Special Education

Special Education Column

February 23, 1994 1 min read

After years of believing that they should cut sweets out of their children’s diets to counter hyperactivity, parents might do well to look elsewhere for curbs to inattention, according to two studies released this month.

In one study, researchers from Vanderbilt University and the University of Iowa reported that sucrose and aspartame (the artificial sweetener known widely by the brand name Nutrasweet) have no significant effect on the behavior of preschool- and school-age children.

“Even when intake exceeds typical dietary levels, neither dietary sucrose nor aspartame affects children’s behavior or cognitive function,’' the study’s authors wrote.

The differences that were detected between the sweeteners suggest that sucrose actually had a slight calming effect on some children.

Forty-eight children ages 3 through 10 participated in the study, which was published this month in the New England Journal of Medicine.

Researchers tested the sweeteners by rotating the children through three weeklong diets sweetened by sucrose, aspartame, and saccharin.

Even the 23 children whose parents had described them as “sugar sensitive’’ showed no ill effects from the sweeteners. And only one child’s parents were able to correctly identify the sequence of sweeteners used over the three-week period.

Another study examined the effects of aspartame on the behavior of 15 children diagnosed with attention-deficit disorder.

The study, published this month in Pediatrics, a publication of the American Academy of Pediatrics, also found that even at 10 times the amount considered normal, aspartame had no adverse effects on the children’s attention or impulsivity.

The Yale University researchers chose to look at the effects on children with A.D.D. because they are more likely to consume aspartame and because they are a population likely to be highly susceptible to the kinds of complaints associated with the sweetener.

The American Academy of Pediatrics has released a policy statement on the transportation of students with disabilities. The guidelines cover the transportation of wheelchairs, appropriate kinds of auto seats for children, and planning of transportation services within a school system.

The statement was published in the January issue of Pediatrics.
--SARA SKLAROFF

A version of this article appeared in the February 23, 1994 edition of Education Week as Special Education Column

Events

This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Equity & Diversity Webinar
Culturally Relevant Pedagogy to Advance Educational Equity
Schools are welcoming students back into buildings for full-time in-person instruction in a few short weeks and now is the perfect time to take a hard look at both our practices and systems to build
Content provided by PowerMyLearning
Classroom Technology Webinar Making Big Technology Decisions: Advice for District Leaders, Principals, and Teachers
Educators at all levels make decisions that can have a huge impact on students. That’s especially true when it comes to the use of technology, which was activated like never before to help students learn
Professional Development Webinar Expand Digital Learning by Expanding Teacher Training
This discussion will examine how things have changed and offer guidance on smart, cost-effective ways to expand digital learning efforts and train teachers to maximize the use of new technologies for learning.

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

Special Education The Pandemic Made It Harder to Spot Students With Disabilities. Now Schools Must Catch Up
After more than a year of disruption for all students, the pressure's on to find those in need of special education and provide services.
13 min read
Aikin listens to her eight-year-old son, Carter, as he reads in the family’s home in Katy, TX, on Thursday, July 8, 2021. Carter has dyslexia and Aikin could not help but smile at the improvement in his fluency as he read out loud.
Kanisha Aikin listens to her 8-year-old son, Carter, who has dyslexia, as he reads aloud in the family’s home in Katy, Texas.
Annie Mulligan for Education Week
Special Education What Employers Can Teach Schools About Neurodiversity
The benefits of neurodiversity have gained traction in business, but college and career support for students with disabilities falls short.
8 min read
Special Education The Challenge of Teaching Students With Visual Disabilities From Afar
Teachers of students with visual disabilities struggle to provide 3-D instruction in a two-dimensional remote learning environment.
Katie Livingstone
5 min read
Neal McKenzie
Neal McKenzie, an assistive technology specialist, works with a student who has a visual impairment in Sonoma County, Calif.<br/>
Courtesy Photo
Special Education 'They Already Feel Like Bad Students.' A Special Educator Reflects on Virtual Teaching
In a year of remote teaching, a high school special ed teacher has seen some of his students struggle and some thrive.
4 min read
Tray Robinson, a special education teacher, sits for a photo at Vasona Lake County Park in Los Gatos, Calif., on April 21, 2021.
Tray Robinson, a special education teacher, says remote learning has provided new ways for some of his students to soar, and has made others want to quit.
Sarahbeth Maney for Education Week