Friday, July 19, 2013

My Sweetie is Famous!

My husband, Chris just became part of an ad campaign for a back up company called "Spanning".  Chris is the Manager of  Messaging and Collaboration for the R.H. Smith School of Business at the University of MD.  Spanning is thinking of doing a "white paper" and interviewed Chris as someone who was successfully using their services.  So now, when you go to their website, his smiling face is the first picture you see.  Pretty cool!  I'm just saying :)

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Magical Chromosomes???

When I was getting ready to go the the periodontist this morning (yay! not:), I heard a piece on the News about "Tim's Place", a restaurant in Albuquerque, NM.  This was one of those "feel good" pieces you sometimes hear on the news.  The hook concerning Tim's place is that the owners' son, Tim, has Down Syndrome and offers free hugs to all of his customers.  He is evidently at over 32,000 and counting.

Now, while I think this is a great concept and I would certainly go to Tim's for the camaraderie and one of his famous hugs, I kind of resented what the news commentators were saying about Tim.  Evidently they felt that Tim was so loving and friendly because of that mysterious extra chromosome he just happens to have.  You know, that extra friendly, loving chromosome.

I resent this supposition because it seems to be saying that the addition of a single chromosome automatically means that you are going to be a loving, happy individual.  There is no respect for the individual himself.  No respect for how his family nurtured him and raised him or how his life experiences manifested themselves on his personality.  In short, you are basically saying he has no control, no self determination on the kind of person he is or will be.  Ouch!  That's pretty condescending.

Personally, as a teacher, I know some kids with Down Syndrome who can be kind of cranky, even spoiled!  Horrors, that would mean they could be just as wonderful and awful as any other kid.  That would also mean that if they are horrible, it doesn't mean that every child with Down Syndrome is horrible.

No two persons with DS is any more alike than any two persons without it.  Yes, there are some medical issues and learning styles that are more common with individuals with DS, but there are other people without DS who have some of these same medical issues and learning styles.

 Stop using that broad brush people!

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

A Blog Post that May Explain Some Things.

I was just on facebook and one of the Mother's of my former students posted the link to this blog by Regie Hamm.  Regie is a songwriter and happened to win a contest for the show American Idol.  His song was chosen and was sung by the winner, David Cook.

Regie is also a Father.  A Father with an adopted daughter with Angelman Syndrome.  Angelman Syndrome is caused by a chromosomal abnormality.  I have worked with or taught at least 8 children with Angelman Syndrome and they are some of my favorite people :).  People with AS typically do not speak (there are variations of the syndrome and there are people who do speak) and most do not walk.

This is a link to a blogpost written by Regie.  I think it might be a very good description of what a lot of families who have children with significant disabilities go through.

How's Your Daughter

Monday, July 8, 2013

Just Something to Make You Smile!

Gritting My Teeth

I am psyching myself up for the new school year.  I have lost most of my students to the big pond of elementary school and have only two 3 year olds left in my class to start with.  I am pretty sure, though, that my class will fill up pretty quickly.  I can have up to 7 preschoolers with 2 full time para professionals.

Last year I got a new "room mate".  Let's just say it became quite an acrimonious relationship.  My room mate does not really like sharing her room and I was told quite plainly that a typical early childhood special education class (hers) should not have to share with an early childhood special education class for students with multiple disabilities.  Sigh :(..  Granted we do need a lot more space for our class since we have more equipment and children with mobility and sensory issues.  However, some of the concessions I need are in order to make my students safe and give them the opportunity to meet their goals.

By the end of the year, I was so tired of the whole thing :( and my assumption is that I will be back in the same situation next year.  This year, though, I will be asking for more.  I need space for common core vocabulary to be put up where my students always have visual access to it.  This is a new concept for my classroom, but something I am really buying into.  At the end of the year I tried using "common core mats" (just pieces of heavily laminated paper with the words, "more", "my turn", "help" and "done"on them), and saw dramatic results in just 3 weeks with a few of my students.  I want to go bigger and bolder right from the get go this year. 

I don't expect this to go down well.  Wish me luck :).

Monday, July 1, 2013

Whoopie! I hit the Jackpot :)

What I Bought from an Online Yard Sale!

    I just posted this picture on Facebook,
Do you see all that?  Button pushing, bead popping, block stacking, small motor manipulation heaven!  And all for $25.00.  There is no way you can get that much "stuff" with the money given to you each year for your classroom, especially since you have to buy it from catalogs :(.  It can take you up to 7 years to sufficiently build up the things needed in a classroom like mine, never mind the very specific items needed for specific students.  This doesn't count things like paper and paint, special brushes and scissors. 

I also spend money perusing the dollar store for craft ideas, and the grocery stores for adapted style forks, spoons, cups and bowls.  It seems like the newest craze has been to make these items for "regular" (pardon the term) babies much more like the adapted items I might find in special needs catalogs, but much cheaper.  I do searches online for "honey bear cups" (if you don't what they are, please ask me:) and have found them for about $8.00 a piece, if I really look.  Luckily, some people at school are bringing me their used honey bear containers and by adding some fish tank tubing, I can make my own (thanks A.M., you know who you are :).

I also ask my parents for paper towels, tissues and wipes for bums and faces.  Especially in the winter, little faces get chapped from runny noses and the cold and the wipes make it much easier to wipe them gently.  My parents have always been good about complying when asked.

So next time you are cleaning out your playroom, think about any special education teachers you might know.  Most of us would be happy to take some of your old stuff off of your hands.