Skip to main content

Posts

Showing posts from April, 2007

The Multiracial Identity

(Cross posted at Say: Reader Blogs.)

This is an interesting listen, Multiracial Identity in America Today.
Led by mixed race celebrities like Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL) and Tiger Woods, race, culture and identity are changing in America. Is being multi-racial an identity all its own, or a delicate balance of old divides?

Orin Starn, cultural anthropologist at Duke University

Debra Dickerson, author of The End of Blackness

Sundee Frazier, author of Check All That Apply: Finding Wholeness as a Multiracial Person
There's not much angst in our house about what racial category the kids belong to. We've fallen into taking an "all of the above" approach when necessary. If a form that we have to fill out doesn't allow for checking multiple boxes we leave it blank or check multiple boxes anyway. On one occasion we pointed out that the categories available where in adequate for accurately describing our children.

I have no idea how others choose to categorize them and that's no…

Thankful Thursday

I missed posting the last two Thursdays because life's been a little hectic. It still is but I'm feeling slightly more emotionally stable at the moment. I'm having a party at the house tonight so, despite all of the work I have to do to get ready, having that to look forward to helps. So today I am thankful for/that:
Parties.
Pretty things.
Sunshine.
Spring blooming flowers.
Spring time warmth.
God's grace and mercy.
Friends.
Evil will not prevail.
Hope.
Wisdom.
Bird songs.
Sophia and Ethan's enthusiastic help with gardening projects.
Isaiah is acquiring more skills at school and more often uses yes/no in the appropriate context.
Sophia:Mommy where are my sunglasses?!
Me:On your head.
Sophia:Oh.
What are you thankful for?

Forced abortions in China

(Cross posted at Say Anything: Reader Blogs.)

This is pure evil, Cases of Forced Abortions Surface in China. I knew that forced abortions happened with alarming regularity but to hear the voices of the women it has happened to is chilling.
During the past week, dozens of women in southwest China have been forced to have abortions even as late as nine months into the pregnancy, according to evidence uncovered by NPR.

China's strict family planning laws permit urban married couples to have only one child each, but in some of the recent cases — in Guangxi Province — women say they were forced to abort what would have been their first child because they were unmarried. The forced abortions are all the more shocking because family planning laws have generally been relaxed in China, with many families having two children.

Liang Yage and his wife Wei Linrong had one child and believed that — like many other couples — they could pay a fine and keep their second baby. Wei was seven months preg…

Tales From The Crib

I'm going to buy stock in the Clorox company. I go through so much of their stuff cleaning up after Isaiah that I'm bound to get a good return on my investment. I ought to buy stock in some company that makes paper towels and plastic spray bottles too. Isaiah has had several diaper "incidents" over the past few weeks that have required the use of lots of bleach to clean up. I've also ended up doing lots of extra loads of laundry. Sometimes I've had to put things back in the wash just hours after I'd put them away. Which reminds me that I probably ought to consider stock in laundry detergent and washer and dryer manufactures.

I thought that perhaps Isaiah had grown out of this but apparently not. While he's making progress in some areas (as in he occasionally uses "yes" and "no" appropriately, I've caught him counting, singing the alphabet, and labeling shapes and other objects in books on numerous occasions, and I can get him to…

Be a Egg

Hubby posted this quote from Sophia a few days ago. It's so funny that I'm sharing it here as well. I've added exclamation marks because she was just so excited at the time.

"Be a egg! You ca' do it, Mommy! You ca' do it! Mommy, be a egg! Mommy, take your glasses off! Now be a egg. Mommy, wanna be a grass?"

-- Sophia, while decorating Easter eggs yesterday [Good Friday]

Kissing the Boo boo

When I was a teenager I was always amazed that Sis3 would stop crying over a boo boo if I kissed it. I didn't think that it would work the first time I tried it. It did and every time afterward a kiss was all it took to dry up the tears and send her on her merry way (to acquire another boo boo).

Now that I've introduced the concept to Sophia (the boys never went for it) se's gone for it whole heartedly. I realize that the kiss it and make it better approach works with kids because we tell them it works. The first time I tried it on Sophia she immediately stopped crying and went back to playing. That was just a few weeks ago. Ever since then she has been randomly walking up to me and demanding that I kiss various body parts. Usually a dirty little foot (she hates socks) or a sticky little hand. Sophia currently has a scratch on her hand that she has demanded that I kiss so often that I put a bandage on it. Of course it didn't stay on and I'm back to having to kiss he…

Autism on Wikipedia

(Cross posted at Say Anything: Reader Blogs.)

Wikipedia has a surprisingly thorough (as of this posting) entry on autism. Despite the sections that are flagged as needing citation someone (or several someones) has done a very good job of bringing together some of the more reliable information available to the public about autism. It lists the DSM criteria but not the ICD criteria for diagnosing autism.

The entry mentions (but does not use) the terms high functioning and low functioning that are sometimes applied to people with autism. I confess that I have come to detest these terms and avoid them like the plague. They don't really convey any reliable information about the abilities of the individuals they are supposed to describe.

The entry also has information on how autism results from changes to nearly every part of the brain (resulting from heritable changes at the genetic level). Since this is my preferred theory on how autism works I'll post the information here for your e…

I can not mourn

Today is Good Friday, the day that Christians around the world remember the crucifixion and death of Jesus Christ. It is supposed to be a somber day when we dwell on his suffering, his death, and his separation from God. I always find it difficult to be somber and mournful on Good Friday. His disciples were no doubt in shock and abject misery over his death but from this side of history I know how the story ends. I know that death could not hold the Son of God. I know that he rose from the dead not long after his burial. I know that he ascended into heaven. I know that he sits at the right hand of God intervening on my behalf. I know that because he defeated death it holds no sting for me.

So on Good Friday I simply wait. I enjoy the new life that Jesus' sacrifice bought me and I prepare for the celebration to come.

Autism Research

As a parent of autistic children I would like to do as much as I can to help those who will come after. I hope that all of the things that I struggle through can some how help other parents of autistic children in the future. To that end I am always looking for research projects to get involved in. NPR recently highlighted the Kennedy Krieger Institute and its efforts to help parents find research programs.
Online Project Promotes Autism Research
Parents of children with autism are often part of online communities. Researchers at the Kennedy Krieger Institute in Baltimore have set up an online registry to involve families in research efforts. They've set up an online registry that allows people to provide data on autistic children.
One research site that I found on my own is the Autism Genetic Resource Exchange. This site allows families to be included in the many genetic studies being conducted.

Autism and the Brain: part three

(Cross posted at Say Anything: Reader Blogs.)

Here's part three. (See part one and part two.) This section includes a lot of the small squishy bits that aren't easy to get to but seem to have a large part in running the show. As in, these are the bits that will let you walk, talk, and chew gum all at the same time without hurting yourself.

Other Brain Structures and Functions

Limbic system functions and structures
Controls Emotions, Emotional Responses, Hormonal Secretions,Mood, Motivation, Pain and Pleasure Sensations

Amygdala
Arousal
Controls Autonomic Responses Associated with Fear
Emotional Responses
Hormonal Secretions
The amygdala is an almond shaped mass of nuclei located deep within the temporal lobes, medial to the hypothalamus and adjacent to the hippocampus.

Cingulate Gyrus
Coordinates Sensory Input With Emotions
Emotional Responses to Pain
Regulates Aggressive Behavior
A gyrus is a fold or "bump" in the brain. The cingulate gyrus is superior to the corpus callosum, loca…

Thankful Thursday

Today I am thankful for/that:
Sleep.
Spring is here! (Even if it doesn't look like it right now.)
Modern medicine.
Wisdom.
Knowledge.
The internet. It's the great information highway and the great equalizer.
Isaiah has been dressing himself with a minimum of help from me.
What are you thankful for?

We made the news

Sophia made it into the picture of the day.


The caption reads: "Anya Burkhart, 5, center, attempts to catch some of the bubbles floating around the Upstate Cerebral Palsy's Promise Family Picnic Tuesday, April 3, 2007, to help celebrate Autism Awareness Month in April. Behind Burkhart is Sierra Larkin, and at bottom right is Sophia Pierce, 2."

This picture and a picture of me rolling up Isaiah's sleeve made it into the Utica paper today. I haven't been able to find that picture yet. We were visiting Isaiah's school for the annual family picnic.

If you're wondering why Isaiah is going to a school two counties away (two and half if you count the fact that we are in the middle of our county) it's because there were no programs for autistic children that we thought would be appropriate for Isaiah with openings any closer than that. It's a long haul out to Utica but it is the kind of environment that Isaiah needs.

Autism and the Brain: part two

(Cross posted at Say Anything: Reader Blogs.)

Here's part two. (See part one and part three.)
Other Brain Structures and Functions

Cerebellum
Controls Fine Movement Coordination
Balance and Equilibrium
Muscle Tone
The cerebellum is located just above the brainstem, beneath the occipital lobes at the base of the skull.

Corpus Callosum
Connects the Left and Right Hemispheres
The corpus callosum is a thick band of fibers located between the cerebral hemispheres.

Brain stem
Alertness, Arousal, Breathing, Blood Pressure, Contains Most of the Crainal Nerves, Digestion, Heart Rate, Other Autonomic Functions, Relays Information Between the Peripheral Nerves and Spinal Cord to the Upper Parts of the Brain. It is located at the juncture of the cerebrum and the spinal column. It consists of the midbrain, medulla oblongata, and the pons.

Basal ganglia
Controls Cognition
Movement Coordination
Voluntary Movement
The basal ganglia is located deep within the cerebral hemispheres in the telencephalon region of the…

Autism and the Brain: part one

(Cross posted at Say Anything: Reader Blogs.)

Just in case you didn't know April is autism awareness month. Sooner or later the same stories about claims that mercury causes autism that we get every year will surface. Lets not go down that road shall we? When it comes to understanding autism I like to start with the brain and work my way outwards to the whole person. So lets start at the top and work our way down shall we? (See part two and part three.)

Cerebrum functions and structures
Determines Intelligence
Personality
Interpretation of Sensory Impulses
Motor Function
Planning and Organization
Touch Sensation
The cerebrum is located in the anterior portion of the forebrain. It is divided into two hemispheres that are connected by the corpus callosum.

Frontal lobes
Motor Functions, Higher Order Functions, Planning, Reasoning, Judgement, Impulse Control, Memory
The frontal lobes are the anterior portion of the cerebral cortex.
Broca's Area
Controls Facial Neurons and Speech Production, Und…

Need Sleep

I just spent yesterday and today sitting behind a table vending at a workshop. Who knew sitting behind a table all day could make you so tired? I think the last time I felt this tired was when the kids were newborns. It was a good first experience at vending though.