Tag Archives: Children’s Mental Health

Drexel University study: Trauma from parents’ youth linked to poorer health, asthma in their own children

10 Jun

Moi reported about the effect stress has on genes in Penn State study: Stress alters children’s genomes https://drwilda.com/2014/04/08/penn-state-study-stress-alters-childrens-genomes/ A Tulane Medical School study finds that family violence or trauma alters a child’s genomes.

Science Daily reported in the article, Family violence leaves genetic imprint on children:

A new Tulane University School of Medicine study finds that the more fractured families are by domestic violence or trauma, the more likely that children will bear the scars down to their DNA.
Researchers discovered that children in homes affected by domestic violence, suicide or the incarceration of a family member have significantly shorter telomeres, which is a cellular marker of aging, than those in stable households. The findings are published online in the latest issue of the journal Pediatrics.
Telomeres are the caps at the end of chromosomes that keep them from shrinking when cells replicate. Shorter telomeres are linked to higher risks for heart disease, obesity, cognitive decline, diabetes, mental illness and poor health outcomes in adulthood. Researchers took genetic samples from 80 children ages 5 to 15 in New Orleans and interviewed parents about their home environments and exposures to adverse life events….
The study found that gender moderated the impact of family instability. Traumatic family events were more detrimental to young girls as they were more likely to have shortened telomeres. There was also a surprising protective effect for boys: mothers who had achieved a higher level of education had a positive association with telomere length, but only in boys under 10.
Ultimately, the study suggests that the home environment is an important intervention target to reduce the biological impacts of adversity in the lives of young children, Drury said. http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/06/140617102505.htm?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+sciencedaily%2Ftop_news%2Ftop_science+%28ScienceDaily%3A+Top+Science+News%29&utm_content=FaceBook

See, https://drwilda.com/tag/stress/

Science Daily reported in Trauma from parents’ youth linked to poorer health, asthma in their own children:

Trauma experienced by a parent during childhood has long-reaching consequences — maybe even to the point of negatively impacting their own children’s health, a new Drexel University study found.
“It is well known that adverse childhood experiences can lead to serious and wide-ranging effects on the health of the people who go through them,” said Félice Lê-Scherban, PhD, the study’s lead researcher and an assistant professor in Drexel’s Dornsife School of Public Health. “A lot of these health problems — such as substance abuse, depression or chronic illnesses like cardiovascular disease — can affect how parents care for their kids and the environments where they grow up.”
“Adverse childhood experiences” are described as serious traumas or stress a person experiences during their formative years. This might include something like abuse or exposure to violence and/or drugs. The study, published in Pediatrics, looked into surveys taken by 350 Philadelphia parents who answered questions about their own “ACEs.”
It found that for every type of “ACE” a parent went through, their children had 19 percent higher odds of poorer health and 17 percent higher odds of having asthma.
“If we only look at the within-individual effects of ACEs, we may be underestimating their lasting impact on health across multiple generations,” Lê-Scherban said of the study team’s motivations. “Looking intergenerationally gives us a more comprehensive picture of the long-term processes that might affect children’s health.”
“By the same token, acting to prevent ACEs and helping those who have experienced them can potentially have benefits extending to future generations,” Lê-Scherban added.
Among the parents who were surveyed:
— Nearly 42 percent said they’d witnessed violence (seeing someone shot, stabbed or beaten) as a child
— 38 percent said they lived with a problem drinker or someone who used illicit drugs during their youth
— Roughly 37 percent said that they had been physically abused as children
While those were the most common ACEs, there were many others that received strong responses, including experiencing racial discrimination and sexual abuse.
Overall, 85 percent of parents experienced at least one ACE. The more ACEs a parent had suffered as a child, the more likely their own children were to have poorer health status.
One of the other areas that Lê-Scherban and her fellow researchers focused on was behavior in the survey respondents’ children that could have an impact on health. They found that each ACE a parent had experienced was tied to an additional 16 percent higher odds that their children would have excessive TV-watching habits. While not a direct health outcome, it sets up a child for potentially poorer health habits down the line.
And though ACEs are more prevalent in populations low on the socioeconomic scale, that doesn’t explain everything, Lê-Scherban said…. https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/06/180604172745.htm

Citation:

Trauma from parents’ youth linked to poorer health, asthma in their own children
Date: June 4, 2018
Source: Drexel University
Summary:
A new study found that for each type of adverse childhood experience a parent went through, their children had 19 percent higher odds of poorer health.
Journal Reference:
1. Félice Lê-Scherban, Xi Wang, Kathryn H. Boyle-Steed, Lee M. Pachter. Intergenerational Associations of Parent Adverse Childhood Experiences and Child Health Outcomes. Pediatrics, 2018; 141 (6): e20174274 DOI: 10.1542/peds.2017-4274

Here is the press release from Drexel University:

Trauma from Parents’ Youth Linked to Poorer Health, Asthma in Their Own Children
By: Frank Otto
June 4, 2018

Trauma experienced by a parent during childhood has long-reaching consequences — maybe even to the point of negatively impacting their own children’s health, a new Drexel University study found.
“It is well known that adverse childhood experiences can lead to serious and wide-ranging effects on the health of the people who go through them,” said Félice Lê-Scherban, PhD, the study’s lead researcher and an assistant professor in Drexel’s Dornsife School of Public Health. “A lot of these health problems — such as substance abuse, depression or chronic illnesses like cardiovascular disease — can affect how parents care for their kids and the environments where they grow up.”
“Adverse childhood experiences” are described as serious traumas or stress a person experiences during their formative years. This might include something like abuse or exposure to violence and/or drugs. The study, published in Pediatrics, looked into surveys taken by 350 Philadelphia parents who answered questions about their own “ACEs.”
It found that for every type of “ACE” a parent went through, their children had 19 percent higher odds of poorer health and 17 percent higher odds of having asthma.
“If we only look at the within-individual effects of ACEs, we may be underestimating their lasting impact on health across multiple generations,” said Lê-Scherban — who also serves as a researcher in her school’s Urban Health Collaborative — about the study team’s motivations. “Looking intergenerationally gives us a more comprehensive picture of the long-term processes that might affect children’s health.”
“By the same token, acting to prevent ACEs and helping those who have experienced them can potentially have benefits extending to future generations,” Lê-Scherban added.
Among the parents who were surveyed:
• Nearly 42 percent said they’d witnessed violence (seeing someone shot, stabbed or beaten) as a child
• 38 percent said they lived with a problem drinker or someone who used illicit drugs during their youth
• Roughly 37 percent said that they had been physically abused as children
While those were the most common ACEs, there were many others that received strong responses, including experiencing racial discrimination and sexual abuse.
Overall, 85 percent of parents experienced at least one ACE. The more ACEs a parent had suffered as a child, the more likely their own children were to have poorer health status.
One of the other areas that Lê-Scherban and her fellow researchers focused on was behavior in the survey respondents’ children that could have an impact on health. They found that each ACE a parent had experienced was tied to an additional 16 percent higher odds that their children would have excessive TV-watching habits. While not a direct health outcome, it sets up a child for potentially poorer health habits down the line.
And though ACEs are more prevalent in populations low on the socioeconomic scale, that doesn’t explain everything, Lê-Scherban said.
“It’s important to remember that ACEs, and their effects, occur across the socioeconomic spectrum,” Lê-Scherban commented.
While the links can’t be definitively established as causal yet, they suggest that it’s important to keep studying the multigenerational effects that trauma has on health, according to Lê-Scherban.
“We need to know more about the specific pathways through which parental ACEs might harm child health so we can minimize these harms,” she said. “On the flip side, it’s important to learn more about the factors that promote resilience to help parents and their children thrive despite past trauma.”
Those interested in reading the full study, “Intergenerational Associations of Parent Adverse Childhood Experiences and Child Health Outcomes,” can access it here.
Media Contact:
Frank Otto
fmo26@drexel.edu
215.571.4244

Here is information about the Adverse Child Experiences Study. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention provides access to the peer-reviewed publications resulting from The ACE Study. http://acestudy.org/
https://drwilda.com/2012/11/09/study-some-of-the-effects-of-adverse-stress-do-not-go-away/

Science Daily reported in Infantile memory study points to critical periods in early-life learning for brain development:

A new study on infantile memory formation in rats points to the importance of critical periods in early-life learning on functional development of the brain. The research, conducted by scientists at New York University’s Center for Neural Science, reveals the significance of learning experiences over the first two to four years of human life; this is when memories are believed to be quickly forgotten — a phenomenon known as infantile amnesia.
“What our findings tell us is that children’s brains need to get enough and healthy activation even before they enter pre-school,” explains Cristina Alberini, a professor in NYU’s Center for Neural Science, who led the study. “Without this, the neurological system runs the risk of not properly developing learning and memory functions…”
https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/07/160718111939.htm

Citation:

Infantile memory study points to critical periods in early-life learning for brain development
Date: July 18, 2016
Source: New York University
Summary:
A new study on infantile memory formation in rats points to the importance of critical periods in early-life learning on functional development of the brain. The research reveals the significance of learning experiences over the first two to four years of human life.
Journal Reference:
1. Alessio Travaglia, Reto Bisaz, Eric S Sweet, Robert D Blitzer, Cristina M Alberini. Infantile amnesia reflects a developmental critical period for hippocampal learning. Nature Neuroscience, 2016; DOI: 10.1038/nn.4348

Our goal as a society should be:
A healthy child in a healthy family who attends a healthy school in a healthy neighborhood ©

Resources:

The Effects of Stress on Your Body
http://www.webmd.com/mental-health/effects-of-stress-on-your-body

The Physical Effects of Long-Term Stress
http://psychcentral.com/lib/2007/the-physical-effects-of-long-term-stress/all/1/

Chronic Stress: The Body Connection
http://www.medicinenet.com/script/main/art.asp?articlekey=53737

Understanding Stress Symptoms, Signs, Causes, and Effects
http://www.helpguide.org/mental/stress_signs.htm

Dr. Wilda says this about that ©

Blogs by Dr. Wilda:

COMMENTS FROM AN OLD FART ©
http://drwildaoldfart.wordpress.com/

Dr. Wilda Reviews ©
http://drwildareviews.wordpress.com/

Dr. Wilda ©
https://drwilda.com/

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University of California, San Francisco study identifies most common reasons for children’s mental health hospitalizations

23 Mar

Moi wrote about troubled children in Schools have to deal with depressed and troubled children: Both the culture and the economy are experiencing turmoil. For some communities, the unsettled environment is a new phenomenon, for other communities, children have been stressed for generations. According to the article, Understanding Depression which was posted at the Kids Health site:

Depression is the most common mental health problem in the United States. Each year it affects 17 million people of all age groups, races, and economic backgrounds.
As many as 1 in every 33 children may have depression; in teens, that number may be as high as 1 in 8.
Schools are developing strategies to deal with troubled kids…. http://kidshealth.org/parent/emotions/feelings/understanding_depression.html

One strategy in helping children to succeed is to recognize and treat depression.

How Common Is Depression In Children?

According to Mary H. Sarafolean, PhD in the article, Depression In School Age Children and Adolescents

In general, depression affects a person’s physical, cognitive, emotional/affective, and motivational well-being, no matter their age. For example, a child with depression between the ages of 6 and 12 may exhibit fatigue, difficulty with schoolwork, apathy and/or a lack of motivation. An adolescent or teen may be oversleeping, socially isolated, acting out in self-destructive ways and/or have a sense of hopelessness.
Prevalence and Risk Factors
While only 2 percent of pre-teen school-age children and 3-5 percent of teenagers have clinical depression, it is the most common diagnosis of children in a clinical setting (40-50 percent of diagnoses). The lifetime risk of depression in females is 10-25 percent and in males, 5-12 percent. Children and teens who are considered at high risk for depression disorders include:
* children referred to a mental health provider for school problems
* children with medical problems
* gay and lesbian adolescents
* rural vs. urban adolescents
* incarcerated adolescents
* pregnant adolescents
* children with a family history of depression http://www.healthyplace.com/depression/children/recognizing-symptoms-of-depression-in-teens-and-children/

If you or your child has one or more of the risk factors and your child is exhibiting symptoms of prolonged sadness, it might be wise to have your child evaluated for depression.

How to Recognize Depression In Your Child?

MedNet has an excellent article about Depression In Children and how to recognize signs of depression in your child.
Signs and symptoms of depression in children include:

* Irritability or anger
* Continuous feelings of sadness, hopelessness
* Social withdrawal
* Increased sensitivity to rejection
* Changes in appetite — either increased or decreased
* Changes in sleep — sleeplessness or excessive sleep
* Vocal outbursts or crying
* Difficulty concentrating
* Fatigue and low energy
* Physical complaints (such as stomachaches, headaches) that do not respond to
treatment
* Reduced ability to function during events and activities at home or with friends, in school, extracurricular activities, and in other hobbies or interests
* Feelings of worthlessness or guilt
* Impaired thinking or concentration
* Thoughts of death or suicide
Not all children have all of these symptoms. In fact, most will display different symptoms at different times and in different settings. Although some children may continue to function reasonably well in structured environments, most kids with significant depression will suffer a noticeable change in social activities, loss of interest in school and poor academic performance, or a change in appearance. Children may also begin using drugs or alcohol,
especially if they are over the age of 12. http://www.onhealth.com/depression_in_children/article.htm

The best defense for parents is a good awareness of what is going on with their child. As a parent you need to know what is going on in your child’s world. https://drwilda.com/2011/11/15/schools-have-to-deal-with-depressed-and-troubled-children/

Science Daily reported in the article, Study identifies most common, costly reasons for mental health hospitalizations for kids:

Nearly one in 10 hospitalized children have a primary diagnosis of a mental health condition, and depression alone accounts for $1.33 billion in hospital charges annually, according to a new analysis led by UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital.
The study is the first to examine frequency and costs associated with specific inpatient mental health diagnoses for children, and is a step towards creating meaningful measures of the quality of pediatric hospital care.
“This is the first paper to give a clear picture of the mental health reasons kids are admitted to hospitals nationally,” said Naomi Bardach, MD, an assistant professor of pediatrics at UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital and lead author. “Mental health hospitalizations have been increasing in kids, up 24% from 2007-2010. Mental health is a priority topic for national quality measures, which are intended to help improve care for all kids.”
The study will be published in the April issue of the journal Pediatrics.
More than 14 million children and adolescents in the United States have a diagnosable mental health disorder, yet little is known about which specific mental health diagnoses are causing children to be hospitalized. In the study, researchers found that depression, bipolar disorder and psychosis are the most common and expensive primary diagnoses for pediatric admissions.
“We now know through our analysis of cost and frequency which diagnoses are the most relevant,” said Bardach. “Next, we need to define what the optimal care is for children with these conditions so that hospitals can consistently deliver the best care for every child, every time.”
Using two national databases — Kids’ Inpatient Database and Pediatric Health Information System — the researchers looked at all hospital discharges in 2009 for patients aged three to 20 years old to determine the frequency of hospitalizations for primary mental health diagnoses. They compared the mental health hospitalizations between free-standing children’s hospitals and hospitals that treat both adults and children, to assess if there was a difference in frequency of diagnoses.
The study found that hospitalizations for children with primary mental health diagnoses were more than three times more frequent at general hospitals than free standing children’s hospitals, which the researchers say could indicate that general hospitals have a greater capacity to deliver inpatient psychiatric care than free-standing children’s hospitals…. http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/03/140317084531.htm

Citation:

Study identifies most common, costly reasons for mental health hospitalization

Date: March 17, 2014

Source: University of California, San Francisco

Summary:
Nearly one in 10 hospitalized children have a primary diagnosis of a mental health condition, and depression alone accounts for $1.33 billion in hospital charges annually, according to a new analysis. The study is the first to examine frequency and costs associated with specific inpatient mental health diagnoses for children, and is a step towards creating meaningful measures of the quality of pediatric hospital care.
Journal Reference:
1.Naomi S. Bardach, Tumaini R. Coker, Bonnie T. Zima, J. Michael Murphy, Penelope Knapp, Laura P. Richardson, Glenace Edwall, and Rita Mangione-Smith. Common and Costly Hospitalizations for Pediatric Mental Health Disorders. Pediatrics, March 2014 DOI: 10.1542/peds.2013-3165

Here is the press release from the University of San Francisco:

Study Identifies Most Common, Costly Reasons for Mental Health Hospitalizations for Kids
By Juliana Bunim on March 13, 2014
Nearly one in 10 hospitalized children have a primary diagnosis of a mental health condition, and depression alone accounts for $1.33 billion in hospital charges annually, according to a new analysis led by UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital.
The study is the first to examine frequency and costs associated with specific inpatient mental health diagnoses for children, and is a step towards creating meaningful measures of the quality of pediatric hospital care.
“This is the first paper to give a clear picture of the mental health reasons kids are admitted to hospitals nationally,” said Naomi Bardach, MD, an assistant professor of pediatrics at UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital and lead author. “Mental health hospitalizations have been increasing in kids, up 24% from 2007-2010. Mental health is a priority topic for national quality measures, which are intended to help improve care for all kids.”
The study will be published in the April issue of the journal Pediatrics.
More than 4 million children and adolescents in the United States have a diagnosable mental health disorder, yet little is known about which specific mental health diagnoses are causing children to be hospitalized. In the study, researchers found that depression, bipolar disorder and psychosis are the most common and expensive primary diagnoses for pediatric admissions.
“We now know through our analysis of cost and frequency which diagnoses are the most relevant,” said Bardach. “Next, we need to define what the optimal care is for children with these conditions so that hospitals can consistently deliver the best care for every child, every time.”
Using two national databases – Kids’ Inpatient Database and Pediatric Health Information System – the researchers looked at all hospital discharges in 2009 for patients aged three to 20 years old to determine the frequency of hospitalizations for primary mental health diagnoses. They compared the mental health hospitalizations between free-standing children’s hospitals and hospitals that treat both adults and children, to assess if there was a difference in frequency of diagnoses.
The study found that hospitalizations for children with primary mental health diagnoses were more than three times more frequent at general hospitals than free standing children’s hospitals, which the researchers say could indicate that general hospitals have a greater capacity to deliver inpatient psychiatric care than free-standing children’s hospitals.
At both kinds of hospitals, the most common mental health diagnoses were similar (depression, bipolar disorder, and psychosis), which the researchers say supports the creation of diagnosis-specific quality measures for all hospitals that admit children.
Depression accounted for 44.1 percent of all pediatric primary mental health admissions, with charges of $1.33 billion dollars, based on the billing databases used in the study. Bipolar was the second most common diagnosis accounting for 18.1 percent and $702 million, followed by psychosis at 12.1 percent and $540 million.
“These are costly hospitalizations, and being hospitalized is a heavy burden for families and patients. Prevention and wellness is a huge part of the Affordable Care Act, along with controlling costs by delivering great care,” said Bardach. “This study helps us understand that mental health is a key priority. The long term goal is not only to improve hospital care for these kids, but also to understand how to effectively optimize mental health resources in the outpatient world.”
Co-authors include Tumaini Coker, MD, MBA and Bonnie Zima, MD, MPH, both of UCLA; J. Michael Murphy, EdD, Massachusetts General Hospital Boston; Penelope Knapp, MD, UC Davis; Laura Richardson, MD, MPH and Rita Mangione-Smith, MD, MPH, both of the University of Washington School of Medicine, Seattle; and Glenace Edwall, PsyD, PhD, MPP, Minnesota State Health Access Data Assistance Center.
The study was supported by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality and the National Institute for Children’s Health and Human Development.
UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital creates an environment where children and their families find compassionate care at the forefront of scientific discovery, with more than 150 experts in 50 medical specialties serving patients throughout Northern California and beyond. The hospital admits about 5,000 children each year, including 2,000 babies born in the hospital.

If you or your child needs help for depression or another illness, then go to a reputable medical provider. There is nothing wrong with taking the steps necessary to get well.

Related:

GAO report: Children’s mental health services are lacking
https://drwilda.com/2013/01/12/gao-report-childrens-mental-health-services-are-lacking/

Schools have to deal with depressed and troubled children:
https://drwilda.com/2011/11/15/schools-have-to-deal-with-depressed-and-troubled-children/

Where information leads to Hope. © Dr. Wilda.com

Dr. Wilda says this about that ©

Blogs by Dr. Wilda:

COMMENTS FROM AN OLD FART© http://drwildaoldfart.wordpress.com/

Dr. Wilda Reviews © http://drwildareviews.wordpress.com/

Dr. Wilda ©
https://drwilda.com/

Yale University study: Left-handed people more likely to have psychotic disorders such as schizophrenia

3 Nov

Science Daily reported in the article, Lefties More Likely to Have Psychotic Disorders Such as Schizophrenia:

Being left-handed has been linked to many mental disorders, but Yale researcher Jadon Webb and his colleagues have found that among those with mental illnesses, people with psychotic disorders like schizophrenia are much more likely to be left-handed than those with mood disorders like depression or bipolar syndrome. 1 The new study is published in the October-December 2013 issue of the journal SAGE Open. About 10% of the U.S. population is left-handed. When comparing all patients with mental disorders, the research team found that 11% of those diagnosed with mood disorders such as depression and bipolar disorder are left-handed, which is similar to the rate in the general population. But according to Webb, a child and adolescent psychiatry fellow at the Yale Child Study Center with a particular interest in biomarkers of psychosis, “a striking of 40% of those with schizophrenia or schizoaffective disorder are left-handed….” Webb and his colleagues studied 107 individuals from a public outpatient psychiatric clinic seeking treatment in an urban, low-income community. The research team determined the frequency of left-handedness within the group of patients identified with different types of mental disorders. The study showed that white patients with psychotic illness were more likely to be left-handed than black patients. “Even after controlling for this, however, a large difference between psychotic and mood disorder patients remained,” said Webb. What sets this study apart from other handedness research is the simplicity of the questionnaire and analysis, said Webb. Patients who were attending their usual check-ups at the mental health facility were simply asked “What hand do you write with?” “This told us much of what we needed to know in a very simple, practical way,” said Webb. “Doing a simple analysis meant that there were no obstacles to participating and we had a very high participation rate of 97%. Patients dealing with serious symptoms of psychosis might have had a harder time participating in a more complicated set of questions or tests. By keeping the survey simple, we were able to get an accurate snapshot of a hard-to-study subgroup of mentally ill people — those who are often poverty-stricken with very poor family and community support.” http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/10/131031125319.htm?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+sciencedaily+%28ScienceDaily%3A+Latest+Science+News%29

Citation:

Journal Reference:
1. J. R. Webb, M. I. Schroeder, C. Chee, D. Dial, R. Hana, H. Jefee, J. Mays, P. Molitor. Left-Handedness Among a Community Sample of Psychiatric Outpatients Suffering From Mood and Psychotic Disorders. SAGE Open, 2013; 3 (4) DOI: 10.1177/2158244013503166

Here is the Yale University press release:

By Karen N. Peart
October 31, 2013
Being left-handed has been linked to many mental disorders, but Yale researcher Jadon Webb and his colleagues have found that among those with mental illnesses, people with psychotic disorders like schizophrenia are much more likely to be left-handed than those with mood disorders like depression or bipolar syndrome.
The new study is published in the October-December 2013 issue of the journal SAGE Open. About 10% of the U.S. population is left-handed. When comparing all patients with mental disorders, the research team found that 11% of those diagnosed with mood disorders such as depression and bipolar disorder are left-handed, which is similar to the rate in the general population. But according to Webb, a child and adolescent psychiatry fellow at the Yale Child Study Center with a particular interest in biomarkers of psychosis, “a striking of 40% of those with schizophrenia or schizoaffective disorder are left-handed.”
“In general, people with psychosis are those who have lost touch with reality in some way, through hallucinations, delusions, or false beliefs, and it is notable that this symptom constellation seems to correlate with being left-handed,” said Webb. “Finding biomarkers such as this can hopefully enable us to identify and differentiate mental disorders earlier, and perhaps one day tailor treatment in more effective ways.” Webb and his colleagues studied 107 individuals from a public outpatient psychiatric clinic seeking treatment in an urban, low-income community. The research team determined the frequency of left-handedness within the group of patients identified with different types of mental disorders.
The study showed that white patients with psychotic illness were more likely to be left-handed than black patients. “Even after controlling for this, however, a large difference between psychotic and mood disorder patients remained,” said Webb. What sets this study apart from other handedness research is the simplicity of the questionnaire and analysis, said Webb. Patients who were attending their usual check-ups at the mental health facility were simply asked “What hand do you write with?” “This told us much of what we needed to know in a very simple, practical way,” said Webb. “Doing a simple analysis meant that there were no obstacles to participating and we had a very high participation rate of 97%.
Patients dealing with serious symptoms of psychosis might have had a harder time participating in a more complicated set of questions or tests. By keeping the survey simple, we were able to get an accurate snapshot of a hard-to-study subgroup of mentally ill people — those who are often poverty-stricken with very poor family and community support.”
Other authors on the study include Mary I. Schroeder, Christopher Chee, Deanna Dial, Rebecca Hana, Hussam Jefee, Jacob Mays, and Patrick Molitor. Citation: Sage Open vol. 3 no. 4 2158244013503166 (October-December 2013)

For interesting facts about left-handed people http://facts.randomhistory.com/facts-about-left-handedness.html

A 2011 Wall Street Journal article, The Health Risks of Being Left-Handed, highlighted some of the potential challenges faced by lefties:

On average there is no significant difference in IQ between righties and lefties, studies show, belying popular perceptions. There is some evidence that lefties are better at divergent thinking, or starting from existing knowledge to develop new concepts, which is considered an element of creativity. And left-handed people have salaries that on average are about 10% lower than righties, according to recent research performed at Harvard University that analyzed large income data bases, although findings of some earlier studies were mixed.
Left-handedness appears to be associated with a greater risk for a number of psychiatric and developmental disorders. While lefties make up about 10% of the overall population, about 20% of people with schizophrenia are lefties, for example. Links between left-handedness and dyslexia, ADHD and some mood disorders have also been reported in research studies. The reasons for this aren’t clear. Scientists speculate it could be related to a concept known as brain lateralization.
The brain has two halves. Each performs primarily separate, specialized functions, such as language processing, which mainly takes place in the left hemisphere. There is lots of communication between the hemispheres. Typically in right-handers, the brain’s left side is dominant. But this tendency doesn’t hold up with lefties, as scientists previously believed. Some 70% of lefties rely on the left hemisphere for their language centers, a key brain function, says Metten Somers, a psychiatrist and researcher who studies brain lateralization at Utrecht University Medical Center in the Netherlands. This doesn’t appear to present problems, scientists say. The other 30% of lefties appear to exhibit either a right-dominant or distributed pattern, Dr. Somers says. They may be more prone to impaired learning or functioning, and at greater risk for brain disorders, he says. Hemisphere dominance is typical and more efficient. Symmetry, in which neither side is dominant, is believed linked to disorders, researchers say. People with schizophrenia, for instance, exhibit more symmetrical activation of their brain hemispheres than those without the disorder, studies show.
In a 2008 study, Alina Rodriguez, a psychology professor at Mid Sweden University in Östersund who studies handedness, brain development and ADHD, found that left- or mixed-handedness in children was linked to a greater risk of difficulty with language as well as ADHD symptoms. In another study published last year in Pediatrics, involving nearly 8,000 Finnish children, Dr. Rodriguez found that mixed-handedness rather than left-handedness was linked to ADHD symptoms. And knowing that a child was mixed-handed and had ADHD symptoms at age 8 helped predict much more accurately than just knowing they had symptoms at that age whether the child would continue to have symptoms at age 16. (What happens when people are forced to switch from writing with their dominant hand to the other isn’t well known, experts say.) Research that suggests that there is a link between favoring the left hand and an increased risk of bipolar disorder and ADHD, among other conditions. Emily Nelson has details on Lunch Break.
One reason that not more is known about lefties is that many studies of how the brain works prohibit left-handers from participating because their brain wiring is known to be different, says Robin Nusslock, a psychology professor at Northwestern University in Evanston, Ill., who uses neuroimaging to study mood disorders.
Lefties have an advantage in sports such as tennis, fencing and baseball, when up against a righthanded competitor, but not in noninteractive sports such as gymnastics. A potential pathway between prenatal stress and brain wiring could be cortisol, the body’s main stress hormone, which can interfere with brain development, says Carsten Obel, a professor at the public-health department at Aarhus University in Denmark who has conducted research on the prenatal environment and risk of disease. Cortisol is able to pass over the placenta barrier to influence the baby.
Several studies show that stressful life events, such as the death of a loved one or job loss, during pregnancy increase the risk of having non-right-handed children. In one study of 834 Danish mothers and their 3-year-old children, Dr. Obel and his colleagues found that mothers who reported multiple stressful events during their third trimester of pregnancy and experienced distress were more than three times as likely to have a mixed-handed child, 17% compared with 5%, according to the 2003 paper published in Developmental Medicine & Child Neurology. Another large study followed 1,700 Swedish mothers and children until the kids were 5 years old. It found that mothers with depressive symptoms or who underwent stressful life events while pregnant were more likely to have left- or mixed-handed children. The work was published by Dr. Rodriguez and her colleagues in 2008 in the Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry. Experts suggest that left- and mixed-handedness could be used as a risk factor for possible psychiatric or developmental conditions, along with behavioral difficulties, such as having a hard time in school. The presence of such risk factors could prompt early evaluation for those conditions, they say. http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB10001424052970204083204577080562692452538

The best defense for parents is a good awareness of what is going on with their child. As a parent you need to know what is going on in your child’s world

Related:

GAO report: Children’s mental health services are lacking https://drwilda.com/2013/01/12/gao-report-childrens-mental-health-services-are-lacking/

Schools have to deal with depressed and troubled children: https://drwilda.com/2011/11/15/schools-have-to-deal-with-depressed-and-troubled-children/

Where information leads to Hope. © Dr. Wilda.com

Dr. Wilda says this about that ©

Blogs by Dr. Wilda:

COMMENTS FROM AN OLD FART©
http://drwildaoldfart.wordpress.com/

Dr. Wilda Reviews ©
http://drwildareviews.wordpress.com/

Dr. Wilda © https://drwilda.com/

States focus on chronic absenteeism

18 Sep

Moi wrote about school absenteeism In School Absenteeism: Absent from the classroom leads to absence from participation in this society:
Education is a partnership between the student, the teacher(s) and parent(s). All parties in the partnership must share the load. The student has to arrive at school ready to learn. The parent has to set boundaries, encourage, and provide support. Teachers must be knowledgeable in their subject area and proficient in transmitting that knowledge to students. All must participate and fulfill their role in the education process.
https://drwilda.wordpress.com/2012/02/01/school-absenteeism-absent-from-the-classroom-leads-to-absence-from-participation-in-this-society/

Adrienne Liu of Stateline reported in the article, States Tackle Chronic Absence in Schools:

According to Chang, at least eight states now use student data to examine chronic absence statewide: Connecticut, Georgia, Hawaii, Indiana, Maryland, Oregon, Rhode Island and Utah.
Chang said that states that investigate chronic absenteeism are often surprised at the extent of the problem.
According to a policy brief to be released Monday by Attendance Works:
• In Utah, 13.5 percent of students statewide were chronically absent, according to a 2012 analysis. Students who were chronically absent any year between eighth and twelfth grades were 7.4 times more likely to drop out of high school.
• In Oregon, more than 20 percent of students were chronically absent.
• In Indiana, chronic absence correlates to lower test scores and higher dropout rates for students at all income levels.
Among the states that are taking action to identify and address chronic absence:
• In California, State Superintendent of Instruction Tom Torlakson hosted a forum in May to encourage agencies to work together to fight chronic absence. Also this year, the state enacted a new school funding formula which will require every school district to monitor its chronic absence rate.
• In Hawaii, each school is required to set targets for reducing chronic absenteeism as part of its annual academic plans. The state has a data system, updated nightly, that can tell school officials which students have missed more than five percent of school days.
• In Maryland, which has tracked chronic absence longer than any other state, the public can view rates of chronic absence, average daily attendance and good attendance at every public school on the state’s report card web site. In the 2013 legislative session, lawmakers adopted a law requiring school districts to intervene when a student misses 10 percent or more of school days for unexcused reasons.
• Massachusetts and Virginia monitor chronic absence as part of their early warning systems, which track a variety of metrics and alert officials when a student might be at risk of not graduating.
In addition to the states mentioned above, Arkansas, Connecticut, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, New Jersey, New York, Oregon and Rhode Island are also cited in the study as taking steps to address chronic absence.
Individual school districts across the country also have tackled chronic absence, many quite successfully. In New York City, Mayor Michael Bloomberg convened an Interagency Task Force on Truancy, Chronic Absenteeism and School Engagement, which has launched a wide-ranging campaign to get children to school, including wake-up calls from celebrities, mentors to encourage and help students to attend school daily, and attendance meetings where teams of administrators and community partners work to boost attendance.
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/09/16/schools-chronic-absence_n_3937413.html?utm_hp_ref=@education123
See, Attendance Works http://www.attendanceworks.org/what-works/baltimore/

In Should we pay children to go to school? Moi said:
The disintegration of the family has profound implications for the education success of children.

Huffington Post is reporting in the article, Ohio High School Paying Students To Show Up, Behave In Class:
A Cincinnati high school is paying its students to go to school.

The Dohn Community High School, a charter school in Ohio, started a program this week that would pay seniors $25 weekly and underclassmen $10 weekly in Visa gift cards for showing up to class every day, being on time and behaving in school. The move aims to encourage students to stay in school and graduate from the school where 90 percent of its students live in poverty. Fewer than 20 percent are in two-parent households.
“Money is important to them,” school Chief Administrative Officer Ken Furrier told CBS Cleveland. “We can’t teach them if they’re not here.”
Every week a student is paid, an additional $5 goes into a savings account, payable upon graduation. The program is being funded by $40,000 from several areas, including private donors and federal Workforce Investment Act dollars funneled through the Easter Seals, a community-based health agency, KMSP-TV reports.
“The target is graduation,” Furrier told Reuters. “We do almost everything we can to get the kids to there.”
Critics say the school is rewarding students for basic things students should be doing already, but at Dohn, “they’re not doing it,” Principal Ramone Davenport told KMSP-TV. “We’ve tried everything else.”
Davenport tells the Associated Press that the program is already working and attendance is up. Dohn was designated by the Ohio Department of Education as an “academic emergency” last year, with just a 14 percent graduation rate during the 2010-2011 academic year.http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/02/15/ohio-high-school-paying-s_n_1280227.html?ref=email_share

This school is dealing with the reality of certain education settings because they have not absorbed from their upbringing the thought that education is crucial to later success in life. Further, these children often face emotional and economic challenges because of their family circumstance. In answer to whether children should be paid to come to school and achieve – for some children, this may be an option.https://drwilda.wordpress.com/2012/02/17/should-we-pay-children-to-go-to-school/

Related:

We give up as a society: Jailing parents because kids are truant
https://drwilda.wordpress.com/2011/12/18/we-give-up-as-a-society-jailing-parents-because-kids-are-truant/

Hard truths: The failure of the family
https://drwilda.wordpress.com/2011/11/06/hard-truths-the-failure-of-the-family/

Johns Hopkins University report about school absenteeism
https://drwilda.com/2012/05/17/johns-hopkins-university-report-about-school-absenteeism/

See:

Don’t skip: Schools waking up on absenteeism
http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/44704948/ns/today-education_nation/t/dont-skip-schools-waking-absenteeism/

School Absenteeism, Mental Health Problems Linked
http://psychcentral.com/news/2011/12/25/school-absenteeism-mental-health-problems-linked/32937.html

A National Portrait of Chronic Absenteeism in the Early Grades
http://www.nccp.org/publications/pub_771.html

Resources:
US Department Of Education Helping Series which are a number of pamphlets to help parents and caregivers
http://www2.ed.gov/parents/academic/help/hyc.html

How Parents Can Help Their Child Prepare for School Assignments
http://mathandreadinghelp.org/how_can_parents_help_their_child_prepare_for_school_assignments.html

Getting Young Children Ready to Learn
http://www.classbrain.com/artread/publish/article_37.shtml

Where information leads to Hope. © Dr. Wilda.com

Dr. Wilda says this about that ©

Blogs by Dr. Wilda:

COMMENTS FROM AN OLD FART©
http://drwildaoldfart.wordpress.com/

Dr. Wilda Reviews ©
http://drwildareviews.wordpress.com/

Dr. Wilda ©
https://drwilda.com/

GAO report: Children’s mental health services are lacking

12 Jan

Moi wrote about troubled children in Schools have to deal with depressed and troubled children:

Both the culture and the economy are experiencing turmoil. For some communities, the unsettled environment is a new phenomenon, for other communities, children have been stressed for generations. According to the article, Understanding Depression which was posted at the Kids Health site:

Depression is the most common mental health problem in the United States. Each year it affects 17 million people of all age groups, races, and economic backgrounds.

As many as 1 in every 33 children may have depression; in teens, that number may be as high as 1 in 8. http://kidshealth.org/parent/emotions/feelings/understanding_depression.html

Schools are developing strategies to deal with troubled kids….

One strategy in helping children to succeed is to recognize and treat depression.

How Common Is Depression In Children?      

According to Mary H. Sarafolean, PhD in the article, Depression In School Age Children and Adolescents

In general, depression affects a person’s physical,  cognitive, emotional/affective, and motivational well-being, no matter  their age. For example, a child with depression between the ages of 6 and 12 may exhibit fatigue, difficulty with schoolwork, apathy and/or a lack of motivation. An adolescent or teen may be oversleeping, socially isolated, acting out in self-destructive ways and/or have a sense of hopelessness.

Prevalence and Risk Factors

While only 2 percent of pre-teen school-age children and 3-5 percent of teenagers have clinical depression, it is the most common diagnosis of children in a clinical setting (40-50 percent of diagnoses). The lifetime risk  of depression in females is 10-25 percent and in males, 5-12 percent. Children and teens who are considered at high risk for depression disorders include:

* children referred to a mental health provider for school problems
* children with medical problems
* gay and lesbian adolescents
* rural vs. urban adolescents
* incarcerated adolescents
* pregnant adolescents
* children with a family history of depression    

If you or your child has one or more of the risk factors and your child is exhibiting symptoms of prolonged sadness, it might be wise to have your child evaluated for depression. 

How to Recognize Depression In Your Child?     

MedNet has an excellent article about Depression In Children and how to recognize signs of depression in your child.

Signs and symptoms of depression in children include:       

* Irritability or anger
* Continuous feelings of sadness, hopelessness
* Social withdrawal
* Increased sensitivity to rejection
* Changes in appetite — either increased or decreased
* Changes in sleep — sleeplessness or excessive sleep
* Vocal outbursts or crying
* Difficulty concentrating
* Fatigue and low energy
* Physical complaints (such as stomachaches, headaches) that do not respond to
treatment
* Reduced  ability to function during events and activities at home or with friends, in school, extracurricular activities, and in other hobbies or  interests

* Feelings of worthlessness or guilt
* Impaired thinking or concentration
* Thoughts of death or suicide        

Not all children have all of these symptoms. In fact, most will  display different symptoms at different times and in different settings.  Although some children may continue to function reasonably well in  structured environments, most kids with significant depression will  suffer a noticeable change in social activities, loss of interest in  school and poor academic performance, or a change in appearance.  Children may also begin using drugs or alcohol,
especially if they are  over the age of 12.

The best defense for parents is a good awareness of what is going on with their child. As a parent you need to know what is going on in your child’s world. https://drwilda.com/2011/11/15/schools-have-to-deal-with-depressed-and-troubled-children/

Joy Resmovits reported in the article, Mental Health Care For Kids Severely Lacking, Says GAO which was posted at Huffington Post:

“Most children whose emotions or behavior, as reported by their parent or guardian, indicated a potential need for a mental health service did not receive any services within the same year,” the GAO wrote.

The report comes after Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa), Rep. Rosa DeLauro (Conn.), and Rep. Lucille Roybal-Allard (Calif.) requested that the GAO look into how psychotropic drugs affect the long-term development of kids who grow up in foster care. While the report is very specific in its scope, it’s sure to be a relevant piece of evidence as the Obama administration formulates policy to deal with the ramifications of the Newtown, Conn. elementary school shooting. The shooting has sparked a nationwide debate on gun control, but it has also directed America’s attention to the state of its mental health care system.

Here are some findings:

  • On average, 6.2 percent of noninstitutionalized children in Medicaid and 4.8 percent of privately insured kids received psychotropic medications.

  • 30 percent of foster children who might have required mental health care didn’t receive them over the last year.

  • Most kids outside the foster care system whose behavior displayed red flags didn’t receive mental care services.

  • Many kids who got psychotropic medication didn’t get counseling or therapy to complete the care.

  • While the National Institutes of Health spent1.2 billion on children’s mental health care research between 2008 and 2011, most of the funding focused on research studying therapy, rather than the effects of such medication. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/joy-resmovits/mental-health-care-for-ki_b_2449205.html?utm_hp_ref=education

Here is the GAO press release:

What GAO Found

An annual average of 6.2 percent of noninstitutionalized children in Medicaid nationwide and 4.8 percent of privately insured children took one or more psychotropic medications, according to GAO’s analysis of 2007-2009 data from the Department of Health and Human Services’ (HHS) Medical Expenditure Panel Survey (MEPS). MEPS data also showed that children in Medicaid took antipsychotic medications (a type of psychotropic medication that can help some children but has a risk of serious side effects) at a relatively low rate–1.3 percent of children–but that the rate for children in Medicaid was over twice the rate for privately insured children, which was 0.5 percent. In addition, MEPS data showed that most children whose emotions or behavior, as reported by their parent or guardian, indicated a potential need for a mental health service did not receive any services within the same year. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) and many states have initiatives under way to help ensure that children receive appropriate mental health treatments. However, CMS’s ability to monitor children’s receipt of mental health services is limited because CMS does not collect information from states on whether children in Medicaid have received services for which they were referred. GAO recommended in 2011 that CMS identify options for collecting such data from state Medicaid programs. Findings in this report underscore the continued importance of CMS’s monitoring of children’s receipt of mental health services.

HHS’s Administration for Children and Families (ACF) reported that 18 percent of foster children were taking psychotropic medications at the time they were surveyed, although utilization varied widely by the child’s living arrangement. ACF also reported that 30 percent of foster children who may have needed mental health services did not receive them in the previous 12 months. HHS agencies are taking steps to promote appropriate mental health treatments for foster children, such as by sending information to states on psychotropic medication oversight practices.

HHS’s National Institutes of Health spent an estimated $1.2 billion on over 1,200 children’s mental health research projects during fiscal years 2008 through 2011. Most of the funding–$956 million–was awarded by the National Institute of Mental Health, with more research projects studying psychosocial therapies than psychotropic medications. Other HHS agencies spent about $16 million combined on children’s mental health research during this period.

HHS reviewed a draft of this report and provided technical comments, which GAO incorporated as appropriate.

Why GAO Did This Study

Experts have concerns that children with mental health conditions do not always receive appropriate treatment, including concerns about appropriate use of psychotropic medications (which affect mood, thought, or behavior) and about access to psychosocial therapies (sessions with a mental health provider). These concerns may be compounded for low-income children in Medicaid and children in foster care (most of whom are covered by Medicaid)–populations who may be at higher risk of mental health conditions. Within HHS, CMS oversees Medicaid, and ACF supports state child welfare agencies that coordinate health care for foster children.

GAO was asked to provide information on children’s mental health. This report examines (1) the use of psychotropic medications and other mental health services for children in Medicaid nationwide, and related CMS initiatives; (2) HHS information on the use of psychotropic medications and other mental health services for children in foster care nationwide, and related HHS initiatives; and (3) the amount HHS has invested in research on children’s mental health.

GAO analyzed data from HHS’s MEPS –a national household survey on use of medical services–from 2007 through 2009 for children covered by Medicaid and private insurance. GAO reviewed two recent ACF foster care reports with data from a national survey conducted during 2008 through 2011. GAO analyzed data from HHS agencies that conduct or fund research and interviewed HHS officials and children’s mental health providers, researchers, and advocates.

For more information, contact Katherine Iritani at (202) 512-7114 or iritanik@gao.gov.

Concerns Remain about Appropriate Services for Children in Medicaid and Foster Care GAO-13-15, Dec 10, 2012

If you or your child needs help for depression or another illness, then go to a reputable medical provider. There is nothing wrong with taking the steps necessary to get well.

Resources:

Counselors, School Support Staff Toil Amid Scant Resources http://www.edweek.org/ew/articles/2013/01/10/16staffing.h32.html?tkn=VPLFw6EYbOz23lTzoeSKlVNGV4SNwasebCry&cmp=clp-edweek&intc=EW-QC13-EWH

About.Com’s Depression In Young Children

  1. Psych Central’s Depression In Young Children
  2. Psychiatric News’ Study Helps Pinpoint Children With Depression
  3. Family Doctor’s What Is Depression?
  4. WebMD’s Depression In Children
  5. Healthline’s Is Your Child Depressed?
  6. Medicine.Net’s Depression In Children
Where information leads to Hope. ©                 Dr. Wilda.com

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School Absenteeism: Absent from the classroom leads to absence from participation in this society

1 Feb

Education is a partnership between the student, the teacher(s) and parent(s). All parties in the partnership must share the load. The student has to arrive at school ready to learn. The parent has to set boundaries, encourage, and provide support. Teachers must be knowledgeable in their subject area and proficient in transmitting that knowledge to students. All must participate and fulfill their role in the education process.

According to an article at ehow which summarizes both positive actions and concerns parents have when their child is starting kindergarten. Parents should consider the following six steps to prepare their child for the first day of school:

Step 1 – Visit the school

Many schools encourage the students as well as the parent to meet and greet the teachers. Not only does this ease your nerves, but it provides a familiar face for your child on the first day of school….

Step 2 – School supplies

My son likes nothing better then to pick and choose his own school supplies. Consider allowing your little scholar to share in the excitement by choosing his or her own items according to the school supplies. With so much to choose from, it’s a great opportunity to personalize items such as folders, pencils, backpacks, and pencil boxes with whatever your child is into…..

Step 3 – Organize

Organization is the key to success. Start to get in a routine that both you and your child can follow throughout the year. Set time aside for homework and play. If you pack a lunch, consider letting your child help you prepare a healthy selection. Most importantly, make sure your little scholar goes to bed on time….

Step 4 – Support

On the first day of school, don’t be afraid to give lots of hugs and kisses. Speak about the positives such as meeting new friends and learning new things.

Step 5 – Take a picture

It’s great to take a picture of your little scholar on the first day of school. Not only can you look back on this exciting occasion but you’ll be amazed how much they change by the end of the school year…..

Step 6 – A box full of memories

I have to give credit to my son’s kindergarten teacher for this project. First you’ll need a shoe box or a box with a lid. Throughout the year your child will bring home samples of writing, test, coloring pages, and all around knickknacks. Choose a couple of writing samples throughout the year, and place in the box. In addition, add something that your child was into. For instance, if he or she was into cars, place a hot wheel car in the box. Pictures say a thousand words. Place pictures of family and friends ….

The article also has some tips and warnings.·        

The key points to remember are:

1.  “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.”
—  Confucius

Your child is on a trip through the education establishment, which will take them through elementary school, middle school, high school and beyond. Just as you would plan and prepare for any trip you or your family will make, you must plan and prepare for your child’s education journey.

2. Children have different styles of communication and children in a family may each have their individual communication style. Whatever the style, parents or caretakers need to begin talking with the child, asking questions, and developing a rapport. This foundation of communication will prove useful as some kids go through a challenging period as tweens or teens. Use supportive communication when talking to your child.

3.   Become involved in your child’s life and interests, but don’t live your life through the life of your child. Set boundaries which will help your child to grow and eventually help them to make good choices. Too many parents think that being a parent means being a child’s friend. You are a parent, friendship quite often comes when the child is an adult and realizes how much you have invested in their life. At this point, they need the guidance of a parent.

Too many parents are not prepared to help their child have a successful education experience. Julia Steiny has an excellent article at Education News, Julia Steiny: Chronic Absenteeism Reveals and Causes Problems.

Hedy Chang, the Director of Attendance Works, says that Americans are perfectly aware that compulsory attendance at school is the law. They just don’t much care.

And no one teaches parents how to get 3 kids up, dressed, fed and out the door on time. It’s a feat. More challenging for some than others.

So Attendance Works’ mission is to help communities get their kids to school.

High absenteeism is a chronic problem that contributes to the more famous problems of low achievement and kids dropping out. Urban schools in particular are vilified for their poor academic performance, but they have limited control over whether or not the kids’ butts are in the seats. Yes, some instruction is deadly dull. But even schools with vibrant curricula, cool projects and caring adults can’t hang on to kids who have already disengaged from school, for whatever reason.

Chang’s research shows that kids start bunking school as early as 3rd and 4th grade….

She cites three big reasons for chronic absenteeism among little kids.

1. Discretion. School just isn’t all that important to some parents. School’s convenient when it’s convenient.

Chang shakes her head, “Many people don’t understand how you learn a language or reading. You can explain the consequences of missing school to parents, but often they say ‘Just give me the work.’ It’s hard to convey the richness of the classroom and the powers of peer learning.”

“Discretion” is a parent problem.

2. Aversion. This one’s mostly the fault of the school. Perhaps the classroom is chaotic and therefore scary or stressful. Or the teacher is a bully and yells a lot. Kids tend to bully each other anyway at times, so that can get out of hand. And now that we’ve starved kids of time for recess, physical activity and running off steam, an otherwise great group of kids is bound to let off steam, somehow, even during class time.

Little kids can’t bunk, but they do get daily tummy aches. Those are red flags of aversion.

3. Logistical Problems. These include kids’ health, parents’ health, transportation, and so forth.

For example, when the City of Baltimore reached out to their chronically absent kindergartners and first graders, they discovered that a third of them suffered from asthma.

Also, transportation is a nightmare for many families. Some have several kids in as many schools. Many families move a lot, mainly for reasons of poverty. Space permitting, districts often transfer these mobile kids to a school closer to the new apartment, but that’s no favor to the continuity of kids’ education or relationships with friends and adults. It’s great if he can be bused to the old school, but if he misses the bus, Mom might not have a car, or the time to transport the kid herself.

So these kids start their school career by losing ground.                       http://www.educationnews.org/education-policy-and-politics/julia-steiny-chronic-absenteeism-reveals-and-causes-problems/

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.

See:

Don’t skip: Schools waking up on absenteeism           http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/44704948/ns/today-education_nation/t/dont-skip-schools-waking-absenteeism/

School Absenteeism, Mental Health Problems Linked             http://psychcentral.com/news/2011/12/25/school-absenteeism-mental-health-problems-linked/32937.html

A National Portrait of Chronic Absenteeism in the Early Grades        http://www.nccp.org/publications/pub_771.html

Resources:

US Department Of Education Helping Series which are a number of pamphlets to help parents and caregivers

How Parents Can Help Their Child Prepare for School Assignments

The ABCs of Ready to Learn

Getting Young Children Ready to Learn

Ebony Magazine’s How to Prepare Your Child for Success

Dr. Wilda says this about that ©