Taking on Bullying
Bullying is a problem for many students, but especially those with disabilities. A recent Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine
study found that while the rate of bullying for typically developing students is 1 in 10, roughly 50% of adolescents with autism, intellectual disability, speech impairments and learning disabilities are bullied at school. Teens with the least social skills are the most likely to be bullied, and students with disabilities also face a higher risk of bullying in mainstream classrooms. The researchers conclude that schools must do more to promote an accepting environment. Read an abstract of the article here
; for a news summary, click here
On a related topic, a 2011 survey found that 16% of New York high school students had experienced cyberbullying in the past year. This summer, Governor Cuomo signed legislation to crack down on students who bully other kids online. The new law covers any act of cyberbullying – on or off campus – if it causes “substantial risk to the school environment, substantially interferes with a student’s educational performance or... well-being, or causes a student to fear for his or her physical safety.” As of July 1, 2013, school employees who learn of online harassment will be required to notify administrators within one day and file a written report within two days. Schools must also train staff and set up ways for parents and students to report bullying. The law stops short of making cyberbullying a crime in New York, but it does entail “coordination with police when appropriate.” Read the Governor’s press release here
Weathering the Storm
It’s the height of hurricane season, and there is a lot of weather information in the news that can scare kids. Because all children, especially those with special needs, may have difficulty understanding and coping with this information, it is important to help them prepare ahead of time. September is National Preparedness Month, an annual campaign to encourage all Americans to prepare for any type of emergency, from natural disasters to flu outbreaks. Planning ahead will make life a lot easier for all children and their families, and these links can help.
• US Department of Health and Human Resources
• National Preparedness Month Coalition
• US Department of Homeland Security
• Children’s Hospital of The King’s Daughters of Norfolk Virginia
• Florida Department of Health
New Regulations for Bath Salts and Synthetic Drugs
Dovetailing with a recent federal law, Governor Cuomo and the NYS Department of Health have announced new regulations to combat the growing problem of so-called “bath salts” and other synthetic drugs. These drugs are marketed to youth as “legal alternatives to marijuana” with appealing names like Tranquility, Vanilla Sky and Spice. The names change frequently to avoid detection by law enforcement. But, like cocaine and amphetamines, they can cause many ill effects, including elevated blood pressure, chest pain, paranoia, delusion, violent behavior and suicidal thoughts. Poison control center calls related to synthetic marijuana have skyrocketed from 20 in 2010 to over 300 in the first half of 2012. Anyone with information about illegal distribution of bath salts or synthetic drugs is encouraged to call a new toll-free hotline, 1-888-99SALTS (1-888-997-2587).
For more information click here
What is Food Day?Food Day
is a nationwide celebration of the movement toward more healthy, affordable, and sustainable food that culminates in a day of action on October 24. Created by the nonprofit Center for Science in the Public Interest, Food Day aims to bring us closer to a food system with “real food” that is produced with care for the environment, animals, and the women and men who grow, harvest and serve it.
Calculating the Cost of College
College applicants often focus more on where they want to get their degree than the specifics of how they will pay for it: better to know which colleges have accepted you and how much financial aid they offer before worrying about whether and how much you need to borrow. With record levels of college debt, however, students and their families are now advised to learn as much as possible about forms of college aid and to use that knowledge as they research colleges and file applications.
On July 1, 2012, significant revisions to federal college aid programs went into effect. The document, A Consumer’s Guide to July 1, 2012
, explains these revisions, including changes in Pell Grant eligibility and in new federal student loans. Find a concise overview of the terms for federal student and parent loans in 2012-13, including interest rates and loan limits, here
. For more information on student aid, consult the US Department of Education
Although aimed at current college students, Top Ten Student Loan Tips
is a great resource for understanding the implications of taking out college loans.