If you have a child with a disability, you have probably become very familiar with navigating and supporting their health care needs over the years. However, once your child turns 18, health laws turn much of the responsibility of that care over to your child. Youth with intellectual and developmental disabilities often face a variety of barriers in accessing and managing their health care when they reach adulthood. The Autistic Self Advocacy Network (ASAN) has created a comprehensive toolkit called Transition to Adulthood: A Health Care Guide for Youth and Families.
The toolkit does not focus just on those young adults on the autism spectrum, and many of the tools in the kit are of use to any family. The toolkit provides information on:
- How to choose a source of health care coverage
- How to create a health care support network
- How to integrate health care transition goals into individual educational plans (IEPs), beginning in middle or high school
- How to manage their own health care
The toolkit also provides guides and worksheets for keeping track of health care records, making doctor’s appointments, and talking to doctors about health concerns. Health care services and supports are often plentiful for children, but lacking for adults. Use the toolkit to help prepare your child for managing with their health care needs in adulthood.
If your child has food allergies, it is important to form a partnership with your child’s school to support them. Kids with Food Allergies (KFA), a division of the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, has ten tips to help parents prepare for the school year with their child with food allergies.
- Communicate with the school.
- Visit your child’s doctor before school starts to get needed forms and supplies.
- Meet with the school nurse or school representative before school starts about policies and procedures.
- Meet with the school/district food services director to learn about meals, policies, and needed forms.
- Turn in all completed and signed forms and prescriptions before the first day of school.
- Make an appointment to meet with your child’s teacher to discuss classroom management of food allergies.
- Teach and encourage your child to build age-appropriate skills to manage food allergies.
- Make sure your child has other items they may need to store at school.
- Work together to form a partnership with your child’s school
- VisitKFA’s School Planning Zonefor additional information on managing food allergies at school.
Read the full article for additional informationon the tips above to ensure your child has a safe and successful year at school. The article also has a free printable and sharable PDF guide with these ten tips.
As parents, we’re constantly on the lookout for our children’s health and safety. But what if something should happen to you or happen when you are not around. Do your children know how and when to use 911? An article from Kids Health, available in both Englishand Spanish, walks you through the process.
The article covers four critical areas:
- How to talk to your kids about 911 in an age-appropriate way.
- When to call 911, including when notto call.
- What to say when you call 911.
- Additional safety tips.
The article also features an emergency contact sheetthat you can fill out with information your kids can use should they have to call 911 or that may help first responders (e.g., an emergency contact). This sheet can also come in handy for a babysitter as well. Be sure to read the full article, and then talk with your children to make sure they are prepared.
Photo © 2011 by Pranav Bhattunder Creative Commons license.
At the 2018 National PTA Convention in New Orleans, delegates adopted one new resolution and amended another existing resolution. The first resolution addresses students with disabilities, while the second focuses on mental health programs and services. The links to the resolutions here are to the proposed text and amendments, which were only slightly modified by the convention delegates. The final text of the resolutions will be posted on the National PTA Resolutions pagein the near future.
Resolution on High Expectations for Students with Disabilities
As the new resolution on high expectations for students with disabilitiesnotes, more than half of all students with disabilities spend at least 80% of their school day in general education classes. These students need both quality general education instruction and targeted interventions and accommodations. For students with disabilities, time in general education classes lead to fewer absences, less disruptive behavior, and better outcomes after high school, as well as new learning opportunities for students without disabilities.
Yet for students with disabilities, there continues to be a gap between the achievement of these students and those without disabilities. Research has shown that teacher expectations for students with disabilities, parental expectations for their children’s academic achievement, and students’ own mindsets all play key roles in their success.
The resolution directs National PTA and all PTAs under it (including local PTAs) to:
- Collaborate with school communities to include students with disabilities and their families in all school activities.
- Support peer mentoring, collaborative problem solving, cooperative working groups, and more casual or unstructured interactions between student with disabilities and those without disabilities.
- Include a relevant general educator present at Individualized Education Program (IEP) meetings.
- Support funding for teacher professional development regarding adapting instruction to meet the needs of students with disabilities, accommodations that improve access to the general curriculum, and high expectations for all students regarding both academics and behavior.
- Support implementation of best practices to meet the needs of diverse students, including Universal Design for Learning (UDL), inclusion, Multi-Tiered System of Supports (MTSS), and Response to Intervention (RTI).
- Support students with disabilities access to accommodations, including assistive technology.
Amended Resolution on Children’s Emotional Health and Mental Health Awareness
The convention delegates amended the 1969 resolution on Children’s Emotional Health to address mental health issues as well. The amended resolution notes that mental health issues in children have increased in recent years, with 20% of youth ages 13 to 18 living with a mental health condition. Furthermore, 79% of students ages 6 to 17 with mental health disorders do not receive mental health care. The average delay between the onset of symptoms and the beginning of treatment for these children is 8 to 10 years.
The amended resolution calls on National PTA and its constituent associations to:
- Support efforts to establish comprehensive community mental health providers that offer preventative and treatment services to children and adults, as well as comprehensive school mental health programs that include adequate access to school psychologies, school counselors, and school social workers.
- Advocate for teacher and administrator training to improve the understanding of child emotional and mental health needs, with an emphasis on the importance of establishing a school climate conducive to good mental health.
- Promote education programs for parents and families to strengthen understanding and supportive home environments.
- Support efforts to provide education and other supports for school staff and professional development to assist with addressing and early detection of mental health issues.