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Friday, April 29, 2011
Thursday, April 28, 2011
- Developmental delays
- Cerebral Palsy and other neurologic disorders
- Autism and other spectrum disorders
- Down Syndrome and other genetic disorders
- ADD/ADHD and learning disabilities
Tuesday, April 26, 2011
Monday, April 25, 2011
Saturday, April 23, 2011
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Friday, April 22, 2011
By Abigail Brenner, M.D.
Co-Author of The Essential Guide to Baby's First Year
You can utilize every day rituals, the activities and routine of daily living, to establish family traditions. These might include rituals surrounding bedtime. Talking, reading, snuggling up together, and saying a prayer are things to look forward to on a regular basis.
These outings can include camping, hiking, or going fishing at the first sign of spring. The first ballgame of the season is often an event anticipated weeks ahead of time. A picnic to a favorite place or a backyard BBQ for friends and neighbors can create an atmosphere of cooperation in the planning and preparation for the event.
Family trips can include traveling to reunions to visit with extended family. An annual vacation may be purely for rest, relaxation, and fun, or may have an educational bent, such as a visit to a cultural/historical site or one that reflects a specific place or event that is being studied in school.
These traditions provide a sense of continuity and cultural identity and allow us to explore the similarities, the things that resonate within each of us individually, with our ancestors. Visiting the cemetery to the gravesites of family members is common to many cultures and affords the family a time to honor and remember those who have gone before us.
Birthdays, anniversaries, and other personal family events are occasions to establish any number of traditions, such as a favorite cake or meal, or visiting a place closely associated with the event.
- Traditions establish and strengthen family bonds by providing a solid structure, a sense of continuity, and a feeling of belonging.
- Family teaches values. Traditions support and communicate a family’s belief system. They instill faith and convey the family’s perspective on life experiences.
- The immediate family serves as your witnesses through life’s transitions, sharing and committing to each other in times of joy and celebrations and lending support and comfort through crises, disappointments, and losses.
- A healthy family unit is a vital force in the nurturing and molding of a child’s identity. Family traditions are a sound way to foster a sense of stability and security and this contributes to the emotional health, self-esteem, and self-respect of family members.
- The family serves as the model for all interpersonal relationships. The way an individual is cared for, supported, encouraged, allowed to express and be themselves in the family, or not, enormously influences the choices and decisions an individual makes moving into the future.
Abigail Brenner, M.D., co-author of The Essential Guide To Baby's First Year, is a board certified psychiatrist currently in private practice as well as an ordained interfaith minister who helps people design, create, and perform personally meaningful rituals. She is also author of SHIFT: How to Deal When Life Changes, and the author of Transitions: How Women Embrace Change and Celebrate Life.
For more information please visit http://www.abigailbrenner.com and follow the author on Twitter or Facebook
Tuesday, April 19, 2011
Today we honor Karen, an amazing mother of 3 who shares her story of finding out that one of her daughters had a rare muscle disorder- what that meant for her, her daughter, and the rest of her family. Read on in admiration at her strength, positivity, and confidence in her daughter. It will truly warm your heart.
REMEMBER: If you’d like to be a Parent of the Week, or if you’d like to nominate someone, simply email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. It’s that easy!
How truly exciting it was to be asked to be Parent of the Week. Being a mom of three, with one being special needs, I welcome any opportunity to share my story in hope of helping other families and raising awareness.
My name is Karen. My amazing husband and I live in a suburb of Dallas, Texas, and we have three wonderful angels for children. They range in age from 14 to 10 years.
My life drastically changed with the birth of my youngest daughter. Having no warning at all, she was born with a rare muscle disorder called Arthrogryposis Multiplex Congenita (AMC). Unfortunately, she was born with a severe form of it involving fused ribs, fused spine, inability to swallow, and brittle bones. The prognosis was extremely bleak, with the physicians giving her six months to live, tops. Being a Christian woman, and from a wonderful supportive family, I told the doctor ‘thank you for your “prediction”, but I’ll take it from here’. I refused to accept his prediction. We went for five months before I was able to get her an appointment at the amazing Scottish Rite Hospital in Dallas. There, the orthopedist diagnosed her with AMC and filled us in on what the disorder was. I immediately began researching and looking for those familiar with AMC and how to treat it in the best way possible to give her quality of life. It was a long challenging road due to the rarity of the disorder. However, while doing research one night while sitting up with my daughter, I ran across a wonderful website. Low and behold, an actual support group for AMC. I sat and cried and cried. What a relief to finally find others that have experienced all the trials and tribulations I have. From that day forward I have benefited from knowing other families from around the world, sharing ideas, contacts, joys and yes, even sorrows. The support group has become my extended family by all means.
Little did I know that my life would soon require me to do juggling acts. Forty hour work weeks, soccer practices, football practices, parent conferences and the never ending scheduling of seven different physicians, four different therapies and 120 hours a week of nursing schedules, sleep was hard to come by. Somehow though things fell into place, and my children got what they needed.
My oldest two children have had huge adjustments in their lives. From being the babies and having a lot of mom’s attention, to having to “wait their turn” to get attention from mom. The never-ending revolving door of nurses in our home day and night for years had their toll on everyone. However, my children are extremely strong and have learned so much from their little sister, and likewise I’ve learned from my children. The experience has given everyone a whole new view on life; more compassion, care, patience, and a better understanding of what life is like for a disabled child and to be his/her family.
Throughout the years, I have had low times where I asked why God would put us through this? Why he would put my daughter through this? I feel that angels are sent to us in disguise. Maybe to give us a wakeup call, saying ‘hey, you are not on the right path, there is much more for you to do and see’. I truly believe I was sent an angel to teach me, and I am extremely blessed to be one of the chosen ones.
For more information on Arthrogryposis Multiplex Congenita:
AMC Support Group: www.amcsupport.orgFacebook group as Arthrogryposis Multiplex Congenita Support, Inc.My blog: www.enablingfaith.wordpress.comAMC Documentary in progress: http://www.amcdocumentary.org/
--------------------Karen and past Parents of the Week, feel free to grab the award badge:
Monday, April 18, 2011
- First, use phrases like “I hear that you want...” and “It sounds like what you’re asking for is...,” followed by “Is that right?” This way, you make sure you’ve got all your facts straight.
- Next, state your side (if different from your child’s) by saying something like “My issue is that if we...then....” or “Hmm, I’m concerned that...”
- See if your child has any solutions, or introduce a possible solution with a phrase like “Here’s an idea:”
Thursday, April 14, 2011
Tuesday, April 12, 2011
Monday, April 11, 2011
- Figure out what’s behind the behavior - Lots of kids (and adults!) bite their nails or twirl their hair because they are bored are stressed. If this is true for your child, find a positive outlet for the stress or an activity to keep her hands occupied, such as:
- Stress balls
- For girls, get a manicure- having freshly polished nails may make her less likely to mess them up!
- Silly putty
- A note pad and colored pencils
- A few pretty fashion rings
- Give a gentle reminder. Every time. Even though it’s frustrating to say it 934390589308 times, remind yourself that your child is not picking his nose to spite you.
- Consider purchasing a travel pack of tissues for your child to keep in his pocket (or her purse!).
- Letting your child make real choices whenever possible will help him feel in control and reduce stress and frustration.
- Let your child have a say in choices such as:
- What to have for meals
- What to wear each day
- Which flavor of toothpaste to use (keep one or two on hand)
- Whether to go to bed at 7:30 or 7:40 ß see this simple way to let your child make a real choice?!
- If you live in the Dallas/Fort Worth area, the UTD Center for Children and Families offers free referrals that will connect you with the right resources for your child. Call 972-883-4827
- The American Psychological Association offers this handy online search tool to locate a provider in your area
Thursday, April 7, 2011
- Common and not-so-common conditions
- Benefits of in-home therapy
- State of the art treatment options
- Developmental milestones for young children
- Common warning signs to be aware of
- Success stories from real parents and children with special needs
Tuesday, April 5, 2011
|The Grandpa Joe we all know and love, from Mel Stuart's |
Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory (played by Jack Albertson)
|Grandpa Joe and Charlie (from Roald Dahl's |
book, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory)
Monday, April 4, 2011
'Play is a child's work' -Jean Piaget
Two very famous quotations, at least in my field of work, and both very true. However, I recently came across another quotation that I think does a fantastic job of elaborating upon what Montessori and Piaget meant:
'Children learn as they play. Most importantly, in play, children learn how to learn.' -Fred Donaldson
Fascinating, isn't it? And so true. The research tells us it's true and you as parents know it's true from watching your children discover things about the world every day while playing. The grass is wet in the morning. That's called dew. If I stack the blocks too high, they will probably fall over. The dog doesn't like it when I pull on her tail.
But did you know that how toys are presented to your child can affect how they explore and learn about them?
Just last week I read an article that tackled the issue of whether children learned more when toys were presented in a playful way or a 'teaching' way.
Researchers took a toy to different classrooms with 4 year-olds. The toy had various attributes- it squeaked if you pulled a tube, played music if you pushed a button, had a hidden mirror, etc. For some children, the researcher presented a toy in a 'teaching' way- she said "Look! I have this toy. If you pull here, it squeaks." For other kids, the researcher presented the toy in a playful way- they said "Look! I found this toy! I wonder how it works?" She then pretended to discover the how to make the toy squeak and acted surprised when she figured it out.
So who learned more about the toy?
Kids who were presented the toy in a playful way were much more likely to discover the other fun things the toy did than kids who were shown the toy in a 'teaching' way. But why?
I had the good fortune of getting to hear the researchers of this study speak recently, and they speculate that, when children this young are instructed directly, they assume that the person instructing will tell them everything they need to know. That is, kids may have thought that if there was something else cool about the toy, the 'teaching' researcher would have told them.
So what does this mean for play?
Well, that it's important. That children really do seem to learn through true play. That it's okay (and good) to let your child discover toys on their own and at their own place.