Monday, March 31, 2008

World Autism Awareness Day and CNN

In the United States, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimated in 2007 that as many as 1 in 150 8-year-old children in multiple areas of the United States had an autism spectrum disorder. Parents must often navigate their own paths to find helpful therapies and finance expensive education and other services independently.

In anticipation of World Autism Awareness Day, April 2, will offer expanded coverage of this mysterious neurological disorder. Viewers will be able to access news and information including the latest medical theories and research about autism as well as the stories of people who live every day with the condition. Through multimedia and interactive elements, as well as traditional stories and videos, viewers will be invited to expand their knowledge and understanding of autism.

Viewers and users are encouraged to share their firsthand accounts of life with autism through video, photo, audio or text submissions to , CNN's recently launched user-generated community Web site. Autism-related iReports are available at ; and contributors also may gain recognition by having the material they submit to the site - once vetted and approved for use - appear on a CNN network or

Preliminary coverage plans for World Autism Awareness Day on Wednesday, April 2, include:

· American Morning will introduce CNN viewers to triplets - each with autism at varying severity - born to Lynn and Randy Gaston in Ellicott City, Md. Additional reports will feature adults living with autism and distinguish medical myths from realities associated with a range of therapies and treatments. CNN's American Morning airs weekdays on CNN/U.S. from 6 a.m. to 9 a.m.

· On CNN en Español, En Familia, a 30 minute program that serves as a guide to parents, and Consulta Médica, a 30-minute prime-time program dedicated to personal health and fitness, will be focusing on the educational needs of children with autism, and addressing the latest controversies examining the link between vaccines and autism spectrum disorder. En Familia airs each Monday at 11:30 a.m. and Consulta Médica airs each Tuesday on CNN en Español at 11:30 a.m.

· A one-hour global simulcast special We Have Autism, anchored by CNN International's Colleen McEdwards, will air at noon and focus on the experiences of families living with autism around the world and feature an interview with Suzanne Wright, the co-founder of Autism Speaks, an advocacy organization for people and families living with autism. McEdwards will also report on people living with extreme symptoms of autism, with a focus on Tito, a young man who despite his severe autism, has become a high-functioning poet and author. CNN international correspondent Wilf Dinnick will report on Qatar's state-of-the-art Shafallah Centre that assists autistic children. The nation of Qatar is credited with leading U.N. efforts to establish World Autism Awareness Day as a day of global awareness. Also for We Have Autism, international correspondent John Vause will report from China about life with autism under communism. U.S. affairs editor for CNN International, Jill Dougherty will report on a family with a child recently diagnosed as autistic as they seek the best help for their child. We Have Autism will air on CNN/U.S. and CNN International.

· Actor, author, parent and autism activist Jenny McCarthy, as well as Bobby Kennedy, Jr., senior attorney for the Natural Resources Defense Council who believes that thimerosal in vaccines is responsible for autism, will be guests on Larry King Live. Larry King Live airs weeknights on CNN/U.S. at 9 p.m. and replays at midnight.

· "Finding Amanda," a one-hour Anderson Cooper 360° special, features a few of the approximately 600,000 American adults who live with autism. Gupta will introduce viewers to Amanda Baggs of Burlington, Vt., and others, who share with him how they experience the world - from their perspective. "Finding Amanda" will premiere on CNN/U.S. at 11 p.m. and replay at 2 a.m.

· Showbiz Tonight will feature a report on a groundbreaking documentary, Autism: The Musical, set to debut on HBO on Tuesday, March 25. Showbiz Tonight airs on Headline News weeknights at 11 p.m. and replays at 2 a.m.

· CNN Newsource will offer affiliates custom liveshots with medical correspondent Judy Fortin between 6 a.m. and 10 a.m. on April 2 about how families with older children living with autism cope with their challenges. Fortin's package features a Grayson, Ga., family with a 12-year-old autistic child.

Happy April Everyone!

April is Autism Awareness Month and I have jumped on the bandwagon and decided to spend this month blogging about the little bit I know about Autism. I have worried myself silly about this and so I feel I need to preface this challenge with a disclaimer:

I am still learning about Autism and this is why I wanted to link myself to others who know more about it than I do.

I feel it is my duty to learn as much as I can because every year I have had at least 1-2 students diagnosed with Autism in my class.

I am fascinated with this neurological disability and have deep passion for all who have Autism or have been blessed with loving someone with Autism.

I do not claim to know what I'm talking about... I plan to just share my limited knowledge/observations.

I hope I do not offend anyone by sharing my experiences and am asking for any and all to please correct me or enlighten me if I am mistaken or mislead.

I am super excited to be apart of this and thanks to momologue for putting this into action. It is amazing and comforting to have so many participants.
If you would like to browse the other bloggers participating this month, click on the Autism Awareness icon on my page!

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Thank You! Good Night!


Funny thing is... although my National Board portfolio is complete and in route to Texas (it'll be there tomorrow at 9:30, I've been tracking it obsessively), I feel more anxiety about it now than I did when I was working on it. I guess its the finality of it all. I have had to resist the temptation to re-read my entries for fear that I'll find a mistake or realize I've missed something completely. I have banned myself from looking on my Yahoo EC-GEN National Board group because what if someone posts something that will clue me in on something I could have done wrong?!? There is no turning back now. Just keep your fingers crossed and help me wait (not so patiently) until DECEMBER for my results!?!?

I have spent my last few days of Spring Break this week celebrating with friends and family. I have great people in my life who have been so supportive throughout this entire process. I couldn't have survived this without them. And a BIG thank you to the many bloggers that have kept me entertained during this process and for helping me procrastinate!

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Passion Quilt

I saw other teachers doing this on a few of my favorite blogs and I think what saintseester is doing is quite remarkable. Seeing the pictures other teachers have chosen for the passion quilt is down right inspiring.

Here are the rules:

Post a picture or take/create your own image that captures what you are most passionate for kids to learn.

Give your picture a short title.

Title the post “Meme: Passion Quilt.”

Link back to me

Include links to five people in your professional community.

Title: Acceptance

If nothing else, I want to teach my students to view themselves as competent and valuable members of the world. I want to help and inspire my students to relate to one another and realize their place and importance in the world by learning from diversity as well as commonalities, embracing their individuality, and making lasting connections to others.

I'm tagging:
miss brave
mean mommy
lit teacher

So Close You Can Almost Taste It...

As my NB deadline quickly approaches, I listened to Natasha Beddingfield's song Unwritten today with a different perspective. I related everything I've been feeling about National Boards to the lyrics and the song left me feeling inspired and happy. For the first time in a long time I felt refreshed and good. I feel the impact of the process I have been undertaking. Maybe it is because things are beginning to bloom here, tulips, dogwood trees, azaleas... or maybe because today is Easter, a day of rebirth...but what ever the reason I am feeling good about my efforts and like they have all been worth it:

Staring at the blank page before you
Open up the dirty window
Let the sun illuminate the words that you could not find

Reaching for something in the distance
So close you can almost taste it
Release your inhibitions
Feel the rain on your skin
No one else can feel it for you
Only you can let it in
No one else, no one else
Can speak the words on your lips
Drench yourself in words unspoken
Live your life with arms wide open
Today is where your book begins
The rest is still unwritten

Friday, March 21, 2008

National Boards Suck...

(but please do consider going through this grueling process. I'll be there for you!)

I stumbled upon this today while not working. Anyone who has attempted National Boards will totally get this. For those of you who have not and are still not really sure what I've been doing over the past 9 months, maybe this will give you some insight and a good laugh:

You might be a National Board Candidate if . . .

1. You can order by number from the Chinese take-out place without consulting the menu

2. The people who answer the telephone at your local pizza delivery place and Chinese take-out restaurant recognize your voice and call you by name

3. You find a recent shopping list and an old shopping list in your coat pockets and you feel compelled to analyze them to determine what they reveal about the development of your consumer habits as they relate to your practice of making lists

4. You find a recent shopping list and old shopping list in your coat pockets and you contemplate using them as artifacts on which to base an interdisciplinary learning experience combining the topic of consumerism as both an economic and social issue with a math graphing activity, and you wonder if you can get three writing prompts out of it

5. You find out the hard way that a jug of red wine doesn't help you reflect on your practice

6. You attach to your mother's birthday present a cover sheet, a statement that you have release forms from everyone who signed the birthday card, a videotape of your children wrapping it while you facilitate, 12 pages of written commentary, then you place the present in a big envelope and slap a bar code sticker with your candidate number onto it before you FedEx it next-day delivery to your Mom in Texas

7. You pin a cover sheet and release form onto your students' coats and slap a bar code sticker with your candidate number onto each of their foreheads before you send them home from school

8. Your family drags you to an appointment with a therapist who works with with families and friends who feel neglected and the first thing she says when she sees the circles under your eyes and the stressed look on your face she says, "You teach, don't you?"

9. You get a call from Oprah because your friend volunteered your family and friends for the show on neglected families and friends, and the first thing she says when she hears the strain in your voice is, "You teach, don't you?"

10. You wake up at three am in a cold sweat and contemplate using your hot flashes in a health lesson and wonder how you can integrate the arts into that lesson

11. You buy stock in visine because in the past week you've purchased 3 bottles to soothe your bloodshot eyes.

12. Environmentalists picket your house because you've killed so many trees printing off draft after draft of entry after entry . . .

Monday, March 17, 2008


If anyone could see me right now they would be laughing hysterically.

As all of you are fully aware, I am turning in my National Board Portfolio in less than one week. I still have an ungodly amount of work to accomplish before then. I did not intentionally put things off, it has just honestly taken me this long to gather all the evidence, documentation, etc. needed to create my portfolio.

So here I am, 8 days left to work, on Spring Break, and doing everything I possibly can think of tonight to avoid working on these silly entries. The funny thing is, I've been "ready" to work since 6:00. I have been on the couch, laptop open, my portfolio instruction notebook next to me turned to the directions for the next paper I should be writing, but all I have accomplished (in two hours) is placing one bar code sticker on the cover page for Entry 4!! What is wrong with me?

Instead of working I have:
-researched my dental insurance policy
-created a meez (isn't she fun??? look she's wearing CROCS!)
-checked my e.mail 3-4 times
-created folders for my work e.mail inbox
-completed my NCAA brackets
-double checked my online bank account
-finally looked at my friend's recent photo album on Snapfish
-took a "break" to eat dinner
-checked my DVR to make sure Pop Fiction recorded last night
-realized I needed to watch Oprah
-watched Oprah
-fed the beast
-went back to and played a game
-called a friend to ask about my dental insurance
-read some of my favorite blogs
-put clothes in the wash
-folded clothes in dryer (you know I'm avoiding something if I'm folding clothes)
-realized I need to put clothes from the washer into the dryer
-posted this blog

Now, please no one distract me. I'm very, very busy.

Friday, March 14, 2008

10 Days To Go...

If anyone wants to know how to celebrate the completion of my National Board Portfolio on Wednesday, March 26th, here is my top ten list:

10. Peel me off the couch, lift the laptop off of me, and take my ass OUTSIDE for once.

9. Take me to the eye doctor because staring at the computer screen for hour after hour has definitely done some damage.

8. Find a way to make my hands not look quite so much like "the claw"

7. Invent a time machine so I can go back in time to make up for all the fun I've missed.

6. Write apology letters for me to all my friends who think I don't like them anymore because I don't return phone calls, e-mails, let alone spend any time with them.

5. Spend quality time with the beast of a dog because she's been so neglected. (My own mother told her she was getting fat today)

4. Post something witty and great on my blog since I can no longer formulate complete thoughts so my blog readers will still visit my site.

3. Work out with me at the gym so I can lose the "National Board 15" (only a slight exaggeration)

2. Champagne, Beer, Wine, Margaritas, shit.... let's take shots of tequila!

And the number one way to celebrate and the only thing I think I have the energy left to do is...

1. Return to Basics. To a quiet, simpler place of serenity and the Day Spa.

Yep, that's all I want. Read the blurb I found on my favorite spa's website and then just try to argue with me. This is the best way I can think of to celebrate:

Relax. Re-energize. Revitalize. Refresh. Transform.


Begin treating yourself in the way you deserve.


When you walk through our doors, you will encounter a polished staff of world-class beauty and pampering professionals to cater to your every need.


Our mission is to make you feel more beautiful and more relaxed than ever before.


We are here to help you forget the pressures of the outside world and return you to a state of serenity.


From the candlelit treatment rooms to the soothing music, our 6,000 square foot facility is designed with your comfort in mind.


Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Well, CRAP!

Well... my Spring Break has started and for the next 2 and 1/2 weeks I'll be slaving away on National Boards. Not tonight thought, tonight I am home with a 101.5 fever. This couldn't have come at more inappropriate time. I do not have time to be getting sick right now!