Children’s of Alabama Expands Sensory Pathway For Patients With Sensory Sensitivities
When Sladen Fisher got a bad cut on his earlobe at school, his mother, Jennifer Fisher, worried the sights and sounds of Children’s of Alabama’s Emergency Department would be too stressful for her son. That’s because Sladen has attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and sensory processing disorder.
At the time of the Sladen’s visit, Children’s of Alabama had just launched its Sensory Pathway, designed for patients with conditions such as ADHD, autism and Down syndrome. In 2016, the pathway began as a pilot project in the Emergency Department; however, it has since expanded to One Day Surgery and several inpatient units at Children’s of Alabama, including the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit, Pulmonary Care Unit and Special Care Unit. Future plans include expansion to ancillary and outpatient services.
The pathway made a lasting impact on Sladen. Back at school a few weeks later, he presented a report about someone he considers a hero. He chose Children’s of Alabama Child Life Specialist Shelby Smith, who stayed by his side during his visit, explained his treatment in terms he understood and provided him with an iPad and fidget toys for distraction and comfort.
“In his mind, she was a hero, someone who went above and beyond to help him,” Jennifer said. She made what could have been an incredibly difficult situation so amazing. She really was our hero.”The pathway has been equally impactful on Children’s of Alabama, said Michele Kong, M.D. associate professor in pediatric critical care at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) Department of Pediatrics.
“The pathway has been so empowering for our providers,” said Kong, who serves on the Sensory Pathway Task Force, also comprised of nurses, informatics specialists and child life specialists. Unit by unit, the task force provides education and training and is developing an online training module. The task force is also working with information technology specialists to flag patients with sensory sensitivities from the point of admission.
“We tailor education and training to suit each unit’s needs because each unit’s workflow and culture is different,” Kong said. “The success of the pathway is a direct reflection of our providers’ passion to learn. There’s buy-in from our providers because they know it’s good for their patients.”
As a parent, Kong, too, knows how jarring a hospital visit can be for a child with sensory sensitivities. Her oldest son, Abram, was diagnosed with autism at age 4. The diagnosis inspired Kong and her husband, Julian Maha, M.D., to found KultureCity®, a nonprofit that works to “create acceptance and inclusion for all individuals with unique abilities,” according to its mission statement. In 2019, KultureCity was ranked fourth on Fast Company magazine’s list of the most innovative companies in the world. KultureCity not only partners with local organizations in Birmingham, but also with national organizations such as the NBA and NFL.
“We never imagined it would reach this scale,” Kong said. “It impressed on us that there’s a lot of power when a collective group of people have the same belief and passion for change.”
The rate of diagnosis for autism spectrum disorders (ASD) is the same among all racial groups — one in 110, according to current estimates. However, a study by a Florida State University researcher has found that African-American children tend to be diagnosed later than white children, which results in a longer and more intensive intervention. The reasons for later diagnoses include a lack of access to quality, affordable, culturally competent health care, according to Martell Teasley, an associate professor in Florida State’s College of Social Work who has conducted a comprehensive review of researchliterature on autism and African-American children. In addition, the stigmaattached to mental health conditions within the black community contribute to misdiagnoses of autism, and underuse of available treatment services.
“There are no subjective criteria for diagnosing autism. Only brain scans can truly provide appropriate diagnoses, because we are dealing with biological and chemical imbalances in the brain,” Teasley said. “Not every child is going to have access to this kind of medical evaluation, particularly those who are indigent and don’t have health care funding.”
Teasley examined ASD diagnosis and treatment strategies, and their effect on African-American families, in “Autism and the African-American Community,” a paper published in a special issue of the journal Social Work in Public Health (Vol. 26, Issue 4, 2011) that dealt with health-care policy issues in the black community related to the human genome.
Teasley co-wrote the paper with Ruby Gourdine, a professor of social work at Howard University in Washington, D.C., and Tiffany Baffour, an associate professor of social work at Winston-Salem State University in North Carolina. Because of the social stigma, Teasley says that some African-American families might be resistant to accept a diagnosis and treatment. “Less discussion about autism among African-Americans or between African-Americans and health care providers leads to misdiagnoses, a lack of treatment and a lack of services,” Teasley said.
“This will lead to greater challenges for families — more stress and anxiety, and poorer developmental outcomes.” African-Americans also might resist a diagnosis and treatment because of a mistrust of mainstream health care providers over past discrimination. “African-Americans are well versed in going to a doctor who might have biases or discriminatory practices, so they may not readily accept what a doctor says,” Teasley said. In addition, a cultural divide between African-Americans and mainstream health care providers can hinder a timely and correct diagnosis.
“There are not enough health care professionals who understand the cultural norms and attributes of the African-American community,” Teasley said. African-Americans live in all types of settings, but the majority live in urban areas, which have seen a decline in the number of mental-health care agencies since the 1980s. “This lack of accessibility causes a problem for some African-Americans,” Teasley said. Once a child is diagnosed with ASD, Teasley says both the child and the members of his or her family needs to receive appropriate training and counseling. “The children need behavioral counseling so they can develop the skills to live as independently as possible,” he said. “The families need to learn how to work with children who are autistic. “Intervention for any autistic child needs to start around age 3, so we can get the child to begin to learn how to eat right and develop normal, healthy routines, which will result in a better developmental outcome,” Teasley said. “Later intervention will result in a poorer developmental outcome that can have a lasting impact on the child’s and family’s quality of life.”
Children of women who reported domestic violence in pregnancy or during the first six years of the child’s life are almost 50% more likely to have a low IQ at age 8, research finds.
In the study by University of Manchester epidemiologists, 13% of children whose mothers did not experience domestic violence had an IQ of below 90 at 8 years of age.
If their mothers experienced physical violence from their partner either in pregnancy or during the first six years of the child’s life, the figure rises to 22.8%.
The team led by Dr Kathryn Abel from The University of Manchester show the chance of a low IQ rises to 34.6% if the mother was repeatedly exposed to domestic violence.
That means children with mothers who repeatedly suffer domestic violence during pregnancy and the first six years of their child’s life are almost three times more likely to have a low IQ at 8 years of age, find researchers.
Low IQ is defined as an IQ score less than 90, where a normal IQ is considered to be 100.
The study examined the link between domestic violence – also called Intimate partner violence (IPV) – and child intelligence at 8 year’s old, using 3,997 mother child pairs from The University of Bristol’s Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children.
The study, funded by the Wellcome Trust and Medical Research Council, is published in Wellcome Open Research.
ALSPAC follows children from pregnancy, and measures emotional and physical domestic violence – also known as intimate partner violence – from pregnancy until eight years of age.
The intelligence of the children was measured at eight years using the Weschler standardised IQ test.
Dr Abel said: “We already know that 1 in 4 women age 16 and over in England and Wales will experience domestic violence in their lifetime and that their children are at greater risk of physical, social and behavioural problems.
“We also know that intelligence in childhood is strongly linked with doing well in adulthood, though there has been little evidence about the risk of low IQ for these children.
“While we cannot conclude that IPV causes low IQ, these findings demonstrate domestic violence has a measurable link, by mid-childhood, independent of other risk factors for low IQ.”
17.6% of the mothers in the study reported emotional violence and 6.8% reported physical violence.
The findings are independent of other risk factors for low IQ such as alcohol and tobacco use in pregnancy, maternal depression, low maternal education and financial hardship around the child’s birth.
There is some disagreement on whether the IQ test is a complete measure of intelligence, as it only considers verbal and non-verbal intelligence
However, it is regarded as useful by many experts because a high IQ has been demonstrated in many countries and cultures to associate with a broad range of improved social and health outcomes.
Dr Hein Heuvelman, from The University of Bristol added: “Exposure to domestic violence is common for children in the UK and an important and often overlooked risk factor in their life chances.
“So knowing the extent to which these already vulnerable children are further affected is a powerful argument for more, better and earlier intervention.
“Current support for women experiencing domestic violence is inadequate in some areas and absent in others.
“Early intervention with these families protects children from harm, but it may also prioritise their future development.”
Condition causes severe neuro degeneration in infants
A team of South Australian researchers has cracked a rare gene variant for a disorder that sees a normal healthy child start to lose muscle tone and motor skills, ultimately losing the capacity to walk and use language. The children go on to experience epileptic encephalopathy and cycles of serious gastric disruption, including severe vomiting.
The condition has an onset at between 12 and 14 months.
Using a genomics approach, where a patient’s entire DNA sequence is examined, University of South Australia PhD student Alicia Byrne made the significant find, identified in just three infants worldwide, two of those in one South Australian family.
“When we started working with this local family, the disorder the children presented with had never been described but since our research began there has been one more case identified,” Byrne says.
“We discovered that the children carried genetic changes which meant they were unable to absorb vital B group vitamins, which are essential for normal development and function of the nervous system.”
While the Adelaide family tragically lost one child to this disorder, with the cause now identified, the family’s paediatric neurologist at the Women’s and Children’s Hospital in Adelaide, Dr Nicholas Smith, and colleagues were able to devise a targeted therapy to overcome the problem.
Dr Smith, a senior lecturer in paediatric medicine at the University of Adelaide, says the treatment has made a huge difference.
“For the family’s second child, weekly injections of the B group vitamins in which he is deficient have been able to halt and even reverse some of the impacts of this devastating disease,” Dr Smith says.
Byrne’s PhD supervisor, UniSA Adjunct Professor at the Centre for Cancer Biology, Hamish Scott says, ironically, rare diseases are actually a broad and significant area of genomics research.
“While a rare genetic disease may only impact a handful of people, what we are quickly understanding in our work on the human genome is that there are myriad different rare diseases,” he says.
“Genomic research opens an important path in identifying and, with strong partnerships such as we have here in South Australia between universities, government and our hospitals, in developing personalised precision medicine to treat rare diseases.”
“In addition, the work we do in understanding genes and how they make the body work, constantly informs human biology and provides deeper understandings of human health that have population-wide relevance.”
“Our goal is to develop genomic testing so that children can be diagnosed at or before birth and treatments can be delivered as early as possible.”
Here are five best practices that can help reduce the chances of abduction:
Always have your keys in-hand.
Moak suggests getting your keys ready prior to leaving the inside of a
building in case you need to quickly access the inside of your vehicle.
Do not stand next to your vehicle in the dark fumbling through your bags.
“You are vulnerable to the element of surprise in that situation,” Moak
said. “Avoid going places alone after dark, especially if you are in a
place that is not familiar to you.”
Look inside your vehicle before you get in, especially when it has been parked in a parking terminal or lot.
Moak says this is a great practice and encourages everyone to be aware
of their surroundings when leaving a mall or grocery store.
Teach your children danger signs.
“As for parents of young children, it is impossible to be with your
child every second of every day, but teaching them danger signs — like
do not talk to adults you do not know in the park or on the playground —
can make a big difference in helping to avoid abduction,” Moak said.
“Teach your children to not accept candy or gifts from someone they do
not know. These are all standard tips that we have heard over and over,
but they still remain true today. If you are unable to supervise your
child, make sure another adult is available or in reach of your child.”
Do not leave your children in public parks or playgrounds unattended.
Moak says parents have so many responsibilities, mostly due to work
schedules that do not always align with school schedules. That is when
community support can be vital. “As a community, we need to support each
other to make parenting easier,” Moak said. “We don’t seem to honor the
ideal that it takes a village to raise a child. It is always easier to
judge than to support, but that will not address the problem in our
Moak emphasizes that people should pay close attention to their surroundings when in public every day.
what is going on around you,” Moak said. “That’s the fastest way to
ward off a potential criminal — by looking them in the eyes. Most
would-be offenders will alter their course of action if they fear they
can be identified by someone.”
Most importantly, being aware of
what is happening around you — and not ignoring things that seem out of
sorts — is a critical crime-prevention tool.
About UAB Known
for its innovative and interdisciplinary approach to education at both
the graduate and undergraduate levels, the University of Alabama at
Birmingham is an internationally renowned research university and
academic medical center, as well as Alabama’s largest employer, with
some 23,000 employees, and has an annual economic impact exceeding $7
billion on the state. The five pillars of UAB’s mission include
education, research, patient care, community service and economic
development. UAB is a two-time recipient of the prestigious Center for Translational Science Award. Learn more at www.uab.edu. UAB: Powered by will.
Case Western Reserve University researchers examine needs, services for youth with autism and their family caregivers
New research at Case Western Reserve University found big gaps in
services and continued care for children with autism—and their
families—as they transition from adolescence to adulthood.
families need more support, including improved job training, access to
services and transportation, according to research from the university’s
Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel School of Applied Social Sciences.
surveyed 174 families from Northeast Ohio to examine the needs and
barriers to services for youth with autism—from 16 to 30 years old—and
their family caregivers.
Examining the issues
were recruited from 28 public and private agencies and organizations.
The survey asked about services—both received and needed—as well as top
concerns. Chief among them: limited access to information, reported by
51% of the respondents. Other issues include waiting lists or services
not being available (44%), location (39%) and cost (37%).
also examined the quality of the services provided. They found that
often families don’t know where to turn for service, or what services
“The number one thing we heard from parents was that they
weren’t aware of the services available to them,” said Karen Ishler, a
senior research associate at the Mandel School and co-director of the
project. “How do you know what you don’t know? Who do they talk to?”
Biegel, the Henry L. Zucker Professor of Social Work Practice at the
Mandel School and one of the project’s co-directors. said there were
some positives learned from the research, too. More than 60% said they
“see eye-to-eye” with their spouse/partner regarding care, and more than
65% of the caregivers reported other positive aspects of care.
spectrum disorder (ASD) affects the entire family,” said Biegel, “Many
young people with ASD are at risk for reduced quality of life in
adulthood. Additionally, families of adolescents and young adults with
ASD face all kinds of stressors—especially during those critical
Take, for example, finding a job. Children with
autism are allowed to stay in public schools until age 22. When they
finish, though, employment training and support dries up, according to
“What happens when they age out? It’s a growing
concern,” Ishler said. “We have to look at the service delivery, because
we know there are many unmet needs.”
In 2004, one in 166 children nationally were diagnosed with autism; in 2018, that ratio was one in 59.
lot of these kids diagnosed at 4, 5 and 6 years old are now becoming
young adults,” Biegel said. “It’s putting new pressures on them, and
particularly their families, as they age out of school-based services.”
caregiver’s response about his or her daughter summed up the problem:
“Don’t assume that just because she is highly intellectually functioning
that she doesn’t need support and acceptance socially.”
and Ishler found that 82% of those with autism live with their parents
into adulthood. “This confirms what we already know: families shoulder
the burden of autism,” Biegel said. The study found that 28% family
members had elevated anxiety and 35% had elevated symptoms of
“We tend to emphasize the people who aren’t doing
well,” he said. “We knew there were going to be issues. But some
families are doing just fine—they’ve figured out how to navigate the
system. However, here is also a significant number of families that have
major concerns and needs. Our hope is that these results stimulates
discussion and awareness.”
The study was funded by the
International Center for Autism Research and Education (ICARE) through a
Mt. Sinai Foundation catalytic grant.
Many parents permit their adolescent children to drink alcohol,
believing this helps teach them responsible use and avoids the appeal of
‘forbidden fruit’. In research studies, greater parental permissibility
for alcohol has been linked to earlier and heavier drinking in
adolescence. However, it is not clear whether parents allowing
adolescents to drink is itself to blame, or if this kind of
permissibility is simply a marker for other factors (relating to the
family, parents or child) that increase the risk of problem alcohol use
among adolescents. For example, parents’ own heavy drinking, family
sociodemographics, and adolescents’ friends’ use of alcohol can all
affect the likelihood of alcohol misuse among adolescents, and each of
these risk factors might also be underlying causes of parents allowing
drinking. In a new report published in the journal Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research,
researchers from Pennsylvania State University have used
intergenerational data from a contemporary UK study to examine whether
parents allowing adolescents to drink is itself associated with risky
drinking in adolescence, beyond other such risk factors.
Millennium Cohort Study (MCS) has collected data from over eleven
thousand parents and children from infancy through to 14 years, using
regular interviews. Children were asked questions about their alcohol
use when they were aged 11 and 14 years; the data showed that by age 14,
half had drunk more than a few sips of alcohol, around 10% had drunk
heavily, and 3% had drunk heavily at least 3 times in the past year.
Seven percent had made a rapid transition to heavy drinking, defined as
escalating to having at least five drinks at a time, within a year of
having their first drink.
Parents of 14-year olds were asked if
they permitted their child to use alcohol, with about 16% of parents
indicating that they did allow this. Using a series of statistical
analyses, the researchers found that these teenagers faced an elevated
risk of heavy alcohol use at age 14, even after accounting for a large
host of other risk factors measured earlier when children were age 11.
Specifically, children who were permitted to drink alcohol had over
twice the odds of engaging in heavy or frequent heavy drinking by age
14, and almost double the risk of a rapid transition to heavy drinking,
than those whose parents did not permit alcohol use.
findings do not support the idea that allowing children to drink alcohol
inoculates them against alcohol misuse, and will help to target
prevention and screening efforts to reduce underage drinking. However,
the researchers note that because adolescent heavy drinking and parental
permissiveness about alcohol were measured at the same point in the
survey (at around age 14), the findings represent an association rather
than cause and effect; further research will be needed to establish
whether parental permissiveness leads to adolescent heavy drinking, or
whether adolescent drinking over time leads parents to become more
Parents Allowing Drinking is Associated with Adolescents’ Heavy Alcohol Use. J. Staff, J. Maggs (pages xxx).
Social media users who post a high percentage of selfies have lower perceived likability
“A new Baylor University study published in the journal Psychology of Popular Media Culture looks at the value that outside observers place on social media cues (followers, likes, etc.) and measures the perceived likability of the people whose profiles were viewed. “
Maybe you think your Facebook posts are hilarious. Or you might think that Instagram selfie of you at the beach is picture-perfect. And that clever Tweet? You nailed it! But what do other people – your “friends,” “followers” and anyone else who might stumble across your profile – think of you based on your social media presence? Do they really like you?
A new Baylor University study published in the journal Psychology of Popular Media Culture
looks at the value that outside observers place on social media cues
(followers, likes, number of selfies, etc.) and measures the perceived
likability of the people whose profiles were viewed. The experimental
study generated 873 decision responses from 72 experienced social media
users who were asked to look at differing social media profiles and
posts and then assess the likeability of the social media user.
are many studies of individuals’ self-perception through social media
use. We are turning that around and looking at the audience’s
perspective,” said the study’s lead author, Steven W. Bradley, Ph.D., associate professor of entrepreneurship in Baylor University’s Hankamer School of Business.
study shows that “perceived likability” – a combination of perceived
friendliness, relevance, empathy and realness – differed among men and
women. Individual cue patterns confirmed several commonly held
assumptions while combinations of social cues produced more intriguing
findings, Bradley said. Researchers found:
Social media users
who amass a larger number of friends and garner high numbers of likes
on their posts have a higher perceived likability
Social media users who are considered physically attractive have higher perceived likability
Social media users who post a high percentage of selfies – photos featuring only themselves – have lower perceived likability
Males tend to value attractiveness more than females in assessing likability
Females tend to base perceived likability on numbers of followers, likes and percentage of selfies
the number of followers and likes are twice as important as
attractiveness in predicting likeability, Bradley said. Alternatively,
social media users with a higher percentage of selfies are considered
1.5 times less likeable by outside observers.
that users who were rated “low in attractiveness” gained more
likability points, per se, if they had a large number of followers and
likes. When social media users are viewed as “higher in attractiveness,”
a change in the followers and likes from low to high increases
perceived likeability by 20 percent. In contrast, for social media users
who are perceived as lower in attractiveness, the difference in rated
likeability between low and high followers and likes is 64 percent.
other words, numbers of followers and likes may be used by an observer
to ‘make up’ for more obvious indicators like attractiveness when
assessing likability,” the researchers wrote. “Most observers suggest
that attractive people are likable due to associated attributes like
social ease and confidence. A less attractive person with a high number
of followers and likes suggest that other features – perhaps
friendliness, relevance, empathy and realness – are the source of their
social network, which also increase perceptions of likability.”
for selfies? The researchers found that observers use their experience
with cues regarding selfies to evaluate whether an authentic or
manufactured self is presented.
“Too many selfies suggest the page owner is overly narcissistic and not a good friend candidate,” said study co-author James A. Roberts, Ph.D., The Ben H. Williams Professor of Marketing in Baylor’s Hankamer School of Business.
Likability diminished even when other social media status cues of followers or attractiveness were high.
hypothesized and found that a high percentage of selfies is a cue that
may indicate less reciprocity and group benefit, focusing
narcissistically on oneself relative to others,” the researchers wrote.
ABOUT BAYLOR UNIVERSITY Baylor University is a private Christian University and a nationally ranked research institution. The University provides a vibrant campus community for more than 17,000 students by blending interdisciplinary research with an international reputation for educational excellence and a faculty commitment to teaching and scholarship. Chartered in 1845 by the Republic of Texas through the efforts of Baptist pioneers, Baylor is the oldest continually operating University in Texas. Located in Waco, Baylor welcomes students from all 50 states and more than 80 countries to study a broad range of degrees among its 12 nationally recognized academic divisions.
ABOUT HANKAMER SCHOOL OF BUSINESS
University’s Hankamer School of Business provides a rigorous academic
experience, consisting of classroom and hands-on learning, guided by
Christian commitment and a global perspective. Recognized nationally for
several programs, including Entrepreneurship and Accounting, the school
offers 24 undergraduate and 13 graduate areas of study. Visit
http://www.baylor.edu/businessand follow on Twitter at
Bill Nelson Edges Ahead of Rick Scott in U.S. Senate Race
In the wake of a mass shooting that took the lives of 17 students and
teachers at a South Florida high school, a vast majority of Floridians
support stricter gun laws, including a ban on assault-style rifles,
universal background checks and raising the minimum age for gun
purchasers, according to a statewide survey by the Florida Atlantic
University Business and Economics Polling Initiative (FAU BEPI).
the political front, Florida Gov. Rick Scott has lost ground to Sen.
Bill Nelson in a U.S. Senate race hypothetical matchup. Although Scott
has not officially declared his candidacy for the seat currently held by
Nelson, the latest poll shows Nelson with a two-point lead over Scott,
40 to 38 percent. A poll FAU BEPI conducted at the beginning of February
showed Scott leading Nelson by 10 points.
“The bad news for Scott
is his A+ rating from the National Rifle Association (NRA) makes 44
percent of voters less likely to vote for him and only 26 percent more
likely,” said Monica Escaleras,
Ph.D., director of the BEPI. “A deeper dive into these numbers also
finds Independents less likely to vote for Scott, 43 to 17 percent,
because of his NRA rating.”
Additionally, Floridians disapprove of
U.S. President Donald Trump’s response to the recent mass shooting 49
to 34 percent. Republicans approve 62 to 20 percent, while Democrats
disapprove 73 to 16 percent, and Independents disapprove 53 to 23
Seven out of 10 voters want stricter gun laws while only
11 percent said laws should be less strict and 19 percent said laws
should be left as is. A majority of voters of every party affiliation
want stricter gun laws, with Democrats most in support at 84 percent,
followed by Independents at 69 percent and Republicans at 55 percent.
background checks for all gun buyers are supported by 87 percent of
voters, and there is no statistical difference based on party
affiliation. Nearly 4 of 5 voters (78 percent) support raising the
minimum age to purchase a gun from 18 to 21, while 69 percent support a
ban on assault-style rifles, with 23 percent opposed. A proposal to arm
teachers is opposed by 56 percent of voters and supported by only 31
percent, with Democrats opposing by a 74 to 16 percent margin,
Independents opposing 57 to 26 percent and Republicans supporting the
proposal 53 to 37 percent.
“Gun control may turn out to be a
pivotal issue in the midterm elections and could well be the difference
in a close race for the Senate between Rick Scott and Bill Nelson,” said
Ph.D., professor of political science at FAU and a research fellow of
the Initiative. “While large majorities of Floridians support background
checks and an increase in the age requirement, it is not at all clear
that there is sufficient support for these measures in the Florida
legislature. As we are already late in the session, it will take a
serious push by Gov. Scott to pass any of these reforms this year.”
survey also found that 27 percent of voters have either been a victim
of gun violence themselves or know someone who has. Among African
American voters this number jumps to 51 percent, while only 22 percent
of whites and 24 percent of Hispanics have had this experience. Younger
voters are also more likely to have been a victim or know a victim of
gun violence, with 36 percent of voter’s age 18-34, 30 percent of age
35-54, 23 percent of age 55-74 and 9 percent of those over 75.
asked what they believe is the major contributor to mass shootings, the
availability of guns came in first with nearly 4 of 10 voters (39
percent), while 24 percent selected a lack of mental healthcare. Violent
themes on TV and video games came in third at 18 percent, while 14
percent said it’s something else. One-third of Republicans (33 percent)
said the lack of mental healthcare was a major contributor of gun
violence, while availability of guns was ranked as the major contributor
by Democrats (56 percent) and Independents (42 percent).
than 4 of 10 (41 percent) of voters in the survey own a gun. Republicans
(52 percent) are more likely to own a gun than Democrats (36 percent)
and Independents (33 percent).
“Independent voters are closer to
the Democrats than the Republicans on some of these gun control issues
in our poll. That could be a problem for Republicans in the fall,”
The survey, which polled 800 Florida registered voters Feb. 23-25, was conducted using an online sample supplied by Survey Sampling International using online questionnaires and via an automated telephone platform (IVR) using registered voter lists supplied by Aristotle, Inc.
The survey has a margin of error of +/- 3.6 percentage points.
Responses for the entire sample were weighted to reflect the statewide
distribution of the Florida population. The polling results and full
cross-tabulations are available at www.business.fau.edu/bepi.
– FAU –
About FAU BEPI: The
Florida Atlantic University Business and Economic Polling Initiative
conducts surveys on business, economic, political and social issues with
a focus on Hispanic attitudes and opinions at regional, state and
national levels via planned monthly national surveys. The initiative
subscribes to the American Association of Public Opinion Research and is
a resource for public and private organizations, academic research and
media outlets. In addition, the initiative is designed to contribute to
the educational mission of the University by providing students with
valuable opportunities to enhance their educational experience by
designing and carrying out public opinion research.
About Florida Atlantic UniversityFlorida
Atlantic University, established in 1961, officially opened its doors
in 1964 as the fifth public university in Florida. Today, the
University, with an annual economic impact of $6.3 billion, serves more
than 30,000 undergraduate and graduate students at sites throughout its
six-county service region in southeast Florida. FAU’s world-class
teaching and research faculty serves students through 10 colleges: the
Dorothy F. Schmidt College of Arts and Letters, the College of Business,
the College for Design and Social Inquiry, the College of Education,
the College of Engineering and Computer Science, the Graduate College,
the Harriet L. Wilkes Honors College, the Charles E. Schmidt College of
Medicine, the Christine E. Lynn College of Nursing and the Charles E.
Schmidt College of Science. FAU is ranked as a High Research Activity
institution by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching.
The University is placing special focus on the rapid development of
critical areas that form the basis of its strategic plan: Healthy aging,
biotech, coastal and marine issues, neuroscience, regenerative
medicine, informatics, lifespan and the environment. These areas provide
opportunities for faculty and students to build upon FAU’s existing
strengths in research and scholarship. For more information, visit www.fau.edu.
First-line health professionals must vastly improve their
communication and engagement with parents if they are to help address
the growing prevalence of autism among children, say researchers from
the University of South Australia.
Undertaking a meta-synthesis of 22 international studies,
researchers consolidated the voices of 1178 parents advocating for
their children with autism, finding that parents feel ignored and
dismissed by medical practitioners as they navigate initial concerns for
their child, further investigations, and finally, a formal diagnosis of
Researchers say that medical practitioners need to adopt a
family-focused approach to ensure that parents’ concerns, perspectives
and observations are taken seriously so that their child has appropriate
and timely access to early intervention services.
Autism spectrum disorder
(ASD) is a persistent developmental disorder characterised by social
difficulties, restricted or repetitive patterns of behaviour, and
impaired communication skills. The symptoms can range from mild to
severe, with early signs often evident from early childhood.
UniSA lead researcher, Dr Kobie Boshoff, says the parent advocacy role is critical and must be taken more seriously by medical practitioners.
are natural advocates for their child, making them an invaluable source
of information when it comes to complex diagnoses for invisible
disabilities like autism,” Dr Boshoff says.
“Yet parents are increasingly finding the diagnosis process overly stressful and complicated.
this study, parents commonly reported their concerns for their child
were not being heard or taken seriously by medical professionals. They
said they felt confused, stressed and frustrated at the lack of support
“They also reported lengthy delays in receiving
a diagnosis for their child, as well as a variety of unsatisfactory
explanations as alternatives to autism. As access to early intervention
services is essential for improving the development outcomes of children
with autism, this too is unacceptable.”
Dr Boshoff says
first-line medical professionals and service providers must recognise
both the role of parents as advocates for their child, and the
importance of the parent-practitioner role, which can significantly
impact future relationships with other professionals.
She says to build trust medical practitioners must reassess the way they talk and engage with parents.
line health professionals and diagnostic services must ensure emotional
support is provided to parents throughout the diagnosis process,
engaging parents as partners and taking their concerns seriously,” Dr
“Autism spectrum disorder is a lifelong
developmental condition. A positive experience in the early stages of
diagnosis can deliver better relationships with future professionals,
and most importantly, secure better outcomes for the children.”