In a technical report issued by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) last month, chronic sleep loss among middle and high school students was cited as a “serious threat to academic success.” There are many contributing factors to a generation of sleepyheads—among them increased caffeine consumption and the use of electronic devices, whose low-intensity light can disrupt circadian rhythms and suppress melatonin production. The AAP study outlines that one key contributor could be best manipulated to help alleviate this problem: later school start times.
Beside extending sleep duration, this delay would have significant positive effects on self-reported sleepiness and academic achievement, says the Academy. But according to a U.S. Department of Education 2011-12 survey, of the 18,000 high schools in America, less than 15% start at 8:30 a.m. or later, and more than 40% start before 8 a.m.
Dr. Bob Weintraub, headmaster of Brookline High School in Massachusetts from 1992 to 2011 and now professor of educational leadership at Boston University, says that during his tenure the high school moved start times for most students to 8:30 a.m. But he also points out that these shifts raise concerns like how to have maximum participation in after-school activities like athletics, drama, and music when later start times means later end times (which means in the dark during winter months in the Northeast).
Despite these challenges, the AAP argues that communities nationwide have been creative in coming up with solutions to this challenge, including providing free periods and study halls at the end of the day, exempting student athletes from PE, and installing lights for athletic fields.
In sum, the Academy “strongly supports the efforts of school districts to optimize sleep in students and urges high schools and middle schools to aim for start times that allow students the opportunity to achieve optimal levels of sleep and to improve physical and mental health, safety, academic performance, and quality of life.”
PAR is proud of our ongoing support of United Way. Last week, employees took part in our annual fundraising campaign. For more than 20 years, 100% of staff members have participated in our annual United Way drive, and this year was no different. We exceeded our fundraising goal, resulting in $123,392.95 being donated to United Way to help continue its mission of helping others in our community.
This year, our United Way week theme was Camp PAR. We took part in a host of activities, from a s'mores building contest to a tent pitching competition. Want to learn more about how you can help United Way in your community? Visit www.unitedway.org.
Every day, police officers across the U.S. respond to calls involving people with mental illnesses. These individuals are often incarcerated, and nationwide jails hold 10 times as many people with serious mental illnesses as state hospitals, according to a report from Kaiser Health News.
“There are, shamefully, lots of people with public mental illness who are known to public systems, out there on the streets, very much at the risk of being victimized or engaging in conduct that could get them in trouble with the police,” says Robert Bernstein, president and executive director of the Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law, in an article in the online newsletter The Science of Us. When mentally ill persons are approached as possible perpetrators, the mental health system is failing, Bernstein says.
Michael Woody knows this scenario firsthand: on a call for the Akron, Ohio, police department several years ago, he encountered a 27-year-old mentally ill individual who threatened his life and ultimately committed suicide. This prompted him to question the small amount—just five hours—of mandatory mental health training officers were then required to take, and he pushed for more. Since then, he has become an advocate for training to help police officers de-escalate crisis situations involving the mentally ill. Today he serves as president of CIT International, a nonprofit whose primary purpose is to support mental health training for police forces across the country.
According to a recent FBI report, the expense to implement and maintain crisis intervention training (CIT) outweighs the cost of not establishing a program. Injuries to law enforcement personnel and individuals with mental illness as well as repeat calls for these issues are considerably reduced when CIT programs are in place which encourage officers to direct persons with mental illness to mental health-care facilities for treatment prior to issuing any criminal charges. This process reduces lawsuits, medical bills, and jail costs and improves the quality of life for the community, according to the FBI report.
Through the work of people like Woody and CIT International, police departments are beginning to take note and to require CIT. In San Antonio, Texas, police officers now take 40 hours of crisis intervention training, and the city has a six-person unit specially equipped to respond to 9-1-1 calls involving mental health disturbances.
The officers’ training helps them better determine whether people need to go to jail or a hospital or would be best served by being taken to the city’s Restoration Center. The centralized complex, across from the city’s homeless shelter, was built using cross-departmental resources to divert people with serious mental health illness from jail and into treatment instead. Among other things, it provides a space for police to bring arrestees to sober up, which saves them a costly trip to the emergency room. Together the CIT training and Restoration Center have saved the City of San Antonio and its police force an estimated $50 million over the past five years and at least $600,000 a year in overtime pay, according to the Kaiser Health News report.
PAR is proud to announce that our Concussion Assessment & Response™: Sport Version (CARE) app was named the top concussion screening app by iMedicalApps.com. iMedicalApps reviewed all the concussion apps available in the iTunes App Store and compared each app to the criteria for evaluating, diagnosing, and assessing concussions developed by the American Medical Society for Sports Medicine, the American Academy of Neurology, and the Zurich Consensus Working Group.
Learn more about the criteria used to judge the app, download it from iTunes, or get it on Google Play today!
The CARE app is for use by qualified health care professionals only. If you are a parent or coach, our Concussion Recognition & Response™: Coach & Parent Version app may be suitable for you.
Adele Eskeles Gottfried, PhD, author of the Children’s Academic Intrinsic Motivation Inventory (CAIMI), will be presenting a paper at the 2014 APA Annual Conference in Washington, DC this week. Entitled, “From Parental Stimulation of Children’s Curiosity to Science Motivation and Achievement,” Gottfried’s longitudinal research shows that when parents encourage their young children’s curiosity, those children have higher academic intrinsic motivation in science subjects and higher science achievement across childhood through adolescence. Overall, the importance of academic intrinsic motivation for children’s subsequent academic competence is demonstrated. This study is part of Gottfried’s ongoing research on longitudinal aspects of parental stimulation’s role in children’s academic intrinsic motivation, and it highlights the importance of the CAIMI in being able to delineate these findings.
Gottfried’s presentation will be part of the “Role of Others in Promoting Students’ Motivation, Learning, and Well-Being” session on Sunday, August 10, at 1:00 p.m. in Convention Center Room 115. Please confirm dates and times in your convention program when you get to APA—and be sure to stop by the PAR booth (#438) as well!
Earlier this year, PAR was pleased to announce the publication of two new tests of intelligence and reasoning ability by Cecil R. Reynolds, PhD—the Reynolds Adaptable Intelligence Test™ (RAIT™) and the Test of General Reasoning Ability™ (TOGRA™). But what are the differences between these two new measures?
In simple terms, the difference can be summed up as “power versus speed.”
The RAIT is a powerful, comprehensive measure that assesses crystalized intelligence, fluid intelligence, and quantitative aptitude/intelligence. Designed to help educators evaluate students’ aptitude and determine eligibility for state and federal disability programs, the RAIT can also help clinicians diagnose various forms of childhood psychopathology and evaluate intelligence as part of general and neuropsychological evaluation. The RAIT takes approximately 50 minutes to administer.
The TOGRA is a speeded measure of reasoning and problem-solving. It helps human resources personnel quickly evaluate a job candidate’s abilities; it can also be used to evaluate athletes pre- and post-injury. With two equivalent, alternate forms, re-testing and progress monitoring can be done easily, without practice effects. The TOGRA takes only 16 minutes to administer.
Of course, the RAIT and TOGRA have some things in common as well. Both are designed for either individual or group administration; both work with children and adults ages 10-75 years; and both can be used in a wide variety of settings, including corporate/human resources settings, schools, inpatient and outpatient clinics, vocational support settings, and correctional facilities. The RAIT and the TOGRA are both available through the PARiConnect online testing platform as well as in a traditional paper-and-pencil format.
For a clear, colorful, at-a-glance summary of the differences between the RAIT and the TOGRA, take a look at PAR’s RAIT/TOGRA infographic. To learn more about the individual measures, please visit www.parinc.com, where you’ll find everything you need to make an intelligent decision about intelligence testing!