Jun 29, 2011

I'm losing track of the days

Yesterday was Monday and today is the 27th. Right?

Being a "mom" is taking over my life. And I'm only "mom" for less than 30 hrs/week. (except for last week...48hrs.)


I have to say, I am so grateful for this job. It gives me something to do, it pays well, and now I have 3 more kids to love :). 

If you will ever work with kids or if you have siblings this book is a MUST: 

My mom recommended it to me (along with 3 other parenting books) after a particularly rough day 3 weeks ago. It was my mistake to wait so long to read it! I agree with the praise of this book: "Run! Don't walk to your nearest bookstore." In this case, Amazon is selling it for $8.53. It has completely changed the way I will work with kids for the rest of my life. And this is after I got a degree in Special Education, after I had taken multiple courses on behavior management. UH MAZE ING. I'm a changed man - er, woman.

Jun 24, 2011


Congratulations on graduating, Maria!!

You are officially a young adult. How does it feel?

I'd just like to point out that Maria graduated with high honors and a Principal's award. Plus, she looked pretty in that red gown... ya stood out, girl! No really, you were beautiful.

This calls for some celebratory exlamations:

A phrase I learned from the coolest people in town: the kids I babysit

Christina and Brian..duh

freshman ward saying..

that high school phase

Anyway, congrats!! I am so excited for you to head off to BYU and follow your dreams (even those you haven't discovered yet). I hope you have an awesome freshman roommate, like I did, who will help you get out every once in a while. Right, Emily?? You've grown up to be a radiant, confident young woman and I love you. All the best!

Jun 15, 2011

The blind will hear and the Deaf will watch

Since Delfina brought it up, and I think it's a wonderful topic, I want to discuss the benefits of special needs students getting involved in extracurricular activities. Two different articles were published this week on this very discussion!

In this article, Chianese is a ballet teacher for the blind and visually impaired. In the second article, 3 Deaf young adults take a karate class. Most blind or Deaf people do not consider themselves as having a disability. Still, because special education is my discipline, and I may work with Deaf/blind students who have a disability in addition, I want to incorporate these techniques and philosophies into my teaching.

Ballet for the blind. I love it! I know how much joy ballet brings me and I think it's great that teachers are thinking out of the box to share that joy with people who wouldn't naturally participate. When asked if she enjoyed ballet, one student said that "she discovered muscles she never knew she had." That's exactly what I say every first class of the season! That tells me that this student is having fun and exercising at the same time (that's what I mean when I say that!). I imagine that strenuous physical activity would be difficult as a blind person; but it could be fun in a controlled setting like holding on to a bar in the ballet studio, or feeling tape on the floor to guide yourself. I know from personal experience that dancing gives me confidence, it makes me feel beautiful and accomplished. In fact, that's exactly why I do it (as I've said in several previous posts). I'm so glad that people have made the impractical happen.

The karate class is a very similar scenario. While I disagree with several of the assumptions made in the second article, this statement made sense to me:
“They [the Deaf students] learn incredibly fast,” said Joan Lopas, who serves as their interpreter, along with Tori Robinson. “Karate is a visual language. They pay attention to every move.”
It makes sense that Deaf people would be more attentive to body movement than hearing people and that they might learn quicker. Similar to doing ballet, it is logical that learning karate, and legitimately earning belt rankings (sorry, I don't know karate lingo!) creates a sense of accomplishment and confidence. See what can happen when pedagogy is modified to the student?? I love my job. (Technically, I don't have a job. But it's my job. My responsibility. Yeah?)

The common thread in these two articles is that participation and success in these activities leads to increased confidence. I love that. One of my biggest goals in life is to raise confident children -- so that concept really speaks to me. Often, kids with special needs are seen in their disabilities rather than in their abilities. I believe that a lack of confidence and knowledge of self-worth is a direct result of others not believing in them. Involvement in these activities, especially when the activities are scaffolded to the students' unique needs and supported by someone who believes in them, will hopefully help these students feel more confident. Who knows, maybe that confidence can spread to other areas of their lives!

See? Like that :)

Jun 14, 2011

Beyond proud

Douglas, my man, you are incredible. You have accomplished so much in the last few months I have to brag to everyone else.

  • Most recently, he graduated SUMMA cum laude (BYU incorrectly awarded him magna initially due to clerical errors).
  • He completed a BS and MS in 5 years of school.
  • He will attend Duke in the fall for a PhD in stats. Only Doug...(actually, about 10 others).
  • A year ago, he was published in some biochemistry scientific journal that I don't know. Still cool.
  • Two months ago he received a personal email from the currently most famous statistician in the world, Bradley Efron, who said about Doug's paper, "This is impressive work, I hope it does get published soon." His email is a rejection of Doug's paper because it's not a good fit for the journal and would "get a better review in JASA."
  • Ditto with another journal.
  • As an intern, he is currently working at the GE Global Research Center in the statistics department.
On a different note
  • He caved in and took me to Europe. :D
  • As a result of Europe he wears more fashionable clothing.
  • He successfully did our taxes (by outsourcing, but still).
  • He remembered our anniversary.
  • His GE basketball buddies have officially welcomed him to the league after seeing some sweet moves. 
  • He has tricked my little siblings into loving him more than they love me!!
I'm sure I forgot something. Oh well. Doug is awesome and I'm so proud to have him as my husband!

Jun 12, 2011

I don't mind a little humor in my life!

This truck was stopped in front of me so I snapped a picture!

Jun 8, 2011

I find this quite hard to believe...

This article reviews the CDC study that found 1 in 6 US children (ages 3-17) have a developmental disability. I haven't read the actual study so I will be brief about this.

There have been several studies showing that autism, adhd, and other diagnoses are more prevalent now than ever. The common man criticizes those findings saying, "they are finding what they want to find" or "autism is not more prevalent, but now that we know more about it, we can better find it."

True or not true: autism, adhd, and/or developmental disabilities are more common now than 10 or 20 years ago?
What I think
No. The article mentions causes behind the rise in diagnoses: "Researchers said the increase may be due in part to more preterm births and parents having children at older ages. They also said that improvements in screenings, diagnosis and awareness have pushed the numbers higher." If anything, I think it's the latter. I find it hard to believe that cases of these disabilities are rising by 30+% per year! At this rate, in a few years, all of our children will have some diagnosis.

What struck me was how the data was collected: "The surveys are representative samples of U.S. households and asked PARENTS to report diagnoses of ADHD, mental retardation, cerebral palsy, autism, seizures, stuttering or stammering, moderate to profound hearing loss, blindness, learning disorders and other developmental delays." PARENTS. Did you catch that? Do you see anything wrong with that? I do. Parents are not doctors and (no offense please) without the training and experience, can we trust their diagnosis of their own children? Yes, they know their child better than anyone. Yes they can research up on adhd (click here to learn what the symptoms are and you'll find that all children show some or most of them at one point in their lives). But I can't trust these surveys to accurately represent the disabilities that these children have.

Note: I am not discounting the reality of these disabilities, this is why I went into Special education after all...just the sudden and extreme rise in numbers.

Am I being unreasonable? What do you think: is the rise in cases of autism, adhd, and developmental disabilities legitimate?

Jun 6, 2011

Coincidencental irony

And I sprained my ankle today. Unfortunate, especially given the most recent post...

More like: Ballet4never!!

Jun 5, 2011

Ballet 2 stay

There is something about New York, summer, beauty, classical music, that makes me want to dance. Maybe it's just life that makes me feel that way. Or maybe it's just me. Whatever the reason, I want to dance again. And I get to!

I got a job this summer (which justifies the cost) and my wonderful employer is flexible (which means I can get to class on time). And a wonderful husband who supports me in things I want to do. So I'm set.

Ballet is a favorite hobby of mine. For me, it is a way to stay in shape, feel beautiful, relax, and enjoy myself. I used to wonder (and I guess still wonder) if I would be able to do ballet throughout my life. My first AOL screen name was ballet2stay. I dreamed about one day having a studio in my basement. (Alongside those dreams were dreams of teaching math in underground backyard hideouts to the neighborhood kids... I've been a teacher at heart for a long while I guess.) But as you know, my degree is not in dance education, but special education. As you also know, once we have kids, I will be a full-time mom. Never again will my schedule revolve around my ballet classes. But hopefully, throughout my life, there will be pockets of time where I can dance. This summer is one of those pockets, and I'm going to fill it.


Jun 1, 2011

Just another day

Doug looks good in this picture. I, on the
otherhand, should have worn makeup...

Again, this would be pretty if I had worn makeup.
Sometimes 10 minutes of sleep seems worth it...

I love him.

Everything seems grand right now. I love Doug. I can hardly picture my life without him. It's crazy how sometimes life is a roller coaster. Some days I'm happiness in a bottle. Other times I'm a doubting Thomas. I'm just glad that I have constants in my life: Jesus Christ & His gospel, Truth, and Doug.