Debunking email hoaxes and exposing Internet scams since 2003!


Hoax-Slayer Logo Hoax-Slayer Logo

DividerDivider
Home    About    New Articles    RSS Feed    Subscriptions    Contact
DividerDivider
Bookmark and Share









Issue 162 - September, 2013 (2nd Edition) - Page 7

'Special Education Week' and 'Autism and ADHD Awareness Month' Messages

Issue 162 Start Menu

Previous Article            Next Article

Outline
Circulating social media messages claim that it is Special Education Week and Autism and ADHD awareness month and ask that users post the information and leave it as their status for one hour.

Education concept: computer keyboard with Special Education

© Depositphotos.com/ Maksim Kabakou



Brief Analysis
Any credible information about an officially designated, national US based "Special Education Week" is difficult to locate. And the messages circulate continually but contain no information about what particular week or month of the year the events described supposedly take place. There are Autism and ADHD months, but they do not generally occur at the same time. Posting this foolish and misleading message is counterproductive. It is certainly not an effective way of raising awareness of special education requirements or of the needs of children with Autism or ADHD.

Bookmark and Share
Examples

Special Education Week

anyone willing to leave this on there status for an hour? It's special education week, Autism and ADHD awareness month – This is in honor of all children who struggle every day



Can I make a request? Is anyone willing to leave this on there status for an hour? It's special education week, Autism and ADHD awareness month., And this is in honor of all the children that struggle every day. I know 99% of you won't re-post and 1% that will!


Detailed Analysis


According to various messages that have circulated via social media for several years, this week is "Special Education Week". The messages also claim that it is Autism and ADHD month. Recipients are asked to post the message as their status for an hour as a means of honouring "all of the children who struggle every day".

Most people who share the messages are likely to do so in good faith, and with a desire to help.  However, there are significant problems with these messages.

Alas, any credible information about an officially designated, nationally recognized "Special Education Week" is scarce to say the least.

One article on Examiner.com claims that such a nationally recognized week takes place in the United States in March. However, the user-submitted article gives no references to support its claims and its author admits in the article's comment section that "This was an initiative by a support group to have a national week of recognition. It was forwarded to me."

And Lisa Belkin of the New York Times notes in a 2010 article:
I called the U.S. Department of Education, where an assistant in the Office of Special Education Programs told me he’d never heard of a Special Education Week, though he wouldn’t be surprised if there is “something like that.” He then put me on hold and went off to ask others in the office.

He came back after several minutes and told me, “We found National Disability Employment Month. That’s the closest we could come.”
Some states, local entities or groups in the US and elsewhere may occasionally run special education weeks or awareness campaigns and designate certain time frames for them. Some jurisdictions have "Education Weeks", which focus in part on special education.  But, given that there is no officially endorsed information about a nationally recognized "Special Education Week" - at least in the US where the messages appear to have originated - the claims that the event takes place "this week" is obviously spurious.

This brings us to another significant flaw in the message. It does not include any specific dates for the events it describes. Versions of the message circulate continually and have done so for several years. It is posted - somewhere online - every week.  Obviously, "Special Education Week" can't be every week. Otherwise, it would be better called "Special Education Year". Or perhaps, "Special Education Decade".

Nor, of course, is every month of the year Autism and ADHD Awareness month. There are official Autism and ADHD Awareness Months, but they do not normally take place at the same time. Autism Awareness Month takes place in April each year. ADHD Awareness Month takes place in October 2013 and was set in September in 2012.   

But the message misleadingly lumps these two awareness months together. It thus implies that Autism and ADHD are intrinsically linked and falsely suggests that their respective awareness months occur at the same time. 

Given that, as stated previously, these messages circulate continually throughout the year, such falsehoods potentially rob both genuine awareness months of potential impact.

Some commentators have argued that, even though the claims in the messages are spurious, they might still help to raise awareness. However, at least in this writer's opinion, this claim is fallacious. You do not effectively raise awareness of an issue by posting misleading and inaccurate nonsense on your networks.

In truth, such messages serve only to provide participants with a fleeting feel good moment in which they mistakenly believe that they have actually done something to help. Those who want to help would be much better to get involved in real and meaningful awareness campaigns rather than post a silly status message on their networks for an hour. Or any other length of time, for that matter.


Bookmark and Share

Last updated: September 11, 2013
First published: September 11, 2013
By Brett M. Christensen
About Hoax-Slayer

References
Special Education Week March 22 - 26th
National Cause of the Moment
Special Education Week in New Jersey 2013
National Autism Awareness Month
ADHD Awareness Month - What You Can Do
For National ADHD Awareness Month, a Close Look at the Disorder



Previous Article            Next Article

Issue 162 Start Menu

Pages in this issue:
  1. Unlucky Frog LADEE Rocket Launch Photograph
  2. Reshipping Fraud - Parcel Mule Scams
  3. 'Apple Account Frozen' Phishing Scam
  4. Warnings Claim Facebook Is Deleting Pet Profiles
  5. CASE NOW SOLVED - Message Asks For Help to Identify Man Killed By Train in Melbourne
  6. HM Revenue & Customs Refund of Overpayments Phishing Scam
  7. 'Special Education Week' and 'Autism and ADHD Awareness Month' Messages
  8. Apple iPhone 5c Giveaway Like-Farming Scam
  9. Fake Companies House Emails Contain Malware
  10. Mysterious Carved Tree Hoax
  11. Land Registry Debit Notification Malware Emails
  12. Jennifer's Story - Dating and Money Laundering Scam
  13. Obama Muslim Stamp - USPS Muslim Holiday Stamp Release Protest Message
  14. Pickup Truck Bus Crash Texting Warning Message
  15. No, Facebook Is NOT Removing Veteran Amputee Images
  16. 'Email Account Pending Deactivation' Phishing Scam
  17. NatWest 'Bonus Reward' Phishing Scam
  18. No, Radiation from Fukushima has NOT Killed Hundreds of Whales
  19. Google Support 'Message Blocked' Pharmacy Spam Email
  20. Russian Sleep Experiment Story
  21. Carnival Cruise Free Vacation Packages Survey Scam
  22. Angelina Jolie is Not Dead - Fake Death Message Points to Rogue App and Survey Scam
  23. Bogus LinkedIn Invites Open Drug Store Spam Sites
  24. Kitten Giveaway Scam
  25. Miley Cyrus is NOT Dead - Miley Cyrus Suicide Facebook Scam
  26. Bogus Warning - 'Russian Booksellers Looking For Children'
  27. Dave and Angela Dawes Advance Fee Lottery Scams
  28. Gang Initiation Warning Hoax - Infant Car Seat Left On Roadside
  29. Dueling Banjos Hoax
  30. Football Star Joe Montana is NOT Dead
  31. 'I Am Meth' Poem