Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Wellness Wednesday - Taking Risks and Finding Balance

I had an adventure a couple of weeks ago that has ongoing implications for the rest of my life.

My husband and I were previewing rental properties in anticipation of my son and his family moving into our area. We thought we had found the perfect home for them and reported this information.

On the way home, we stopped for lunch at a local restaurant. We had both eaten there many times before. I thought it was odd that my lips felt "itchy" on the way back to the car. We stopped to do some grocery shopping, and I noticed that my mouth also felt irritated. When the inflammation reached my throat, I realized that I was experiencing an anaphylactic reaction.

Fortunately we were only a block from the hospital, and medical intervention saved my life. We at first believed that this was a reaction to either tuna or broccoli, which had been my lunch. When I returned home (several hours later), I discovered a bite on the back of my knee. My doctor later identified it as a spider bite.

Massive doses of steroids later, I was scheduled to undergo allergy testing to determine the true cause of the reaction, only to discover that it would have to wait as it takes a month for those medications to clear my system.

Meanwhile, I avoid food I didn't make myself as I can't control cross-contamination. I carry an Epi-Pen at all times, and have trained family and coworkers in its use.

I also am on the lookout for spiders.

To be continued.....

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Special Education Saturday - Starting at a New School

Changing schools is challenging for all children, and those with a disability have an especially difficult time. Here are a few tips to ease the transition:

  • Bring your IEP, report card, and most recent evaluation from the previous school. This will help the staff make placement and service decisions faster. 
  • Don't walk in with a list of demands, or complaints about your previous faculty. None of those people work at your new school. Give them a chance for a fresh start. 
  • Have positive conversations with your child about making new friends and all the fun and exciting things that will happen in the new year. 
  • Discuss possible extra-curricular activities your youngster may enjoy, and encourage her to participate in at least one. 
  • Start school bedtimes now so the transition will be easier. 
  • Check out possible routes to and from school now so you can look for traffic jams and reduce stress later. 
  • Even if you don't have access to the school supply list (although most will have them posted on their web sites or available in larger stores), get a few basics, such as pens, pencils, map colors, notebooks, and paper.
  • Get everything ready the night before. That also avoids the last-minute rush.
  • Encourage your child to introduce himself to new friends, and practice this with him. 
  • Talk to other parents in your neighborhood to get tips for your child. 
  • Offer a few choices to your child so she will feel more in control, such as selecting between two outfits or two types of food for lunch.
  • For secondary students, you may want to pack a lunch as navigating the lunch lines on the first day may prove too much of a challenge. 
  • Take your youngster to the library and read some books about the first day of school to reduce anxiety.
  • If a meet the teacher night is available, take advantage of it!
How do you prepare your children for a new school?

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Wellness Wednesday - What Your Desk Says about You

Conventional wisdom is that a messy desk means a messy mind. New studies from the University of Minnesota tell us things are not that simple.

If your desk is clean, these researchers determined that you are more likely to eat healthy, be generous, and conventional. This is because a neat work area encourages good behavior in other life aspects, including obeying the law, refraining from littering, and more generous actions. In other words, society's expectations were met.

Those with a messier work area think more creatively and formulate new ideas. When given a choice between new and established products, they choose novelty. This environment seems to encourage "outside of the box" thinking and originality.

Which environment do you prefer? Which would you encourage your children to have?

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Special Education Saturday - 1 in 3 Teens Experience Dating Violence

Recent studies have revealed that 1 in three teens report they have been the victim of dating violence, with an equal amount reporting they have been perpetrators. These percentages are even higher when one of the parties has a disability.

The aggression can be sexual, physical, or emotional. What can you do to protect your teen? Begin with prevention:

  • Explain that students who bully others are more likely to engage in dating violence than those who don't. 
  • Build a good communication system so your child can confide in you
  • Demonstrate and discuss aspects of positive relationships
You should also be alert to the signs your child is involved in an unsafe relationship:
  • Suspicious bruises or injuries
  • Failing grades
  • Loss of interest in preferred activities
  • Making excuses for the other person's behavior
  • Needing to respond immediately to calls/texts from the partner
  • Fearfulness of the dating partner
  • A significant age difference (3+ years)
Things to look for in potential perpetrators:
  • Insults dating partners
  • Controls dress or actions of the partner
  • Loses temper easily
  • Monitors partner through technology
  • Threatens to hurt the partner if he or she leaves

How do you protect your child from dating violence?