Archive | August, 2012

Education trends: ‘Artful Thinking’

31 Aug

In Adding arts education to STEM to produce STEAM, moi said:

Mozart was a child prodigy. Most of us don’t come close to possessing his gifts. The Journal Times reported about the “Mozart effect.” Mozart Effect

Scientific research has found some basis for the notion that music instruction stimulates general intelligence. About 10 years ago that was called the Mozart effect, the result of some research that reported that listening to a Mozart sonata increased the ability of some college students on a test of mental ability. Popular wisdom twisted that into the notion that listening to music makes you smarter, which is more magic than science. What scientists say at the moment is that music instruction will make you smarter about music, and that for music to help children they need to begin instruction really, really early.

Music consists of rhythms and mathematic like patterns which change a child’s brain and way of thinking. Research which was published in the Journal of Neuropsychology suggests that children who study music will as adults will benefit from music study. The research shows “….that the region of the brain involved in verbal memory is larger in adult musicians than in those who are not musicians.” Mental Ability Affected by Music Study  Further, Rauscher’s study concludes “the research suggests that music may act as a catalyst for cognitive abilities in other disciplines, and the relationship between music and spatial-temporal reasoning is particularly compelling.” Music Affects a Child’s Cognitive Ability

Steven Ross Pomeroy writes in the Scientific American article, From http://blogs.scientificamerican.com/guest-blog/2012/08/22/from-stem-to-steam-science-and-the-arts-go-hand-in-hand/?WT.mc_id=SA_emailfriend

https://drwilda.wordpress.com/2012/08/28/adding-arts-education-to-stem-to-produce-steam/

David Markus blogs about the education trend, “Artful Thinking” in the article, The Social and Emotional Benefits of Being Weirdly Creative:

The boy is small in stature, bespectacled, and unnaturally articulate for a sixth grader. I have heard from his teachers and principal at Annapolis, Maryland’s Wiley H. Bates Middle School about the academic benefits of arts integration, how various forms of artistic expression (PDF) are employed to learn math and science as well as language arts. I have also learned about the virtues of a critical-thinking technique known as Artful Thinking, developed by Project Zero at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, that deepens students’ intellectual understanding generally by deepening their understanding of the multiple layers of artistic expression. http://www.edutopia.org/blog/stw-arts-integration

The Harvard School of Education has an “Artful Thinking” site:

This is the description of the program:

Artful Thinking is a program that was developed by Harvard Project Zero in collaboration with the Traverse City, Michigan Area Public Schools (TCAPS). The program was one component of a larger TCAPS grant from the US Department of Education that aimed at developing a model approach for integrating art into regular classroom instruction. The purpose of the Artful Thinking Program is to help teachers regularly use works of visual art and music in their curriculum in ways that strengthen student thinking and learning.

The Artful Thinking program is designed to be used by the regular classroom teacher. While it originally targeted grades K-12, the Artful Thinking approach is also currently used in post-secondary education and in museums. The program focuses on experiencing and appreciating art, rather than making art. It has two broad goals: (1) To help teachers create rich connections between works of art and curricular topics; and (2) to help teachers use art as a force for developing students’ thinking dispositions.

The program takes the image of an artist’s palette as its central metaphor. Typically, a palette is made up of a relatively small number of basic colors which can be used and blended in a great variety of ways. The artful thinking palette is comprised of 6 thinking dispositions – 6 basic colors, or forms, of intellectual behavior – that have dual power: They are powerful ways of exploring works of art, and powerful ways of exploring subjects across the school curriculum.

The Artful Thinking palette comes alive through the use of “thinking routines.” Each thinking disposition has several thinking routines connected to it. Thinking routines are short, easy-to-learn mini-strategies that extend and deepen students’ thinking and become part of the fabric of everyday classroom life. They are used flexibly and repeatedly — with art, and with a wide variety of topics in the curriculum, particularly in language arts and social studies.

 Artful Thinking Approach
 Thinking Dispositions
 Artful Thinking Palette
 Thinking Routines
 Curriculum Connections
 Art Resources
 Study Groups
 Assessment
 Related Websites
 Related Reading

 Slideshows

http://www.pz.harvard.edu/tc/overview.cfm

There are reasons why arts education is important:

The Arts:

  • Engage students in learning.
  • Help children build thinking skills.
  • Enhance self-discipline, perseverance, hard work and creativity.
  • Provide a gateway to other subject areas.
  • Promote cross-cultural learning.
  • Teach the ability to utilize resources.
  • Enhance interpersonal skills of cooperation and teamwork.

The Arts Help Students Become:

  • Better Students
  • Innovators
  • Better Employees
  • Problem-solvers
  • Lifelong Learners
  • Collaborators

Current Research says:

In 1995, those who studied the arts more than four years scored 59 points higher on verbal and 44 points higher on the math portions than students with no coursework or experience in the arts.
The College Board, Profile of SAT and Achievement Test Takers, 1995

Arts education contributes significantly to general academic achievement, including achievement in science, mathematics, social studies, language arts, other subjects and to the development of general cognitive skills, self-expression and fluency.
The Schooled Mind: Do the Arts Make a Different Way of Knowing?

Arts education is related to certain fundamental indicators of education success. For example, the arts in early childhood help prepare children for their first years of school.
Evaluation of Wolf Trap Institute for Early Learning through the Arts

Arts education programs are related to safer and more orderly school environments.
Safe Havens: Portraits of Educational Effectiveness in Community Arts Centers

Arts education programs are related to keeping students interested and staying in school.
The Humanities Program Evaluation

Arts education programs make strong contributions to cross-cultural understanding.
North American Indian Music Instruction: Student Self Concept Influences Upon Attitudes, Cultural Perceptions and Achievement http://pegasus.cc.ucf.edu/~faae/why.html

All religions, arts and sciences are branches of the same tree.
Albert Einstein

Resources:

Importance of Arts Education                             http://www.educationfund.org/programs/artoffoundobjects/

Why Arts Education is Important                    http://www.lacountyartsforall.org/our-approach/why-arts-education-is-important

Dr. Wilda says this about that ©

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Study: Poverty affects education attainment

29 Aug

In 3rd world America: Money changes everything, moi wrote:

The increased rate of poverty has profound implications if this society believes that ALL children have the right to a good basic education. Moi blogs about education issues so the reader could be perplexed sometimes because moi often writes about other things like nutrition, families, and personal responsibility issues. Why? The reader might ask? Because children will have the most success in school if they are ready to learn. Ready to learn includes proper nutrition for a healthy body and the optimum situation for children is a healthy family. Many of societies’ problems would be lessened if the goal was a healthy child in a healthy family. There is a lot of economic stress in the country now because of unemployment and underemployment. Children feel the stress of their parents and they worry about how stable their family and living situation is.

Sabrina Tavernise wrote an excellent New York Times article, Education Gap Grows Between Rich and Poor, Studies Say:

It is a well-known fact that children from affluent families tend to do better in school. Yet the income divide has received far less attention from policy makers and government officials than gaps in student accomplishment by race.

Now, in analyses of long-term data published in recent months, researchers are finding that while the achievement gap between white and black students has narrowed significantly over the past few decades, the gap between rich and poor students has grown substantially during the same period….http://www.nytimes.com/2012/02/10/education/education-gap-grows-between-rich-and-poor-studies-show.html?emc=eta1

Teachers and schools have been made TOTALLY responsible for the education outcome of the children, many of whom come to school not ready to learn and who reside in families that for a variety of reasons cannot support their education. All children are capable of learning, but a one-size-fits-all approach does not serve all children well. Different populations of children will require different strategies and some children will require remedial help, early intervention, and family support to achieve their education goals.

Richard D. Kahlenberg, , a senior fellow at The Century Foundation wrote the informative Washington Post article, How to attack the growing educational gap between rich and poor:

In fact, research published by The Century Foundation and other organizations going back more than a decade shows that there are an array of strategies that can be highly effective in addressing the socioeconomic gaps in education:

* Pre-K programs. As Century’s Greg Anrig has noted, there is a wide body of research suggesting that well-designed pre-K programs in places like Oklahoma have yielded significant achievement gains for students. Likewise, forthcoming Century Foundation research by Jeanne Reid of Teachers College, Columbia University, suggests that allowing children to attend socioeconomically integrated (as opposed to high poverty) pre-K settings can have an important positive effect on learning.

* Socioeconomic Housing Integration. Inclusionary zoning laws that allow low-income and working-class parents and their children to live in low-poverty neighborhoods and attend low-poverty schools can have very positive effects on student achievement, as researcher David Rusk has long noted. A natural experiment in Montgomery County, Maryland, showed that low-income students randomly assigned to public housing units and allowed to attend schools in low-poverty neighborhoods scored at 0.4 of a standard deviation higher than those randomly assigned to higher-poverty neighborhoods and schools. According to the researcher, Heather Schwartz of the RAND Corporation, the initial sizable achievement gap between low-income and middle-class students in low-poverty neighborhoods and schools was cut in half in math and by one-third in reading over time.

* Socioeconomic School Integration. School districts that reduce concentrations of poverty in schools through public school choice have been able to significantly reduce the achievement and attainment gaps. In Cambridge, Massachusetts, for example, where a longstanding socioeconomic integration plan has allowed students to choose to attend mixed-income magnet schools, the graduation rate for African American, Latino, and low-income students is close to 90 percent, far exceeding the state average for these groups.

* College Affirmative Action for Low-Income Students. Research finds attending a selective college confers substantial benefits, and that many more low-income and working-class students could attend and succeed in selective colleges than currently do. Research by Anthony Carnevale and Stephen J. Rose of Georgetown University for the Century volume, America’s Untapped Resource: Low-Income Students in Higher Education , found that selective universities could increase their representation from the bottom socioeconomic half of the population from 10 percent to 38 percent, and overall graduation rates for all students would remain the same….http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/answer-sheet/post/how-to-attack-the-growing-educational-gap-between-rich-and-poor/2012/02/10/gIQArDOg4Q_blog.html

There is no magic bullet or “Holy Grail” in education. There is only what works to produce academic achievement in each population of children. That is why school choice is so important. https://drwilda.wordpress.com/2012/02/11/3rd-world-america-money-changes-everything/

Samreen Hooda writes about a new study from the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) in the Huffington Post article, Poverty Drives College Attainment Gaps: Education Department Report:

According to the study, much of the divide in educational limitations arises from poverty which “poses a serious challenge to a child’s ability to succeed in school and its prevalence is markedly higher among certain racial/ethnic groups than in others.”

Parental education levels also tend to influence how well students perform in school. Students whose parents are highly educated tend to have higher success rates. Thus children from ethnicities that haven’t traditionally had a chance at greater education have a greater hurdle at being successful in secondary and post-secondary education.http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/08/28/gaps-in-post-secondary-ed_n_1836742.html?utm_hp_ref=education

Here is the Executive Summary of the report: Higher Education: Gaps in Access and Persistence Study :

Executive Summary

Numerous studies, including those of the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), have documented persistent gaps between the educational attainment of White males and that of Black, Hispanic, American Indian/Alaska Native, and Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander males. Further, there is evidence of growing gaps by sex within these racial/ethnic groups, as females participate and persist in education at higher rates than their male counterparts (Aud, Fox, and KewalRamani 2010; Aud et al. 2011). In the interest of formulating policies to address these gaps, Congress directed the U.S. Department of Education to produce a report documenting the gaps in access to and completion of higher education by minority males and to outline specific policies that can help address these gaps (Higher Education Opportunity Act, H.R. 4137, 110th Cong. §1109, 2008). NCES was directed to produce the Higher Education: Gaps in Access and Persistence Study, a statistical report that documents the scope and nature of the gaps by sex and by race/ethnicity.

The primary focus of the Higher Education: Gaps in Access and Persistence Study is to examine gaps in educational participation and attainment between male Blacks, Hispanics, Native Hawaiians/Pacific Islanders, and American Indians/Alaska Natives and their female counterparts and to examine gaps between males in these racial/ethnic groups and White males. The secondary focus of the report is to examine overall sex and racial/ethnic differences. In addition to these descriptive indicators, this report also includes descriptive multivariate analyses of variables that are associated with male and female postsecondary attendance and attainment.

Postsecondary attendance rates are generally lower for youth from lower socioeconomic backgrounds and those from various racial/ethnic groups (e.g., Blacks and Hispanics) when compared to Whites and Asians (Aud et al. 2011). In 2010, as in every year since 1980, a lower percentage of male than female 18- to 24-year-olds were enrolled either in college or graduate school (39 vs. 47 percent). This pattern was also observed for Whites (43 vs. 51 percent), Blacks (31 vs. 43 percent), Hispanics (26 vs. 36 percent), American Indians (24 vs. 33 percent), and persons of two or more races (40 vs. 49 percent). In addition to college enrollment differences, there are gaps in postsecondary attainment for males and females. For instance, among first-time students seeking bachelor’s degrees who started full time at a 4-year college in 2004, a higher percentage of females than males completed bachelor’s degrees within 6 years (61 vs. 56 percent)—a pattern that held across all racial/ethnic groups.

This report will document the scope and nature of a number of differences between sex and racial/ethnic groups in education preparation and achievement as well as differences in postsecondary access, persistence, and attainment between males and females within and across racial/ethnic groups. The report presents indicators that include the most recently available, nationally representative data from NCES, other federal agencies, and selected items from the ACT and the College Board. The report draws on multiple sources that represent different years and different populations.

 In The next great civil rights struggle: Disparity in education funding, moi wrote:

Plessy v. Ferguson established the principle of “separate but equal” in race issues. Brown v.Board of Education which overturned the principle of “separate but equal.” would not have been necessary, but for Plessy. See also, the history of Brown v. Board of Education

If one believes that all children, regardless of that child’s status have a right to a good basic education and that society must fund and implement policies, which support this principle. Then, one must discuss the issue of equity in education. Because of the segregation, which resulted after Plessy, most folks focus their analysis of Brown almost solely on race. The issue of equity was just as important. The equity issue was explained in terms of unequal resources and unequal access to education.

People tend to cluster in neighborhoods based upon class as much as race. Good teachers tend to gravitate toward neighborhoods where they are paid well and students come from families who mirror their personal backgrounds and values. Good teachers make a difference in a child’s life. One of the difficulties in busing to achieve equity in education is that neighborhoods tend to be segregated by class as well as race. People often make sacrifices to move into neighborhoods they perceive mirror their values. That is why there must be good schools in all segments of the city and there must be good schools in all parts of this state. A good education should not depend upon one’s class or status.

I know that the lawyers in Brown were told that lawsuits were futile and that the legislatures would address the issue of segregation eventually when the public was ready. Meanwhile, several generations of African Americans waited for people to come around and say the Constitution applied to us as well. Generations of African Americans suffered in inferior schools. This state cannot sacrifice the lives of children by not addressing the issue of equity in school funding in a timely manner.

The next huge case, like Brown, will be about equity in education funding. It may not come this year or the next year. It, like Brown, may come several years after a Plessy. It will come. Equity in education funding is the civil rights issue of this century. https://drwilda.wordpress.com/2011/12/02/the-next-great-civil-rights-struggle-disparity-in-education-funding/

Related:

Center for American Progress report: Disparity in education spending for education of children of color https://drwilda.wordpress.com/2012/08/22/center-for-american-progress-report-disparity-in-education-spending-for-education-of-children-of-color/

Study: Low-income populations and marriage https://drwilda.wordpress.com/2012/07/14/study-low-income-populations-and-marriage/

Helping at-risk children start a home library https://drwilda.wordpress.com/2012/06/13/helping-at-risk-children-start-a-home-library/

Missouri program: Parent home visits https://drwilda.wordpress.com/2012/05/30/missouri-program-parent-home-visits/

When being poor is not enough: Defining homelessness https://drwilda.wordpress.com/2012/02/13/when-being-poor-is-not-enough-defining-homelessness/

Dr. Wilda says this about that ©

Adding arts education to STEM to produce STEAM

28 Aug

In STEM majors profit college students of color, moi wrote:

The Teaching Institute for Excellence in STEM defines STEM:

 What is STEM Education?

Science Technology Engineering & Mathematics

In 2001, Judith A. Ramaley, a former director of the National Science Foundation’s education and human-resources division was credited by many educators with being the first person to brand science, technology, engineering and mathematics curriculum as STEM. It was swiftly adopted by numerous institutions of higher education as well as the scientific communities as an important focus for education policy focus and development.

TIES always views STEM instruction and the STEM resources that support the instruction with a trans-disciplinary lens. Issues in our world arise and are demanding of solutions. Since before Da Vinci, we have taken up this call to action through the design process. It asks for a multiplicity of pathways to offer a series of plausible solutions. From that process has come the power of prototyping, and beta testing. Rarely have our classrooms offered children the chance to engage in such questioning and processes. Now, through STEM education we have the chance to invite our children to look at their school work as important to the world.

For information on how TIES STEM Consulting can work with your organization to launch a comprehensive STEM curriculum program contact us at 443-955-9168 or via email . http://www.tiesteach.org/stem-education.aspx https://drwilda.wordpress.com/2012/08/19/stem-majors-profit-college-students-of-color/

Many are asking whether the focus on STEM education is too narrow and arts should also be added to the curriculum to produce STEAM.

Mozart was a child prodigy. Most of us don’t come close to possessing his gifts. The Journal Times reported about the “Mozart effect.” Mozart Effect

Scientific research has found some basis for the notion that music instruction stimulates general intelligence. About 10 years ago that was called the Mozart effect, the result of some research that reported that listening to a Mozart sonata increased the ability of some college students on a test of mental ability. Popular wisdom twisted that into the notion that listening to music makes you smarter, which is more magic than science. What scientists say at the moment is that music instruction will make you smarter about music, and that for music to help children they need to begin instruction really, really early.

Music consists of rhythms and mathematic like patterns which change a child’s brain and way of thinking. Research which was published in the Journal of Neuropsychology suggests that children who study music will as adults will benefit from music study. The research shows “….that the region of the brain involved in verbal memory is larger in adult musicians than in those who are not musicians.” Mental Ability Affected by Music Study  Further, Rauscher’s study concludes “the research suggests that music may act as a catalyst for cognitive abilities in other disciplines, and the relationship between music and spatial-temporal reasoning is particularly compelling.” Music Affects a Child’s Cognitive Ability

Steven Ross Pomeroy writes in the Scientific American article, From STEM to STEAM: Science and Art Go Hand-in-Hand:

Renewing our focus on STEM is an unobjectionably worthwhile endeavor.  Science and technology are the primary drivers of our world economy, and the United States is in the lead.

But there is a growing group of advocates who believe that STEM is missing a key component – one that is equally deserved of renewed attention, enthusiasm and funding. That component is the Arts. If these advocates have their way, STEM would become STEAM.

Their proposition actually makes a lot of sense, and not just because the new acronym is easy on the ears. Though many see art and science as somewhat at odds, the fact is that they have long existed and developed collaboratively. This synergy was embodied in great thinkers like the legendary Leonardo Da Vinci and the renowned Chinese polymath Su Song. One of Carl Jung’s mythological archetypes was the artist-scientist, which represents builders, inventors, and dreamers. Nobel laureates in the sciences are seventeen times likelier than the average scientist to be a painter, twelve times as likely to be a poet, and four times as likely to be a musician.

Camouflage for soldiers in the United States armed forces was invented by American painter Abbot Thayer. Earl Bakken based his pacemaker on a musical metronome. Japanese origami inspired medical stents and improvements to vehicle airbag technology. Steve Jobs described himself and his colleagues at Apple as artists.

At TED 2002, Mae Jemison, a doctor, dancer, and the first African American woman in space, said, “The difference between science and the arts is not that they are different sides of the same coin… or even different parts of the same continuum, but rather, they are manifestations of the same thing. The arts and sciences are avatars of human creativity.”

Despite the profound connection between art and science, art programs across the nation are on the chopping block. In June, the U.S. House of Representatives proposed significant funding cuts to the National Endowment for the Arts. Schools nationwide are eschewing art programs to instead focus on teach-to-the-test courses catered to math and reading. The problem here is that a narrow focus on testing reinforces narrow-minded thinking. Young Americans are being educated out of creativity.

By teaching the arts, we can have our cake and eat it, too. In 2008, the DANA Arts and Cognition Consortium, a philanthropic organization that supports brain research, assembled scientists from seven different universities to study whether the arts affect other areas of learning. Several studies from the report correlated training in the arts to improvements in math and reading scores, while others showed that arts boost attention, cognition, working memory, and reading fluency.

Dr. Jerome Kagan, an Emeritus professor at Harvard University and listed in one review as the 22nd most eminent psychologist of the 20th century, says that the arts contribute amazingly well to learning because they regularly combine the three major tools that the mind uses to acquire, store, and communicate knowledge: motor skills, perceptual representation, and language.

Art and music require the use of both schematic and procedural knowledge and, therefore, amplify a child’s understanding of self and the world,” Kagan said at the John Hopkins Learning, Arts, and the Brain Summit in 2009.

With this realization in mind, educators across the nation are experimenting with merging art and science lessons. At the Wolf Trap Institute in Virginia, “teaching artists” are combining physical dance with subjects like math and geometry. In Rhode Island, MIT researcher Jie Qui introduced students to paper-based electronics as part of her master’s thesis exploring the use of technology in expressive art. Both programs excited students about science while concurrently fueling their imaginations. A potent blend of science and imagination sounds like the perfect concoction to get our country back on track. http://blogs.scientificamerican.com/guest-blog/2012/08/22/from-stem-to-steam-science-and-the-arts-go-hand-in-hand/?WT.mc_id=SA_emailfriend

The steps in the learning process are summarized in a booklet authored by Stella Vosniadou. How Children Learn Among her findings are the following key concepts that are necessary in the learning process:

1.        Active involvement – students must pay attention and participate in learning

2.        Social participation – children internalize the culture and habits of the communities where they live

3.        Meaningful activities – activities should relevant and have some real world application that it understood by the child

4.        Relating new information to prior information – the Westport program has designed its curriculum in accord  with this finding

5.        Being strategic

6.        Engaging in self-regulation and being reflective – children should learn how to set goals and plan

7.        Restructuring prior knowledge – children have to learn how to solve internal inconsistencies

8.       Aiming at understanding rather than memorization – the Westport program is attempting to promote understanding and a firm foundation for proceeding to the next set of principles.

Learning and mastery of a subject is important. But, so is nourishing the “whole child.” The arts are just as important to learning as are the sciences. STEM should become STEAM.

Resources:

STEM Education Coalition http://www.stemedcoalition.org/

What Is STEM Education? http://www.sciencemag.org/content/329/5995/996.summary

Dr. Wilda says this about that ©

Do kids get enough time to eat lunch?

28 Aug

Two Minnesota sixth-graders Talia Bradley and Antonia Ritter are who are at Seward Montessori School wrote an interesting article for the Star Tribune. In Sixth graders: Give us time to eat at school, Bradley and Ritter argue:

In the Minneapolis public schools, we are supposed to have 15 minutes to eat, which would be bad enough. But realistically we get only 10 to 11 minutes (we have been timing it).

Having to rush to eat is part of the reason for the obesity epidemic, eating disorders, indigestion and kids not doing well in school. There is research that proves all of these points. Kids just need more time to eat at school.

Rushing to eat high-calorie meals at school, or at home, is the cause for the gastroesophageal reflux. This is often called heartburn. Heartburn feels bad — the symptoms are burning in the chest, overall chest pain, burning in the throat, difficulty swallowing, food sticking in middle of the chest or throat, sore throat and cough.

School-age children especially need nutrition, but we are the ones who don’t get a choice about how long we get to eat. We are growing and have to get energy. In middle school especially, our bodies need energy, because middle-school kids are going through puberty. It is essential that we get enough time.

Younger kids, meanwhile, tend to eat much more slowly. That means they eat less in the time allotted and behave poorly for the rest of the day.

When about a third of American children and adolescents are overweight or obese, the schools shouldn’t be adding to the problem. But they are, perhaps unknowingly. Research shows that eating fast causes people to consume more calories and enjoy the meal less.

There are also problems with kids being underweight. Those children just use lunch to talk, instead of having time to eat and talk.

Lunch is an important social time. Teachers always tell us to socialize at lunch and recess, not in the classroom. But we cannot do that if we are scarfing down our lunches in 11 minutes.

And at recess nobody can socialize or run around if they are hungry or we feel sick. Lots of kids stay in classrooms during lunch so they have time to actually eat and socialize.

Pretty soon nobody will be going to the lunchroom or recess. We don’t have time to eat there; by staying in our teachers’ classrooms, we do.

The Minneapolis public schools apparently have a district rule against eating outside — this was told to us by our lunch and recess lady. She said it was because we would litter.

Our friends helped us come up with multiple ways of being able to eat outside. We could set up tarps by the field or in an unpopulated area with the same trash systems as in the lunchroom (fall and spring).

Another idea is have one teacher or staff member stay in the lunchroom with kids who need to finish eating, so they can stay in and finish (winter)….

Almost no one finishes what he or she gets to eat. That means a lot gets thrown away, wasting food. Food waste affects many things in our world. It wastes much more than food; it wastes the time and energy it takes to make the food product. That is a sign that we are hurting our planet.

The reasons for having longer lunch times are obvious when you think about them. Weight, indigestion, waste and everything else just shows how inefficient and hurtful our lack of time is. We need change. http://www.startribune.com/opinion/commentaries/147833575.html?refer=y

Given the amount that must be packed into the school day, it is no surprise that the lunch period often get short shrift.

The Journal of Child Nutrition and Management published the 2002 study, How Long Does it Take Students to Eat Lunch? A Summary of Three Studies by Martha T. Conklin, PhD, RD; Laurel G. Lambert, PhD, RD, LD; and Janet B. Anderson, MS, RD:

CONCLUSIONS AND APPLICATIONS

How long did it take K-12 students to eat? School children took an average of 7 to 10 minutes to consume their lunch. Some students, however, required less time, while others needed more. Sanchez, Hoover, Sanchez, et al. (1999) reported that 39%, 27%, and 20% of students in elementary, middle, and high schools, respectively, took longer than 10 minutes to consume their lunch. We suggest school foodservice directors read the research articles generated by these studies to consider the entire spectrum of data collected (Bergman et al., 2000; Sanchez, Hoover, Sanchez, et al., 1999). In school districts where the scheduled lunch period is a contested issue, the only way school foodservice directors could know precisely whether this average reflects students in their program is to conduct a time study using similar methods. The procedures to follow for conducting such a time study have been published (Sanchez, Hoover, Cater, et al., 1999).

Eating time encompasses only the physical act of eating and drinking. This time did not seem to relate to the age of students, size of the school district, complexity of the menu, length of the lunch period, serving styles, holding students at the table, or scheduling recess prior to the meal period (Table 1). An earlier study found that the timing of recess was associated with reduced plate waste, particularly with boys, when physical activities were scheduled prior to lunch (Getlinger, Laughlin, Bell, Akre, & Arjmandi, 1996). As shown in Figure 1, the researchers found that in one elementary school (EUT1) that scheduled recess prior to lunch, the averaged the same amount of time to eat. Because the time studies did not record plate waste, we can only assume students may have eaten more in the same amount of time, or the timing of recess may not have made a difference in consumption patterns with this group of elementary students.

Non-eating or socializing at the table was the most variable time among the schools, and not surprisingly, the amount of time spent in these activities seemed to change directly with the length of the lunch period. These acts included arranging the tray or food, eating, talking, laughing, and other types of social interaction with friends at the table. School foodservice directors could minimize the time used by students in arranging the food for eating by evaluating the manner in which condiments are packaged for ease of use. This would be especially important for elementary students (Sanchez, Hoover, Sanchez, et al., 1999).

Socializing is an important aspect of dining because allowing students sufficient time to relate to others provides a break in routine and refreshes them for afternoon classes. This may be the reason why members of the Partnership to Promote Healthy Eating in Schools mentioned the importance of enjoying meals with friends as a vital component of healthy eating (American Academy of Family Physicians et al., 2000). Perhaps if students were given at least a 20-minute period at the table, as recommended by food and nutrition professionals (USDA, 2000), both eating and socializing activities could be accommodated for the average individual.

If 20 minutes at the table were the goal, then school foodservice directors would need to factor in the following: average travel time to the cafeteria; time for service, including travel to the eating area; and bussing of trays after the meal to yield an ideal lunch period. The service aspect is the one element a school foodservice director can most directly influence. In this research, the bussing of trays consistently averaged under one minute, even for elementary students, but the average service time per student varied from approximately three minutes to slightly over eight minutes (Figure 1). Among the factors that positively influence service time are:

  • the number of serving lines;
  • whether all food choices are available on each line;
  • training of service staff and cashiers to provide efficient service;
  • the designation of a “runner” to replenish food on the line (Nettles & Conklin, 1996); and
    an automated point of sales system.

School foodservice directors should carefully review each of these areas to determine whether service efficiency could be improved, especially if doing so will enable students to enjoy their lunch for at least 20 minutes at the table.

If 20 minutes at the table represents 78% of the meal period (Figure 2), a goal for the entire time students spend in the cafeteria would be at least 26 minutes. This would allow four minutes for travel to and from the cafeteria in a 30-minute lunch period. Although this calculation is based strictly on averages, a school foodservice director could use this type of logic in documenting an ideal lunch period with school administrators. http://docs.schoolnutrition.org/newsroom/jcnm/02spring/conklin/

Bradley and Ritter are arguing that shorter lunch times do not feed the need of the “whole child.”

Moi wrote in The ‘whole child’ approach to education:

ASCD is promoting the Whole Child Initiative:

Explore resources and opportunities for action here and on www.wholechildeducation.org, and together we’ll change the face of education policy and practice. Find sets of indicators related to each tenet below. Taken together across all five tenets and the central necessities of collaboration, coordination, and integration, these indicators may serve as a needs assessment, set of strategic goals and outcomes, framework for decision making, or the definition of what a whole child approach to education truly requires. Download the indicators (PDF).

Whole Child Tenets

  • Each student enters school healthy and learns about and practices a healthy lifestyle.

  • Each student learns in an environment that is physically and emotionally safe for students and adults.

  • Each student is actively engaged in learning and is connected to the school and broader community.

  • Each student has access to personalized learning and is supported by qualified, caring adults.

  • Each student is challenged academically and prepared for success in college or further study and for employment and participation in a global environment.

http://www.ascd.org/whole-child.aspx

In order to ensure that ALL children have a basic education, we must take a comprehensive approach to learning.

A healthy child in a healthy family who attends a healthy school in a healthy neighborhood ©

https://drwilda.wordpress.com/2012/02/10/the-whole-child-approach-to-education/

Related:

School dinner programs: Trying to reduce the number of hungry children                                                         https://drwilda.wordpress.com/2012/01/28/school-dinner-programs-trying-to-reduce-the-number-of-hungry-children/

School lunches: The political hot potato https://drwilda.wordpress.com/2011/11/03/school-lunches-the-political-hot-potato/

The government that money buys: School lunch cave in by Congress                                                            https://drwilda.wordpress.com/2011/11/16/the-government-that-money-buys-school-lunch-cave-in-by-congress/

Dr. Wilda says this about that ©

 

Many schools in the South allow spanking

27 Aug

Joan Gausted of the University of Oregon has an excellent article in Eric Digest 78, School Discipline

School discipline has two main goals: (1) ensure the safety of staff and students, and (2) create an environment conducive to learning. Serious student misconduct involving violent or criminal behavior defeats these goals and often makes headlines in the process. However, the commonest discipline problems involve noncriminal student behavior (Moles 1989).

These less dramatic problems may not threaten personal safety, but they still negatively affect the learning environment. Disruptions interrupt lessons for all students, and disruptive students lose even more learning time. For example, Gottfredson and others (1989) calculate that in six middle schools in Charleston, South Carolina, students lost 7,932 instructional days–44 years!–to in-school and out-of-school suspensions in a single academic year….

How Can Schools Decrease Disruptive Behavior?

Working to change the above-mentioned characteristics may decrease disruptive behavior. First, rules and the consequences of breaking them should be clearly specified and communicated to staff, students, and parents by such means as newsletters, student assemblies, and handbooks. Meyers and Pawlas (1989) recommend periodically restating the rules, especially after students return from summer or winter vacation.

Once rules have been communicated, fair and consistent enforcement helps maintain students’ respect for the school’s discipline system. Consistency will be greater when fewer individuals are responsible for enforcement. Providing a hearing process for students to present their side of the story and establishing an appeal process will also increase students’ and parents’ perceptions of fairness.

Most state do not allow spanking, but many schools in the South still use corporal punishment.

Takepart.com, is reporting in the article, To Spank or Not to Spank? Corporal Punishment:

Corporal punishment is still surprisingly legal in many Southern public schools.

The Forrest City, Ark., School Board voted on Monday night to reinstate corporal punishment in its schools. The measure was strongly advocated by School Superintendent Dr. Jerry Woods. Many parents in the rural impoverished community near Memphis support the action, saying that children are out of control and need spankings either by paddles or rulers. Parents can tell school administrators, however, that they do not want corporal punishment used on their children.

Corporal punishment is legal under Arkansas law. It states “Any teacher or school principal may use corporal punishment in a reasonable manner against any pupil for good cause in order to maintain discipline and order within the public schools.”

During the 2010-11 school year, Arkansas educators used corporal punishment 31,847 times, according to the website Never Hit A Child. Large county school districts such as the one that contains the state’s capital of Little Rock have banned corporal punishment…

All over the country districts are doing away with it,” says Murray A. Straus, professor emeritus of sociology and co-director of the Family Research Laboratory, at the University of New Hampshire in Durham. “Within the states that still permit it, the school boards of major cities have ruled against it….”

The American Acad­emy of Pediatrics has opposed corporal punishment for decades. The group “believes that corporal punishment can actually have a negative influence upon a child’s self-image and thus inter­fere with his academic achievement. Punishment does not teach more appropriate behavior or self-discipline and may even cause a youngster to behave more aggressively and violently,” according to the Healthy Children website.

Some states haven’t even bothered to keep statistics on corporal punishment. Louisiana legislators only passed a law in 2010 that “requires the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education to collect specific data on the use of corporal punishment in all public schools and report it to the Legislature prior to the start of the 2011 regular session.”

The 2011 report found that educators administered more than 11,000 instances of corporal punishment in Louisiana during the school year…

But not all Southern states engage in thousands of spankings.

In Florida, corporal punishment has declined from 13,900 in 1994 to just 3,661 during the 2009-10 school year, and school districts that once used paddling as punishment have decreased by half.

Advocates for corporal punishment often argue that paddling is simply part of the Southern culture especially in the African-American community. They argue it’s difficult for the region where “spare the rod and spoil the child” is engrained in parents’ mentalities to change its methods after decades of spanking…. http://news.yahoo.com/spank-not-spank-corporal-punishment-reigns-many-southern-232500415.html

For those expecting a diatribe against the school officials in the South and calling them a bunch of knuckle dragging cretins. Not really, moi grew up in an ethnic household. One of the memorable lines which mpi found that ethnics of many races identify with is, “I brought you into this world, I’ll take you out.” At that moment, moi’s self esteem was not critical.  

Before judging the folks in the South as a bunch of nutjobs who probably should be sterile. The question of discipline versus abuse should be examined. Child welfare Information Gateway has resources on that question. Lisa Aronson Fontes, Ph.D. has an interesting paper about Working With Cultural Minority Parents on Issues of Physical Discipline & Abuse

Child rearing is highly influenced by ethnic culture. What children need to learn and the methods considered best for teaching them, are passed down from one generation to another as cultural knowledge and tradition. Some people from other nations might see abuse in the common United States practices of circumcising male infants, denying children food between mealtimes, sending misbehaving children to bed without supper, and forcing infants to cry themselves to sleep at night alone.

Cultural subgroups also vary widely in the methods they use to enforce discipline and gain compliance. African Americans and people from the Southern United States are more likely to punish their children with a weapon that resembles a whip, such as an electric cord, belt or switch applied to the back or bottom (Showers & Bandman, 1986). European (White) Americans are more likely to use a paddle or an open hand to the bottom. Recent Korean immigrants may slap a child’s face. Chinese parents may pinch their youngsters and yank their hair more than other parents. Latino parents may make their child kneel with bare knees on a tray of uncooked rice (Fontes, 2002). And Puerto Rican families may place a toddler who is having a tantrum into a bathtub of cold water (Fontes, 2005). While cultural differences influence the kinds of physical discipline used, they do not determine whether these punishments constitute abuse in any given instance, since each one of these methods can be applied gently or with great force, frequently or rarely, for a long or short duration, and to children of different ages and vulnerabilities.

We should be careful to distinguish between a single episode of physical abuse by caring parents that stems from acceptable discipline gone awry and intentional, repeated abuse in which physical and psychological damage is evident. Both need to be taken seriously. But in the first case, education and stress reduction are probably the most appropriate remedies. In the second case, the parent may be evidencing severe psychological disturbance, substance abuse, involvement in intimate partner violence, or an actual dislike of the child. These factors must be resolved through more extensive interventions before skills training will prove beneficial.

No child should ever be abused, but not all physical discipline is abuse. Maybe it is time that some of the Northern sophisticates ponder that question.

See:

Education Law Center

Discipline In Schools: What Works and What Doesn’t?

Dr. Wilda says this about that ©

What is the Indiana voucher program?

26 Aug

School choice” which means according to the Education Breakthrough Network:

School Choice…What is it?

Well, not to be overly simplistic,  SCHOOL CHOICE is the act of choosing a school that meets the needs of your child.

Traditionally, families have been assigned to schools based on where they live. In fact, families with sufficient resources choose the neighborhoods they live in, in order to be assigned to a good school. That is actually a pretty active choice.

But school choice means actively choosing a school versus being assigned to one. And it doesn’t matter what kind of choice that is, they can include private schools, public charter schools, online schools, home schools, special needs schools or even preschools.

School choice advocates believe in the rights of parents to choose a school that meets their child’s needs, and in the rights of teachers and all educators to create, manage, and/or choose to be employed in those schools.

The Education Breakthrough Network exists to explain and advance effective school choice…from its simplest definition here to our very detailed database here.

Find out more about us.

Learn more about School Choice and how it is defined by the daily activities of those that do it! Read how these organizations support and define School Choice:

The Foundation For Educational Choice
The Center for Education Reform
The Heritage Foundation
The Alliance for School Choice

http://www.edbreakthrough.org/SCinfo.php

School Choice” ignites passions. People really go ballistic when vouchers are discussed. Moi wrote about vouchers in Given school choice, many students thrive https://drwilda.wordpress.com/2012/08/23/given-school-choice-many-students-thrive/

Moi thinks the Indiana experience will be useful and will provide useful information about what works in education. Moi wrote in The ‘whole child’ approach to education:

Moi writes this blog around a set of principles which are:

All children have a right to a good basic education.

  1. Education is a partnership between the student, parent(s) or guardian(s), the teacher(s), and the school. All parts of the partnership must be active and involved.

  2. Society should support and foster strong families.

  3. Society should promote the idea that parents are responsible for parenting their children and people who are not prepared to accept that responsibility should not be parenting children.

  4. The sexualization of the culture has had devastating effects on children, particularly young women. For many there has been the lure of the “booty call” rather than focusing on genuine achievement.

    Education is a life long pursuit

Many children do not have a positive education experience in the education system for a variety of reasons. Many educators are advocating for the “whole child” approach to increase the number of children who have a positive experience in the education process.

The National Education Association (NEA) describes the “whole child” approach to learning in the paper, Meeting the Needs of the Whole Child:

Meeting the needs of the whole child requires:

Addressing multiple dimensions, including students’ physical, social and emotional health and well-being.

Ensuring equity, adequacy and sustainability in resources and quality among public schools and districts.

Ensuring that students are actively engaged in a wide variety of experiences and settings within—and outside—the classroom.

Providing students with mentors and counselors as necessary to make them feel safe and secure.

Ensuring that the condition of schools is modern and up-to-date, and that schools provide access to a broad array of resources.

Reducing class size so that students receive the individualized attention they need to succeed.

Encouraging parental and community involvement. http://www.educationvotes.nea.org/wp-content/uploads/2010/04/WholeChildBackgrounder.pdf

ASCD, (formerly the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development) along with the NEA is leading in the adoption of the “whole child” approach.https://drwilda.wordpress.com/2012/02/10/the-whole-child-approach-to-education/ The Indiana voucher program is an attempt to give parents the tools to meet the needs of their child.

Mary McConnell of the Deseret News has posted a series of articles about education reform in Indiana. Her latest article is Indiana education voucher experiment: year two begins:

Since a big share of the voucher money is going to religious schools that don’t make a profit, this invocation of “private enterprise” is a little misleading. But I still find it curious that “private enterprise” is viewed as a pejorative. Private enterprise, after all, has brought us stunningly better and often less expensive products, and proved much more responsive to consumer demand.

Ah, consumer demand. That’s what really intrigues me about the article. Schools – public schools AND private schools hoping to attract voucher students – find that they need to reach out to their consumers, parents, and make a case that they’re providing an excellent education for their children.

Maybe TV ads and billboards will do the trick; as a parent and a teacher who has taught in Catholic schools that need to persuade parents of their value, I would bet on stronger results, better discipline, and a school culture that welcomes and fosters parent involvement. Can public schools offer that? Absolutely. Will it hurt for them to have to prove it to parents? Voucher opponents will say yes, but I’m betting that the biggest beneficiaries of competition will turn out to be public schools.

This posting could get very, very long, so let me instead direct readers to some interesting recent articles.

A Harvard study of New York City’s private voucher program – published this past Thursday – indicates that vouchers significantly improved the odds that African American students would attend college. This is an especially valuable study because it included a scientific control group (students who applied for but did not receive the vouchers, thereby holding constant for “involved parents”) and employed long-term data (1997-2011). Here’s a Wall Street Journal op-ed reporting the data:

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10000872396390444184704577585582150808386.html?mod=djemITP_h

And here’s a link to the study itself:

http://www.hks.harvard.edu/pepg/PDF/Impacts_of_School_Vouchers_FINAL.pdf

The American Enterprise Institute published a short piece responding to the AP article; it makes the argument for competition.

http://www.aei-ideas.org/2012/08/schools-respond-to-competition/

Here’s an article from last week’s Economist – which if anything proves that Indiana’s experiment is world news:

http://www.economist.com/node/21560570

And finally, a useful warning note for voucher supporters. Many private schools in Indiana saw their test scores drop as they admitted voucher students. No huge surprise – if anything, it suggests that the private schools were, in fact, achieving higher educational standards (and probably educating a different demographic, as well.)

http://www.fortwayne.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20120723/NEWS/320111062/1039/EDUCATION

Utah voters decided that the state should not take this path, at least for now. But it will be interesting to see what happens in Indiana . . . and Louisiana. More on Louisiana next week.   http://educatingourselves.blogs.deseretnews.com/2012/08/25/indiana-education-voucher-experiment-year-two-begins/

Here is information from the Indiana Department of Education:

Choice Scholarships

Indiana is committed to providing all children access to quality educational opportunities, no matter where they live or how much money is in the family bank account. House Enrolled Act 1003 will play a key role in helping the Hoosier state accomplish this goal.Indiana’s new voucher program (authorized under IC 20-51-1 and IC 20-51-4) gives Hoosier families the opportunity to send their children to a school that best meets their learning needs. A voucher, or “Choice Scholarship,” is a state payment that qualifying families can use to offset tuition costs at participating schools. Students qualify based on total household income and the amount of the scholarship corresponds with the public school corporation in which the student lives.This exciting new program is up and running for the 2011-2012 school year. Schools and parents will work together to submit applications and enroll students. Participating schools and parents should explore the boxes below for more information.

Interested Parents General Info
How To Apply Estimated Scholarship Amounts
FAQ for Parents Household Income Limits
Preguntas Frequentes Padres Income Verification Rules
Approved Choice Schools Indiana School Scholarship Tax Credit
Interested Schools
Getting Started Application to Become an Eligible School
FAQ for Schools Program Deadlines
School Implementation
Data Reporting Data Layout for Choice Scholarship Input
Income Verification Visual Assessment Information
Reading Plan Emergency Rule
Recognized National and Regional Accreditation Agencies Student Record

Deduction for Private & Homeschool

Deduction Form

http://www.doe.in.gov/improvement/school-choice/choice-scholarships

Schools must be relentless about the basics for their population of kids.   

What does it Mean to Be Relentless About the Basics:      

  1. Students acquire strong subject matter skills in reading, writing, and math.
  2. Students are assessed often to gauge where they are in acquiring basic skills.
  3. If there are deficiencies in acquiring skills, schools intervene as soon as a deficiency assessment is made.
  4. Schools intervene early in life challenges faced by students which prevent them from attending school and performing in school.
  5. Appropriate corrective assistance is provided by the school to overcome both academic and life challenges.   

The Indiana voucher program is a tool which allows parents the choice of what is best for their child.

Dr. Wilda says this about that ©

Father’s age may be linked to Autism and Schizophrenia

26 Aug

In Autism and children of color, moi said:

The number of children with autism appears to be growing. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention provides statistics on the number of children with autism in the section Data and Statistics:

Prevalence

  • It is estimated that between 1 in 80 and 1 in 240 with an average of 1 in 110 children in the United States have an ASD. [Read article]
  • ASDs are reported to occur in all racial, ethnic, and socioeconomic groups, yet are on average 4 to 5 times more likely to occur in boys than in girls.  However, we need more information on some less studied populations and regions around the world. [Read article]
  • Studies in Asia, Europe, and North America have identified individuals with an ASD with an approximate prevalence of 0.6% to over 1%. A recent study in South Korea reported a prevalence of 2.6%. [Data table ]
  • Approximately 13% of children have a developmental disability, ranging from mild disabilities such as speech and language impairments to serious developmental disabilities, such as intellectual disabilities, cerebral palsy, and autism.  [Read article] http://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/autism/data.html

In order for children with autism to reach their full potential there must be early diagnosis and treatment.

The National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke has an autism fact sheet:

What is autism?

Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a range of complex neurodevelopment disorders, characterized by social impairments, communication difficulties, and restricted, repetitive, and stereotyped patterns of behavior.  Autistic disorder, sometimes called autism or classical ASD, is the most severe form of ASD, while other conditions along the spectrum include a milder form known as Asperger syndrome, and childhood disintegrative disorder and pervasive developmental disorder not otherwise specified (usually referred to as PDD-NOS).  Although ASD varies significantly in character and severity, it occurs in all ethnic and socioeconomic groups and affects every age group.  Experts estimate that six children out of every 1,000 will have an ASD.  Males are four times more likely to have an ASD than females.

What are some common signs of autism?

The hallmark feature of ASD is impaired social interaction.  As early as infancy, a baby with ASD may be unresponsive to people or focus intently on one item to the exclusion of others for long periods of time.  A child with ASD may appear to develop normally and then withdraw and become indifferent to social engagement.

Children with an ASD may fail to respond to their names and often avoid eye contact with other people.  They have difficulty interpreting what others are thinking or feeling because they can’t understand social cues, such as tone of voice or facial expressions, and don’t watch other people’s faces for clues about appropriate behavior.  They lack empathy.

Many children with an ASD engage in repetitive movements such as rocking and twirling, or in self-abusive behavior such as biting or head-banging.  They also tend to start speaking later than other children and may refer to themselves by name instead of “I” or “me.”  Children with an ASD don’t know how to play interactively with other children.  Some speak in a sing-song voice about a narrow range of favorite topics, with little regard for the interests of the person to whom they are speaking.

Children with characteristics of an ASD may have co-occurring conditions, including Fragile X syndrome (which causes mental retardation), tuberous sclerosis, epileptic seizures, Tourette syndrome, learning disabilities, and attention deficit disorder.  About 20 to 30 percent of children with an ASD develop epilepsy by the time they reach adulthood. .

How is autism diagnosed?

ASD varies widely in severity and symptoms and may go unrecognized, especially in mildly affected children or when it is masked by more debilitating handicaps.  Very early indicators that require evaluation by an expert include:

  • no babbling or pointing by age 1
  • no single words by 16 months or two-word phrases by age 2
  • no response to name
  • loss of language or social skills
  • poor eye contact
  • excessive lining up of toys or objects
  • no smiling or social responsiveness.

Later indicators include:

  • impaired ability to make friends with peers
  • impaired ability to initiate or sustain a conversation with others
  • absence or impairment of imaginative and social play
  • stereotyped, repetitive, or unusual use of language
  • restricted patterns of interest that are abnormal in intensity or focus
  • preoccupation with certain objects or subjects
  • inflexible adherence to specific routines or rituals.

Health care providers will often use a questionnaire or other screening instrument to gather information about a child’s development and behavior.  Some screening instruments rely solely on parent observations, while others rely on a combination of parent and doctor observations.  If screening instruments indicate the possibility of an ASD, a more comprehensive evaluation is usually indicated….

What causes autism?

Scientists aren’t certain about what causes ASD, but it’s likely that both genetics and environment play a role.  Researchers have identified a number of genes associated with the disorder.  Studies of people with ASD have found irregularities in several regions of the brain.  Other studies suggest that people with ASD have abnormal levels of serotonin or other neurotransmitters in the brain.  These abnormalities suggest that ASD could result from the disruption of normal brain development early in fetal development caused by defects in genes that control brain growth and that regulate how brain cells communicate with each other, possibly due to the influence of environmental factors on gene function.  While these findings are intriguing, they are preliminary and require further study.  The theory that parental practices are responsible for ASD has long been disproved….https://drwilda.wordpress.com/2012/03/27/autism-and-children-of-color/

Scientists are researching risk factors for autism.

Benedict Carey reports in the New York Times article, Father’s Age Is Linked to Risk of Autism and Schizophrenia:

Older men are more likely than young ones to father a child who develops autism or schizophrenia, because of random mutations that become more numerous with advancing paternal age, scientists reported on Wednesday, in the first study to quantify the effect as it builds each year. The age of mothers had no bearing on the risk for these disorders, the study found.

Experts said that the finding was hardly reason to forgo fatherhood later in life, though it might have some influence on reproductive decisions. The overall risk to a man in his 40s or older is in the range of 2 percent, at most, and there are other contributing biological factors that are entirely unknown.

But the study, published online in the journal Nature, provides support for the argument that the surging rate of autism diagnoses over recent decades is attributable in part to the increasing average age of fathers, which could account for as many as 20 to 30 percent of cases.

The findings also counter the longstanding assumption that the age of the mother is the most important factor in determining the odds of a child having developmental problems. The risk of chromosomal abnormalities, like Down syndrome, increases for older mothers, but when it comes to some complex developmental and psychiatric problems, the lion’s share of the genetic risk originates in the sperm, not the egg, the study found. Previous studies had strongly suggested as much, including an analysis published in April that found that this risk was higher at age 35 than 25 and crept up with age. The new report quantifies that risk for the first time, calculating how much it accumulates each year.

The research team found that the average child born to a 20-year-old father had 25 random mutations that could be traced to paternal genetic material. The number increased steadily by two mutations a year, reaching 65 mutations for offspring of 40-year-old men.

The average number of mutations coming from the mother’s side was 15, no matter her age, the study found.

“This study provides some of the first solid scientific evidence for a true increase in the condition” of autism, said Dr. Fred R. Volkmar, director of the Child Study Center at the Yale School of Medicine, who was not involved in the research. “It is extremely well done and the sample meticulously characterized.” http://www.nytimes.com/2012/08/23/health/fathers-age-is-linked-to-risk-of-autism-and-schizophrenia.html?emc=eta1

Citation:

Rate of de novo mutations and the importance of father’s age to disease risk

Journal name: Nature

Volume: 488,

Pages: 471–475

Date published: (23 August 2012)

DOI: doi:10.1038/nature11396

Received 28 February 2012  Accepted 04 July 2012 Published online 22 August 2012

Abstract

Article tools

Parents must pay attention to whether their children are developing within the parameters of what is appropriate for the child’s age.

Resources:

For more information on neurological disorders or research programs funded by the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, contact the Institute’s Brain Resources and Information Network (BRAIN) at:

BRAIN
P.O. Box 5801
Bethesda, MD 20824
(800) 352-9424
http://www.ninds.nih.gov

Association for Science in Autism Treatment
P.O. Box 188
Crosswicks, NJ   08515-0188
info@asatonline.org
http://www.asatonline.org
Autism National Committee (AUTCOM)
P.O. Box 429
Forest Knolls, CA   94933
http://www.autcom.org
Autism Network International (ANI)
P.O. Box 35448
Syracuse, NY   13235-5448
jisincla@syr.edu
http://www.ani.ac
Autism Research Institute (ARI)
4182 Adams Avenue
San Diego, CA   92116
director@autism.com
http://www.autismresearchinstitute.com
Tel: 866-366-3361
Fax: 619-563-6840
Autism Science Foundation
419 Lafayette Street
2nd floor
New York, NY   10003
contactus@autismsciencefoundation.org
http://www.autismsciencefoundation.org/
Tel: 646-723-3978
Fax: 212-228-3557
Autism Society of America
4340 East-West Highway
Suite 350
Bethesda, MD   20814
http://www.autism-society.org
Tel: 301-657-0881 800-3AUTISM (328-8476)
Fax: 301-657-0869
Autism Speaks, Inc.
2 Park Avenue
11th Floor
New York, NY   10016
contactus@autismspeaks.org
http://www.autismspeaks.org
Tel: 212-252-8584 California: 310-230-3568
Fax: 212-252-8676
Birth Defect Research for Children, Inc.
976 Lake Baldwin Lane
Suite 104
Orlando, FL   32814
betty@birthdefects.org
http://www.birthdefects.org
Tel: 407-895-0802
MAAP Services for Autism, Asperger Syndrome, and PDD
P.O. Box 524
Crown Point, IN   46308
info@aspergersyndrome.org
http://www.aspergersyndrome.org/
Tel: 219-662-1311
Fax: 219-662-1315
National Dissemination Center for Children with Disabilities
U.S. Dept. of Education, Office of Special Education Programs
1825 Connecticut Avenue NW, Suite 700
Washington, DC   20009
nichcy@aed.org
http://www.nichcy.org
Tel: 800-695-0285 202-884-8200
Fax: 202-884-8441
National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD)
National Institutes of Health, DHHS
31 Center Drive, Rm. 2A32 MSC 2425
Bethesda, MD   20892-2425
http://www.nichd.nih.gov
Tel: 301-496-5133
Fax: 301-496-7101
National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders Information Clearinghouse
1 Communication Avenue
Bethesda, MD   20892-3456
nidcdinfo@nidcd.nih.gov
http://www.nidcd.nih.gov
Tel: 800-241-1044 800-241-1055 (TTD/TTY)
National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS)
National Institutes of Health, DHHS
111 T.W. Alexander Drive
Research Triangle Park, NC   27709
webcenter@niehs.nih.gov
http://www.niehs.nih.gov
Tel: 919-541-3345
National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH)
National Institutes of Health, DHHS
6001 Executive Blvd. Rm. 8184, MSC 9663
Bethesda, MD   20892-9663
nimhinfo@nih.gov
http://www.nimh.nih.gov
Tel: 301-443-4513/866-415-8051 301-443-8431 (TTY)
Fax: 301-443-4279

“Autism Fact Sheet,” NINDS. Publication date September 2009.

NIH Publication No. 09-1877

Dr. Wilda says this about that ©