Autism: The Divide Between Children

Autism: The Divide Between Children

Autistic children need the same opportunities.

The CDC has reported that autism effects one in 68 American children today. Autism is a very broad mental handicap that can be clinically defined as a condition or disorder that begins in childhood which causes issues with having successful relationships and communicating in an understandable way. Many autistic children have issues with behavioral, developmental, cognitive and psychological development. Among these development issues are; compulsive behavior, speech delay, unaware of other's emotions, intense interest in a limited number of things, anxiety, and inappropriate social interaction. The severity of these issues depends on the child, as well as which symptoms the child may have.

This disability tends to cause school systems to group the autistic children with the less intelligent. Therefore, these children begin to believe that they are different or less important than average children due to the treatment they receive. Many of the autistic children are sent to do their work with Special Education teachers instead of being placed into a normal classroom. While in some instances these circumstances do work, a good portion of the time these Special Education teachers are spread too thin throughout the school system. Some school districts only having one Special Education teacher for elementary school and one Special Education teacher for the high school. Often, there are other students with more severe handicaps, such as Down Syndrome. Many autistic kids feeling neglected or not receiving the material they are capable of completing. These small things can lead these children to believe they are too different, unintelligent or disabled to achieve what average children are able to achieve.

Morgan Day, an 18 year old incoming freshman at Bowling Green State University, mentions, "One of my cousins went to school, and I never went there, but I have to say it must not have been a very good school. She was a lot to handle, so they told her mom that she was not allowed back!" Day, referring to how the public school system is not capable of handling autistic children in the appropriate way, shows the divide between average children and children with disabilities, especially autism. Autistic children who are expelled or sent to special schools are generally divided from average children, causing their already poor social skills to worsen over time.

While these special and safe areas to learn are great in theory, many of these educators have not been properly trained in how to handle autistic children. After being asked about his training as a special education teacher, Andrew Barker, a Special Education teacher in the Mineral Ridge, OH school district states that he was not really taught about how to teach and handle autistic children because, "there is no 'normal' for autism." This is the sad truth. Children diagnosed with autism all have different symptoms and issues.

So, how are we going to be able to teach our future generation of teachers to better help these children? They need experience. We need our teachers to know how to help these kids learn because they are just kids, begging for a learning opportunity.

Cover Image Credit: Huffington Post

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Being Hungry Sucks, No Kid Hungry Is Here To Save The Day

Hunger can be caused by many different things.

We all know that without proper nourishment our bodies can gain a host of problems, some of them being a “weakened immune system, physical and mental stunting, [and an] increased risk of diabetes.”

Hunger can be caused by many different things; living in a food desert, poverty, climate change or natural disasters to name a few. In the US alone, one in six children goes hungry every day. In my opinion, it’s the children that are most vulnerable because they don’t have the ability to gain access to the many social programs in place to help defeat their hunger without an adult.

In order to help the children in America who struggle with hunger, there is a program called No Kid Hungry based in our nation’s capital. At No Kid Hungry, there are multiple programs already in place to ensure children are receiving the nourishment their bodies and minds need to grant them success.

The programs are:

1. School Breakfast

Many kids do not get the chance to eat a healthy breakfast before heading off to school in the morning. Without a proper breakfast, children struggle to focus in school and therefore their grades can be impacted negatively. Since the launch of the school breakfasts with No Kid Hungry, 2.8 million additional children are being served breakfast at the beginning of the school day with their classmates.

2. Summer Meals

Children who rely on discounted or free school lunches to fill their bellies often times struggle to continue receiving proper nourishment during the summer when school is no longer in session. As a result, No Kid Hungry has implemented the Summer Meals program where children can receive free meals at schools and community centers all summer long. However, some sites have limited hours of operation, can be difficult to get to, or may be closed during severe weather. In order to help make meals available to every child at every time of day no matter the circumstances, No Kid Hungry is working to introduce mobile meals delivery.

3. Afterschool Meals

Children who come from impoverished families and neighborhoods often times only have access to the free lunch they receive at school, making it their first and sometimes last meal of the day. With Afterschool Meals children are guaranteed to go meals to be satisfied.

4. Food Skills Education

Although school meals are helping children, one of the best ways to help them is to educate their parents and guardians on “how to shop for and cook healthy affordable meals.” In order to educate the public in different ways (no one learns the same) the Food Skills Education programs teach through the use of “interactive grocery store tours, hands-on cooking classes, smartphone apps and other resources – all free, and all run through trusted local community programs.” Through the program, a staggering 464,000 families have learned how to shop smarter and cook healthier.

All of these programs are amazing on their own right, but it takes more than just offering these programs in select cities to truly end childhood hunger. How can you help? Well, for starters you can make a donation. You can also be an advocate and if you're a parent or teacher, you can work on bringing No Kid Hungry to your community. You can start a fundraiser, attend an event, and speak up for kids by contacting your local and national government officials to protect the programs already in place such as SNAP.

So, how will you help?


Cover Image Credit: pexels

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13 Life Hacks That Will Help You Live A Happier Life

Simplicity and prevention are keys to a happier life.

A piece of advice I often hear from my mother is that simplicity is always best. It was only when I began to truly mature that I realized the utter truth in this, and began adapting it to all aspects of my life, something that I think has made me an overall happier person. Another great piece of advice from my mother is that prevention is always best. I really began to put these pieces of advice into practice during my last two years of high school, and I realized that some little things I changed really helped my overall happiness:

1. Sleep well

I can’t stress the importance of this. Helps you focus, helps your mood, you are 100% more productive and at the moment during the day. Is something I am constantly underestimating, and possibly the point on this list that I struggle the most to live by, but when I do it really makes a difference.

2. Achievable to do lists

There is nothing more frustrating than thinking you didn’t achieve anything after a day of work. Sometimes its just because you are a terrible procrastinator, but it can also be due to too high goals. Start small, make the first point something you can easily tick off, this will motivate you to do the rest.

3. Exercise

Positive endorphins are released, you get to burn off your stress and you live an overall more healthy life.

4. Eat before you get too hungry

Hunger physically hurts, you aren’t able to concentrate and your bad mood bothers those around you.

5. Drink water

Do you sometimes get weird headaches that seem to come from nowhere? Could be dehydration.

6. Gum in your bag

For when you are feeling sleepy but can’t take a nap or when you don’t have time to brush your teeth but have a terrible taste in your mouth.

7. Pretty and comfortable clothes

Itchy sweaters, skirts that you constantly have to pull down and jeans whose zippers are constantly opening are all small contributors to a bad mood.

8. Ask help when you need it

Know when you are out of your depth and instead of becoming increasingly frustrated while trying to do something ask for help.

9. Know your support system

From the friends and family you can rely on to having your doctor’s office’s address and telephone number within easy access, you will find you will stress less about some things going wrong because you are more prepared to deal with disasters and accidents.

10. Eat healthily

I don’t believe in going to extremes such as cutting junk food off completely, but a balanced diet has done wonders for my mood.

11. Take medicine when you feel bad

This goes for an occasional headache or having a cough drop if you feel a cold coming on, for more serious things obviously go see a doctor.

12. Don’t hold your pee

It's unhealthy, it hurts and is terribly distracting.

13. Write everything down

Write things down as you remember so you don’t have to depend on your memory.

Cover Image Credit: Pixabay

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