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Trauma, Grief and the Social Model: Practice Guidelines for Working with Adults with Intellectual Disabilities in the Wake of Disasters

January 27, 2015 Comments off

Trauma, Grief and the Social Model: Practice Guidelines for Working with Adults with Intellectual Disabilities in the Wake of Disasters
Source: Review of Disability Studies: An International Journal

Formulating personal needs assessments and plans for self-protection have been the recent focus of disaster preparedness manuals for individuals with intellectual disabilities and their caregivers. Interventions to address the minimization of psychological ill effects of trauma and grief in the aftermath of disasters for this population, however, remain largely unexplored. In the wake of such events, persons with intellectual disabilities require trained mental health professionals to assist them in identifying and coping with trauma exposure and its associated, often sudden losses. Intervention should be based on the unique needs of this population within the context of disaster and each individual’s cognitive strengths and capacities. Coupled with reviews of research and practice in the area of disaster mental health, the social model of disability served as a foundation for the formulation of best practice guidelines for tertiary interventions with adults with intellectual disabilities. The guidelines suggest approaches that will enable professionals to identify and minimize acute and chronic responses to disasters as well as foster resilience and enhance the valuable contributions of adults with intellectual disabilities in disaster-affected communities.

The Global Risks report 2015

January 26, 2015 Comments off

The Global Risks report 2015
Source: World Economic Forum

The 2015 edition of the Global Risks report completes a decade of highlighting the most significant long-term risks worldwide, drawing on the perspectives of experts and global decision-makers.

Over that time, analysis has moved from risk identification to thinking through risk interconnections and the potentially cascading effects that result.

Taking this effort one step further, this year’s report underscores potential causes as well as solutions to global risks.

Not only do we set out a view on 28 global risks in the report’s traditional categories (economic, environmental, societal, geopolitical and technological) but also we consider the drivers of those risks in the form of 13 trends.

In addition, we have selected initiatives for addressing significant challenges, which we hope will inspire collaboration among business, government and civil society communities.

Does Global Progress on Sanitation Really Lag behind Water? An Analysis of Global Progress on Community- and Household-Level Access to Safe Water and Sanitation

January 26, 2015 Comments off

Does Global Progress on Sanitation Really Lag behind Water? An Analysis of Global Progress on Community- and Household-Level Access to Safe Water and Sanitation
Source: PLoS ONE

Safe drinking water and sanitation are important determinants of human health and wellbeing and have recently been declared human rights by the international community. Increased access to both were included in the Millennium Development Goals under a single dedicated target for 2015. This target was reached in 2010 for water but sanitation will fall short; however, there is an important difference in the benchmarks used for assessing global access. For drinking water the benchmark is community-level access whilst for sanitation it is household-level access, so a pit latrine shared between households does not count toward the Millennium Development Goal (MDG) target. We estimated global progress for water and sanitation under two scenarios: with equivalent household- and community-level benchmarks. Our results demonstrate that the “sanitation deficit” is apparent only when household-level sanitation access is contrasted with community-level water access. When equivalent benchmarks are used for water and sanitation, the global deficit is as great for water as it is for sanitation, and sanitation progress in the MDG-period (1990–2015) outstrips that in water. As both drinking water and sanitation access yield greater benefits at the household-level than at the community-level, we conclude that any post–2015 goals should consider a household-level benchmark for both.

See: Study calls for new global standard for safe drinking water and sanitation (Science Daily)

The Wages of Sinistrality: Handedness, Brain Structure, and Human Capital Accumulation

January 23, 2015 Comments off

The Wages of Sinistrality: Handedness, Brain Structure, and Human Capital Accumulation (PDF)
Source: Journal of Economic Perspectives

In this paper, I argue that the phenomenon of handedness can provide insight into some of the issues surrounding economists’ recent exploration of early biological and environmental influences on people’s long-run outcomes. I review prior research showing that left- and right-handed individuals have different brain structures, particularly with regard to language processing. Using five datasets from the United States and the United Kingdom, I show that, consistent with prior research, both maternal left-handedness and poor infant health increase the likelihood of a child being left-handed. Thus, handedness can be used to explore the long-run effects of differential brain structure generated in part by genetics and in part by poor infant health.

Lefties exhibit economically and statistically significant human capital deficits relative to righties, even conditional on infant health and family background. Compared to righties, lefties score a tenth of a standard deviation lower on measures of cognitive skill and, contrary to popular wisdom, are not overrepresented at the high end of the distribution. Lefties have more emotional and behavioral problems, have more learning disabilities such as dyslexia, complete less schooling, and work in occupations requiring less cognitive skill. Differences between left- and right-handed siblings, which offer a way of controlling for qualities of family upbringing, are similar in magnitude. Interestingly, lefties with left-handed mothers show no cognitive deficits relative to righties. Some of these facts have been documented previously, though not across the range of datasets used here.

Lefties also have 10–12 percent lower annual earnings than righties, roughly equivalent to the return to a year of schooling in these samples. A large fraction of this gap can be explained by observed differences in cognitive skills and emotional or behavioral problems. Lefties work in more manually intensive occupations than do righties, further suggesting that their primary labor market disadvantage is cognitive rather than physical. This paper is the first to document these patterns.

Green Growth: Environmental policies and productivity can work together – OECD Policy Brief

January 22, 2015 Comments off

Green Growth: Environmental policies and productivity can work together – OECD Policy Brief (PDF)
Source: OECD

  • Stringent environmental policies can be introduced without hurting overall productivity
  • Letting up on environmental policies would not necessarily support a recovery
  • The design of environmental policies is key, emphasising the importance of flexible, market-based instruments, such as taxes, in the policy mix
  • Sending a strong signal to the market through stringent policies that do not create unnecessary barriers to entry and competition, will allow new, cleaner technologies and business models to develop
  • To help policymakers set the right balance, a set of new OECD environmental policy indicators has been developed: Environmental Policy Stringency (EPS) and the Burdens on the Economy due to Environmental Policies (BEEP)

See also: Productivity and long term growth — Do environmental policies matter for productivity growth?

New From the GAO

January 21, 2015 Comments off

New From the GAO
Source: Government Accountability Office

Report

1. Defense Headquarters: DOD Needs to Reassess Personnel Requirements for the Office of Secretary of Defense, Joint Staff, and Military Service Secretariats. GAO-15-10, January 21.
http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-15-10
Highlights – http://www.gao.gov/assets/670/667998.pdf

Testimonies

1. Aviation Safety: Issues Related to Domestic Certification and Foreign Approval of U.S. Aviation Products, by Gerald L. Dillingham, Ph.D., director, physical infrastructure issues, before the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure. GAO-15-327T, January 21.
http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-15-327T
Highlights – http://www.gao.gov/assets/670/667990.pdf

2. VA Construction: VA’s Actions to Address Cost Increases and Schedule Delays at Major Medical-Facility Projects, by David Wise, director, physical infrastructure team, before the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs. GAO-15-332T, January 21.
http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-15-332T
Highlights – http://www.gao.gov/assets/670/667986.pdf

Reissue

1. Polar Weather Satellites: NOAA Needs To Prepare for Near-term Data Gaps. GAO-15-47, December 16.
http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-15-47
Highlights – http://www.gao.gov/assets/670/667585.pdf
Podcast – http://www.gao.gov/multimedia/podcasts/667259

On January 16, 2015, this report was reissued to include the Highlights page that was inadvertently missing from the previously posted report.

 

Reaching Students: What Research Says About Effective Instruction in Undergraduate Science and Engineering (2015)

January 21, 2015 Comments off

Reaching Students: What Research Says About Effective Instruction in Undergraduate Science and Engineering (2015)
Source: National Research Council

The undergraduate years are a turning point in producing scientifically literate citizens and future scientists and engineers. Evidence from research about how students learn science and engineering shows that teaching strategies that motivate and engage students will improve their learning. So how do students best learn science and engineering? Are there ways of thinking that hinder or help their learning process? Which teaching strategies are most effective in developing their knowledge and skills? And how can practitioners apply these strategies to their own courses or suggest new approaches within their departments or institutions? Reaching Students strives to answer these questions.

Reaching Students presents the best thinking to date on teaching and learning undergraduate science and engineering. Focusing on the disciplines of astronomy, biology, chemistry, engineering, geosciences, and physics, this book is an introduction to strategies to try in your classroom or institution. Concrete examples and case studies illustrate how experienced instructors and leaders have applied evidence-based approaches to address student needs, encouraged the use of effective techniques within a department or an institution, and addressed the challenges that arose along the way.

The research-based strategies in Reaching Students can be adopted or adapted by instructors and leaders in all types of public or private higher education institutions. They are designed to work in introductory and upper-level courses, small and large classes, lectures and labs, and courses for majors and non-majors. And these approaches are feasible for practitioners of all experience levels who are open to incorporating ideas from research and reflecting on their teaching practices. This book is an essential resource for enriching instruction and better educating students.

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