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The Special Ed Epidemic: What Happens When They Age Out of School? Part 3 of 4.

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By Sheri A. Marino, MA, CCC-SLP, from WMP Partner: Focus for Health

WMP Note: In this 4-part series, World Mercury Project partner, Focus For Health,  examines the special needs epidemic and its effects on schools, the US economy, life after age 21 and the many theories that point to potential causes of the explosion of chronic disease and disability in our children.

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The explosion of special education needs in schools is a result of the significant rise in the prevalence of developmental disabilities, including autism and mental health disorders. With budget cuts forcing schools to eliminate programs and staff, schools are hard-pressed to address the many needs of classified students without having a negative impact on regular education students. These needs can only be met with adequate funding on federal, state and local levels in order for school districts to meet the requirements of Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA).

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If the prevalence of special needs and chronic health issues continues on its current trajectory, this system is sure to burst. And the financial needs of these individuals do not end when they receive a high school diploma or age out of the system at 21.

In Part 3, FFH looks deeply into the options for individuals who have aged out of IDEA, which only mandates services be provided until age 21. So what happens next?

Classified students are entitled to transition planning beginning by age 16 (in most states). Transition plans lay the foundation to prepare students for life beyond school, with goals that consider a student’s strengths, needs, and interests. For some, it will prepare them for employment and independent living, but for others, this will not be possible. For those young adults needing more support, federal and state-funded programs exist to assist with transportation, supportive employment arrangements, therapy services, and housing.

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On paper, it all sounds wonderful. In truth, funding shortages prohibit many from receiving the necessary supports they need, including appropriate housing.  And equally disheartening, people with disabilities are 50% less likely to be employed.

EMPLOYMENT

In May, 2017, The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported only 27% of 25-64 year olds with disabilities, compared to 77% of those without, were employed. Even more disturbing, 70% of those with disabilities were not in the labor force (actively seeking employment) at all, compared to 19% of those without a disability. The data also reflected a generally lower level of employment for persons with disabilities within each level of educational attainment. Over 14 million individuals between 25-64 years of age reported at least one disability in 2015. Who pays for the unemployed? The US government.

Individuals with disabilities who want to work are entitled to supported employment services to help find and sustain a job. These services are determined by the individual’s strengths and deficits and can help with resume writing, interview preparation, and on-site job coaching. Who pays for this? The US government.

In 2012, The Bureau of Labor Statistics showed half of all persons with a disability who were not working reported some type of barrier to employment.  Reported barriers included lack of education or training, lack of transportation, the need for special features at the job, and a person’s own disability. Over half of individuals with a disability who were employed reported having some difficulty completing their work duties because of their disability. The National Longitudinal Transition Study (NLTS 2012) released data showing only 58% of young adults ages 20-25 with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) who had been in special education in secondary school had ever worked during their early 20’s; 63.9% received Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits; and less than 1 in 5 had ever lived independently away from their parents and without supervision.

WHERE HAVE ALL THE BOYS GONE?

The National Academy of Social Insurance data shows in 1982, around 1.9% of working-age men were receiving disability benefits. By 2012, that number had risen to 3.1%. Historically, the workforce as well as college enrollment had been dominated by men. Numerous studies show this gap has closed, in fact, according to data in a Wayward Sons report; women born in 1975 were 17% more likely to attend college and 23% more likely to complete a 4-year degree as compared to their male counterparts.

Perhaps one of the most influential businessmen of all time, Jamie Dimon, CEO, JP Morgan Chase & Co, was recently interviewed by MarketWatch regarding the shortage of men in the workplace today. Referring to The Bureau of Labor Statistics report showing the share of men ages 25-54 considered to be part of the labor force had declined from 97% to 88% in just a half a century, Dimon commented, “That’s not demographics, folks. That’s a huge number. There’s something wrong.” According to the Wayward Sons authors “simple shifts in occupational structure are insufficient to explain the puzzle of declining real wages of non-college males in the U.S. during the last three decades. In reality, there is no single, widely accepted explanation for this phenomenon.”

What Jamie Dimon and the authors of the Wayward Sons report might not know are the studies showing that autism is nearly 5 times more prevalent in boys than girls. In fact, the recently released data in the National Health Interview Survey shows during 2014–2016, the prevalence of children diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder was higher among boys than girls by 2.38%. Moreover, the NLTS 2012 study showed youth with ASD, when compared to students receiving special education services, were 84% more likely to be male.

Could the millions of men missing from the labor force over the past 50 years also be related to the prevalence of autism increasing from 1 in 10,000 to 1 in 36?

A recent article by World Mercury Project reveals how bioaccumulation of neurotoxic chemicals may disproportionately affect males leading to the neurodevelopmental disorders such as autism, ADHD, obsessive-compulsive and motor tic disorders.  Check it out here: What are Little Boys Made of? Too Many Chemicals! 

HOUSING

Housing options for individuals with developmental disabilities (I/DD) are varied and determined by level of assistance needed, affordability, and availability.

So why is there a national housing crisis for people with disabilities?

Firstly, the affordability gap prohibits many individuals with I/DD from owning or renting a home. In 2016, there were approximately 4.9 million non-institutionalized Americans with disabilities relying on Social Security Income (SSI) averaging $763 per month. With the average rent for a one-bedroom apartment costing $861 per month, people who rely solely on SSI can’t afford a home without assistance. According to a 2016 report by The Technical Assistance Collaborative and The Consortium for Citizens with Disabilities, in four states — New Hampshire, New Jersey, Rhode Island, and Vermont — and the District of Columbia, one-bedroom rents exceeded 100% of SSI in every single housing market area. Over 163,000 people with disabilities receiving SSI lived in these areas.

Various rental assistance vouchers are available for eligible persons to limit rental expenses to 30% of his/her income. Who subsidizes the other 70 percent? The US government.

Consequently, when funding shortages or budget cuts decrease the availability of voucher assistance, the individual is placed on a waiting list. Currently, in New Jersey, over 4,500 individuals with special needs are on the Division of Developmental Disabilities’ (DDD) housing waiting list.

The Division of Developmental Disabilities within the Department of Human Services is the primary agency providing support services allowing individuals with disabilities to strive to find living arrangements that encourage independence and community living. Medicaid, a jointly funded federal and state government social health care program for individuals and families with low income, provides funding through the Medicaid Community Supports Waiver or the Supports Program. These Medicaid waivers provide funding for support services for eligible individuals so they can remain in their family home, live in residential settings such as licensed community residences, live in independent homes, or supervised apartments. However, services are only offered when the resources are available, and to no surprise, most waivers have a waiting list. And, to the dismay of many, this push to enforce community living prohibits housing units being dedicated to those solely with developmental disabilities where individuals with similar needs can live together and receive necessary supports because it is not considered to be inclusive.

“Disability causes and prolongs homelessness. Nearly 16% of the non-institutionalized U.S. population is disabled, yet people with disabilities constitute over 40% of people who are homeless in America.” National Health Care for the Homeless Council

According to the ARC for People with Developmental and Intellectual Disabilities, over 850,000 people in the US with I/DD live with an aging caregiver (age 60 and older). Due to the shortage of housing and support services, many adult children with I/DD are at risk of institutionalization or homelessness when their aging parents can no longer care for them. The financial burden of institutionalization at the cost of $187-$2,715 per person per day, and 350,923 homeless individuals also falls upon the US government.

THE TRANSITION CLIFF DIVE

Autism rates are up 23% since 2014, according to the latest statistics published in the National Health Institute Survey. Mental health disorders, autism, and chronic health issues are depleting school budgets nationwide. With IDEA not being fully funded, covering only 16%, of the 40% maximum federal contribution of the state average per pupil expenditure in 2014, states and local school districts are forced to make up the difference. If IDEA was fully funded in 2014, the costs would have amounted to $28.65 billion which is nearly $17 billion more than what the feds actually contributed towards IDEA. With only 36% of youth with ASD having participated in postsecondary education between high school and their early 20’s, meaningful and gainful employment is limited. For those unable to work, day programs have waiting lists and housing shortages  are forcing aging parents to care for their adult children.

What will happen when those parents are gone? The lifelong financial burdens of those with disabilities on their families and every citizen in the US, is leading to a definitive public health crisis. It is not a question of “how,” but “when.”

REFERENCES
  1. http://www.state.nj.us/humanservices/ddd/services/residential//
  2. http://www.philly.com/philly/news/new_jersey/For-thousands-in-NJ-with-special-needs-wait-for-housing-can-be-endless.html//
  3. http://www.nj.com/opinion/index.ssf/2017/03/people_with_disabilities_shouldnt_have_to_leave_to.html//
  4. https://www.understood.org/en/school-learning/special-services/ieps/iep-transition-planning-preparing-for-young-adulthood//
  5. https://www.ada.gov/cguide.htm#anchor62335//
  6. https://www.americanprogress.org/issues/economy/news/2017/05/23/432851/trump-budgets-attack-people-disabilities/
  7. http://time.com/4788759/trump-budget-disability//
  8. http://time.com/money/2793944/paying-for-my-special-needs-child//
  9. http://www.nj.gov/humanservices/ddd/documents/autism-navigating-the-maze.pdf//
  10. http://www.state.nj.us/humanservices/dds/documents/NJDiscoverBility(1).pdf/
  11. http://www.edcentral.org/edcyclopedia/individuals-with-disabilities-education-act-funding-distribution//
  12. http://www.state.nj.us/humanservices/dds/documents/NJDiscoverBility(1).pdf//
  13. http://www.tacinc.org/knowledge-resources/priced-out-v2//
  14. http://www.tacinc.org/media/59489/priced-out-fact-sheet.pdf//
  15. http://www.thearc.org/what-we-do/public-policy/policy-issues/housing//
  16. http://money.cnn.com/2013/06/19/news/economy/men-workforce/index.html/
  17. http://www.foxbusiness.com/markets/2017/06/07/jamie-dimon-on-americas-big-problem-millions-men-missing-from-labor-market.html//
  18. http://www.nationalcoreindicators.org/upload/core-indicators/Data_brief_-_types_of_employment_FINAL_101512.pdf//
  19. https://www.bls.gov/news.release/archives/dissup_04242013.pdf//
  20. https://ps.psychiatryonline.org/doi/full/10.1176/ps.2006.57.10.1391//
  21. https://economics.mit.edu/files/8754//
  22. https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/products/databriefs/db291.htm//
  23. http://www.nhchc.org/wp-content/uploads/2011/09/disability2011_-final.pdf/

This concludes Part Three, “What Happens When They Age Out of School?” Part Two: “The Special Ed Epidemic: Burying Our Heads and Crippling Our Economy” examines the financial burdens, especially the responsibility on school districts to accommodate the ever-growing and expanding nature of the special needs population. Part One, “The Special Ed Epidemic: What is Happening to Our Children?” discusses how public schools, with limited resources, are dealing with an epidemic of children with various special needs and asks why more isn’t being done to address the causes for the epidemics.  Part Four will explore the many theories behind the genetic and environmental influences that may be contributing to the rise in childhood chronic illnesses and neurodevelopmental disabilities.

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Attention Readers: We’ve Moved Our Journalism To The Pulse

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Take a moment and breathe. Place your hand over your chest area, near your heart. Breathe slowly into the area for about a minute, focusing on a sense of ease entering your mind and body. Click here to learn why we suggest this.

A large portion of our journalism that you’re used to seeing on our Collective Evolution platform has now moved over to The Pulse. We will be publishing most of our news articles there, while Collective Evolution focuses more on personal development.

You can follow The Pulse on Telegram, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.  

We’ve done this for a number of reasons, mainly due to the struggles we’ve had with regards to extreme censorship at Collective Evolution. We hope you join us over at The Pulse in our quest to keep doing what we do!

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Abductions & Car Vandalism – Startling Australian UFO Report Unclassified

Gautam Peddada

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Take a moment and breathe. Place your hand over your chest area, near your heart. Breathe slowly into the area for about a minute, focusing on a sense of ease entering your mind and body. Click here to learn why we suggest this.

An uncovered Australian report performed by their Department of Defence. “Scientific Intelligence — General — Unidentified Flying Objects” is trending again. Those who have done extensive research on UFOs will find the Australian version of disclosure to be far more intellectually honest than the American version. Albeit it was conducted decades ago.

According to ex-US intelligence official Luis Elizondo, the Defense Department’s Inspector General is presently conducting three reviews. The inquiries vary from the Department of Defense’s handling of UFO claims to Elizondo’s alleged whistleblower retribution. The open IG cases are crucial to Australia’s report because they establish beyond a shadow of a doubt that the US Department of Defense is being dishonest and shady when it comes to the UFO subject. For decades, Australia has been a loyal friend of the United States. Within Australia’s boundaries, they share a military installation (Pine Gap). When a close defense ally’s intelligence agencies determined that the US was not being intellectually honest in its approach, perhaps it is reasonable to conclude that there is more to the tale than the 144 incidents studied since 2004 by the UAPTF.

The CIA became alarmed at the overloading of military communications during the mass sightings of 1952 and considered the possibility that the USSR may take advantage of such a situation.

Australian UFO study.

According to the summary, OSI, acting through the Robertson-Panel, encouraged the USAF to use Project Blue Book to publicly “debunk” UFOs. In a tragic twist of fate, when Australian authorities sought explanations from the US Air Force, the allegation was debunked. The authors of the study were depicted as conspiratorial and even crazy by the US Air Force. Ross Coulthart reported this, and it may be heard in a recent Project Unity interview. Courthart is an award-winning investigative journalist who is drawn to forbidden subjects. He also stated on the same podcast that a senior US Navy official identified as Nat Kobitz told him that the US had been in the midst of reverse-engineering numerous non-human craft. According to his obituary, Mr. Kobitz was a former Director of Research and Development at Naval Sea Systems Command.

Continue reading the entire article at The Pulse. 

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PGA Tour To End COVID Testing For Both Vaccinated & Non-Vaccinated Players

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In Brief

  • The Facts:

    The PGA Tour has announced that it will stop testing players every week, regardless of whether they have been vaccinated or not.

  • Reflect On:

    Are PCR tests appropriate to identify infectious people? Should people who are healthy and not sick be tested at all, anywhere?

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Take a moment and breathe. Place your hand over your chest area, near your heart. Breathe slowly into the area for about a minute, focusing on a sense of ease entering your mind and body. Click here to learn why we suggest this.

The picture you see above is of John Rahm, a professional golfer on the PGA tour being carted off the golf course after tournament officials told him he had COVID. He was healthy and had no symptoms, yet was forced to withdraw from the tournament. He was told in front of the camera’s, and a big scene was made out of the event. You would think something like that, especially when you are a big time sports figure, would be done behind closed doors with some privacy.

Earlier on in June a spokesperson for the PGA Tour said that more than 50 percent of players on the PGA tour have been vaccinated. Although it seems that the majority of players on the tour will be fully vaccinated judging by this statement, it does leave a fairly large minority who won’t be, and that’s something we’re seeing across the globe as COVID vaccine hesitancy remains high for multiple reasons.

We are pleased to announce, after consultation with PGA Tour medical advisors, that due to the high rate of vaccination among all constituents on the PGA Tour, as well as other positively trending factors across the country, testing for COVID-19 will no longer be required as a condition of competition beginning with the 3M Open. – PGA tour Senior VP Tyler Dennis

The tour recently announced that the testing of players every week will stop starting in July for both the vaccinated and the unvaccinated. This was an unexpected announcement given the fact that, at least it seems in some countries, vaccinated individuals will enjoy previous rights and freedoms that everyone did before the pandemic. Travelling without need to quarantine and possibly in the future not having to be tested could be a few of those privileges. Others may include attending concerts, sporting events, or perhaps even keeping their job depending on whether or not their employer deems it to be mandatory, if that’s even legally possible. We will see what happens.

Luckily for professional golfers, regardless of their vaccination status they won’t have to worry about testing positive for COVID, especially if they’re not sick. This is the appropriate move by the PGA tour, who is represented by their players and it’s a move that the players themselves may have had a say in. It’s important because PCR tests are not designed nor are they appropriate for identifying infectious people. A number of scientists have been emphasizing this since the beginning of the pandemic. More recently, a letter to the editor published in the Journal of infection explain why more than half of al “positive” PCR tests are likely to have been people who are not infectious, otherwise known as “false positives.”

This is why the Swedish Public Health agency has a notice on their website explaining how and why polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests are not useful for determining if someone is infected with COVID or if someone can transmit it to others, and it’s better to use someone who is actually showing symptoms as a judgement call of whether or not they could be infected or free from infection.

PCR tests using a high cycle threshold are extremely sensitive. An article published in the journal Clinical Infectious Diseases found that among positive PCR samples with a cycle count over 35, only 3 percent of the samples showed viral replication. This can be interpreted as, if someone tests positive via PCR when a Ct of 35 or higher is used, the probability that said person is actually infected is less than 3%, and the probability that said result is a false positive is 97 percent. This begs the question, why has Manitoba, Canada, for example, using cycle thresholds of up to 45 to identify “positive” people?

When it comes to golf, the fact that spread occurring in an outdoor setting is highly unlikely could have been a factor, but it’s also important to mention that asymptomatic spread within one’s own household is also considerably rare. It really makes you wonder what’s going on here, doesn’t it?

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