Saturday, August 18, 2012

Whoops They Did it Again! A film review

My husband and I went to see the movie "The Expendables 2" last night.  I had had a hard day at work and then therapy for my knee. so we planned to meet at a local theater where you can watch the movie and eat your dinner at the same time.  It's nice, you choose your meal from a menu, they even include alcoholic beverage, which my husband enjoys because, being English, he misses his Woodchuck Cider, which he can't find in a lot of places.  A "waiter" comes and gets your order and then delivers it while ducking down through the rows so that he/she doesn't impede anyone's view of the movie.  The food is definitely not high class, think cheese fries, wraps and some desserts, but it's fun.  Another great perk of this theater is there is always a small clip at the end of the previews (not really previews, they use old clips of the stars of the movie or clips from pictures similar to the one you will be watching) that stresses that you are to turn off your cell phones, no ringing, no texting and NO talking during the movie.  It's usually presented in a humorous manner, but they really mean it.  If you are sitting next to someone who is disruptive, all you need to do is write down your complaint on a piece of paper and stick it in the slot so it stands upright, exactly they way you order your food and a server comes and collects it and takes it to the management.  The management will then warn the offender once and if they cause any more trouble they will be removed from the theater without their money back.  I assume this is something they felt the need to institute because they do sell alcohol, but whatever the reason, it makes for an enjoyable viewing experience.

Anyway, there we were, my husband and myself, happy to see each other after a busy day and watching the movie.  Now, this is not the type of movie I usually want to see, but it got a high rating on Rotten Tomatoes and I didn't mind it.  The experience and the prospect of a date with my husband was what I had been looking forward to.  However..... about three quarters through the movie, the heros ( Stallone, Stratham and some other actors I don't know as well so I can't give you their names off the top of my head) were in a village, facing some suspicious village women who were protecting their young boys from the evil villain.  When asked who they were, our heroes answered, "American", "English", "Asian" and then..... wait for it...... the next guy answers "tard".

Why!!!! Why does someone feel the need to do that, couldn't you have said "ugly" or "sexy" or something else which would have caused viewers to laugh without using that ugly word which hurts, devalues and dehumanizes people with intellectual disabilities?  And what made it even worse, in my mind is that Sylvester Stallone is one of the writers of the movie and he has a son diagnosed with autism.  I don't think that automatically makes him a caring wonderful human being, but I would think it would make him more sensitive to using a word like that in a movie that he not only co wrote, but starred in.  Can he not fathom how that hurts people when he does this?  For me, the use of that word made the film not only sub par but insufferable.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Back to School.....


We (teachers) start back to school tomorrow.  No kids, just teachers scurrying around like mad things trying to get everything back in line before our reasons for being come back.

My room is a mess!  We used to have 4 early childhood special education classes in our building, 2 classes shared a classroom each, one in the morning, one in the afternoon, with a little bit of overlap.  My class is the first ECSE classroom for students with multiple disabilities to share a classroom with a less restrictive class.  So anyway, they split up the classes that were sharing classrooms, moved two to another school and shoved all of my equipment, materials and such into the other ECSE classroom. 

Most of my students stayed with me for another year, but I am getting two new students.  One family has already been in (last year) to observe me and my classroom and the other has not.  I cannot even imagine the amount of courage it takes for these parents to send their very young, non verbal and probably physically fragile child to a brand new person in a brand new place.

I feel the weight of these parents worries.  I am afraid I will make an inadvertent mistake and frighten these parents into thinking I am not paying enough attention to their child.  I don't want that to happen.  I want them to feel as though their children are with people who will care for them exactly as if they were our own children.  In some respect, I actually pay more attention to my students than I did to my own children.  After all, this is my job.  I also hope that they will know that I will feel a real affection for their child and will want their child to be the very best he or she can be.  That's a lot to expect of a parent, though.

Sunday, August 12, 2012


Did you know that there is a virus called Cytomegalovirus that causes few if any symptoms in healthy adults, but can cause lasting and and serious consequences in a child being carried by a woman who catches this virus for the first time?

Many people don't know anything about cytomegalovirus and most people have already been exposed to it by the time they are adults.  They probably didn't know they had it, how often do we get mild viruses and never really know where they came from.  But if you are a pregnant woman, who hasn't spent much time around young children and has gotten CMV for the first time, you have exposed your child to a virus that can cause him/her to have cerebral palsy, hearing, visual and mental disabilities.

According to "Stop CMV-The CMV Action Network", " CMV is the most common congenital (meaning from birth) viral infection in the United States. 1 in 150 children is born with congenital CMV in the United States. More children will have disabilities due to congenital CMV than other well-known infections and syndromes, including Down Syndrome, Fetal Alcohol Syndrome, Spina Bifida, and Pediatric HIV/AIDS."

Since CMV is present in bodily fluids, pregnant Mothers, daycare workers, teachers and nurses are at a higher risk for passing it on to their unborn child.  Universal precautions should be used to help decrease the risk of passing CMV from child to adult.

Currently there is no vaccine available to prevent congenital CMV.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

This film will leave an "Indelible" impression

I just watched the trailer for the film "Indelible-the film" , India's official film for the World Down Syndrome Congress.  I enjoyed seeing people with DS living in a different culture than what I am used to.  I have had a few students with Down Syndrome in the classes I have taught, not too many because I usually teach students with moderate to severe multiple disabilities.  Like most of my students, each one of these kids have been very different from each other.  Sometimes this has been a function of their disabilities, but just as often it's been a function of their family and/or their culture.  This has been the same for all of my students as many of them have shared diagnoses, which is something I am always attentive of, but that diagnosis is rarely as important as their personality or the family they grow up in.

If would be a boring old world, if we were defined by only our physical beings.


Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Headaches and Communication

Ouch!  I have a migraine this morning.  I have chronic migraines and take a plethora of medication to try and stop them from arriving.  Sometimes they are so depressing, no one likes to wake up in pain, I would say, when you have to go to work, but who wants to be in pain when you don't have to go to work either.

I always worry about my students who aren't able to tell me when they are in pain or maybe just feel plain weird.  Especially those with seizures or who have had changes in medications.  Since one of the medications I end up having prescribed to me are anti-seizure meds, I have some idea how they can stand you on your head, make you dizzy, tired or even make food taste lousy.  But how do you know when this is happening to a child who can't speak?  How often do I or anyone else think they are being stubborn or "non compliant"?

  Communication is a beautiful thing.

This picture communicates "cute".  And he makes my head feel better :)

Monday, August 6, 2012

P**p :)

The magazine The Complex Child, has an entire edition on poop this month.  Now personally I am not as interested in that subject as some of the Moms and Dads of my students are, it was never a problem I remember having with my own children, but I can definitely understand why this could be a huge worry for parents of children who have issues with their bowels in any way shape or form.

I do work on toileting in the classroom, we have an adaptive toilet that the children sit on each time they need to be changed or use the bathroom and we work on their dressing skills, as well as the other self help skills, such as hand washing.  We change the majority, if not all of my students, standing up and although I know this can be a difficult skill for some of my assistants to learn, I really feel as though it is more respectful to the children and also lends itself to learning new adaptive skills

Do we have messes???? Oh yeah :) we have messes sometimes, but really it's not that big of a deal and usually creates more laughter than tears.  This also happens when children throw up on you as well :)  I will never forget having a student barf all over me after I picked him up because I didn't think he felt well.  He didn't!  And he just kept barfing and barfing and my assistants just stood there with their mouths open in shock until I quietly asked them, "Could someone give me a towel?"  At least I think I was quiet. :)   His Mother  bought me vanilla scented lotion as a reminder of the vanilla Pediasure her son had just imbibed minuted before I picked him up. (She knows who she is :)

Here is the link for this month's The Complex Child.

Friday, August 3, 2012

Just try and see what happens.

I saw this video on my Facebook page.  It was posted by Circle 21-Down Syndrome.  It made me cry with happiness just watching it, so I thought I would share :)  It was the 2009 winner of Tropfest.


Thursday, August 2, 2012

11 days to go.....

I am starting to gear up for the start of school.  We are getting a whole new system in place to write u IEP's and so on the first day we will be doing training on that system.  It's supposed to be much easier.  I hope so, it would be nice to only worry about what is in the IEP and not how the paperwork works!

I hate that summer vacation is almost over, but part of me is glad to get back into the classroom.  I definitely need structure in my life and I love watching my students change and grow throughout the year.  To some people the changes may not seem all that large, but every step a student makes towards independence and self determination is a huge milestone in my book

I am starting to get together my list of supplies for the parents of my students.  I usually ask for paper towels (you know the kind that actually absorb:), tissues and diaper wipes, both for bums and faces.  This year, I am also going to ask for an 8 pack of large sized crayons, a 4 pack of play doh and a self inking stamp with the child's name on it.  The last item may seem a little strange, but I would like even students who cannot write their name  to be able to lay claim to their work.  I think pride is a good thing when you have accomplished something.  I also think that the more they see their name in print, the better.

I haven't decided what to do about snacks this year.  Typically I just buy snacks and when I was teaching elementary school, my students used the money for their community based instruction to shop for snacks when needed.  If you are a preschool teacher, what do you do?