July 22, 2018, Carroll County (MD) Times: Editorial: Getting to root of behavioral issues in elementary school students http://www.carrollcountytimes.com/opinion/editorials/cc-op-editorial-20180720-story.html For the past few years, Carroll County Public Schools has asked for additional funding in its budget to repurpose several teaching positions to behavioral specialists. But despite the county’s overall funding for public schools increasing, shortfalls in meeting the Board of Education’s total funding request have left those positions from becoming a reality. The need for these behavioral specialists has been fueled by anecdotal evidence, according to CCPS officials, that behavioral problems are on the rise, particularly at the early elementary school level. Some minor behavioral issues, such as students not following directions from teachers or being unable to stay in their seats are to be expected at the early elementary school level. But Dana Falls, the director of student services for the school system, told us that the reported problems go beyond that — with teachers expressing concerns over more overt, aggressive behaviors in younger students. Making sure the school system is addressing these behaviors in the most appropriate way is the goal behind a recently developed task force to examine these recent trends in elementary schools. Despite calls from Board of Education members to add behavioral specialists, it is possible that the issues cropping up can be addressed in a different manner. The task force is being asked to investigate the root causes of the issues. Based the task force’s findings, school system staff and board members should be better equipped to identify more precisely what support is needed, be it behavioral specialists, classroom assistants, mental health counselors for youth or something else. … It’s also possible that some of the problems can be addressed without additional positions. For example, there are studies that suggest additional recess time may not only help improve behavior in young students, but will also help them be better learners…. Unfortunately, we suspect many of the issues begin outside the walls of CCPS, although they may be exacerbated in a classroom, where the structure, rules and personalities differ from those they experience at home. Those may be more difficult to address with any amount of additional staff, funding or other resources….
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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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