Archive for April, 2013

EMERGENCY REGULATIONS FOR CHILDREN’S AUTISM TREATMENT APPROVED

Tuesday, April 23rd, 2013

NEWS: 2013 PRESS RELEASE

For Release: March 12, 2013

Media Calls Only: 916-492-3566

Emergency regulations for children’s autism treatment approved

SACRAMENTO – Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones today announced that the Office of Administrative Law (OAL) approved the emergency regulations aimed at eliminating delays and denials of coverage for autism treatment. Commissioner Jones issued these emergency regulations to protect children diagnosed with autism and their families from the emotional, physical and financial harms caused by insurer denials or significant delays in autism treatment, which has reached crisis proportions in California.

“I am extremely pleased that the Office of Administrative Law has approved our emergency regulations,” said Commissioner Jones. “These emergency regulations will ensure that insurance companies cover medically necessary treatment required by the Mental Health Parity Act and Senator Darrell Steinberg’s autism treatment legislation. Autistic children and their families should now, without delay, receive the transformative treatment that will enable them to succeed in school, their families, and communities.”

The California Mental Health Parity Act was intended to provide adequate private health insurance coverage and benefits for mental illnesses. The legislature found that autism is one of several severe mental conditions that are seriously disabling. Failure to provide adequate coverage in private health insurance policies significantly increases expenditures by state and local government for medical treatment, special education and other services.

Later laws, such as SB 946 (Steinberg), signed by Governor Jerry Brown in October, 2011, reconfirmed the mandate for health insurers and HMOs to provide behavioral health treatment for autism. This emergency regulation is expected to benefit thousands of California’s children and families and save California taxpayers approximately $138.8 million to $197.8 million over the next year in costs that should properly be borne by insurers. These emergency regulations are the latest in a series of actions taken by Commissioner Jones to make sure autistic children can receive behavioral therapy treatment.

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THE AP STYLE BOOK ADDS ENTRY ON MENTAL ILLNESS

Tuesday, April 23rd, 2013

IN THE WAKE OF SANDY HOOK , WE SAY MANY THANKS TO AP  SENIOR VP AND EDITOR KATHLEEN CARROLL.

On March 7, 2013 the Associated Press added an entry on mental illness to the AP Stylebook.

“It is the right time to address how journalists handle questions of mental illness in coverage,” said AP Senior Vice President and Executive Editor Kathleen Carroll. “This isn’t only a question of which words one uses to describe a person’s illness. There are important journalistic questions, too.

“When is such information relevant to a story? Who is an authoritative source for a person’s illness, diagnosis and treatment? These are very delicate issues and this Stylebook entry is intended to help journalists work through them thoughtfully, accurately and fairly.”

The entry, which was immediately added to the AP Stylebook Online and will appear in the new print edition and Stylebook Mobile, published in the spring, reads as follows:

Mental Illness Do not describe an individual as mentally ill unless it is clearly pertinent to a story and the diagnosis is properly sourced. When used, identify the source for the diagnosis. Seek firsthand knowledge; ask how the source knows. Don’t rely on hearsay or speculate on a diagnosis. Specify the time frame for the diagnosis and ask about treatment. A person’s condition can change over time, so a diagnosis of mental illness might not apply anymore. Avoid anonymous sources. On-the-record sources can be family members, mental health professionals, medical authorities, law enforcement officials and court records. Be sure they have accurate information to make the diagnosis. Provide examples of symptoms.

Mental illness is a general condition. Specific disorders are types of mental illness and should be used whenever possible: He was diagnosed with schizophrenia, according to court documents. She was diagnosed with anorexia, according to her parents. He was treated for depression.

Some common mental disorders, according to the National Institute of Mental Health (mental illnesses or disorders are lowercase, except when known by the name of a person, such as Asperger’s syndrome):

– Autism spectrum disorders. These include Asperger’s syndrome, a mild form of autism. Many experts consider autism a developmental disorder, not a mental illness.

– Bipolar disorder (manic-depressive illness)

– Depression

– Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)

– Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)

– Schizophrenia

Here is a link from the National Institute of Mental Health that can be used as a reference:

http://www.nimh.nih.gov/index.shtml

Do not use derogatory terms, such as insane, crazy/crazed, nuts or deranged, unless they are part of a quotation that is essential to the story.   Do not assume that mental illness is a factor in a violent crime, and verify statements to that effect. A past history of mental illness is not necessarily a reliable indicator. Studies have shown that the vast majority of people with mental illness are not violent, and experts say most people who are violent do not suffer from mental illness.

Avoid unsubstantiated statements by witnesses or first responders attributing violence to mental illness. A first responder often is quoted as saying, without direct knowledge, that a crime was committed by a person with a “history of mental illness.” Such comments should always be attributed to someone who has knowledge of the person’s history and can authoritatively speak to its relevance to the incident.   Avoid descriptions that connote pity, such as afflicted with, suffers from or victim of. Rather, he has obsessive-compulsive disorder.

Double-check specific symptoms and diagnoses. Avoid interpreting behavior common to many people as symptoms of mental illness. Sadness, anger, exuberance and the occasional desire to be alone are normal emotions experienced by people who have mental illness as well as those who don’t.

About AP

The Associated Press is the essential global news network, delivering fast, unbiased news from every corner of the world to all media platforms and formats. Founded in 1846, AP today is the most trusted source of independent news and information. On any given day, more than half the world’s population sees news from AP. On the Web: www.ap.org.

 

DISABILITY SCOOP

Tuesday, April 23rd, 2013

A unique New York City school is successfully serving kids with developmental disabilities alongside those who are typically developing by assuming that each child needs their own curriculum in order to thrive.

At The IDEAL School, children of varying abilities all learn the same topics, but each student does so at their own level with an individual lesson plan tailored to their needs. Specialized services like speech and physical therapy are provided during elective periods so that no student misses out on academics or feels different.

The school, which was started by a group of parents, is built around the idea that inclusion is merely a form of diversity. School leaders and parents say that the extremely inclusive model of education breads an environment of total acceptance where each child values the strengths of their peers.

“The kids are partners with each other. They support each other, they advocate for each other,” one parent told NBC News.”

To watch video : http://www.disabilityscoop.com/2013/02/19/inclusion-default-school/17326/

CAHSEE EXTENDED

Tuesday, April 23rd, 2013

Assembly Bill (AB) 1705 (amended by Stats. 2012, Ch. 192, effective January 1, 2013) amends California Education Code (EC) sections 60852.1 and 60852.2. On January 1, 2013, the implementation date of the alternative means will be postponed until July 1, 2015, which, in effect, extends the exemption to the CAHSEE for eligible students with disabilities. The State Board may, by regulation, extend this date by up to one year if it determines that an extension is necessary for the appropriate implementation of the regulations adopted pursuant to Section 60852.1. Visit the Official California Legislative Information Web site  for up-to-date information about AB 1705.

From the CA Dept of Ed http://www.cde.ca.gov/ta/tg/hs/cahseewaiversexempt.asp

What is California Education Code (EC) Section 60852.3?

Beginning in the 2009–10 school year, EC Section 60852.3 provides an exemption from meeting the California High School Exit Examination (CAHSEE) requirement as a condition of receiving a diploma of graduation for eligible students with disabilities who have an individualized education program (IEP) or a Section 504 plan. The IEP or 504 plans must state that the student is scheduled to receive a high school diploma, and has satisfied or will satisfy all state and local requirements for high school graduation, on or after July 1, 2009.

Does this exemption apply to students with disabilities with IEPs or 504 plans who completed all graduation requirements, except passing the CAHSEE, and received a certificate of completion in 2008 or 2009?

Yes, students with IEPs or 504 plans who completed all graduation requirements, except passing the CAHSEE, and received a certificate of completion in 2008 or 2009, are eligible for this exemption.