News stories of interest to the MAC Community
Most States Fail to Meet IDEA Requirements (Michelle Diamet, Disability Scoop, 7/12/19) The U.S
Department of Education reports that 29 states fail to meet the legal requirements for special
education, all of them classified as “needing assistance”. State evaluations are based on student
performance, functional outcomes of students, and meeting IODEA procedural requirements. For early
intervention, 27 states met the requirements for services for children up to age 2.
Autism is Mostly Caused by Genetics (Shaun Heasley, 7/18/19, Disability Scoop) In the largeststudy of
its kind, researchers concluded that the cause of autism comes from a person’s genetic makeup. More
than two million people born between 1998- 2011 were followed up to age 16. By then more than
22,000 had been diagnosed with autism. Researchers used national health registries to analyze records
on parents, siblings, and cousins to look for autism in other family members. Genetic risk for autism
ranged from 51% to 87%. Environmental factors were found to contribute only minimally if at all.
Federal Funding Drops for Special Ed Preschool (Jackie Mader, The Hechinger Report, 7/17/19) The
special education law (IDEA) requires that services for disabled children begin at age 3. However,
federal funding for these programs has declined for decades so that local school districts must provide
services with less and less federal funding. Funding dropped between 2002 to 2015 from $390 million to
$353 million. This occurred while the number of children served more than doubled. This meant
decreased per pupil spending which decreased by 40% per child from 1994-29\014. Lack of adequate
funding means programs must be subsidized by state funds and local sources. There is wide variability
in Pre-K programs across the country. The tragedy of this funding dilemma is that children who
participate and receive services show increased growth in social and emotional skills. The majority of
children in these programs are either developmentally delayed or have speech-language problems.
EPA Won’t Ban Popular Pesticide Seen as health Risk to Children (Lisa Friedman, New York Times, 7/19/19) The
Environmental Protection Agency announced on 7/18/19 that it would not ban a pesticide its own
experts link to serious health problems in children that affects their brains. The pesticide is chlorpyrifus.
The EPA says that the data concerning use of the pesticide was “not sufficiently valid, complete, or
reliable.” The commercial name for this pesticide is Lorsban, already banned for household use.
However, it is used widely by farmers for more than 50 fruit, nut, cereal and vegetable crops. In 2016
more than 640,000 acres were treated with chlorpyrifus in California alone.
A Moonshot for the Brain (Carl Zimmer, New York Times, 4/2/19) Klotho is a mysterious hormone made by the
brain. Recent scientific studies show that it increases cognition and memory. Current experiments
examined what happened when higher levels of Klotho were injected. The results showed improved
brain functioning in every instance. There are many ethical issues, but those working with Klotho see it
as a treatment for Alzheimer’s disease.