Oct 16, 2018, El Paso (TX) Times: Rooms with swings, disco balls help El Paso students with autism, sensory disorders https://www.elpasotimes.com/story/news/education/episd/2018/10/16/rooms-help-el-paso-students-autism-sensory-disorders-episd-yisd-sisd/1434934002/ Adrianna Alatorre tries to help her son, Ryan, manage his autism at home. Things like weighted blankets and dim lighting help Ryan calm down after too much stimulation. But Alatorre, a nurse, said there are times when Ryan needs another outlet. "I can tell he’s looking for some kind of input at home and just doesn’t have it, doesn’t have that outlet," Alatorre said about the types of activities that help her son stay calm and concentrate. Alatorre is among dozens of parents of children with sensory disorders in the El Paso Independent School District who now have access to a spot to refocus and center themselves before getting to the point of shutting down from being overstimulated or overwhelmed. Four campuses in EPISD — Lincoln Middle and Newman, Herrera and Moreno elementary schools — have sensory rooms, or spaces where students who have conditions ranging from attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, or ADHD, to autism can be prescribed time to "feed their sensory diet." Both the Ysleta and Soccoro independent school districts also have sensory rooms at a number of campuses. Socorro has rooms in at least 20 campuses, and the Ysleta has several as well, officials said. Big swings, colorful lights help EPISD students stay cool and collected. … The students who can access the room have sensory disorders and may have trouble processing things that can interfere with everyday life. Students with sensory disorders are highly attuned to the sights, smells and textures around them and can get overwhelmed. The sensory room helps kids overcome those overwhelming feelings by offering them a set of sensation-based tools to stay calm and focused. At Lincoln, about 10 students use the room as part of their daily schedule. While in the room, students can sit, lay, swing, make noise and move around. That allows them to release tension and return to the classroom more calm and focused. For some, a few minutes in the sensory room means fewer meltdowns in the classroom…. Sensory rooms started popping up in EPISD about two years ago, officials said…. While in the room, students can choose from a number of stations that help feed and regulate the sensory feelings a child might be missing or craving. …
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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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