This Week in Parenting Health News: Autism, Math Anxiety, and a Massive RecallJoslyn Gray
It was a busy week in parenting health news, with news about the use of restraint in schools, a study about kids and math anxiety, and a massive recall of child safety locks.
Recall: Nearly One Million Child Safety Locks Are Pretty Useless
After scores of young kids broke through child safety cabinet locks, Dorel Group is voluntarily recalling 900,000 Safety 1st Push N’ Snap cabinet locks. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission said it knows of 140 children between the ages of 9 months and 5 years who were able to open the locks.
In three cases, the children swallowed or handled dishwashing detergent, window cleaner or oven cleaner. They were treated and released from emergency rooms. The locks were made in China, the statement said.
The recall involves Safety 1st Push ‘N Snap cabinet locks with model numbers 48391 and 48442. Locks manufactured between January 2004 and November 2010 are included in the recall. Consumers can obtain replacement locks through the Dorel website.
Autism Study Doc Has Medical License Reinstated
John Walker-Smith, MD, a pediatric gastroenterologist who was stripped of his medical license because of misconduct related to a discredited study that linked the measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR) vaccine and autism, has been cleared of the misconduct charges by a high court in London. The ruling does not affect the status of Andrew Wakefield, MBBS, the lead author on the study and the lightening rod for most of the criticism surrounding the study, which was published in The Lancet in 1998. The General Medical Council, which is restoring Walker-Smith’s ability to practice medicine, cautioned that He the ruling does not have any effect on the discredited MMR vaccine-autism link, emphasizing that “there is now no respectable body of opinion which supports [Dr. Wakefield’s] hypothesis, that MMR vaccine and autism/enterocolitis are causally linked.”
Study: Moms of Autistic Kids Earn 56% Less
A study published in the medical journal Pediatrics showed that mothers of autistic children earn, on average, 56% less than moms of kids with no limitations, and 35% less than moms of kids with other kinds of limitations. On average, families with autistic children have 28% less income than the average family. The reasons given include the enormous amount of time that moms, who are typically the primary care-givers, spend accessing health care and other services for their children.
I’d like to note that while I do spend a significant portion of time managing my kids’ Individual Education Plans and behavioral issues, the biggest reason it would be nearly impossible for me to work outside the home is the lack of appropriate childcare for autistic kids. My six-year-old autistic son is not fully potty-trained, and has some pretty major behavioral needs, despite being considered “high-functioning.” Traditional child care placements are not even an option, and the amount I’d have to pay a nanny trained in autism needs would be astronomical, dwarfing any salary I could possibly earn.
Brains of Kids With Math Anxiety May Function Differently, Study Says
Math anxiety is not very well studied, but as any mom can tell you, it’s a real thing. Researchers at the University of Stanford School of Medicine did brain scans on high-anxiety and low-anxiety kids while the kids did math problems. The kids they tested, all aged 7 to 9, did not have general anxiety in other areas of life. The scans showed that the kids with more math anxiety had more activity in the amygdala, the area of the brain used to process negative emotions like fear. The children with higher math anxiety were slower at solving problems, and were less accurate.
Advocates Press Congress to Act on Use Restraint and Seclusion in Schools
A coalition of advocates for people with disabilities offered criticism this week of a report by the American Society of School Administrators. The report asserted that schools use restraint and seclusion “appropriately” 99 percent of the time, but did not cite any specific source for that number. The coalition noted that “only seven states mandate training in medical distress and first-aid, and only 18 states in safe and appropriate restraint/seclusion use (often without further definition of what this means).” Major advocacy groups including The Arc and Easter Seals are backing the Keeping All Students Safe Act (H.R. 1381 in Congress and S. 2020 in the Senate)
(Photo Credit: CPSC)