Aptos Psychologist: What to do & how parents can help when children are delayed in their development

What parents can do

When parents of young children have a concern about their child’s development they often go first to their pediatrician.

Parent concerns might include: “Our child does not turn his head when I call him.” or “ Our child does not make much eye contact or smile.” “He does not play with toys like other children.”

If the pediatrician thinks that more assessment is needed, when MD’s refer out they often refer to to other physicians at large hospitals — such as Stanford Hospital (LPCH), Children’s Health Council and U.C. San Francisco. Physicians know other physicians and often do not know local resources, e.g., licensed psychologists trained in psychological assessment.

When parents are referred to large hospital complexes such as Stanford Hospital, Kaiser Permanente and U.C. San Francisco, parents can help get the best possible assessment by finding out ahead of time:

Will their child’s pediatrician MD automatically send along the child’s medical records as part of the referral process? If not, then the parent needs to request a complete set of medical records and bring the medical records to the appointment.

Who knows the child best besides the parent? Does the child go to a nursery school or day care? Is the child taken care of by a grandparent or neighbor?

Write down the name, address, telephone number and e-mail address for all persons who know your child best. Let those people know that the child will be assessed and that someone from that institution may call to gather information. Bring the list of people who know your child best to the appointment.

Can the parent take a video of the behaviors that concern them? For example, does the child insist on lining up all his toys? Does the child have a melt-down whenever the normal routine changes? If possible, get out your ‘smart phone’ or camera and take a video of those behaviors. Bring the video with you to show whoever does the assessment.

Call ahead of time to the institution where the assessment will be done and find out (and write it down) exactly who will do the assessment? Will it be a team assessment of various areas of functioning or will the assessment be done by only one specialist?

Know that it is Best Practice in the assessment of young children to examine several areas of functioning (e.g., speech, non-verbal communication, gross and fine motor) and that the assessment be done by appropriate specialists.

Depending on the concerns, some times one person doing the assessment is sufficient and sometimes not.

Know that it is Best Practice that records and information be obtained from various sources (MD, school, day care provider, parent, grandparent) over a period of time.

It is often the case that young children do not perform as they typically do when driven several hours to an appointment and then required to do certain activities with persons they do not know.

Summary: Parents can greatly assist in the accurate assessment of young children with possible developmental delays by 1) gathering all medical records and bringing them to the appointment; 2)making a list of all persons who know your child best including email and telephone numbers; 3)inquiring ahead as to exactly who will do the assessment and what areas will be assessed.

And do not be afraid to press the professionals for understandable answers. If they cannot say it so you can understand,they are useless to you and your child.

Any questions or comments? Contact Dr. Cameron Jackson DrCameronJackson@gmail.com 831-216-6002

DrCameronJackson@gmail.com

Share

Aptos Psychologist: How to increase the I.Q. of all children? Especially children with ADHD or Autistic Spectrum dificulties?

Parents can raise their child’s I.Q. by teaching the tasks frequently measured on I.Q tests. One such task is Digit Span. Do it in a fun, useful way by teaching your child his or her telephone number. Teach it both forwards and backwards to strengthen auditory and visual memory. This can be particularly helpful for children with ADHD and autistic spectrum problems. written by Aptos Psychologist, a pen name for DrCameronJackson@gmail.com

How to teach your child  Digit Span a task measured by many I.Q. tests
How to teach your child Digit Span a task measured by many I.Q tests

How to increase the IQ of all children? Especially children with ADHD or Autistic Spectrum difficulties?

This technique to raise IQ applies to all children. It can be especially helpful for children with difficulties with focus, attention, sequencing, executive functioning and ‘working memory’ difficulties. Children with those difficulties are often labeled as having ADHD or Autistic Spectrum difficulties.

Can your child’s IQ be changed? Of course. Can parents and relatives help? Yes! And to raise your child’s I.Q. you don’t need Obama-Care, the U.S. Department of Education nor permission from any federal, state or local governmental entity.

How to raise IQ? Teach to the test. Well, not exactly to the test as IQ tests are proprietary information which test makers and test givers protect. But it’s fine to teach the general tasks measured by many I.Q. tests.

All good teachers teach to the test in some sense. Take the teaching of math.

Everyone knows that 5 + 4 =9 and not 8 or 10. There is one correct answer. If you want a child’s math abilities to increase you have to practice. And if you want them to remember – make it fun.

It’s the same for raising IQ. Teach the general tasks that are tested by IQ tests. And make it fun so they remember and want to learn the tasks.

So, let’s start with one way to strengthen a child’s ability to focus and pay attention.

Digit Span: Measuring digit span abilities is one task which is part of many IQ batteries. So how can this ability become stronger for all children? And is it an important task?

Why teach Digit Span? Every kid needs to learn their phone number including the area code. For safety reasons children should be able to state a telephone number so that an adult can be alerted. So, learning a series of digits is an important, useful task. So, how can we make an important task fun. See how below:

Take my telephone number for example. 831 216-6002 [Please do not call it!] Here’s how to teach a child to learn their telephone number digits:

Get a lined pad of paper and in a column write: 0 at bottom, then 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8.9 Next, draw dots next to the numbers. And then connect the dots with lines.

Look at the visual image how the dots are connected. That visual pattern is what you want your child to learn. You can see the visual pattern in the image at the top of this post.


Is your child a stronger visual learner?
A lot of kids with ADHD and autistic spectrum difficulties are stronger visual learners than they are verbal learners. That means if the child can see what to do they can learn it faster than if they just hear what to do.

Now make learning the telephone number digits fun:

Use sounds to teach telephone number/ Digit Span to child
Use sounds to teach telephone number/ Digit Span to child

Try different methods:
For example, 1) try using a xylophone and see if music helps cement the digits together for your child. Or 2) try using a different color pens for each digit. One is red, two is blue, three is yellow. Always be consistent so color becomes associated with the number. Or 3) try just drawing the pattern over and over again.
You know your child’s strengths so play to those strengths. Make it a fun activity.

How to start?
Small chunks. Teach it in two chunks – the first three digits and then the remaining four digits.

Once a child can learn 3 digits forward, teach those digits backwards. 2-1-6 and 6-1-2. Why also teach backwards? That strengths the visual and auditory memory systems.

Just like push ups strengthen physical muscles learning visual and auditory patterns with numbers strengths your child’s focus, attention and concentration. Your child is having fun doing something with you. And, your child is ‘growing’ his or her I.Q.

Pediatricians frequently recommend medications, e.g., Ritalin, Concerta, to assist with attention, concentration and focus. Research shows that a combination of medication (if they work) and cognitive-behavioral therapy for child and family provides the best results.

In my clinical experience, it only takes one concerned, involved, consistent adult to dramatically affect the overall development of children with various disabilities. So this technique can be used by an older brother or sister, aunt or uncle or grandparent. Sometimes the parents themselves have disabilities such that they are not the ideal person to help ‘grow’ their child’s I.Q.

Try the technique and let me know how it goes for you and your child.

Below is the real story of a young person whose I.Q. could grow if… [personal identifying information has been changed to protect privacy].

Jose is age 17 and a twin. His brother has been diagnosed with mental retardation. Jose’s father is in prison. Jose has an older sister diagnosed with depression. Jose’s mother has various physical disabilities and receives social security, disability. Jose has one older sister who is completing college, has a job and has a boy friend. This sister has been a positive, involved person in his life. This sister is the main person who takes Jose places, listens, helps him set goals and complete tasks. Jose’s teachers over the years report that he shows substantial difficulties with attention, concentration and focus. Jose’s pediatrician tried Jose on five different medications without success. County Mental Health referred Jose to a local counseling service where he received one-to-one therapy from a therapist to address ADHD. Jose’s cognitive I.Q. abilities to think abstractly visually and verbally are in the Low Average range. When Jose’s “working memory” abilities are tested they are low, i.e. in the Deficient range.

Can Jose’s ‘working memory’ be improved? I think so. If there are concerned adults that stay involved with Jose.

DrCameronJackson@gmail.com

To see a book recently published by Dr. Cameron Jackson go to: http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/109312

Share

Aptos Psychologist: How parents can help kids with ADHD or autism be happier and achieve goals

Parents can use simple techniques to help children with ADHD and/ or Autistic Spectrum Disorders (ASD) to be happier and achieve goals using cognitive-behavioral maethods, small rewards and practise, practise, practise the STEPS to each goal. DrCameronJackson@gmail.com

How parents can help ADHD & Autistic children be happier & achieve goals
How parents can help ADHD & Autistic children be happier & achieve goals

Some simple techniques can assist children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and/ or autistic spectrum disorder (ASD)to be happier and achieve appropriate goals. These techniques are easy for parents and teachers to implement.

Of course a child is not a car but think of the following analogy:

Every car to get to a destination needs a driver. Parents can assist children to get into the driver’s seat and drive their ‘car’ to appropriate ‘destinations’.

Here’s how to assist children who have difficulties with focus, attention, concentration, ‘executive functioning’ or ‘working memory’ difficulties. Executive functioning and working memory are words used by school psychologists. What the parent sees is a child who can’t seem to figure out what comes first and appear disorganized.

What to do: Get a pad of 8 by 12 inch lined paper.

On one per sheet of paper —
1) Write at the top, a Goal that parents/teachers want the child to achieve.
2) Write out all the Steps required to accomplish the Goal.
3) Order the steps from first to last using KISS (Keep It Simple, Simple)
4) Figure out an appropriate Reward for child accomplishing the steps.
Set it up so child can get partial reward for partial completion.
5) Decide the number of Days child needs to complete the Goal.
6) Draw up a Graph with Days across Top of Page and Goals listed on left.

Here’s an example of a Behavior Plan for a child who shows symptoms of both ADHD and ASD:

Gina is 8 years old and was exposed in utero to illegal drugs and alcohol. Her biological mother lost parental rights and Gina has been in foster care since age two. Since age four, Gina has received County Mental Health therapy and medication to assist with focus, attention and concentration. The therapy provided by County Mental Health focuses only on helping Gina to label emotions and better express her emotions appropriately.

Gina’s foster mother and her teacher agree that Gina’s adaptive functioning abilities are considerably below what they expect for her age. Her foster mother wants Gina to 1) wash her face & brush her teeth; 2) make her bed; 3) put toys in basket in her room; 4) set the table with utensils and plates before dinner.

    Goals:

Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday Sunday
Wash face & clean teeth
Make bed
Put toys in basket
Set table with utensils & plates

Spiritual/ religious beliefs need to be integral to a successful Behavioral Plan.
For example, Gina’s foster mother goes to church and rests on Sunday. Therefore the behavior plan is for six days a week and no work on Sunday, their day of rest. Six days a week time four goals = 24 Goals for Gina to achieve. For each Goal achieved she earns one (1) dime. During the week she puts stickers on the sheet and gets her motivators (dimes) which she puts into a plastic, clear jar. That way she can see exactly what she has earned towards a new toy on the weekend. Her foster mother believes Gina can find age appropriate toys for around $2.50 to $3.00 a toy.

What makes a Behavioral Plan successful?
The answer is simple: practice and more practice so the Steps are as simple as possible and the child gets rewarded for partial and then complete finishing the Goal.

For example, Gina when we started could not make her bed said her foster mom. Well, the cover was too big and too heavy for a thin, small 8 year old to move around. Thus, by simplifying and making a bed simply tossing a light duvet (down comforter) on a twin bed and putting the pillow in place — then making a bed by an 8 year old is simple and possible.

A second example:
Gina has never set the table for dinner. Part of the reason is that the plates are too high for her to reach and they are china easily breakable. Also, the utensils are not easy to get to. This is easily solved by moving plastic plates and smaller folks and spoons to one drawer that the child can reach. The point is to set it up so the child can successfully achieve the Goals.
Overall point: Parents can set simple ‘destinations’ for their child to drive their ‘car’ towards and by keeping the steps simple and practising the steps again and again their child can achieve those destinations to goals that parents set.

Very important: the hugs and ‘You did great!’ and ‘Keep trying!’ are as important and at times more important than any reward system. Parents – whether biological parents or foster parents – are the fire to ignite important, life long change in children.
Send comments to DrCameronJackson@gmail.com

Share

Aptos Psychologist: Many CA children are wrongly diagnosed by Stanford Hospital (LPCH) with Intellectual Disability/ Mental Retardation

Stanford hospital (LPCH) routinely mis-diagnoses children with Intellectual Disability because of faulty assessment proceedures. Mental Health wants to cut cases and one way is to refer out of County to Stanford who then mis-diagnoses. The loser? The child who needs appropriate therapy and support – no an inaccurate diagnosis.

Stanford Hospital (LPCH) frequently mis-diagnoses children with Intellectual Disability
Stanford Hospital (LPCH) frequently mis-diagnoses children with Intellectual Disability

Many CA children are wrongly diagnosed by reputable institutions such as Stanford Hsoital (LPCH) with Intellectual Disability/ Mental Retardation.

Read the story of Maria below. To make a referral to Stanford hospital ( LPCH) as County Mental Health did with Maria is simply wrong. County Mental Health actions — and lack of actions — harm children who deserve better.

Maria’s story is not unusual. The story describes how many children are routinely mis-diagnosed by Stanford hospital (LPCH). Information concerning Maria and the actual parties involved have been changed or not specified to maintain privacy.

Maria, not the child’s real name, was for real exposed in utero to multiple illegal drugs. And as is true for many children exposed in utero to drugs, Maria, now age eight, has substantial difficulties that affect her overall development. Front and center, she has substantial difficulties with with executive functioning, attention and concentration.

Maria was removed at birth from her biological parents. She lives with a foster mother who only speaks Spanish and a handful of other children. In the home, she has no daily chores and prefers to play by herself. For the last several years, Maria has received County mental health services (medications and therapy) to assist with her dificulties related to inutero drug exposure.

In the home, Spanish is the principal language spoken by the foster mother. At school, Maria’s special education classes (SDC) are in English. Maria speaks a mixture of Spaish and English. For example she know shapes (circle, rectangle) and colors in English but not Spanish; on the other hand, she knows animals and and common home items better in Spanish.

Through her public school, Maria’s cognitive abilities have been assessed in Spanish, English and also with non-verbal tests. At school, she performs best on non-verbal, visual tests of intelligence that have less cultural bias. Assessed on multiple occasions, Maria performs variously. On I.Q. tests that do not rely on lanugae she performs in the Average to Low Average range.

County mental health gave Maria a diagnosis of Pervasive Developmental Disorder, Not Otherwise Specified (PPP-NOS). Saying that they sought more ‘diagnostic clarity’, the County recently referred Maria to Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital (LPCH) located in Stanford, CA.

Though County Menal Health initiated the referral to Stanford hospital (LPCH) they did not send along their own mental health records. The Mental Health therapist or psychiatrist could have put relevant mental health summary records in an envelope and given it to the family to take with them. That did not happen.

Nor did County Mental Health assist so that relevant school psychological assessments accompanied their referral to Stanford hospital (LPCH). With a Release signed by the mother the County Mental Health therapist could have ensured that school assessments accompanied the County’s referral to Stanford hospital. That did not happen.

As a result, there was no collaboration between County Mental Health, the local schools and local physicians. As a result Stanford hospital (LPCH) lacked up-to-date relevant records available for review. Very importantly, and one wonders about arrogance by Stanford hospital, LPCH routinely does not seek out additional information other than what it gets from their own assessment.

The family had to travel two to two and a half hours each way to go to Stanford hospital (LPCH). Although there are numerous licensed psychologists trained in assessment and diagnosis the County routinely chooses to refer outside the County to LCPH. If they wanted to, County Mental Health could reaadily refer to the local Psychological Association. Every County in CA has a psychological association.

Maria was recently assessed by Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital (LPCH). Of importance, the LPCH assessment did not request nor review Maria’s multiple prior school assessments. And LPCH did not review Maria’s medical records nor her mental health records.

LPCH limited the assessment of Maria’s current functional abilities to the ratings that they obtained that day from Maria’s foster mother. No ratings were obtained from Maria’s teachers. Based on a one day assessment, done in English using a Wechsler IQ test known to have strong cultural biases, LPCH gave Maria diagnosis of Intellectual Disability/ Mental Retardation.

Yes this 9 year old child suffers from dificulties related to in utero drug exposure. And she has not yet stabilized her language abilities because she hears only Spanish at home and English at school. And yes on certain tests of executive functioning, attention and concentration she scores quite low.

Maria and other children referred by County mental halth deserve an accurate diagnosis based on a thorough review of relevant school, medical and mental health records. County mental health should collaborate with local psychological associations and use locally trained psychologists who can visit schools and observe children in their home enviornment. When referring outside the County, County Mental Healh should see that relevant school, medical and mental health records accompany their referral.

As I wrote above, to make a referral to Stanford hospital ( LPCH) as County Mental Health did with Maria is simply wrong. County Mental Health’s actions and lack of actions harm children who disserve better.

With an erroneous diagnosis in hand, County Mental Health will close Maria’s case saying that her supposed diagnosis of intellectual disability makes it impossible for her to profit from therapy. And with this diagnosis the schools probably will refer the family to social security.

What Maria truly needs is: 1) time to develop and stabilize her language abilities; 2) training in how to use schedules and other techniques that assist persons with problems with attention and concentration. Just because this eight year old tends to skip from step 1 to 4 does not mean she cannot learn to do tasks correctly. With correct interventions, Maria will be happier and society will not have to support her as an adult.

Commnets welcome. Send to: DrCameronJackson@gmail.com

Share

Aptos, CA psychologist: parent with child with autistic spectrum disorder & epilepsy asks for advocacy help.

A mother of child with special needs (Asperger’s Disorder) emailed me asking for help. She lives in Redlands, CA. Her child has an Autistic Spectrum Disorder, is hearing impaired and has epilepsy. The child is in elementary school.

Parenting a child with these kinds of problems can be overwhelming. As there are many parents who face these difficulties, perhaps a general post may be helpful both for this one mother and for other families. Most importantly, know that there is help, there are resources and you don’t have to do this job alone.

The mother wants an advocate to assist her in the IEP process. She asks for immediate help.

She — and anyone in California — can call me for a free 15 minute consultation concerning psychological issues. Call 831 688-6002. Leave name, number and brief information as to situation. I will e-mail back a time to call me.

Before calling, find the most recent three year psycho-educational assessment done for the child. Every three years in California the school psychologist, Resource teacher and other professionals write reports summarizing progress. Those reports typically contain invaluable information. I will ask questions about those reports and may ask you to FAX it to me.

For more information about me, Dr. Cameron Jackson, go to Monterey Bay Forum, www.freedomok.net look at the top where it says Autism. Also look under the Categories for Autistic Spectrum Disorders. I wrote those posts.

I have 5+ years experience as a school psychologist in California and I am a licensed psychologist who specializes in assessment of children and adults. I am particularly interested in Autistic Spectrum Disorders.

Here is some general information that may be helpful to this mother and other parents with children with special needs, developmental disorders and autistic spectrum disorders:

1) The parent has the right to call an IEP meeting, again and again. This parent should find out what the IEP coming up is about and get an agenda ahead of time. Let the school know in writing that you as parent plan to request a series of meeting until all issues get resolved. Send the letter to Special Education Director, Principal, School Psychologist. Keep a copy for your file. Do not sign any IEP unless completely satisfied.

2) This child with some form of autism, epilepsy and hearing impaired is probably best served with an IEP under Other Health Impaired. And not served well under Specific Learning Disability (SLD). Autistic-Like is an education category that might be appropriate IF the therapy component is in place. From what the mother told me there is no appropriate therapy going on to address social deficits.

So this parent needs to know what Category the child receives services under and to request that the Category be changed to Other Health Impaired. All the mother needs is a brief letter from her doctor.

3) By California law, this child is entitled to a Free and Appropriate Public Education — called FAPE. It is not appropriate to put a fifth grade student into a first grade class for example. And, if the school district does not have appropriate public school classes then the district may be on the hook to provide a non-public school placement. Yes the schools and every public agency has budget woes. So, this parent needs to get some self education via the Internet as to what FAPE means.

From the tone of the email this mother sent, it appears that she feels lost in the system. Perhaps this mother can connect with the school psychologist for assistance. Also, there are a number of non-profit organizations that focus on assisting families with special needs. This mom might do well to explore which ones are in the Redland’s CA area. Up in the Santa Cruz-San Jose area for example there are two organizations: SPIN and PHP.

One possible advocate in Redlands, CA: When I Googled Redlands, CA Special Education an article popped up about a school counselor who wants to improved the IEP process. Her name is Yurida Nava and information about her is in the article below. I do not know anything more about this person than what is written below.

Student Encourages Advocacy for Special Education Students
November 23, 2009
While working as a school district translator, Redlands School of Education counseling student Yuridia “Yuri” Nava says she became concerned some special education students were not being well served by their school counselors.She says the counselors often attended Individualized Education Plan (IEP) meetings with students, but did not always advocate for the students during discussions about which services they should receive, what education goals should be set and how their day-to-day school life should function.
“The counselors were there, but I felt they were not really a voice for the students – the IEPs were sometimes finalized in ways that were not in the best interest of the students,” Nava said.
Now, Nava is working to change those shortcomings by calling attention to the problem. One step in that effort came in November, when she presented her research during the California Association of School Counselors conference in Temecula.During the conference, she shared her research exploring the preparation levels of counselors working with special education students. As part of her study, counselors in two school districts were surveyed about their knowledge of the IEP process and whether they were prepared to help special education students and families.
She said she found that most counselors did not recognize their role in advocating for special education students. Some counselors also did not fully understand the IEP process and the role that they should play, she said.
Nava – an aspiring counselor who would eventually like to get her doctorate – said she credits assistant professor Janee Both-Gragg with encouraging her to conduct and present the research.
“The professors, including Dr. Both-Gragg, are like fuel – they fuel the passion that you brought when you came here. They prepare you and encourage you to do more than you ever imagined,” she said. “I’m so excited and thankful to be presenting at the conference and I know I wouldn’t have made it to this point without their support and belief in me.”

Share

Respite services paid by govt not helpful says parent of autistic child. Better off that families keep more of their money…

Response to Obama’s budget speech from a parent of autistic child: Better to cancel got “help” programs that pay for respite time as highly paper intensive, onorous regulations, too many people paid their share before any services received. Parent discusses all the persons who get a “cut” before any benefit is received by the family. Cut these programs is his message.

DrCameronJackson@gmail.com

How “helpful” are the respite services provided to families with a disabled child?

In California, children with autism are assisted by the regional centers. There are non-profits and operate individually though connected loosely together. A child made eligible by one regional center is usually accepted by other regional centers though the case may be reviewed.

Due to CA budget issues typically families are offered 24 hours of respite a month though the number may be considerably increased depending on the individual’s particular circumstances. “Respite” is supposed to be time away from the disabled child and someone else takes care of the child so that parents get a real break.

In the Santa Cruz, Monterey, San Benito and Santa Clara Counties parents can receive respite hours away from their diabled child through varous agencies. The agencies take care of the paper work issues which negatively impact the overall helpfulness.

Below is from the parent of an autistic child that finds government “help” not helpful. And why not helpful.

We’re From the Government, and We’re Here to Help
Presient Obama’s recent budget speech

Reader Gordon Calkins writes in with his perspective on President Obama’s ghastly budget speech:

“I am the primary care-giver to my autistic and developmentally delayed son. I must admit that we accept from our state Division of Services for People with Disabilities some monitory support. The state gives us a small grant with federal matching money that allows us to hire extra support workers and care givers which gives us a few hours a month to run errands and have a little time out of the house.

“The program has been a benefit to us. But to put this into perspective, in order to be eligible for the support, we work with a state-contracted support coordinator, a state-approved fiscal agent that handles the payroll, and we have to keep logs of what we are doing to meet the state-approved training goals. We have several hours of doing paperwork each time we hire a new person. Our current employees are the adult kids of some of our friends, but they are still required to get background checks, fingerprinting and annual reviews.

“I’ve known people who have opted out of this system because the hassle of dealing with the state is too much.

“Although, as I said, I believe that this support is a net positive for us, the benefit we receive is much less than I pay in federal taxes each year.

“I would be even better off if the federal government would cancel programs like this and just let me keep more of my money, and there wouldn’t be nearly so many people making money off the support we get.

So, the purpose of government is to take my money, filter it through a bunch of agencies and contractors, each taking their cut, and then give a small fraction of it back to me to spend on “approved” services. Gives new meaning to the phrase “I’m from the government and I’m here to help.” I wish they would stop helping

Share

Vouchers of $16 K for each disabled person served under Lanterman?

DrCameronJackson@gmail.com

A woman recently wrote poignantly, Put my disabled son on Death’s Row in San Quintin and he will get three square meals, medical care and perhaps even a room with a view… The woman wrote in response to the proposed $568.6 million cut in money allocated for the 246,000 disabled in California served under the Lanterman Act.

The woman’s feelings are understandable given that it costs taxpayers $50 to 70 K per inmate in CA prison compared to the cost to care for each disabled person. Run the math ($4 billion in CA budget allocated last year divided by 246,000 disabled persons equals $16,260 spent per disabled person).

Maybe it’s time to put the family of each disabled person served by CA regional centers in the driver’s seat. Why not have vouchers that follow each disabled person — akin to school vouchers — that give families choice? That way people will become knowledgeable as what things cost and more empowered by making the choices they think best.

How vendors are selected and the amount they are paid has been of concern to the legislature in California. The government wants more transparency. Put the disabled person’s family in the driver’s seat so they know how much money there is to spend and there will be a huge increase in people’s knowledge about the costs of medical care. This will increase transparency in government.

What people have to pay for out of pocket they will watch closely.

Why not reduce the CA budget by 568.6 million and put in place a voucher program? Each disabled individual could receive a voucher $16, 260.

Today, 4-4-2011 Rush Linbaugh asked a UAW worker who called in what his beef was. The UAW worker said that his co-pay has gone up to $35 and prescriptions up also. Asked by Linbaugh what does it cost to go to his doctor the UAW worker did not know.

Then Linbaugh made his point — that the UAW worker has no clue what it actually costs to go to the doctor. During the break Linbaugh looked it up and then said that the average real cost to go to a physician is $400.

Then Linbaugh asked the UAW worker, if you had to pay the $400 out of your own pocket you would know how much, right? Yes, said the UAW worker.

The article by the woman concerned about the cuts in money for the disabled is below:

“I’m beginning to hope my son will be sent to prison – perhaps Death Row.

“Rob stands accused of no crime. And I am not an unloving mother. Let me explain: Rob has a developmental disability, and California is balancing its budget by gutting the services that keep him alive.

The situation is dire enough that I must wonder: Once Rob’s services are cut, will Death Is Death Row be a safer place for him?

I know that every program is getting cut. But the single largest budget cut

just signed into law by the governor – $568.6 million – is for services for people with developmental disabilities.For Rob, and 246,000 other Californians like him, that money went to get him to medical appointments, to manage his finances and – hopefully – to have someone look out for his safety after his father and I are no longer alive.

It is shameful that the most vulnerable citizens are receiving the largest share of the pain. Rob was born 31 years ago, legally blind, with cerebral palsy and intellectual disabilities. Today he is healthy, employed, living with a roommate and paying his taxes. The essential programs that made this possible are supposedly guaranteed by legislation signed by then-Gov. Ronald Reagan in 1969, the Lanterman Act. The law directs the state to provide people with disabilities like autism and Down syndrome with access to housing, health care and employment. For people with developmental disabilities, the Lanterman Act was equivalent to the Bill of Rights, except more important. Without its practical support, many could not survive outside of grim old-fashioned state institutions (which were vastly more expensive – and now mostly have closed).

It’s a particularly bitter irony that I could even consider prison – a far worse institution – as a potential safe haven. But the math is simple. That $568.6 million cut is approximately 20 percent of state funding for services for people with developmental disabilities. This comes after years of smaller cuts – plus cuts to other services they depend on, like Medi-Cal. The safety net was dismantled years ago. Now we are taking down the tightrope itself.

Meanwhile, prisons – protected by a court order – face only a 1 percent cut. Rob’s services are protected only by the Legislature and governor. What have our state’s leaders done for him lately?

In recent years, Rob lost his dental coverage, his physical therapy and his vision care – despite his difficulty walking and seeing. Now the state sees room for another half billion dollars in cuts. That’s why Death Row – with its steady funding and a decade of room and board – is looking better and better. (San Quentin State Prison even offers views of San Francisco Bay and is set to receive a new $356 million facility.)

So, how can you help? Contact the governor and protest the cuts to services for people with developmental disabilities. If that fails, then consider framing one of them for a capital offense. You’ll be guaranteeing them health care and three meals a day for 10 years or more – and possibly a room with a view.
————————————————

Here’s some information about the Regional Centers:
Silva Says…An Update On The 67th March, 2011 | Issue 52
Assemblyman Silva Introduces Regional Center Records Act
Assemblyman Jim Silva (R – Huntington Beach) introduced AB 862, the Regional Center Records Act. This measure will bring transparency to a major taxpayer-funded program in California.

“Taxpayers have a right to know how their money is being spent. Parents, vendors and the centers themselves will benefit from increased transparency,” Silva said.

Since the passage of the Lanterman Act in 1969, the 21 Regional Centers have been the conduit to provide services to the developmentally disabled. While they have done great things in accomplishing this mission, recent investigative reports have given cause for concern. A report by the California State Auditor has raised serious questions about how the regional centers choose and pay vendors for the services they provide as well as capital projects and administrative services. The state auditor has suggested that a more uniform, transparent process would improve the cost effectiveness of this program.

“We are proud to be the sponsor of this Act. Regional centers are vital to the community but they need to be more forthcoming with their information,” said Boyd Bradshaw, president of the ResCoalition, a coalition of residential care providers.

California appropriated over $4 billion in last year’s budget to provide for the developmentally disabled. AB 862 will require the 21 Regional Centers to make several important points of data available to the public to include fiscal and administrative information. It can be heard in its first committee as soon as 30 days from introduction.

Share

Reduce dependency on government by accurate assessment of children ages 3-21 who receive Social Security Disability benefits.

Cut the deficit and encourage self sufficiency at the same time. How? Review and thin out Social Security Disability (SSI-D) benefits to children ages 3 to 21. Too often schools classify children as “mentally retarded” or “intellectually deficient” when they are not. Too often those children end up in Special Day Class (SDC) placements all through school. SDC placements cost roughly 1/3 of the budget for Pajaro Valley Unified School District (PVUSD). Time for those not on the dole to encourage independence and reduce the costs of SSI-D.

Roughly 1 in 6 persons get a check in the mail from the government. That’s a huge number of people dependent on the government. It’s time to reduce that dependency.

Lots of people think that it’s wrong to cut social security. Yes, it’s wrong to cut benefits to those who paid into SSI, have retired and who rely on social security.

How to responsibly cut the federal deficit and encourage independence? Time to trim Social Security Disability benefits (SSI-D) to children and youth ages 3-21. Let’s reduce SSI-D payments to children and youth 1) assessed inaccurately or 2) who have “out grown” their diagnosis. Children change rapidly. Assessments should be accurate and up to date.

Another way to cut government deficits is to require proof of citizenship to obtain government funded services such as the regional center services. (The regional centers serve persons with low cognitive IQ abilities, requiring treatment similar to persons with low cognitive IQ, autism, seizures and cerebral palsy.)

Some people fly in from abroad or cross our border s so that their children can receive substantial government paid regional center benefits. No proof of citizenship is required to obtain regional center services which serves about 180,000 + persons in California. In the last 10 years the percentage of Hispanic clients has increased from 23 to 28 percent and whites have dropped from 51% to 42%. About 45% of those served are age 3-21.

There are too many children labeled mentally retarded by the public schools who are not slow and who can learn to read and write. The schools wrongfully label them and wrongfully keep them in more restricted placements than they need. These placements – Special Day Class (SDS) – are extremely expensive. In the Pajaro Valley Unified School District (PVUSD) roughly one third of the costs of special education go for SDS separate classes. Children can – and routinely are — labeled by the public schools with “mental retardation” without any assessment of their cognitive IQ and functional abilities. Their school records are reviewed by SSI-Disability and – lo and behold — children are put on SSI-Disability.

Just as unions representing government workers need to be re-certified yearly and workers given a choice whether to pay dues and/or be in a union, likewise children labeled “disabled” need to be routinely re-examined by independent assessors and parents given accurate information and more choice.

Most – but not all — parents want their children to grow up to be self sufficient individuals able to contribute to society. Unfortunately, there are some parents that prefer dependency for their child and themselves and happily seek checks in the mail.

That’s why those not on the government dole must do what we can to encourage independence and reward self sufficiency.

Take a look at the budget for your local school district. What percent goes for Special Day Class (SDC) placements? Who actually checks to see that children receiving special education services are actually re-assessed with standardized tests every three years?

Parents and taxpayers can and should require a random audit of special education records for their school district. What tests placed that child in special education and what tests show that those services need to continue? If no progress in academic skills, why not?

Why not tie teacher pay increases to showing reasonable progress in academic skills for all students — including special education students. What say you?

DrCameronJackson@gmail.com

Share

Supplements such as cod liver oil, melatonin (for sleep) and folic acid help children & adults with autistic spectrum disorders

non-drug supplements like cod liver oil and melatonin (a natural enzyme produced by the body) help children and adults with autistic spectrum disorders.

Sufficient, restful sleep and absorption of appropriate food is crucial to health and well being. True for every one and particularly difficult for many persons with autistic spectrum issues.

Remember grandmother – or mother – with the spoon of that awful tasting cod liver oil? Research shows that cod liver oil helps many children with autistic spectrum disorder difficulties. Ever had problems with jet lag and difficulties re-establishing a natural sleep rhythm? Melatonin is a natural enzyme your body produces which may be low or lacking in persons with autistic spectrum difficulties.

Many children and adults with autistic spectrum disorders have sleep and digestive disorders as well. Many are “picky eaters”. Many as children had constant diarrhea. Many have difficulties falling asleep and difficulties staying asleep.

What help is there? Autism Research Institute compiles information from parents as to what helps. Go to Autism Research Institute and take a look at the non drug supplements that help.

Of note, cod liver oil made 55% Better and 4% Worse for N = 2,550
folic acid made 45% Better and 5 % Worse for N = 2, 505
melatonin made 66% Better and 8% Worse for N= 1, 687

Of course, first consult with your pediatrician and read the literature.

Please comment what works for your child or spouse with autistic spectrum issues. What about the liquid vitamins? What about iron supplements?
DrCameornJackson@gmail.com

Share

Big changes for CA regional centers: 2 hr. emergency response, 1 to 62 ratio staff to clients, transparency in government, audits …

Look for big changes in how California regional centers conduct business based on changes in the law. All sorts of information must be made readily available to the public via the Internet. Staff to consumer ratios will ensure a certain level of service. All contracts between $250, 000 to $500,000 must get separate audits. All contracts larger than $350 K must be reviewed and approved by the board.

Share