Congratulations are in order!
Parents' Place of Maryland (PPMD) is celebrating its 20th anniversary and we extend our warmest wishes to them. Thanks to training programs offered through PPMD, families are more knowledgeable about special education laws and can become better advocates for their children. We are grateful to them for all they do.
The Maryland School Psychologists' Association (MSPA) is celebrating its 50th anniversary. Much has changed in 50 years, most notably passage of the special education law, which opened school doors for children with disabilities. The role of the school psychologist is critical when it comes to identification of children with an emotional disability and to developing behavior supports to help our children succeed in school. We congratulate MSPA on this milestone and thank them for their dedication to helping our children.
Last but not least, the Innovations Institute at the University of Maryland is celebrating its 5th anniversary. You may not have heard about the Innovations Institute, but in a very short period of time, it has had a dramatic impact on services for children with mental health and behavioral needs. It has been instrumental in securing many large grants for the state. Housed at the School of Medicine, the Innovations Institute is a training center for the Governor's Office for Children, the Department of Juvenile Services and the Mental Hygiene Administration. Innovations has been a strong force in ensuring families are at the center of the system of care for children at the local and state levels.
Congrats and thanks to all.
- Jane A. Walker
Take the Pledge!
The Maryland State Department of Education is celebrating Eunice Kennedy Shriver Day on Sept. 25. Please join MSDE in taking the R-Word Pledge.
The goal is to get people to stop and think about the hurtful and disparaging use of the word "retard" and pledge to stop using it. Spread the word to end the word.
Click here for a link to the MSDE pledge page.
Family Leadership Institute 2011
Applications for the 2011 Family Leadership Institute will be available online Oct. 1, 2010, at www.mdcoalition.org. This institute is a series of six weekend training programs designed to inform and inspire caregivers and family members of children with mental health and behavioral issues to better advocate for their child and for all children with intensive needs. Families have the opportunity to meet top-level agency policymakers and administrators in mental health, special education, juvenile services and child welfare. Other guest speakers include lobbyists, advocates, child psychiatrists and neuropsychologists. Family members will develop a strong network of families throughout the state as well as a list of contacts within state agencies.
Sessions are scheduled for Feb. 2526, March 5, 1112, 2526, April 89 and 2930. For more information, contact Carol S. Allenza, FLI coordinator, at 410.730.8267 or MDFLI@mdcoalition.org.
MSDE Bulletin Covers New 'Five-Day Rule' for Documents
The Maryland State Department of Education (MSDE) has released its technical assistance bulletin covering the implementation of S.B. 540 and H.B. 269, which were signed into law last spring.
The law, which took effect July 1, covers the provision of accessible copies of documents- assessments, reports, data charts, draft IEPs, etc.- to parents five business days before a scheduled meeting at which those documents are discussed. In addition, school personnel are to provide parents an accessible copy of the completed IEP no later than five business days after the scheduled meeting takes place. If the IEP has not been completed by the fifth business day after the IEP team meeting, school personnel are to provide the parents with the draft copy of the IEP.
The statute does not apply to documents concerning the development and revision of Individualized Family Service Plan (IFSP) for infants, toddlers and children receiving services through the Maryland Infants and Toddlers Program, but it is in effect for students who receive their education at nonpublic special education facilities under the auspices of their local school system.
Documents required to be made available to parents include portfolios of classwork and assessments, information provided by school psychologists or other medical professionals, and any documents an IEP or multidisciplinary school team plans to discuss at a scheduled meeting, including daily behavioral records, notes from nurses and the like.
Study Addresses Growing Concern about Antipsychotic Weight Gain
Antipsychotic medications (such as risperidone, aripiprazole, quetiapine and olanzapine) often are prescribed to treat mood and psychotic disorders. Many children and teenagers who benefit from antipsychotic medication treatment unfortunately also experience side effects; one of great concern to families and health professionals is unhealthy weight gain. Obesity can increase the risk of a variety of health problems, including high blood pressure and diabetes, and can have a negative impact on a child's self esteem. Weight gain is a known side effect of antipsychotic treatment, but there is a lot yet unknown about this side effect in children and adolescents.
In an effort to improve outcomes for children and adolescents who need antipsychotic medication, the University of Maryland is conducting a study of children ages 819 who have experienced weight gain from antipsychotic medications. The focus of this study is to identify treatments that may help youth to lose weight while continuing treatment with an antipsychotic. This study examines several different treatment options, to which participants are randomly assigned, over a six-month period.
All study participants will receive free, state-of-the-art monitoring for obesity-related side effects and receive healthy lifestyle modification education for six months. The purpose of this study is to reduce weight gain and to identify effective weight loss treatment for children receiving antipsychotic medication. The study is funded by the National Institutes of Health. Families who are interested in learning more information about this study can contact Dr. Gloria Reeves at email@example.com or by calling the CHAMPS research program at 410.328.9087.
Drug-Related ER Visits Linked to Suicide Tries
A series of studies analyzing drug-related hospital emergency department visits nationwide in 2008 show that nearly 10 percent of such visits made by adolescents involve suicide attempts. Of that number, nearly three-quarters of such visits are made by girls.
The studies, conducted by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), show that 8.8 percent of all drug-related hospital ER visits is a suicide attempt- double the rate found among cases involving those ages 25 and older. Among cases involving young adults ages 18 to 24, the attempted suicide rate was 6.6 percent.
The vast majority of these suicide attempts by adolescents were made by females (72.3 percent). Females constituted a majority of cases among young adults and those older than age 25 as well, but at significantly lower levels (57.6 percent and 57.7 percent, respectively).
According to the studies, acetaminophen products were the most commonly used substances by female adolescents attempting suicide (28.5 percent), while anti-anxiety drugs were the most commonly used substances in cases involving females ages 25 or older (49.9 percent). Similarly, adolescent males admitted for drug-related suicides were more than three times as likely to have used antipsychotic drugs as their female counterparts (14.3 percent, compared with 4.3 percent).
The studies also reveal significant differences in the level of follow-up care, such as inpatient admission, transfer to another hospital facility or referral to detoxification, given in these cases- differences often associated with the type of substance used and the age of those attempting suicide.
For example, while more than 90.2 percent of adolescents who visited hospital emergency departments for attempting suicide with antidepressants received follow-up care, only 52.4 percent of adolescent cases involving ibuprofen received it. Similarly, 83.1 percent of the cases involving adolescents using alcohol received follow-up care, while only 59.4 percent of alcohol-related cases among those ages 25 or older received it.
In 2007, suicides in the United States accounted for 34,598 deaths. That same year, 14.5 percent of U.S. high school students reported they had seriously considered attempting suicide during the previous 12 months. Some 7 percent of students reported they actually had attempted suicide one or more times during the same period. From 19902005, there were 1,219 documented suicide deaths completed by Maryland youth ages 1024.
Maryland operates a Youth Crisis Hotline linked to a network of hotlines throughout the state, 24/7/365; it can be reached at 1.800.422.0009.
In an effort to provide support for teens who may be contemplating suicide, SAMHSA and the Ad Council recently launched the Teen Suicide Prevention campaign. The We Can Help Us effort includes TV, radio, print and interactive PSAs, as well as in-school and mall posters, directed at 13- to 17-year-olds. Young people seeking help are urged to visit www.reachout.com, where they can read success stories and strategies from teens.
Save the Date for the Coalition's Annual Luncheon
The Maryland Coalition of Families for Children's Mental Health will hold its 11th annual luncheon on Friday, Dec. 3, from 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Turf Valley Resort and Conference Center in Ellicott City.
Please mark your calendars now to join us for good food, a gathering of friends concerned for children's mental health, a guest reading of "Just the Two of Us," a book by actor and musical artist Will Smith, raffles and other opportunities to help raise funds for work on behalf of children with mental health challenges.
Visit www.mdcoalition.org soon for more information.
Survey on Early Intervention on Tap
The Maryland Family Survey by the MSDE Early Childhood Intervention and Education Branch will be conducted again this fall. This is an opportunity for families whose children ages birth through age 3 receive services in their local infants and toddlers programs to share the effect of such early intervention services on their families.
The information collected directly impacts improvement efforts for state and local programs for infants and toddlers with developmental delays/disabilities and their families. Families with more than one child receiving services should fill out separate forms for each child. Responses will be kept private.
Families will receive survey packets with an introductory letter, one survey and a postage-paid envelope directly from a service provider; surveys are due back by Nov. 1.
For more information, contact Pam Miller at 410.767.1019 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
"SSI for Students: How to Get SSI and Medical Assistance, Go to Work...and Live to Tell About It" Webinar- Sept. 29, 6:308:30 p.m. Free webinar presented by Michael Dalto, the work incentives project director of the Maryland Department of Disabilities, for transition-age students with disabilities and their parents to learn about SSI and Medical Assistance and employment; "work incentives" safety nets; and protecting benefits. Registration is required and limited; registration deadline is Sept. 22. Telephone conference call is available. To register, visit http://mdod.webex.com; in the box labeled "Search for meetings..." type "SSI" and click "Search." Click on the link for the date for which you are registering; you will receive an e-mail with instructions for accessing the webinar. For more information, contact Michael Dalto at email@example.com, 443.514.5922 or 1.800.637.4113.
Maryland's 22nd Annual Suicide Prevention Conference- Oct. 6, 8:30 a.m.4:30 p.m. Featuring 15 workshops, speakers and lunch; keynote speaker is survivor, expert, activist and best-selling author Jodee Blanco, one of the country's pre-eminent voices on the subject of school bullying. $95; Martin's West, 6817 Dogwood Road, Baltimore. Click here for online registration. For more information, call Peggie Butler-Watson at 410.646.7758.
High Noon Web Café Webinar, Developmental Disabilities Services and Eligibility- Oct. 7, 12 noon1 p.m. Web-based workshop presented by Diane Dressler, statewide training coordinator and housing specialist of the Maryland Developmental Disabilities Administration. Pre-registration is required; participation is limited to 20. Telephone conference call is available. For more information, contact Carol at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Partnering with Youth and Families in Trauma Settings: A Speaker Series, Compensation for Family and Youth Involvement: Why It's Critical Webinar- Oct. 10, 12 noon. Free, Web-based speaker series presented by the National Child Traumatic Stress Network. Presenters include a youth advocate and experts from the University of Maryland and the Chicago Child Trauma Center. To sign on, visit http://learn.nctsn.org/login/signup.php. For assistance, e-mail email@example.com.
Life Transitions: A Workshop for Parents of Teens with Disabilities- Oct. 10, 11:30 a.m.4 p.m. Abilities Network workshop includes a keynote speech featuring a mother and son discussing their experiences; exhibits; breakout sessions; special activity just for teens; and a Teens Speak Up! discussion group. Registration is $10 and includes lunch; please register by Oct. 1 by calling Sarah Pinkster at 410.828.7700 ext. 1259.
Because We Care for Our Kids: Child & Adolescent Mental Health Forum- Oct. 16, 8:30 a.m.2:30 p.m. Free conference to learn about recognizing child and adolescent mental health disorders, what the disorders mean and medications used to treat them. Asthma & Allergy Center Atrium, Johns Hopkins Bayview Campus, 5501 Hopkins Bayview Circle, Baltimore. RSVP by Oct. 6 to 410.550.8146. Space is limited.
Transitioning Youth Resource Fair- Oct. 16, 9 a.m.1:30 p.m. Information on jobs, college, training and living on your own via workshops and exhibits for young people with disabilities, families and professionals. Montgomery College-Rockville, Physical Education Building. For more information, call 240.777.1140 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
4th Annual Around the World in Special Education in One Day!- Oct. 23, 8:30 a.m.3:30 p.m. A day of workshops to help parents whose children receive special education services or who have special health care needs to work effectively with professionals. Frostburg State University, Frampton Hall. Registration is required. For more information, contact Debbie DiPaolo at email@example.com or 301.689.3113.
Letting Go- A Focus on Transition- Oct. 25, 58:30 p.m. Part of the Parents' Place of Maryland fall IDEA series to help parents become more informed; this one covers planning for your child's life after high school. The Cork Factory, 302 E. Federal St., 4th Floor, Baltimore. For more information, contact Charvette Barfield at 410.768.9100 ext. 106 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
"SSI for Students: How to Get SSI and Medical Assistance, Go to Work...and Live to Tell About It" Webinar- Oct. 26, 6:308:30 p.m. Free webinar presented by Michael Dalto, the work incentives project director of the Maryland Department of Disabilities, for transition-age students with disabilities and their parents to learn about SSI and Medical Assistance and employment; "work incentives" safety nets; and protecting benefits. Registration is required and limited; registration deadline is Oct. 19. Telephone conference call is available. This session will be real-time captioned. To register, visit http://mdod.webex.com; in the box labeled "Search for meetings..." type "SSI" and click "Search." Click on the link for the date for which you are registering; you will receive an e-mail with instructions for accessing the webinar. For more information, contact Michael Dalto at email@example.com, 443.514.5922 or 1.800.637.4113.
Center for Autism & Related Disorders at Kennedy Krieger Institute 10th Annual Autism Conference: "New Advancements in Autism Diagnosis and Intervention"- Oct. 2829. Conference for family members, educators, health professionals and policymakers covers current research, core symptoms and practical information regarding intervention for children with autism spectrum disorders. $125/$250 for students; $150/$275 for family members; and $200/$365 for professionals. Sheppard Pratt Conference Center, 6501 N. Charles St., Baltimore. Visit www.cardconference.kennedykrieger.org to register online. For more information, contact Joy Johnson at 443.923.7632. land 21285
Maryland's Autism Waiver: Home- and Community-Based Services- November TBA, 12 noon1 p.m. Web-based workshop presented by Marjorie Shulbank and Karla Saval of Maryland State Department of Education. Families of children with Autism Spectrum Disorder find their health insurance does not provide coverage for many necessary services. The Autism Waiver, through Medical Assistance, allows eligible children to receive services. Pre-registration is required; participation is limited to 20. Telephone conference call is available. For more information, contact Carol at firstname.lastname@example.org.
"SSI for Students: How to Get SSI and Medical Assistance, Go to Work...and Live to Tell About It" Webinar- Nov. 18, 6:308:30 p.m. Free webinar presented by Michael Dalto, the work incentives project director of the Maryland Department of Disabilities, for transition-age students with disabilities and their parents to learn about SSI and Medical Assistance and employment; "work incentives" safety nets; and protecting benefits. Registration is required and limited; registration deadline is Nov. 11. Telephone conference call is available. To register, visit http://mdod.webex.com; in the box labeled "Search for meetings..." type "SSI" and click "Search." Click on the link for the date for which you are registering; you will receive an e-mail with instructions for accessing the webinar. For more information, contact Michael Dalto at email@example.com, 443.514.5922 or 1.800.637.4113.
Discipline and Behavior in IDEA- Nov. 22, 58:30 p.m. Part of the Parents' Place of Maryland fall IDEA series to help parents become more informed; this one covers writing effective behavior plans. The Cork Factory, 302 E. Federal St., 4th Floor, Baltimore. For more information, contact Charvette Barfield at 410.768.9100 ext. 106 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
11th Annual Maryland Coalition of Families Luncheon- Dec. 3, 11:30 a.m.2 p.m. Turf Valley Resort and Conference Center, Ellicott City. For more information, contact the coalition at 410.730.8267 or 1.888.607.3637.
Partnering with Youth and Families in Trauma Settings: A Speaker Series, Building Organizational and Individual Capacity for Youth and Family Alumni Leaders Webinar- Dec. 14, 12 noon. Free, Web-based speaker series presented by the National Child Traumatic Stress Network. Presenters include a family advocate and experts from Kennedy Krieger Institute and Youth M.O.V.E. and the University of Maryland. To sign on, visit http://learn.nctsn.org/login/signup.php. For assistance, e-mail email@example.com.