Monday, January 30, 2012
Friday, January 27, 2012
This is one of a series of posts sponsored by CVS Caremark All Kids Can, a commitment to making life better for children with disabilities. "Like" them on Facebook!
Thursday, January 26, 2012
Tuesday, January 24, 2012
So, there was something I didn't bring up when we were chatting the other day. Because I was honestly stumped. Our conversation was going great until you mentioned your child had some issues. "It's mostly sensory stuff," you noted. "But compared to your son, he's normal!"
Ooomph. My heart lurched, my mouth kept talking. "It's all relative!" I responded. And I went right on conversing with you, even as my head processed and reprocessed what you'd said.
Monday, January 23, 2012
Yesterday, Sabrina had her 7th birthday party at a local cooking school. Kids made pizza, smoothies and ice-cream sundaes. And then, they taught them how to cook beef tenderloin for their parents! OK, I wish.
Saturday, January 21, 2012
L.L. Bean celebrates their 100th b-day with gifts for everyone: Here's my friend Anne and the 13-foot-tall Bootmobile, which will be making its way around the U.S. I have the exact same boot, in a slightly smaller size; it's about 20 years old, which tells you something about their durability and/or my hoarding tendencies. To celebrate their 100th birthday, L.L. Bean is giving away free outdoor gear every single day; just visit the L.L. Bean page on Facebook and tell them what you need (a canoe, perhaps?). The company also just launched the Million Mission Moment; for every Facebook "like" and story, photo, or tweet shared about an outdoor experience, they'll donate to the National Park Foundation—up to a million dollars.
International Delight Iced Coffee, which comes in Original, Mocha and Vanilla. I got to try it at a MomTrends event and it is really, really good—creamy and not too sweet. It's made with skim milk, a glass is 150 calories, and a half-gallon is $3.99. Pour me a tall one!
Thursday, January 19, 2012
Wednesday, January 18, 2012
Tuesday, January 17, 2012
Sunday, January 15, 2012
Friday, January 13, 2012
Update #3: On Wednesday, February 15, CHOP issued an official apology to the Riveras. The statement noted, "As an organization, we regret that we communicated in a manner that did not clearly reflect our policies or intent and apologize for the Riveras' experience." Amelia is under consideration for a transplant.
Update #4: On August 6, 2012, Chrissy Rivera announced that Amelia is officially approved for receiving a kidney transplant—and that Chrissy would be the donor.
Update #5: Amelia Rivera got her transplant in July 2013, receiving a kidney from her mother. As per a USA Today article about her on October 2013, she is growing and thriving.
So, this woman walks into her boss's office with spaghetti on her shirt...
That's not the start of a bad joke. It's what happened to me the other day.
It was a particularly crazy morning at my house. I rarely leave myself enough time to get ready for work, so it's always this mad rush-rush-rush of plopping the kids down to watch Jack's Big Music Show, showering, indulging my brow-tweezing obsession for a few minutes (I'd probably stop to do that if I were running out of a house on fire), throwing on clothes and makeup, passing the kids over to the babysitter and zooming off to make my train. But that morning, I had a couple of bills to pay. I needed to put away some clean laundry the kids were somehow using as skates. And I never take time to eat at home but I was ravenous, so I grabbed a container of leftover spaghetti from the fridge and shoveled down a few forkfuls.
I walked into the office of one of my bosses shortly after I got to work.
"You have a noodle on your shirt," she said, matter-of-factly.
I looked down. There it was, a random piece of spaghetti hanging out on my chest. Not the entire loop of it, but a definite piece of one. I was about to make a joke about the spaghetti brooch I'd inherited from my grandmother but instead just muttered something about my busy morning (and, now that I'm pondering this, what DID I do with that noodle? Did I flick it onto her carpet? That's even less wise than walking around with a noodle on your shirt).
Curse you, Ronzoni.
I really need to wake up a little earlier.
That's actually not me above. Photo from istock/Kuricheva Ekaterina
Thursday, January 12, 2012
Wednesday, January 11, 2012
This guest post is by Heidi Kay, co-founder of PediaStaff, Inc, a staffing company with offices around the country specializing in the placement of pediatric and school-based speech-language pathologists, occupational therapists and physical therapists. Heidi also oversees the PediaStaff Blog, newsletter, and the PediaStaff Pinterest board. It's a parent favorite for all its amazing pediatric therapy ideas, including the one above about painting with an eye dropper and a popular recent one about applying Velcro beneath a desk to help a child with sensory processing disorder. Heidi's not a therapist but, as she says, "I'm passionate about helping children with special needs. I am delighted to go to work each day so I can contribute to therapist preparedness and education through PediaStaff’s publications.” Here, she shares some of the best therapy sites she's come across.
I will open this blog post with a proclamation: It is a great time to have a child with special needs. Now, before you reach your hands through your monitors and smartphones to shake some sense into me, let me explain: You, dear reader, are so very fortunate to be a Web 2.0 special-needs parent.
Fifteen-plus years ago, I alternately cried myself to sleep and pulled out my hair over my son’s explosive behavior, difficulty with transitions, and his complete lack of social skills. The only diagnosis we ever got was ADHD and ODD. I was told it was “definitely not” autism. Although medication was a godsend, it never made a dent in his social skills. And since he didn’t “have” anything else the doctors would label, no-one ever mentioned occupational or speech therapy. I didn’t even know what sensory integration was, and had no idea SLPs worked with social skills.
Today, the Internet is an absolutely amazing (and sometimes overwhelming!) resource for learning and sharing about the joys and pains of parenting exceptional kiddos. In addition to large sites like Parents, there are a dizzying number of blogs out there that offer information, including wonderful ones by pediatric and school-based therapists geared toward parents.
As editor of the PediaStaff blog and newsletter, I have been privileged to work with a number of fantastic pediatric and school-based therapists who work during the day serving exceptional kiddos, then come home at night and share their knowledge as bloggers. As you might imagine, I tend to read every article we review through both a clinical lens for our readership and the personal lens of a special needs parent. So when Ellen asked me to compile a list of PediaStaff’s favorite therapy blogs written with parents in mind, I was more than eager to share! Here are just a few of your best bets:
Great Blogs For Physical and Occupational Therapy Ideas
· Kid PT Dr. Joni Redlich serves children in New Jersey in both clinic and community-based settings. Her blog, written for parents, focuses on therapy driven suggestions for children with mobility and sensory integration issues. Recent post: How Can Physical Therapy Affect Social Skills?
· Enabled Kids Written by the therapists at Health in Motion Rehabilitation in Toronto, Canada, this site is a wealth of information for parents. Their blog, written for parents, generally covers therapy topics for children with cerebral palsy, spinal cord and traumatic brain injury. Recent post: What Are The Risks Of Giving My Child A G-tube?
· PediatricOT Loren Shlaes is a school-based occupational therapist in NYC. She writes excellent, hard-hitting, spot-on articles about teaching and parenting kiddos, “from the trenches.” Topics are primarily behavioral and sensory issues, and handwriting. Recent post: 24 Reasons Why A Child Can't Sit Still.
· Starfish Therapies Stacy Menz, DPT, is a board-certified pediatric clinical specialist with an excellent blog. Active in research, Stacy and her team have excellent insight into strengthening and gross motor activities and also give great toy recommendations. They named their company after The Starthrower, that wonderful story about the boy who throws starfish back into the sea because he could make a difference in the world—one starfish at a time. Recent post: How To Make Therapy Fun—Ways To Move Past The "No!"
·Therapy Fun Zone. This colorful, easy-to-navigate site/blog is full of great OT activities and crafts; it's a great read for parents who have children with fine motor, gross motor and sensorimotor needs. Recent post: Connecta Straws For Fine-Motor and Visual Perception.
· Your Therapy Source's YouTube channel The Your Therapy Source site has a great collection of free activities and hand-outs and a terrific YouTube Channel full of video ideas for fine motor, gross motor and handwriting practice. Recent video: Pump It Up—Muscle Strengthening Shoulders And Arms.
Great Blogs for Speech-Language Therapy Ideas and Communication/Social Skills
· Child Talk Becca Jarzynski writes a wonderful speech and language therapy blog that should not be missed. Her articles, like this one on grocery shopping with toddlers, offer concrete ideas for parents to help their child communicate during “everyday life.” Recent post: Top 10 Tips For Late Talkers.
· Play on Words This blog is quite unique in that it focuses on toys, games and books that facilitate language development. Not only does Sherry Artemko write excellent book and product reviews, she offers up specific ways parents can sneak speech and language therapy practice into family fun time at home. Recent post: E-Books vs. Print Books For Children.
· Speech Room News Young and full of energy, Jenna Rayburn is one of the most creative therapists blogging in therapy circles. Several times a week, she posts a fresh, fun activity to promote speech and language goals. Speech Room News was just awarded First Runner-Up among new blogs in the Edublog 2011 awards. PediaStaff is proud to have made the initial nomination of SRN for this award. Recent post: iPad Ideas.
And 1 Great Blog For Special Needs Apps
TherapyApp 411 This new group blog, also an Edublog nominee, is a collaborative effort of several of my favorite therapy bloggers. The aim is to review smartphone and tablet apps that can be used through a therapy lens. So far the reviews have mostly been of speech-language and social skills apps, but just this week PediaStaff has recommended to them three physical therapists who will be writing software reviews of apps for children with special physical and adaptive needs. Recent post: Practicing Life Skills With Apps: The Shopping Cart Game.
Our rotation of PediaStaff guest bloggers features over 20 different therapy oriented blogs, so if you are hungry to read additional therapy blogs, please stop by. We also follow about 40 additional teacher blogs, and over 8000 teachers and therapist boards on our special needs Pinterest board.
My son is now 20. Because of my work in the special needs field, we now know that he is on the edge of the autism spectrum and is at least Aspergers-ish. He still has never been for OT but we’ve talked about it and he now knows that it is an option for him. Almost every day I read something on the Internet that resonates with our struggle to raise him. Oh, how I wish I had some these resources fifteen years ago! But how exciting that this new generation of Web 2.0 special-needs parents need not feel as lonely as we were.