Social Work in the Public Eye (January 2018)

Kate McMullin

Kate McMullin

Children with autism and those with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder and anxiety can suffer from sensory issues, says Kate McMullin, NASW member and registered play therapist. McMullin was quoted in the Courier-Post in Cherry Hill, N.J., in a story about stores making clothing for children with sensory issues.

“Companies who are making clothing that is more sensory-friendly for this population are helping more children than they realize,” McMullin, a certified autism specialist at Inspira Medical Center Woodbury Children’s Behavioral Health, says in the article.

McMullin explained that many children with autism or sensory processing disorders report feeling uncomfortable with certain clothes because of tactile sensitivities, the article says.Some of the irritants include tags in shirts; jeans, because they are hard and have ridges in the seams; items that are too tight; and certain textures and fabrics, it says.

Micki Grimland

Micki Grimland in Houston quoted NASW Texas member Micki Grimland about limiting children’s exposure to the Las Vegas shooting, which took 58 lives and injured hundreds on Oct 1. 

Many children and teens have access to graphic video posted on social media platforms. Mental health professionals warned that parents must take control, the story explains.“The main thing is that when you go to talk to your kids about it, check your own emotions,” Grimland is quoted as saying. “Make sure you’re in a moderate place. That you’re calm when you talk with your kids about it. Make sure they know that the world for the most part is a safe place.”

Grimland, a licensed clinical social worker at Southwest Psychotherapy Associates in Houston, said parents should focus on the positive and talk about how strangers helped each other in a time of need, the story says. 

Experts say parents should focus on how many good people exist in the world rather than on who might want to harm others, it explained.“The serious consequence is that you can traumatize yourself by watching too much of it, like when the kids are seeing the imagery of the latest shooting with the Las Vegas murderer,” Grimland told 

“They see the crowd. They see the faces. They see the real-life moment of terror.”

Jim Struve

Jim Struve

NASW member Jim Struve is manager of Weekends of Recovery, and has been a therapist and a social justice advocate for male survivors of sexual trauma for 41 years.

He and retired social worker Martha Jaye Rieser co-authored a column in the Salt Lake Tribune about how boys and men are also victims of abuse. 

The column was a response to an Oct. 5 editorial, where the author pointed out sexual abuse legislation would benefit women.

“Reporting about issues of sexual assault must include all victims, not just women and girls,” the two stated in response. They point out current research, which reveals that 10 percent to 20 percent of girls and 5 percent to 10 percent of boys are victims of child sexual abuse.

"One in six males are sexually assaulted at some time during their lifetime,” the two wrote.

Rachel Goldsmith

Rachel Goldsmith

An article posted at highlights the increased awareness of sexual harassment victims in the workplace.

It says a new Washington Post-ABC News poll shows that 64 percent of Americans acknowledge sexual harassment in the workplace as a serious problem.

When the poll was conducted in 2011, only 47 percent of Americans believed sexual harassment was a serious issue, with 30 percent saying it was “not a problem” at all, the story states.

NASW member Rachel Goldsmith, associate vice president for the Domestic Violence Shelter Programs at Safe Horizon in New York City, told Refinary29 that people who experience harassment or abuse deal with those feelings in different ways.

Some may find a social media demonstration like #MeToo cathartic, while others prefer to reflect behind the scenes, Goldsmith said.

To read other media stories like these, visit