Sunday, May 30, 2010

Parents of kids with autism not more likely to divorce, study suggests

A new study by the Kennedy Krieger Institute, based on nearly 78,000 children from the 2007 National Survey of Children's Health, showed that divorce is not more common in families affected by autism!

The study was based on a snapshot -- the marital status of the survey participants at the time. It was not a study over time.

What I found interesting is that it's unclear where the the 80 percent divorce rate figure originated. Autism experts at the institute said they had not found any scientific research citing that number. (Another case of a myth perpetuated becoming a reality.)

You can read the compete article here.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

This Christian's Thoughts on the Death Penalty

In 2000 my stepson, Dustin Arnwine, died. Through the conviction of the Holy Spirit, my husband felt compelled in court to forgive the man responsible for his death. I'm always shocked by the response of many Christians when I tell them I'm against the death penalty. I could talk for a long time about the injustices in our current judicial system regarding this issue. But the truth is I didn't come to this position because of that. I am against the death penalty because I follow Jesus and I believe He doesn't want me to support it.

If you are a Jesus follower, here are a few things I hope you will prayerfully consider.

A few thought from the New Testament

We are now dwelt with the Holy Spirit and commanded to love our enemies Luke 6:27,28. In John 8 when the woman was caught in adultery, Jesus stopped the stoning and told her to go and sin no more, in effect he stopped her execution. Stephen, the first Christian martyr, as he was dying “fell on his knees and cried out, "Lord, do not hold this sin against them." When he had said this, he fell asleep.” Acts 7:60

What does Jesus say about murder?

Matthew 5:21-22: You have heard that it was said to the people long ago, 'Do not murder, and anyone who murders will be subject to judgment.' But I tell you that anyone who is angry with his brother will be subject to judgment. Again, anyone who says to his brother, 'Raca,' is answerable to the Sanhedrin. But anyone who says, 'You fool!' will be in danger of the fire of hell.

Matthew 5:38-39: You have heard that it was said, 'Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth.' But I tell you, Do not resist an evil person. If someone strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also.

I believe all human life is sacred. We are all made in God's image. He loves everyone, and has the power to change anyone. Need some proof of this? Just check out Abounding Love Ministries , its just one example of what God is currently doing through a convicted murderer:

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Getting Ready for an IEP

I'm getting ready for my son's 10th grade IEP. After homeschooling him through Junior High we now have him in High School. He is fully mainstreamed, without an assistant, with all college prep classes. My main goal is to prepare him to be as independent as possible while we still have the bubble of High School. I also want to make sure that he has the opportunity to learn and do well. So this is the list of educational concerns I have for G. (I always call them "considerations" in IEP's because I am very careful to use neutral language during IEP's, I may post on that another time.)

Educational Considerations for G Arnwine

Visual Learner:
G learns best by watching. It is important he has a clear view of the teacher and any demonstrations. Visual examples allow G to work independently.

Auditory Processing:
G does not always process all of the information he hears. He has learned to compensate by nodding & saying ‘yes’ or ‘OK’ when speaking to people. Note: he may not always realize he didn’t process what the teacher has told him. To be sure he understands directions or an explanation ask him to clarify for you or restate what you have said. You can ask him simple questions like:

  • “Tell me what you need to do.”
  • “What do you need to bring tomorrow?”
  • “How will you turn in your work?”
Background noise/ student distractions:
Because auditory processing is difficult for G it is very important that he not sit next to noisy students. If he tells you he can’t hear, or he can’t concentrate it will not get better, unless he is moved or the problem is dealt with.

Executive Functioning:
(Executive functions allow us to anticipate outcomes and adapt to changing situations. The ability to form concepts and think abstractly are often considered components of executive function. ) G is very good about doing assignments, he is conscientious and wants to do a good job. He may not know or remember how and when to turn in assignments especially if asked to do something in a manner that is not routine. This can be the case with make up assignments.

He needs help problem solving. What may seem like a simple solution to you may need to be spelled out for G. He has trouble connecting the dots.

Social Interaction:
G does not know how to initiate social interaction. This puts him at a disadvantage for group activities & partner quizzes he will need help getting into a group. This can be as simple as G why don’t you partner with _______ or G join group____.

G often interprets things people say literally. He often does not understand sarcasm. From time to time he has run into situations with his classmates that he will need help with. This also sets him up for bullying.

Social problems will affect G’s academic performance. G has problems focusing on more than one thing. If he is stuck trying to solve a social problem, he can’t focus on class work. We saw this first semester in Science.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Not Just Spirited Book Review

I recently read “Not Just Spirited” a Mom’s Sensational Journey with Sensory Processing Disorder by Chynna T. Laird. The story chronicles Chynna’s journey toward a diagnoses and finding help for her daughter with Sensory Processing Disorder.

From the time little Jamie is born, she is a very difficult child. As Chynna shares her concerns with her pediatrician and family she is constantly dismissed. It is only when Jamie’s difficulties become so pronounced that the pediatrician makes the recommendation Jamie needs for an evaluation.

When Jamie is finally diagnosed with SPD she is put on endless waiting lists. Since Jamie only has SPD she is not given the same priority for intervention as another child might receive. I wish this was a piece of fiction, but unfortunately this is happening all over the United States and Canada.

Its one thing to work with special needs children; it is quite another thing to live with one. I think every professional that works with special needs children should read this book. Chynna paints a poignant picture of the stress and desperation of raising a child with special needs. It’s not OK for parents to fight for years to have their concerns for their child addressed. It’s not OK when parents finally receive a diagnosis to watch their child struggle while they are put on endless waiting lists with no significant help!

SPD is still not in the DSM maybe we should send a copy of this book to the members of the committee.

Thursday, May 6, 2010