Monday, March 31, 2008

"No reason to treat him different"

One of the elementary schools in our district recently held a disability awareness week. My sister, who works to educate children and youth about people with differences, was asked to do a short presentation at the end of their disability week. After the assembly, my sister found out that the PTA had sponsored an “Everyone Can” essay contest where she was able to judge the 4th and 5th grade essays. “Everyone Can” is a program geared towards teaching children that EVERYONE is good at something.
Together, sister and I, spent several hours reading hundreds of essays. We were asked to pick 10 winners from each grade. As we began reading, it was very disheartening to discover that these children had been given the message that:
1) Everyone has a disability. Teachers equate disability to, “broken arm, forgetting peoples names, wearing glasses”.
2) You can do anything you want to if you just try hard enough.
3) Disabilities can be overcome with effort.
4) Disabilities were equated with “challenges”.
We reviewed 50-60 fifth grade essays and could only find 7 that did not state this.
Really, I was just sick as I thought about the message that these children had received. My child, who spends more time with doctors and therapists in a week than most kids do all year, will be viewed as someone who isn’t “trying hard enough” to overcome his disabilities. In an effort to educate these children, the teachers and PTA instead instilled false ideas.

Here are some of the things we found throughout the essays:
  • Many kids when spelling “deaf”, spelled it D-E-A-T-H
  • Apparently, disability is like a convenient hat… hence the word, “handy cap”.
  • Another class wrote a lot about Helen Keller. One child wrote, “Helen Keller was blind and death, She didn’t learn and always got her way until one day her teacher, Mrs. Sullivan, locked her in a closet.”
  • Reference to people with disabilities was always in the “they” form. It was clearly a “them” and “us” attitude.

Ironically, my favorite essay was written by a boy who clearly struggled with his reading and writing skills. The spelling was horrible and his sentence structure was lacking but the message so sweet. He told about a neighbor boy with autism. He said that this boy is “ten years old and still watches Elmo… but that is no reason to treat him different”.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

The Croc

I've enjoyed being part of a yahoo group for moms who have children with CP. We toss around ideas... what has worked, what hasn't and this week we were discussing walkers. I mentioned here before that we tried five other walkers before we found the Croc. Each kid is very different and while one walker is a great solution for one kid it may not work for another. The Croc is a sturdy walker and Crew is making progress. Hope you enjoy the video:)

Tuesday, March 25, 2008


Hey, its a miracle! I finally figured out this video thing. Here is a clip of Crew just a month before his diagnosis in 2004.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Startling Statistics about BOYS

Not to long ago, I attended a Scout leadership training. I didn't know what to expect going into it but had the desire to attend as I'm into my 3rd year as a Cub Scout den leader. I took an itty bitty piece of paper with me to take notes on and ended up filling it within the first few minutes. Fortunately, my neighbor saved my bacon by generously giving me several sheets of paper from her notebook where I frantically scrawled dozens of statistics about BOYS!

I lost the itty bitty paper but here is some of what I wrote part way through the meeting... just a few of the statistics:

  • College enrollment is 60% women.
  • Girls are approximately 1 1/2 years ahead of boys in reading and writing.

  • Those diagnosed with ADD are 80% boys.

  • Boys are 50% more likely to be held back a grade.

  • Dads are spending less than 20 minutes a day with their children.

Some current issues:

  • Misunderstanding of Masculinity

  • Increase in depression

  • Increase in violence

  • Learned helplessness

  • Decline in Self efficacy

  • Pro social behaviors not being learned

  • Decline in adult involvement

Whoa, as the mother of 3 boys I am very concerned about this!

Here is one fact that makes me smile: Boys score higher in math, science, ACT scores, and have fewer eating disorders:) Oh boy, is that true or what!!! However, it makes me wonder why there are more women attending college if the boys are the ones scoring higher on the ACT???

Obviously, there is an intense need to address these statistics. We are failing to teach: Problem solving, Decision Making, Creativity, Money management, Leadership, Overcoming challenges, Endurance, Self efficacy, Innovation, Conflict management...

What Can We Do? Change the experience (Rites of Passage). I had to review the definition of "Rites of Passage" which is an experience that changes a person. We can change the "experience" by creating mini experiences such as hiking and camping where the boys are put in a situation that forces them to grow in a positive way. A great emphasis was placed on the "need" for our children to experience nature. Why?

NATURE: Enhances peace, self control, self discipline, reduces ADD, improves cognitive ability, develops imagination, feel less angry, better coping skills. Children in nature are happier and smarter! Why does nature help? It has to do with "living organisms"- trees, flowers, bugs, animals etc.

Why are youth not going outside? Safety 94% and TV/Video 85%. Children are spending approximately 45 hours a week with electronic media. OUCH!

Wow! To sit there and hear all these statistics, I was appalled and very concerned not only for my cub scouts but more importantly my own children. I know that I was not the only one there that was greatly concerned. As I walked out I told my friend that "it makes me want to go home and unplug everything" and she said, "I know... Me Too!"

As a family we have made some changes as I know other families have too! We were encouraged to plan a MONTHLY outdoor activity and we have started this tradition. Each Sunday we sit down and go over the calendar and add to our busy lives a "planned outdoor activity". It gives us something to look forward to and we have loved getting outside. So far we have used our days to go skiing but as soon as it warms up we will be hiking, swimming, and camping. I've been wanting to take the kids to Disneyland but my focus has changed and we are looking at visiting some National Parks (Yellowstone, Zions) in the near future.
On a final note it was said that, "Families that camp/hike, bond more than families that go to Disneyland" and while I do think Disneyland is in our future it is no longer the focus of my vacation fund:)

Oh, and I just want to say... Wii do NOT need a Wii! (That statement is for my boys;)

What are your plans for the summer?

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Kinda True

You Are Bert

Extremely serious and a little eccentric, people find you lovable - even if you don't love them!

You are usually feeling: Logical - you rarely let your emotions rule you

You are famous for: Being smart, a total neat freak, and maybe just a little evil

How you life your life: With passion, even if your odd passions (like bottle caps and pigeons) are baffling to others

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Random WhatNots

  • I haven't purchased a loaf of bread in over two months. We started grinding our wheat and making the bread ourselves and I love it! I feel like the little red hen;)

  • My favorite time of year is upon us. I was able to spend some time outside yesterday cleaning out my flowerbeds and getting ready for some new spring zeffers. There is so much to do but its always worth it.

  • H's class did a lip sync at school and I was able to go watch it. They performed "Twist and Shout" and he looked great. Seriously, he was the cutest one there:) It was great to see, yet I had one of those sad moments too when it hits me hard thinking what it will be like when Crew gets to be that age. How will we be able to include him in such events?

  • Carl and I quit drinking pop a couple months ago. We haven't sworn it off completely but if you knew how much we (Carl mostly) were drinking before you would be proud!

  • I'm still running and lifting weights everyday. I see subtle changes and feel better in general so it makes the 4:45 am wake up mostly worth it.

  • Spring Break is next week! We've got nothing planned.... Oh, but I'd love to get out of this place.

Lastly, I don't know if I can keep this blogging thing going during the spring months. I'm really running out of things to say and my creative juices are zapped. I've had a hard time as I've watched other kids with similar challenges progress while my little Crew still struggles not only with gross motor and fine motor skills but also speech, hearing, vision, and cognitive development. He is demonstrating some frustrating behaviors and I've swept up one too many ceramic bowls this week. Ya know, if there is going to be a broken dish and I'm stuck cleaning it up, then I would like to be the one that gets the satisfaction of throwing it against the wall- DANG IT!

Friday, March 07, 2008

Stinky Tricks

I thought I'd share my latest eye patching trick. Tonight when I put the patch on Crew he was so sad. He laid his head to the side and closed the other eye. I really don't think he is seeing too well out of his right eye. I had the bowl of icecream ready and at first he wasn't even interested. How sad is that??? Finally he came around and we spent the first ten minutes eating icecream. If I'm not holding his hands the patch will come off. I tried doing finger plays with him and he wasn't impressed. Then while laying on my back I sat him up on my stomach facing me and we did situps together holding hands. When I went down he popped up and vice versa. Crew thought this was hilarious and was giggling like crazy. This is a boy that also farts when he giggles and then giggles some more:) Needless to say it was one smelly activity.
Crew forgot about the eye patch during all those situps. Everytime I tried to stop he would get mad and then we would have to start up again. Oh, for ABs of Steel! We made it THIRTY MINUTES with the patch tonight! I think I could've made it longer if I had nose plugs and a hot bod!

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Circus Tricks

I mentioned previously that Crew had his 6 month follow-up with the Opthalmologist. His right eye is turning in and the Dr. wants us to patch everyday for a couple hours. The patching isn't going well at all. It takes lots of icecream and circus tricks to keep it on for even 15 minutes- and that is 15 minutes of restraint as well. I've got to come up with some better circus tricks, I guess.

On a medical note: When I asked the Opthalmologist what he could see when his eye is turning in, he said, "Oh, its not like he is seeing double... he just isn't seeing out of that eye. His brain isn't registering anything". Um yah, the Dr. isn't well known for his bedside manner but he is an excellent Dr. and Surgeon.
We have a follow-up in two months but if the patching doesn't improve I think I will move it up. I'm seeing another surgery in the near future:)
Hey, do you'all have any new circus tricks I could learn?

Monday, March 03, 2008

First Piano Recital

S had his first piano recital last week. He practiced really well and was able to pull it off without any mistakes. He has enjoyed taking lessons for the most part. Having a male teacher helps him want to succeed, I think because he is a great role model for the boys. His teacher is also a returned missionary and a student at the University which is another plus.

I love it that S and his friends will play around on the piano when they are bored. S has only been taking for 8 months and I'm actually quite impressed with his progress. Hopefully he will continue to enjoy it and improve.
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