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Quirky Ben

Dan E. Burns University of North Texas Press PDF

Quirky Ben

August 1987. Carrollton, Texas

“Do you think the hospital would take him back?” I asked Sue in mock exasperation.

“We could leave him on the steps,” she kidded. We both laughed and welcomed the comic relief. After two days of Ben at home we were exhausted. He screamed. Before feeding, after feeding, while his diaper was changed, bedtime to witching hour, Ben screeched like a madman howling through a megaphone. Twenty minutes of sleep, more screeching, another short nap if we were lucky, then back to the megaphone. Our other two kids hadn’t been like this.

But Ben wasn’t like our other kids; no, not from hour zero. First, his head was gigantic, above the 98th percentile, off the charts, sticking out of his mom’s birth canal then out of the papoose wrapper like a preposterous Tootsie Roll Pop. I held my newborn son while the doctor sewed up Sue. Big head, I thought, good. With all that space for brains, he’ll be a genius. But as the medics wheeled him down the hall, he screeched woefully, painfully.

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Medium 9781576752456

CHAPTER 10: Time and Crime

John de Graaf Berrett-Koehler Publishers ePub

It was in Chuck Reasons’ sociology class at the University of Wisconsin, Superior that I first read futurists’ predictions of a dramatically shortened workweek by the year 2000. That was back in 1968, just three years after the U.S. Senate estimated that we might be working only 14 hours a week by the turn of the twenty-first century. Chuck was a great teacher, one of the few whose class remains in my memory years later. I knew that he had gone on to an academic career as a criminologist and had studied law, as well. And though his published work focused at least as much on crime in the suites as on crime in the streets, I wondered whether his many years of research had turned up any links between overwork and crime, so I called him at Central Washington University, where he now teaches, to find out. This chapter is the result of our conversation. —JdG

Is there a link between overwork and crime? At first glance, such a connection isn’t obvious; it might, in fact, be perceived as negative. After all, people who are working a lot don’t have time for crime, do they? Idle hands do the Devil’s work, or so the old saying goes. But a look at the facts and the trends shows the answer is not so simple. Overwork in America may indeed contribute to our crime rate, already rather high by developed nation standards.

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Medium 9781855753549

CHAPTER EIGHT: Research

Jonna Jepsen Karnac Books ePub

Every approach to research is value-skewed. There is no neutral research.

S. Brostrøm (2002, p. 10)

A great deal of research has been carried out into the various areas of premature children’s development. Apart from covering a few Danish investigations, I am summarizing the main points from some of the most recent Norwegian and Swedish research projects, as conditions in these countries are comparable to those in Denmark. In addition, I refer briefly to a single international investigation and give references for some other such investigations.

As far as intelligence evaluation is concerned the tests used are based on the traditional perception of the concept of intelligence, and the researcher’s conclusions must be considered with this in view. When evaluating the results of an intelligence test, it is important to be aware of the age of the testing method. In today’s information society children have a tendency to develop earlier, which is why a test method can give too high a result (Stjernqvist, 1999).

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Medium 9781855753693

CHAPTER SIXTEEN. The impossible being of the mother

Alcira Mariam Alizade Karnac Books ePub

Alicia Leisse de Lustgarten

In this chapter I take a critical stance in regard to the affirmation that motherhood is what makes a woman. My argument highlights the fact that procreation, when viewed as the presence of nature in any human phenomenon, defines a woman in terms of being a mother and a mother in terms of being a woman. On the basis of its condition as giver of birth, the maternal function is mistaken for an absolute creator of life, which thereby locks women into an ideal of being everything; this misconception ignores their adult being, which is part of a network of complex relations.

For some time now, a recurrent thought has accompanied me every time I listen to mothers talking about themselves, heavy with reproach and discontent, ignorance and anger, that ultimately reveals the paradox that the ideal always masks: it is an impossible function. Sitting opposite these women, I think of the other side of this meritorious motherhood, containing attitude or diligent willingness. I think of the fatigue caused by a bulging stomach, impatience with the endless demands of the children, who are by nature exacting. I think, too, of how, to make the psychic existence of a new being possible, a woman must offer her whole self, only to see, in the course of time, the child go his or her own way in life determined by choices that are nearly always different from the mother’s.

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Medium 9781855753549

CHAPTER SIX: Parents and siblings

Jonna Jepsen Karnac Books ePub

Parents

We must take parents seriously. They have often noticed things about their children that we cannot detect in an examination.

Hanne Agerholm (2003)

Parents of prematurely born children have as disadvantaged an introduction to the parental role as the children have had a disturbed start to life. A very premature birth is a shock. The shock is just the first phase of the crisis situation into which the parents are often plunged. It does not always follow the classic pattern of shock: reaction, acceptance, assimilation, action. It can be chaotic, and the shock can be so paralysing that a reaction only appears months later. The many chaotic emotions that overwhelm one will often be fear, emptiness, powerlessness, guilt, shame, anger, compassion, love, frustration, gratitude, hope, and sorrow. One loses self-control, and the normal, self-assured way of life: action and competence; one is on bare ground in no-man’s-land.

The original meaning of the word “crisis” was development, but in the case of premature birth, development can be a very hard road to follow.

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Medium 9781574412444

4. Height and Weight

Peggy Heinkel-Wolfe University of North Texas Press PDF

Sam blew bubbles, but had trouble with the cards. She showed him a card with a picture of a hamburger on it that day.

“What’s this, Sam?” she asked.

He walked around the speech therapist, looked at the card, and said nothing.

“What’s this, Sam?” she repeated.

He started wandering away.

“Can you tell me what this is, Sam?” she repeated.

“I’m sorry,” I whispered to her, pointing at the picture.

“But he’s never seen one of those before, let alone eaten one. I don’t think he even knows the word hamburger.”

“Oh, well,” she said, putting the card down. “We try to get him to learn new words, too, not just say the words he knows.”

Eventually, I learned all of the Rules by violating them one by one.

Height and Weight

“Hi, Mom. It’s me,” I telephoned.

“Hi, you,” she replied. Sometimes hearing her voice was like stepping into a steaming, hot bath. My tension and worries evaporated. I was so glad that Mom and Dad returned early from Saudi Arabia. After Iraq invaded Kuwait in late 1990,

Western newspapers claimed World War III was on the horizon. Chris and I, and our other sisters, Karen and Teresa, begged my parents to come home. Mom and Dad didn’t understand our concerns. I was surprised Karen couldn’t convince them that Saudi state-owned media was downplaying the invasion. But, within days of our panicked, trans-Atlantic phone calls, hundreds of F-16s flew in all night long over the compound where Mom and Dad lived. The next morning, Mom

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Medium 9781574412697

The Benjamin Project

Dan E. Burns University of North Texas Press PDF

The Benjamin Project

If no one would help me, I would have to recover Ben myself. I

rented a suite in the back wing of Rainbow Apartments, an outof-the-way, sunny third-floor location where Ben’s tantrums would be shielded, I hoped, from the prying eyes of neighbors and Child

Protective Services.

Catherine Maurice described the staffing procedure, and it sounded straightforward enough. I was going to need six therapists working in shifts for a total of forty hours a week. Recruit college psychology students. Pay double minimum wage. Train them myself.

I set myself a goal. By noon, I would write six letters to the psychology departments of local universities, asking them to post a help-wanted notice on their bulletin boards.

I wrote out a task list:

1. Look up the universities.

2. Make the mailing list.

3. Address the envelopes.

4. Call the departments.

I froze. This can’t possibly work, I thought. The secretary who’d answer the phone would not understand what I was talking about.

Your son is what? Autistic? And you want to recover him? Ah-ha-haha-ha-ha-ha. Autistic children don’t recover. No, you may not speak

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Medium 9781605093482

Chapter Five An Acquired Taste: Mealtime

Blanchard, Ken Berrett-Koehler Publishers ePub

AFTER A LONG morning of working with the whales, Amy and her coworkers were listening to another of Clint Jordan’s pep talks. “We’re very careful about first impressions here,” he said. “We pay lots of attention to what we call core memory, meaning that we want the whales to have a positive experience from the get-go, particularly when we’re starting out to train a new behavior. And that goes for you folks as well. We want you to associate only good feelings with working here.

“When people start new jobs, they’re usually asked to observe, but here we’re kind of crazy about the matter of observation. As in all scientific inquiry, careful observation is one of the ingredients of success in working with killer whales—or any animal. Watching and mentally recording what you see is a skill that will place you ahead of those who rely merely on hearsay or traditional thinking or who carelessly work from assumptions. Your biggest task in getting to know these animals will be to earn their trust. Painstaking observation will give you an edge with them, because they’ll sense right away how responsive you are to their ways, their habits, and the differences in their preferences.

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Medium 9781574412444

6. First Friends

Peggy Heinkel-Wolfe University of North Texas Press PDF

First Friends

Sam slept until eight or nine in the morning, which gave me one or two precious hours to clean the house or get some arts council work done before caring for him consumed the rest of my day. I had to help him dress and make his breakfast. He could undress himself better than he could dress himself. He could feed himself, but he ignored his spoon and fork. Still, he ate a healthy breakfast—whole-grain pancakes or waffles, fresh berries, scrambled eggs, and smoothies.

For juice and smoothies, I bought a bottle-to-cup system I had seen in Japan. My mentor’s daughter, Akiko, was a toddler. I had enjoyed watching Akiko grow and change. Even though Akiko wasn’t quite two years old, Toru and Chieko had encouraged her to pick up grains of rice with chopsticks.

Akiko also liked to play with me. Occasionally, I understood her Japanese better than that of the adults, but she couldn’t pronounce my name. As I tried to learn Japanese myself, I figured out that my name didn’t fit in the natural building blocks of the Japanese alphabet. Akiko adapted by taking the sound of the first letter, P, and adding the honorary suffix, san, to be polite. My name was Pe-san when we played. Akiko’s favorite cup had been a short, sturdy one with white handles on both sides. Chieko showed me the different options for its top— with a quick twist, the cup changed from a bottle-style nipple to a sipper, to a straw, to a covered top with a small hole to slow down spills.

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Medium 9781574412444

3. Other Holidays

Peggy Heinkel-Wolfe University of North Texas Press PDF

“Hey, you’ve got to see this. It’s about autism, and it’s in

Syracuse,” Mark said. A news anchor had announced the next story segment coming up on 20/20, ABC’s television news magazine.

I pushed back from the computer and rubbed my eyes as

I walked into the living room. Mark wasn’t sitting in the platform rocker. He was standing a few feet in front of the television set, his arms in front of his chest and holding his chin in his hands.

The program featured an education professor doing innovative, but controversial, work with children and young adults with autism. His clients couldn’t speak at all. Some of them barely had control over their arms and legs, let alone the dozens of tiny facial muscles that must be harnessed in order to speak. But when adults sat next to them and helped them keep their typing hands steady, they typed whatever they had to say.

They had smart, sophisticated ideas. Autism appeared to trap those ideas in their brains, an effect similar to cerebral palsy and other developmental disabilities that compromise muscle control.

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Medium 9781605093482

The Science behind the Whale Done Approach

Blanchard, Ken Berrett-Koehler Publishers ePub

This book brings to the parenting of children many behavioral principles and techniques that have succeeded spectacularly in training killer whales and other marine mammals, making it possible to work with these animals cooperatively. In fact, these principles and techniques have been so successful—even with the most feared predator in the ocean, the killer whale—that they have changed the entire field of marine mammal training. And they are now expanding to the training of many other animal groups, from other wild animals to domestic pets.

What has made these principles and techniques extraordinarily successful is that they are based on leading behavioral science research and universal discoveries about changing behavior. This research initially focused on changing human behavior—both child behavior and adult behavior—and it is very consistent with the knowledge about human behavior that Ken Blanchard draws on in his many books. For a good introduction to this behavioral science research, see Alan E. Kazdin, Behavior Modification in Applied Settings, sixth edition (Wadsworth, 2001).

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Medium 9781576751794

CHAPTER 13: LEARNING AGREEMENTS

Stewart Levine Berrett-Koehler Publishers ePub

I have learnt silence from the talkative, toleration from the intolerant, and
kindness from the unkind; yet strange, I am ungrateful to these teachers.

—Kahlil Gibran

The term learning organization was first popularized by Peter Senge in his 1990 classic The Fifth Discipline.5 His thesis was that our culture had become so complex, and the organizational pressure for creativity and innovation had become so great, that the only way organizations and individuals could possibly succeed in the face of immense challenges was to band together in “learning organizations,” populated by “learners,” who would “learn” their way through to the solutions of problems. Senge, it seems, was picking up on what Albert Einstein said about the need to “invent new ideas to deal with the current challenges.”

In the mid 1990s, I was called by a high-tech company for assistance with its learning challenges. This company existed in a very competitive environment. Although its managers were familiar with Senge’s work, it had not embraced the ideas as a cornerstone of its culture. The company never realized that a benefit of fostering a learning environment is the high level of productivity individuals experience when they are learning. There is a physiological reaction in the body to learning. Much as in distance running, when we are learning, endorphins are released that contribute to a sense of euphoria.99

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Medium 9780870818462

1. HOWDY

Kevin Holdsworth University Press of Colorado ePub

The first movie western, The Great Train Robbery, was filmed in New Jersey, or upstate New York, depending on whom you believe. The Homer of western writers, Owen Wister, was a Philadelphia lawyer. Zane Grey, the king of the formula western, was a dentist from Ohio. Louis L’Amour, inheritor of the Grey legacy, wrote about the wild wild west from the City of Angels and had such powerful concentration that he boasted he could compose on a median in the middle of the Santa Monica Freeway. Mary Austin, who wrote so beguilingly of the great dry lands experience, spent much of her creative life in New York City, as did other “western” writers, Willa Cather and May Swenson. Jackson Pollock, the celebrated urbanite drip, fling, splash, and swirl painter, was born in Cody, Wyoming.

These facts might seem discordant if not downright contradictory. They may be, but the ability to keep two opposites in mind helps us to negotiate this arid vale of tears. It’s not enough to circle it as yin and yang or simply pin it on a star sign. It is instead what keeps us wrangling—to acknowledge both sides of Prudence. It may also have something to do with the way past and present coexist in our minds. It may be the way sound shifts in passing. Where we are is also where we have been. We have to escape in order to return.

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Medium 9781576752456

CHAPTER 6: Recapturing Childhood

John de Graaf Berrett-Koehler Publishers ePub

Until recently, Betsy Taylor was the director of the Center for a New American Dream in Takoma Park, Maryland. The Center ( www.newdream.org ) is working to redefine core American values—steering them away from a dream centered on money, stuff, and, endless material growth, toward a dream of sufficiency, family, community, and nature. Center organizers, concerned about the harmful impacts of overwork on American life, decided that they would have a four-day workweek (four eight-hour days), with Fridays off. As such, they’ve been able to attract an immensely able and dedicated workforce, and have created a model for other nonprofits, many of which are as guilty of overworking their employees as any big corporation.

The Center and Betsy Taylor have long been troubled by the corrosive effects of the old, materialistic, American dream on our children. And, as Betsy argues in this chapter (which includes excerpts from her recent book, What Kids Really Want That Money Can’t Buy), they are equally concerned about the new time pressures our children face. —JdG

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Medium 9781855751484

CHAPTER SIX. Post-divorce parenting

Margaret Robinson Karnac Books ePub

During my years as a mediator, like many others I have become increasingly concerned about the large numbers of children and their fathers who lose touch with one another. As already indicated, approximately half the children whose parents divorce lose touch with their non-residential parent within two years, and these are by no means only those where there has been violence in the family prior to separation. Recent research from the University of Newcastle (Simpson, McCarthy, & Walker, 1995) followed up 91 of the fathers in their original divorce study and found that this loss of contact is more related to social class and income than to the grounds for divorce. Those non-residential fathers who had little or no contact fell into two groups: those who were angry, and those who seemed to be more or less resigned to no contact. For most of the latter, it seemed that a point had been reached where the costs of continuing to try to pursue contact in a hostile climate led them to abandon such claims, perceiving their decision as one that eases suffering for everyone. They experienced a deep and ongoing sense of loss in many areas—loss of control both overtly in terms of power and authority, but also of being unable to pass on their identity to their children. Simpson et al. found that fathers were three times as likely to have lost contact with their daughters as with their sons. A recent comparative study of 99 young men from inner-city families, where in half the cases the father was absent, demonstrated that the unreliability of fathers—rather than their absence—is more damaging to their sons than a failure to maintain any contact (Catherine Hepworth, reported in the Independent, 16 December 1995), although this finding has yet to be confirmed.

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