A Fair Copy

What are the mechanics of writing? I’m not thinking of what English teachers are looking for: spelling, grammar, capitalization. I’m describing the kinesthetic movement of a pen across paper as ideas flow from the mind in time with the forearm. The pen responds to pressure points on the inner middle finger, the bottom of the thumb, and the pad of the forefinger. Applying this subtle pressure, and coordinating my thoughts in time with my wrist’s slow movement across the page, allows me to express myself. Recently I heard a lecture by the novelist and travel writer, Paul Theroux. He spoke

Review: Not What I Expected by Rita Eichenstein

I highly recommend this book for parents of atypical children: Not What I Expected (2015, Perigree Books) by Rita Eichenstein, PhD. Starting with the play on words on that other popular parenting book, you quickly perceive that Eichenstein is a wonderful, creative neuropsychologist who conveys her compassion for parents starting with the thwarting of their expectations for a healthy, normal child. The predominant theme in this book might be expressed in the saying, “Mourn the child you thought you had, then embrace the one you do.” The author uses the framework of the five stages of grief to give parents

Not Just a Pretty Face

Channing Tatum… so Hollywood, right? “I have never considered myself a very smart person, for a lot of reasons,” he says. “Not having early success on that one path messes with you. You get lumped in classes with kids with autism and Down Syndrome, and you look around and say, Okay, so this is where I’m at. Or you get put in the typical classes and you say, All right, I’m obviously not like these kids either. So you’re kind of nowhere. You’re just different. The system is broken. If we can streamline a multibillion-dollar company, we should be able

Floortime, or DIR: the politics of special needs

For those of you interested in people on the autism spectrum, you have probably heard of Floortime. For some of you, this may be a new term, which describes a treatment for people on the spectrum — but also people (usually young children) who have a sensory integration disorder. With Floortime (also called DIR), the child engages with the parent or other adult on the floor in communication activities to develop language, both receptive and expressive. I attended a screening of a fascinating film made by two parents of a boy who had autistic-like symptoms, who responded well to the

The Secret of Happiness

Hmm, this wasn’t entirely mindful, but I was preparing a meal and I put on the radio. The show happened to be on happiness, and the scientific bases of happiness. The biggest contributor to being happy was being “present”, to be doing what you “should” be doing. The opposite of happy was to be doing one thing but thinking of something else. Being mindful generates a state of happiness… not when your mind is wandering. Which sounds exactly like the mindfulness practice for controlling ADHD behaviors and emotions. All you need to do when you are worrying or feeling frantic

Flowing Thoughts, or the Curse of Cursive

My concern for all kids is whether or not they are developing a “flow” in their thinking and expression of their thoughts. Personally, I think there is a pervasive shift in the way we are communicating (a lot more oral communication and visual communication, and a lot less written). Are schools stuck in the old ways? But… how are we going to communicate / transmit ideas without being fluent written communicators? I don’t see how we can have logical arguments without being able to point to specific ideas or thoughts — it’s hard to know exactly what someone said or