Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Christmas letter:-)

Merry Christmas!                                                                              Dec. 2011

            It has been a busy year! (When hasn’t it been? Haha) We’ve been slowly improving our house and are really enjoying it. This year we took out half of our front lawn and expanded our flower and vegetable gardens. We’re thinking about taking out the rest of our front lawn next year. It is a small front yard and we don’t use it for anything, so why not make it useful? In the backyard we’ve done the opposite and taken out many of the flowerbeds that were there to expand the grass area. We also had to redo our roof this year. We were hoping it would last longer but alas it began to leak… We all worked really hard. Our three teens outdid themselves! We also had great help from friends and family. Kevin built a new gable over our front porch. It completely changes the look of our house. I love it! Next Spring we’re going to build a small pergola across the front of the house. It is going to look great! Now for what each of us has been up to this year:

            Kevin still teaches photography at both the Community College and the University. He still has his commercial photography job. We thought that was going to be a temporary position but they continue to need him and we are grateful for that. In addition to that he still has his freelance photography business. This year Kevin found out that the University gives him free tuition credit for every class that he teaches. So, like Kevin wasn’t busy enough already, he decided to go back to school to finish his Bachelor degree in photography. Kevin has an Associates degree and 20+ years experience as a professional photographer. This allows him to be an adjunct professor but not to officially be hired as fulltime. So Kevin is a student again. It is kind of funny, he teaches classes and then he and many of his students attend classes together. He is doing really well and getting straight A’s. He’s finishing up his second semester as a student. We think he’ll have about another year and a half to go before completing his degree. He has been talking about maybe getting his Master’s degree after that but we’re taking it one step at a time. He is one busy man!

            T has also been a busy girl. This year she started her Junior year at high school. This semester she has been taking classes at the Tech Institute. She’s getting her CNA (Certified Nurse Assistant.) She does that half a day every other day and then attends regular high school after that. She’s also taking Medical Terminology, a class that she is getting duel credit for at the Community College. As a part of her CNA program she also has to work at an Adult Care Facility part time. She works there every Monday until 8pm and on Saturdays. In order to get her CNA she needs to have so many hours of clinical practice, working there part-time as a CNA in training gives her the hours that she needs. It is volunteer work and she is really enjoying it. She has been so busy this semester with school, homework, and working that she hasn’t had much time for friends. I worry for her, but that’s just the way she is. She’s a super hard worker and mature beyond her years. Next year she wants to become a Dental assistant and basically do what she has been doing this year with school; Attending tech school part-time and then high school part-time, getting duel credit. By the time she graduates from High School she’ll be able to get work as either a CNA or a Dental Assistant. How many high school students can begin a professional career right after graduation? But that’s our girl. I keep hoping that some of my immaturity will rub off on her haha. She does like to have fun though. This past summer she took private swimming lessons. She is also a great rock climber. Kevin has enjoyed teaching that to her. She likes to go to movies with friends. Her favorite TV shows are Dr. Who and Merlin. She likes music, lately she’s been listening to Colby Caillat, Ingrid Michaelson, and she still loves David Archuleta.

            J’s biggest accomplishment this year is that he finally graduated from his Neurological Reorganization therapy. It took us over four years to get him to this point. J still struggles with some ingrained behavioral habits that we are still working on. At this point he no longer shows signs of PTSD or many of his neurological challenges stemming from FASD etc. But he has these behavioral habits that need working on. It is amazing though to see his ability to actually recognize his problems. He has started working on those habits and I think we are making progress. I remember J’s former therapist’s words, she said that she believes that J will reach a place of complete normalcy but that it’ll just take him a little longer than most kids to get there. She believed at the rate he was improving, J would be around his mid twenties when he would reach a mental place that most children get to when they are around 18 or 19 years old. That doesn’t sound so bad to me! He’s had SOOOO much to overcome. He had the world stacked against. He is getting better all of the time. We can see this real change in him since completely his NR program; it is so exciting for us. J loves to do yard work. He’s quick to volunteer at church or for neighbors any time yard work is needed. He’s spent the last couple of years earning a little cash mowing lawns, pulling weeds, raking leaves, etc. He wants to be a landscaper after high school. We found an online school that offers a certificate in Landscaping. J is interested in doing that after high school. J played water polo this year as part of a community league.  J loves to swim, he’s our fish. J would play video games all day if we let him… we don’t let him haha.  Over all J is on a really good path, he still has some struggles, but he is improving all the time.

            R has grown up a lot this year, in more ways than one. For starters he keeps getting taller and taller hahaha! He’s 14 and a few inches shorter than Kevin. He’s also discovered girls… and girls have discovered him- heaven help us! Girls are starting to hang around our house, girls walk back and forth past our front fence and girls I’ve never seen before walk up to me and ask if R is home… and girls are asking him to be their boyfriend etc etc… oh man. People talk about needing a shotgun to protect their daughters; I need one for my son hahaha. He’s been getting straight A’s at school. He was also nominated and elected for the Peer Leadership Committee at school. It is a part of the student body government. R is a total bookworm. He reads four or five books at once. He checks out so many books, so often from the school library that the head librarian has started finding and holding books that she thinks R will like at the library desk and she tells him about the new books she’s getting for the school. That’s so great. R also played waterpolo on the same team that J played for. He did really well; he just has a hard time being aggressive enough. He wants to play again next year. R is our sports fanatic. The Junior High basketball coach wanted him to try out for basketball but he missed the tryouts by a week, he was really bummed about that. R is still doing NR therapy and still struggling with a few issues. But like J, he’s on a really good path.

            C just turned 12 years old! I can’t believe it. She is still very very young for her age. She is more like a 7 year old in many ways. She is in 6th grade at school but at about a third grade level. I’m starting to stress about next school year. She’ll be move up to the Junior High… She’s so far behind academically and so young developmentally. I worry that she’ll get eaten alive at the Junior high School. So we don’t know what we are going to do. C’s physical issues were such that professionals started telling us that they suspected that she has a mild form of Cerebral Palsy. I recently watched a part of a documentary about children with CP and there was a girl that was so much like C and did all of the same things that she does with her hands and arms. So we had C see the same Neuro-developmentalist that all of our children have seen, Nina Jonio. C started her own NR program this past summer. Her coordination has improved so much since then. Her legs are working so much better! She still needs a lot of work with her arms. We are also beginning to believe that C has OCD.  Nina can address that also, down the road. C needs to do more work on her lower level brain functioning before a midlevel brain disfunction, like OCD can be addressed. But aside from her obvious struggles, she is the sunshine of our family. She loves all things Disney Princess. She also loves to sing and listen to music. We’ve been buying Disney movie soundtracks for her. At any given day we’re all rocking out to Tarzan, or Little Mermaid, etc hahaha. C loves to read. The Elementary school librarian has been helping her find books on her level. Yay for school librarians! :-) So she’s been bringing a lot of fun books home to read. C has also been discovering 80’s cartoons on our netflix instant watch. Her favorite right now is She-Ra (do you remember that He-Man cartoon spinoff? Haha) We put C in swimming lessons over the summer. With her disabilities she wasn’t really able to learn to swim BUT she did learn to float! That was so cool to see! Her balance is getting so much better now though that we think she might be able to handle a bike with training wheels. We’ll see if Santa can manage that… that’s a pricey ticket though LOL, so we’ll see.
            As for me… well, the kids pretty much keep me busy. When I’m not doing NR therapy with them, I’m helping with homework, dealing with teenage drama, or dancing obnoxiously along to whatever music my kids are playing hahaha. For a little while I was writing for adoption.com. But they wanted me to sign this new contract that was crazy and I refused. So if I ever have anything to say, I just stick it on our family blog:-)
As always, I love our garden. During the warmer months of the year I can be found out in the yard digging, pulling, trimming and this year hand pollinating (my squash weren’t pollinating on their own so I had to get up early when the blooms were open and hand pollinate them… it worked:-) ) In addition to that, I’m canning fruit and dehydrating herbs. So the garden finds it’s way into the house too. :-)
            We still have our zoo. Our two dogs, Jakob and Charlie, are getting older. Charlie is turning gray and they are starting to show their age a little. I wonder how many more years we’ll have them? Not too many more… I don’t like to think about it. Our millions of cats are as obnoxious and cute as ever. Have you ever seen the children’s book, “So Many Cats” by Beatrice Schenk de Regnires?  It is one of our favorites and sums up our household very well. :-) 
            This last year brought a lot of good things and progress but it also brought some heartache. My grandmother (Oma) passed away this year and then a couple of months later Kevin’s father passed away. We shed a lot of tears in 2011. So 2011 gave us some ups and some downs.
            We are looking forward to 2012. Next summer we’ll be visiting Germany. It’ll be great to see where I grew up again and to see family that I haven’t seen in years. We love you all. Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, and Happy New Year!
Love, Anita and Kevin, and the kids:-)

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Article: US report: Foster kids get high rate of psych meds

(Great article. So sad because there are therapies (like NR) that do get to the root of the problem without meds! )
Associated Press

(AP) - Federal health officials are failing to monitor how state agencies are doling out powerful psychotropic drugs to foster children, according to a comprehensive investigation released Thursday showing foster kids are prescribed the drugs 2.7 to 4.5 times more than non-foster children and often at much higher doses.
Hundreds of foster children are being prescribed five or more of the medications at once, which can have severe side effects including diabetes and suicidal behavior. In some regions, foster children as young as 1 year old were twice as likely to be prescribed the medications, according to a two-year investigation by the Government Accountability Office. The investigation looks at 2008 data from more than 100,000 foster children in Florida, Massachusetts, Michigan, Oregon and Texas.
Sen. Tom Carper, D-Del, requested the investigation's release after media reports of high prescribing rates and anecdotes from former foster children who said they were on multiple medications at the same time. The report was released ahead of a hearing Thursday by his congressional sub-committee that deals with federal services.
"This report we are releasing today confirms some of our worst fears," Carper said.
Some of the drugs have "black box" label warning for children's safety and are not approved for use by young children. But doctors often prescribe them off label. The drugs affect the central nervous system and can change behavior or perception. They are prescribed for depression, anxiety, schizophrenia and other psychiatric conditions. Little is known about the long term side effects of the drugs and drug, experts said.
"We're kind of flying blind as far as knowing the safety and efficacy long term risks (for children)," said Dr. Christopher Bellonci, a child psychiatrist at Tufts Medical Center.
The report offered several explanations for the high prescription rates, noting the children had greater exposure to trauma before entering foster care and that state agencies were lax in overseeing the prescriptions.
Critics say the drugs are overused as a chemical restraint for unruly children.
Child welfare advocates say there's a nationwide shortage of child psychiatrists, often leaving pediatricians to handle complex behavioral problems.
"I do believe that medications are being used almost in default and my concern is that is being used in lieu of psycho-therapeutic interventions," Bellonci said.
Six-year-old Brooke was on two psychiatric medications for an ADHD diagnosis when Todd and Lisa Ward adopted her out of Florida foster care in 2010.
Over the next two years, doctors put her on an array of powerful drugs as her parents watched her behavior become more aggressive, erratic and agitated. She twice tried to kill the family dog, pulled skin off her nose and wiped blood on the walls, threw tantrums as doctors plied her with more than a dozen medications over the years, her mother said.
"Her hands would just shake insanely and they would tell us, `oh that's just her'. But it wasn't her. It stopped once she went off the medication," he mother said.
The Wards tried desperately to get her into a psychiatrist but wait lists were typically nine months long, so she ended going back to the same mental health center that Ward said constantly overmedicated her. The Wards finally found a psychiatrist last year who helped decrease Brooke's medications and stabilize her behavior.
But this summer an incident with her sister triggered Brooke and she tried to set the house on fire in an attempt to kill her sister, said Ward, a 39-year-old accountant who adopted Brooke and her two siblings.
The Wards placed her in a residential facility where she got intensive therapy for the first time, including yoga and play therapy. Three months later, Brooke is home and down to one medication.
"The difference in her was night and day. She actually can express emotion," said Ward. "They were able to figure out what this girl had held inside for eight years."
Ward, who started a nonprofit to link other foster parents to doctors and therapists, says the medication was just a bandage and notes the girls no longer have the ADHD they were diagnosed with when the Wards adopted them from foster care.
The new report found foster children in some areas were twice as likely to be prescribed five or more of those drugs at the same time compared to non-foster children. Texas foster children were prescribed five or more medications most often.
"No evidence supports the use of five or more psychotropic drugs in adults or children, and only limited evidence supports the use of even two drugs," according to the report.
Eleven-year-old Ke'onte Cook, who entered Texas foster care at age 4, testified he was on 20 drugs during his time in foster care, sometimes taking five drugs at once. He didn't know why he was taking them and was never told of possible side effects.
"It was the worst things someone could do to foster kids. I was upset about my situation and not because I was bipolar or had ADHD," said Ke'onte, who has since been adopted and stopped taking all medications. "Meds aren't going to help a child with their problems. It's just going to sedate them for a little while until it comes back again."
Thursday's hearing comes a week after federal health officials notified state child welfare leaders they will have to provide more details about how they control the medications for foster kids starting next year.
A federal law passed in 2008 lays out oversight provisions required by law, but many states aren't following them.
In most states, child welfare workers don't have access to the Medicaid database to identify which medications their child is taking and the Medicaid database can't identify which patients are foster kids.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Heather Forbes quote about family systems

"Sometimes it is not the child who isn't behaving but the family system that isn't working." -Heather T. Forbes

Wow that is true. It is a very humbling experience to realize that there are better ways to parent your child and that perhaps the methods that you have been using are making things worse. But before we beat ourselves up too much, it is also important to know that being a parent is a journey. We learn and grow on our path to a happy family.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Neurological Reorganization for Adults- by Bette Lamont

This article, written by Bette Lamont, does a great job illustrating the point that NR isn't just for children or victims of early childhood trauma. Neurological Reorganization corrects many different forms of brain injury for people of all ages.

By Bette Lamont

 Jan was having a hard time in this, her 48th year. Life had become more stressful as her job responsibilities had increased, and she felt less able to cope with the stress.  It was spilling over into her social life, which had become nearly nonexistent, as Jan now stayed home to avoid the confusion and over-stimulation of parties and evenings with friends.  Tasks were beginning to seem overwhelming, from going to the grocery store, to cleaning her desk. It didn’t help that she had become more and more insomniac, which, she had heard from several friends, “just happens” as you grow older.  Jan’s mother had died nearly five years before, and that had been a very hard year, but she didn’t think she should still be this stressed about the death.
Jan felt she needed counseling and found an excellent therapist who was both nurturing and clear in helping Jan reach her goals.  Over several months Jan began to look at some of her unrealistic expectations about her performance at work. She began to understand her tendency to perfectionism in her social life, and she learned new coping mechanisms for stress.  Still she felt life was a delicate balancing act.  The “too-muchness” of everyday existence threatened to overwhelm her and, despite her changing attitudes, her insomnia persisted.  In addition, the extra 25 pounds she had gained in her 30’s would not yield to any diet. She was almost always cold, except for the hottest days of mid-summer.  She hated how “scatterbrained” she had become, locking her keys in the car, forgetting to sign checks she had written to pay bills, and overlooking appointments in her date book.
Jan is not a real person, but a composite of people with whom we have worked with at Developmental Movement Consultants. Her situation is typical of an individual who is dealing with symptoms that have their roots in a neurological dysfunction, but that appear to be psychological problems.
Neurology and psychology intertwine in each of us to determine how we experience the world, how we process our experiences, and how we, in turn, act upon the world.  When life is going smoothly, it is probably true that we perceive the world clearly, interpret what we perceive easily and accurately, and respond appropriately.
When life becomes confusing, when our responses no longer seem appropriate, when we feel anxious, stressed out, and unable to cope, many of us make the wise choice to seek psychotherapy to help us get back on track again.
However, when despite the best efforts of both client and therapist some problems just won’t go away, don’t seem to change fast enough, or don’t respond to the approaches of the therapist, it is important to look at possible neurological reasons for our dysfunctions.
Our neurological organization, when disrupted by injury, birth trauma, and illness, can cause a wide variety of problems that may initially look like psychological issues.  However, these problems do not respond easily to psychotherapy.
The ‘Jan’, of our story, was sent to Developmental Movement Consultants by her therapist, and a team approach to her situation was developed.  This program included continuing weekly therapy and a daily program of neuro-physical exercises.  Her history revealed that at the age of 38 Jan was a passenger in a car that was rear-ended while stopped at a traffic light.  Jan was not wearing a seatbelt and was thrown into the windshield, which she cracked with her head.  While she did not lose consciousness, she was taken to the hospital for evaluation and released with a clean bill of health.  For two months a chiropractor worked with her on a subluxation in her cervical spine, a result of the accident that was causing her pain and stiffness. When these problems were gone, Jan considered the matter finished.
In the three months following the accident Jan’s weight shot up from a lifetime set point of 132 pounds to 157 pounds.  Over a ten-year period she had gone on several diets, losing and gaining 10 or so pounds, and finally giving up and attributing her gain to “middle age spread.”  Jan was a healthy and competent person both before the accident and following it.  However, a group of disabilities had developed during the decade since her accident, causing her to need to use an enormous amount of effort to accomplish tasks that should have taken care of themselves (remembering, perceiving accurately, regulating body temperature, and screening stimuli).  Her disabilities were consistent with the findings of our Functional Neurological Profile and Jan was put on a program of neuro-physical exercises.
The tools we use at Developmental Movement Consultants were developed nearly 40 years ago, initially for the treatment of children with learning disabilities or those with brain injuries or non-progressive central nervous system disorders including cerebral palsy and epilepsy.
In the past dozen years a number of therapists have become interested in the implications of neurological dysfunction for mental health and emotional growth.  The nervous system impairments arising from such things as toxic chemicals (drugs and alcohol), high fevers, and minor strokes have left victims with a wide variety of dysfunctions requiring new approaches to healing.
A Salem, Oregon psychotherapist, Pamela Lyons-Nelson has taken a serious look at the patterns of neurological dysfunction among her clients.  Whenever a neurological impairment of any degree is suspected, clients are sent for a Functional Neurological Evaluation and are assigned a program of neuro-physical exercises to do while they continue in therapy.
Ms. Nelson writes, “In my work with average middle class adults and their families, I see certain correlations between personality/character and central nervous system disorganization as determined by the Functional Neurological Evaluation.” (The diagnostic tool used at the Developmental Movement Center.)
Ms. Nelson goes on to list dysfunctions in relation to functional levels of the pons, midbrain, and cortex.  She begins with the lowest of the three levels, the pons, a brain stem structure.
Patients whose Functional Neurological Evaluation shows disorganization at the level of the pons seem to be working with survival level issues including:
-      Isolation, alienation
-      Inappropriate response to situation: (a) patient survival is perceived as threatened when the stimulus is not intense enough to threaten life, and (b) patient will freeze or rage inappropriately in response to negatively perceived stimuli.
-      Schizoid issues -- whether or not patient has a right to exist. The universe is basically hostile (unresponsive/indifferent) toward the patient.
-      Feeling overwhelmed by hostile forces.
-      Anorexia

Patients who have done a neurodevelopmental program to integrate this level have a better ability to know:  (a) they belong, (b) they can survive, and (c) they have a place in the universe.
Patients whose evaluation shows disorganization at the level of the midbrain display a very different set of problems that are oriented toward quality of life issues:
-      Disturbances in hypothalamic functions: appetite, temperature, rest/activity cycles, hormone balance (the issues that result in weight problems, usually weight gain), feeling cold, depression, insomnia, anxiety, inability to make decisions, allergies, hypochondria -- the annoying stuff that diminishes the quality of life.
-      Typically disorganized (or overcompensatingly organized) or depressed (or overcompensatingly optimistic).
-      Express trouble “coping” (while in very little danger of actually “falling apart”), stressed out.
-      Overreaction to events (emotionally fairly labile) and feeling unable to choose or perceive the “right” course of action.
-      Problems with balance in all of its aspects: mental, physical, and emotional.

       Patients who have done a neurodevelopmental program to integrate this level find themselves experiencing:  (a) a more “balanced” lifestyle, (b) a sense of their own limits as being okay, (c) release from stress, and (d) the ability to see more clearly.
Patients whose evaluation shows disorganization at the level of the cortex are often working on issues of creativity and clear thinking.  These issues seem to be less of a problem after lower levels are taken care of.  What is usually left are lateralization problems that affect storage and retrieval of information, etc.
Patients who have done a neurodevelopmental program to fix this level report experiencing improvement in: (a) clear thinking - seeing the whole pattern of things, (b) creativity, (c) coordination (physical), (d) good organizational skills in life, and (e) increased ability to read or do mathematics, whichever area was weak.
Psychotherapists have begun to use these concepts and the methods of Developmental Movement in treatment as a sorting device.  It helps both the therapist and the patient become clear about which issues are neurological and which are psychological.
When this happens, the therapeutic process is greatly enhanced and accelerated.  One client remarked that in the past, her therapy had progressed forward in a step-by step manner.  When she began doing a program of neuro-physical exercises, her growth rate expanded geometrically and she felt herself progressing more rapidly than at any previous time.
In the case of a patient like Jan, a personalized neurodevelopmental program would be assigned.  We would expect to address, through our neurological organization work, her hypothalamic complaints (weight, insomnia, and temperature regulation).  We would anticipate being able to impact her filtering/screening problems, which would aid her in dealing with stress and the “too muchness” of life.  We also have seen short-term memory and organization problems improve in clients doing this work.
Developmental programs can be added to the “growth plan” for clients in psychotherapy providing a team approach to personal growth in cases where neurological disorganization or impairment is suspected due to known or unknown causes.
Understanding how neurological impairments impinge on psychological health is, we believe, essential for clients serious about overcoming limiting behaviors, perceptions, and attitudes.  This information gives therapists an important new way to view dysfunctions in some of their clients.
Bette Lamont
Bette Lamont, Certified Counselor 60172660
Founding Member NNRPA*
Developmental Movement Consultants
The Brain Nanny(C)
Seattle, Washington, United States

Monday, November 7, 2011

Adoption Awareness Month- US foster care

I’ve been doing a lot of reading online lately. In the United States of America there are over 500,000 children in fostercare. Of those children, about 15-25% are available for adoption. That comes to around 20,000 children legally without families. While 20,000 sounds like a huge number, the fact that there are over 312 MILLION PEOPLE in the US, suddenly makes that number seem not so large after all. The fact that there is even one child without a family is very very wrong.  20,000 divided by 50 (50 states) that’s an average of 400 children per STATE without families. Now I’m sure those numbers greatly vary depending on the population of those 50 states, but I think my point is made.

November is National Adoption Awareness month.

My heart aches over these statistics. Why aren’t more people adopting? All I have to do is honestly ask myself this same question and the answer is obvious- fear. Most of the children available for adoption from fostercare are older children and sibling groups. Everyone has heard the horror stories. You don’t have to walk through a video rental store seeing all of the low budget horror movies based on demonic/evil orphans to know that people are afraid of adopting older children. Real life stories about “evil” orphans are a favorite among media and News outlets.

There’s also the flip side to the story. I call it the “Little Orphan Annie” complex. People that think adopting an older child will result in song and dance and an overflowing of gratitude from the rescued orphan. Of course in the 1982 film there was the cruel but lovable orphanage director played by Carol Burnett, whose evils were more amusing than anything else. We can all sing the chorus from the famous song from that musical “The Sun will Come out Tomorrow.” People that suffer from the Annie complex are shocked and disappointed when after bringing home their very own Annie, they see the real face of trauma of what it looks like. These stories spread like wildfire and add to the fear.

Let’s talk about reality now. Older child adoptions are hard. It wasn’t sugar and spice that lead to an older child being available for adoption. More often than not, it was Parental poverty, physical, sexual, and emotional abuse, drugs and alcohol, and neglect that lead to the older child being without a family. Now imagine a child… A CHILD coming from that life. Unlike Annie, the sun doesn’t come out tomorrow for that child. That child doesn’t even know what “the sun” is in order to look forward to it “coming out tomorrow.”  The behaviors that stem from a life of trauma are not easily dealt with. But as long as we are talking about reality, let’s squash another adoption myth- these issues are not permanent! They don’t have to be anyway.

The human brain- so complex, so delicate, and yet so resilient. Children from abusive environments are often born with fetal exposure to drugs, alcohol and other toxins. They were born malnourished. A fetus’ developing brain is effected. Even if the child’s prenatal life was more or less healthy, abuse and neglect, have its toll on a child’s developing brain. The reality is that trauma causes brain damage. A damaged brain results in poor cause and effect, lack of empathy and the list goes on. Children are placed in talk therapy and it does little good and the disturbing behaviors continue. Yet there are programs that heal those damaged brains. I’ve seen Neurological Reorganization therapy work miracles in my children. Other therapies like EMDR and NFB have also been successful. However, I personally feel that Neurological Reorganization should be the foundation to even those therapies. I’ve seen this therapy heal brain damage that experts and cognitive therapists repeatedly told us there was no help for. What a miracle the human brain is! Its capacity for healing is continually changing the way researchers look at brain damage. Once that damage is healed, THEN more common therapies, like cognitive/talk therapy are able to work. And through this complex process, hurt children become healed. The sun finally comes out and is recognized for its light and warmth. Adopting an older child is a challenge to say the least, but it is a challenge worth taking! Surely there are enough parents in the US to take up that challenge? With a population of 312 million, surely there are enough families willing to meet that challenge and bring home those children in need of families and healing? Research, have a foundation in reality, and prepare to meet the real challenges and rewards of adopting a hurt child. No child should be without a family!
And as for those other children that are in foster care that aren’t available for adoption, the same therapies apply. They also work for people of any age. It is not too late for the hurt parent to heal from his or her trauma. NR works on adult brains as well. The same principles apply: in a country of 312 million, 500,000 children are in fostercare- most of the parents of those children are in need of their own healing… most abusive adults used to be abused children. With so many State programs for these families, let’s start using programs and therapies that actually work for both the parents and the children. And if those parents for whatever reason are unwilling or unable to participate, then let’s make those children available for adoption sooner and get the healing to them as soon as possible. We can end this cycle. On their own, the numbers seem overwhelming, but when compared to the whole of society, suddenly it becomes clear that something CAN and must be done. It is our responsibility. Contact State governments and let them know how you feel about fostercare and adoption. It is State policy that allows particular therapies to be used or not used with foster children because they are paid for by government funding, so let’s show them what works and what doesn’t! Let that funding be used where it actually helps. Vote. Write letters. Become foster families, and above all ADOPT.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Lying and Punishment- great article!

Harsh Discipline Fosters Dishonesty in Young Children, Study Suggests

ScienceDaily (Oct. 24, 2011) — Young children exposed to a harshly punitive school environment are more inclined to lie to conceal their misbehaviour than are children from non-punitive schools, a study of three- and four-year-old West African children suggests.

The study, published in the journal Child Development, also indicates that children in a punitive environment are able to tell more convincing lies than those in a non-punitive environment.
The research, by Professor Victoria Talwar of McGill University and Professor Kang Lee of the University of Toronto, examined deceptive behaviours in two groups of children living in the same neighbourhood. One group was enrolled in a private school that used a traditional authoritarian discipline model, in which beating with a stick, slapping of the head, and pinching were administered publicly and routinely for offenses ranging from forgetting a pencil to being disruptive in class. In the other school, also private, children were disciplined with time-outs or scolding and, for more serious offenses, were taken to the principal's office for further reprimand.
The study involved an experiment comparing the behaviour of children in the two schools. Children were seen individually and asked to play a guessing game by an experimenter who was born and raised locally. The children were told not to peek at a toy when left alone in a room. Most children in both schools couldn't resist the temptation, and peeked at the toy. When the experimenter asked if they had peeked, nearly all the peekers from the punitive school lied -- compared with just over half of those from the non-punitive school. What's more, after the initial lie, lie-tellers from the punitive school were better able to maintain their deception when answering follow-up questions about the identity of the toy -- by deliberately giving an incorrect answer, for example, or by feigning ignorance, rather than blurting out the name of the toy.
The findings suggest that "a punitive environment not only fosters increased dishonesty but also children's abilities to lie to conceal their transgressions," Talwar and Lee conclude.
In fact, the three- and four-year-old lie-tellers in the punitive school were as advanced in their ability to tell convincing lies as six- to seven-year-old lie-tellers in existing studies. "This finding is surprising," the authors note, as "existing studies have consistently found that children from punitive environments tend to suffer general delays in cognitive development."
"One possibility is that the harsh punitive environment heightens children's motivation to come up with any strategies that will help them survive in that environment," Prof. Lee says. "Lying seems particularly adaptive for the situation.
"Our study, I think, may serve as a cautionary tale for parents who sometimes would use the harshest means of punishment when they catch their children lying. It is clear that corporal punishment not only does not reduce children's tendency to lie, but actually improves their lying skills."

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Overview of Neurological Reorganization by Bette Lamont

A wonderful overview of NR and why it works and is so important. Bette Lamont is another practitioner of Neurological Reorganization. Even though I've never worked with her directly, I have seen her writings. I asked her permission to post this on my blog. I'm thrilled that she agreed. I think a lot can be learned from what she has to say. -Anita
From Bette Lamont: 
Neurological Reorganization, which you frequently see referred to as NR,
or Neuro-reorg, is an approach to addressing the challenges of a
disorganized or injured brain. Brains can become dysfunctional with a
patchy or spotty distribution of challenges that often stand out against
a pattern of largely normal neuro-developmental skills, or may present
themselves against a background of good intelligence, while behavior can
be extreme and unmanageable. Some children have pervasive
neurodevelopmental challenges that impact all areas of their
functioning, and in worst cases children are globally delayed or brain
injured. One of the most stunning cases Nina Jonio and I worked with
was a 12 year old in a coma following a pedestrian/motor vehicle
accident, whose M.D. was discussing taking him off of life support.
This was in 2005. Three months after his injury he worked with the
organization now known as Developmental Movement Consultants and
regained consciousness, speech and social skills. He has since
graduated from high school at grade level.

However, most of the children represented here have a wide range
of not so extreme, but still extremely challenging, diagnoses, including
most of the 'alphabet' diagnoses: RAD, ODD, OCD, ADD, ADHD, FASD, CP,
Tourette's, Autism, Aspergers, etc. ALL of these diagnoses are on a
continuum of a damaged or under developed brain. This is the central
problem. And, when you treat the central problem by treating the
central organism, the brain itself, you can go a long way towards recovery.

Neurological Reorganization, (N.R.) addresses these issues by
evaluating skills at 7 developmental levels, and considers reflexes,
movement, and sensory development. If there are gaps at any level we
then begin by working at the lowest level and building up the brain
(with some variation on this if the child has been emotionally
traumatized in utero). We do this by replicating the activities that
nature, or God or however you think of it, has provided to integrate the
brain. If you reflect deeply on it you may become aware that the tools
that are naturally provided to integrate the infant brain may indeed be
the best tools to integrate a brain that is missing some of those
functions, leading to the above diagnoses.

The infant goes through a series of reflexes, or whole body patterns of
movement that lead to mobility and expand their sensory world. The more
they move and the great the interaction with parents and the sensory
world around them the more whole they will be neurologically,
emotionally, physically, academically and socially. Some children who
were compromised at birth need more than traditionally children tend to do.

By going back to repeat the developmental sequence we are prompting the
brain to integrate the functions that, if left unintegrated, become
rages, dyslexia, repetitive behaviors, bed wetting, poor coordination,
dyslexia, ADD...............the list goes on.

A Functional Neurodevelopmental Assessment will determine where the
brain has gaps in functioning and as well, how those gaps are creating
challenged skills or behaviors.

How do those gaps in functioning get there? Specific brain damage,
which can mean a baby dropped on its head, a stroke in utero, exposure
to alcohol or drugs during pregnancy. All of these are obvious. Less
obvious are toxins in our everyday lives, mercury, arsenic, lead, etc,
in chemicals around us. A highly stressed mother's biochemistry will
also flood the fetal brain with cortisol, which damages brain tissue.
Premature separation of the placenta, a difficult birth, jaundice, all
can cause compromises in the brain. Separation from the biological
mother (through adoption or merely mom going right back to work), can
traumatize the neonate. High fevers and medications can damage the
brain. Anesthetics are culprits and recent research has shown that
babies who have anesthetic prior to 2 years are more likely to have
learning disabilities. Then there is the interference with infants'
activities. Children who do not have adequate opportunity to crawl or
creep due to constant holding, or growing up in a car seat or variations
of the 'walker' can have specific impairments that lead to learning

Neurological Reorganization will assess a child with all of this in mind
and provide a program of activities that should take about an hour a
day. it is not an easy journey, but in my life and work I have found it
one of the most comprehensive and effective approaches to issues.

Traditionally our culture looks at challenging children and wants to do
one of two things 1.) Either change the behavior -- social behavior,
academic behavior, physical behavior, or. 2.) Medicate. We are stuck
in these modalities.

If medication would consistently work without side effects, parents
might consider the effort put into recovery as 'too much'. We spend 2
years for many children and for children with a lot of trauma, up to 3
years in the recovery process. And it is daily work. But look at it
this way: I live near Microsoft, where teams of people spend maybe 5
years perfecting software that may last no longer than 5 years. Our
children will hopefully live as long as 100 years, and a 2 or 3 year
investment is not, after all, so very much. AND, I have met families
who have worked for 2 years simply adjusting medications with no
improvement, and sometimes some huge regressions in behaviors. So, as
hard as it may be to take an alternate route, five years from now those
who have worked with the source of the problem will be getting on with
their lives, whereas those who have only addressed the symptoms through
the behavior/medication model, are still dealing with, perhaps,
teenagers whose behaviors have escalated.

I truly believe that as little known as it is, Neurological
Reorganization, properly done, can lead to tremendous healing in the
vast majority of children.

Bette Lamont
Bette Lamont, Certified Counselor 60172660
Founding Member NNRPA*
Developmental Movement Consultants
The Brain Nanny(C)
Seattle, Washington, United States

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Fall Semester!

Welcome to Fall. We are just as busy as ever this semester. Kevin is still teaching Photography at the Community College AND the University. He is also really busy at his commercial photography job. Then of course in the mix of all that he still gets hired for freelance photo shoots. He is taking two classes at the University- creeping slowly towards his degree. I don’t know when we’ll see him this semester! But that’s nothing new. I can’t believe how hard that husband of mine works.

T is a Junior in high school this year! My kids are getting too old too fast! She is getting her CNA (certified nursing assistant) at the Tech Institute. She’s getting duel credit for that and high school. Her classes start at the tech institute before high school and end during the high school’s lunch break. She gets to the high school during lunch and then goes to regular high school classes after lunch. We just found out that one of the classes that she’s taking at the High School, medical terminology, can also count as concurrent enrollment for the Community College! So we need to register her at the community college this weekend. So she is taking more “college” classes this semester than actual High School! Starting the end of September she’ll have to start her clinicals for her CNA certificate. She’ll have to work part time after school at an assisted living facility. Then in November she’ll work part time at the hospital. She’ll be one busy girl this semester!

J is a sophomore this year. He is at the high school with T. I can’t believe he’s there. I still can’t get over the new lease on life he’s been given since we found Neurological Reorganization. I know I keep going on and on about it but you’ve got to understand, he was never supposed to be capable of any of this! So for him to be living the life of a normal teenager, it is a miracle that I can’t get over! The boys started waterpolo a few weeks ago. They’ve had their first game already. John loves it but he needs to build up his strength. The coach has assigned him extra exercises to do outside of practice. So far he’s been doing them! John just got his new Neuro Reorg program from Nina. He’s so close to graduating from NR. We’re on four years for him! I do both boys’ NR programs after school. I hope we can keep up with everything, school, homework, NR, and waterpolo.

R is a Freshman this year! He’s still at the Junior High. He’s really excited about his classes. He finished up last year on the High Honor Roll and he’s hoping to do the same this year. R got glasses. I’m still getting used to seeing him in his glasses. We’ve been joking that he’s joined the “four-eyes” club with the most of the rest of the family. He got his new NR program from Nina last week when she came. His program is pretty short this time. That makes it a little easier on me. A little LOL! Nina had a lot of good things to say about his progress this last time. So hopefully he’ll be getting closer to graduating also. Like John, he’s playing waterpolo and loves it.

C is in 6th grade! She’s pretty far behind in school. We just had a meeting with different people at the school- administration, teachers, etc, to see how best to help her. Hopefully it’ll all go well. She is enjoying it so far. She also got a new program from Nina- holy moly it is a LONG program. ELEVEN sets of patterns (including the RMT patterns)!!! We do it with her before school. So as usual my life revolves around doing program with my kids LOL.
Our garden seems to be winding down. I think we’re finished with our zucchini, crookneck squash and green beans for the most part. We’re still getting a lot of tomatoes, eggplant, and peppers. I just canned 32 jars of peaches- it is that time of year. My parents have peach and plum trees that I like to can… well, I don’t know about LIKING to can, but we love to have the fruit for the winter. You know what a food hippie I am. So for the next month that will be what I keep busy with- Canning fruit, dehydrating herbs, etc. Did I ever tell you about the compost bin Kevin bought for my birthday this past Spring? I just love it so much. It is pretty much full now. And would you believe that it actually smells GOOD when you open it? True story. Our homemade compost bin always stank really bad. The contents in our new bin are in varying stages of breaking down. Most of it is a wonderful dark color- perfect compost. When we take our garden out we’re going to till in this batch. Then next Spring we’ll till in the “winter batch” before planting. I just love that thing. Anyway, like I said, we’re super busy!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Gandhi quote about change

"We must become the change we want to see." — Mahatma Gandhi
Wow. This can apply to soooo many things in life. 

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

The storms rage

           What a summer we have had. Meine Oma passed  away. That really knocked me over. As a girl I spent most of my holidays and long weekends at my Oma’s house in her tiny village not far from Landshut, Germany. There were even a few times that we lived with my grandmother when I was really young. My grandmother taught me my first words. My memories are full of my grandmother. Her passing felt like my childhood passed away along with her. In recent years, after my parents moved to the US my grandmother came with them. Burying her in America was oddly hard on me. But I believe in the afterlife. She is somewhere else doing something far more important than worrying about those details that only those left behind dwell on. It was also this summer that one of our beautiful nieces lost her baby girl. Our hearts broke for her. But her strength is to be admired. She and her husband are amazing. And now recently my father in law passed away suddenly. It was such a surprise. His death was not expected. His funeral was beautiful and full of family and friends and love. But he is definitely missed. It will be a long time before those tears are dry. So much loss. And yet, so much has been gained. A nephew of ours, he and his wife, just recently had twin baby girls. It was an emotional weekend as we had Kevin’s dad’s funeral on Friday and then we were lucky enough to be able to attend the baby blessings of our nephew’s beautiful baby girls on Sunday. Another gift of life- on the day of my FIL’s funeral, another niece gave birth to her third child (first son.) I imagine those two souls passing eachother by in some sort of Heavenly waiting room, going in opposite directions. One arriving as the other leaves. The circle of life.
            We’ve had a lot of other things going on. T had oral surgery. NINE teeth were removed. Then there were complications, an abscess that required another surgery. So far she’s on her third round of antibiotics. This has been going on for over three weeks now. Lot’s of bandages and pain for my poor girl. I’m hoping we get this taken care of before school starts in two weeks. Yesterday she had braces put on. Having her teeth taken care of will make her life so much easier. It has been tough dealing with all of that while having tears over our loved ones flowing at the same time.
            I keep thinking about a quote that I saw at my sister in law’s house this past weekend. It is framed on her wall: Sometimes God calms the storm… sometimes He lets the storm rage and calms His child. The storm has been raging. But I am so very grateful for the calm He gives us.

Monday, July 25, 2011

another Heather T. Forbes quote & thoughts

"Love-based parenting means doing what is right for your child, not what is right for you." Heather T. Forbes

It took me years to figure this out. I understood it logically, but truly understanding it at the deepest level, well that took me a lot longer to grasp and my whole family suffered for much longer than they needed to.  My childrens' healing took a lot longer and had far more set backs than needed because of my failure to as well. No, I didn't cause the trauma that gave my children the disturbing behaviors that they had, but it was my lack of truly understanding the above principle that kept them from healing from that trauma sooner. It wasn't until *I* began to change that my children began to heal. It is a very humbling lesson to go through as a parent. 
I shouldn't have "liked" Heather Forbes page on facebook because now I'm just going to be pasting quotes on here all of the time LOL!

Friday, July 22, 2011

Heather Forbes quote

Saw this quote on facebook today and it gave me chills- soooo true!

"As a parent, the only thing that can make you truly happy is who you become, not how your child behaves." 
-Heather T. Forbes

Thursday, July 21, 2011


            Feral cats. Most people consider them to be pests. Many supposed experts say an adult feral cannot be tamed.
            Our first house was an older home. It had been sitting vacant for well over a year and was close to being condemned when we bought it. The lot was huge, especially for being in the city. During its vacancy the backyard had become completely over grown. There were thistles taller than I was growing there. There was a patch of black berry bushes that had completely taken over the back half of the lot. That wasn’t the only thing to have outgrown the yard. A small colony of feral cats had made the empty property their home.
            Feral cats and humans do not tend to get along. Ferals will run at the sight of a human being and if cornered will attack. It is no wonder since usually the humans a feral will have come in contact with have been hostile. Most will chase them away; some humans will go so far as to try to kill them.
            I wasn’t sure what to do with our colony of ferals. In the beginning, I didn’t do anything. That first summer I watched them from my kitchen window, of course if they saw me, they ran. If I tried to get close they’d hiss, raise the hair on their backs and “threaten” me. That first winter one of them died. I found one of the black and white spotted ferals dead on the sidewalk. Not long after that I noticed one of them was limping. It soon disappeared. But the deaths didn’t stop the seemingly endless amount of kittens from being born. I did research and while most of the information that I found was negative, to my surprised I found a non-profit group that sponsored a program called Trap, Neuter and Release. They would lend traps and participating vets would spay/neuter the cats for little to no cost. So we began the long process of “fixing” our ferals. The same organization had online instructions for building winter “shelters” for ferals. Kevin thought he could improve on their plans and we proceeded to give our ferals a better “home” in our shed. We put a cat door in our shed and along with our tools and the normal things you’d find in a shed, we placed several cat houses. I also began placing food and water near the houses. It wasn’t long before the colony, or the cat family that we named the Johnsons, found their new digs. The deaths stopped and as we trapped and neutered/spayed all of them, so did the kittens.
            In time they figured out that I was the “food lady.” When they saw me coming they didn’t completely run away. They’d definitely bolt, but they stayed within viewing distance. They watched from across the yard as I filled their bowls. They waited until I was inside and they would cautiously return to fill their bellies. Over the months the distances they ran became less and less. Some of them were braver than others. In time some of them would even stay inside the shed- high on a shelf, hissing the whole time, but they stayed. They even began to learn my routine. They knew when it was feeding time and would actually wait by my back door- some of them further away than others. But some of them would follow on my heels as I walked across our yard to the shed with food in hand.
            I was amazed at how close some of them were getting to me. Of course they hissed and spit, but a few of them actually started to rub on my legs as I poured the food. So I decided to take things to the next level. It was time to tame the Johnsons.
            I began my courtship by presenting them with canned cat food. It was normally dry food that they ate. Once they got a taste of the canned food that was it- they were hooked:-) I kept feeding them their regular meals of dry food. I just added the canned food “treats” to their diet. So I changed the rules. They could only have the canned food if I was allowed to stay. The rules were simple. I didn’t actually do anything. I just put out the food stepped back to give them some space and sat down. The brave ones snatched bites here and there before running off. When I was ready to go back to my house, the canned food went with me. Over time, even the most nervous would eat the canned food. Then I started feeding them outside of the shed. Every few days I moved the feeding dishes with the canned food closer and closer to the house. By the end of that summer I could sit on the bottom step of my back porch with all of the Johnsons surrounding my feet, happily eating their canned food dessert. Then it was time to take it up a notch again- eating bits of canned food off of a fork that I was holding. Bit by bit they began to trust me more and more. Of course there was still the occasional hissing. Then came the big move- petting them. Of course in the beginning when I reached out my hand some would run but the more aggressive ones would attack it. It wasn’t long before I was covered in scratches. But I learned fast that as long as I wasn’t aggressive things calmed down much quicker. Our most aggressive Johnson was a cat named Sam. He bloodied me more than a few times. I remember one time he actually had his teeth locked onto me, he wasn’t pulling-no blood was shed. It was a test. I held still and spoke calmly. He let go. He ate the canned food from my hand that day. Soon Sam let me pet him- only while he was eating the canned food. He still hissed a lot. But in time the scratching stopped. During Sam’s taming process one of our more nervous Johnsons, a big black cat named Jack decided I wasn’t bad after all. Seemingly out of nowhere he started rubbing on me. He passed up Sam in his taming schedule. It wasn’t long before Jack let me pet him even without canned food. Another of our more skittish Johnsons suddenly got braver as well. Boyd took to crying at our backdoor. One day we opened the back door and Boyd waltzed on inside. He’s been inside ever since. In fact, he now sleeps on my face most of the night and especially likes having his armpits scratched. Of all of the Johnsons, Sam began the taming process first but was one of the last to be fully tamed. Sam just had a hard time fully trusting a human. Today Sam lets me kiss his forehead. Most of the other Johnsons have found homes with our family and friends. Several of them have found a home in our house. The Key? Feral cats have learned to be afraid of humans. Ferals will run or even attack a human if it feels threatened. Even aggressive ferals can be fully tamed. Trust is the answer. Trust is earned by the human, not the other way around. No matter how aggressive a feral responds to your presence you never respond with matched aggression. You always respond with patience, regulation and kindness- always. You’ll be bloodied in the process, but you’ll have lot’s of purrs and foreheads to kiss when it is over.
            This post isn’t really about cats. The story about our feral cat colony, the Johnsons, is 100% true. But a lesson on taming cats isn’t what this post is about…. We adopted a boy with severe attachment disorder and chronic trauma disorder. He was extremely violent. His behaviors were incredibly disturbing. He hurt our family. One day I looked at him and thought of our feral cat, Sam. My son had done something very upsetting…something very wrong. That day I woke up to reality, to MY errors in behavior. I didn’t punish my son. I hugged him. Believe me, in the beginning I got bloodied and screamed at, as did other members of our family. But things did change and the real change in my son happened when *I* changed *my* behavior.
             The Key? Children with attachment disorder and chronic trauma disorder have learned to be afraid of all people. These children will run or even attack a person if he/she feels threatened or afraid. Even aggressive children can be fully healed. Trust is the answer. Trust is earned by the parent, NOT the other way around. No matter how aggressive a child is, you never respond with matched aggression. You always respond with patience, regulation and kindness- always. The process will be painful, but you’ll have lot’s of hugs and cheeks to kiss when it is over. 

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

summer update:-)

         It has been a busy summer! Kevin decided to go back to school. So this summer he took a couple of classes- and of course aced them both:-) It is not easy going back to school when you are in your mid forties but he rocked! Plus now I can say I’m living with a college guy:-P haha! The kids are doing great.
            T graduated from her NR therapy in the Spring. She’s still doing great. She just recently had to have oral surgery. She’s getting braces next month. She had extra teeth that caused severe crowding in her teeth. Since she had to get those removed we decided to get her wisdom teeth pulled at the same time. That totaled NINE teeth! Poor girl. But she is doing really well. Her face is pretty swollen but otherwise she’s doing great. Her braces go on August 8th. She’s pretty excited to get all of that over with. She was going to take a dental assisting course at the Tech school this summer but the class got cancelled. Just as well with all the actual dental work she’s been having LOL. Before all of this Kevin took the kids rock climbing again. T is ready for the next level! She went up and down that climb so quickly it amazed me:-) She’s awesome!
            J and R have been having swimming lessons- well more like swim practice. They are taking an upper level class to perfect their strokes. They’ll be starting Water Polo for the first time next week. That should be fun! I’m looking forward to watching them. The boys have also been doing a lot of volunteer lawn mowing and weeding for a few Elderly couples in our neighborhood. They also have a few paying lawn mowing jobs. It is good for them to earn a little money. J is now saying that he’d like to be a landscaper. He and I looked online to see what all was required to become a landscaper. It looks like a good first step is getting a job at a nursery. Maybe that will be something that he can do next year. He’s never had a 9to5 type job before, so that’s a big step for him. He’ll be starting 10th grade at the High School this August. I can’t believe it. I’m glad that T is already there so she can keep an eye on him for me:-) R is still set on going to Culinary school. He’s hoping to take Food and Nutrition next year in 9th grade at the Junior High. The tech school also offers classes that he can get duel credit for in High School starting after 9th grade. So he’s really looking forward to that. For right now both boys are just really excited to start water polo next week. We’ve also started them both seeing a Chiropractor. I’ve never been to one myself so this is a first for all of us. They’ve only been going a few weeks. Nina, their NR practitioner, thought both boys needed some Chiropractic work done to help them get through some of their issues… so we took the plunge. It is too early to know if it is helping or not. If it goes well we’re considering taking T as well.
            C is doing great. She officially started NR this summer. She’s already showing some improvement. With her mild Cerebral Palsy, she was very clumsy. She stumbled constantly and didn’t have the ability to correct or catch herself. So every tiny stumble meant she went crashing to the ground. She also had very poor reflexes. Most people are able to grab onto something if they are falling etc, but she would just throw her arms out and fall. In just the few months that she’s been doing NR she can already catch herself when she stumbles! Hopefully her reflexes will continue to improve. She also has no idea where she is in “space.” She will see something in front of her that needs to be picked up and she’ll reach behind herself, to the side, etc constantly missing it or not being able to grab onto it at all. I don’t know yet if it is my imagination or not but I think that may be slightly improving as well. She also struggles with the signals her body is telling her. Her shirt might be bunched in the back and she feels it but doesn't understand where that feeling is coming from. She'll keep tugging on the front of her shirt, instead of the back- feeling the discomfort but not be able to tell where it is coming from exactly. Hopefully we'll see improvement in that in time as well. We put her into swimming lessons. She can’t swim at all and with her physical issues I don’t know that she’s even capable of learning at this stage. But we put her in the class to help her feel more comfortable in the water and to help develop her gross motor skills. She’s having a blast!
            The garden has been my domain this summer. We are finally getting a steady crop of vegetables coming in:-) I love planning meals around our vegetables. We’re also getting a lot of raspberries. The kids love to pick the vegetables and berries. Our zucchini weren’t doing so well. It turned out that they weren’t cross pollinating so I’ve been hand pollinating them… we’ll see how that works.
            Kevin and I finally got our bedroom painted. I’ve been wanting to do that for a long time but Kevin needed to do some work on the walls around our window. He finally had the time to do that so I got to do the painting. Our walls used to be a dark sage green. Our bedroom gets very little natural light so it always felt like a dungeon. So I did something very odd for us- I painted all of the walls pure white LOL! It is the only white room in our house. But it does look a little brighter now.
            This has been an unusual summer for us. We haven’t been getting out much. We’ve had so many appointments and classes etc. We’re hoping to get out more next month before the summer is over! In the meantime, I’m loving eating from our garden every day and seeing how healthy and happy my children are. It is kind of a new thing for us- all of this emotional stability hahaha!

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

video clip from Viktor Frankl- must watch!

An amazing clip from a presentation given by Viktor Frankl.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Good article on Nutrition over Medicine

Another good article on food for health:-) I don't 100% agree with everything stated in this article but I agree 100% with the idea of using a proper diet as prevention to disease and I have also personally seen its benefit in the treatment of various diseases. I also agree with the idea of treating the source not just the symptom and I do believe the food we eat is a critical part of that. Over all a great article.

Nutrition over Medicine: Why Diet is Most Important

Written by Jesse Richardson on May 21, 2011 

Organic ProduceIdeally, there should be no doctors in the world. It’s one of those careers we should be working on putting out of business. However, we continue to see more and more people with cardiovascular disease and other chronic diseases. Diabetes is growing, as is autism and food borne illnesses. Naturally, we turn to these doctors for guidance.
But does medicine always offer us the best solution?

The Problem with Medicine

Although medicine provides us with a number innovative solutions, it is the position of this writer that a proper diet is optimal in preventing and combating disease. It’s long been determined: cardiovascular disease, obesity, and other diseases that stem from them are primarily influenced by lifestyle. Unhealthy eating habits, inability to deal with stress, and a lack of sleep all contribute to severe health problems.
Unfortunately, more often than not, medicine does not address this as a lifestyle issue. Instead, we spend billions a year on bypass surgeries. Even more is spent on pharmaceuticals.
It seems modern medicine follows the principle of “one drug, one disease.” When it comes down to it, doctors will often offer a drug to combat one specific disease. As argued by Dr. Dan Rogers, M.D, NMD, conventional medicine “misses the boat… with the chronic problems…They do nothing to change the reason why the patient got the disease in the first place. Basically, they treat symptoms.”
And it seems most people are satisfied.
Roughly 25 percent of all commercials in the nation are drug commercials, and for good reason. American culture accepts the above notion of a pill for every ill. In fact, we haven’t made that much progress in the ways of prevention or cures. For example, even after Nixon declared “war on cancer,” some 40 years later we’re still seeing a steady increase in rate of cancer per 100,000.
Clearly, the pharmaceutical status quo isn’t working. But as some have raised, that may be half-intentional. While companies certainly don’t want people dying, keeping them on medication as long as possible is ideal for profits and shareholders. Avoiding prevention and providing temporary remedies is more profitable than ensuring healthy people.
Perhaps there’s just no business in healthy people.

The Benefits of Food

Moving against the grain, we need to make nutrition the primary form of prevention in the United States for chronic and degenerative diseases – not drugs. Fresh, organic foods provide our bodies with the nutrients they need to prevent and combat diseases.

Going Green, Organic, and Raw

Not only does organic food protect us from GMOs, pesticides, and artificial fertilizers, but they also provide us with accessible, living nutrients. Eating a piece of toast in the morning with  cup of tea, maybe having a nice roll or meat and cheese sandwich for lunch, and closing the day off with steak and potatoes means you’re going to be extremely deficient in nutrients.
Instead, we should aim at eating raw foods as over half of our meals. We should likewise aim at eating more vegetables and fruits that meats and cheeses.
Why the emphasis on green?
When we cook foods, we lose the nutrients and beneficial enzymes they naturally contain – sometimes by about 40 percent. Further, when we start with foods like steak – which take an incredible amount of energy to digest – we are putting our body through stress. Consider the difference in bodily work when you get protein through spirulina (which can be consumed in water) to an 8 oz steak.
Not only do vegetables and fruits contain more nutrients, then, but they also contain more bio-accessible nutrients.

So, No Drugs?

While there are many superior benefits in having a rich diet laden with raw foods, that’s not to say drugs and medicine are totally useless. Medicine provides great services for such things as trauma care and infant survivability; however, when it comes to disease, the primary formalized approach is care – not prevention.
That being said, don’t discount Western medicine as a hoax. It’s simple an approach of treatment vs. prevention. In some cases, you really only can treat the disease. However, while you’re young and conscious, start making choices the promote the prevention of lifestyle diseases like obesity! Eat green!

Dr. Berka’s Comment

“Let thy food be thy medicine” –  Hippocrates.
And as it is said, it is so.
Food is the fuel and life force that sustains and maintains the structure and function of our body.  If we are eating well, drinking well, thinking well, sleeping well, and eliminating well, we will be well.  But let’s not throw the baby out with the bath water.  Modern medicine is vital in for acute care.  But falls short (time and time again) in a chronic care scenario.  Chronic illness must be addressed by treating the “root cause” not by suppressing symptoms.  And to end with a quote by Thomas Edison in 1903: 
Nineteen hundred and three will bring great advances in surgery, in the study of bacteria, in the knowledge of the cause and prevention of disease. Medicine is played out. Every new discovery of bacteria shows us all the more convincingly that we have been wrong and that the million tons of stuff we have taken was all useless.
The doctor of the future will give no medicine, but will instruct his patient in the care of the human frame, in diet and in the cause and prevention of disease. They may even discover the germ of old age. I don’t predict it, but it might be by the sacrifice of animal life human life could be prolonged.
Surgery, diet, antiseptics — these three are the vital things of the future in preserving the health of humanity. There were never so many able, active minds at work on the problems of diseases as now, and all their discoveries are tending to the simple truth — that you can’t improve on nature.”