December 2006, Vol.6, No.12
A reminder to our readers that starting January 1, 2007 , AAMR F.Y.I. will have a new name—AAIDD F.Y.I.! Click here to read why the American Association on Mental Retardation, publisher of AAMR F.Y.I., changed its name to the American Association on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (AAIDD).
Dear AAMR Friends and Colleagues:
NEW HARVARD STUDY SHOWS THAT OVER 200 INDUSTRIAL CHEMICALS HAVE A DAMAGING EFFECT ON HUMAN BRAIN, AND CAN LEAD TO DEVELOPMENTAL DISORDERS SUCH AS AUTISM AND MENTAL RETARDATION
After examining publicly available toxicity data on industrial chemicals most likely to damage the developing brain of a fetus or a young child, researchers from the Harvard School of Public Health and the Mount Sinai School of Medicine conclude that 202 industrial chemicals have the capacity to damage the human brain, and that chemical pollution may have harmed the brains of millions of children worldwide. “Even if substantial documentation on their toxicity is available, most chemicals are not regulated to protect the developing brain,” says Dr. Philippe Grandjean, the study’s lead author “Only a few substances, such as lead and mercury, are controlled with the purpose of protecting children. The 200 other chemicals that are known to be toxic to the human brain are not regulated to prevent adverse effects on the fetus or a small child.”
To read more about the public health recommendations made by the team, download a free report available at http://www.hsph.harvard.edu/neurotoxicant/appendix.doc. The full article on the study, titled “Developmental Neurotoxicity of Industrial Chemicals – A Silent Pandemic,” by Philippe Grandjean and Philip Landrigan is published in the November 8 online edition of The Lancet. To read a press release on the discovery, visit http://www.hsph.harvard.edu/press/releases/press11072006.html.
The Environmental Health Initiative (EHI) website of the American Association on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities features a variety of fact sheets, reports, and presentations on the adverse effects of toxic exposures and its relationship to intellectual disabilities. The EHI Spring 2007 teleconference series (free) features specific sessions on toxic exposures on people living with an intellectual disability. Learn more at http://www.ehinitiative.org/Projects/tele_con.htm.
HISTORIC DEINSTITUTIONALIZATION INITIATIVE UNDERWAY FOR PEOPLE WITH INTELLECTUAL DISABILITIES IN SERBIA
Serbia has announced a historic deinstitutionalization project that will develop a range of community-based support services for people with intellectual disabilities, making it the first state in Central and Eastern Europe to take concrete steps to develop community-based support services on a national scale. The initiative, titled "Community for All Initiative: Serbia" is implemented by the Down's Syndrome Aid Society Serbia and is funded by the Open Society Mental Health Initiative. The Serbian Ministry of Labor, Education, and Social Affairs has committed to establishing day services and purchasing more than 130 apartments and homes for people freed from state institutions. Steven Eidelman, Vice President of the American Association on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities and Board member of the Open Society says, “We commend the efforts of the Serbian Ministry and the leaders at the Open Society Institute Mental Health Initiative for this groundbreaking work in a region of the world with a long and ongoing history of institutionalization. This is taking place while, at the same time, the World Bank is lending money to Romania to build new institutions.”
APPLICATIONS NOW BEING ACCEPTED FOR THE EDITORSHIP OF THE AMERICAN JOURNAL ON MENTAL RETARDATION
One of the top two journals in special education and rehabilitation, the American Journal on Mental Retardation (AJMR) is seeking a new editor starting year 2008. The AJMR, whose current editor is Dr. William MacLean, Jr. from the University of Wyoming, is among the most influential journals in the field of intellectual and developmental disabilities. Dr. MacLean will reach the end of his term as editor in 2007. The Editor will serve a six-year term from January 1, 2008-December 31, 2013. Application materials should include: (1) A cover letter summarizing qualifications for the position (including administrative and review experience) as well as the vision for the Journal’s direction during the six-year term; (2) Complete curriculum vitae; and (3) Names and contact information of five individuals who will serve as references. Applications can be submitted to firstname.lastname@example.org by March 31, 2007 or by mail (Include seven hard copies of materials) to: AAMR/AJMR Editor, Attn: Bruce Appelgren, 444 North Capitol Street, NW, Suite 846, Washington , DC 20001
NEW ONLINE PORTAL FROM THE NATIONAL INSTITUTES OF HEALTH OFFERS PARENTS AND PHYSICIANS CONSUMER-FRIENDLY INFORMATION ON OVER 200 GENETIC DISORDERS AND RELATED GENES
Physicians and families can now turn to Genetics Home Reference, a new online resource from the National Institutes of Health to explain and understand over 500 topics on genetic conditions and related genes. The site features an illustrated tutorial that explains the basics of genetics and includes a glossary of genetics terms. The lay-friendly site is particularly helpful to parents whose newborns have been detected with a genetic condition, and are looking for easy-to-read information on specific conditions.
NEW GUIDE PROVIDES VICTIMS AND DEFENDANTS WITH INTELLECTUAL DISABILITIES WITH AN OVERVIEW OF THE CRIMINAL JUSTICE SYSTEM AND AN UNDERSTANDING OF LEGAL RIGHTS
A unique new Guide from The Arc of the United States offers guidance to a person with an intellectual disability involved in the criminal justice system as a victim or as a suspect/defender. The Guide contains an overview of the criminal justice system and provides advocates with the knowledge and understanding needed to help people with disabilities and their families know what to do once they are in the justice system. Specifically, the Guide addresses four topics: (1) Responding to victimization; (2) Responding to arrests; (3) Answers to commonly asked questions; and (4) Resources for victims and suspects/defendants.
Read The Arc’s Justice Advocacy Guide: An Advocate’s Guide on Assisting Victims and Suspects/Defendants with Intellectual Disabilities by Leigh Ann Davis athttp://www.thearc.org/AAdvocacyGuide.pdf
IMPROVEMENTS IN ASSISTED LIVING FACILITIES AND REHABILITATION SERVICES ARE AMONG FACTORS THAT HAVE CONTRIBUTED TO THE DRAMATIC DECREASE IN CHRONIC DISABILITIES IN OLDER AMERICANS, NEW STUDY SHOWS
Chronic disability among older Americans has dropped dramatically, and the rate of decline has accelerated during the past two decades, according to a new analysis of data from the National Long-Term Care Survey (NLTCS). The study, published in this week’s Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, found that the prevalence of chronic disability among people 65 and older fell from 26.5 percent in 1982 to 19 percent in 2004/2005. The percentage of Medicare enrollees age 65 and older who lived in long-term care institutions such as nursing homes dropped dramatically from 7.5 percent to 4.0 percent. The emergence of assisted-living options, changes in Medicare reimbursement policies, and improved rehabilitation services may have fueled this decrease in institutionalization, says the report. To read a press release from the National Institutes of Health, visit http://www.nih.gov/news/pr/dec2006/nia-01.htm.
AAMR F.Y.I. is compiled by Anna Prabhala, Editor and is published by the American Association on Mental Retardation. Please submit comments, suggestions, tips, and news to email@example.com. For more information on becoming an AAMR member, visithttp://www.aamr.org/Membership/index.shtml.
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