Monthly Archives: January 2013

Ontario Provincial School Board Rights and Responsibilities Regarding Childrens’ Behaviour, Neurological and Personality Disorders

There are many complex disorders that involve negative affects in children, and that severely interfere with their daily functioning at school. These disorders have to be dealt with by educators and administrators. Every child has the right to a public scholarshipeducation, regardless of their ability to respect authority and functionality. Although this makes classroom management a challenge, at the same time, a child is often shaped by his or her home environment and the values instilled in the child. Behaviours bear a strong influence on children’s psyche.  They learn what the live.

Not all children develop psychological difficulties based strictly on family values.  Research has proven that many childhood disorders are a result of genetics, and in some cases, influenced by horlonelymonal abnormalities during pregnancy. Genetics are believed to cause severe personality and mental disorders in people including psychopathy and mental illness. Certainly mood disorders such as schizophrenia and bipolar affective disorder are the result of DNA. It is argued that dissociative identity disorder (DID) is a severe pathology that also has a genetic component. Whether positive or negative, a child’s personality develops in the womb. A recent New York Times article titled At-Risk From the Womb  by Nicholas D. Kristof discussed numerous studies that proved mom’s emotional state weighs heavily on the child’s personality.

Along with biological influences are what is known as “womb impression.” It is argued (although not scientifically proven) that a fetus experiences the mental, emotional and physical experiences of its mother. We know that a mother’s diet affects the fetus; this argument poses that the external environment contributes significantly to the fetus’ emotional development long before birth.  This perspective is argued from scientific and spiritual viewpoints. The site Cosmic Cracute_little_child_baby-1024x768dle: Souls Waiting in the Wings for Birth states: the foundation of human character is laid in the womb, through the pregnancy tenure…Ancient and traditional cultures have pregnancy and childbirth practices that are more humane and enlightened than those in modern society. Parents are consciously aware that their behaviors influence their child’s development  from conceiving a baby through its pre- and postnatal development. It is an intriguing perspective however I don’t agree that all cultures and religions in modern society aren’t attuned to childbirth practices. Many mothers read aloud to their pregnant bellies. Others play music to soothe the fetus. There are many other examples of this type of conscious parenting during pregnancy in “modern society.”.

A fascinating scientific study revealed that twins at 20 weeks’ gestationdeveloped  gestures and habits that persisted into their postnatal years. In one case, a brother and sister were seen playing cheek-to-cheek on either side of the dividing membrane. At one year of age, their favorite game was to take positions on opposite sides of a curtain, and begin to laugh and giggle as they touched each other and played through the curtain. Another study claimed that mothers in low-income communities suffered more anxiety, depression, chemicals and toxins from car exhaust than women in higher income areas. The poorer mothers were likely to drink or smoke and less likely to take vitamin supplements, eat healthy food and get meticulous pre-natal care. This resulted in children born at a disadvantage, including lower educational attai5125246-happy-teachersnment, lower incomes and worse health.

School Board/School Legal Responsibilities Under the Ontario Education Act:

  1. Suggest a pediatric or psychological assessment to parents
  2. Regardless of a diagnosis, school boards permit a behavioral independent education plan (IEP) that provides teachers and behavioural students with alternatives concerning behaviours and consequences. For instance, when a child acts out against a peer, the teacher responds with a technique that assists the child in getting his behaviour under control. This is an alternative to punishment or negative consequences.
  3. Modified school and classroom programming, which normally do not require an IEP. For instance, a child may have a modified schedule where she attends school only for half days. Or a child may be provided with a teacher assistant, such as an educational resource worker (ERW), who asteachersists the child in controlling aggressive behaviours.
  4. Annual meeting with the IPRC , Identification, Placement and Review Committee, to review the child’s IEP and determine if the need for the latter is still present, and/or needs to be altered. All schools must have IPRCs.  All schools must meet annually to discuss every child’s ongoing IEP and secure ongoing funding as required. The IPRC establishes the need for funding for children who have been recently diagnosed with a learning disability and have been provided with an IEP.

Many Ontario schools have a sophisticated special education department that:

  1. employs several special education specialists who have completed special education specialization through additional qualifications at an accredited university.  At one time, a teshy_child2acher with special education part I or II of the program was accepted into the special education department of a school, but this is no longer practiced.
  2. adheres to the Education Act laws and requirements and applies the laws accordingly
  3. works in progressive stages of a child’s academic and behavioural progress, including ongoing programming
  4. provides ongoing testing of children in regard to literacy and numeracy ability, plus other comprehension issues
  5. involves assessment and involvement with special education consultants, educational psychologists and social workers who are recruited by the school board
  6. practices withdrawal and inclusion in the classroom to provide special programming to children
  7. promotes classroom inclusion by assigning teacher aides wherever possible to assist children with their programs
  8. regular communication with parents, including inviting them to IPRC and special education departmental meetings and interviews
  9. providing intervention as early as possible

Children’s Disorders Noted in Early Childhood Years

Oppositional Defiance Disorder – ODD
This is a complex disorder involving continual opposition to authority figures, peers, and parents. Ultimately ODD may lead to aggressive and violent behaviours, in which case it is believed to be comor3078818748_108e522cd1_zbid with Conduct Disorder (CD). In children with ODD, there is an ongoing pattern of uncooperative, defiant, and hostile behavior toward authority figures that seriously interferes with the youngster’s day to day functioning. A child presenting with ODD symptoms should have a comprehensive evaluation.  Other disorders which may be present include attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), learning disabilities, mood disorders (depression, bipolar disorder) and anxiety disorders. Some children with ODD may go on to develop conduct disorder, a more severe form of ODD.

Conduct Disorder – CD
Conduct disorder is a repetitive and persistent pavictimttern of behavior in children and adolescents in which the rights of others or basic social rules are violated. When comorbid with ADHD, CD is considered to be a predecessor to psychopathy. CD involves aggressive behavior that causes or threatens harm to other people or animals, such as bullying or intimidating others,  initiating physical fights, or being physically cruel to animals. Many youth with conduct disorder may have trouble feeling empathy and reading social cues.

Anti-Social Personality Disorder (APD)
Technically children under 18 are not diagnosed with APD, however CD that is comorbid with ADHD is believed to be a strong indicator that APD will be diagnosed in adulthood. A  person aged 18 yeis-homosexuality-right-or-wrongars or older with a childhood history of disregard  for the rights of others can be diagnosed as having APD. In order to meet DSM-IV-TR criteria for APD, a  person must also have had some symptoms of conduct disorder before age 15. Studies of adopted children indicate that both genetic and environmental factors influence the development of APD. Both biological and adopted  children of people diagnosed with the disorder have an increased risk of  developing it. Children born to parents diagnosed with APD but adopted into other families resemble their biological more than their adoptive parents.  The environment of the adoptive home, however, may lower the child’s risk  of developing APD. APD usually follows a chronic and unremitting course from childhood or early adolescence into adult life. The impulsiveness that characterizes the  disorder often leads to a jail sentence or an early death through accident,  homicide or suicide.

Anxiety Disorders
ADs are tshutterstock_38707582_2_crop380whe most common mental illnessesamong youngsters today, with prevalence rates ranging between 10% and 20%. Children with anxiety disorders are more likely to
develop anxiety disorders in adulthood, and have an increased risk of developing major depression, attempting suicide, and being hospitalized for mental illnesses. One particular type of anxiety disorder, Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder is found in about .5% to 2% of children and adolescents.

Developmental Coordination Disorder
DCD, also known as Developmental Dspraxia, is interruption in gross and fine motor functions. It has been called clumsy child syndrome, clumsiness, developmental  disorder of motor function, and congenital maladroitness. Children with developmental coordination disorder often have dHien-Thi-participating-in-writing-activity300x300ifficulty performing tasks that involve both large and small muscles, including forming letters when they write, throwing or catching balls, and fastening buttons. They develop normally in other ways, however, they experience social or academic problems. Because of their underdeveloped coordination, they may not participate in activities on the playground. This leads to rejection by peers. Also, children who have problems forming letters when they write by  hand, or drawing pictures, may become discouraged and give up academic or  artistic pursuits even though they have normal intelligence. There are no known causes of developmental coordination disorders but there theories about its causes. Some attribute the disorder to biological causes. Some of the possible causes include prenatal complications as fetal malnutrition.

Expressive Language Disorder
Children with Expressive Language Disorder
have difficulties with speech and vocabulary and have word finding problems. As a result, they speak using simplified sentences. disorder. There are two types of expressive language disorder: the  developmental and acquired.Teenage girl studying with textbooks Developmental expressive language  disorder does not have a known cause and generally appears at the time a  child is learning to talk.  Acquired expressive language disorder is caused  by damage to the brain. It occurs after stroke or traumatic head injury.  There is no known cause of developmental expressive language disorder. The child has  problems putting sentences together, using proper grammar, and recalling appropriate word use. A child with expressive language disorder is unable to communicate thoughts,  needs, or wants at the same level as his or her  peers. The child has a smaller vocabulary than her peers. Some children do not properly use pronouns, or leave out functional words such as “is” or “the.” Others cannot recall words to use in the sentence and substitute general words such as “thing” or “stuff.” Some children can’t organize sentences so they are easy to understand.

Pervasive Developmental Disorder – PDDs
The term “pervasive developmental disorders,” also called PDDs, refers to a group of conditions that involve delays in the development of many basic skills, most notably the ability to socialize with others, to communicate, and to use imagination. Children with these conditions often are confused in their thinking and generally have problems understanding the world arounBoy-Wishingd them. These conditions are identified in children around 3 years of age, yet the condition begins far earlier. Parents often do not notice a problem until the child is a toddler who is not walking, talking, or developing as well as other children of the same age. Sometimes parents notice differences in infancy. There are five types of pervasive development disorders: autism, aspergers, child disintegrative development, Rett’s syndrome, PDD – NOS (not otherwise specified). The use of the word “pervasive” to describe these illnesses is somewhat misleading. The definition of pervasive is “to be present throughout,” but children with PDDs do not have problems in all areas of functioning. Many children with PDDs have specific problem areas and function very well in other areas.

Whatever the nature of children’s disorders or illnesses, seeking professional treatment at
the earliest possible time is essential. Early intervention for children’s
symptoms usually reduce the impact on further development.
Untreated symptoms can snowball and lead to the development of sometimes severe
secondary problems such as social, academic and occupational difficulties,
addictions, poor self-esteem, suicide attempts, self-harm (cutting or burning
oneself). It is important for parents to maintain a close relationship with the child’s educators and counselors. Staying involved helps ensure a child stays on track in school. Talking with the school psychologist or social worker may help to find community agencies that address the disorder.  Online associations may also be helpful, so long as their legitimacy is verified.


Sandy Hook Elementary Tragedy Devastated Teachers Across Ontario

ProbabAdam_lanza_sandy_hook_shooterly across Canada too.  We sat around the lunch table in our staffroom and talked about the poor young man (clearly mentally disturbed with many tragic issues) who murdered these precious children and teachers, then killed himself.  No one judged Adam Lanza.  (In this clip the newsreporters erroneously finger Adam’s brother Ryan as the shooter. Ryan was arrested due to the error and he and his father, Peter Lanza, have since gone into hiding due to death threats. Finger pointing never solves anything and since the massacre is over and done with, it would be entirely moot. We only thought of the beautiful little children who senselessly died on one of the worst days in public schools in North American history.  (Clearly there is a history of many others.  Read School Shootings are Old News in America).  I watched the beautiful tribute on The Voice and broke down and wept. I hate crying. I have to be very distraught or moved to cry:  it’s embarrassing, but so long as no one catches me, I’m okay. Anyway.

Being teachers in an elementary school left everyone particularly shaken. We were united in our grief for this school and its child01_05_09_specialren.  We felt as if we had been there and suffered along with the people of Sandy Hook. One of our teachers received a beautiful tribute (a text) about Sandy Hook that was put to a Christmas Carol (since this occurred 2 weeks before).  I can’t remember the exact words.  I only know that it discussed Jesus arriving at the school to take the little children with him, promising them to look after Mom and Dad (whoever wrote this was either American or a brave Ontario teacher, since we aren’t allowed to use the words Jesus or Christmas here anymore…they’re prejudiced and bigoted words in Canada, you know).  The tribute was something that went around the internet, but of course, I can’t seem to locate it.

There have been a few awful school murders in Canada by gunmen (never seems to be a gunwoman, interestingly, but that is another blog for another day). However I am happy to say that school massacres are very, very rare in our history.  I’m not referring to a school attack. A schoolr437160_2103070 attack refers to bringing a gun to a school to shoot one or two people, not on a mass scale, and often with a specific person (usually an educator) in mind. I mean a full-out massacre.  This seems to be a trend in the U.S. of A. lately.  Obama stated he has had to address the nation about these tragedies too many times while in office.  Sucks to be you, Obama.  Now why not do something about it? Gun laws may operate at a state level but clearly a number of states are unsuccessful at enforcing their own gun laws, which would suggest that it’s time for the feds to take over. Do we have angry, mentally ill people who would probably love to wipe out teachers and kids?  Damn right we do.  Everyone does, because in every community you’re going to have a mix of people with their own perspectives, experiences, issues, and illnesses.  That’s a community, like it or not. Do these people manage to cause a plethora of school massacres in Canada?  Thank (god – shhhh) no and that’s because WE DON’T HAVE THE RIGHT TO BEAR ARMS.  Oops.  Didn’t mean to shout.  In fact no one, including Americans, has the right to bear arms, ( unless you live in Afghanistan, I should imagine). Americans have proven via school and college gun massacres that it cannot handle the responsiblity of gun ownership.  When you have the right to bear arms, you also have the responsibility of using those arms to save life, not destroy it, but I would argue that this is not the case as of late.

Schools are talking about implementing armed guards in elementary schools.  Armed guards.  Is that really the answer?  More guns?  More people with the opportunity (and in this case the right) to kill?  Sgun5eriously?  That’s worse than not having armed guards in elementary schools.  Where does it end?  If a gunman shows up with an AK-47 does that mean American elementary schools should arm their security with AK-47s? What if they miss and accidentally hit a kid? Damn.  That’s frightening. Now changing gun laws and taking guns out of people’s hands or at least controlling access to them on a far more rigid scale isn’t the sole solution.  This issue is far more complex than that.  However, I can suggest a reasonable approach to discourage the use of firearms (along with instilling stricter gun control laws):

  1. Schools teach anti-bullying programs: teach anti-gun mentality alongside it
  2. Public education needs be taught through all types of media
  3. Ban video games and that X-Box stuff that kids love that have excessive violence, especially that with guns and armaments
  4. Ban musicthat is loaded with racist, vulgar words and references to guns.  Check that link then consider this: Ice T plays detective Odafin Tutuola on Law and Order: SVU…..a cop-friendly show, and of course also featuring lots of gun use. Say what??
  5. Ban made for tv movies and sitcoms that feature murder using guns.  I had some time on my hands on Saturday afternoon so I flicked on the tube and watched a couple of rather monotonous movies back to back.  One of them featured two mentally ill people, a man and a woman,  both of whom shot at least one person to death before themselves being shot and killed. This was casual, daytime television.
  6. Make access to guns a lot more difficult than walking into a bank and being passed a rifle by a teller after opening a specific type of bank account – I suppose that would go under stricter gun control, but it’s an example of what I mean
  7. Eliminate gun shows. 40 miles from Sandy Hook Elementary School, one month after the massacre, a gun sho was held in Stamford, Conn. Jonathan O’Connor, store manager of Gun Envy in Minnesota claimed, “we sold 50-some rifles in days.” Mazel tov.
  8. Vote Harry Reid
  9. Sign and start petitions for stronger gun laws or banning guns altogether
  10. Address mental illness in a proactive, rather than reactive manner, before tragedy happens
  11. Educate teachers to identify symptoms of mental illness and aggressive disorders.
  12. Assist families in raising healthy, functional children – Adam Lanza’s mother, Nancy, was a gun fanatic and often took her sons to a local gun range. She was aware that her son had many emotional problems, but she still brought him along and taught him how to shoot. He showed his gratitude by shooting her. Oops.

Yes many of these suggestions are extremely idealistic. We know this from the many dysfunctional families and individuals in our communities. None of these suggestions will work alone (and some may never work). I’m merely brainstorming to demonstrate examples. These are the type of moves that all need to be enacted one by one, or simultaneously, in order to prove effective.  An approach that is widespread across various media and public rights is known to succeed for some issues. For instance, in Ontario several anti-smoking laws and  campaigns were instilled to discourage people from smoking. One example ifreuds that people aren’t allowed to smoke on commercial or public property: if you visit a movie theatre to see a movie and need a smoke break you must leave the property or you will be fined $1,000.00. Sounds weird, but it worked. The government’s commitment to reducing tobacco consumption by 20 per cent occurred between 2003 and 2006: there was a 31.8 per cent decline in tobacco consumption indicated that approximately 4.6 billion fewer cigarettes were sold. (Can’t help but notice the phallic shape of guns and cigarettes – if Freud were here, well, perhaps he would say sometimes a cigar is just a cigar“). In our case, the idea was to reduce government spending on hospitalization for people who develop lung cancer (and other cancers and diseases in relation to smoking). In America’s case, gun control might reduce the clientele in morgues.

There are people who  disagree that gun elimination or control is the answer or the issue. The argument is thus:

  1. it is not guns that guide a criminal’s behaviour but churches, schools, and families – these go into molding character more than gun laws.
  2. it is not the guns that cause the violence but it is indicative of a deeper problem inside the society.

I agree that it is issues within a person (noted above) that lead to violent behaviour. A gun itself doesn’t walk to a local elementary school and shoot children.  The gun is an inanimate object, however I cannot say that guns have nothing to do with that.  If the guns aren’t accessible, then the massacres cannot happen, regardless of the individual’s state of mind. As to that state of mind, some forensic psychologists refer to a gun massacre as suicide with hostile intent . Homicidal perpetrators were found to have suicidal behavior such as thoughts, plans, or attempts. Suicidal intent was found in most cases for which there was detailed information on the assailants. Evidence indicates that student homicide perpetrators:

  1. were twice as likely to have been  bullied by their peers
  2.  were described as loners
  3. poorly integrated into school activities

Therefore, reasons of revenge might have moved the perpetrator to kill. In a detailed case scenario inquiry, obtaining justice against peers or adults was the principal stated motive by perpetrators, who were often angry about being teased or ridiculed and were looking for revenge agTIMOTHY MCVEIGHainst specific individuals or groups.Revenge wasn’t acted upon impulsively: there was a well-organized plan. In fact, some psychiatrists believe that teenagers who commit shooting massacres have been preparing for the tragedy for most of their lives. Suicide by revenge is considered by current anthropological and ethnological studies as being stimulated by culturally approved rules that should earn the suicidal actor the support of the community in his or her efforts to obtain compensation for the suffered wrongs. Timothy McVeigh, although not a school spree shooter, envisioned accolades for the Oklahoma Bombing. McVeigh, a militia movement sympathizer, sought revenge against the federal government for its handling of the Waco Siege. McVeigh hoped to inspire a revolt against what he considered to be a tyrannical federal government. His delusional thinking led him to believe he would be lauded as a hero for his bravery and his actions. (I can’t help but notice the similar expression on Lanza and McVeigh’s faces).

I have to incharrylude a quote from the Gun Owners of America (GOA) site in regard to Harry Reid and his effort to annihilate the Second Amendment to the American Constitution: Changes in the Senate rules would allow them to ban guns with a mere 50 Senate votes. This proposal is particularly insidious.  Gun grabbers are not going to be able to get 60 votes to break a Senate filibuster of gun control.  But, with the help of fake “pro-gun” Senate Democrats, they may be able to get 50. I love the expression gun grabbers….seriously. Personally I wouldn’t dare grab someone’s gun in case it went off and killed me.  Insidious?  Personally I consider shooting and killing elementary school children to be insidious. This type of gun fanaticism doesn’t exist here.  I pray (not publicly, or I’m in trouble) it never does.

People love to laugh at Canadians. They love to suggest that we are incapable of doing harm to one another. Do I think Canada would behave any better if we had the right to bear arms?  Nope.  Canadian, Police_at_Sandy_HookAmerican, Mexican, Ethiopian, Martian. Some people with limitless gun access and flexible gun laws are time bombs waiting to explode. Had these very disturbed people not had easy access to guns, perhaps their rage wouldn’t have proven fatal, at least not on such a large scale and not against innocent little children who have never done anything worse than experiment with the f-word, fight with friends, and maybe pull wings off of flies.  Interesting analogy.  If pulling the wings off a fly is at all analogous with taking guns away from Americans, let’s do it.  Let’s be cruel to be kind (in the latter case), nix the security guards, and in so doing, eliminate the need for them in the first place. Oh, and vote Harry Reid….and toss one in for me would ya?  My vote doesn’t count for much up here but I’m sure it counts a lot in the Sandy Hook community.