Monday, November 20, 2017

Steps to a Healthy Home

Healthy Children Project is a project of LDA America. 
LDASC is an affiliate of the Healthy Children Project Coalition.

Steps to a Healthy Home


Cleaning your home and family

  • Buy or make non-toxic cleaning products.
  • Dust and vacuum regularly; remove shoes when entering your home; minimize use of carpets.
  • Do not use anti-bacterial soap; it contains a pesticide (triclosan) that may promote antibiotic-resistant bacteria and disrupt the endocrine system. Regular soap works fine.
  • Look for non-toxic personal care products, such as shampoos, soaps, lotions and cosmetics. Avoid products containing lead, mercury and phthalates (often listed as "fragrance"). For more information, see The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics website.

Make non-toxic cleaning products

It’s easy and inexpensive to keep your family healthy and your house clean using products such as baking soda, club soda, lemon juice, baby oil, and water.
  • Clean windows and mirrors: Use one-fourth cup vinegar mixed with one quart water, or use club soda. Wipe with newspaper.
  • Clean drains: Use a half cup baking soda and half cup vinegar. Pour baking soda followed by vinegar down drain, flush with hot water.
  • Remove spots from carpet: Use club soda and salt, or a 3-to-1 mixture of vinegar and water. Pour onto stains. Allow to bubble, and dab dry.
  • Clean wood furniture or wooden, tile, and linoleum floors : Mix a few drops of vinegar and a capful of baby oil in a bucket of water.
  • Plastics: Never use plastic containers or plastic wrap in the microwave. Minimize use of plastics with food and drink. Do NOT use polycarbonate (7), polyvinyl chloride (3) or polystyrene(6) with food or drink; they can leach toxic chemicals. Safer plastics are PETE (1), HDPE (2), LDPE (4) and polypropylene (5). Avoid polyvinyl chloride (PVC) (3) in toys, teethers, building materials, shower curtains, and other items. Avoid use of polycarbonate plastic (7), especially with food and drink. Use glass or non-polycarbonate plastic baby bottles, and stainless steel or non-polycarbonate sippy cups.
  • Food: Buy organic and/or locally grown food when possible. Farmers markets can be a good source of inexpensive, local, and organic produce. Eat a diet low in animal fats, with lots of fruits and vegetables. Some toxic chemicals accumulate in fatty tissues of animals and then in people. Some fish contain high levels of mercury, PCBs and other toxic chemicals. Choose fish low in mercury and salmon that is wild or canned rather than farm-raised. For guidance see the Natural Resources Defense Council’s website on mercury contamination.
  • Teflon and non-stick pans: Avoid using non-stick (Teflon and other trademarks) pots and pans. Dispose of non-stick pans when the coating is peeling, cracked, or flaking.
  • Pesticides: Minimize, or avoid all together any use of pesticides in your home and garden or on your lawn. For help, advice, and alternatives, see the Beyond Pesticides website.
  • Testing: Get children tested for lead levels at ages one and two. Test water supplies for lead. Test private wells for arsenic and other contaminants on a regular basis.

Saturday, October 7, 2017

Helping A Senior With Depression After The Loss Of A Spouse

Helping A Senior With Depression After The Loss Of A Spouse

by: Jackie Waters from Hyper Tidy

Losing a spouse at any stage of life is an enormous, life-changing event. When it happens to a senior, however, it can be particularly difficult to cope with. After spending so many years together building a life and having children, seeing the person you love go before you is devastating. For many seniors, depression is a very real concern, and it can be amplified by other health concerns or substance abuse.

It’s important to keep in mind that it’s also a very confusing time; many seniors are unsure of where to begin when it comes to making arrangements, informing family members, and getting their affairs into order. This overwhelming process can lead to stress, anxiety, loss of sleep, and mood swings, all of which contribute to depression.

If you have a loved one who has recently lost a spouse and you suspect they may be suffering from depression, it’s never too late to reach out to help. Read on to find out the best ways to get started.

Get support

The loss of a spouse can take a huge toll on an individual, both physically and emotionally, so it’s important to find a means of support outside of friends and family who won’t always be around. A counselor, therapist, or support group for grief are all great ways to help your loved one get through this difficult time. Do some research online and write down names, numbers, websites, and addresses so that when your loved one is ready to take that step, he’ll have a list of resources.

Know the signs of substance abuse

The loss of a partner can be so monumental that it seems that pain will never go away. People who are coping with loss and grief often turn to a substance that helps them numb those feelings, and it’s all too easy to become dependent on those substances. Knowing the warning signs of substance abuse will allow you to help your loved one before any damage is done. These include:

       Sleeping too much or too little
       A lack of hygiene
       Sudden mood swings
       Withdrawing from friends and family
       Having a strong odor of alcohol on their breath, or constantly using mouthwash/mints
       Chills or sweating
       Changes in behavior
       Tremors in the hands

Depression and substance abuse are often diagnosed together. For more information on how to get help for your loved one who is exhibiting these symptoms, read on here.

Get help

For many seniors, a spouse can play the role of caregiver. As the years go on and we begin to exhibit more and more health issues, having a loving partner there to help with medicine and doctor’s visits and to be a comforting presence in case of an emergency is essential. Your loved one must now face living alone and all that entails. One of the best ways to help ease some of the stress that brings is to find help. Whether it’s in the form of a friend or family member coming over a few times a week to assist with laundry and the dishes or hiring a housekeeper to come and help out, your loved one will benefit from having someone there. You might also consider hiring a home health nurse if your loved one has physical ailments.

It can be difficult to watch your loved one go through such a hard time, so think about yourself and your emotional needs, as well, especially if these are family members or close friends. Don’t hesitate to reach out for help if you feel you need to talk to someone. It’s not selfish to keep your own needs in mind when someone you care about passes away.

Sunday, October 1, 2017

Special Children, Special Care

Special Children, Special Care

by: Jenny Wise of Special Home Educator

All children will experience accidents, injuries, and illnesses. Most of these are temporary and won’t interfere with the child’s quality-of-life, mental development, or their ability to care for themselves in adulthood. However, some conditions, such as epilepsy, spina bifida, and cerebral palsy, require around-the-clock care and lifelong accommodations.

Here, we'll answer a few of the most common questions related to the everyday (and future) care of special needs children.

What is a chronic illness/permanent disability and how common are they?

The University of Michigan estimates that up to 18% of children born in the United States have a chronic health condition. A chronic condition is any illness or physical impairment that is expected to last the duration of the child’s life. Asthma and diabetes are two of the most common chronic illnesses in children and are typically manageable, allowing the child to lead a relatively normal life with few modifications. Other conditions, including cystic fibrosis and muscular dystrophy, persist with permanent life-altering symptoms.

How is caring for a special-needs child different than that of other children?

Children with some disabilities, such as Down syndrome, require care very similar to normally developing children. Mild to moderate disabilities may necessitate additional medical care, screenings, and monitoring for issues of the thyroid, heart, and cognitive development. Children with more pronounced disabilities will need assistance with basic functions related to hygiene, medication, and with any durable medical appliances such as a ventilator, catheter, or tracheotomy tube. Whereas non-special-needs children are typically self-sufficient by their teen years, those with exceptional health conditions may require indefinite care and companionship.

Who should act as caregiver for a special needs child/adult?

At the age of 18, children, regardless of disabilities, are seen as adults and thus, by law, are responsible for their own personal and financial well-being. Parents of children with significant disabilities may wish to apply for legal guardianship status, which allows them to continue to make important financial and medical decisions on behalf of their offspring. An adult under the guardianship of another is called a ward. Often, personal, medical, and financial decisions for the ward are made by the same person. Physically incapacitated adults may be capable of making decisions about their care but may not be able to handle financial tasks. In this case, a conservator may be necessary. A conservator is a person or entity responsible for making financial decisions for the disabled individual but has no authority over medical care. As parents age, it may become necessary to appoint a successor guardian and/or conservator. A guardian/caregiver should be someone with whom the child has held a relationship with and can be trusted to consider the child’s best interest for the duration of his or her life. The American Bar Association explains that conservatorship and guardianship carry different responsibilities depending on state of appointment.

Are there financial assistance programs available to help offset the cost of long-term care?

Medical care is exponentially expensive with a price tag that can reach into the millions of dollars over the course of a lifetime. There are a number of federal programs for persons with disabilities to help cover living expenses and medical costs. The US Department of Health and Human Services notes there are more than a dozen special services that provide for the educational and welfare needs of children and adults with disabilities that prevent them from maintaining gainful employment; this list is a good place to start, but, depending upon the state of residence, other assistance may be available.

Caring for a child with disabilities is an emotionally and physically exhausting experience but one that is not without its rewards. These children are remarkable fighters and instill a sense of awe and wonderment in their friends and family. Parents of kids with special needs are truly some of the world’s greatest superheroes with the ability to reach into the future to ensure the health and safety of their alternately-able children.

Friday, September 29, 2017

Learning Disabilities Association of America

If you believe children deserve clean air and drinking water, and healthy places to live, play and learn, now is the time to stand up and take action (!

A well-funded EPA means healthy children and families, able to learn and thrive safe from toxic chemicals and pollution. Your Senators need to hear from you now! In a few months it will be too late - EPA's budget could be in shreds and children's health at risk. 

The president has proposed a 31 percent cut to the budget of the Environmental Protection Agency. If these cuts are approved, no one stands to lose more than our children.                 

Without your voice, we could lose: 

- Protections for our most vulnerable citizens – our children;
- Programs that remove lead from homes and schools
- Funding for state and local monitoring of air quality and warning systems 
- EPA safety evaluations and restrictions on neurotoxic chemicals 
- State grants for clean drinking water. 

Together we can protect our children's precious growing minds and bodies by ensuring EPA has the resources to keep our air, drinking water, food and products clean and safe. 

Let's raise our strong LDA voices [ ] on behalf of children's health. Together we can take action [  and keep EPA working for all of us!

Thank you for everything you do on behalf of young minds! 

Sunday, March 26, 2017

RTI Discussion...

 Response from Bev Johns, Jim Kauffman, and Ed Martin 
[ See The Concept of RTI: Billion-Dollar Boondoggle at ] 

1. We welcome thoughtful dialogue on the broad issue of multi-tiered education, including RTI, MTSS, and other frameworks that elaborate education, general and special (see especially the second paragraph of The Concept of RTI). The reply seems, to us, pejorative in tone, an unfortunate characteristic given the fact that we all seek to strengthen instruction for all children but, being special educators, especially those with special educational needs. 

2. We point out that in well-controlled applications by researchers, RTI has had positive outcomes, but also observe that wide-spread adoption without the active and intensive support of external researchers, extensive training, etc. seems unlikely to obtain that result. As the Alternative Facts pdf of the Consortium for Evidence-Based Early Intervention states, "An Institute of Education Sciences guidance document on RTI by many of the same researchers (Gersten et al., 2009) reported that implementation of RTI in controlled settings with guidance from individuals with expertise external to the school (e.g., researchers) was effective for improving reading skills, especially in grade 1."

3. Our concern about the current direction of special education is that despite good intentions, prompt identification and provision of effective instruction seems to have become secondary in importance, and prolonged failure is required rather than avoided (recent revelations about special education in the Houston schools in Texas and in schools in many other States may be relevant here).

4. The concept of RTI was presented in IDEA in 2004, was soon widely adopted in many schools, and became used in too many cases as a tactic of delaying special education, prompting a memorandum from OSEP in 2011 (January 21). In 2015, a letter (October 23) from OSERS explained that MTSS and PBIS are, actually, another form of RTI: "For those students who may need additional academic and behavioral supports to succeed in a general education environment, schools may choose to implement a multi-tiered system of supports (MTSS), such as response to intervention (RTI) or positive behavioral interventions and supports (PBIS)."

Alternative Facts states: "In 2013, math and reading scores for fourth and eighth graders reached a new high on the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP). Dropout rates are down and college attendance is up, especially for African- American and Latino students. This is real and meaningful progress. However, we cannot claim the same progress for students with disabilities for whom the achievement gaps continued to widen (our emphasis). On the NAEP, from 2009 to 2013, proficiency levels decreased for students with disabilities while they increased for non-disabled students, making the gap in proficiency larger between the two groups." 

5. The proponents of change, particularly of drastic change, must bear the burden of proof that that change works in the absence of researchers' presence. The proponents of RTI seek to make that case, and we would welcome such findings. 

The lack of perfection is no reason for change, as certain changes most certainly make things worse than the status quo. 

We are in favor of the status quo only when a proposed alternative produces no better outcomes. Such improved outcomes must be observed when the intervention is brought to scale and is no longer a phenomenon that occurs only when researchers carefully control implementation. 

Again, we do hope for additional, reasoned, discussion of special education's many issues, including frameworks for serving students with special educational needs.