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  QUESTION: Mental health counselling for lead poisoned children (post-treatment), 14 Dec 2005, Any State Any Country in the World

I am looking for post treatment therapy issues for children with a history of lead poisoning - for mental health counselling. The client in question began treatment for her lead poisoning at 1.5 years old and had a lead level of 38 units - she is now 9 years old.

ANSWER: 14 Dec 2005

Dear David,

I've never been asked the question you have asked before but my own experience has caused me to wonder how lead poisoned children should be treated in school and I sent an email to the Global Lead Network (Leadnet egroup) about it - please see below - and received an interesting answer from Mike Martin (immediately below) - a man you may well want to contact directly.

You could also consider joining one or both of two useful egroups so that you may put your question to the egroups and receive other answers from other people OR, if you do not wish to actually join an egroup, please let me know and I could put your question to the two egroups I had in mind, that is:

  1. Leadnet - send an email to to subscribe to the list
  2. Plumbism and Autism Network (PAN) - go to to join the group [where you will also see among the links - - the Anne Winner article I referred to in my email to Leadnet:- look for the title "The Early Lead Poisoned Child In The Classroom: Symptomatology and Intervention"] Please be in touch.

Yours Sincerely
Elizabeth O'Brien

Original Message-----
From: Mike Martin Sent: Monday, March 01, 2004 12:14 PM
To: Leadnet mail list 
Subject: [Leadnet] Helping poisoned children 

In an earlier post on Leadnet Elizabeth O'Brien asked a pertinent question that I haven't seen any responses to. Is there a developed protocol for working with children in schools who have been lead poisoned?

It seems to me that having been lead poisoned at the CDC level of official toxicity would be a prima facie case of brain injury. Currently there are Special Education procedures for working out Individual Education Plans (IEPs) for children. But eligibility for Special Education requires some testing and diagnosis of learning difficulties. I am not aware of whether the health department follow-ups to lead poisoning consider the implications for school achievement and whether they advocate to the mother or teacher that some consideration be given to the child under the Special Education statutes (Congress mandated a study of Special Education referrals and the National Academy of Sciences specifically cited lead poisoning in their report).

Given that a child has been lead poisoned, what protocols should be expected for that child in school, whether in Special Education or not?

  Mike Martin
Research Analyst
Arizona School Boards Association
2100 N. Central Ave, Suite 200
Phoenix, Az 85004
Excerpt from original Leadnet post by Elizabeth O'Brien:

I can generally agree that there is very little that schools have done about lead-poisoned students specifically, because, despite years of searching for it, I have only ever found one article on the topic:- "The Early Lead Poisoned Child In The Classroom: Symptomatology and Intervention for School Psychologists and School-Based Personnel" by Anne Winner, which I published with Anne's permission in 1994 - LEAD Action News vol 2 number 3. I have since then lost contact with Anne Winner of Reisterstown, Maryland but would love to contact her again if anyone can help with that???

What I'd like to hear from other Leadnet members, is whether they know of any school that has done something to assist lead-poisoned children specifically and what it is that was done. Here's some of what Anne Winner suggested but the full article is at The Early Lead Poisoned Child In The Classroom: Symptomatology and Intervention

"[the lead-poisoned child] should have:

a) Preferential Seating. Some children with processing problems may also need direct "attention holding" contact, often from only 3 feet away.
b) Assignment of a Buddy: This helps the child with directions, especially if delay in response is involved...
e) Referral to School Psychologist: Direct intervention to improve play behaviour and social interaction; help child with any emotional problems arising from this condition; and direct classroom consultation."

Yours Sincerely
Elizabeth O'Brien
Manager, Global Lead Advice and Support Service (GLASS)

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