Tuesday, September 28, 2010

More Mini book reviews

Just felt like reviewing more books:

Ok, one thing I miss is having an hour to just leisurely read the Bible.....but I do spend some time reading a lesser amount and I found a good devotional that really really speaks to me

"Quiet Moments for a Mother's Heart" 

As far as short devotionals go, this one is a good one....and I consider myself the devotional queen.  Has a page with the devotional thought and then another page or two filled with pertinent Bible verses for you to reflect on. 

"A Love Like No Other--Stories from Adoptive Parents"  Edited by Pamela Kruger and Jill Smolowe

This book I think is great whether or not you have adopted.  The stories in here are amazing.  Some are great, some are sad, all of them just shows the complexity of parenting your own children as every child and every family is different.  This is a book where every chapter is a small essay of a family....different people wrote about their life with their child that they adopted...some dealt with Open adoption, International adoption, domestic, foster care, some with mental illness, others with children that have special needs.....truly a good read.  I shed a couple of tears reading. 

"Adopting the Hurt Child" by Gregory C. Keck, PhD and Regina M. Kupecky, LSW

Great book.....good insights into older child adoption....I didn't advertise most of my journey however, I was matched twice before Tigger...once to a 4 y/o and once to a 5 y/o.....both fell through for different reasons, but I was very close with parenting a 5 y/o so I devoured this book.  Great suggestions for attachment/bonding, how to keep your expectations vs. reality in check, suggestions for when to seak treatment, what kind....great resource especially for adoption through foster care and international adoption. 

"Parenting the Hurt Child" by Gregory C. Keck, PhD and Regina M. Kupecky, LSW

Continuation from the previous book....repeated many things already stated but gave more examples of how to establish attachment.  What does attachment parenting look like.  Why 'normal' parenting may be the worst thing you can do.....where to get resources.  I always recommend these two books to other people. 

"Bringing up Girls" by Dr. James Dobson

My mom was hesitant to buy this for me (it was a gift) because of the focus on two parent families and such....but I think that's great.  The focus of this book is mainly how to instill good morals in girls.  E.g. manners, modest dress, not looking for love in the wrong places...basically stating that girls need to be taught certain skills, it doesn't just come naturally.  Good insights.  Some opinions I disagree with, but I did like the theme of this book and I agree on many points. 

Well those are tonight's mini-reviews.  Next time, more Christian fiction, less adoption oriented books.  Currently enjoying my new series.  The Patrick Bower files....I've read 'The Pawn' 'almost done with 'The Rook'....I just bought 'The Knight' and there is #4 which is 'The bishop'.  Ahh Patrick Bower FBI....you can bet it will come to the mini-review. 

Monday, September 27, 2010

Mini book reviews by me :)

Alright sorry my 'normal' friends most of them have to do with parenting but it's just my opinion. 

"The Happiest Baby on the Block"  by Harvey Karp, M.D.

Without this book I would NEVER have thought to put on a loop of vacuum noise when Tigger first came home and couldn't calm down to sleep.  This book has some great techniques of how to survive early infanthood and what may work in order to calm a baby down and get more sleep time/less crying time.  A good read with some great advice.....as with any book, take what works, throw out the rest without guilt.

"Single Parenting that Works"  by Dr. Kevin Leman

Actually not a bad read.  For those of us who have adopted a child and don't have the grief issues of single parenting (e.g. divorce, death, absentee/abusive ex-partner/father) sometimes it seems like these single parenting books don't apply to us, however, even though I could count maybe 10 pages that acknowledged single parents by adoption out of the whole book, Dr. Leman's advice on many aspects are pretty solid.  I enjoyed this book more than most books on single parenting by far. 

"Raising Great Kids on Your Own" by David & Lisa Frisbie

What I loved about Dr. Kevin Leman's book, I hated about this book.  This book really just focused on divorce and single parenting after that fact so it was a painful read for me as I could not identify with the divorce guilt that was talked about throughout the book.....if single parent by adoption....I'd skip this book altogether....if one is in the midst of the pain of divorce, this may be a good book for you, maybe. 

"Making Children Mind without Losing Yours" by Dr. Kevin Leman

It's a book on discipline.  As I will state with ALL of the discipline books I've read, absorb what makes sense and what you think will work for your child, throw out the rest guilt-free.  I did appreciate that the main tone of the book was consistency more than any method of discipline. 

"Raising Your Spirited Child" by Mary Sheedy Kurcinka

I loved this book.  More than anything it does explain why some children seem to be just "more" than others.  Great insights, good food for thought, and I think can help with children that may not be your typical "spirited" children.  I know the reviews were mixed on Amazon , however, those negative reviews came from people that did not like the idea of having a consistent routine with minimal change and that's something that is key for success for spirited children. 

"Mommy Prayers"  'help!'  by Tracy Mayor

Sometimes I just need to laugh.  This collection of crazy, true, and downright sarcastic desperate prayers for differente occasions are medicine to my soul after a long day...wrote a couple on facebook under my notes....bordering on sacreligious, but oh such a guilty pleasure to read what sometimes one really thinks.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Adoption related documentaries

PBS has been airing some adoption oriented documentaries on POV lately.  They are all interesting and have sparked much controversy online.  If you have time and enjoy documentaries, I'd say these were worth your time, definately will strike up conversations.

Re: international adoption through China and older child adoption

Re: Transracial adoption, searching for answers from birthmothers, and identify crisis

Re: a lie in international adoption (should be online now, but only saw the trailer....saw the documentary on dvr from my recording)

Of ear infections and ELD

Well let me just preface this by saying the last 3 nights have been sleepless due to Tigger being ill AND teething at the same time.  I didn't know how ill until late yesterday where I just took her to the urgent care by my house.....not just an ear infection, but a double ear infection.  I'm just a little frazzled because I know she is teething, yet usually you get fever signs of an infection and yet Tigger did not spike a fever this past week at any time.....arg.  So we are off daycare for two days at least....my mother is taking care of her today and I'll stay home tomorrow to take care of her.  Ah sick toddlers.....wonderful drama. 

ELD....stands for English Language Development....taught in the mornings during rotations.  I don't know who thought it would be a good idea for the special ed. staff to run ELD groups as well, we would get the lower performing kiddos and it would  count as an intervention period as we would get the EO students (English only)....I guess this is part of this RTI "kumbaya" moments we seem to be having this year.  It's just funny to me.  Today was the first day.  I have 8 lovely students I see and they try really hard.....we'll see how this goes....as long as it's not impacting my time with my IEP students it should go well.  So far so good. 

Friday, September 10, 2010

Let's talk about RTI shall we?

Ah....labor day weekend....the first full week of September.....the noise and wailing of new Kindergarten kids starting school for the first time and not wanting to leave their parent's side....(can you tell my portable is right next to one of the Kindergarten rooms lol) 

First conversation as soon as I put my foot in the door of the office amidst the chaos of the first day of school for students "um excuse me, when are you going to start seeing my kid for speech"?  sigh....can I breathe and find out which class your kid is in this year first????  ok so I'm maybe not really that sarcastic in real life, but I did find it mildly amusing.  (I mean come on no "hey Ms. S how was your summer?" first before launching into business?)

And now to confuse the massess even more, there is this magical thing called RTI.  I'm sure you know what it stands for right?  No?  Well it's called Response to Intervention.  It's a new way of thinking, teaching, collaboration between special education and general education to make sure we don't wait for kids to fail before assessing for special ed.  So guess what?  you write a letter saying you want your kid tested the first day of school?  I will gladly talk to you about how I can intervene within general education right away without assessment to see if this catapults your kid into averageville without special ed. IEP services.....isn't this great?  so why aren't we all hugging and singing Kumbaya? 

1.  We need to have conversations with everyone including parents so everyone knows what RTI entails

I have found that parents are just about to have heart attacks because they think we aren't going to pay attention to their kids....that is not the case, but communication can't just happen with us staff people, the community should be aware of changes in public schools, teaching, what we are doing to help children if not there will always be a chasm between general ed. and special ed.....with special ed. fixing everything that is wrong with a kids because that's not general ed. problem. 

2.  Staff people need to start singing Kumbaya with each other.....seriously. 

If you've worked at a school site before you know the cliques within the school.  General ed. teachers sit on this side of the room, special ed. teachers/staff sit on the other side....conversation goes something like this.....
Teacher:  hey aren't you the speech teacher
SLP:  yes
Teacher:  I have a kid that can't talk and hits other kids
SLP:  I can come and look and see this kid
Teacher:  I want him (let's be honest it's probably a boy) out of my classroom, he's too disruptive
SLP:  well we can work for modifications and accommadations and strategies...and.....
Teacher:  That's not my job, he needs to go to special ed.  like immediately. 
SLP:  rolls eyes. 

Now I know it's a generalization, but I've worked in several schools and sometimes these are uh real things that happen in the staff lounge. 

3.  The whole school needs to buy in

One grade can't be just doing intense intervention during universal access time (centers, reading groups ) and other grades ignore....

RTI is now gaining attention and some strategies that have been placed in schools have worked to the point that out of 50 kids in general ed. intervention only 5 have gone on to be assessed for special education eligibility. 

So what does this mean.

a) this is good news....we are not taking help away from your child, we are in fact helping your child before they are behind and failing

b) this will identify the difference between slow learners that can actually learn at a decent pace and children with true learning disabilities instead of assessing so many kids and having a sig. number not qualify/have any eligibility. 

c)  it means our schools are changing and so is my job and a general ed. teacher's job. 

Where are you guys in relation to how RTI is happening in your state/district?  is it happening at all?  have you seen a difference? 

I'm lucky, I sing Kumbaya with all my gen. ed. teachers....so do the rest of the special ed. staff....we are in each other's rooms all the time....in fact this year I have a split personality.....I have my children on IEPs that I see, my general education Kinder and 1st graders (lowest 10% of the class) that I'm running intervention groups (this is NOT special ed.) and we're all very vigilant about who is gaining grounds and who isn't.....I believe it is a much better model than a "wait to fail" model or some deep mystical chasm between general ed people and special ed people.....

Friday, September 3, 2010

Follow up from that horrible incident in my city

As I blogged/posted articles of the teen that was abducted in my city and later found dead all of that which was near where I live there has not been any news of anything.....til now.  I guess the police received a tip about a vehicle that fit the description of the one driving away from the abduction scene and a search warrant was served.  They still haven't said if this guy is a suspect or just a person of interest at the moment, but at least it's something....our city was really shook up from this event and it's nice to know that the police/homicide is still working this case. 


Organizing this blog

Well since I'm new to this blogging world even though it's been on the Internet for a while and people have been blogging for ages, I just started and got used to what I can do on here.  Now it's time to start organizing this thing. 

I've decided that my main topics of discussion will be a) adoption and foster care (of course...my passion and how Tigger and I came together) b) random news articles and c) will be posting about new trends in Speech/Language Pathology in the schools. 

I figure that will interest people to find out what is changing or remaining the same in my career world and may empower people that read my blog to know what their rights are and what schools are doing...at least in Southern California. 

It feels nice to have a direction!