Welcome Back to School
"Learn as much as you can while you are young, since life becomes too busy later."
- Dana Stewart Scott
"Wisdom is not a product of schooling but of the lifelong attempt to acquire it."
- Albert Einstein
"You learn something every day if you pay attention."
- Ray LeBlond
"The whole purpose of education is to turn mirrors into windows."
- Sydney J. Harris
"Education is an admirable thing, but it is well to remember from time to time that nothing worth knowing can be taught."
- Oscar Wilde
"The difference between school and life? In school, you're taught a lesson and then given a test. In life, you're given a test that teaches you a lesson."
- Tom Bodett
"Those who don't know history are doomed to repeat it."
- Edmund Burke
18-year-old high school senior in Colorado Springs
How to Survive High School
Posted: 08/14/2013 10:02 am EDT Updated: 10/14/2013 5:12 am EDT
There are some basic tips and advice that will help anyone get through high school. Most of these may seem obvious, but you'd be surprised at the amount of people who don't actually apply it into their lives. You can succeed in high school and have a fun time without getting hit with "drama" every single week.
• Have good, trustworthy friends with the same values as you who aren't going to create trouble or unnecessary drama. This can be a huge factor as to whether or not you'll have a great year (and whether or not you'll get caught in the midst of fights and arguments)!
• Don't spend every waking moment of your life trying to be the popular one. If you're likeable and someone people want to be around, they'll naturally gravitate towards you for being you.
• Don't be afraid to approach your teachers. If you're struggling in a class, ask your teacher for help outside of class. Even if you're not struggling but want some constructive advice on a project or an assignment, don't hesitate to talk to them! My sophomore year I probably visited my lit teacher over 10 times to go over every part of my research paper. The result? My teacher gave me a 100 percent on my research paper, which was a first in all her years of teaching sophomores. It's basically impossible to get a 100 percent on anything in her class, especially on essays, but I did it! She even spent a good couple of minutes on our last class of the year just gushing over my paper! So even if you're that above 4.0 GPA student like me, there's a lot you can benefit from visiting one-on-one with your teachers.
• Stay confident and don't let others intimidate you. Maintaining your self-esteem and confidence is a sure way of making sure your peers and teachers don't trample all over you, and it's a key to feeling good about yourself and who you are!
• Hold on to who you are and what's important to you. It's easy to lose yourself in high school, but just stay true to yourself and don't let anyone change that. My sophomore year I had to go through a lot of adjustments in a new school and new city, and when I was having a really hard time and started forgetting who I am, I turned to my two biggest passions to start becoming myself again. I started writing again and practiced piano for hours every day, both of which gave me creative outlets for my emotions. I reminded myself of the bright future I've spent years setting myself up for, and in the end I got a life motto out of it that I write everywhere: Dream. Believe. Hope. Live. Love. So even in your darkest moments, if you just remember a silver of who you are, you'll make it through.
• Take "me" time, even when there's so much homework you probably won't get any sleep. Even the strongest students need to take a breather and clear their minds for a little bit. It's easy to feel super overwhelmed in high school, so don't feel guilty about taking a break and getting some space.
• Stay organized and don't procrastinate. You need to stay on top of your assignments, upcoming quizzes and tests, and other things you need to get done. Keeping a planner or recording homework and important dates down in a phone or tablet will make sure you stay organized. To do lists are also great, especially if you need to prioritize assignments. What I like to do is take a bunch of sticky notes, and I write one assignment, quiz, or test per sticky note. If I don't have a lot of colored sticky notes, I make green, yellow, or red marks according to priority, then I stick them on the wall in front of my desk in columns according to date. When I finish a task on a sticky note, it's gratifying to rip it off the wall, crumple it up, and throw it in the trash!
• Be kind to people. You don't need to go around making enemies or pulling others down, and a mean reputation can quickly get around behind your back. Just be kind and considerate to people! It's not like it's that hard to do!
• Take the classes at the level you need. If your counselor is seriously campaigning for you to skip a class you don't need but sounds helpful and you don't feel too comfortable moving up, take that lower class if you need it. If people are telling you to take the AP class when you barely got through an honors class with a B after nights of crying out of frustration, do what's best for you and take the next class in honors or as a regular class. Do what's best for you, and don't be embarrassed about it. That said, if you need harder classes, make sure you get them!
• Learn to prioritize and let go of the least important things. You have to balance and prioritize the different aspects in your life, especially if you have a lot of extracurricular coupled with rigorous academics. Let go of certain things to get the most important things done. You have to do this with your classes and homework, too, sometimes. A 15-point short response in the class you have an A in isn't as important as a 50-point assignment in your worst class, and while you should do both, sometimes you just don't have enough time in the day. It's okay; you're only human.
• Know right from the start that high school isn't like what you see on TV and drop your misconceptions as soon as possible. Please. Don't be that freshman everyone rolls their eyes out.
• Get involved. This is a great way to meet new people, and joining certain clubs and activities you're interested in will open up a whole new world and a whole new group of friends who can become a second family. You can also gain leadership opportunities, get the chance to go to competitions, volunteer, and more! So if acting is your thing, join the drama club. If you're into music, join orchestra, band, choir, or the like. Be with people like you- people who will get you without you trying to be someone you're not.
• Don't go around doing bad things, asking for trouble, getting into fights, or creating drama. Just don't. This is like flushing your year down the toilet. Bye-bye. Also, make sure your friends are people who also live by this rule -- you don't need negative influences in your life!
These are some of the absolute, basic rules I get through high school by, and whether you're an incoming freshman or getting ready to start junior year like me, it never hurts to go over the basics!
October is Down Syndrome Awareness Month
Down Syndrome Facts
Down syndrome occurs when an individual has a full or partial extra copy of chromosome 21. This additional genetic material alters the course of development and causes the characteristics associated with Down syndrome.
There are three types of Down syndrome: trisomy 21 (nondisjunction) accounts for 95% of cases, translocation accounts for about 4% and mosaicism accounts for about 1%.
Down syndrome is the most commonly occurring chromosomal condition. One in every 691 babies in the United States is born with Down syndrome.
There are more than 400,000 people living with Down syndrome in the United States.
Down syndrome occurs in people of all races and economic levels.
The incidence of births of children with Down syndrome increases with the age of the mother. But due to higher fertility rates in younger women, 80% of children with Down syndrome are born to women under 35 years of age.
People with Down syndrome have an increased risk for certain medical conditions such as congenital heart defects, respiratory and hearing problems, Alzheimer's disease, childhood leukemia, and thyroid conditions. Many of these conditions are now treatable, so most people with Down syndrome lead healthy lives.
A few of the common physical traits of Down syndrome are low muscle tone, small stature, an upward slant to the eyes, and a single deep crease across the center of the palm. Every person with Down syndrome is a unique individual and may possess these characteristics to different degrees or not at all.
Life expectancy for people with Down syndrome has increased dramatically in recent decades from 25 in 1983 to 60 today.
People with Down syndrome attend school, work, participate in decisions that affect them, and contribute to society in many wonderful ways.
All people with Down syndrome experience cognitive delays, but the effect is usually mild to moderate and is not indicative of the many strengths and talents that each individual possesses.
Quality educational programs, a stimulating home environment, good health care, and positive support from family, friends and the community enable people with Down syndrome to develop their full potential and lead fulfilling lives.
Know the Facts Smoking is the leading cause of preventable death and disease and kills more than 480,000 Americans each year. More than 41,000 of these deaths are the result of exposure to secondhand smoke.
Smoking causes immediate damage to your body, which can lead to long-term illnesses, including--
Cancer Heart disease Stroke Asthma attacks Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) (a condition that makes it harder and harder to breathe) Diabetes Vision Loss For women, smoking during pregnancy can cause serious problems. Your baby could be born too early, have a birth defect, or die from sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).
For every smoking-related death, at least 30 people live with a smoking-related illness.
Smoking-related illness in the United States costs more than $300 billion a year, including nearly $170 billion in direct medical care for adults and more than $156 billion in lost productivity.
For More Information Detailed Statistics Learn about smoking in specific populations and the current rates of cigarette smoking in the United States.
Real Stories: People Featured in Tips Learn the real stories of people who are suffering from smoking-related diseases and disabilities.
Meet Mark. Mark, age 47, lives in California and started smoking as a teenager. He continued smoking during military service in the Persian Gulf and in civilian life until he developed rectal cancer at age 42.
Meet Marlene. Marlene lives in New York and began smoking in high school. At 56, she started losing her vision. She gets shots in one or both eyes every month to avoid further vision loss.
Learn more about all Tips participants in our Real Stories section.
Quitting Help To get started right now, see our I'm Ready to Quit! area, featuring a Quit Guide and an additional Quitting Resources page.
You can call 1-800-QUIT-NOW (1-800-784-8669).
Quitline coaches can answer questions, help you develop a quit plan, and provide support.
Quit-smoking treatments may be free or lower in price through insurance, health plans, or clinics. State Medicaid programs cover quit-smoking treatments. While the coverage varies by state, all states cover some treatments for at least some Medicaid enrollees.
Medicare currently covers two quit attempts per year and up to four face-to-face counseling sessions per attempt.
Facts & Statistics Did You Know? Anxiety disorders are the most common mental illness in the U.S., affecting 40 million adults in the United States age 18 and older, or 18% of the population. (Source: National Institute of Mental Health) Anxiety disorders are highly treatable, yet only about one-third of those suffering receive treatment. Anxiety disorders cost the U.S. more than $42 billion a year, almost one-third of the country's $148 billion total mental health bill, according to "The Economic Burden of Anxiety Disorders," a study commissioned by ADAA (The Journal of Clinical Psychiatry,60(7), July 1999). More than $22.84 billion of those costs are associated with the repeated use of health care services; people with anxiety disorders seek relief for symptoms that mimic physical illnesses. People with an anxiety disorder are three to five times more likely to go to the doctor and six times more likely to be hospitalized for psychiatric disorders than those who do not suffer from anxiety disorders. Anxiety disorders develop from a complex set of risk factors, including genetics, brain chemistry, personality, and life events. Anxiety and Depression
It's not uncommon for someone with an anxiety disorder to also suffer from depression or vice versa. Nearly one-half of those diagnosed with depression are also diagnosed with an anxiety disorder.
Find out more about depression.
Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD)
GAD affects 6.8 million adults, or 3.1% of the U.S. population.
Women are twice as likely to be affected as men.
6 million, 2.7%
Women are twice as likely to be affected as men.
Very high comorbidity rate with major depression.
Social Anxiety Disorder
15 million, 6.8%
Equally common among men and women, typically beginning around age 13.
According to a 2007 ADAA survey, 36% of people with social anxiety disorder report experiencing symptoms for 10 or more years before seeking help.
19 million, 8.7%
Women are twice as likely to be affected as men.
Typically begins in childhood; the median age of onset is 7.
Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) and posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) are closely related to anxiety disorders, which some may experience at the same time, along with depression.
Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD)
2.2 million, 1.0%
Equally common among men and women.
The median age of onset is 19, with 25 percent of cases occurring by age 14. One-third of affected adults first experienced symptoms in childhood.
Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
7.7 million, 3.5%
Women are more likely to be affected than men.
Rape is the most likely trigger of PTSD: 65% of men and 45.9% of women who are raped will develop the disorder.
Childhood sexual abuse is a strong predictor of lifetime likelihood for developing PTSD.
Major Depressive Disorder
The leading cause of disability in the U.S. for ages 15 to 44.3
Affects approximately 14.8 million American adults, or about 6.7 percent of the U.S. population age 18 and older in a given year.
While major depressive disorder can develop at any age, the median age at onset is 32.5
More prevalent in women than in men.
Persistent depressive disorder, or PDD, (formerly called dysthymia) is a form of depression that usually continues for at least two years.
Affects approximately 1.5 percent of the U.S. population age 18 and older in a given year. (about 3.3 million American adults).
The median age of onset is 31.1
Many people with an anxiety disorder also have a co-occurring disorder or physical illness, which can make their symptoms worse and recovery more difficult. It’s essential to be treated for both disorders.
Read on to learn more about the co-occurrence of anxiety and these disorders:
Bipolar disorder Eating disorders Headaches Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) Sleep disorders Substance abuse Adult ADHD (attention deficit/hyperactive disorder) BDD (body dysmorphic disorder) Chronic pain Fibromyalgia Stress Children
Anxiety disorders affect one in eight children. Research shows that untreated children with anxiety disorders are at higher risk to perform poorly in school, miss out on important social experiences, and engage in substance abuse.
See statistics for anxiety disorders among children from the National Institute of Mental Health. Anxiety disorders also often co-occur with other disorders such as depression, eating disorders, and attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).
Childhood anxiety disorders Anxiety and depression Treatment Tips for parents and caregivers Anxiety disorders at school School refusal Older Adults
Anxiety is as common among older adults as among the young. Generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) is the most common anxiety disorder among older adults, though anxiety disorders in this population are frequently associated with traumatic events such as a fall or acute illness. Read the best way to treat anxiety disorders in older adults.
Anxiety disorders are treatable, and the vast majority of people with an anxiety disorder can be helped with professional care. Several standard approaches have proved effective:
Therapy Medication Complementary and alternative treatment
Updated September 2014
Healthy Sleep Basics Along with nutrition and exercise, sleep is one of the three pillars of a healthy lifestyle. Healthy sleep improves your health and quality of life in a variety of ways:
Healthy sleep is vital for your physical health
It promotes peak performance and productivity. It also helps you fight off infection, maintain a healthy weight and avoid chronic diseases. Without healthy sleep you are more likely to have heart disease and Type 2 diabetes.
Healthy sleep is essential for your mental health
Healthy sleep helps you to balance your mood and emotions. Without healthy sleep you are more likely to struggle with feelings of anxiety and depression.
Healthy sleep improves your memory and focus
It sharpens your mind so that you can think clearly. Sleep helps you excel at school and work. Without healthy sleep you are more likely to be forgetful and make mistakes.
Healthy sleep promotes personal and public safety
It keeps you alert and helps you to react quickly. Without healthy sleep you are more likely to have an accident while driving or at work.
Healthy sleep involves making the right choices to prioritize and protect sleep. Here are three keys to achieving and maintaining healthy sleep:
Most adults need at least 7 hours of nightly sleep for optimal health and productivity. Some people need more sleep to feel well-rested. Try to get 7 or more hours of sleep per night. Set a regular bedtime that is early enough for you to get a full night of sleep.
Getting good sleep is important, too. Sleeping 7 hours each night isn’t enough: You also need quality sleep. Avoid common sleep disrupters in the evening. These include alcohol, caffeine and tobacco. Talk to your doctor if you are taking a medication that disturbs your sleep.
It also is important to sleep at the right time. Healthy sleep is part of the daily rhythm of life. Your body sleeps best at night when it is dark. It also functions best when you keep a regular routine. Try to wake up at the same time every morning, and go to bed when you feel sleepy.
The quantity, quality and regularity of your sleep can be disrupted if you have a sleep disorder. Talk to your doctor if you have an ongoing problem that prevents you from sleeping well. For more help contact anAASM accredited sleep center near you.
Make healthy sleep one of your top priorities. You must sleep well to be well!
Updated Sept. 21, 2015
Autism awareness month
Facts and Statistics
About 1 percent of the world population has autism spectrum disorder. (CDC, 2014)
Prevalence in the United States is estimated at 1 in 68 births. (CDC, 2014)
More than 3.5 million Americans live with an autism spectrum disorder. (Buescher et al., 2014)
Prevalence of autism in U.S. children increased by 119.4 percent from 2000 (1 in 150) to 2010 (1 in 68). (CDC, 2014) Autism is the fastest-growing developmental disability. (CDC, 2008)
Prevalence has increased by 6-15 percent each year from 2002 to 2010. (Based on biennial numbers from the CDC)
Autism services cost U.S. citizens $236-262 billion annually. (Buescher et al., 2014)
A majority of costs in the U.S. are in adult services – $175-196 billion, compared to $61-66 billion for children. (Buescher et al., 2014)
Cost of lifelong care can be reduced by 2/3 with early diagnosis and intervention. (Autism. 2007 Sep;11(5):453-63; The economic consequences of autistic spectrum disorder among children in a Swedish municipality. Järbrink K1.)
1 percent of the adult population of the United Kingdom has autism spectrum disorder. (Brugha T.S. et al., 2011)
The U.S. cost of autism over the lifespan is about $2.4 million for a person with an intellectual disability, or $1.4 million for a person without intellectual disability. (Buescher et al., 2014)
35 percent of young adults (ages 19-23) with autism have not had a job or received postgraduate education after leaving high school. (Shattuck et al., 2012)
It costs more than $8,600 extra per year to educate a student with autism. (Lavelle et al., 2014) (The average cost of educating a student is about $12,000 – NCES, 2014)
In June 2014, only 19.3 percent of people with disabilities in the U.S. were participating in the labor force – working or seeking work. Of those, 12.9 percent were unemployed, meaning only 16.8 percent of the population with disabilities was employed. (By contrast, 69.3 percent of people without disabilities were in the labor force, and 65 percent of the population without disabilities was employed.) (Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2014)
2003, 2006, 2009, 2011, 2014 Copyright the Autism Society. All rights reserved.
Last updated: August 26, 2015
10 Years of Progress: What We've Learned About Autism February 23, 2016
Last year marked 10 years of progress since Autism Speaks first opened its doors in 2005. In 2016, we continue to strive to enhance autism services in every community and get the groundbreaking ABLE Act, now the law of the land, implemented in all 50 states. Our dedicated field teams will be the ones heading this effort.
Thanks to the passion and generosity of our community, Autism Speaks has helped advance our understanding and treatment of autism in ways almost unimaginable a decade ago. Here’s what we know now, thanks to your support:
1. Autism’s prevalence has skyrocketed. Ten years ago, autism’s estimated prevalence was 1 in 166. Today it’s 1 in 68 – an increase of more than 100% in one decade.
2. Direct screening suggests that autism’s prevalence may be even higher. In a landmark study funded by Autism Speaks, screeners went into schools in South Korea and found 1 in 38 children affected by autism, most of them previously undiagnosed. Since then, Autism Speaks has worked with the CDC to conduct a similar direct-screening study in the United States. The results are expected to be published this spring (2016).
3. Autism can be reliably diagnosed by age two. Because earlier intervention improves outcomes, Autism Speaks is redoubling our efforts to increase early screening, especially in underserved communities.
4. High-quality early intervention does more than develop skills. Early intervention can change underlying brain development and activity. It’s also cost effective as it reduces the need for educational and behavioral support in grade school and beyond.
5. Behavioral therapy for autism can transform lives. Though children with autism vary in how far they progress with behavioral therapy, we now have solid evidence of its benefits. This has enabled Autism Speaks to successfully advocate for health coverage of behavioral health treatment, now the law in more than 40 states and counting. Now many more families are getting desperately needed therapy that was once denied.
6.One third of children and adults with autism are nonverbal. Autism Speaks continues to support research on the best uses of assistive communication devices and has donated thousands of the devices to individuals and families who could not otherwise afford them.
7. Assistive communication devices encourage speech in some nonverbal children. An Autism Speaks-funded study dispelled the belief that nonverbal children with autism who don’t speak by age 5 will remain nonverbal for life.
8. Autism-related GI disorders are real. Research by the Autism Speaks ATN revealed that half of children with autism have GI disorders and the pain can worsen behavioral symptoms. The Autism Speaks Autism Treatment Network has developed effective treatment guidelines for pediatricians and tool kits for parents.
9. Autism-related sleep disturbance is common and treatable. Thanks to research funded by Autism Speaks, we now have evidence-based medical guidelines and tool kits to help parents improve the sleep of those with autism.
10. As many as one third of individuals with autism have epilepsy. The potentially dangerous seizures are not always obvious without specialized testing. To learn more, see the Autism Speaks ATN/AIR-P EEG Guides for Parents and Providers.
11. Autism can affect the whole body. Seizures, disturbed sleep and painful GI disorders are just some of the medical conditions commonly associated with autism. The Autism Speaks Autism Treatment Network is dedicated to advancing a “whole person” approach to autism healthcare. In addition, the ATN continues to conduct research and develop treatment guidelines on autism-related medical conditions thanks to its federally funded role as the nation’s Autism Intervention Network for Physical Health (AIRP).
12. Autism’s genetic causes are so personal that we need whole genome sequencing to guide the development of individualized treatments Early findings from the Autism Speaks MSSNG project reveal that autism’s genetic causes differ even between two affected siblings. Such complexity is why we need MSSNG to change the future of autism through the genome sequencing of thousands of affected families. Already, this data – available to researchers worldwide on a portal on the Google Cloud Platform – is identifying targets for the development of new medicines.
13. Environmental factors can play a significant role. Experts once believed that autism was almost entirely hereditary. Then research with families participating in the Autism Speaks Autism Genetic Resource Exchange showed that non-inherited influences on early brain development account for nearly half of a child’s risk for developing autism.
14. We’ve begun to identify autism’s environmental risk factors. These factors include maternal infection and high exposure to air pollution during pregnancy. And we now know that prenatal vitamins with folic acid can reduce the risk of autism if taken before conception and through pregnancy.
15. Nearly half of those with autism wander or bolt. Autism Speaks has taken the lead in promoting wandering prevention and recovery through the funding of programs that increase awareness, train first responders and teach water safety.
16. Nearly two-thirds of children with autism have been bullied. Autism Speaks has partnered with the National Center for Learning Disabilities and others to raise awareness and combat bullying of special-needs individuals.
17. Most adults with autism (84%) remain living with their parents. Autism Speaks is advocating for federal and state policies that will increase community living options for adults with autism.
18. Nearly half of 25-year-olds with autism have never held a paying job. Autism Speaks is working to increase vocational and post-secondary educational support for young adults with autism, and is working with employers to expand job opportunities.
19. Each year, an estimated 50,000 teens with autism age out of school-based autism services. Autism Speaks continues to work with public and private partners to provide the support that individuals with autism need to successfully transition into adulthood and become valued and valuable members of their communities.
20. The cost of autism across a lifetime averages $1.4 million to $2.4 million. These costs, which increase with intellectual disability, place a tremendous burden on families and society, but can be dramatically reduced with high-quality interventions and adult transition support.