Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Adam Sandler- Hanukkah Song Part 3




Until next time,


Elise

SNTR: Advocating on a Legislative Level with L. Mae Wilkinson


Mae Wilkinson, one of our moderators at The Coffee Klatch, is a terrific advocate both at the state and federal levels. She was our guest today on Raising ASD Kids and Teens.





Listen HERE to our show and learn how you too can become active in advocating for laws that can support and help your child.






Until next time,



Elise

Bad Days Good Days Going Around the Bend

So its been a really bad bad bad couple of days here in the casa...How bad do you ask? Well bad enough that I have basically abandoned my political blogging because I can't stand how everyone whines and has no answers. For those of you who don't know me, you may think that foregoing politics is not a big thing, but for me its huge (it was my escape from the world of autism). I just really couldn't take it anymore. It didn't matter which side of the aisle the person was on, all I heard was kvetch, complaint, self-centered bullshit and more self-centered bullshit.

Listen anyone who knows me knows my mind when it comes to politics. But when noone has any answers or even tries to come up with answers or compromises, and only knows how to blame others for problems, I have no patience. It's almost as if the entire political system is run by bitchy-pre-adolescent-mean-girls who have no social graces, class, intelligence and are lacking in the ability to think for themselves...sheep, they are all freakin' sheep.

Anyway, I went on my political profile on twitter and told then all off. Honestly. Not really sure how many of them listen to anyone but themselves anyway. It's not like on my autism profile where people try to interact and support each other as best we can. It's much different. On the political profile they really are only interested in "seeing" themselves tweet.

I actually tweeted that THEY are all causing trouble in our country; basically its ALL of their faults...one side wants to spend everyone else's money with abandon, the other side wants to take away the help that government gives people. They forget that the majority of people in this country want the middle road. We are good people. We work hard. We pay our taxes. We are law abiding and civic minded. We love our country very much. All we ask in life is that our government and our elected officials treat us with respect. I don't think we get any of that from any of them.

I reminded my followers that the majority of people in the country are independents, not democrats and not republicans. That we believe our government should be responsible with our money and use it for what we pay taxes for...to help our fellow citizens. We do not pay taxes to send Congress or the Executive Branch on trips, pay for their 5-star-elitist-lifestyles (limos, lunches, planes, insider trading, etc) and give bonuses to their cronies or political hacks. Stop paying back political capital by growing government and throwing my hard earned money away on crap. Somebody, somewhere, needs to fix the darn roads, bridges and the nation's power grid. Some elected officials somewhere, need to stop destroying the nation's future just so they can get reelected. That when Congress starts cutting the budget they need to start with themselves and leave our support programs alone. They screwed up, not us. They need to be the ones left without pay and money to buy food for their families. Leave the supports for those who are skirting the edge of poverty, the elderly, the disabled, the unemployed, and especially military families, in this nation alone.

Needless to say after my little meltdown on twitter...which by the way was done without swear words, calling names and quite frankly in a very lady-like fashion I might add...seems while noone unfollowed me, people are no longer responding to my tweets. Oh well. It is simply amazing how so many grownups and self-proclaimed intellectuals, just really can't take criticism. I used to think it was only my aspies that had a hard time with being wrong, well apparently not. It is just amazing how ego-maniacal some people can really be. Politically inclined egomaniacs  are in their glory on twitter...for certain.

Or perhaps it was this tweet (or something like this) that did it...

After the whining and political name-calling, my children will still be autistic and it is still all up to me and me alone to make sure they have a future no matter how much I pay in taxes. To hell with all of you in DC.

OK not so lady-like but I think they, EVERY LAST ONE OF THEM. deserved it.

Meanwhile, hopefully today will be a better day. It has truly started off better. CM2 woke up early to work on an overdue paper. Seems it really does bother him, (thank God) its about time. CM1 will be home today doing homework, which is better for him too. Changing up his seizure meds has not been so easy for him. Maybe there can be a little calm in the house, no meltdowns and no yelling. So here's to a better day and a brighter tomorrow.

Until next time,



Elise

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Amy Purdy-Living Beyond the Limits

After bacterial meningitis took her legs, Amy Purdy struggled with depression, and only beat it when she learned to accept her new reality, but not any limitations.  After being unable to find prosthetics that would allow her to snowboard, she built her own. Today, she is a world champion female adaptive snowboarder. In 2005, she co-founded Adaptive Action Sports, a non-profit dedicated to introducing people with physical challenges to action sports.



From TED...Ideas Worth Spreading


Don't let anyone tell you your child-or you- can't.....

Until next time,



Elise


I Gotta Feeling Hanukkah



Send me your holiday song choices.

Until next time,


Elise



Saturday, November 26, 2011

Sesame Street Explains Hanukkah




Until next time,


Elise

Holiday Songs-Twilight and Turning Off the Bad Attitude

Happened to mention to hubby that I am tired of all the bad news and the bad attitudes I find just everywhere I go and on every television station. Yes things are really tough right now, but no matter how hard they happen to be, believe me they could always be alot worse. Its not like we live in Somalia, the slums of Buenos Aires or smack in the middle of the Mexican drug war. OK that's not exactly a positive attitude, but I think you all know what I mean.

Meanwhile did you hear about the moron who pepper sprayed 20 people so she could get the last XBox on sale for Black Friday? Not only does she not have any idea what Christmas is really all about, she hasn't figured out what the terms assault and battery mean either. However, I am sure the Los Angeles county court is now about to teach her.  Or did you hear about the grandfather that was body slammed to the ground by security because they thought he was shop lifting a videgame. The man was unconscious for ten minutes and there was so much blood on the ground the news covered his face with a privacy dot. What is wrong with some people?

We need to remember that it is time to be grateful for our blessings and rejoice in our accomplishments. It is time to celebrate our future and the joys it will bring. Will everything always be smooth sailing? No of course not. None of us live in a  world of unicorns and daisies. Yet if you maintain a positive attitude its alot easier to get done what you know you need to do for you, your spouse and and your children.

By the way when talking about society and how screwed up it is...what is this crap with Twilight?  What is this that so many young girls can't seem to decide between Team Jacob or Team Edward? This is a little creepy in my opinion...how about we teach our female offspring to join the "Get a Life and Become a Neurosurgeon Team" instead. Meanwhile, get your girls to read Hunger Games. A story with a kick-ass heroine who takes control of her own life and stands on her own two feet. Teach them that everything doesn't revolve around who they are dating or not, and that they can have their own future and be their own persons. Heck, I do it for my sons. Why people still push the crap that "you are only important if you have a significant other" is beyond me. There's even a song on the radio, "I was nobody til you made me somebody." I turn that off when I hear it. It annoys me so much. I then tell the boys you are someone because you are a person and you are someone because you are you. It doesn't take another person to complete you. You need to complete yourself first.

****

So on that note, I am going to try to publish one holiday song a day. Send me the ones you like the best and I will post them here.  I am going to start with my favorite Hanukkah song (us being Jewish and all) from last year...Candlelight by the Maccabeats...




Looking forward to your choices...lets make this December one where we look back and say....nope couldn't have done it any better.

Until next time,



Elise

Friday, November 25, 2011

Medicine Journey: the Ups, the Downs, the Holy Craps

I tend not to write about medications and the boys. Not because we don't believe in them, but mostly because when it comes to things in this blog it really is trial and error about things I have done. When I have been successful and not successful. Sometimes I try to give pointers where other parents can look for help and support. But mostly it is all about our own journey. Even the meds we give the boys are our own journey. How we use them and why we chose one over another...is all based upon our own particular circumstances. I have no background in medicine. I don't want people to think I have any knowledge about meds except from my own experience. So never quote me. Never think I know what is best for you or yours. I can't explain why some work or not. All I can do is travel the medicine rollercoaster and hold on for dear life just like everyone else.

We started the boys on meds when they were five years old. I remember well when we gave CM1 his first pill. We weren't quite sure that we wanted to do that. Psychiatric medicine is so frightening and almost twenty years ago there was even more of a stigma attached to it then there is today. Luckily I had a cousin whose son had been diagnosed with ASD several years earlier and I called him for advice. His response was, if they can't focus in order to take in the therapy, what good is the therapy? It actually made perfect sense to me. Of course by the time CM2 was given medication at five he looked at us square in the face and asked "what took so long?"

He knew he needed help. He knew he had problems. He knew that his brother got help for his focusing issues and he wanted to know why we hadn't given him the same meds earlier. Yep he was always a bit of apiece of work. Now I am certain that all his teachers thought he needed meds from a very early age. There is his nursery school picture where the teacher is holding him on her lap during the class photo.  Honestly, it was the only way to get him to sit still while the photographer took the picture.

The schools and teachers tried all sorts of behavioral modification and one to one interventions. But to no avail. The boy just could not focus. In fact it was so bad that he couldn't even make decisions. In kindergarten there were the "corners" that children got to pick from to play during free time. He would just wander around the room unable to decide which activity to choose. He would walk in circles, almost in a pacing manner. It wasn't until an adult would intervene and choose one for him that he was able to begin to settle in and play.

Since that time we have tried many different focusing meds. In fact focusing meds have changed and been reworked by drug manufacturers in the last few decades. You do have so much more to choose from today than we had all those years ago. This is such a good thing. Everyone is different. Some meds work for some while others not so much.

Now I am not saying that every person with ASD needs medication for focusing. In fact many doctors actually think that focusing meds have more to do with helping with the auditory processing issues found in so many on the spectrum than with actual adhd. Honestly in my boys cases, they tend to have both issues. So taking meds for the boys becomes the proverbial killing two birds with one stone.

What I am trying to tell everyone is that if there are issues, meds can make a world of difference to the individual. Life does become easier and being able to understand and focus in on the therapies being  offered is so important. But remember a big big big caveat...meds alone do not solve the issues. It is meds inconjunction with behavioral therapy that helps. Pills are a miracle in my book, but it is a two-pronged approach for anyone with a disability. Don't forget.

Also if a teacher or school administrator tells you that all they need is a pill and everything will be hunky-dory, you need to pull out your "inner bitch" and go all autism-mom-warrior on their butts. The school needs to provide appropriate support, behavioral interventions and academic help to a child with a disability. Your child does not loose his eligibility for help simply because they go on medication. So don't let anyone ever tell you that they do. (Yep heard that line so many times from parents over the years. When some districts try to violate a child's rights it just proves that some so-called educators really should not be in education at all, especially special education.)

Now I am not saying that every person with ASD needs meds of any kind. It depends on the individual. It depends on the issue. In fact there are so many comorbid issues associated with our children that the person you choose to help with the meds needs to be able to parcel out the differences and understand how meds react differently in the autistic brain. It may not be easy to find the right person where you live, but if those near you don't have an expertise in the area, they should at least be willing to learn, study and even question themselves.

I think the hardest part of giving your child medication of anykind, whether its for adhd, anxiety, seizures, pain or even antibiotic, is watching for some of the side-effects. Some of them are rare but can happen without warning. When CM1 was in 4th grade the doctor prescribed risperdol. Now I was not so keen on this drug. It's use for ASD was pretty new at the time and I wasn't sure it had been studied enough in children.

Yet as with many drugs for ASD, especially at that time, medications were prescribed off label and almost twenty years ago they were pretty new. OK. So we tried it. I got a call from CM1's teacher after he had been on the drug two days, that he was not feeling well and said "he thought he was going crazy." I rushed over to that school, broke quite a few speed limits on the way and brought him home. We ceremoniously threw out that bottle of risperdol together. Unbeknownst to me one of the side-effects of that drug is psychotic episodes. I kid you not. Well thems all she wrote. Never again was that drug going to pass threw my children's lips.

But that was not the end of our trial and error with medication. We have been threw so many medical cocktails for the children that after awhile you wish beyond wish that while they investigate the causes of autism, someone would investigate how to find the right medication for your child that doesn't cause so much trauma. I know they are experimenting with a genetic test for cancer drugs to see which ones work best on which cancer and for which patients. I really really really want someone to investigate this for autism as well.

Take a little blood, throw it in one of those rotating machines you see in a lab, put it under a microscope, maybe a spectrometer (I have no idea what that is, just like how they use on CSI and thought I would throw it in here) and walla they can figure out what meds would probably work best for your child.

The reality is that medication can be the godsend that you want. It can help your child focus. It can help them control their meltdowns. It can help them deal with their sensory issues. It can help them deal with any myriad of anxiety issues. It can help them with seizures. It can help them with skinpicking or hair pulling. It can help them with tics. It can help them build up the courage to leave the house. It can help them deal with everything that they think they will never be able to deal with. But getting the right cocktail takes time, effort, anxiety (on your part), dealing with side-effects and above all keeping a good eye out for whether your child is functioning better, worse or there is no effect at all.

I have to tell you that those blackbox warnings need to be taken seriously. No matter what, find out what the side effects happen to be. And above all remember just because a medication worked for someone else it doesn't mean it will work for yours. Heck, the same medications don't work for my boys either and they come from the same genetic background.

Also one more thing. If your doctor ever tells you to keep going through the side effects and wait to see what happens, or if they tell you it takes weeks or months to work (my boys respond to any and all medications almost immediately), or if they tell you that you are misreading the situation or that they couldn't be having a particular side effect because it is too rare, FIRE that professional. That's what we did with the original doctor who prescribed the risperdol. He kept trying to get me to try it again on CM1.

On the other hand, CM1's new seizure doctor prescribed a new medication and CM1 is definitely channeling one of the more egregious side effects. Well that man called me back ASAP once I left a message with his answering service and not only did he not question what was going on, he thanked us for being so aware. It's the only way he can do his job effectively, he told me. Now that is how a doctor is supposed to respond.

Whether you want to use meds or not is up to you. Discuss it with professionals and seek out all kinds of advice. But if you do, keep a good eye out for changes in your child. If they are good changes-HURRAY. But if they are bad changes. If their mood becomes hostile. If they can't sleep. If they get stomach aches. If in any way shape or form their personality is effected. Call that doctor and with their help stop that med (Remember: your child may need to be weaned from a  med. Going cold turkey can cause even more problems.)

In the meantime, we are working on changing CM1's seizure meds. No I am not sleeping well. I am anxious, I am certain you can relate... But the original meds he was taking were not working the way they should and in the new doctor's own words.."in today's day and age you don't settle for almost doing its job. You find meds that do what they are supposed to do. Or at least you make a concerted effort to find ones that do work."

So we try, we watch, we wait and above all we worry. Fingers crossed though. Maybe the next med will give him the seizure free life he is entitled to.

Until next time,


Elise

Update: Something I forgot to mention in this post earlier...yes I thought about this in the middle of the night...

When your child heads into puberty, remember that medicines that have worked before may not work right anymore. And the opposite is true too. Some medications, for focus or anxiety, that have not worked previously may work now.  Hormones and their interaction with medication is not really understood  well just yet, but there is definitely some type of interaction. Side-effects that may have never appeared before may rear their ugly head. So just watch and be aware.

Also as your child ages they may need medicine readjustment because of growth rate and weight gain or loss. Your prescribing physician will want to keep a watch on your child (or  keep a watch on yourself if you are being given medication) at least every three months (actually that is required by federal law). In some cases your doctor may want to see your child every month, especially when you are reevaluating their medical cocktail.




Wednesday, November 23, 2011

#youmightbeanautismparentif

Who knew that a hashtag could catch on in such a way as to promote and create an entirely new community. @ManyHatsMommyMI had come up with the idea to play a game "You might be an autism parent if.." modeled after Jeff Foxworthy's " You might be a red-neck..." comedy sketch.






I took the idea, wrote a tweet and added the hashtag. Well that was all she wrote. Last time I looked there were over one million, yes one million tweets and retweets of the hashtag.

To find out what is being said...go to twitter and in the search box put in the hashtag line. You will see the latest and most tweeted lines. Some will make you laugh, others will make you cry. But all will have you nodding your head, while thanking your lucky stars,  that you really are not alone.




Until next time,


Elise



SNTR: What to Expect from Your Para Professional

Today's Raising ASD Kids and Teens showcased Emilio Rodriguez, a PHd special education candidate, who discussed: who the para professional is, what their background should be and what their job really is.

Listen HERE    

Remember if you have any questions for Mr. Rodriguez, go to our contact page At Special Needs Talk Radio and we will forward the question to our guest.


Until next time,


Elise

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Thanksgiving Day: Plymouth Plantation, the Wampanoag and Being Truly Thankful

Let us remember that, as much has been given us, much will be expected from us, and that true homage comes from the heart as well as from the lips, and shows itself in deeds.  ~Theodore Roosevelt

And of course, there is always this rather erudite version of Thanksgiving by Mark Twain....

Thanksgiving Day, a function which originated in New England two or three centuries ago when those people recognized that they really had something to be thankful for - annually, not oftener - if they had succeeded in exterminating their neighbors, the Indians, during the previous twelve months instead of getting exterminated by their neighbors, the Indians.  Thanksgiving Day became a habit, for the reason that in the course of time, as the years drifted on, it was perceived that the exterminating had ceased to be mutual and was all on the white man's side, consequently on the Lord's side; hence it was proper to thank the Lord for it and extend the usual annual compliments.  

Seems Mr. Clemens was politically correct along time before it became the fashion.  


Read HERE about the Plymouth Colony from The History Channel. 

PBS Pilgrim's Progress 

Thanksgiving Interactive- Plimoth Plantation

The Wampanoag...The People that met the Pilgrims



In response to the question asked in the video...yes a dead language can be revived...just look at the Jewish people and how they brought Hebrew back to life after two thousand years.


When CM2 was in middle school the class took a field trip to Plimoth Plantation. Part of that trip was dedicated to learning about the Wampanoag. Now CM2 could not tolerate going with his class so we made it a family adventure. We went from Plimoth Plantation to Boston and  the Freedom trail. It was actually alot of fun as hubby and I met at Boston University and hadn't been back since we left for greener pastures. Brought back some fond memories, especially when we forced the boys to wonder around the BU campus with us. Honestly it was a great deal of fun (hubby and I even ended up holding hands throughout the excursion). However, one of the more interesting coincidences in my life happened during this trip.

Years ago there was a terrific program on PBS where ordinary everyday Americans tried to live as the Pilgrims or early colonists had lived. They did it for the entire summer. For them it lost its luster rather quickly, however, it was a fascinating program to watch. Now part of that program was actually learning about the Wampanoag and what they meant to the survival of the Pilgrims. The program went into who these Native Americans were and how they viewed the Pilgrim arrival. How they treated the Pilgrims and in turn how the favor was returned, or not returned as the case may be. 

The program even went into how to behave and show respect in a Wampanoag home and village. It turned out to be useful information for us. We were welcomed into the Wampanoag village and I was actually able to ask the right questions as respectfully as I could. I also asked some very patient ladies to explain Thanksgiving from the Wampanoag point of view to the boys. I felt the boys learned an interesting lesson about the history of the United States. 

No I am not suddenly politically correct. Acknowledging certain facts does not mean we should not be proud of what the United States is today and what it means to be an American. But it does mean that we should remind ourselves that for as much as the United States is a beacon of rights and freedoms in our world today, there were some who paid a historical price and these People should not be forgotten.

Meanwhile, it is time to be thankful and review our lives, which is what Thanksgiving should be all about anyway. It is a time for joy, family and understanding. It is a time to review your world and figure out how to become a better person. Be happy with what you have and make the most of what is truly important in this life....each other.


                                                 A  HAPPY THANKSGIVING TO ALL




Until next time,



Elise 

Sunday, November 20, 2011

My Baby is 18

Monday is CM2's 18th birthday. He may be my baby but a baby he no longer happens to be.......




Meanwhile as a legal adult, he is going to have to go sign some papers tomorrow: health care proxy, and powers of attorney. Remember once your child is 18 no doctor, no school, no police authority ever have to talk to you even if they know your child is on the autism spectrum. No one ever has to call you, or let you know what is happening with them either. They are not treated as juveniles anymore. They are treated by society at large as adults and all that implies. Also just as a reminder for those whose children are going off to college, they need to sign the release form as well or the school will not and does not have to ever talk to you about your child. It does not matter if you are the one paying the bill.

By the way what is my special secret to get CM2 to sign the papers being that he delights right now is being contrary...a little thing called tuition, food, shelter and of course video games. Until he can afford those on his own he signs the damn papers. (Also just as an aside, all adults should have those papers too. No one wants to end up in a Terry Schiavo nightmare.)

Until next time,

Happy Birthday to my baby boy....

Elise

Lashon Hara- Bashing Steve Jobs

Read here for the controversy concerning the Chief Rabbi of the UK and his anti-Steve Jobs comments. The Rabbi discusses how Steve Jobs and Apple basically created the me-first consumer generation. He laments the idea that people cannot live without technology and that they are always wired which will lead to society's downfall. You know, sometimes religious leaders need to be quiet. By the way, I did leave a rather acidic comment, which quite frankly has not been printed. I suppose accusing the Rabbi of being self-centered and self-important was probably the reason.

I always find it interesting that people no matter who they happen to be, cannot look beyond themselves in seeing what is happening in the world. In this case you have a very religious man, one of good character and conscience, who is unable or unwilling to see just what technology can do for people. There is obviously a total lack of education on his part about how technology, Apple products to be more exact, have opened up the world for the autistic community.

It seems that noone showed the Rabbi that people once thought to be intellectually disabled, have now been proven to be able to think, analyze and express themselves by using technology. That people once thought incapable of being educated now have technology at their fingertips that helps them learn. That educators once who were unable to approach and relate to the disabled have tools at their disposal to educate those in their charge. The fact that parents now have a way to find information, access the latest therapies and knowledge in dealing with their child's issues did not seem to come into play with the Rabbi. That technology has been created that allows adults with a myriad of disabilities live as independent a life as possible was also overlooked. Read:

ipads and autism
apps for autism
ipad miracle device for autism
Squidoo: ipad a Useful Tool for Autism
Autism Apps from Autism Speaks
ipads for autism
and last but definitely not least Shannon Rosa at Squidalicious with a compilation of articles about ipads, apps and the miracle that Steve Jobs has preformed (whether that was his purpose or not)



Technology is a gift from God. It is a gift mankind gave itself. It is a life saver. Technology brings joy to those who would otherwise languish alone, forgotten and marginalized. Technology makes the impossible possible and the future reachable for any human being.

The Rabbi laments consumer ethics and a consumer society. He says people should spend more time on family and faith. But it is not Apples fault or the technology's fault that families spend little or no time together. It is the human beings who cannot find time to interact. It is humanbeings who would rather be on a computer than sitting down to dinner together every night. It is the humanbeings fault that they choose to email, text and IM rather than talk on the phone or in person. It is the humanbeings fault that they do not have the social skills necessary to be successful in life.

Yet at the same time we have found amazing information about how to teach social skills on the internet, using technology. We found a website that outlines good topics for dinner time; the art of conversation. We use the computer to check up on our children; texting them to see where they are instead of worrying all the time. And without a doubt technology has been used to monitor and protect at-risk-children in some very sketchy situations, including at the hands of some very bad teachers.

There are undoubtedly bad things that can come out of the internet; cyberbullying, child porn, libel, slander, sexting, hate and racist  information, mistruths and misdeeds. I am most definitely not saying that everything is unicorns and daffodils with the internet. But that again is human fault and humans need to deal with it.

Humans needs to learn how to manage the technology for their benefit. Humans need to figure out how to compartmentalize their lives so that technology is a tool not an addiction. Humans need to figure out a way to remain human as technology becomes an even bigger part of society.

It is also not technology's fault that people have lost faith. Perhaps it has something more to do with society in the UK than technology. I know in the US recent studies have shown that people are turning more to religion than in the past decade. Reality is that in the US, despite the fact that we do not have an established state religion and most believe in the wall of separation between church and state, Americans like their religion. It does not necessarily mean we all go to church or synagogue or mosque all the time, but it does mean that we seek out a spirituality, an attempt to understand the world around us. Religion is a large part of the American landscape.

In fact there is a great irony that the Rabbi is so annoyed with Steve Jobs. Some of the most popular apps available have to do with religion. People are searching for answers. The problem I think with the Rabbi is that perhaps they are not searching for the answers with him. (this train of thought is probably why they didn't print my comment). Thinking that you have the sole answer to the world's problems or questions is not the way to go. Relgious leaders as all leaders, need to embrace the future and harness it for the good that they want to do, not chastise those that seek out something wonderful and new.

Society is always in flux. That is a wonderful thing. We as human beings learn to grow and develop at an alarming rate when we need to. That we need to take a step back once in awhile and make sure that we are headed on the right trajectory is also a good thing. But to blame technology for human failings is venal, hubris and above all laziness.

Technology did not create our consumer culture. Technology does not dominate our consumer culture. We created our own culture and it up to us to fix it and change it if that is what we want.

Meanwhile, there is a Jewish concept called lashon hara. It means it is a sin to speak ill of someone. I suggest that the Rabbi needs to review the concept. Read HERE to understated more about lashon hara.  I personally think he owes Steve Jobs and his family an apology.

Luckily not one individual speaks for the world Jewish community. (But I can see Rabbis like Rabbi Sacks, as one of the reasons CM1 is so definitely not enamored of religion) Thank God for Steve Jobs. This Jewish woman thinks he was an amazing gift to the world. May he rest in peace.





Until next time,



Elise

UPDATE: Apparently Rabbi Sacks has clarified his statement about Steve Jobs and Apple. Read here.


The True Power of Youth-Anonymous Extraordinaries

TED Talk by Natalie Warne....young people like her  are the future of the country not the overly entitled mentioned here. She fights for the Invisible Children forced into war as child soldiers.



She reminds us all that it is about the positive effects we have in life, not the recognition.


Until next time,


Elise


Friday, November 18, 2011

Reminding Yourself About Happiness

There are storm clouds on the horizon. I feel it. It is also not just me. Everywhere I go, everyone is saying the say thing. There is a darkness that we cannot explain. Something is very wrong. Society is changing and in many ways not for the better. There is so much anger. There is so much hate. There is so much fear...

Living with fear, I have done that already. We parents of special needs children always live with some form of fear...a terrible uncertainty always hangs over our heads. I have fought against that lack of control my entire adult life. I need to be able to predict in some way what the future will hold, but that is truly impossible right now. I so do not want to go back to the bad old days of fear at every turn.I truly feel under siege.

Things are not easy. OK they never were in this household but at least it felt like that we were moving forward. Not anymore. We have stagnated. Our anxiety levels are high. The boys feel it. We feel it. Heck even the dogs feel it. I am looking forward to the end of the semester. Too many classes on the Holocaust, genocide and prejudice. It is time for the boys to take some fun courses. Do something enjoyable. They have just registered for the spring. I made sure that there were some positive courses for them to study.  Some acting, some web design, courses to study the brave and honorable in history instead of the most evil...there will be a change in direction. A positive outlook about humanity...

But first we need to get through Human Rights Day at College. CM2 has to write papers on it and attend: Holocaust, rape as a weapon of war, the hungry and homeless, women's rights, water wars, human trafficking, socialist and communist dictatorships, etc. Sorry but enough is really enough.




Sometimes you need to remind your children and yourself that the human condition is one of flux. For every incident of harm there is alot of good. For every riot there are people who are just living their lives and doing the best they can without complaint. For every incident of abuse there are dozens of people working to protect and defend the people (especially the children) of this nation and the world. For every self-centered person there are thousands who give their all for others. For every call for war, denial of another's humanity, misappropriation of funds, corrupt politicians, there are those out there trying to fix the issues we find in the world. But we tend to loose sight of the good because we are so inundated with the bad.

I need to remind myself that there was once a very young girl, hiding in an attic in Amsterdam, living through the greatest evil known to man who never, ever lost faith in human kind...

Despite everything, I believe that people are really good at heart.
Anne Frank (here, here, here)

Naive? Yes. But it is naivety that breeds hope and right now I have had enough of being sad. I need some happiness. This family needs some fun. Too bad we aren't Christian or I would make Christmas come early.... 

 



but I will think of something...  Maybe this for my family instead.....



The translation of the last song on the video is "We bring peace to all of you..."; the first song is that  good old fashioned Jewish melody Hava Nagila (for a fun documentary watch HERE); the middle song believe it or not is really just about a coffee pot. Seriously a coffee pot...

Now, I always look forward to that cup of Java in the morning but someone was so enamored of their Cup of Joe, that they went so far as to write a song to celebrate their caffeine intake...and we Jews turned it into a folk-song phenomenon....Honestly, you would think after 4000 years we could come up with something a little better to celebrate our culture...


Until next time,



Elise 





Thursday, November 17, 2011

Tweetchat Transcript: Sexual Molestation-How to Protect Your Child, Teach Self-Reliance and Awareness

HERE is the link to our chat from last Tuesday about teaching your child about sexual predators.
Our discussion included:

1. How to teach them to behave in a public restroom
2. At what point do you allow them to go into a public restroom
3. What signs indicate possible molestation issues
4. Teaching your child about their body; positive body images
5. Bodily integrity
6. Keeping communication open so your child feels they can tell you everything; including sexual issues
7. Remembering that most sex crimes happen between people who know each other
8. Vulnerability of certain children
9. Remembering that sexual predators don't just appear at 30 they have been that way their entire lives

These are just some of the topics we discussed. Read the transcript and if you want to continue this conversation next Tuesday just let me know. I had planned to discuss Thanksgiving and your special needs child, but we can always discuss anything you want.

Remember our tweetchats are for you and to discuss topics of importance to you. Nothing is set in stone-flexibility is our watchword.

Until next time,



Elise



Wednesday, November 16, 2011

SNTR: Arts4Autism



Today's Raising ASD Kids and Teens show hosted Elizabeth Murphy of Arts4Autism. This is an in-home art program geared towards children on the autism spectrum and related disabilities. It is a very hands on approach to working with your child.

Listen  HERE to the program.




Until next time,


Elise