Friday, November 12, 2010

Survey: One in 10 US children has ADHD

This is about the percentage of kids who have always been "naughty". They were once effectively socialized by corporal punishment instead of being drugged to the eyeballs with drugs that are illegal for adults. The news below is simply news about the breakdown of discipline

A government survey says 1 in 10 US children has ADHD, a sizable increase from a few years earlier that researchers think might be explained by growing awareness and better screening.

ADHD, or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, makes it hard for children to pay attention and control impulsive behavior. It’s often treated with drugs, behavioral therapy, or both.

The new study found that about two-thirds of the children who have ADHD are on medication. The estimate comes from a survey released yesterday that found an increase in ADHD of about 22 percent from 2003 to the most recent survey, in 2007-08. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention interviewed parents of children ages 4 through 17 in both studies.

In the latest survey, 9.5 percent said a doctor or health care provider had told them their child had ADHD.

Researchers calculate that about 5.4 million children have been diagnosed with ADHD, which suggests that about 1 million more children have the disorder than a few years earlier.

Scientists don’t have clear answers about why there was such a significant increase. The study’s lead author, Susanna Visser of the CDC, suggests greater awareness and stepped-up screening efforts are part of the explanation.

One specialist found it hard to believe that so many children might have ADHD. “It sounds a little high,’’ said Howard Abikoff, director of the Institute for Attention Deficit Hyperactivity and Behavior Disorders at New York University’s Child Study Center.


Muslim students' female-only swim at GWU makes waves

Colleges strive to create welcoming, inclusive communities for students from every background. But a new effort at George Washington University has scores of critics and supporters abuzz with heated comments that continue to pour in on various blogs and news articles.

At the request of the university's Muslim Students' Association, George Washington began offering a once-weekly, female-only swim hour in March. But it only recently turned into an online debate over issues of religious and sexual discrimination and - though not always explicitly - racism, spurred by an article in the student newspaper, The GW Hatchet.

The Lerner Health and Wellness Center pool closes to men for one of the 20 hours it's open each week, with a tarp blocking the view through the glass door and a female lifeguard on duty. The university declined to comment for this article beyond a two-sentence statement that said its officials are reviewing the closure while they establish a formal recreational swim policy.

A few highlights from Internet comments on The Washington Post's and TBD's recent coverage of the swim hour: "Should a minuscule minority force the overwhelming majority [to] abide by their rules or should it be the other way around?" "Western society should not accommodate to Islam on this point; it is Islam that should change."

And in rebuttal: "Come on, folks. An hour a week - what's the big deal?" "It's not an unreasonable request. 'Women' is like half the population."

Many comments not quoted here could easily be considered racially offensive.

Despite the naysayers, Sisters' Splash, as it's called, is not the only special accommodation that a college has made for Muslim students. George Washington already has foot baths for pre-prayer rituals, and a handful of other institutions - including the University of Michigan-Dearborn and George Mason University - have them as well. In 2008, at the request of female Muslim students, Harvard University ran a one-semester pilot program that reserved six hours a week for female students only at one of its lesser-used gyms, though the program was discontinued after that semester. There's also Gamma Gamma Chi Sorority Inc., an Islamic-based sorority that has five regional chapters, though not all are active.

Shelley Mountjoy, a doctoral student at George Mason who briefly attended George Washington as an undergraduate, doesn't much care what goes on at private colleges. But she takes issue with the foot baths at George Mason and with other religious accommodations at public universities. She is afraid that policies like the female-only swim hour will have a domino effect and spread to other colleges. "I don't want my tuition dollars paying to accommodate somebody's religion," she said. "It's not the entire campus's religion. We don't all have to subscribe to Islamic law."

Because George Washington is a private university, there are no constitutional issues with the swim hour, said Ayesha N. Khan, legal director of Americans United for Separation of Church and State. Should a similar program start up at a public university, the presence of church-state issues would depend on the many facts of the situation, such as whether access is religion-specific, Khan said.

Mountjoy, who serves on the boards of Atheist Alliance International and the national Secular Student Alliance, is also the founder and president of the Secular Student Alliance chapter at George Mason. She said that although some criticism of the swim hour and other services might stem from a bias against Muslim people, she takes issue with any type of religious accommodation. "I actually think that it's in everybody's best interest to keep religion out of our public schools," she said. "I would react the same if this was a Christian-only swimming hour."

Students say the criticism is mostly coming from off-campus. Shaeera Tariq, a sophomore at George Washington and vice president of the Muslim Students' Association, helped initiate the swim hour. She said nobody really knew about it until the Hatchet article came out - and as it happens, she is a reporter at the paper and she pitched the article to her editor. "It definitely sparked a lot of debate amongst people, but it seems to me there is a definite positive sentiment on campus and people are in favor of it," she said. "We're not closing down the mall or something for an hour. We're just closing down a pool that wasn't used very often in the first place."

John L. Esposito, an Islamic studies professor and founding director of Georgetown University's Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding, said many of the negative reactions undoubtedly stem from an "Islamophobia."

"It's very clear that there's a good chance many of them have a real problem accepting Muslims or Islam, and we've got to deal with that. In a pluralistic society, that form of bigotry and racism - we've dealt with it before and we've got to deal with it now," Esposito said, referring to civil rights struggles. "It seems to me this is a perfectly understandable thing that we should be doing. All of these members of the community pay tuition and so faculty and administrators have to always be open to responding to and accommodating the needs of people."

Esposito cited numerous other ways institutions serve different groups: parking for people with disabilities, campus chapels for various religions, and excusing attendance for students celebrating religious holidays other than the traditionally recognized Christmas or Easter. "If there's a segment of the community that can benefit from an accommodation, you make it when you can," he said. "The fact is, they have rights and you have to accept it."

Zahin Hasan, president of the Muslim Students' Association, said the number of women - Muslim and non-Muslim - who attend the swim hour varies. But the point is that the college is serving more students, better. "What I can't understand is how utilizing an underused service, such as a gym pool, is a bad thing," Hasan said in an e-mail. "Very few people know about the pool, and even fewer use it. The benefits of Sisters' Splash far outweigh the few inconveniences it may present." But, he added, a "great majority" of George Washington students have shown support for the swim hour.

According to a 2005 Gallup report, gender inequality is one of American women's top concerns about "the Muslim or Islamic world." (Notably, many Muslim women perceive the promiscuity, pornography and public indecency portrayed in Hollywood images as mistreatment of women in the Western world, the report says.) It's an issue that is mentioned frequently in online comments about the swim hour. One person wrote, "If Muslim women are too modest to wear ordinary swimsuits when they swim, then maybe they should stop swimming and go see a psychiatrist. Teaching sexual repression is wrong; making women feel that they are bad and wicked merely for having female bodies is wrong." Another wrote, "If because of religious convictions they chose not to exercise that freedom, the rest of society should not validate it by accommodating it."

But the swim hour's proponents - and there seem to be many - point out that about half of the student population can participate. And accusations of racism are not difficult to come by. "We've seen a number of these kinds of programs around the country. I think it goes way beyond Muslim women; I think there are enough women who would be more comfortable swimming in a same-sex environment that it would be of interest to women of all faiths in America," said Ibrahim Hooper, a spokesman for the Council on American-Islamic Relations. "There is a cottage industry of Muslim-bashers that look for any opportunity to marginalize American Muslims or to demonize Islam, and any denomination of Islam in our society is going to be targeted by these people."

There is more to the issue than religion, though. Erin E. Buzuvis, an associate professor of law at Western New England College and co-founder and contributor to The Title IX Blog, said it's unclear whether barring men from the pool constitutes a violation of Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, the law requiring gender equity in educational programs at federally funded schools and colleges. Men can still swim 95% of the time, so they're not completely excluded. And if the program's purpose is to accommodate a religious group, rather than women in general, that could work in the university's favor.

"The university might have a plausible defense that while this would technically be a form of gender discrimination, that they're doing it to accommodate a student's religion," Buzuvis said. "If that weren't an issue, I would say a female-only swim hour would be highly questionable under Title IX."


British tuition fee protests: lecturers back 'magnificent' student rioters

Pretty much as expected from the many far-Leftists -- often Trotskyites -- teaching at British universities

Lecturers at one of the country's leading universities were roundly condemned last night for praising students who rioted at Conservative Party headquarters. Academics at Goldsmiths, University of London, justified the violence by saying it had brought the tuition fees row "media attention across the world".

In a statement branded "irresponsible" by Downing Street, they said they wished to "congratulate staff and students on the magnificent anti-cuts demonstration". It was signed by John Wadsworth, the president of Goldsmiths lecturers' union, and its secretary Des Freedman, a lecturer in communications and cultural studies.

It also emerged that a lecturer from the University of Sussex who was among the protestors is a prominent member of the left-wing socialist group Revolution, which began planning "direct action" weeks ago. Luke Cooper, 26, an assistant tutor in international relations, described Government buildings as "legitimate targets for protest and occupation".

Fifty people who were arrested during Wednesday's riot on Millbank, near the Houses of Parliament, were released on police bail yesterday as officers began the lengthy process of identifying offenders from CCTV and television news footage.

David Cameron called for the "full force of the law" to be brought to bear on hooligans who left 41 police officers injured and smashed up three floors of the building that houses the Tory Party office. Peter Smyth, chairman of the Metropolitan Police Federation, called for an attempted murder charge to be brought against a protestor who threw a fire extinguisher from the roof of the building, injuring two officers who he said could have been killed.

But the lecturers from Goldsmiths made no reference to the injuries suffered by police and some students as they gave the protest a glowing report. "Yesterday was a really good natured but equally angry demonstration against the damage that the coalition is doing to higher education," their statement said. "Yes, that got out of hand, but yes, it also got media attention across the world."

The National Union of Students and the academics' body the University and College Union, who organised the 52,000-strong march through London, described the violence at Millbank as "deplorable" and "despicable".

But the Goldsmiths lecturers dismissed the criticism, saying: "We wish to condemn and distance ourselves from the divisive and, in our view, counterproductive statements issued by the UCU and NUS leadership concerning the occupation of the Conservative Party HQ. "The real violence in this situation relates not to a smashed window but to the destructive impact of the cuts and privatisation that will follow if tuition fees are increased."

David Davies, a Conservative MP who is also a special constable, described the statement as "absolutely disgraceful". He said: "Anyone with views like that should not be in a position to educate young people. There needs to be a full investigation."

James Haywood, communication and campaigns officer for Goldsmiths students' union, was one of five of the college's students arrested at the scene after occupying the roof. He said: "I have no regrets. The occupation of Tory HQ was completely justified."

David Graeber, an anthropology lecturer at Goldsmiths who was among the protestors, said he was "very proud" of the students, adding: "They are going to represent us as thugs but really they are the thugs and we are representing civilisation."

Mr Cooper denied being one of the ringleaders of the attack on Millbank, but said: "We want to send a really strong message to this Government that we are not going to let higher education be brutalised. "There are a number of different Government buildings in that part of London and all of them would have been legitimate targets for protest and occupation. There was a lot of anger. There has always been the plan action after the NUS demo."

Nick Herbert, the minister for policing, told Parliament the Met would "learn lessons" from its failure to station enough officers along the route of the march, which enabled rioters to storm Tory HQ virtually unopposed.


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