, those who are classified as being securely attached display more sophisticated make believe play and greater persistence and enthusiasm on problem solving tasks at 2 years of age. In contrast, insecure attached infants do not show such behaviors. Secure attachments are more likely to lead to curiosity about the environment, and a heightened willingness to explore. John Bowlby would describe this phenomenon as the product of a 'secure base', which a child can leave and move away from, knowing it will be there on his or her return. Children who have a secure base (ie they have trust and a sense of security in the availability of their parents) tend to have a secure attachment, and are less likely to display clingy, awkward behavior when in a social setting.

It is also known that securely attached individuals display greater co-operation with their parents. Such behavior may have beneficial effects upon social development since these infants are better likely to listen and interact with their parents, leading to enhanced learning and gaining of experience from them. On the other hand, an insecure attached child who is uncooperative may miss out on parental efforts to teach or help them, and very possibly may even discourage the parents from trying to assist the child.

Perhaps the best way to understand the importance of attachment formation would be to observe the effects where it has been hampered or obstructed. There are a number of studies showing the detrimental effects of attachment figure deprivation on social development – rhesus monkeys have been isolated at birth and deprived of all social and environmental stimulation. When placed in free play sessions with others, these monkeys display severe developmental deficits and withdrawal.

Similar research with human infants has focused on the developmental outcomes of institutionalization (for example, in Romanian orphanages). Such children have been observed to be more withdrawn, rarely approach adults or seek reassurance if in distress. These children also tend to be more attentive seeking and consequentially more disruptive in school than children reared in home environments. Even 'good' institutional rearing at an early age is associated with behavioral problems in childhood and personality problems in adulthood. The lack of a dependent attachment illustration seems to unsettle these children, in the formative phase of their personality development.

There is a growing amount of research to suggest that insecurely attached individuals can benefit from early therapy and social care. The introduction of affectionate and responsive caregivers has been shown to have positive developmental effects upon children previously devoid of a secure attachment. Parenting courses which have an emotional and relationship focus, can also help. Changes in the emotional and physical environment, and consistent messages of acceptance, can help a child move towards a more secure sense of self and others. Improvements in family circumstances and in parent child relationships (eg reduction in family stress, increase in social support) can to some degree alter the quality of attachments that have been formulated.

Children who have suffered neglect, or other forms of child abuse, are at risk of being insecure attached. Sometimes, parental mental health problems (including drug and substance misuse during and after pregnancy) are important precipitating factors. At other times, it may simply be a result of family stress, domestic violence and a lack of adequate social support for the parents. Clearly, it is in all our interests to support children and families to flourish in secure, safe and healthy environments. There are a number of support services in both the voluntary and statutory sectors, working hard to make this expectation a reality. Please contact me, or visit my website, for further details.

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Alternative Medicine For Bed Wetting

The prospect of bedwetting can be such a source of taunting and comic relief among families, particularly for those with children past the toddler stage who still can not seem to get over the habit of wetting their undies and bed sheets the morning after. The condition referred to as Nocturnal Enuresis is usually outgrown by most children as they advance with age-once their bladders are fully developed or as soon as the routine hormone cycle managing kidney-urine functions at night is properly initiated into the system.

If the ability to stay during during bedtime does not come about until the ceiling age of 10 years old, a proper diagnosis of the underlying causes becomes the springboard to treatment. Treatment options come in the form of bed wetting alarms, prescription medicine and homeopathic remedies that serve as an alternative medicine to bed wetting.

Bed wetting alerts, proper motivation and parent supervision can work cohesively if the underlying causes of enuresis concern genetics and other common development issues. Nonetheless for hormonal and psychological triggers, more intensive treatments are required. Physicians would most likely prescribe Demopressin- a synthetic substance that imitates the action of the anti-diuretic hormone by reducing the volume of urine produced by the kidneys at night to that prevent bed wetting. In case the nature of bed wetting emanates from nervous system disorders and esteem problems, Tricyclic drugs are usually administered. Nonetheless, if parents are suspected over the health risks inherent in the spray or intake of anti-diuretic drugs and antidepressants, they can always choose to sample safer and milder treatments in the form of homeopathic remedies and herbal supplements.

A tea infusion concocted from equal parts of St. John's Wort, Lemon Balm and Cornsilk serves as an instant home remedy for bed wetting in children. Meanwhile, medicinal extracts of the herb Equisetum is commonly used in traditional Chinese medicine as homeopathic treatment for bed wetting. Equisetum (6cH) is purportedly to facilitate the bladders, restore healthy function and treat nocturnal enuresis within a span of few weeks while relieving anxious behaviors in children on the sidelines.

In the last few years, standardized herbal supplements have been developed by clinical psychologists to provide parents an alternative medicine for nocturnal enuresis. Using proven natural and homeopathic ingredients like the Equisetum in its formula, while adapting pharmaceutical methods and standards in its manufacture, herbal supplement products for bed wetting such as Be-Dry will help reinforcement bladder functions in toddlers and school age children while easing nervous behaviors in order to encourage the body's natural ability to keep dry at night and consequentially cure episodes of enuresis.

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