Sept 2, 2018, Pocono Record: (Libertyville, IL) As kids’ anxiety spikes, school nurses step in to address mental-health needs http://www.poconorecord.com/entertainmentlife/20180902/as-kids-anxiety-spikes-school-nurses-step-in-to-address-mental-health-needs … Cameron Traut, who has been the school nurse for Libertyville District 128 for 14 years, wasn’t surprised when the student eventually revealed that he had a history of mental health issues and was taking prescription pills to treat anxiety. It’s a scene that school nurses are expecting many times over as the new year opens, reflecting both the growing number of mental health issues among school-age children, and how the traditional role of school nurses has evolved from cleaning up playground scrapes and taking temperatures to meet the needs of this growing population…. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 1 in 20, or 2.6 million, U.S. children ages 6 to 17 had current anxiety or depression diagnosed by a health care provider in 2011-12. School nurses in Illinois say the increase is evident in the students from elementary to high school who enter their offices each day, requiring not only bandages and ice packs but also a quiet space to break from stress. Nurses now have to schedule meetings with parents about their child’s mental health histories and needs, then learn the side effects and potential complications associated with mood-altering medications. To meet the new demands, school nurses are offered extra training in mental health as well as resources from the National Association of School Nurses. They are adding relaxation rooms to the typical beds in the nurse’s office, and they have had to develop detailed cooperation plans with school guidance counselors and social workers, who are trained to handle such issues but, for better or worse, are not always the first stop for students seeking a nurturing response in a school building. … “It’s just a safe place for them to come,” said Linda Vollinger, the high school’s nurse, who left an emergency room job 14 years ago to bring her skills to students. In that time, she’s been amazed by the way mental-health issues have evolved from being closely guarded secrets to something she discusses with about three students each week. “It’s a huge culture shift,” said Vollinger, who is also president of the Illinois Association of School Nurses. “It’s great that we’re seeing that stigma ripped away.” … The prevalence of mental-health issues has prompted structural changes at Stagg and other schools. Three years ago, district officials allowed Vollinger and other school staff to create an “intervention” classroom located between the nurse’s office and the guidance counselor’s office…. Elementary school level Elementary school nurses are also encountering students with mental health needs. In standard paperwork turned in to her office at the start of this school year, Lynda Kim, school nurse at Willow Bend Elementary in Rolling Meadows, took note when the parents of one student listed a psychotropic drug as one of the medications school staff should be aware the child is taking….
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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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