mental disability


Level 14: A Home for California’s Most Troubled Children Comes Undone

In this investigative series into one of California’s largest group homes for children with mental disabilities and emotional disorders, ProPublica journalists expose failures at nearly every level to protect its troubled residents. The insitution at the center of the story, FamiliesFirst in Davis, was raided by police in June 2013 after a year of responding to hundreds of calls about drug use, rape, violence and negligence. According to reporter Joaquin Sapien’s explanation of how the story was covered, the investigators obtained data through public records requests and drew from interviews with more than three dozen subjects, including social workers and children who worked and lived in the home.

Read more, and watch the accompanying documentary “Sule’s Story,” at ProPublica.

The New York Times

Separated From Brother, Left to Toil Far From Home

Leon Jones, 64, has an intellectual disability and a swollen right hand that aches from 40 years of hanging live turkeys on shackles that swing them to their slaughter. He also may be the last working member of the so-called Henry’s Boys — men recruited from Texas institutions decades ago to eviscerate turkeys, only to wind up living in virtual servitude, without many basic rights. Read more

Associated Press

Expert to Newtown Panel: Violence, Autism Not Tied

An expert in psychology on Friday told a commission investigating the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre that there is no data linking autism to violent tendencies. Matthew Lerner, a professor at Stony Brook University, was among a group of experts who testified on autism spectrum disorder and programs available to help people with autism.

The commission is considering whether the state of Connecticut’s mental health programs are adequate in treating people with mental disabilities, specifically in regard to Adam Lanza, the gunman who killed 28 people in  a December 2012 school shooting rampage, including himself. Lanza, 20, was diagnosed with profound autism spectrum disorder in 2006. Read more.

Associated Press

FDA OKs mental disability blood test for infants

The Food and Drug Administration cleared a new blood test on Friday that can detect mental disabilities in infants. The laboratory test called CytoScan Dx Assay is not intended for prenatal screening but for helping doctors diagnose some developmental disabilities earlier, such as Down syndrome and DiGeorge syndrome.

Whereas other existing tests are generally only used after a child starts exhibiting signs of a disorder, doctors said the new test should be available to use before any signs occur to help get appropriate care right away. Read more.