Oct 18, 2018, Lowell (MA) Sun: New specialists target social, emotional skills http://www.lowellsun.com/news/ci_32215270/new-specialists-target-social-emotional-skills One was a classroom teacher. One was a social worker. Another, a licensed mental health coordinator. The fourth, a teacher for students with severe disabilities. Their backgrounds are diverse, but today they have the same goal: establish supports for the social and emotional needs of Billerica Public Schools students…. Social-emotional learning is a hot topic for people in educational circles, many of whom report increased behavioral challenges and heightened anxiety among students. The exact reason for this elevated need is unclear, with educators pointing to an array of possibilities including trauma, the effects of the opioid epidemic and a tendency to keep more students in-district. Billerica Public Schools Superintendent Tim Piwowar's said increased awareness may also play a role. … Regardless, anecdotal and conflicting reports of classroom displacements -- or times when the majority of a class is removed from a room in order to calm a student who is in crisis -- were discussed enough in the 2016/2017 school year for the district to start keeping track, Piwowar said. Last school year, the district had 21 classroom displacements, according to district records. … He also placed four Social Emotional Learning Support Specialists in the district's budget for the 2017/2018 school year. The positions were continued this year, costing the district $308,186 in the most recent budget. … They serve two groups of students at these schools: tier one and tier two. Tier one students are the typical elementary students. Tier two students are children with extra behavorial needs. … McGreenery said they may also identify students who could benefit from extra visuals or sensory fidget toys in the classroom. When a student acts out in a major way, they are also on the team of administrators that develop a response. …
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Children today are noticeably different from previous generations, and the proof is in the news coverage we see every day. This site shows you what’s happening in schools around the world. Children are increasingly disabled and chronically ill, and the education system has to accommodate them. Things we've long associated with autism, like sensory issues, repetitive behaviors, anxiety and lack of social skills, are now problems affecting mainstream students. Blame is predictably placed on bad parenting (otherwise known as trauma from home).
Addressing mental health needs is as important as academics for modern educators. This is an unrecognized disaster. The stories here are about children who can’t learn or behave like children have always been expected to. What childhood has become is a chilling portent for the future of mankind.
Anne Dachel, Media editor, Age of Autism
(John Dachel, Tech. assist.)
What will happen in another 4 years? How can we go on like this? This is a national (and international) problem of monumental proportions. We have an entire new class of children who cannot be accommodated by the system: many are manifestly neurologically impaired. Meanwhile, the government and the medical profession sleep on regardless.
UK media editor, Age of Autism
The generation of American children born after 1990 are arguably the sickest generation in the history of our country.
Robert F. Kennedy, Jr.
It seemed to me that with rising autism prevalence, you’d also see rising autism costs to society, and it turns out, the costs are catastrophic.
They calculated that in 2015 autism cost the United States $268 billion and they projected that if autism continues at its current rate, we’re looking at one trillion dollars a year in autism costs by 2025, so within five years.
Toby Rogers, PhD, Political economist
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