Saturday, March 9, 2013

47 years and counting backwards

Today is my 47th birthday. I am a firm believer that we are only as young as we feel and act. My actions come directly from the way I feel; so, today I will begin to make changes. I will stop the negativity I let others bring into my life.  I will stop allowing other people make me feel unimportant. I am who I am and I will be proud to be me. Yes, I laugh too loud, say bad words in the wrong places, use bad grammar in my pronunciation, wear the wrong shoes with my outfit, have a few too many wrinkles, and have let my middle section expand a little more than I ever wished for, but damn it I Am ALIVE and living it at a young 47.

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Could My Child REALLY have a Learning Disability

Do you ever ask yourself why your child isn't getting A+s on her spelling test like little Meg or Dylan? Does homework time at your house turn into war time? When you set out to help with homework, do you find:

A. That you are doing most of the work?
B. That you almost have to physically forcing that child of yours to pick up a pencil?  
C. That homework time is torture for both, you and your child?
D. That you often, sometimes, or always give in or give up?    
E. That homework time often ends with tears (mostly your tears)?                                      

You are NOT alone!!! 
As a present high school special education teacher, former elementary and middle school special education teacher, mother of a child with a learning disability, and adult with learning disability I have heard, seen, and been through it ALL. I know homework is often painful for parent(s) and child. Research reports that 1 in every 5 students in the United States has a learning disability. It can be difficult to imagine your child having learning difficulties, but if you SUSPECT problems DON'T WAIT!. Be proactive in your child’s learning life. The first step is to admit that your child might learn a little differently than other students in the classroom. But you are not in the classroom, so how are you to know these things. Has your child’s teacher reached out to you with concerns about grades, difficulties in the classroom like not participating, or behavior issues? If you answered Yes to any of these 3 you should wave your hands in the air and begin asking questions. BUT let me very clear, I am Not trying to scare the pants off of you by suggesting that if your child’s teacher has contacted you with these concerns - he or she has a learning disability. Students with learning disorders are the first to recognize that they are different. They may not know exactly what is wrong, but they do notice that the kid next to them always gets better grades. Many students refrain from saying anything because they feel like they are doing something wrong or may get into trouble for making bad grades. Students with learning disabilities are often labeled as being “LAZY”; they may even think of themselves as being DUMB (bad word). The words lazy or dumb are not in any of the defining term that describe kids with a  learning disorder, in fact, students with learning disabilities are just as smart as other kids. Often a child with a learning disorder has a higher IQ than that of their “normal’ classmates. A learning disability is not a problem with intellect or motivation, it simply means that their brain is wired a little differently, which can affect how they receive and process information. Example: a computer is programmed to do certain task or respond a certain way, but if one computer is programmed a little differently than the others guess what? You got it...that computer is not going to process or respond in the way the other computers do.. Learning disorder is a term used to cover a wide assortment of learning problems, meaning that no two are alike. Each child with a learning disorder is exceptional. The way they think, hear, and see is unique to that child. One child may struggle with math but loves reading, while another loves to read but can’t understand simple math. The problems are very different, but they all classify as learning disabilities. Although learning disabilities do not have symptoms or stick out like a knot on the head, there are warning signs you can look for, some being more common among age groups. I have listed some common warning signs for learning disabilities, but REMEMBER not to panic if a couple of these behaviors are familiar. The time for concern is when there is a pattern of inconsistency in your child’s ability to master certain skills.
 YES, YES, YES!!!! ,Children with learning disabilities can and do find success. Encouragement from parents, teachers and friends are crucial to that success. Keep in mind that most students with a learning disability has spent many hours tearing their own self esteem apart. You would really be surprised at how far words of encouragement go.
 To be proactive it is super important to pay close attention to your child’s developmental stages. When problems are recognized early they can be addressed appropriately and corrected. However, it is important to know that children that DOES NOT have a learning disability may exhibit some of these difficulties also, but a child with a learning disability will consistently experience these difficulties. Children with learning disabilities can and often do succeed in school and life.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Being a mother is the hardest job on earth

My youngest son, Connor age 11, has gone to war with what I thought was the flu. He began feeling yucky Sunday afternoon, and tonight he is still running a temperature, coughing, and just plain dreadful feeling. This illness my son has contracted has become my personal vendetta. I have armed myself with fever reducers, mucus destroyers, allergy meds, and any and every fluid (water, juice, ginger ale) on the market. Over the past three days I questioned myself about being an OTC pusher, but I keep reminding myself that this is a war against the sickness that has invaded my son’s body. I called the doctor yesterday, but he seemed to be pulling out of it. The doctor’s advice, “Keep doing what you are doing and if he doesn’t seem to be any better within 24 hours call me back.” Connor appeared at my bedside at 5 a.m., “Momma, I feel hot.” YES! He was on fire, to put it mildly. His temperature was 104.4, and his dad activated the OMG – It is time to panic, wake the house, and scare the holy crap out of the 11 year old with the high fever alarm. No one goes back to sleep after one of these panic alarms goes off. I then took on the role of calming the house hold down, medicating my child, medicating my husband, reassuring WEWE dog (our Carine Terrier), who thought we were in the midst of some sort of home invasion, which in one aspect we were. David, my husband, forgets that I have already been through this twice with both Luke and Andrew. Luke, being my healthiest child, has by far been the easiest to care for medically. Andrew, on the other hand, had been the toughest. Five years ago when Andrew was 16, he complained several days in a row of not feeling well. He would come home from basketball practice and go straight to be. I woke up the following Sunday morning to get everyone up and ready for church. When Andrew opened his eyes to look at me, I immediately became alarmed. A mother’s intuition if you will, but I knew something terrible was wrong. I instantly checked his temperature which registered at 105.5. Getting him up, into the car, and to the hospital, 20 miles away, felt like an eternity. I prayed so very hard that day. The hospital took him back simultaneously with our arrival. His fever was the same, 105.5, but his blood pressure was 63/52 (or something very low). This was my OMG – panic mode. I honestly thought I was losing my 16 year old child, but I wasn’t and didn’t. Andrew had contracted two types of mononucleosis. The blood pressure was part of his body’s defense to such a high fever. It took months for Andrew to seem normal again. When Andrew turned 17, he had his first seizure. It was early in the morning when I went into his room to get him up for school. He stood up out of bed and fell backward and went into seizure activity. This has to be one of the scariest things a parent can witness. I am proud to say that his seizures completely under control now. He was not diagnosed with Epilepsy. He was diagnosed with growing too quickly. His body frame had grown into a 6 foot tall man, but his nervous system had not caught up. Finally, about one year ago Andrew was diagnosed with type one diabetes. May I say that this is a life altering disease for the patient and the patient’s family? One thing I vividly remember was his brother, Lucas, crying like a baby when I gave him the news about Andrew. God is in complete control! We cry, scream, curse, kick, and then ask why him and not me. I begged God to take Andrew’s diabetes away and give it to me. Guess what? God doesn’t bargain either. So as I lay here tonight gleaming at my sick Connor, I know things will change soon and we will get back to normal. After all of our ups and downs with Andrew, we always seem to pass go and eventually end up at normal. Normalcy is underrated, a quote in my book Eyes of the Washington Monument from the main character Jacky Dandridge. So my prayer tonight is: Now I lay me down to sleep and pray to my Lord my soul he will keep; but if I shall pass before morning begins, please lead my family to normalcy again. Good night All! S. G.

Hello Hero

The title of my next book. Middle grade nouvelle.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

another school shooting

CCU shooting - This is a madness that is quickly becoming trendy.

Middle school children and drama

There is more drama in a middle school than on any of the housewives’ reality shows, or the Kardashians. These kids could rake in the ratings. Before 10:00 a.m. eastern standard time, we had broken up a couple of fights, lives were threatened, and emotions really flew high. We still have two hours left, holy smokes Batman. We also had guest from a local college visiting today. What excitement for them to see! Every day in the life of a middle school teacher needs to be the title of my next book, but I am sure it has been done. Middle school children are from a different time and era. We do not understand their lingo, we do not understand the decisions they make, and we spend way too much time trying to change them. Changing them is not an option. Not to say they will never change because they will. Most will be for the better and some for the worse. My husband and I had a conversation just the other day about homosexuality. I think that a person does not choose his/her sexuality. My husband disagrees and feels that something happens in a person's life that leads them in the direction of homosexuality. I guess the same could be said for career criminals, as well as CEOs. But what, where does it all come together, or in some cases, how does it all fall apart?

Monday, February 25, 2013

Twelve years and peddling

Yesterday marked twelve years my husband, David, and I have been married. David's first marriage and my second. Twelve years ago, David not only married me, he became the instant father of two little boys. My oldest two sons, who are now 24 and 21, were 10 and 7 when they met their "new" dad. With Lucas, the oldest, it was instant love. They went fishing together, they played football, basketball, and everything else together. Andrew, the younger of the two, was a much tougher egg to crack. He wasn't ready to make room in our home, or our lives for anyone else. Needless to say, we muddled through many rough, tough, ugly, funny, tearful, times and became a family. Shortly after everything began to feel normal again, along came Connor. Connor is David’s only biological son and my third. Lucas was thirteen and Andrew ten, the day Connor made his entrance into the world. It was instant love for the three brothers. Andrew did have a few issues with not being the baby after ten years, but he loved his baby brother. Lucas and Andrew have their own lives now. They come in and out of ours at their convenience, as most young adult do, but Connor misses them so. He does remember a time when the three of them sat at the breakfast table every school morning, as well as the supper table every night. He remembers watching them play video games and telling on them for saying bad words. He feels he has become an only child with one mother and three fathers. But he is okay with that. He is relishes any time spent with his brothers. Twelve years went by in a minute and that scares me to death. The boys grew and continue to grow without a pause button. David and I have noticed wrinkles and graying hair, a little thickness through the middle, and that we both are a little mellower. The most important lesson I have learned from life, I did not learn in college, I did not learn from my parents, I have not learned from teaching school; I have learned life’s most important lessons through my relationships with other people. First, my relationship with my husband; secondly, my very different relationships with my boys; and lastly, my relationship with everyone else in the world, because truly that is all we have. Please don’t misunderstand, there are some very important people who fit into the “everyone” else category, and many of those people I treasure in my life, but they did put the nails my walls. They may have helped lay a little foundation along the way, but my husband and children helped me build my world as I know it today. Let me not leave out the man upstairs. My gracious, most giving God. He keeps the walls up and the foundation solid. He is a miracle worker, and my savior. He accepts me as I am – thank goodness. I sometimes laugh with him and think….oh well; you created me and said I could not be perfect, so this is what we get. Yes, I speak out of turn (lots), and things that should stay in my thoughts escape from my mouth at inappropriate times (lots), but that is who I am. David, thank you for loving me and my two little boys when you could have turned away and never looked back. Lucas and Andrew, thank you for loving me through all of the mistakes I made when it was just the three of us; also, the plenty I have made since. Connor thank you for loving us unconditionally and completely, regardless of what you have endured in a home of many differences. God, thank you for my wonderful foundation, walls, and roof; also, for all the others that helped lay that foundation. I am extremely excited about the next twelve years. Who knows, I might become a grandmother, but only when the time is right and that is not right now! S