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Number of kids with LD or additional needs increasing?

(184 Posts)

MNHQ have commented on this thread.

Curiocat Thu 03-Mar-16 23:23:00

Hi all,

This is a sensitive topic so want to start off by saying I'm in no way having a dig or being goady etc. From following aibu and other boards it seems like many parents have kids with some form of additional needs and numbers seem to have increased in recent years.

I wondered what the percentage of kids that will have SN/LDs and if the numbers are indeed on the rise, or is it that just that people are open about the issues their kids face, and we talk/are more aware about it more these days?

I could be completely wrong here- just an observation on my part from lurking the past few months, and of course massive well done/ admiration to all parents that do contend with this alongside all the other trials and tribulations that come with children! X

WorraLiberty Thu 03-Mar-16 23:28:42

I don't think it's increasing, there's probably just more recognition/understanding/diagnosis.

I was a primary school child in the 70s and a lot of kids were just dismissed as lazy/odd/weird/eccentric/naughty etc.

Looking back, I can think of a few kids who would probably be diagnosed with a SN, including my brother.

Fanjango Thu 03-Mar-16 23:28:51

My sons SENCO says that there has been a big rise in the rates of autism spectrum over the last 40 years or so. She said it's not just better diagnosis as the cases that are severe are too noticeable to miss and have increased too.

wannabetennisplayer Thu 03-Mar-16 23:31:00

I think there's probably more diagnosis. I remember being at primary school in the 80s with a child who I'm sure would be diagnosed as having SEN now but there was no additional support back then and he just seemed to be treated as disruptive/naughty.

BillBrysonsBeard Thu 03-Mar-16 23:31:15

I think we see it a lot on here because it's where people post for advice, it's not reflective of the UK population. I hardly know any children with additional needs. Same with things like adultery, the relationships board is full of it but hardly hear of it happening to anyone off mumsnet.
I do think it's a lot more recognised and labeled these days though. When I was at school kids with additional needs were just seen as odd. (wrongly)

coffeeisnectar Thu 03-Mar-16 23:34:05

I do think there are more diagnosed children (and adults) now as there is more understanding of things like asd, spd etc.

Years ago in school were dc who most definitely were undiagnosed and were labelled as naughty. Much the same way as kids with dyslexia were labelled stupid. Because there was no such thing as dyslexia or asd.

I'm glad that kids are diagnosed now and get the support they need. And adults who have struggled all their lives finally getting a diagnosis must feel utterly relieved too.

Curiocat Thu 03-Mar-16 23:34:33

Good point bill - I guess this is the place for advice so higher frequency of mentions too which has skewer my POV

lougle Thu 03-Mar-16 23:35:02

It's a combination. Increased survival of premature birth means that children survive with any disabilities that causes. Better identification of SN means that children who would have been labelled naughty are flagged as having SN. Although there is still a huge gap between the identification rate and the reality.

I live in a village and know personally (within the 3 villages surrounding ours) of DD1 (brain malformation), three children with ASD, 1 child with ADHD, 1 child with CMV complications, one child with a genetic brain condition, one child who survived premature birth, and one child with Down's Syndrome.

DD1's special school had to expand by two classes last year and there is always a list of children who weren't given places.

MrsTerryPratchett Thu 03-Mar-16 23:37:23

Looking back, I can think of a few kids who would probably be diagnosed with a SN, including my brother.

Me too. DD is on track for an ADHD diagnosis. She would definitely just have been 'naughty and stupid' when I was growing up. sad

lougle Thu 03-Mar-16 23:38:03

DD2, I am sure, is on the high functioning autistic spectrum. She's 8.6. She's at her third school as she fell apart in two others. Her current school is brilliant with her and accept her needs for clarity, consistency, routine, literal thinking, etc., despite the fact that she doesn't have an ASD label.

Redroses11 Thu 03-Mar-16 23:47:18

I too believe that there has been a rise. I have no idea why. My observation is purely anecdotal. I think there is a reluctance to discuss it or to conduct research into either.

MrsBobDylan Thu 03-Mar-16 23:50:45

Dh found stats which show that as rates of 'mental retardation' have fallen since the 50s, rates of autism have risen. I don't believe there's been a significant increase but those who would have been categorised as 'retarded' many years ago,now have a correct diagnosis instead.

westcoastnortherneragain Fri 04-Mar-16 00:17:21

I think we are more aware these days, and better placed to help our children. I makes me so sad to think that many children were simply written off in years gone by.

foffx Fri 04-Mar-16 00:28:01

I think there's an increase.

But it's no longer survival of the fittest - unlike in nature, we thankfully have the technology and skills to save lives that wouldn't have survived in the past

Plus people with genetic predisposition such as inherited disabilities who perhaps wouldn't have found mates or been allowed (by society) to reproduce in the past - can now

foffx Fri 04-Mar-16 00:28:47

Meant to say because they can now - the gene pool for it has increased also.

Out2pasture Fri 04-Mar-16 00:47:19

I agree that online forums like MN attract parents who have SN children, it's a great opportunity to connect.
it wasn't that many years ago that children with sever autism were institutionalized and kept away from the public eye.

pilpiloni Fri 04-Mar-16 00:48:10

Autism is linked at age of parents (father as well) so the rising mean age of childbearing would contribute a bit

tabulahrasa Fri 04-Mar-16 01:00:50

According to an NHS study the prevalance rate for autism is 1 in 100 for children...and adults, if rates were rising there'd be more children than adults.

7Days Fri 04-Mar-16 01:11:44

I think I read on here actually that lack of vit d absorption by mother during pregnancy may contribute to risk of autism. Nothing at all conclusive just a hypothesis that some researchers are starting to look into. That seems to me to be a direct link from overuse of certain gases in manufacturing - to hole in ozone layer - to increased need for suncream - to lack of sunlight hitting skin and vitamin defencies. I don't know though, I'm only surmising. I don't think there is any thing solid there

Atenco Fri 04-Mar-16 04:23:02

I know the broadening of diagnosis for autism majorly increased the number of children with this diagnosis but, even allowing for that, there is a huge rise in this problem.

There might be a genetic predisposition but there must be some environmental factor too.

TrulyTrulyTrulyOutrageous Fri 04-Mar-16 06:06:36

We discuss this in my line of work often.

There were different labels back in the day that were more general. These labels are becoming more specific with guidelines (funding related) special schools have tightened their conditions for enrollment (here you need I.D and another diagnosis and ID is getting harder to qualify for) so more students who would have been "hidden" are included in mainstream schooling.

The strict classrooms grandparents talk about without posters /colour etc may have worked well for kids who we now know have ASD / sensory issues (quite recent label - my lifetime) so their challenging behaviours may have seemed less prominent.

Of course there are also the many like my uncle who were shipped off to institutions (despite having above average intellectual ability but poor speech).

TrulyTrulyTrulyOutrageous Fri 04-Mar-16 06:09:56

And I agree with everyone who said that the "naughty" kids were possibly undiagnosed.

Also, remember in my parents' childhood people could leave school after primary.

Emochild Fri 04-Mar-16 06:19:38

I think speculating on the ozone layer being a link to the perceived rise in autism is inappropriate

Autism wasn't even recognised until the 60s so it seems obvious there has been a rise in the last 40 years

I think modern lifestyle is not helping children that used to be able to cope in mainstream without a diagnosis -and it is a diagnosis, not a label

We had a girl in my high school, when the fire alarm went off she ran to the biology room, picked up the cage of mice then ran out onto the balcony screaming that someone needed to save the animals

She had no diagnosis -she was considered to be 'the weirdo'

She was diagnosed with ASD after struggling for years
ASD just wasn't on anyone's radar for an intelligent girl

sashh Fri 04-Mar-16 06:28:37

Lots of things

As already said better/quicker diagnosis and premature babies living but with SN.

Also cousin marriage - very rare in Britain until the 1960s, now, certainly withing the Pakistani community, it is commonplace.

There might be a genetic predisposition but there must be some environmental factor too.

People don't live in the same place they were born, silicon valley has high numbers of ASD kids because a lot of people with ASD find tech and programming logical, if both parents have ASD then the chances of inheriting are higher.

People are no longer 'shut away', parents are not told to go home and forget about a disabled baby.

Antibiotics mean that people with down syndrome are expected to live until adulthood, in the 1950s this was rare.

junebirthdaygirl Fri 04-Mar-16 06:39:49

One of my ds has diagnosed dyslexia. Other ds diagnosed dyspraxia.. Their df has all symptoms of both as has some uncles and granduncles. They just got beaten in school instead but went on to get good careers. Dh got badly beaten for not knowing times tables on a regular basis. Still doesn't know them. Now we know it's very difficult for students with dyslexia to learn stuff by heart. Most of my time as a teacher is spent teaching children with dyslexia and nearly always one parent says l was just like that and l hated school. Also we often hear of parents realising they are on the spectrum when their own child gets diagnosed.

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