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I came across this link on one of my news feeds. It is super cool that the Hartsfield-Jackson Airport in Atlanta in conjunction with Delta Airlines are doing this!

WingsforAutismI have written about travel tips before. If you are interested, you can read them here and here. I have also published a piece on traveling with autism in the Autism File (2012, July).

And obviously this is great news just in time for some spring break and all summer travel plans! Happy traveling!!

To read this story, click here; or to listen to it, press the play button when you reach the news story link.

 

 

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200306160-001After more than a week with my niece and nephews, I have so many funny comments to share that I cannot possibly remember them all. This one stuck out as one of the most memorable.

Aunt Missy (to another adult): “I think I am doing well, considering the fact that I had surgery only 7 weeks ago”

7-year-old nephew: “Aunt Missy, I didn’t know you had surgery. Are you gonna die?”

Aunt Missy (laughing): “Oh no honey! I just had my gall bladder out”

Nephew: “What’s a gall bladder”

Aunt Missy: “Well, it is an organ (body part) that holds bile”

Nephew: “Oh! I have two of them. They are right next to my wiener!”

Readers, did any of you have this much fun on your holiday break? Please share!

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princess KateAll the fuss this week seems to be about Princess “Kate”, her pregnancy, and resulting hyperemesis gravidarum (or extreme morning sickness). I (Missy) can admit that I have been enamored with Princess Kate in the past. She’s beautiful, smart, fit, and independent–all the ingredients for a role model.

When I read that she was hospitalized, my first thought was “what if her child develops autism?”

Don’t get me wrong, I would never wish autism on anyone. Ever. But maybe, if autism introduces itself to celebrity, someone will finally do something about the biggest epidemic facing our world.

Sure, there have been other celebrities with children with autism (Doug Flutie, Sylvester Stallone, Holly Robinson Peete, and Dan Marino). And while some of those individuals have done things to increase autism awareness, none of those individuals have actually stressed finding the cause, cure, or prevention of autism.

Thankfully, the US Committee on Oversight and Reform is interested in finding some answers. Hopefully, they will find the answers soon. Unfortunately, it may be too late for Princess Kate whose child, if it is a boy, has a 1 in 54 chance of developing autism.

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Today is election day in the United States.As you head out to the polls to vote, think about the issues that are important to you:

  • autism
  • disability issues
  • behavior analysis
  • children
  • vulnerable adults
  • special education
  • public education
  • (any others that matter to you and your family)

If we lived in Australia, we would be fined for not voting. In the U.S., people have died fighting for our right to vote. Exercise your right today (if you haven’t already). Just do it. Vote.

 

 

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Many children in the New England area are happy today because schools are cancelled again. Teachers realize that we will be in school until the end of June. And what are parents left to do?

Here are some tips for entertaining your children so that you can work, clean, cook, do laundry, or any one of the other 99 things on your to-do list.

Organize

Anyone who has been following this blog for a while has learned that organization is the key to success.

Get out your whiteboard and markers and make a list of things the children should do before they get to play. Some common chores in our house include:

  • making the bed
  • preparing breakfast
  • cleaning up after breakfast
  • getting dressed

School Work

Yes, school is out but students still need to read every day. If your child is struggling in an area (e.g., math or spelling), then ask your child to complete some extra work in that area. We have written about some great spelling and math games previously. In addition to the chores above, children in our house will find the following:

  • read
  • math
  • spelling
  • clean out your backpack
  • finish your Veteran’s Day Project

Play Time

Once all the chores and school work have been completed, then it’s time for fun. Your children may need some direction or assistance in this area depending on their ages. We prefer to pick games the children can play on their own so that we can get our work done.

  • Wii (we prefer Wii Fit to keep kids moving)
  • Board Games (Yahtzee, Monopoly, Clue)
  • Card Games (Uno, GoldFish)
  • Art (our kids made “fall” cards for their grandmother in Florida including some hurricane thrown leaves)

Play Date

Once your kids have entertained themselves for the morning (and kept themselves out of trouble), then you can arrange for their friends to come over and play. While it may not seem like such a good idea to add more children to the mix, when children have friends around, they are more likely to play and stay out of your hair. If you have a friend for each child, even better.

Hopefully power will be restored soon and all of you can return to your regular routines. In the meantime, try to get as much done as you can while your kids are home.

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Hi! and welcome to What Works Wednesdays where we share a success story from our clinical files. Today’s success story is personal.

If you are a parent, step-parent, nanny, or in-home behavior support person, you know full-well, how difficult the early morning routine can be. I (Missy) have always been an early morning person. Back before I acquired my new status (Bonus Mom), I often arose before 5am to get in my workout before showering and heading to a local coffee shop to write. Oh those were the days……..Oh, sorry! I lost track of my purpose. I started dreaming of Austin and those stress-free mornings.

Now it’s all different. I often wake as early as 5am so that I can write, answer emails, bill for services, grade quizzes for class, and a host of other morning duties. That is all done before the kids get up. We let the kids sleep until they wake up naturally. There are advantages of this (less crabby) and disadvantages (crazy mornings). However, we follow a few simple steps to make sure that our mornings are successful regardless of the waking hour.

Start the Night Before

Yes, I know that after school is just as hectic as before school. However, if you take a few steps the night before, stress the next day is eliminated.

 Lay Out Clothes

Have the kids pick out the clothes for the next day before they go to sleep. This prevents tantrums over what to wear and dilly dallying about finding matching outfits. We require this step to be completed before the kids have night time television. If the clothes are new (or from last year), consider having the child try the clothes on to ensure a proper fit.

Identify breakfast foods

Yes, we plan ahead. We have learned that if we identify the food for breakfast, we have less junk behavior leading up to and during breakfast. And no, we don’t allow changes to the menu (unless we have a serious issue such as the molded cream cheese we had this morning).

Pack lunches

Ok, we totally get that we are over-achievers. But seriously, if the lunch is packed the night before, we have less to do in the morning.  We ask the kids to decide if they are eating school lunch (totally over-fat and over processed) or lunch from home. From there, we ask them to pick their protein, fruit, vegetable, and starch. Our kids get at least one snack in school so we have them pick those as well. If we have time, we have the kids make their own lunch. This is not always feasible given the afternoon and evening schedules.

To bed! ON TIME

We have done this without fail since I moved in to this step-mothering role. In fact, Norm engaged in this practice long before me. But honestly, if I hadn’t read Ado’s blog, I probably would have left this one off the list because it is so engrained in our lives.

 

The Morning

Wake up naturally

Again, there are advantages and disadvantages to this. If we see that the kids are sleeping too long, we will begin to make natural noise (e.g., walking around, talking more loudly, etc).

Work Before Play

My other half likes to allow the kids to wake up slowly by vegging in front of the television. He keeps a strict rule of TV off at 7:30. This goes against the laws of behavior. You see, children will work faster to earn a reinforcer. So, my rule is TV does not go on until breakfast is eaten, teeth are brushed, beds are made, and children are fully clothed. Then I reward all of that hard work with TV time. The beauty here is that the faster the children get ready, the more TV time they earn.

Backpacks Ready

We like to make the children be responsible. How else will they learn to take care of themselves? So, they have to put their lunches and fluids in to their backpacks. Homework folders, permission forms, and the like must also go in the back pack. Again, we prefer to do this the night before but it is good to walk the kids through the process of remembering everything before they leave.

Bus or Drop Off

Our school requests that children ride the bus. First, this is more green. Second, it cuts down on traffic at the school. Finally, the bus comes about 20 minutes before drop-off time. I need all the time I can get. So, I institute another rule: if you miss the bus, no TV time after homework.

How do you get through the morning routine? Do you start the night before like we do? Do you have anything to add to our strategies?

 

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Recovering from a series of seizures

Dear Dr. _________,

I am writing as a follow-up to our ER visit on Saturday. I am certain that you will remember me, the guardian who fired you from treating my brother. I wanted to take a minute and explain to you why I asked you to step aside and why another physician was needed in your place.

  1. You made a recommendation for medical care for my brother without assessing him. You did not even take 5 seconds to step in and say hello and yet, somehow you think your pedigree gives you the right to treat him, sight unseen.
  2. You made a recommendation for an invasive medical treatment without cause. Sure, go ahead and restrain my brother to the bed so that you can put an IV in him. I’ll just step aside and allow you and your staff to recklessly provide treatment that is not medically necessary. Your “little” hospital makes a profit off that IV doesn’t it? Your “little” hospital does not make any money off my brother when he is taking up a bed for observation does it?
  3. You had the audacity to ask where “his mother” was! How dare you? You do not know the first thing about him or his situation. If you had taken the time to even glance at his file, you would have seen that he was there with his sister and guardian–the person who has provided care for him for the past 20 years. That should have been a hint that his mother was not in the picture. Did it ever occur to you that his mother might have passed away at some point in his life? He is 33 after all. As humans age, the likelihood that our parents pass away increases. How cold and inconsiderate of you to ask such a question!
  4. How many grand mal seizures have you seen? Let’s be honest. You are, at best, 28 years old. I’m pretty sure you didn’t see any seizures in medical school, maybe 1 or 2 in your residency, maybe 1 or 2 more in your time in the ER. I’ll give you 5 and I think that is generous. How many of my brother’s seizures have you seen? Zero. That’s right–none. If you learned anything in medical school, it should have been that no two people have the same type of seizures. So don’t go taking your very minor seizure experience and try to act like you know anything about my brother’s seizures. By the way, I’ve been a witness and first responder to my brother for about 5 seizures per year. You do the math. I’m pretty certain that I know more than you do when it comes to his seizures.
  5. Before you go talking down your nose to me, you should know that I am not some uneducated homeless person off the street. I realize that at your fancy “little” hospital, most of your patients are homeless, uninsured, do not speak English as a first language, or are drunk/strung out on drugs. What you don’t know is that I have a doctorate myself. That degree came from a major Research-I institution (top 5 in my field if you want to get specific about it). Oh, and I have a master’s degree too–from an Ivy League school very similar to the one where you work now. So please, do not patronize me.
  6. Finally, I will remind you that you took the Hippocratic Oath at some point in your career. You remember it, don’t you? I especially want to highlight the parts about over-treatment and the importance of warmth and sympathy. I’m including a copy so you can review it in its entirety.

I hope that you learned something from your experience with my brother and me. You need to treat your patients and their family members with respect and care. Contrary to what you may have been taught in medical school, you do not know everything. You are not even close. Maybe after a few more years of experience, you will learn that. Or maybe you won’t.

Sincerely,

Missy (the sister, guardian, and eternal advocate for my brother)

Hippocratic Oath (Modern Version via Wikipedia)

I swear to fulfill, to the best of my ability and judgment, this covenant:

I will respect the hard-won scientific gains of those physicians in whose steps I walk, and gladly share such knowledge as is mine with those who are to follow.

I will apply, for the benefit of the sick, all measures [that] are required, avoiding those twin traps of over-treatment and therapeutic nihilism.

I will remember that there is art to medicine as well as science, and that warmth, sympathy, and understanding may outweigh the surgeon’s knife or the chemist’s drug.

I will not be ashamed to say “I know not”, nor will I fail to call in my colleagues when the skills of another are needed for a patient’s recovery.

I will respect the privacy of my patients, for their problems are not disclosed to me that the world may know. Most especially must I tread with care in matters of life and death. If it is given to me to save a life, all thanks. But it may also be within my power to take a life; this awesome responsibility must be faced with great humbleness and awareness of my own frailty. Above all, I must not play at God.

I will remember that I do not treat a fever chart, a cancerous growth, but a sick human being, whose illness may affect the person’s family and economic stability. My responsibility includes these related problems, if I am to care adequately for the sick.

I will prevent disease whenever I can, for prevention is preferable to cure.

I will remember that I remain a member of society with special obligations to all my fellow human beings, those sound of mind and body as well as the infirm.

If I do not violate this oath, may I enjoy life and art, be respected while I live and remembered with affection thereafter. May I always act so as to preserve the finest traditions of my calling and may I long experience the joy of healing those who seek my help.

We are linking up again with Erica over at Yeah Write. Hop on over there and check out all the other blogs. Go back on Thursday to vote on your favorites!

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