Wednesday, September 30, 2009

What are the teachers doing wrong?

Republican Health Care plan: Don't get sick but if you do...die quickly.

Just for the record; I think Alan Grayson rocks! And, sent him an e-mail to tell him so. Wish all our Dems had the balls and the backbone to call it so plain.

Back to school...again!

Poor Shea. He was out of school for a week plus.

Conjunctivitis then a whirlwind virus breezed through and laid him low. Pink eye doesn't usually last that long ( I learned) but I guess the virus made it last longer or that his immune system was so compromised he could not recover as quickly.

But today! Today Shea went back to school and that kid was pretty delighted to be back. He got hugs from his excellent "pretty in pink" pal, the fabulous Sophia. "You're back!" she hollered.

The teacher said half her class was absent yesterday as we weren't the only one who was sick. I guess I didn't realize.

Is this common for kindergarten? duh? I guess so but is this a particularly bad year? I just don't remember this when Molly was there.

It really got me thinking about Shea and his diet. I am a big proponent of "live" food. You know, fruit, veggies, yogurt. Many of you may know how militant I am about my kefir every AM.

Shea doesn't need any of those things.

Oh, I try! But, the reluctance is strong and swift.

As I was talking with our Naturapathic Doctor on a daily basis for a week plus during the illness that wouldn't go away, I expressed my concern about this.

We talked about putting together a strategy to try and slip in some probiotics into his diet somehow.

I feel like I need to build his immune system as we head into this ball buster of a flu season we are all hearing about.

Ok. Un-official Coaxing poll:

Who out there is going to get a flu shot? The normal one and/or the swine flu one? Your kids? Yourself? Please share.

Parenting Special Needs magazine

Becoming a parent changes everything. When a child comes along priorities and day to day habits change. If that child has special needs it can quite literally transform your life, plans and livelihoods.

Chantai Snellgrove, founder and editorial director of Parenting Special Needs magazine, is a good example. She has a successful career in graphic design, marketing, advertising and publishing but when she realized her daughter had special needs she saw a need for a one-stop resource for information, strategies and personal stories for building community among parents of kids with special needs.

From that idea her free on-line magazine was born! Only offered on-line due to publishing costs and wider availability, Parenting Special Needs is a very professional, colorful and beautifully designed bi-monthly. Obviously, much thought and focus was put into making the magazine attractive and appealing.

Snellgrove sees the mission as quite simple,
Our mission is to provide parents of special needs children, of all ages and stages of life, both information and inspiration. Through Parenting Special Needs, we've created a world that provides practical tips, shares life’s lessons, tackles the challenges and celebrates the joys, of one of life's greatest gifts.
In an interview in her hometown paper, TCPalm, Snellgrove explains,
"Our hope is that by raising awareness and bringing some of these things to the forefront. We also educate and raise tolerance and acceptability for anybody with different abilities."
As a parent of a special needs daughter, she understands the feelings of isolation many parents have. Therefore with her magazine she wants to inform and raise awareness not only for parents but also family, friends and teachers on how to positively deal with the struggles of having a special needs child.
"My goal originally was to help the parents," she said. "In helping the parents, I think you also have to educate other people. There's a lot of information out there, but if you don't ask the right questions, you don't get the answers," she said. "A lot of parents were out there floundering."
A unique element of the magazine is how they actively recruit parents to share their stories with written submissions as well as their very popular “Proud Moments” section. Anyone can submit a moment of achievement and pride related to a child with special needs. These touching portraits of real life are little diamonds. Anyone who reads them would find commonalities and inspiration for their own journey.

Be sure to check out Parenting Special Needs magazine. It’s free!

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Actor with Down's Syndrome wins prestigious award at San Sebastián film festival

Pablos Pineda has won the Silver Shell prize at the recent San Sebastian film festival. He is the first actor with Down ’s Syndrome to win this significant award.

The film, Yo, Tambien, (Me too) shows how an isolated woman finds comfort and shelter with a young man who has Down ’s Syndrome. The film was directed by Alvaro Pastor and Antonio Haharro.

The San Sebastian Film Festival is the oldest and most prestigious in the Spanish speaking World with a strong focus on European and U.S. movies.

Pineda, who is 35, also happens to be the first person with Down’s Syndrome to receive an university degree and plans to pursue his interest in teaching rather than continue on with acting in the future.

In Variety, Jonathan Holland reviews of the film:

Pineda does good work in a first acting role that seems to have been modeled on aspects of his own experiences. He delivers a finely judged, no-nonsense performance, and his self-deprecating humor prevents us from feeling mere sympathy for him.

Though in later scenes, Daniel's awkwardness in pursuing Laura can be tough to watch, there's real chemistry between the two, for which the alert Duenas is also largely responsible. Details of Laura's own family problems, which dubiously attempt to establish her as an outsider like Daniel, seem drawn from a gritty-domestic-drama template and can hardly compete with the main story.

Scenes shot at a DS dance class develop a powerful secondary against-the-odds romantic storyline between a DS couple (Daniel Parejo and Lourdes Naharro) -- that threatens to take over the film. The storyline also includes the pic's strongest scene: seemingly improvised, beautifully authentic and quietly celebratory.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

A Ukraine history lesson

Just had to share this with all of you.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Dancing through that social scene

Today is the first school dance for a certain brand new middle school-er in my family.

Titled "The Welcome back to school" dance, it is directly after school and won't just have dancing.

Carnival games, prizes and, of course, plenty of sugar laden treats will keep kids busy whether they dance or not.

One of the neighbor girls said, "Everyone is asking someone to go to the dance!"

Really? Actually not everyone because she and my new middle school-er did not. But apparently some people did.

The results? Lots of declines but thank you very much. Ah...just like life.

The preferred mode is to meet up with a few friends and brave the social scene together without the added stress of an arranged "date" at 11 or 12.

Holy crap!

Jake said this morning, "This sure does seem like a lot of pressure to put on the kids." Thank you very much. I agree. But at least there are other things to do other than dance.

I remember my 6th grades dances. Light was dim, the girls clustered giggling in their "party clothes", boys visibly uncomfortably, lurking on the extreme other side of the room. Any dancing? No, not much.

Dances really didn't get rockin' until high school or at least 8th grade.

Molly told me at 6:00 PM last night that she volunteered to bring treats to the dance. Yow! Too late to make anything so I called the local bakery to save our bacon.

So, they are selling treats too? Ah ha! I get it. This is just another fund raising opportunity for the school. I get it now.

Let's hope they have fun and not take all this too seriously.

For some, it is a lot of pressure. Wish we didn't have to start them on it so young.



Well, dances are different these days. There was plenty of dancing, not much standing around uncomfortably. The 8th graders planned, organized, decorated and picked the music for the dance. They get to decide what to do with the money raised.

I think most of the 6th graders were a little shocked at how sexually charged the older kid's dancing was. I figured there would be some bumping and grinding. Well, there was LOTS of bumping and grinding from the 8th graders.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Protect Insurance Company PSA

Pink eye


How have I been a mother for 11 years and have not yet dealt with this?

Poor Shea. Conjunctivitis or Pink eye. Gross and very contagious.

He got sent home from school by the nurse yesterday so I took him directly to the Boo-boo house (our doctor has her office in an old house) and this is his name for her office.

Sure enough. It is what it is.

So she proscribed this ointment. Ointment? To be put directly on his eyeball. Sure. Easily talked about not easily done.

Who in there right mind is going to keep their eye open as a big old finger is poking at it. I mean its reflex, right?

And, the eye looks worse today so I called to twit with the nurse.

She suggests to pull down the lower lid and don't even use your finger but sploodge the goo directly onto his lower lid.

Ah ha! Somehow that sound easier.

Wish us luck!

An apple a day...

We have set up a self serve farm stand at our place. I say "we" but Jake did all the design and heavy lifting but now that is is done it is my job to stock it.

Thankfully we have this big old apple tree in the back yard. And, when I mean old, I mean really old.

Let's see the house was built in 1908 and I can imagine that those first happy home owners planted an apple tree perhaps within the first 3 years. No way to know for sure but I call it the "100 year old apple tree" for that reason.

And, are they yummy! Crisp, sweet but with a little tartness. Yellow streaked with red; just beautiful. Wish I knew what they were but we just call them Molly Delicious.

So, I am stocking the farm stand with apples...and people are actually buying them!

Yesterday, around after school time, I noticed a couple of teenagers who had been walking home from school step into the farm stand and look around a little sheepishly.

When they had gone I went up to check and see if they had paid. No money in the cash box! Damn kids! I muttered like an old curmudgeon shaking my fist at the sky. Annoyed? Yes!

But later I went up and noticed they had left a buck under one of the apples. Isn't that like a curmudgeon to jump to conclusions? Thinking the worst of the next generation?

So, it got me thinking, those kids while walking home had probably 2 apples each. Just because my farm stand was there - convenient - they had their servings of fresh organic fruit. They could have bought candy bars or bags of Sodium Crunchies at Mom's - the local gas and sip but they didn't.

The bought my apples. All annoyance vanished. Benevolence replaced it. Now I am pondering an After School special price for students!

No. That may be to preachy. I am just glad some high school kids are getting their fruit.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Now that is bipartisanship

Therapeutic horse riding: kids with special needs make progress in the saddle

There is something about the horse. Beautiful. Rugged. Free spirited. And, therapeutic.

Many children with special needs find bonding, riding and taking care of horses exceedingly therapeutic and may be including in an overall treatment program.

Children with physical disabilities, such as Cerebral Palsy who have difficulties with locomotion, are able to feel the comforting natural rhythm of walking perhaps for the first time. It improves nerve and muscle coordination as well as muscle strength and can prevent further dysfunction caused by lack of muscle and joint use. Stronger muscles help with breathing, sitting upright and speech.

Many children with developmental delays or on the autism spectrum also find great reward from this therapy. Some children who have been previously non-verbal may speak for the first time when they want to communicate with a horse.

According to, therapeutic riding is sometimes called Hippotherapy (Hippo, Greek for horse) and can benefit a child in the following ways:

• relaxing tight muscles
• increasing balance
• building muscle strength
• sharpening hand/eye coordination
• gaining a sense of body-awareness
• gaining a sense of self-control
• gaining a sense of self-confidence
• improving communication
• improving concentration
• improving socialization
• improving patience
• improving fine motor coordination
• improving sensory integration

Here in the northwest – Seattle area we are fortunate to have a good selection of programs to choose from.

Little Bit Therapeutic Riding Center -- Woodinville, 425- 882-1554
Founded in 1976, Little Bit is a leader in the field of therapeutic horseback riding and the first nationally accredited program of its kind in the Northwest. In 1992 Little Bit was selected from more than 500 therapeutic riding centers in North America to receive the Delta Society's Model Program Award of Excellence for performing outstanding service in bringing people and animals together.

Hawk Ridge Therapeutic Riding Center - Fall City, 425-222-0080,
The mother and daughter team of Joanne and Kate Woodcock founded the center in May 2000, along with their friend Doug McCowan, a veteran therapeutic horse instructor. The center, which includes a 12-stall barn, a 20-by-60-meter indoor riding arena and a 20-by-40-meter outdoor riding arena, is part of the North American Riding for the Handicapped Association (NARHA).

Northwest EquiCARE - Eatonville, 360-832-6386,
Northwest EquiCARE works with doctors, physical, occupational, speech therapists, special education specialists and many others to provide case managment opportunities for children and adults with disabilites to progress using hroseback riding therapy as a tool. NW EquiCARE is a grassroots agency, using volunteers in the community to serve the many disabled that have special needs. Please join the efforts of outreach in our community.

Equest Special Riders - Spanaway, (253) 539-9160,
Equest Special Riders, Inc. is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to promote physical and mental strength and coordination as well as self-esteem and enjoyment through horseback riding activities for individuals with disabilities. This program of trained volunteers, offering therapeutic horseback riding to persons with Developmental Disabilities, has been in existence since 1982.

Boots 'n Breeches, Lakewood, 253-370-1429,
Riding a horse is often one of the few activities available to people with disabilities. Mastering riding skills can tremendously boost a rider's self-confidence. And the special bond that often occurs between horse and rider can help heal emotional wounds. The smiles, the hugs, the tears of delight and joy say it all.

EquiFriends - Snohomish, 425-377-0802,
EquiFriends serves more than 100 riders per week from Snohomish, King, Skagit and Island counties. Our participants are challenged with a variety of disabilities, including ADHS, Autism, Cerebral Palsy, Down Syndrome, Emotional or Behavioral Problems, Hearing, Visual or Speech impairment, Brain Injury, Learning Disabilities, Mental Retardation, Paraplegia, Stroke or CVA, Schizophrenia and other syndromes. Between 60 to 65 percent are children or young adults under the age of 20 years, with the highest concentration between 3 and 15 years of age.

For more articles by Seattle Special Needs Kids Examiner:

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

New school year: 1 week down

In 4 words: so far so good.

Shea seems to be making the transition to kindergarten with vim and vigor. Happy, enthusiastic, literally exploding off the bus with joy! This may be the high water mark but I am feeling much relieved.

The IEP manager told me about the first full day where he comes from kindergarten, has lunch with his bubble of special kids and then even had a mini snooze in the bean bag chair for about 15 minutes! Then bounced right up and had a good 2nd half of the day. Priceless.

Tomorrow is the first birthday party of the year and I already have the wheat/gluten free brownie ready to go.

Well. Like I said: so far so good.

Molly said yesterday, "I like middle school!" Yow! She likes her teachers and she likes her classes and she likes being able to bike to school and she like having a locker and she likes being a big kid.

Being a musical novice again is tough as she has joined the band and is learning to play the flute. This is in addition to violin and voice. Hm...

My butterflies are settling down although I still wish I could be a fly on the wall to check out the social dynamic. But instead I subtly ask things like, "How was lunch? Who did you sit with?"

The answer? The nice girls. The brainy girls. The not too much in a hurry to grow up girls.

Well. Like I said: so far so good.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Adults behaving badly: teaching our kids how not to act

This has been some week in “Adults Behaving Badly”.

First, South Carolina Republican Congressman, Joe Wilson felt a prime time presidential speech to both houses and the nation was an appropriate time to holler out "You lie!" reminding us all of a petulant 8 year old. Although, our president was not speaking a mis-truth and Congressman Wilson has now been formally admonished by the house, I am sure this will just give him more to complain and feel bitter about. Considering the current discourse in our august body politic, I suppose we shouldn't be surprised.

Then multiple title tennis champion, Serena Williams, displayed an ugly, profanity riddled melt down during a match at the US Open. Brandishing her racket like a weapon, she proceeded to display the most “unsportsmanlike” behavior in the sports history. I couldn't help but think that Serena seemed to have a pretty practiced potty mouth for someone raised Jehovah Witness. I guess money and fame changes everything.

And, now rapper Kayne West, felt that it was his right to grab the microphone away from the Video Music Award (VMA) winner Taylor Swift so that he could drunkenly offer his unwanted opinions about who should have really won. For goodness sake! Where is a good hook when we need one?

Being a positive role model for kids seemed to be so much simpler in my day. And, we wonder why we are having a hard time teaching our kids to be polite, be a good sport, don’t interrupt, don't name call and certainly don’t fight over stupid things.

If this isn't an ideal opportunity to profess "do as I say, not as I do" I don't know one.

Kids aren't stupid. They are little intuitive sponges soaking up input at an alarming pace. There is a lot in our culture to protect our kids from; inappropriate music, TV, movies, internet content to name just a few. But, until now, it seemed somewhat safe to watch a presidential address or a tennis match or a music award show. How naive.

Perhaps we could use this opportunity to point out very bad behavior no matter who does it. A simple statement like, “Wow, even adults do some really dumb stuff sometimes.” could go a long way.

Reinforce to your kids that it is never ok to name call or yell at someone even if you disagree with them. Try to model productive, respectful ways to disagree for your kids. Talk about how things can quickly escalate if allowed and a situation can become dangerous.

And hopefully if our kids get the lesson they can try to influence some of the adults out there who need a manners refresher course.

Teaching good manners to kids resources:

Manners and Etuquette for kids

Rude busters

Kids good manners


Other articles by Seattle Special Needs Kids Examiner:

Late talkers, helpful anecdotes and when Einstein first spoke

Treatment strategies for curing autism nutritionally

Public school, special ed and gifted programs: is it working for your child?

Monday, September 14, 2009

Ain't it the truth?

Let's test them until they yell uncle!

"During the month of September, your child will take standardized tests to evaluate their skills in reading and math. September 14th, the Dynamic Indicators of Basic Early Literacy Skills (DIEBELS) will be administered to all K-5 students."

I got this memo on Friday, September 11th.

I was not asked if I would like my child to be part of the testing as a kindergartner. I was told he was going to be tested. I was given 3 days, over a weekend, to try to make a educated decision about this testing program. It was not stated that, of course, my child does not have to participate. I, of course, know this but many new parents may not. In fact, they do need your permission to test your child.

They are testing literacy before they can read? Testing math before kindergarten is 2 weeks old. They want to give a verbal test to my kid with Apraxia. Anyone want to guess how that will go?

No, I don't think kids need to be labeled and tracked at this young of an age whether they have special needs or not. No, I don't think a one-size-fits-all test should be the great determiner of my child's supposed intelligence. No, I don't want someone labeling my kid when he is 5 and having that determine how people feel and treat him down the road.

And, yes, I do think teachers can make their own assessments of an individual kid's strengths and weaknesses if allowed to do their jobs without being hassled by ding bat administrators to do standardized test all the time!

I informed them that Shea would not be participating.

Lake Quinault Lodge and 16th anniversary

Jake and I hit 16 years over the weekend and did something that we hardly ever do but really should do out of town.

Amazingly, last spring I won a weekend to Lake Quinault Lodge from my accountant (!) for getting my paperwork in on time. How's that for positive reinforcement? Somehow beginning to work on tax stuff in January seems so much less daunting. Thank you Peter Lake, CPA!

Getting out of town shouldn't be so damn hard yet it is. Somehow we managed to time it over our anniversary which is really September 11th but we have moved it to either the 10th or the 12th because the 11th doesn't have a warm, romantic, fuzzy feel that it used to. We got married over a weekend anyway so I feel completely justified in moving the actually celebration day to whatever works best.

The lodge is really something special and feels like a flash back to the 30's. Maybe all the old cars crusing around had something to do with it. But, it feels like and still looks the way it did when it was built in 1926.

Shocked with the spectacular weather, I felt like we were able to really pull some strings and have the best weather imaginable. We hiked a little, lazed a little, read a lot, ate, drank and were merry.

It was fun. And, pretty nice to be reminded that we not only still love each but actually sort of kind of like each other too.

The kids got to be spoiled and adored by my mom for the weekend. And, we all got back to the house exhausted yesterday.

Ok, so now we go back to the regularly scheduled life but maybe with a little bit more of a spring in our step. Enough to last us for 16 more years?

Friday, September 11, 2009

8 years ago today...

... a sad, frightening, unbelievable thing happened.

We watched it but we couldn't believe it.

Everyone has at least one image in their mind that reoccurs about that horrific morning.

Mine is watching those people jump and imagining their thoughts. It can still make me choke up.

Another one is hearing some of those cell phone messages saying good bye.

It still makes me woozy with grief.

I send my thoughts out to the fallen and their families who miss them and will never be the same. And, to all who have suffered and given their lives in direct consequences of that fateful day.

May we find


Neurofeedback: what is it?

I started looking into Neurofeedback after I heard the highly regarded and smart as a whip Thom Hartmann, talking about it on his radio show. Thom has written extensively on ADD/ADHD and had very good things to say about Neurofeedback.

Recently, I heard him interview Nora Gedgaudas from Northwest Neurofeedback about her new book, Primal Body-Primal Mind: Empower Your Total Health The Way Evolution Intended (...And Didn't) and just had to dig a little deeper.

"Neurofeedback is direct training of brain function, by which the brain learns to function more efficiently. We observe the brain in action from moment to moment. We show that information back to the person. And we reward the brain for changing its own activity to more appropriate patterns. This is a gradual learning process. It applies to any aspect of brain function that we can measure. Neurofeedback is also called EEG Biofeedback, because it is based on electrical brain activity, the electroencephalogram, or EEG. Neurofeedback is training in self-regulation. It is simply biofeedback applied to the brain directly. Self-regulation is a necessary part of good brain function. Self-regulation training allows the system (the central nervous system) to function better." As defined by

When I first began my research I was interested in autism treatments but found out quickly that Neurofeedback has been known to be helpful in treating many different issues as wide ranging as sleep problems to chronic pain, Post traumatic Stress Disorder to Menopause, anxiety to bi-polar disorders.

"Neurofeedback addresses problems of brain disregulation. These happen to be numerous. They include the anxiety-depression spectrum, attention deficits, behavior disorders, various sleep disorders, headaches and migraines, PMS and emotional disturbances. It is also useful for organic brain conditions such as seizures, the autism spectrum, and cerebral palsy."

I was surprised at how non-invasive this treatment is and the testimonials are riveting. After everything I have read, I am very intrigued.

Have you or a family member had a first hand experience with Neurofeedback? Let me know, I am really curious to hear what you have to say about it.

Teachers strike for reduced class size

It seems class size is the crux of the Kent teacher's dispute. With no class size cap for the Kent school district, perhaps it is not unexpected that they have some of the highest in the area.

30 - 32 kids in an over crowded classroom, many who are English as second language and special needs kids who need extra help is hardly an optimal teaching environment.

I don't know how many parents would think those numbers are ok. Perhaps that is why, for now at least, the parents seem to be strongly supporting the teachers. This dispute has much bigger ramifications and people from all over the state are watching what happens closely.

Now we find out, the Kent teachers are defying a judge's order and may potentially wrack up daily fines if they do not return to work on Monday. Talk about shooting the messenger!

How can this end anything but badly?

Washington state voters repeatedly have shown they want reduction in class size and are willing to pay for it. It's better for the kids. Its better for the teachers. The state saves money in the long run by students having the best chance at a good education the first time around. Yet, the state still does not fund it appropriately and leaves school districts, like Kent, and so many others holding the bag.

The Kent school district, in this case, says they just don't have the money to reduce class sizes and unfortunately, I believe them. School districts have their hands tied all over the state where the funding has been slashed.

What happens when already cash strapped school districts have even deeper cuts? Mayhem! Like in Kent. And, frustrated, annoyed, cynical parents and teachers fume all over the state.

When will our state finally deal with this burr under the saddle? Where is the leadership on this issue? It is long over due and time our state government took their jobs seriously and get down to business and do the hard, uncomfortable, heavy lifting that is needed for education. State government is not just for assuring cushy tax breaks for corporations and negotiating trade deals. Education funding should be, MUST BE, at the top of the list!

I would suggest creating a brand new revenue stream earmarked for education. It is as simple as that. Introducing a moderate state income tax could take care of this, and quickly. Obviously we can't continue on the path we are going. But, does anyone in Olympia have the “cajones” to even suggest it?

Where is the leadership? They are failing our kids.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Another moment in subversive speeches to students

Did anyone else cry at this speech? I read it and cried. Then saw it and cried.


Sunday, September 6, 2009

I'm with stupid

The best marketing idea of the year award? Twilight Series coffee

The brilliant folks behind the Vashon Island Coffee Roasterie have done it again. On a day to day basis, they spin simple comfort and delicious down home magic out a historical building on Vashon Island.

Once the roastery for Seattle Best Coffee, yes - that started on Vashon too, they have transformed the space into a cozy, inviting coffee, tea and general store for local, organic and sustainable food and products.

So, I wasn't really shocked when I first saw their most recent brain child.

"Twilight Series" Coffee.

Yes, that Twilight or how I like to describe it to the horror of my daughter, the "Sexy Vampire" Coffee.

Partnering up with Forks, WA - land of wet and fog and vampires, the Vashon Roasterie has developed 4 blends: Bella's Blend™, La Tua Cantante™, Volturi Italian™ Roast and New Moon Rising™.

Today we are trying Bella's Blend and Molly and her friend have coffee for the first time. All these rights of passage are stacking up!

Here's to a good cup of joe! Just don't let it bite you in the neck!

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Treatment strategies for curing autism nutritionally

There are a lot of theories out there on how to treat autistic spectrum kids. Unfortunately, a lot of them sound a little too out there or the results are just not conclusive. There is a lot of snake oil out there and I recommend a good healthy dose of skepticism for parents. But don't let it shut out good, new studies, information and different strategies to try for your own child.

I recently ran across this article by Dr. Mark Hyman in The Huffington Post, titled Why Current Thinking About Autism is Completely Wrong.

His take on autism treatment is interesting.

"The real reason we are seeing increasing rates of autism is simply this: Autism is a systemic body disorder that affects the brain. A toxic environment triggers certain genes in people susceptible to this condition. And research supports this position."

"Dramatic scientific discoveries have taken place during the last 10 to 20 years that reveal the true causes of autism -- and turn conventional thinking on its head. For example, Martha Herbert, MD, a pediatric neurologist from Harvard Medical School has painted a picture of autism that shows how core abnormalities in body systems like immunity, gut function, and detoxification play a central role in causing the behavioral and mood symptoms of autism."

Food allergies, gluten intolerance, toxicity, vitamin and mineral deficiencies; these are the causes of autism according to Dr. Hyman and others. Strategies for treatment were predominantly nutritional; taking gluten out of the diet, reducing the toxins and inflammation in the gut or what he calls the 7 keys to wellness.

In brief, here is Dr. Hyman's strategy to treat autism: Improve nutrition, reduce inflammation, heal the gut, detoxify

Step 1: Fix the Gut and Cool the Inflammation There

This step included a number of different tactics including:

• Taking away gluten and other food allergens

• Getting rid of his yeast with anti-fungals

• Killing off the toxic bacteria in his small intestine with special antibiotics

• Replenishing healthy bacteria with probiotics

• Helping him digest his food with enzymes

Step 2: Replace the Missing Nutrients to Help the Genes Work Better

• Added back zinc, magnesium, folate, and vitamins A, B6, B12, and D

• Supported his brain with omega-3 fats

Step 3: Detoxify and Reduce Oxidative Stress

• Once biochemistry and nutrition is tuned up, we detoxify and reduce oxidative stress.

Naked dad calendar: update

Well, the naked dad calendar supporting our local school district is rocking!

I went to the release party on Thursday evening at Cafe Luna, Vashon Island, WA.

Most of the dad were there, slightly bewildered by all the attention and quickly getting writer's cramp from all the autographs. And, may I say, what a nice bunch of folks. Special kudos to all the excellent wives/moms for organizing and promoting this whole thing.

Check out this article from the Tacoma News Tribune which is great exposure but seems to miss the whole point at how extreme it is to have to raise money like this. Titter, titter aside - be it bake sale, car wash or naked dad calendar; we are NOT appropriately funding public education.

I have gotten so much great feed back about this project! And, I just know this could be an annual model. Any other dads out there ready to go au natural for schools next year! Hurray!

So, how are they doing? They printed 1,000 calendars, uped it from 500. At $20 a piece, that could be $20,000 for the school district.

Word has it that sales are good. Apparently it is the #4 calendar sales only behind the Twilight calendar AKA the sexy vampire.

Anyway, it is all good fun, despite one school board member worry. I guess, it takes something like this to get the conversation going. Mission accomplished!

Oh, and how many did I get? 5, for x-mas gifts for some lucky loved ones.

Team Shea

An informal IEP update meeting happened yesterday morning. It was really just a meet and greet with the new kindergarten teacher, a new Para educator, a new SLP for grades K-5. Plus the old favorites; the preschool SLP, the ESY teacher, the case manager and the principal.

Quite a turn out.

It went really well.

They always act like they are afraid my head might pop off my body but when they realize that I am not going to cry or yell it usually settles down.

I really think it is going to be fine but I will watch real close the first few weeks. Because he is going to have AM Kindergarten and afternoon Preschool, it leaves over and hour for lunch time, recess, rest time between classes. They are going to do a little social skills teaching during that time too. Now that I write it all down, I expect they will whip through that hour with no problem.

The 4 special kids will be together in the same class which a very experienced, beloved teacher and they will get a Para educator for the whole morning in class and during the lunch transition.

It could be really good. Or it could be a horror show. When I found out they have 50 Kindergartners at recess at once, I started to get nervous. He really gets way too cranked up at recess and the more people there are makes it even harder. I am afraid the hitting and stuff will pop up again.

So, that may have to be adjusted and I felt like I was able to say that I may want to take a re-look after a few weeks.

But, all and all, I was pretty pleased with how caring and responsive they were about Shea. Setting off on the right note.

Tuesday morning will just be an open house so we will just go and visit and hang out for as long as he wants. Then the big first full day is Wednesday.

Good thing we live so close, I think I might hover a bit more than usual for the next month or so.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Friendship rules

I thought this was a helpful list to bring up as the school year begins!

From Seattle Woman Magazine, Karen West:

1. Think Before You Speak: Is it nice? Is it necessary? Is it true?

2. Lying is NEVER OK!

3. Notice when a friend needs support — good friends don’t only think of themselves!

4. Kindness makes good friendships. ALWAYS BE KIND!

5. Treat others as you want to be treated yourself!

6. ALWAYS INCLUDE EVERYONE — especially at school!

7. When there is a disagreement about what to play — Take Turns and Cooperate! (Rock, Paper, Scissors)

8. Friends don’t get mad at little things — be tolerant!

9. Friends realize that sometimes it’s important to JUST LISTEN! You don’t always have to have the last word.

10. Friends take turns instead of arguing. You don’t have to always be first!

11. Friends don’t tease hurtfully about someone’s size, shape, color, clothes or other traits.

12. Friends are not bossy — they don’t threaten not to be your BFF anymore!

13. Pull people up — DON’T put people down!

14. SECRETS ARE DANGEROUS! They can come between friends and it’s really hard to know who you can trust with them.

15. Don’t Be Selfish!

16. Don’t Brag!

17. Always Include Everybody! Save special play time for play dates or time at home.

18. It’s OK to be sad. It’s OK to be mad. It’s not OK to be BAD! (Mean or Unkind)

19. If you get into an argument — TALK IT OUT!

20. Be LOYAL to your friends!

Potty training readiness quiz

I found this great quiz for potty training readiness from Elizabeth Pantley and her book the No-Cry Potty Training Solution.

Potty training is easier and happens faster if your child is truly ready in all three areas: physical, cognitive and social. But the big question is: how do you know when your child is ready? If you have never traveled this road before, you likely don’t even know what signs to look for. Take this quiz to find out where your child is on the readiness spectrum.

1. I can tell by watching that my child is wetting or filling his diaper:

a. Never.

b. Sometimes.

c. Usually.

2. My toddler's diaper needs to be changed:

a. Frequently, every hour or two.

b. It varies.

c. Every two to three hours--sometimes less frequently.

3. My child understands the meaning of wet, dry, clean, wash, sit, and go:

a. No.

b. Some of them.

c. Yes.

4. When my child communicates her needs, she:

a. Says or signs a few basic words and I guess the rest.

b. Gets her essential points across to me.

c. Has a good vocabulary and talks to me in sentences.

5. If I give my child a simple direction, such as, "put this in the toy box," she:

a. Doesn't understand or doesn't follow directions.

b. Will do it if I coach or help her.

c. Understands me and does it.

6. My child can take his pants off and put them on:

a. No.

b. With help he can.

c. Yes.

7. When I read a book to my child, he:

a. He ignores me.

b. Sometimes listens, sometimes wanders off.

c. Sits, listens and enjoys the story.

8. My toddler wants to do things “all by myself”:

a. Never.

b. Sometimes.

c. All the time!

9. I think that it's the right time to begin potty training:

a. No.

b. I'm undecided.

c. Yes.

Total the number of responses for each letter:

a. __________

b. __________

c. __________


Most answers are a:


Your little one doesn't seem to be ready just yet. Test again in a month or two.

Most answers are b:

Time for pre-potty training--get ready!

Your child is not quite ready for active training, but you can take many steps to prepare your toddler for the future. Gradual introduction of terms and ideas will make potty training easier when the time comes.

Most answers are c:

Your toddler is ready to use the potty!

It's time to start your potty training adventure. Good luck, and have fun!

Are you between two scores?

Just like any parenting situation, there are choices to make. If your child is hovering between two categories, it's time to put your intuition to good use. Your knowledge of your own child can direct you toward the right plan of action.

Gotta good alarm clock?

God I love to sleep in.

Scratch that.

God I love sleeping in and being able to read in bed for a bit until Shea wakes up and comes downstairs to get a snuggie in the big bed. Ahh...the calm before the storm. A somewhat guilty pleasure but payment for those long summer days with the kids.

Soon, very soon, that all goes away.

School starts on Tuesday; six days from now. And Middle schoolers need to be at school early. Like 7:50 early. Ok, almost 8:00 but she'll have be up by 6:45 AM.

That is too early!

And, all because they don't have enough buses to do all the kids at the same time. The high school and middle school are first then the elementary run is done. The little kids start at 9:00.

Doesn't that suck!

A lot of parents are annoyed. It remains to be seen just how annoyed I am. I will report back.

But, we are on the hunt for a good alarm clock.
Related Posts with Thumbnails