The Mid-Hudson Valley in New York State may be atypical from many other localities: it has the highest proportion of developmentally disabled persons in the country. Over 10,000 developmentally disabled residents from Willowbrook, Letchworth Village, and Wassaic Developmental Center have been re-integrated into the community. A large number of jobs—private and nonprofit—are part of the […]By: William Van Ornum, Ph.D.
Category: Individuals with Special Needs
A young man with Down syndrome has died at the very hands of the police he idolized, the Washington Post reports. The death of Robert Ethan Saylor, aetat. twenty-six, occurred while being handcuffed with at least three set of cuffs as he was being taken by three deputies from a theater in Frederick County, Maryland. […]By: William Van Ornum, Ph.D.
Consumers of mental-health services may not realize the extensive system of codes that go into insurance billing and medical records, both for mental-health services and other medical services. For mental health, every person who receives insurance reimbursement receives a diagnostic code from the most current Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of the American Psychiatric Association, as […]By: William Van Ornum, Ph.D.
After physicists split the atom, unanticipated positive effects emerged—such as medical isotopes—and many negative ones as well. Where do we store the waste? How do we understand fallout and its deadly effect? What happens when there are nuclear plant accidents? Biologists work in a similar environment as they work to split the genome. Once again, […]By: William Van Ornum, Ph.D.
More and more in our society, any kind of testing that compares people with each other is viewed negatively. Different kinds of testing: No Child Left Behind, End of Year testing, and Intelligence Testing are all types of testing that come under criticism. Here is a different spin on the kinds of tests given by […]By: William Van Ornum, Ph.D.
Word from ABILITIES FIRST in Poughkeepsie, NY October 5, 2012, Poughkeepsie, NY—As Dr. Lori Crispi’s term on the board of Abilities First, Inc., a Dutchess County based nonprofit that serves children and adults with disabilities, was coming to an end, she felt that she couldn’t just walk away. “I enjoyed being part of the organization […]By: William Van Ornum, Ph.D.
Previously I’ve written about Recovery International, founded by psychiatrist Abraham Low in the 1940s in Chicago, Illinois. Dr. Low initiated a revolutionary brand of treatment that we now call cognitive therapy: by changing one’s thoughts, one could change troublesome feelings and through practice attain better mental health. Dr. Low used the word apprenticeship to denote […]By: William Van Ornum, Ph.D.
Two important areas in mental health are prevention and resiliency. Prevention includes all efforts to prevent a person from developing a mental-health problem. One of the most effective prevention programs has been Head Start—from the 1960s, these centers have been a path for positive adjustment for many young persons of disadvantaged backgrounds. Another prevention program […]By: William Van Ornum, Ph.D.
Successes of all kinds—academic, vocational, monetary, and material—are highly valued and obsessively pursued. But even those who “have it all” may find themselves spiritually adrift and existentially empty. Paul Wright, M.D., a cardiologist, found himself in this position after having made it to the top in a demanding medical specialty. On November 9, 2012, I […]By: William Van Ornum, Ph.D.
Timothy Schriver, writing in the Huffington Post (Oct. 27, 2012), forwards to writer Ann Coulter a letter from a young man with Down syndrome. Recently Ms. Coulter used the “R” word while criticizing the President of the United States: “Dear Ann Coulter, “Come on Ms. Coulter, you aren’t dumb and you aren’t shallow. So why […]By: William Van Ornum, Ph.D.
Paul Gionfriddo, formerly a state legislator in Connecticut, writes about his son, who showed signs of schizophrenia when very young and whose life has been ravaged by the disease. (Article, My Son Is Schizophrenic—the Reforms I Worked for Have Worsened His Life in the October 15, 2012, edition of theBy: William Van Ornum, Ph.D.
Public Law 94-142, passed by the Congress in 1976, and following legislation including Individual Education Disabilities Act (IDEA), defined different handicapping conditions for which a child could receive additional support (and therefore additional funding) in the public school system. A continuum of extra supports was initiated. This could range from being in a smaller class […]By: William Van Ornum, Ph.D.
The AMHF grant to Astor Services for Children—to identify and evaluate interventions that help adolescents at risk for suicide and psychosis, and to create scientifically supported guidelines—supports the exact kind of empirical investigation recommended by American Psychological Association President Suzanne Bennett Johnson. In the President’s Column of the July August 2012 APA Monitor (American Psychological […]By: William Van Ornum, Ph.D.
Edward Hallowell and John Ratey have published a follow-up to their successful book Driven to Distraction. On a hopeful note, it is titled Delivered from Distraction. The first book was written in the 1990s. It contains much good advice on ADHD: diagnosis, medications, telling it apart from other conditions as well as finding it in […]By: William Van Ornum, Ph.D.
Although the education of children and teens with autism is covered both in Public Law 94-142 and Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), even with these supports some parents and advocates worried that the intense needs of those with autism were not being fully addressed. This led to the passage of PL 109-416. This act: […]By: William Van Ornum, Ph.D.
Big Brothers Big Sisters is a national organization which matches volunteers to children who could use a supportive adult in their life. Children in foster care, in single parent families, children with an incapacitating illness–are the kinds of youngsters who might be given priority status. The sponsoring agency has been known to do a careful […]By: William Van Ornum, Ph.D.
Decades ago I was a pre-doctoral intern in clinical psychology and was assigned a therapy case of a young man who would probably now be considered to be experiencing an autism spectrum disorder. He was extremely guarded, withdrawn, and tactile defensive (not liking to touch objects in his environment). Three times each week we met […]By: William Van Ornum, Ph.D.
When I worked in the Astor Day Treatment Program many years ago, our program shared a large inner-city school building with a Head Start Program. It was heartwarming to see young children learning the skills and developing the kinds of relationships that would lead to later success in life. Many didn’t get proper nutrition and […]By: William Van Ornum, Ph.D.
Here are some new books on counseling by members of the American Counseling Association, as described in the February 2012 edition of Counseling Today: Married to the Enemy: A Guide to Overcoming the Obstacles to Intimacy When We are Raised in a Culture that Uses Stereotyping and Sexism to Divide Us By Dawn Kozarian and […]By: William Van Ornum, Ph.D.
This is the fifth of twenty-one films in the AMHF series of blogs. Charly is a controversial film, about mental retardation and psychiatry. The central controversy revolves around the question, “What is a human being?” Are individuals challenged by developmental delays “to be cured?” Are they not soulful, “whole individuals”? What would be the role […]By: Evander Lomke