Feb 23, 2011

Lifting Burdens: The Atonement of Jesus Christ

I love the message that this video captures; it is true.

One part that really stood out to me was the quote from Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin:
"We see ourselves in terms of yesterday and today. Our Heavenly Father sees us in terms of forever. Although we might settle for less, Heavenly Father won’t, for He sees us as the glorious beings we are capable of becoming"
("The Great Commandment", General Conference, October 6, 2007).

Even though I do not fully comprehend my potential, I know that Heavenly Father does. He sees me in terms of forever; He sees Doug in terms of forever. It is only through the Atonement of Jesus Christ, and after all that I can do, that I can hope to become like Him and reach my potential. I am learning to have that eternal perspective, to see myself and others through God's eyes.

Feb 19, 2011


You know it's time to do dishes when your silverware drawer looks like this:

I think it's time to invest in plastic-ware.

Feb 17, 2011

ipads - do they really help?

There is this new technology fad in the field of special education: the ipad. Don't believe me? Google search, "ipad autism" and you'll find hundreds, if not thousands, of relevant, recent results.

Background: Much of the population that I work with is nonverbal. Communicating with them and teaching them requires a little bit of creativity :). Technology has been one major avenue that people with disabilities communicate with others. Quintessential example: Stephen Hawking. He uses the DecTALK. He enters text with his cheek, the DecTALK transforms that text to speech. Through this communication device, Hawking has changed the world of science because of his talents.

Issue: Ipads are the new thing. Practically every week I hear/read a story about ipads in special education classrooms. Teachers are writing grants and studying the use/effect of ipads in the classroom. The ipad has obvious benefits for students with disabilities. 1. There are many apps for educational, enriching games for children. 2. It can be used as a communication device. 3. It may engage children in ways that teachers have not been able to. 4. It is extremely inexpensive (compared to the tens of thousands of dollars other communication devices cost). It seems like the ipad is perfect. But what happens when teachers expect to have an ipad for each student in their class. It's hard to argue against the growing evidence that the ipad works.

Special education graduate student Mary Beth Litsey helps a student learn how to use a specially-modified iPad designed to help improve the communication and social skills of children with autism.

What I think: I am instinctively apprehensive and almost critical towards the idea that technology can solve everything in the field of education. I think special educators tend to be more prone to this technology philosophy; we have lots of problems that we can't seem to solve, so maybe technology can do it for us. 

My personal opinion is that there is not an "end all be all" solution. Each child will have their own needs and their own strengths (even within the autism spectrum). In my student teaching, we informally experimented with the ipad and a couple of our students. We tried to engage them with apps similar to those in the videos below. We tried to use the ipad as a communication device. We prayed (at least I did) that this would be the breakthrough we needed to get to this child. We only tried for a month, so maybe we needed more time, but we didn't see any success. On the other hand, I sincerely believe the ipad can be the device that opens up these children to our world so that we can truly see their talents.    

In many instances, technology does help, but that does not mean it will be useful for every student, or that every student needs and ipad to be successful. I think teachers, districts, and parents need to determine if an ipad is needed on an individual basis.

Real stories:

A boy with autism participates more fully in his classroom:Taylor Parrish finds his voice using technology

Abbey, a young girl with autism, plays with the ipad:  

Abbey asks for water:

Feb 14, 2011

Valentine's Days

Happy Valentine's Day(s)!!
Heart-shaped French Toast :) for Sunday breakfast.

I woke up to a dozen roses this morning!!
Doug's computer (on each heart I wrote a reason why Doug is so awesome)
On our way to a suprise dinner...
Surprise! Doug got us reservations to the best Italian place in Provo.

Thanks, Doug!

Hair cut

Hey, I got a hair cut! About 5 inches. These two pictures actually don't compare very well. The first one was taken in October 2010 and my hair has grown about 3 inches since then. Also my hair is curly in the first picture and straight in the second. Plus, the second one doesn't really look like me for some reason... Anyway, if you want to see the most recent picture of me with curly, longer hair it's at: Facebook. I can't figure out how to copy/paste picture from the new facebook format :(. Anyway, I haven't posted any recent photos of me, so here's for posterity's sake.



I realized how much I miss having straight, healthy hair. (My hair is still curly, but after I cut it, she straightened it.) It's soft, pretty, and natural. Alas, I'll just have to wait for it to grow out. No more perms!! Still, it was fun for the first month or so.

Feb 12, 2011

hulu... plus?

So Hulu is awesome. We've watched lost, psych, the good guys, law and order LA, and random movies. Lately, I found the health channel - hooray free workout videos, hello rock hard abs! Unfortunately, we've pretty much exhausted all the free stuff (and we heart free stuff).

So I've been thinking, what about hulu plus? $7.99. Unlimited tv shows, movie watching, and workout videos. But doesn't netflix do the same exact thing? Do you have experience with either netflix or huluplus? What do you do to satisfy your movie fix?

Feb 7, 2011


Baby hungry? Me? Never. Okay, maybe once...

Motherhood is something I have looked forward to my whole life. And living in Wymount, where half of the women in my quad are pregnant or had a baby in the last two months, does a lot to remind me how close that stage of my life is. And I am so excited.

Shauna is one woman in my quad and the mother of an adorable little girl. She recently wrote a post titled, "Christlike Mothers." She begins with: "I am a wife, a mother, and a homemaker. We have been taught that these are among the most noble callings. But let's be honest, sometimes it's a bit of a struggle to find nobility in changing diapers, cleaning bathrooms, and sweating over home-cooked meals, (both figuratively and literally.) I felt this keenly when my baby was just a few months old. By then the novelty had worn off, and we were in the thick of it." Her post connects these "little" things to what Christ did on the Earth. I encourage you to read it! (Picture taken from Gospel Art Book)

I know that motherhood is a divine calling. But unlike a lot of other callings and responsibilities in the church, this one does not seem as spiritual. I think my feelings stem from a combination of the world's perception of being a mom and reality. Currently, I am looking through "honeymoon goggles" if you will. I think that having a baby will be as easy as I first thought marriage would be. (Actually, marriage for me is pretty easy... so that analogy doesn't hold, but do you see what I mean?). Obviously I know having children will be difficult, but I haven't yet experienced it; and I really only see the good things from the women in my ward.

So I guess what I'm saying is: Shauna's article helped me realize that even though being a mom isn't glamorous, it is apparent that it is a very Christlike thing to do. 

In conclusion I'll just say that I am so grateful for my mom. She planned on and prepared for motherhood way before she actually became one. I know that I wasn't an angel child (although now I am, right mom?), I know there were people who scoffed at her in the grocery store or on the subways, and I know there were many 36+ hour days. It's not like she couldn't have done something more lucrative, elite, or comfortable. She wanted to stay at home, teach us, and help us develop character. She knows the value of being a mom and she is the best mom in the world!

You can stop reading now if you want. Below is what I wrote about motherhood on 6/29/2009. (To me it's interesting to see how my perpspective has changed.)

Why be a mother? Why go through the physical pain of pregnancy and giving birth? Why put up with children who won't listen to you, or suffer from the sorrow that comes from children having gone astray?

I thought of the standard, generic answer: because there are rewards that come along with it, which ultimately outweigh the costs. Well, that is definitely true but the ideas my teacher and other classmates gave are much more insightful and I would like to share them with you. One reason that really stood out to me was that by being a mother, you gain charity. Let me try to explain. As you experience the physical and emotional pain because of your children, and through all the sacrifices you make for them, in some ways, you can feel how the Savior feels about us. Because He loves us, He suffered for us that he may know how we feel and that he can succor us. As we sacrifice for our children, we might be able to better understand the deep love the Savior has for us. Mothers make a special sacrifice, sacrificing their bodies and putting their lives on the line to bring life into this world.

Feb 5, 2011

People with disabilities in media

So last night we turned on the TV and saw that Speed 2: Cruise Control was on. So we decided to give it a go. First of all, just looking at the cover tells you it's a crappy movie. Secondly, IMDB gives it 3.4 out of 10 stars haha. We got through maybe 45 minutes of it, then Doug couldn't handle it anymore. 

Anyway, one of the secondary characters is a young girl (about 10) who is deaf. (Just so you know: Deaf people don't see their deafness as a disability but rather as a culture which has its own, fully developed and independent language: ASL. Still, under the law, deafness is considered a disability.) I was hoping that Drew's character would either be a normal person or whose abilities were crucial to the movie. Doug even said, "I bet her deafness is going to help her somehow." Alas, we expected too much. She ended up being the girl who was stranded due to her deafness and whose rescue almost spoiled the mission. Great.

On the other hand (almost), in the first 15 minutes of Percy Jackson & the Olympians  3 characters with different disabilities were introduced. I was really impressed. They were main characters who had "flaws" but were portrayed in a positive light AND their strengths were emphasized. As it turns out, their "disabilities" were actually super-human powers. So the movie didn't actually accomplish what I'd hoped in that regard. I bet I'm one of few people who actually look and hope for these things in movies... idk, maybe I'm wrong.

My point is, I wish that people with disabilities were portrayed in movies, books, magazines, etc. as people who contribute. I don't think it helps their cause to only see them as people who need "us." Even in the church's magazine, the Ensign, most articles about people with disabilities discuss how people serve and help those with disabilities. How we learn charity from them. Yes, those are important things to discuss and to recognize, but imagine my joy when I read this article ("One Heart and One Mind", Ensign, Dec. 2010, 36–40). (You should read the physical article, here's a PDF, then you can see the pictures :) .) It shares three stories demonstrating how "meaningful service can be received or extended by members with disabilities." Or extended. Thank you! I was so happy to read about ward members who were inspired to let their peers (who had disabilities) serve and uplift others. Please, in your own communities, have confidence (in all senses of the word) in people with disabilities. Allow them to benefit from the blessings of giving service and love too.

Feb 3, 2011

If I could go anywhere, anytime. . .

This is what I would do from June 27- Jul 1: http://ies.ed.gov/whatsnew/newsletters/?index=roundncser
Too bad it's in Wisconsin, and I'll be in NY.

The training would be about single-case experimental research:
"Single-case experimental research plays an important role in the development of evidence-based practice in special education, and is used by researchers in an array of disciplines. The technique is particularly important for special education researchers who study low-incidence disabilities for which group design is not feasible." aka, me.Alas, I will just have to learn about it on my own!

I've always wondered how I would do this as a teacher. If my student has Autism, the research is overflowing. If my student has cri-du-chat, there is still much research. But what if my student has multiple disabilties, the combination of which creates a whole new situation, the research is only generally applicable. I would be left to my own devices and intuition (which would be fun . . . but probably not as effective as using research-based-practices. So, you can see how this experimental design would be especially intriguing to me.

Feb 2, 2011

winter cleaning

yesterday was an awesome day.

9:40 - get out of bed, eat generic honey nut cheerios for breakfast (w/o milk, because we haven't gone shopping for two weeks. . . oops)
10:30 - Doug comes back from school (and promptly sleeps for 2 hours)
10-12:30 - studying for stats exam, work on family history homework
11:15 (around) - learn that my ancestor, Noah Rogers, was the first missionary to circumnavigate the globe, among doing other awesome things in his life.
12:30 - get dressed, eat lunch, go to school
1-4:30 - go to family history class, study for and take stats test
4:30 - leave testing center with a 98% on the multiple choice. BOOYAH
5:00 - learn that Doug has interesting plans for the rest of the evening (lots of work and a little play)
5:30 - fold laundry while watching lame star trek movie (i have officially decided, after watching all (and falling asleep through half) the star trek movies, that i am NOT a trekkie.)
6:00 - BEGIN MISSION: get rid of half our clothes because our drawers are bursting and i haven't worn that shirt since freshman year
7:30 - return movies to library AND drop of FOUR FULL garbage bags full of clothes at DI
8:00 - celebrate (doing awesome on stats test, getting rid of half our wardrobe, and Doug being offered an internship at GE R&D center) by going out for sushi and dropping 60 bones (why is sushi so darn expensive?!)
9:15 - get milk, fruit snacks, bananas, and apples at buy low (we're set for the week, baby)
10:45 - play spider solitaire because i'm not tired
11:00 - fall asleep while Doug listens to talks

the end.
okay, maybe it doesn't seem so spectacular. but it was very satisfying.