I’m Ba-ack!

This post is an explanation of my absence, and a preview to anticipated changes over the next several months.  Read on…

It has been a while since I’ve posted anything.  A few days ago, when I tried to enter a new post, I discovered it had disappeared.  All I could think about was years’ worth of data down the tubes.  Quite a bit of activity involving this site occurred during the past several months, it turns out, which collectively resulted in the site “going away” temporarily.  No, I didn’t miss any payments; and no, I didn’t accidentally wreck it myself. Here’s what happened.

Recently, this site was to be updated by someone, a professional site developer and marketing person who also happens to be a relative. Instead of being updated, the site was basically destroyed.  My suspicion is that the updater was less familiar with the site configuration than she believed herself to be.  Unfortunately, she did not want to admit this and made the classic “young person’s” mistake of not backing up the site before “updating” it.  I was afraid I would need to start all over again.  However, between WordPress and GoDaddy (where I host this site), enough backup information was available from the last successful post on this site that everything was restored.  (Hooray for WordPress and GoDaddy!!)  From now on, all changes will be done by me, regardless of my limited computing skills. Both companies offer plenty of resources and certified web site developers that, if I get frustrated, professional help is available.

Another reason for no activity here: a month or two ago, a serious illness knocked the wind out of my sails, leaving me unable to work much on the computer at all, much less at almost anything else.  Although I still have more “off” days than “on” ones, I’ve made the decision to concentrate on my blogs and the distribution of information related to education, and stop worrying about consulting.  There will be some changes to the way the site looks as well as the way the site operates.  However, the information will be as up to date as possible, and I hope to reach not only education professionals, but also parents and other professionals who work with children.  Features I hope to add include webinars and recorded videos targeted at learning problems and behavioral issues.  There will be guest blogging professionals, both in text and visual media.  Links to related reading and other materials and resources will be increased for your convenience.  These changes will take place gradually, so don’t expect everything at once.  As I said, I’m no longer a professional computing person, and it will take some time to get everything up to speed.  But updating this site will be as much a learning experience for me as a way to share what I know, especially about special education and behavioral issues.

So please bear with me as this site gradually develops into something more useful to all of us.  Thanks for your patience with me and support for the posts to date.  Without your readership, this blog would have folded long ago.

Watch for the changes!

Mostly, watch for my next posts that might be important to you and your students or offspring.

#educ_dr

NCSER announces FY 2012 Awards

For those readers interested in recent research grants awarded by the National Center for Special Education Research (NCSER), sponsored by the Institute of Education Sciences (IES), the list of grants has been announced and can be viewed that the site below. If you are planning research or are looking for a grant for next year, the list includes the types of proposals that address the latest areas of critical need, and offer a good place to explore future research options.

NCSER announces FY 2012 Awards.

URL: http://ies.ed.gov/ncser/projects/12awards2.asp

#educ_dr

Autism boom: an epidemic of disease or of discovery?

Before you convince yourself that your two- or three-year-old child may be autistic, please read the following article.

Autism boom: an epidemic of disease or of discovery?

Next, talk to your pediatrician. If the pediatrician determines that your child needs to be evaluated, she/he will refer your child to a developmental pediatrician or a pediatric neurologist. When you speak to the pediatrician, make certain to mention any complications that arose during your pregnancy or the birth process.  Some difficult births are associated with certain neurological problems that can be handled with medications and minimal special services for your child, and chances are extremely good that your child will outgrow the neurological problem before the age of seven.

The point is this: When attentional and hyperactivity disorders (ADD and ADHD, respectively) first began to appear in the media during the early 1970s, the proportion of diagnosed cases increased astronomically. It is not uncommon for general pediatricians to either misdiagnose, or to defer to a parent’s frustrations over normal inquisitiveness and simple tendency to enjoy running, jumping, climbing, and other activities that drive parents nuts. True hyperactivity is when a child is never able to stop him/herself until physical exhaustion occurs. However, only a qualified developmental, neurological, or related specialty pediatrician can diagnose the child’s activity/attention level and determine whether the child is within normal limits or truly has ADD or ADHA.

The same applies to autism. Although early intervention is always welcome, even in some milder cases of developmental problems that children tend to outgrow, the initial diagnosis by a specialist is paramount to appropriate care. No parent wants a child to receive unnecessary medications.

Before settling on a course of treatment for a diagnosed child, make certain to get a second–even a third–opinion. Make sure to ask all your questions–make a list before you see the general pediatrician and add to it as you speak to specialists–about your child’s symptoms, test results, etc.  Once you have settled on a specialist, make certain to make your child’s and your own needs a top priority for any treatment program that is recommended. No one knows your child like you do. Your input is valuable, and should be an integral part of whatever treatment program may be recommended. Remember that your input is also helpful in determining whether your child should be “labeled” autistic. Labels follow children around for many years, and may become a source of more gradual social withdrawal on their own.

The following list comes from some of the best sources of knowledge available on autism. Use them as reference, or to guide you to additional sound information. There is a lot of misinformation on the Internet, so you want to start with the best sources so that you can evaluate other sources.

National Institute of Health: Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development:
http://www.nichd.nih.gov/health/topics/asd.cfm

National Institute of Mental Health:
http://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/autism-spectrum-disorders-pervasive-developmental-disorders/index.shtml

PediatricNeurology.com has an excellent article called “Autistic Spectrum Disorders: Sorting It Out”:
http://pediatricneurology.com/autism.htm

From WebMD:
http://www.webmd.com/brain/autism/autism-spectrum-disorders

From the CDC (Center for Disease Control):
http://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/autism/index.html

From the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association:
http://www.asha.org/public/speech/disorders/Autism.htm

Best wishes for your child, you, and your family in determining whether your child is truly autistic!

#educ_dr