Saturday, September 20, 2014

Could You Help This Family?

By The Side of the Road by Jules Feiffer tells about a family with child management issues.  Basically, the father threatens to stop the car and let Richard out if he doesn't stop fooling around.  He does so, and Richard decides to live there permanently.  Richard develops his own way of living, which other members of the family sooner or later embrace.  The outcome is usually different, I have found, in the real world.  The parents seem not to have consulted a professional in the matter, and you wonder how the book would have been different if they had.  If you know or read this book, and are a behavior management expert, how would you handle the case?  How could the outcome have been better, or would have it been worse, if a counselor had been involved.  What about spanking? As a parent do you think that any of these scientifically proven methods would be helpful?  What role do school employees have in suggesting counseling for such a family?  Does Richard qualify for any diagnosis (risky to say, I realize, without all of the pertinent information)?  What other good books do you know for parents, children and/or professionals that deal with such issues?

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Dr. Bronte on Hypochondria

You're right, Charlotte Bronte had no medical training.  Nor did Currer Bell.  She did, however, provide a good description of how it feels to think that you are ill (and be depressed I suppose), given by her male character in The Professor.  One paragraph ends with the sentence, "I was temporarily a prey to Hypochondria."  Here's the next paragraph"

"She had been my acquaintance, nay, my guest once before in boyhood.  I had entertained her at bed and board for a year; for that space of time I had her to myself in secret; she lay with me, she ate with me, she walked out with me, showing me nooks in woods, hollows in hills, where we could sit together, and where she could drop her drear veil over me, and so hide sky and sun, grass and green tree; taking me entirely to her death-cold bosom, and holding me with arms of bone.  What tales she would tell me at such hours!  What songs she would recite in my ears!  How she would discourse to me of her own country - the Grave - and again and again promise to conduct me there ere long; and drawing me to the very brink of a black, sullen river, show me, on the other side, shores unequal with mound, monument and tablet, standing up in a glimmer more hoary than moonlight.  "Necropolis!" she would whisper, pointing to the pale piles, and add, "It contains a mansion prepared for you."

It goes on for a couple of more paragraphs.  It is all near the end of Chapter XXIII.  You can't make up stuff like this, but she could.

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Naomi Norsworthy on Bullying

This is well written, not to mention the fact that it was written 100 years ago!

"Bullying is possibly the one original tendency that seems wholly bad.  It is difficult to discern in it any element of good, and its uprooting, or the substitution of one of the kindlier, more helpful tendencies for it must be one of the duties of every teacher.  Its persistence in adult life results in much harm and unhappiness.  The brutality of the strong towards the weak, the misuse of power by governments, the refinement of cruelty shown in sarcasm and covered taunts, all find their explanation in this original tendency.  Children cannot be held responsible for its existence in them, for it is part of their inherited equipment.  They are not degenerate when they tease or bully,but for the good of society these tendencies must be modified and changed."

The book from which this is taken is titled The Psychology of Childhood. 

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Virginia Woolf and Octavia Wilberforce

Octavia Wilberforce was a healer, who became one despite great discouragement from her family.  Her father apparently wrote her out of his will because she decided to get medical training.  In 1939, she was Virginia Woolf's doctor.  Despite Wilberforce's effort, Virginia Woolfe wrote a letter to her husband which began, "I feel certain I am going mad again.  I feel we can't go through another of those terrible times.  And I shan't recover this time.  I begin to hear voices, and I can't concentrate."  Her nephew, Quentin Bell, described what happened next:: "She put this on the sitting-room mantelpiece and, at about 11:30, slipped out, taking her walking-stick with her and making her way across the water-meadows to the river.  Leonard believed that she might already have made one attempt to drown herself; if so she had learnt by her failure and was determined to make sure of it now.  Leaving her stick on the bank she forced a large stone into the pocket of her coat.  Then she went to her death, "the one experience," as she had said to Vita, "I shall never describe."  A decade, or so, earlier she had described the treatment of her fictional figure, Orlando, who had (it seems) been catatonic for a week this way.  "But the doctors were hardly wiser then than they are now, and after prescribing rest and exercise, starvation and nourishment, society and solitude, that he should lie in bed all day and ride forty miles between lunch and dinner, together with the usual sedatives and irritants, diversified, as the fancy took them, with possets of newt's slobber on rising, and draughts of peacock's gall on going to bed, they left him to himself, and gave it as their opinion that he had been asleep for a week."

Saturday, September 14, 2013

9/11 Babies and BCBA therapy

I'd love to hear if anyone else has had any experience with these two phenomena.  The first is the cohort of children born in 2001 or 2002 (give or take).  Their prebirth and early experience happened around the time of 9/11.  Whether they externalize or internalize, they seem to have trouble handling stress, and there are a high percentage of them, it seems.  I can remember how unsettled I felt at the time.  I wonder if their early experiences have made it hard for them to cope.  The second phenomenon is the use of a BCBA as a therapist, rather than a traditional therapist or a psychopharmacologist.  In the situation I've encountered, a previous therapist was seen as not giving explicit enough help in how to deal with specific situations, and a medication provider was seen as not considering the whole child.  Getting help for your child has become more complex, if nothing else.  Please leave a comment if you can enlighten me on either of these situations.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

The Shape of the Eye

This book is by George Estreich.  It tells about the first dozen years or so of his journey with Laura.  He makes a very good argument for just thinking of her as Laura, as opposed to a child with Down Syndrome, or a Down Syndrome child, or a child with Down's Syndrome, or anything other than Laura.  It would be worth reading if it only told about their lives, but it also has some good food for thought.  He hopes that it will come that we have no more need or desire to mention how she is different in her number of chromosomes than in her hair color.  I couldn't put the book down ( I assume I'm able to say that if I ate supper between the time when it came in the mail and when I finished it).  There is interesting information about Dr. Down, the Special Education process, and what the extra chromosome does (effect how proteins are manufactured in the body).  There was a short passage on the meeting after the School Psychologist tested her.  Here's a quote: "I knew nothing about Down syndrome except that it was bad, and that it meant Laura was different from me. I no longer believe the first - Down syndrome is simply Laura's way of being human.  As for the second: Laura is different, but the differences are superficial.  This may seem an odd assertion, since the extra chromosome pervades her, and its effects texture our days.  And yet these altered forms, eye and face and word, have come to contain and absorb what I know of love.  Or love learned to alter itself, to accommodate the forms.  She is no less my daughter, no less a person, for having an extra chromosome."

Sunday, June 16, 2013

DSM Wheel

DSM-5 is here, and praise is a little hard to find.  I would use one of my favorite cartoon lines, spoken by one Eskimo to another with the Northern Lights in the background, "It's not Broadway, but it's what we've got."  I use the framework in my attempts to understand the factors (internal and external) that are leading to problem behaviors for elementary school students and others.  How the students can be helped to minimize the disruptions which accompany the behaviors is a next step; understanding the behaviors is key.  I use my graphic organizer to remind myself of the important possibilities for diagnoses.  Any condition for which the person meets the criteria can be checked (for the diagnoses on the left) or shaded in according to how strongly the diagnosis applies for the diagnoses that "made" the circle on the right.  All diagnoses are not listed, but all categories of diagnoses should be included.  I'd be happy to hear from anyone that believes that a category has been missed, or that an additional specific condition should be named.  For me, the sections that have been most helpful so far are those on Specific Learning Disorder, Major Depressive Disorder, and Autism Spectrum Disorder.  What I don't see is an example of everything that is needed for a "complete" diagnosis.  It can't be listing the five axes, as they no longer exist!  Can anyone point me to a source that tells what you need for a written diagnosis, which covers all the bases?