Monday, May 31, 2010

Parenting a Special Needs Child Is. . .

Never lamenting that your child is growing up too fast.

Cringing when strangers ask if you child is walking/talking yet.

Celebrating the small things.

Seeing beauty that you couldn’t before.

Knowing which hospital has the best emergency room.

Getting an amateur medical degree.

Bittersweet birthdays.

Getting really good at dealing with stares.

Using acronyms with ease—CT, MRI, PT, OT, ST, IEP, HIE, CP, etc.

Hoping for the best, but planning for the worst.

Realizing you were wrong about things.

Changing your priorities.

Learning that you were never really in control.

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Have one you’d like to add?

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Good Things

  1. I’m going to be giving a talk at my local library about how to start a blog, a Facebook account, and how to Twitter. Believe it or not, there’s a whole world of people who don’t spend their Saturday nights on the computer—yet. I’m a little disconcerted, though, because my face is plastered on flyers at all the libraries, which makes me feel like American’s Most Wanted.
  2. Because of said talk, I’m going to be in the paper! How cool is that? I even got my very own five-minute photo shoot. I’m only going to be in the local section for my area, but I still think it’s cool. Also, I might be a big nerd.
  3. The recent post I did for the Blog Nosh Carnival got selected to be featured on their home page. Someone over there Stumbled it, which is so incredibly awesome that I should just stop blogging right now. But I won’t—cause what would I do I Saturday nights if I quit?
  4. As I stated in that Carnival post earlier, a local gallery owner is interested in carrying some of my paintings. Squee!
  5. Charlie’s wheelchair.  He loves it.  We went for walk around the block and instead of whining he smiled and looked all around—he can actually see the world now.  Next up: figuring out how to get the thing in my car. stanley and bugs 037 

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Thematic Unit on Cooking

Unit on Cooking

Words: pot, spoon, bowl, pan, refrigerator (no links--use the real thing!)

Goals: To recognize key terms by sight. To know that cooking takes place in the kitchen.


Baking sugar cookies. I bought one of those pre-packaged kits, so all I had to do was add an egg and some butter. If you’re going to do shaped cookies like we did you need a tablespoon of flour as well, which they put in teeny letters at the bottom. I did all the mixing while Charlie looked on, I helped him with two cookies and then finished myself. He seemed to like it and even tried the cookies, which is rare since he’s not a sweets fan.

sugar-cookies-for-web Making Popsicles. Juice, popsicle kit from Target. Pretty simple. Again, I worked in front of Charlie. He liked the popsicle, but hasn’t really grasped the concept of the cold headache, which hit him when he refused to take it out of his mouth. posicles-for-web

Baking Pizzas. I did the tomato sauce on sandwich thins in front of him. We helped him add cheese. After all these activities, he’s starting to get the hang of that type of thing. Told him about the over and heat. He loved the pizza, but I knew he would!


Jell-O shapes. I messed this up pretty bad—you’re supposed to do two packages of Jell-O if you’re making molds, but I just did the regular thing and then tried to cut shapes out of it. That didn’t work very well. Charlie found Jell-O disgusting in every possible way—gross texture and sweet. He kind of melted down at the end.


Tossing a Salad. Helped him mix up the salad. Sadly, I have no good pictures because holding his hand and holding the bowl involved two adults. I do have this picture of him smiling as he tries to dump salad everywhere. He’s fun like that.


Book We Enjoyed

I checked out a lot of books, but none of them were really appropriate—all were too mature. Of these, my favorite was A Cow, a Bee, a Cookie, and Me by Meredith Hooper. Like I said, too mature for a toddler, but a great story about the origin of many common ingredients like eggs, honey, etc.

cow bee

Please share any recommendation you have for cooking books—especially for toddlers!

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

IEP Step One: Notice

I made a big ole deal on this blog about how I think it’s better to work with the system as opposed to against it.  I think I’m gonna stop writing stuff like that. Hand to God, it’s like the Universe is getting my RSS feed.  It reads one of my optimistic posts and promptly sends over a big pile of crap.

Seriously, Universe, it’s time to unsubscribe.

Tuesday I got a call from Charlie’s future teacher telling me that his IEP was scheduled for Friday.  For those who don’t know, IEPs are a big, big deal. It’s basically a huge meeting where all the people who will be involved in Charlie’s education get together and try to figure out what he’s going to need to be successful.  When you’ve got a kid as complicated as Charlie, it’s a bit of a production.  Just a bit.

So when I got the call, I knew it was important that I be there.  I also knew that I was going to be out of town from Friday morning until Monday evening, so there was no way a Friday appointment would work. 

I explained my situation.  I tried honey. I did. I begged her to just have it on Wednesday. She was having none of it.  School’s last day was Monday and that was the last day she’d be showing up to work. 

At this point I could feel my attitude beginning to bubble forth.  I don’t have a degree in special ed, but I taught it for two years and learned a couple of things along the way.  Things like IEP notices should be in writing.  Things like you need ten days notice before having an IEP.  Pesky little details like that.

I knew I wasn’t going to get anywhere with this woman, so I went ahead and told her to make the thing for Friday and I hung up. 

wheelchair 031

I then did what any smart, confident, forceful woman does when faced with an  obstacle—I cried.  Yes, I cried, but then I picked up the phone and called Charlie’s case manager.  I was still a little weepy, but I explained that the situation was unacceptable, that I’d been given no options, and that I was well aware that our rights were being violated.

Thirty minutes later I got a call from the transition coordinator who gave me the option of having the IEP done with the summer school staff the first week of June.

Ding. Ding. Ding. 

Got what I wanted. 

I wish I had grace under pressure.  I wish I wasn’t a big wuss who cries like a seven-year-old.  But those things don’t matter as much as getting Charlie what he needs.  


wheelchair 035

Pictures of Charlie in his new ride. Seems to like the new perspective.  Less thrilled about the shoulder straps.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Lost in Philly

I'm in Philadelphia. I boarded a train yesterday and today I'm here.

I'd like to blog about that. I'd like to blog about how I'm meeting up with one of my oldest friends in the world. Or about how she's an Ivy League grad and so are all her friends and I'm a stay-at-home mom. I'm feeling a little inadequate.

I'd like to blog about these things, but I lost my phone on the freaking train when I was getting off and now I'm in mourning. Seriously, y'all, it's bad. No instant access to my e-mail or Twitter. No ability to snap a quick picture. Like right now--I'm all dressed up and waiting for all these chicks to arrive from New York. Wouldn't you like to see my dress? My shoes? No? Well, that's good because I have no phone. Please give me a second to weep. I won't even get into how weird it is not having regular Charlie updates--I think my uterus is going to go on strike-- there's no way to describe it other than to say, "it sucks."

Ok, enough melodrama. I'll be back Monday. I feel OK telling the Internet I'm out of town since Hubby is still home with Charlie. And a shotgun. So don't try to rob me, OK?

I might manage to get up a post in the meantime about how I had to get into a fist fight with the school district.

Hope everyone has a great weekend.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

This Place

I clicked on a link last night to newly released videos of the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. I hit play and felt my insides freeze. I could only watch a few seconds before I had to look away.

That black cloud of oil gush up left me with a rock in my stomach.

I didn't live in New Orleans when Katrina brought her wrath on the city, but my family lived here and I watched the news and listened to reports knowing that there was nothing I could do.

I have this same feeling now.

I've avoided the news for the most part knowing that there is nothing I can do. I have felt strongly from the beginning that the people of this area will survive. They have already been through so much. I remember the days after Katrina, when buildings were boarded up, when everyone was an amateur contractor, and when we worried about what would become of our beloved city.

New Orleans is an amazing place these days--I'll tell anyone who will listen about how exciting it is here. There is new blood in the city, but plenty of local flavor as well.

These people will be fine.

But now, I'm worried about the place.

Several times a week I cross the long bridge over Lake Pontchartrain. In the months after Charlie's birth I remember those moments as slices of peace. The thunk, thunk, thunk of the wheels would lull my newborn to sleep and I could take a few minutes to enjoy the beauty of my hometown.

There were always, always Pelicans. Flying majestically next to the bridge, wings spread wide, floating in the air. They inspired me, kept me calm. There were a lot of bad days in the beginning--crossing that bridge I thought about shunt surgery and epilepsy. I cried and thought about my child's future, my future.

But there were always the pelicans.

When I began painting, I painted pelicans. They reminded me of freedom. Their beautiful image became my own personal Phoenix and I saw them as the symbol of the city too.

The pelicans are gone.

Even the sea gulls are gone.

My symbol is gone. This place is not the same. I'm scared--not for the people, but for the place that I love.

**I want to add a little note here about people being "fine." The people of Louisiana have hung on through sheer will--even at times when the rest of the nation questioned the value of this area. By fine, I mean that they will survive. This does not mean that they won't suffer untold hardships. They will and they have. **

Sunday, May 16, 2010

It Makes Us Stronger

“Your child has brain damage” is on the list of things you never want to hear, but in June of 2007 those were the exact words I heard just one day after my son was born. A few minutes later they told me that he would probably not live, but if he did, he would be in a wheelchair and could be mentally handicapped as well.

Long before he was born, I knew that motherhood would change me. After Charlie’s traumatic birth, I was scared to death that it would be his brain damage that would alter who I was. Being the mother of a disabled child did change me, but it turns out it would make me better, would challenge me, and would help me become the person I always wanted to be.

I’ve spent my whole life wanting to do something creative. I thought about interior design; I thought about party planning. I perused web sites, tried to discover my personality type, and stacked career guides up on the bedside table. But there was always the day job, and creative ventures were restricted to painting walls or creating art work when I couldn’t afford the real thing.  cooking 123

Charlie’s birth changed all that. I quit my job to stay home with him-- convinced that no one could care for him like I could. Suddenly, there was time in the day. No longer consumed with the test scores and lesson plans of a full-time teacher, I needed some kind of outlet.

I began painting. It wasn’t painting for a purpose—just the need to make something—to create. I began to stay up late into the night painting, and soon realized I knew nothing about painting. I started reading art magazines and blogs with a new interest—what materials were they using? Where did they get their supplies? There was a lot to learn (and still is).

The more I painted the more ideas I had—I could feel my creativity expanding.

Soon, I started dreaming really big—I would start a creative business.

It wasn’t a new dream. I’d wanted it so many times before, but this time was different.

Charlie is fighter and an odds beater—the doctors held out little hope that he’d live more than a couple of days, but at five weeks he came home. They were convinced that he wouldn’t be able to eat on his own, and insisted he have surgery to place a feeding tube—he turned out to be a champion eater. The first few months of his life were plagued with medical issues, but in the end, he thrived.

Through all this I had to learn to be a fighter too. I had to believe in my son when no one else would and pick up a whole new skill set— doing research, getting answers, and trusting my gut.

So this time, when I wanted to start my own business, I had something I’d never had before—strength, persistence, and faith in my instincts.

cooking 124It probably took eight months to get it off the ground, but I did it. I built a website and online store. I’ve even got a Facebook Fan Page!

I’m not rolling in dough, but man is it exciting. My art has appeared in a national magazine and a local gallery has offered to carry my work. My free time is spent creating things for myself and for other people. Now days I can tell people “I’m an artist.”

It couldn’t have happened without Charlie--his inspiration and all the other things that he has taught me. Fighting for him, taught me how to fight for myself. Seeing him conquer the impossible showed me that anything can be done when we put our minds to it. If a child can have that tenacity and desire, why can’t I?

Now I look forward to the future—to seeing Charlie continue to prove the   doctors wrong, and to seeing where my creativity will take me. These days I realize that it really is wide open—we aren’t restricted by what others think or say, but only by ourselves. If we let go of our fears, we can do whatever our hearts desire.

This post was written as part of the blog carnival sponsored by Blog Nosh Magazine and Pepperidge Farm.  I’m sure many special needs parents will recognize themselves in Margaret Rudkin’s story.  To see other participants please visit Blog Nosh.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Feeding Evaluation

If you’re Facebook Fan then you know that I got a call on Tuesday asking that I bring Charlie in on Wednesday for a feeding evaluation.

It’s hard to describe the joy of knowing that your child is about to be entered in the special kids version of a spelling bee—one where no one really wins and with even the best outcomes, you’re not going to be called “normal.”

So, yay!

I was told to bring a variety of foods, so Wednesday at ten o’clock found me making mini-pizzas and grilled cheese sandwiches which is actually just two different kinds of bread with cheese. Shut up. I brought Goldfish crackers too.

We arrived promptly at eleven as instructed and I am told to wait with two other families whose children are there for enrollment in the gifted program. I don’t need to point out the irony. But I will. I’m there so they can see if my child can eat and these people are there because their kids are so incredibly smart they are simply unable to mingle with the riff raff normal folk. Can’t believe they let us sit in the same area.

more flowers 014Fifteen minutes later they arrive and we go in for our evaluation.

One little problem: No chair for Charlie to sit in.

They brought in a Rifton chair with a strap at the waist, but the waist isn’t really Charlie’s problem area. The problem is that he tucks his pelvis and slides out of a rigid chair. All of the chairs we use with him have a thing-a-ma-bob that goes between the legs that prevents him from doing this. I looked it up and apparently it’s not actually called a “thing-a-ma-bob” it’s called an “abduction block.”

Yeah. That thing. They didn’t have one.

The OT decides that she will simply hold Charlie in position. She’s probably fifty-five and the image of her bear-hugging Charlie into the chair is pretty comical. more flowers 018

I laid out my array of cheese covered breads and being his mother’s child, Charlie went for them like pre-pubescent girls after Justin Beiber. He runs his hand across the table, he shoves food in his mouth, drops it, picks up something else, puts something in his right hand for later, lunges to reach things that are clearly not for him. It’s fun.

Meanwhile, I’m answering what have to be the most detailed eating-related questions I’ve ever heard. There was basic stuff about history of pneumonia, suck quality, tests done, etc.

and then it got crazy.

Does he store food in his cheeks? Apparently Alvin, Simon and Theodore are looking for a fourth.

Can he breathe while he’s eating? Since he’s still alive, I’m gonna go with yes.

Is there anything he has trouble chewing? I said steak and SHE WROTE IT DOWN. I have trouble chewing steak. Besides, last time I checked, the school menu has no mention of filet. Hell, I’ve worked in schools, I’ll be lucky if he sees any meat besides the pre-formed meat patty variety. more flowers 017

In the end, he passed with flying colors. He has something called “rotational chewing;” he clears his cheeks; he eats hard and soft foods. He will continue to be followed by the dysphagia team because there’s no victory like the one they immediately snatch away from you.

They’re also going to add “thing-a-ma-bob” to his list of required equipment.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

The Problem With Potty Training

Charlie is in size 5 diapers.

That seems like a pretty bland fact, but diapers only go up to size 6.

So pretty soon I'm going to have to potty train him, or start investigating diapers for older children.

It seems like a pretty simple answer. I mean, even children with limited mobility can be trained to use the bathroom on a schedule. I get that. If I get my head on straight, I know we could accomplish it.

But then I think about the flip side. . .

Let's say I teach Charlie to pee every day at two o'clock, and then one day it's two, life has intervened, and we're at the mall. I never go to the mall, but you get the gist. . . do I take him to the public restroom? Do I physically pick him up and place him on the toilet? What if they don't have those cute, protector thingies?

And Charlie is pretty small now--what do I do when he's twelve and doesn't weight 27 pounds any more? Which bathroom would we use then? Women or Men's?

Where the hell is the manual for this stuff? I swear, it can be the most basic thing and I find my self picking it apart for hours, trying to figure out the right solution. I realize that some of these things may not be issues when he's older, but I HATE that I don't know the answers.


popsicles 080

Charlie discovers popsicles and also cold headaches--quite a day.

Monday, May 10, 2010

My Cup Runneth Over

Well, it's been a good week for me. In addition to killing it in Rockband yesterday, a few other wonderful things have happened.


  • First and foremost, my article came out in Cloth, Paper, Scissors, which is a national art magazine. People who know me well keep saying, "national?" Yes. National. I'm over the moon. The article itself is pretty dry unless you're an artist, but here's a link to the table of contents, and here's one of the pieces that accompanied the article (above).
  • texture012forweb

  • Last month my local artists' group had a show at a frame shop here in town. The show ended and I asked Hubby to pick up my pieces the other day. When he got back he told me that the owner is interested in selling my work in her shop. How freaking awesome, right?
  • finished piece 2

  • Finally. . . had Charlie's hearing checked and it's normal! Can't tell you the last time somebody called my kid normal.
  • plants 032

    Saturday, May 8, 2010

    Exceptional Family TV

    Have you heard about Exceptional Family TV? Well, it’s a web-based video series all about families of children with special needs. I had the opportunity to interview Nathan, the creator, about this incredible project.

    1. A little background for those you don’t know—what first got you interested in people with special needs?

    Renee and I had our firstborn son Zachary in March 2007. While he was born premature (5 weeks) and under weight (3 lbs. 7 oz) and spent 30 days in the Neo-Natal Intensive Care Unit, doctors told us he would be fine and normal. We became concerned when we noticed him fisting his hands, being very stiff in legs and arms, severely cross-eyed, and scissoring his legs a lot, but again our pediatrician said he was normal and would grow out of it. At 7-months-old Zachary started having seizures, at which point we got an MRI, which told us he had severe brain damage. We received a diagnosis of Spastic Quadriplegia Cerebral Palsy, and West Syndrome for the seizures. This thrust us into our special needs journey and we've been moving forward ever since, sharing our story, experiences and having a heart to help others.

    2. What are you trying to accomplish with Exceptional Family TV?

    Exceptional Family TV is meant as the online home destination for parents raising children with special needs, with the main focus being a weekly web series. The website is a place for parents globally to connect with one another, share in their journeys/advice/joys/heartaches/triumphs/treatments and more. Each week, the website will "air" a new video episode featuring a topic of interest to parents raising children with special needs.

    3. What kinds of stories will you be covering?

    These topics could be a family's unique story, highlight a volunteer in the community, talk about an organization serving special needs, look at a therapy/treatment, or a group parent discussion, skype interviews with exceptional families in other countries, and much much more. The show is aimed at and intended to serve the exceptional families around the world. A picture is worth a thousand words, but video is priceless.

    4. The website is going to have some other features besides the television program—can you describe them?

    Besides the weekly web series, has discussion forums where parents (or anyone) can connect with each other, share their stories, talk about their journeys, trade advice, or just talk to talk. We also have book clubs set up directly with several authors of books on special needs topics, so you can order the book and talk directly with the authors about each chapter. There's blogs from a variety of parents with children of all different kinds of diagnoses. We also have some "behind-the-scenes" videos, a "Kiddo Kam" section for parents to submit their home videos of their kids, a Resource Link section and a "News" section where we will post links to any exceptional family story.

    The website is also integrated with Facebook through the Facebook Connect program, so you can sign up on through your Facebook account and easily share materials of interest with your friends.

    5. Do you have a guiding principle or idea as you create the series?

    There are several guiding principles on this project. First, the project is designed to help parents have community and get connected and give them a "reality show" that is all their own, because too often we initially find ourselves alone in this journey, and there is power and positive hope when we go through it together. Another guiding principle is to help make the next exceptional family's journey less difficult in any way possible - if this project can show a story on video that gives hope and inspiration to another or gives a parent information and ideas, then it's been successful. Another principle with the episodes is to show the world at large we are normal families put in extraordinary circumstances and our children are children - they are not a disability. My overall hope is there would be less fear and less ignorance in society toward exceptional families, children, and adults with special needs and more understanding, love, acceptance.

    I don’t know about you guys, but just reading Nathan’s guiding principles makes me excited about the project. I’ve checked out the first episode and he did a fantastic job. Even my husband was interested, which is a miracle because he’s usually too busy gardening to even look a screen. Go check it out!

    Thursday, May 6, 2010

    Unit on Plants

    Unit on Plants

    Key Terms: seed, tree, leaf, flower, plant

    Goals: For the child to recognize the key term when they see it; for the child to know that plants grow.


    Putting a flower in the ground. As simple as it sounds. We planted a flower I picked up at Lowe's.

    Planting a plant from seeds. Again, I got a kit at Lowe's. Charlie was surprisingly interested in this activity. He wanted to see and taste every aspect of it.

    Leaf Journal. I laminated our leaves because of Charlie's love of tasting. If your child is less oral--or just more likely to listen--then you could easily do this on paper or index cards.

    Plant Sensory Activity I collected a bunch of leaves, flowers, twigs, grass, weeds, and even a gum ball and put them out for Charlie to explore. He was unimpressed, but I consider it a victory since he didn't throw them on the floor. Since he was kind of passive, I sat down and made some piles of flowers and leaves and brushed some of them on his hands for sensory input. Be careful if you do this--check and make sure you're not bringing in any bugs and remember that flowers can trigger seasonal allergies.
    Flower Sandwiches Sandwich+cookie cutter=learning reinforcement. Also, fun to eat.

    Plant Observation I don't have a picture for this, but basically, you observe your plants growing. I bought a cactus at Lowe's, put it in the windowsill and that baby has been taking off!

    A Book We Enjoyed

    The Dandelion Seed by Joseph P. Anthony, illustrations by Cris Arbo. A little grown-up (Amazon says ages 4-8), but a beautiful story about a dandelion seed, it's journey, and how it eventually becomes a dandelion. Fit in with this unit perfectly, and the illustrations are great.

    Wednesday, May 5, 2010

    The Little Things Matter

    I've never been real comfortable with the "R word" argument. This is not to say that I don't think it's an ugly word, but I often feel like I'm slogging uphill on that particular battle and some days it is just too steep.

    Last week a commenter expressed the sentiment that sometimes people are just too sensitive about what other people say. I couldn't agree more. Sometimes it feels like people are just looking for something to be upset about and so I hesitate to post things like a particular word or phrase that I dislike.

    I got reminded of something this weekend though. I was reminded that just because a thing is hard to do, that doesn't mean it isn't worth doing.

    Thanks to the wonder that is Facebook, I recently connected with a former student of mine. While he was my student, he'd gone through a pretty rough time and I had tried a number of things to try to keep him in school. My final step was driving out to the building he was living in and telling him that he needed to come to school.

    It felt like a pretty pointless gesture at the time. The odds against him were huge--he was living on his own, supporting himself, he was learning disabled, and had little in the way of a support system. As I stood on the front porch of a house he was living in (a mattress on the floor and no electricity), watching the police circle the block, I felt completely helpless.

    He went on to finish high school and these days he's in the army, currently stationed in Iraq, and has a family of his own.

    Today on Facebook he thanked me for "everything" I'd "done for him." Truthfully, the effort I put out was small compared to so many other things I've done. I was doing more than teachers are expected to do, but in the grand scheme of things, it wasn't difficult or hard.

    I realized that the little things do matter; the details can be important when we're dealing with other people.

    Those little incidental changes can add up: smiling at the person in a wheelchair rather than looking away, catching yourself when you're about to call something "retarded," refusing to laugh when a friend tells a racist joke. Maybe people are too sensitive, maybe they should lighten up, but that doesn't mean that we can't try to be better. Slowly, these things gain momentum and we never know what the tipping point will be.

    We will fail. We'll use a word we wish we didn't. We'll offend someone when we mean no harm. We will make mistakes. We should keep trying because the little things matter. They do.

    Charlie learning about plants. He felt like he needed to taste the soil--strictly for research purposes, of course.

    Monday, May 3, 2010

    Alternative Treatment for Cerebral Palsy

    I give a lot of credit to the ABR method for Charlie's amazing progress. It's not, however, the only treatment we do with him. ABR makes Charlie strong, but it doesn't make him move. To help Charlie learn how to move, we take him to a person who practices Feldenkrais.

    The last time we went to ABR they told us that we'd made very few changes below the waist. This is probably because we've never worked below the the waist. Despite that, Charlie has learned to take independent steps. I know that Feldenkrais has been instrumental in that progress.

    Feldenkrais was developed to help teach movement. The general idea is that if a person does a movement enough times, that will create a "memory" in the brain for that movement. So with a kid like Charlie our practitioner does lots of movements that isolate each leg and each arm.

    Charlie's brain bled the day after birth and in many ways he acted like an itty-bitty stroke victim--he had very little use of his right arm and sometimes seems to forget that it's there. He also has some more classic CP--he used his legs as one unit, and honestly, he wasn't great about noticing them either.

    We've been doing Feldenkrais for a little over a year and wow, has it made a difference. Here are a few of the things that I credit our Feldenkrais work with:

    • Improved use of his right hand including trying to use it almost every day--the other day he ate half a sandwich wish his right hand.
    • Moving his legs independent of one another.

    • Taking steps.

    • Improved weight shifting with arms, which has led to independent sitting.

    I'm sure there are other things that are a combination of all our efforts, but these are things that very specifically seem to be related to movements Charlie does in Feldenkrais.

    We go weekly to see our practitioner, but it can be beneficial to do just a few sessions as well. Charlie just loves Feldenkrais and smiles and claps when we arrive at each session.

    If you're interested in finding a Feldenkrais practitioner in your area, here's a link. Anat Baniel is an off-shoot of Feldenkrais that has many exercises specifically tailored for kids with special needs. To look for a practitioner of this method, search here. If you are able to find a certified physical therapist who practices these techniques, then many times insurance will cover it. Score!

    Just wanted to tell you guys about something that's working for us.

    Sunday, May 2, 2010

    Teacher in Heels 5

    This post is part of a series--other posts in this series can be found here.

    The last two semesters as an education major are pretty intense. Your last semester is spent student teaching full-time, the one before that is spent getting ready for student teaching.

    We created mock lesson plans and units, developed our philosophy of education, and listened to graduates discuss their real-life teaching experience. I distinctly remember a young woman from an inner-city school coming in to talk to us. I knew that it no uncertain terms that I would never take a job like that. It sounded very rewarding and Dangerous Minds, but I was no Michelle Pfeiffer.

    When it came time to select the school where we would student teach, I was very strategic. It was required that everyone teach in a public school environment and Baton Rouge was known for having some terrible public schools. In a moment of genius, I chose to work in the neighboring parish, which was known to have much better public schools.

    I got the cushy student teaching position that I wanted. What I didn't know is that I would find that I don't really like cushy. In fact, the most difficult kids are often my favorite. Good thing because I would have nothing but difficult in the years to come.

    I must have done something right because they let me graduate.