Hey, I’m going too. I hate this winter weather.
Raising Blaze: A Mother and Son’s Long, Strange Journey into Autism by Debra Ginsberg
Harper Perennial Reprint edition, 2003.
2002 title. Raising Blaze: Bringing Up an Extraordinary Son in an Ordinary World by Debra Ginsberg HarperCollins, 2002
Blaze is not your typical child. In fact, because of his extreme behavioral issues, he is a child in need of great support in a modified educational program. He has a strong family support system: a mother, Debra Ginsberg, a writer who willingly gave up her own job and personal success to ensure that Blaze had at least a fighting chance to get a fair and balanced education of his own. The book details the emotional journal of Blaze, his mother, and his extended family (grandfather, mother’s sisters, and a brother) all of whom pitched in to help when the school system proved to be too much for Blaze.
Ginsberg ran the gamut of regular teachers, special education teachers, aides, psychologists, therapists, principals, meeting them all in and out of classrooms and Individualized Education Program (IEP) meetings held to determine the course of Blaze’s school life. Multiple attempts at a proper diagnosis and thus a handicapping condition label left school personnel and family members frustrated. Blaze did not fit neatly into a DSM-IV (the catalog of handicapping conditions labels and descriptors), not that the label would have helped anything. After years of frustration and major disappointments with the educational system, Ginsberg threw down the gauntlet and got a legal advocate for her son.
The book covers Blaze’s life from conception, his difficult birth, the years of doctor’s visits and tests, through year after year of educational crises. Fifth and sixth grades provided a measure of relief in the form of an exceptional special education teacher who was even willing to take Blaze on the annual sixth grade camping trip, a potentially traumatic event for an autistic child. The book ends after an abortive beginning in seventh grade. Ginsberg and her family begin to home-school blaze in a team effort, with the plan for him to eventually return to school.
Ginsberg wrote this book because she could never find one to read herself when she was in the throes of Blaze’s chaotic school years. She says,
It is true that every human story is unique, yet it is also true that there are qualities we all share as humans. Among those qualities are our differences and thus our sameness. My hope for Raising Blaze was that others would find themselves in this perspective and in our story.
I connected with this book in three ways, first as a mother of a special needs child (I remember those IEP meetings well!), as a special education teacher, and as a school administrator. Because I had sat in the parent’s seat at the IEP meetings for my daughter, I felt I had a better understanding of the parents’ feelings and goals when I sat in the educator and administrator’s seats for their children’s IEPs. Each role made me a better fit for the other roles.
Debra’s book does some of that, too. She tells the truth when she relates the discomfort a parent feels in IEP meetings. As a frequent parent volunteer and a special education classroom aide, she realized that she not only has to teach these children, she needed to touch their hearts. These children well know that they are different, and they need teachers who will treat them as the special persons they are. They are not just a collection of behaviors that vary from the norm.
Teachers and parents of all children should read this book for insights into the world of special education. As an administrator (if I were not already retired), I would have my entire faculty and staff read the book, and then share it with the school community. The book has messages for each person who reads it.
Blaze was in seventh grade at the end of Ginsberg’s book. Now he is in his twenties, and he has written a book about his experiences: Episodes: My Life as I See It. I am looking forward to reading this book, too.
It used to be, when we were kids, that on cold wintry days we would run outside and play: climb trees, play chase tag, kick the can, build snowmen, have snowball fights, run around in circles, make all kind of noise. We just had a lot of fun with our friends.
It’s different nowadays. Kids sit around with their smart phones and text each other, even when they are sitting next to each other. Well, now they can go outside and text messages with these $3 special Knitted Texting Gloves.
Thumb and index fingers work on touch screens so kids’ little hands will be nice and cozy, and they won’t miss a beat when it is cold. What kid can afford to be without these? $3. Such a deal for more peace and quiet around the house.
The Last Meow…
Looks good to me!
Advent Week 2: Light the Peace Candle
This week at Margate Community Church, in preparation for our celebration of the birth of Christ, we decorated the church, and on Sunday morning the congregation and choir sang hymns and carols of praise. A harpist played familiar Christmas music and joined with the choir when they sang. Anticipating the birth of Christ brings hope (Advent, week 1). The second Advent candle adds light in the darkness, and we celebrate the peace that Jesus brings into our lives. (Jesus is the Prince of Peace, Isaiah 9:6)
As part of each weekly Sunday service, Pastor Fleming has a children’s talk, and today he showed the children an Advent Calendar. While many Christmas calendars count down the days until Christmas and provide small treats for the children each day, the Christian Advent Calendar uses symbols to tell the story of the birth of Christ. Pastor Fleming opened the first eight pouches to help him tell the beginning of the Christmas story.
The first three symbols:
All three of these symbols are important in the Christmas story.
The shepherds, as the hymn tells us, watched their flocks at night, all seated on the ground. They did not have comfortable homes because they had to sleep out in the countryside where the best feeding grounds for the sheep were. They were often lonely, with other shepherds and their flocks their only companions. These shepherds were poorest of the poor and were looked down upon by society in general.
But the angels did not appear to the wealthy, happy, and socially prominent people, rather it was to these poor, ragged, and cold shepherds that the angels brought the good news, the announcement of the birth of Christ. In this way, God shows that he accepts everyone regardless of their economic or social status or their race.
Earlier, the angel Gabriel appeared to Mary, a woman betrothed to Joseph, a descendant of David of the Old Testament, a king of Israel, and a writer of most of the Psalms. The angel told Mary,
Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you. You will be with child and give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus. (Luke 1: 26-28, 31)
Another angel appeared to Joseph in a dream and told him,
Mary will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name, Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins. (Matthew 1:21)
Next Sunday: Advent Wreath Candle 3 and Advent Calendar Pouches 9 through 15.
If you want to make your own Advent calendar, visit Tricia and read Advent Calendar: Teach The True Story of Christmas.
Silent Sunday (except that the cats have something to say at the end, as usual.)
If you, Like me, Were made of fur, And sun warmed you, Like me, You’d purr. – Karla Kuskin
The Last Meow
I am definitely not purring now. Enough of this snow already! Quit it.
This was once a GRAND tree… And now there is a teeny Teacup Yorkie
Here are more GRAND pics…
Skywatch Friday can be found here. Friday, December 6, 2013
Skywatch: A place to enjoy skies and views from all around the globe. Simply take a picture which includes the Sky, post that picture on your blog and then post your link at Skywatch.
I found this totally surprising scene when I parked in a different spot when visiting my brother. His neighbor hides this lovely lady in his woodsy backyard, away from general view. I wonder what the story is behind it being there.
Cee’s Challenges give us more fun. Scrolling through our picture files looking for matches to each photo challenge takes us down memory lane, and we smile. This week: Photos that show more than five…
The Last Meow. (The cats always have the last word on this blog!)
There you go again, Missy Jan. Forgetting us kitties. We have rights, you know. Please post some pictures that represent our cat-e-gory. Why do we always have to remind you. Get with it, girl. Thanks.
(Okay, okay. Here are some pictures for the kittie cat-e-gory. Happy now?)
Yes, Missy Jan. Purrfect. Thank you.
Meow for now. (We are happy kitties now!) =<^:^>=
Shooting into the sun produces silvery reflections on the water and sharp silhouettes on land.
Reflections. Yes. This is a lovely reflection of me, don’tcha think? I am thinking of entering a beauty contest. I am sure I will win. Just look at my glossy coat, my fine white whiskers, my demure manner, and my sweet personality. Perfection.
And here are some more kitty reflections…
Meow for now. =<^;^>=
And here are some more reflections:
This is the season for red! Our Bible Study group went out to lunch at Careme’s, a culinary school restaurant at Atlantic County Community College, Mays Landing, NJ, and we had a delicious luncheon buffet as well a delightful time.
An excellent luncheon!
The Last Meow…
How about this picture of ME with the RED flowers. Don’t I look great?
Meow for now. =<^;^>=
Thanks, Ashley, for sponsoring this photo challenge.