Monday, March 23, 2009

IDEA and Autism and Nursing School, oh my.

I was once a big opponent of the no child left behind law. I felt that the only way it could work was by redirecting funds to the bottom end of the bell curve and cutting programs for the gifted. Since both I and my husband were considered gifted, it concerned me that our children wouldn't have the resources they deserved to do really well in school and not be bored to tears like I was.

In regards to no child left behind, I must now eat my words and retract that opinion. Not because my opinion was wrong, but because I've had to re-evaluate no child left behind from a new perspective. IDEA, no child left behind, is the guiding laws behind everything that is being or is not being done for my son by his school.

As a result, I am being forced to learn the ins and outs of that law very, very well. It's not in the school's interest to educate the parents in regards to their rights or their child's rights. IDEA forces them to evaluate the kid (Child Find) and construct an IEP (Individualized Education Plan) but when you get to the IEP meeting, the school wants to provide the minimum amount of services that they can get away with.

When Vasili was diagnosed as autistic, it was an unpleasant, unexpected surprise that I had barely begun to come to terms with when I had to meet with the school to discuss his education plan. I didn’t even know what the education plan meeting entailed when I walked into that room. There were six of them and one of me. Guess who won? I didn’t even know what questions to ask, and I’m the medical professional of the family.

Due to my own colossal, but now rectified, ignorance, Vasili is receiving a minimal amount of services by the school. A couple hours of group speech therapy per week, and the occupational therapist is barely involved. He is being mainstreamed, but has a visual learning aide/schedule to go by.

While I agree with mainstreaming Vasili, since he is not at all retarded, I am not sure that his current IEP is serving his interests as well as it could. It is adequate, however, so I will let it ride to the end of the school year. When he is starting 1st grade, however, and the annual IEP meeting is held, there will be... changes. Because I know his rights now, and I have the support of groups like the Autism Society of America to back me up and provide all the paperwork, advocacy, etc, I need to fight the school.

One of the more interesting side effects of Vasili's diagnosis is that it has changed my approach to nursing school(RN to BSN program, I am already a nurse) assignments. With each new project, research paper, and presentation due in school, I am delving deeper and deeper into the cutting edge of autism law, genetics, biomedical research, and so on.

My BSN capstone project will be on autism, too. And it wouldn't bother me to go into research on this topic. It is an epidemic, and the loosening of the DSM-IV-tr criteria alone *cannot* account for what is nearly a 1000% increase in prevalence! Nor do vaccines alone account for it, in case you wondered.

But between work, kids, writing and revising, and homework/research, the only free time I have these days is really late at night. So now I email everyone, and blog. Sometimes, I tweet.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Back to Basics

My five year old son had a seizure recently.
With luck, he will never have another.

But during the course of this event I learned that a lot of otherwise sensible people have no idea of what to do in a medical emergency, even if they have had CPR training.

So here are some basics to keep in mind:

First, remain calm. Panicking serves absolutely no use and is counterproductive.

Second, if in doubt, call 911. Paramedics would rather respond to a false alarm than have someone not call and die as a result of their hesitation.

Third, ABC! This simple mnemonic, used by every nurse, doctor, and EMT is apparently not as well known as I thought it was. My parents, both CPR certified, had never heard of it. Nor had my son's teacher.

A. B. C. stands for Airway, Breathing, Circulation. This is called primary assessment by ER types and anyone can check them.

First: Airway. Is the victim able to breath or is something obstructing the airway, like a tongue or foreign object? Opening the airway is the entire point of the head tilt, chin lift you are taught in CPR training.

Second: Breathing. Is the victim breathing? Can you feel or hear the breath? Are both sides of the chest expanding? This is where rescue breathing comes in, though that is now thought of as more optional than required.

Third: Circulation. Does the victim have a pulse? Check for the pulse by placing your first two fingers on the wrist, in the inside hollow just back from the pad of your thumb. That's the radial artery. Once you find it, you can assess quality: strong or weak, slow or rapid, regular or irregular. If you can't find it, start chest compressions.

There are few things in life as simple as ABC. Or as life-saving.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Just for Fun

Entirely for the fun of it:

I can't say how long that post will be up. Depends.

Friday, January 30, 2009

Odds & Ends

Okay, it's 2009 now. That means... it's Derby Trail Season. Yipee! I love the three-year-olds. Mary Forney's Blog is doing a good job of keeping me updated on the west coast contenders. Thanks. :) I'm growing fond of The Pamplemousse despite the name.

Sorrow: Curlin is retired. So is Big Brown. Hopefully in a few years we'll be seeing their colts on the track.

In a complete change of subject: The Holy Revision of the Dark Servant continues. If anyone is interested in proof-reading the ms, let me know. My eyes are starting to cross when I stare at it for too long, and the Workshop is sooo slow.

Someone suggested I go ahead and write the Hybrid as YA and someone else that I write the Dancer as erotica. That made me wonder... YA and Erotica in the same series?! With a murder-mystery in the middle?! Am I insane? Is that how I've managed to come up with this stuff?
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Sunday, January 18, 2009

The Future of Bookstores

"In looking over the F&SF shelves, there was a very clear pattern. All that was left were the most recent paperback releases of name authors." L. E. Modesitt, Jr.

I've seen this pattern in most bookstores myself, including independents, Barnes & Noble, and Borders. I've even told management in these stores that I would have bought more if they'd bothered to stock Books 1 & 2 of so-and-so's trilogy. But they probably lack the power to change that. By not stocking the backlist, they reduce their own sales. But if they did stock every author's backlist, arguably, they'd soon run out of space.

Because of this trend, however, I am buying more and more books online. Amazon has better prices anyhow, and I don't have to spend another $25 for their discount membership. I've never quite gotten how I save money by spending the amount of a hardcover to get a savings club membership card. Waldenbooks Otherworlds Club discount card was free. With Amazon, I not only get a free discount, I can be pretty sure that they'll have the author's backlist.

The downside to Amazon is that there is far less impulse buying. The consumer is far more likely to only buy the book by the author that they're looking for and not pick up the book on the next shelf because it looks interesting. Amazon doesn't have shelves. And sometimes I wonder who decides on the books that show up at the bottom of the screen that proclaim "People who liked X also liked A, B, C, D."

But I remain aware of new and mid-list authors, and I look for them a couple of ways.

The used bookstore is my first stop there. I don't spend as much on the book, so I'm a lot more willing to take a chance. If I like the book, I'll add the author to the list of who I'm looking for at Amazon.

Another method is to read the reviews on Locus. Not 100% foolproof, but they have turned me onto some great books over the years.

I don't know what the solution is for the brick and mortar bookstores, but if I had to guess, it's going to be POD. Problem is, there's not much difference between shopping online and browsing POD titles. You can't pick up the book and skim a few pages. I've heard that it will soon be possible to have a POD kiosk inside a bookstore. You select your book, pay for it, and the machine prints and binds it while you wait.

This might be the solution for backlist. Put the newest offerings on the shelves to attract customers, then have the other books obtainable through the POD. One stop shopping that's actually competitive.

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Monday, January 12, 2009

ICU eavesdropping

Our redoubtable night shift charge is fond of challenging us to think outside the box. On the question of patient/family complaints about noise, he had this to say:

Pretend you're not a nurse. Walk down the hall, stop and listen outside of each room for a moment, then move on.

Some results:

1. "Don't put that thing in there!"
2. "Squeeze!"
3. "Work it!"
4. "Suck it in harder!"
5. "Blow blow blow blow blow!"
6. "Yes, you do have to do that."

There was nothing inappropriate going on in any case, but feel free to guess what the actual situation is. I'll post the real answers tomorrow.

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Thursday, January 8, 2009

Works in Progress Eternal

Works in Progress (as of 1/8/09)


Ydron Chronicles (510,549)

1. Dancer (Rak 1) (55,098)

2. Novice (Rak 2) (55,726)

3. Priest (Rak 3) (33,405)

4. Dark Servant (Rak 4) (210,474) (Complete, in revision)

5. Thearch (Rak 5) (87,062)

6. The Hybrid (Stand alone) (68,784) (Complete, in revision)

7. The Temple (Stand alone) (Outline only)

Science Fiction

Rovanis Chronicles (61,648)

1. Yeri 1 (10,650)

2. Yeri 2 (15,919)

3. Yeri 3 (8,491)

4. Yeri 4 (6,404)

5. Yeri 5 (20,184)

6. The Forest (Stand alone) (Outline only)

Dark Star Chronicles (157,051)

1. Razorback (39,000)

2. Ghost Fleet (Outline only)

3. Last Stand (66,513)

4. Masquerade (86,638)

Total Word Count: 729,248