Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Book Review - "Cold River" by Liz Adair

Mandy Steenburg thinks her doctorate in education has prepared her to run any school district - until she tangles with the moonshine-making, coon-dog-owning denizens of a tiny district in Pacific Northwest timber country. She's determined to make a difference, but the local populace still looks to the former superintendent for leadership. When Mandy lands in the middle of an old feud and someone keeps trying to kill her, instinct tells her to run. And though she has to literally swim through perilous waters, she finds a reason to stay and chance the odds.

My Review:
Why did Mandy leave her last job and take one where her welcome is far less than enthusiastic? Who is trying to drive her away, and why? Will she follow her heart to a new romance, or return to the one she left behind? These questions will keep you devouring the pages until the dramatic conclusion.

I really enjoyed this book. Liz has created a town with interesting characters. I wasn't able to see any of the plot twists coming. If you enjoy romances, books filled with action, or an engrossing novel, this is the book for you.

It also makes a great Christmas gift!

Purchase your copy of Cold River here.

Learn more about Liz Adair on her blog.

FCC Disclaimer: I received a free digital copy of this book, but this did not influence the content of my review.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Best Colleges for Students with Learning Disabilities or ADHD

One common worry for parents of children with learning disabilities or ADHD is about post-secondary education. Where can they go? What services will be provided? Can they be successful?

Bottom Line Personal Magazine recently ran an article listing colleges with programs for students who have learning disabilities (LD) or Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). Here's a short rundown:

Two Year Schools:

Dean College - Franklin, Massachusetts
Special Programs - Personalized Learning Services (tutoring), Arch Learning Community (improved academic skills), Pathway Learning Community (small classes), Program to transition to a 4-year school

Landmark College - Putney, Vermont
Special Programs - Specially designed for LD/ADHD students--teaches students to overcome their disabilities and transfer to a 4-year school, smaller classes, tutorials, coaching programs

Four Year Schools:

Curry College - Milton, Massachusetts
Special Program - Program for Advancement of Learning (PAL)
  • Students applying through PAL don't need SAT/ACT scores
  • 3 week summer session to ease transition to college
  • Strong support including help with homework

Lynn University - Boca Raton, Florida
Special Program - Comprehensive Support Program
  • Tutorials
  • Study sessions
  • Special classes
  • Resources and accommodations

Southern Illinois University Carbondale - Carbondale, Illinois
Special Program - Achieve Program
  • Diagnostic evaluation
  • tutorials
  • Notetakers
  • Audio textbooks
  • Remedial Classes

University of Arizona - Tucson, Arizona
Special programs - Strategic Alternative Learning Techniques (SALT), Disability Resource Center (DRC)
  • Facilities
  • Resources
  • Support

University of Denver - Denver, Colorado
Special Program - Learning Effectiveness Program (LEP)
  • Customized support
  • One-on-one counseling

University of Indianapolis - Indianapolis, Indiana
Special Program - Baccalaureate for University of Indianapolis Learning Disabled (BUILD)
  • Minimum 2 hours individualized tutoring/week
  • Special Math & English classes

Need more information? Visit the individual sites. For more articles with good information like this, go to for a trial subscription to Bottom Line Personal.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Taming Test Anxiety

We live in a world of high-stakes testing. Even third graders face assessments that will determine if they can progress to fourth grade.

Many people become overly anxious about the tests they take. Some become so paralyzed they struggle to remember how to spell their own name.

My bouts with this type of fear came from external sources. While on the way to take my first test for teacher certification, my minivan refused to shift out of second gear. Fears of an enormous bill and temporary loss of transportation boiled in my mind. After arriving at the test site, I put my head down on the steering wheel and repeated my new mantra, "Don't think about the car, think about the test!"

During the second test, I needed to use the restroom. Only one person was allowed in the restroom at a time, even though people in different rooms were taking assessments for very different subjects. I was rather shocked when the hall monitor followed me into the restroom. I decided to take action, turning around and asking, "Do you want me to leave the stall door open?" This prompted the monitor to leave the room, giving me much-needed privacy.

My problems with the last critical assessment didn't start until I actually arrived in the testing room. I found I was seated in front of the pencil sharpener. The room was packed, so there was no way to request a new seat. Noises are very distracting to me, so I began to panic. I decided whenever someone was sharpening their pencil, I would take a break and stare at my shoes.

What can you do if you or your child suffers from test anxiety?

·         Teach study skills, including using study guides, reviewing with a friend, and practicing with games.

·         Follow a study schedule with specific goals, materials ready, and by creating an outline of course material.

·         Study early so the learner can attend tutorials to review difficult material.

·         Use online games for review. Many can be found at or check with the teacher.

·         Teach test-taking skills including the following:

o   Memory dump—write down what you are afraid of forgetting (definitions, formulas, dates, mnemonics, etc.) on the test as soon as it begins.

o   Do easier questions first, then return to harder ones.

o   Highlight key instructional words related to the directions about details, types of answers requested, etc.

o   Cancel out obvious wrong choices.

·         Teach relaxation skills such as use of a squeeze ball, arriving on time rather than early, controlling breathing, meditating and praying, taking breaks, and positive self-talk.

·         Give lots of encouragement during study time and just prior to the test.
Good luck, and remember--it's just a test, and they can't actually kill you when it's over!

Monday, November 14, 2011

Fiction - The Key to Understanding Others...and Changing Yourself

According to "In the Minds of Others", an article by Keith Oatley in Scientific American Mind, reading fiction is entertaining. It provides an escape from your problems. But can it really help you psychologically?
Fiction can help improve your relationships with others. It can also change your personality and impact the happiness of your life.

When you read about the lives of others, including what they are thinking, helps you understand them. This allows you to build empathy and see another point of view. Computer programs use sophisticated technology to allow you to experience another world. Readers have done this for centuries.

The socially-withdrawn bookworm is a sterotype that still exists. But a study done in Toronto found that those who read the most fiction were better at recognizing emotions and interpreting social cues. Other studies revealed that reading fiction helped people solve logic problems or draw conclusions about social situations. The improvement was seen after as little as an hour of reading. On the other hand, children who watched many hours of television were less able to understand others.

People who read fiction on a regular basis also had better social connections than those who confined themselves to nonfiction. Your "sense of self" is also changed as you are more likely to become more open and perceptive about fellow humans.

Why all the benefits? The source is the emotional connection between the reader and the characters. This allows us to picture ourselves as part of the story, experiencing aspects of the plotline.  Brain imaging studies reveal that when you read about a character sitting on a chair, for example, the reader's brain lights up as if he or she were performing the action. In short, we virtually live through good fiction. While we experience our own emotions in reaction to events, we are still tied to the story.

The takeaway? Get off the computer and go read a good book.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

The LDS Disabilities Web Site--An Awesome Resource!

The LDS Disabilities web site can be found here. Let's take a look at how this site can help parents, teachers, and church leaders.

There is a disability list. It is not meant to be exhaustive, but covers the general categories. One example is the mental illness category. Parents can be reminded not to take behavior related to the mental illness personally. Teachers can learn mental illness is not a punishment from God. Leaders will understand how to include that person in ward activities.

The family section lists specific help for parents, such as how to explain disabilities to siblings. This page is also for teachers, and they can discover that by babysitting, they can give the parents a chance to strengthen their marriage. Leaders can use information such as the advice to grandparents to counsel families.

The question and answer page has a link to statistics of how many members are affected by disabilities. Families will be encouraged to learn they are not alone. Teachers can take advantages of the resources section, and leaders can review doctrine and policies.

In the general information section, families can review the First Presidency statement about disabilities. Teachers and leaders will learn how to show respect for those with disabilities.

The leaders and teachers section also relates to families. They can share this information with ward members to increase understanding. Teachers will learn how to adapt lessons and manage classrooms effectively. Leaders will understand the importance of building a relationship of trust.

Accessible materials provides a resource for parents, teachers, and leaders. From audio scriptures to Braille and sign language materials, those with disabilities can access Church materials.

The final section, scriptures and quotes, gives inspiration to everyone. Take advantage of this wonderful resource that makes the Gospel available to everyone, regardless of ability. You'll find it helps you in ways you cannot yet imagine.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Book Review - "The Alias" by Mandi Tucker Slack

From Amazon:
After a long and difficult divorce, Jacey thinks the worst is over. Little does she know she'll soon be forced to go undercover to protect her family, and in the process, she'll risk losing her identity, her future, and her heart. With a lightning pace, a good dose of humor, and a plot that's full of suspense, this thrilling novel is an edge-of-your-seat read.

My Review:
This is my kind of book! Mandi Tucker Slack gives us a book that moves quickly from one event to the next. You'll enjoy her characters and look forward to the next scene. Will Jacey's stalker find her and hurt her son? Can she keep her true identity a secret? This book will keep you up late until the end.

On a personal note, I was reading this just after I had broken my nose. This story was engaging enough that it kept my mind off the pain--thanks Mandi!

Want more information about Mandi Tucker Slack? Her blog is

You can purchase "The Alias" here. The Kindle version is only $3.99--quite a bargain. What are you waiting for? Go place your order!

Monday, October 10, 2011

Upcoming Promotions!

Much of my time lately has been spent promoting (dis)Abilities and the Gospel. Next week will be a busy week as a result.

First, I'll be presenting a class on teaching methods that are effective for those with special needs. This will be held at the North Richland Hills Public Library on Tuesday, October 18. The class will be followed by a book signing

I leave the next morning to attent the Council for Educational Diagnostic Services national conference in Kansas City, Kansas. I'll be co-presenting a 2-hour workshop on The Art & Science of RtI for Behavior.

More appearances are in the works, so keep tuned!

Friday, September 30, 2011

Book Review - "Bloodborne" by Gregg Luke

One ordinary afternoon, research specialist Dr. Erin Cross steps into a local deli to get some lunch and nearly takes a bullet instead. Thanks to timely intervention from a former Marine, she walks away from the seemingly freak incident. But when she returns to find her lab under security lockdown and her apartment ransacked, she realizes the attack was anything but random. Erin can’t make sense of the threat, given her low profile after a disastrous H1N1 vaccine trial. She doesn’t know that her former colleague has used the virus to develop a potent bioweapon or that her recent research holds a key to his success. And she doesn’t know that his collaborators want her dead before she blows the whistle.

Fleeing for safety with her research in hand, Erin unravels the threats with help from the timely Marine, former Special Ops agent Sean Flannery. But the closer they come to finding answers, the more questionable Sean’s behavior becomes. His erratic moods and suspicious communications are more fitting for an enemy than a friend. And as the crisis comes to a head, Erin can’t be sure who harbors more secrets—the bioterrorists pursuing her or the one man who can give her protection.

My Review:
I really enjoyed Gregg's last book, "Blink of an Eye", so I eagerly awaited the launch of "Bloodborne".  Clear your schedule, because you won't be able to put "Bloodborne" down. You will be yanked into the story from the first page. Gregg's vivid characters and intriguing plot twists will have you hooked from the beginning. His medical knowledge and writing style is reminiscent of Robin Cook in his prime. If you're looking for an escape to an exotic location in a book filled with head-spinning plot twists, go buy this one!

Other Opinions:
Bloodborne is classic Gregg Luke--sinister motives, gripping suspense, and intricate detail. His pacing will leave you breathless. --Josi Kilpack, author of the Sadie Hoffmiller Mystery series.
Bloodborne is a spellbinding, action-packed story with dynamic characters and an intriguing plot. Block out some time to read, because you won't be able to put this one down. --Erin Klinger, author of Between the Lines.

Check out the book trailer:
Get your copy of "Bloodborne" here

Author's site:

FTC Disclaimer: I was given a free review copy, but this did not influence my review.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

What Makes a Bully?

Bullying is a hot topic right now. One thing that is in hot debate is what constitutes bullying. Experts state that bullying can be divided into three categories, including physical, verbal, and relationship.

Physical bullying can mean physically harming someone, or threatening to hurt them. It also includes taking or damaging the property of someone else. Forcing a person to do something against their will also falls into this category.

Verbal bullying can include anything from name-calling to teasing or insulting someone.

Relationship bullying takes place when one person refuses to talk to another or spreads lies or rumors about them.

One important part of deciding whether or not the actions of another are bullying is time. Incidents that happen once are unpleasant, but not bullying. Events must happen again and again over a long period of time to really be bullying.

Why do bullies do what they do? Power. If they can intimidate someone, they have control over them.

Watch this space soon for information about what do do about bullies.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Today's Winners!

Since the comments were so positive, I decided to give away TWO copies of "(dis)Abilities and the Gospel"!!!

The first winner is.....Joan Sowards! Email me your address, and I'll get it right out!

The second winner is.....Betsy Love! I'll send your copy off as soon as I get your snail mail address.

Welcome to all the new followers, and watch for a BIG giveaway coming in October!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

September Blog Hop!

Welcome to the September Blog Hop! Celebrate the beginning of fall with me and my blogger friends by hopping around, visiting our sites,and entering our contests! There are no limits - you can enter the contest on every blog. With over 40 blogs participating, that's over 40 prizes you could win. Just click on the links below to move on to thenext blog. On my blog, you can win … a personalized autographed copy of "(dis)Abilities and the Gospel: How to Bring People with Special Needs Closer to Christ!
Would you like to win this prize? You just need to do two things. 1. Become a follower of this blog. 2. Leave me a comment in the trail and tell me whyyou'd like to win this prize. That's it! You are now entered. The contest ends onSaturday night, September 24th, at midnight MST, and the winner will be contacted shortly thereafter. Please either leave your e-mail address in the comment trail or make sure it's visible through your profile so I can contact you to tell you that you're the lucky winner. Now go visit my other friends ...

September BlogHop Participants

1.Tristi Pinkston, LDS Author
2. Joyce DiPastena
3. I Am A Reader, Not A Writer
4. Mandi Slack
5. Michael D. Young
6. SixMixed Reviews
7. PamWilliams
8. Laurie Lewis
9. Kristy Tate
10. Marilyn Yarbrough
11. Stacy Coles
12. Kristie Ballard
13. Lynn Parsons
14. Pushing Past the Pounds
15. Sheila Staley
16. CCindy Hogan
Jamie Thompson
18. Jaclyn Weist
19. Cathy Witbeck
20. Secret Sisters Mysteries
21. Tamera Westhoff
22. Tina Scott
23. Lynnea Mortensen
24. Danyelle Ferguson aka Queen of the Clan
25. Jeanette A. Fratto
26. Bonnie Harris
27. Melissa Lemon
28. Mary Ann Dennis
29. Stephanie Black
30. Jane Still
31. Janice
32. Laura Bastian
33. Tamara Bordon
34. Betsy Love
35. Maria Hoagland
36. Amber Robertson
37. Debbie Davis
39. Christy Monson
40. Carolyn Frank
41. Rebecca Birkin
42. Melissa Cunningham
43. Emily L. Moir
44. Ronda Hinrichsen
45. LisaAsanuma
46. Joan Sowards
47. JordanMcCollum
48. Diane StringamTolley
Learn more about September Blog Hop here. GetThe Code
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Tuesday, September 20, 2011

To Tell the Truth

Last year, the registrar at my school had to deal with so many fake addresses she walked around muttering, "Everybody lies!"

While this is probably not true, sometimes we feel like we've had all the lies we can take. How can we tell if someone is telling the truth?

Wray Herbert, in the current issue of Scientific American Mind, has figured out three strategies to identify a lie in progress.

The first method is to ask for the story to be told in reverse. It takes much more mental effort to lie than to tell the truth because you must create something, determine if it sounds real, and to remember what you fabricated. Asking for the details in a backwards order is so mentally exhausting that the liar will usually trip himself up.

Technique number two involves constant eye contact. This also requires additional mental effort, which is why liars tend to look at an object rather than a person. This distraction will also cause most liars to make a mistake.

Asking for the liar to draw a picture is the final method. Having to provide visual-spatial information is also mentally taxing, leading to inconsistencies and a lack of detail that proves the lie.

We want to trust the people we meet. But it's good to know who can and cannot be trusted. Honestly!

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Good Stress, Bad Stress

When we say we're stressed, it's usually a bad thing. Some stress can have a positive impact on our lives. Too much, and it can take a toll on our health, performance, and relationships.

When is stress good? When it acts as a catalyst to bring out our best performance. Think piano recital, high-stakes testing, or an important job interview. The stress of the upcoming event encourages us to prepare well, and helps us focus in the moment so we do our best.

Too much stress, and your body reacts poorly. Heart rate speeds up, hormones race through your body, you start to sweat . . . and you may fall apart.

A recent study in Scientific American Mind revealed that most of us would earn an F in stress preparedness. How do we better prepare for stress? Robert Epstein, PhD, suggests six steps:

1. Seek and kill--identify what's stressing you out and get rid of it. For example, my wireless printer at home wasn't working. So I did  what I had to do to get it fixed. Stressor gone.

2. Commit to the positive. What is your negative reaction to stress? Drugs, alcohol, overeating? Seek out a more positive reaction such as renewing friendships, participating in relaxing activities, or exercising.

3. Be your own personal secratary. Learn to make lists. I've started doing that at work, and as I have completed more, I feel less stress.

4. Immunize yourself. Use exercise and thought management to control yourself in stressful situations. I keep repeating to myself that I can handle the situation in question. After all, I died twice a couple of years ago, and came back from that.

5. Make a little plan. Set time aside each morning to plan your day. This lets you both accomplish more and lower your stress level.

6. Make a big plan. Planning your future gives you more control, and as you see the big picture, the problems of today will seem smaller when put into perspective.

Go reduce your stress, and teach these steps to your children!

Friday, September 9, 2011

I Remember...

It's a weekend of remembrance. No American will forget where they were when they saw the news.

I was working as an assistant librarian in a high school library. The day started out as many others had. A teacher came in and told us that a plane had hit one of the twin towers. We assumed the pilot of a small plane had a heart attack and the plane crashed as a result.

More teachers came down and asked that they bring their classes down to watch the news unfold. When the school was built, no cable television wire had been laid. Strange for a two-year-old building. One of the techs figured out how to rig the televisions to show local news channels. I tried repeatedly to get on national news sites, but they had crashed.

About the time we got TV reception, the towers fell. We hoped there had been enough time, but news at that point was sketchy at best.

After the news of the unimaginable became apparent, the students started reacting. Kids were not allowed to use school phones, but when they came to me and said things like, "My dad is a pilot. I don't know where he's flying today," I just dialed the number and handed them the handset. How could I not--I called my own mother after getting home that day.

I also walked countless children to the packed counselor's office. Five counselors for 2,000 children were spread very thin that day.

My girls were in elementary and middle school at the time. The younger children were protected, but enough middle schoolers were aware of some of the events. On boy announced to the class that skyscrapers in Dallas had been attacked and that the entire city was on fire. My daughter immediately became distraught because her father worked in Dallas and called me. I tried to reassure her that I had just spoken to him, but she was unconvinced. He had to call her so she could have proof he was fine.

My oldest son was in Mexico on a mission for our church. Missionaries aren't usually allowed to watch television, but he was given permission to watch CNN to personally witness the attacks on our country.

The terror and emotional suffering experienced by the high school students and staff are permanently imprinted on my soul, as was the silent frozen days that followed.

What can we take away from the tragedy? The need for understanding rather than confrontation and love rather than hate. Remember how you felt and use that as an impetus to make the world better for those around you.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011


I've been thinking about respect lately. How do we develop respect for others, demonstrate that respect, and get others to respect us.

Certain professions naturally garner respect. Most people seem to respect doctors and other professions that are highly paid. Others respect those with high positions in society.

What is worthy of your respect? Wealth can disappear, as can privileges and placement. It's difficult to respect intangible things such as honor and valor.

I choose to respect people and organizations who demonstrate ethics and principles I admire.

How do you demonstrate your respect? I find the best ways to show respect is to listen and demonstrate common courtesy.

Commanding respect is another matter. I don't believe respect can be commanded at all. It may be earned through courteous behavior and outward demonstrations of inward beliefs. If you behave in a respectful manner, I believe others will usually treat you with respect.

During the past few days, many have treated me disrespectfully. I hope to encourage better behavior by setting a good example. If this is unsuccessful, I hope to explain things to the rest.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Book Review - Latter Rain

Paperback: 305 pages
Publisher: Castle Mountain Press (November 19, 2010)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 098271081X
ISBN-13: 978-0982710814
Product Dimensions: 7.8 x 5.1 x 1 inches

From Amazon:
The Latter Rain explores the symbols and types of the Book of Isaiah, creating a framework that can then be applied to other books of the Bible, helping the reader perceive meaning that was once obscured in symbolism. One such symbolic type is that of rain. While this type is not exclusive to Isaiah, it is used by Isaiah to symbolize the communication from God to man. In Deuteronomy, the Lord himself explains this concept: Deuteronomy 32:1-3 1 GIVE ear, O ye heavens, and I will speak; and hear, O earth, the words of my mouth. 2 My doctrine shall drop as the rain, my speech shall distil as the dew, as the small rain upon the tender herb, and as the showers upon the grass: 3 Because I will publish the name of the LORD: ascribe ye greatness unto our God. The term, Latter Rain, therefore means a period of time in the last days when the Lord will again pour out his spirit upon his children on the earth, thus leading them to truth and understanding. This book clarifies these and other concepts pertaining to the last days. Through a methodical analysis of various books contained in the Bible, the reader is able to view the attributes and characteristics of God's communications to his prophets and disciples in ancient times, and to use these observations to predict what one should expect to occur in the period of the Latter Rain. Castle Mountain Press is proud to introduce the book The Latter Rain. Although many books have been written about the prophecies of Isaiah, this book not only correctly identifies the symbols and types found in Isaiah, but uses this new information to make sense of the rest of the Bible. The reader of The Latter Rain, whether familiar with the scriptures or not, comes away from the experience with a completely new perspective on what the ancient prophets are saying about our day and age.

My review:
James Conis has spent years of study to link prophecies of Isaiah to other portions of the Bible. The sheer volume of information in this book reveals how dedicated Conis has been to this task.

Conis has used information from Isaiah in an attempt to explain both ancient and modern events. He likens lack of spiritual information to a physical drought, and Latter Rain represents a return to revelation.

Conis relies on his own conclusions rather than using the explanations of others. While I did not agree with many of his scriptural connections, this book is an interesting read.

You can purchase Latter Rain here.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Thoughts from the First Day of School

Today was the first day of school in my district, as in many others. Adults flash back to memorable first days, anticipate the same for their children, and worry about what might be.

This flood of conflicting emotions often boils over. When it does, school staff members are often the ones burned.

A few reminders to keep in mind during this school year:
  • Educators do not go into the field for money or glory. There isn't any. They do it for the kids.
  • School staff members are not perfect. We make mistakes, as do you. Let's forgive each other and move on.
  • We probably don't know what made you unhappy at your last school, and don't appreciate being held responsible for things outside our control.
  • People who work in schools want the best outcome for all students. We don't want children to be unsuccessful.
  • Many teachers act as surrogate parents, purchasing clothing and school supplies, giving guidance, and watching children when their families are delayed after school.
  • We just want a chance to do the best we can. Please give it to us.
How's this for a proposal: Let's look for the best in each other and work together for the sake of your child. Please leave a positive comment!

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Two Book Reviews - "Key of Kilenya" and "Huber Hill and the Dead Man's Treasure"

Andrea Pearson, author of "Key of Kilenya"

About Andrea:
Andrea is an avid reader and outdoor-er, who loves traveling. She and her husband (AKA Mr. Darcy) were married only a few months ago, and have settled near a river that someday will probably overflow and flood their house.

It took her nearly a lifetime to do so (nine years), but she graduated with a bachelor of science degree in Communications Disorders from Brigham Young University. She plans to open a flying bicycle shop eventually, but for the time being, she is happy teaching orchestra to elementary students.

From the publisher:
Jacob Clark's life is thrown into chaos when he discovers a path to a different world near his small-town home. The creatures of this new world are strange and have odd customs, and he is surprised to learn that everyone knows everything about him. Even the evil, immortal Lorkon, who stole the Key of Kilenya. They are jealous of Jacob and wish to control powers he doesn't know he possesses.

My review:          

Andrea Pearson has created a fascinating new world filled with magical creatures and a challenging landscape. Jacob Clark accidentally enters this strange world to find he is not only expected, but has an important quest. This action-filled and imaginative book will hold you in the grips of a dangerous new world until you discover if Jacob can recover the Key of Kilenya.

The author's blog can be found at
To purchase a hard copy of "Key of Kilenya," go to

"Huber Hill and the Dead Man's Treasure"by B.K. Bostick

From the publisher:
When his grandfather dies, Huber Hill is devastated—until he opens Grandpa Nick's mysterious box. An old gold coin and directions to a hidden Spanish treasure send him and his friends off on an mind-blowing adventure, but he's not the only one on the hunt. Filled with dangerous animals and cryptic puzzles, this book will have you on the edge of your seat until the last page.

My review:
Huber has a difficult life. A bully picks on him constantly, he can’t attract the attention of the girl he likes, his twin sister makes him look like a weakling, and his parents fight constantly.

Just when he thought things couldn’t get any worse, Huber’s beloved grandfather dies. Huber inherits a map, a journal, and a mysterious gold coin. Huber is soon off on the adventure of a lifetime as he tries to beat a mysterious Spaniard to the treasure.

B.K. Bostick's novel will be a fun and interesting read for both boys and girls. The nonstop action coupled with the realities of life in middle school will keep them reading and wanting more. This book would also be a high-interest book for high school students with disabilities.

The amazing web site created for this novel can be found at It has information for educators, games, media, and more.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Preparing for the New School Year

It's that time of year again. Parents are rushing to sales to get their children equipped with crayons, glue, pencils, and notebook paper. Kids get to try on new school shoes. Trips to the store are made for new lunchboxes and backpacks.

It's wonderful that millions of parents are doing what they can, often with limited budgets, to prepare their children for school. But more important than physical readiness is psychological preparation.

Mental planning is important for both children and parents. Remember what this time of year was like when you were a child. Try to identify your fears and concerns. You may be additionally anxious if your youngster will be attending a new school.

How can you lower your trepidation? Talk to parents of children in the school and find out what helped their little ones transition to a new building. Remember that millions of children move to new schools without any problems, and that many anticipated problems never materialize.

Do not race down to the school demanding to meet with your child's teacher. First of all, most teachers are not on duty yet, and they deserve to finish their vacations in peace. Secondly, schedules for junior high and high schools are generally not set until a couple of days before school begins, so no one on campus has any idea which faculty members will teach your child. Have faith in your little learner that he or she can handle age-appropriate school activities.

Take some time with your child to discuss the upcoming year. Find out what he or she is anticipating or dreading. Your discussion can include goals and ways to make 2011-2012 better than 2010-2011. This will help reduce fears.

If you're still worried, just keep chanting, "It's going to be OK. It's going to be OK."

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Upcoming Book Signings and Events!

August 9

2-4 PM Danyelle will be signing with author and musician C.S. Bezas at Crowley's Book Store @ The Quad 1485 Poleline Rd., Twin Falls, ID

August 10

Danyelle will be signing with authors Karen Hoover and Heather Justesen at The Purple Cow Book Store 992 N. Main St. Tooele, UT

August 19

Lynn will be signing at the Brigham Young University bookstore during education week. 11 AM - 1 PM on Friday.

August 26

Danyelle and author Shannon Groves will be signing and participating in a fundraiser for Special Olympics at Mommy Shop 14870 Metcalf Ave. Overland Park, KS.

September 17

Lynn will be participating in a fundraiser to purchase books for special education classes at Bedford Junior High at the Barnes & Noble 861 NE Mall Blvd Hurst, TX 76053. Come from 10 AM - 6 PM for a book signing, cupcake decorating contest, art contest, and musical performances!

October 18

Lynn will be speaking at the North Richland Hills Public Library 9015 Grand Avenue, North Richland Hills, TX 76180 and signing books.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Book Review: Safe Money Millionaire

From Amazon:
The "Safe Money Millionaire" debunks the financial wisdom that has cost Americans trillions in losses in the stock market. Now more than ever baby boomers and Americans saving for retirement are looking for safety for their money rather than chasing returns on Wall Street. In this book we crush the financial myths ranging from 401(k)’s being a good place for retirement savings, to diversifying with Mutual Funds, to keeping your credit score high and getting a low interest rate. The solution is a predictable, easy to follow plan to growing wealthy without risking money on Wall Street, reducing or eliminating interest paid to banks and credit card companies, plus protecting yourself from taxes that can ravage retirement savings in qualified plans.

I don't have a degree in economics, and am not a financier. But everyone knows that financial news of the last ten years has made us more uncertain of the future than ever. Unscrupulous members of the financial world have made retirement savings evaporate, encouraged overspending on homes, and manipulated the stock market. Those who continue to be financially solvent worry about their jobs and how they will ever be able to retire.

Brett Kitchen and Ethan Kap have exposed the secrets of Wall Street. Using real life examples, they demonstrate how playing the stock market and traditional retirement savings are not the best option. Kitchen & Kap show you a less risky way to grow your wealth in such a way that it lasts at least as long as you do.

This quick read is easy to understand for everyone. Included are instructions to obtain a free financial blueprint designed especially for you.  That alone is worth far more than the cover price.

FTC Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this book, but this did not influence my review.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

No More Labels - Just Eligibilities

I frequently visit with parents about labels. As an educational diagnostician, I am required to justify placing or keeping students in special education by giving them a label. If I don't identify a disability, I can't offer services.

Parents are concerned about labels. They are concerned that their child will be seen as a diagnosis, not a person. I try to explain that this is something the school is required to do, but labels have such a negative connotation, it's hard to overcome.

Labels can be hurtful. Educators rejoiced at the recent federal law that eliminated the term "mental retardation" on favor of "intellectual disability". Let's move away from labels towards eligibilities.

Eligibilities have many purposes. They get you services, both in and out of school. Educators and medical professionals get some information about why a particular student is struggling and what help he or she may need. Funding for many programs are based on the number of eligible students in different categories.

No one likes to think they've been labelled. We are so much more than one description. Let's start using the term "eligibility" so we can remember this is just something that gets people what they need.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Guilt and Disabilities

When parents discover their child has a disability, one of the most common reactions is to look for a cause. I know. I did it.

When my daughter didn't speak according to average developmental milestones, I blamed myself. I thought I hadn't talked enought to her, exposed her to enough language, or had done something else wrong. Later we would discover her hearing problems, which appeared intermittently. No one was at fault--just one of those things that happen.

Parents of children diagnosed with autism believe vaccines were the cause. This is because of the timing of the diagnosis. Despite proof that the study that incorrectly identified a link between autism and vaccines, the belief persists.

My mother still feels guilty because she gave me children's aspirin when I had chickenpox. I didn't have Reye's syndrome, and suffered no long-term effects. But she still feels guilty about a choice she made based on the best information available at the time. This is something mothers do.

Recently I tweeted about the results of a study that identified how many cases of autism were caused by environmental factors. One mother became incensed because she saw this as a scientific effort to blame parents, rather than research into prevention.

Scientists don't examine diseases to make mothers feel guilty. They do it to advance knowledge.

Many parents get stuck in a cycle of guilt. Some may over accomodate their child in an effort to "make it up" to them. They may vent their frustration to the professionals trying to help their youngster.

Guilt is not a productive emotion unless it keeps you from doing something wrong. Guilt kept me paralyzed for a time. Guilt did nothing to help my daughter.

After I made the choice to stop feeling guilty and help my daughter, she began to improve. Despite a later educator's belief that my daughter would not learn to read, she recently completed her freshman year at a leading university. Unmodified.

Get out of the guilt trap and you will be a better parent.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Book Signings and News!

Saturday, June 18, you can meet BOTH of the authors of (dis)Abilities and the Gospel in Dallas or Fort Worth!

From 11-2 we'll be at Moon's Bookstore in Preston Square in Dallas, and from 4-6, we'll be at the Barnes and Noble at 401 Commerce Street in Fort Worth!

We'll have books, treats, and fun! See you there!

We've also had many positive reviews for (dis)Abilities and the Gospel! Here are a few:


Barnes and Noble

Christine Bryant


Tamara Westhoff

Tristi Pinkston

Monday, May 16, 2011

Computer Games Help Stroke Victims Recover

Many people who have had a stroke struggle to regain full control of hand and arm movement. Researchers have discovered video games to help patients recover. Improvements were found in hand/arm coordination, accuracy, and speed. The games also helped restore grip precision and individual finger motion.

Patients played for 2-3 hours per day for eight days. Those who played the games had better reach control, more stable muscle usage, and more smooth, efficient motion. Tests showed more finger control and speed.

The control group, who had uninjured arms, showed no improvement. Patients with a second hand/arm injury also demonstrated no gains in the arm not used for gaming.

The gamers showed improvements of 20-22% over eight days. Certainly worth investigating for more patients.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Acne Drug Miracle for Intellectual Disabilities?

Minocycline, long used as a drug to treat acne, is showing promise in the treatment of intellectual disabilities associated with Fragile X syndrome, autism, and other intellectual disorders.

This medication reduces brain inflammation and suppresses MMP-9, a protein commonly overproduced in the brains of those with Fragile X syndrome. This protein interfers with normal neural development. Other side effects include a graying of the teeth. A few study participants also demonstrated blood test results indicative of an autoimmune disorder, but no other symptoms.

Trials of other medications to treat intellectual disabilities are also underway. Three inhibit production of another overproduced protein. The fourth appears to reduce hyperactivity and hypersensitivity. This medication, Arbaclofen, may help the same symptoms in those with autism.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Book Review - Crazy Daze of Motherhood by Jane Isfeld Still and Contest!

My review:

This book had an unexpected impact on my life. I had taken it along to read during a flight from Philadelphia to Dallas. I was reading (and chuckling) as the very full flight boarded. I was feeling lucky that the two seats next to me were empty when the final passenger boarded. She took the aisle seat, but with the middle seat unoccupied, I was still feeling very fortunate.

My seatmate took one look at the book's cover and asked if I were a mother. I hadn't noticed she was upset during the flurry of stowing luggage and getting settled. This stranger needed kleenex and thought that a mother would have some. I had felt impressed to purchase two packages, so I was well prepared. This encounter set the stage for a delightful conversation all the way to Dallas.

Well, I didn't get the book read until I got home. This is not only a very funny look at motherhood, but is also a book with which many parents will be able to relate. I thought I was the only one living the "I Love Lucy" life!

"Crazy Daze of Motherhood" is a perfect gift for Mother's Day, birthdays, or any time your favorite mother needs a lift. It's the antidote to those dreaded Mother's Day talks about those perfect mothers who bottle fruit, make their own clothing from rags, and can fix their own plumbing while wearing heels and pearls. While you're at it, get a copy for yourself!

From the back cover:

A mother's day is filled with all kinds of emergencies, from bumps and bruises to hospital stays. Find the perfect way to recover from your own family's little emergencies with Jane Isfeld Still's latest book on the hilarious daily challenges of a mother in the fray. You're sure to laugh and cry as you celebrate the joys of motherhood.

About the Author:
Jane is married to Rick Still, who she believes has the distinction of being the only man in history brave enough to give her earwax candles for her birthday. They had six children in eight years, and while her children were growing up, she discovered she had a great sense of humor. At least that was her take. Rick once said to her, "Honey, you know all those real corny things you say all the time? Who ever thought you could make money at it?" Her son Adam once told her, "Mom could you please stop telling jokes to my friends? It's really embarrassing." One of Jane's philosophies is, "You're not doing your job unless your children are worried about being seen in public with you."

To read more about Jane and her exploits visit her website at or her blog at
Jane's Contest:
You can win a fun prize from Jane to help celebrate the release of her book. Just go to her blog at and become a follower, and then leave her a comment and tell her that you're a new follower. You could win:

1. Mother's Daze basket, soap, chocolate, lotion, decorative candles, and recipe cards

2. Box of blank cards with a smattering of Canadian chocolate

3. Chocolate

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Book Reviews - Smartboys Series by Rebecca Shelley

How could you resist a book with the title Bees in my Butt? The sequels, including We Flushed it Down the Potty, I Took a Burp, and I Lost My Head, are equally entertaining.

Bees in my Butt introduces us to the "Smartboys Club", a group of youngsters that are eager to learn, but not to stand out from the other students. Johnny Lovebird (Monkey to his friends) is having, well, some digestive troubles at school caused by a dinner of Mexican food the night before. This could be very embarassing, but Monkey manages to turn this into an advantage when ninjas attack the school.

We Flushed it Down the Potty continues the adventure. Can the friends take on some bullies and find a missing heirloom wedding ring? Once again, Rebecca Shelley has made it cool to be smart while creating an adventure that elementary school children will love.

I Took a Burp introduces us to a new girl in school, Sandra. After she disappears during school, the Smartboys Club members must work together to solve the mystery. Could she really be a spy?

I Lost my Head, the fourth book in the series, reunites the friends in a spooky Halloween tale. Monkey and his friends must work together to rid the school library of a ghost and keep Monkey in the school.

What a fun series, and it's not over yet. Begin your collection of the Smartboys Club books here

Monday, April 4, 2011

New Contest!

(dis)Abilities and the Gospel: How to Bring People with Special Needs Closer to Christ

"(dis)Abilities and the Gospel: A Guide for Parents and Teachers" will be published on May 6, 2011!

This guide helps families, religious leaders, and church teachers include those with disabilities in their congregations. It includes tips for a happier family life, descriptions of the most common types of disabilities, and

In honor of Autism Awareness Month, for every ten autographed copies preordered through this blog, I will donate one copy to a charity, school, or public library.

How will this work? The names of those who preorder will be put in a hat, and one in ten will be selected to choose which organization, school, or library will receive a free autographed copy!

So, click on the link to the left and order your copy now!

Friday, January 14, 2011

Getting fit!

CSN Stores, an online group of more than 200 stores, has asked me to do another product review. I'm thrilled because I enjoy shopping there when I need wall art and decor, personal items, and school supplies.

Well, it's that time of year again. Many people are trying to lose weight, myself included. I even joined a "Biggest Loser" challenge at work. One big challenge is finding time to exercise. I'm looking for something to put in my office to use when I have a free minute to relieve stress and boost my metabolis.

I've decided to try a small step machine. This is the Stamina Inside Pro, and it had very good reviews.
Stamina 40-0048 - InStride Pro Electronic Stepper
It's available for $45, a $139 value, and there's free shipping! Watch this space for information about how quickly it arrived and how well it works. I'm going to try it out, as will other members of my family. I may even let some teachers have a turn--probably a better idea than the chocolate-filled "stress can" I've had in my office.