Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Seasonal affective disorder (SAD)

It is very dark here in Germany. Jessica is getting more and more aggressive at school! She isn't sleeping well. She has really bad skin. I believe all of this is due to a lack of sunshine. I pulled the full spectrum lamp out of storage. I am going to begin some light therapy. I will let you know if it helps. It was striking how well Jessica looked,felt, and acted in Thailand. I really do wish we lived someplace that was warm all year around,and that had a swimming pool.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

The Little Girl Who Dared To Wish

As Amy Hagadorn rounded the corner across the hall from her classroom, she collided with a tall boy from the fifth grade running in the opposite direction.

"Watch it , squirt." The boy yelled as he dodged around the little third-grader. Then, with a smirk on his face, the boy took hold of his right leg and mimicked the way Amy limped when she walked.

Amy closed her eyes. Ignore him, she told herself as she headed for her classroom.

But at the end of the day, Amy was still thinking about the tall boy's mean teasing. It wasn't as if her were the only one. It seemed that ever since Amy started the third grade, someone teased her every single day. Kids teased her about her speech or her limping. Amy was tired of it. Sometimes, even in a classroom full of other students, the teasing made her feel all alone.

Back home at the dinner table that evening, Amy was quiet. Her mother knew that things were not going well at school. That's why Patti Hagadorn was happy to have some exciting news to share with her daughter.

"There's a Christmas wish contest on the radio station," Amy's mom announced. "Write a letter to Santa, and you might win a prize. I think someone at this table with blonde curly hair should enter."

Amy giggled. The contest sounded like fun. She started thinking about what she wanted most for Christmas.

A smile took hold of Amy when the idea first came to her. Out came pencil and paper, and Amy went to work on her letter. "Dear Santa Claus," she began.

While Amy worked away at her best printing, the rest of the family tried to guess what she might ask from Santa. Amy's sister, Jamie, and Amy's mom both thought a three-foot Barbie doll would top Amy's wish list. Amy's dad guessed a picture book. But Amy wasn't ready to reveal her secret Christmas wish just then. Here is Amy's letter to Santa, just as she wrote it that night:

Dear Santa Claus,

My name is Amy. I am nine years old. I have a problem at school. Can you help me Santa? Kids laugh at me because of the way I walk and run and talk. I have cerebral palsy. I just want one day where no one laughs at me or makes fun of me.

Love, Amy

At radio station WJLT in Fort Wayne, Indiana, letter poured in for the Christmas wish contest. The workers had fun reading about all the different presents that boys and girls from across the city wanted for Christmas.

When Amy's letter arrived at the radio station, manager Lee Tobin read it carefully. He knew cerebral palsy was a muscle disorder that might confuse the schoolmates of Amy's who didn't understand her disability. He thought it would be good for the people in Fort Wayne to hear about this special third-grader and her unusual wish. Mr. Tobin called up the local newspaper.

The next day, a picture of Amy and her letter to Santa made the front page of the News Sentinel. The story spread quickly. All across the country, newspapers and radio and television stations reported the story of the little girl in Fort Wayne, Indiana, who asked for such a simple yet remarkable Christmas gift -- just one day without teasing.

Suddenly the postman was a regular at the Hagadorn house. Envelopes of all sizes addressed to Amy arrived daily from children and adults all across the nation. They came filled with holiday greetings and words of encouragement.

During that unforgettable Christmas season, over two thousand people from all over the world sent Amy letters of friendship and support. Amy and her family read every single one. Some of the writers had disabilities; some had been teased as children. Each writer had a special message for Amy. Through the cards and letters from strangers, Amy glimpsed a world full of people who truly cared about each other. She realized that no amount or form of teasing could ever make her feel lonely again.

Many people thanked Amy for being brave enough to speak up. Others encouraged her to ignore teasing and to carry her head high. Lynn, a sixth-grader from Texas, sent this message:

"I would like to be your friend," she wrote, "and if you want to visit me, we could have fun. No one would make fun of us, 'cause if they do, we will not even hear them."

Amy did get her wish of a special day without teasing at South Wayne Elementary School. Additionally, everyone at school got another bonus. Teachers and students talked together about how bad teasing can make others feel.

That year the Fort Wayne mayor officially proclaimed December 21 as Amy Jo Hagadorn Day throughout the city. The mayor explained that by daring to make such a simple wish, Amy taught a universal lesson.

"Everyone," said the mayor, "wants and deserves to be treated with respect, dignity and warmth."

By Alan D. Shultz,
from Chicken Soup for the Kid's Soul

Friday, November 17, 2006

If I could reach up and hold a star for every time
you've made me smile, the entire evening sky
would be in the palm of my hand.
Author Unknown

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Can World's Strongest Dad

A good friend of mine sent me this story and video link. It isn't about autism, but about the love and special relationship between a father and his disabled son! Both father and son are inspiring. It had me crying! And the video is below....

From Sports Illustrated, By Rick Reilly]

I try to be a good father. Give my kids mulligans. Work nights to pay For their text messaging. Take them to swimsuit shoots.

But compared with Dick Hoyt, I suck.

Eighty-five times he's pushed his disabled son, Rick, 26.2 miles in Marathons. Eight times he's not only pushed him 26.2 miles in a Wheelchair but also towed him 2.4 miles in a dinghy while swimming and Pedaled him 112 miles in a seat on the handlebars--all in the same day.

Dick's also pulled him cross-country skiing, taken him on his back Mountain climbing and once hauled him across the U.S. On a bike. Makes Taking your son bowling look a little lame, right?

And what has Rick done for his father? Not much--except save his life.
This love story began in Winchester , Mass. , 43 years ago, when Rick Was strangled by the umbilical cord during birth, leaving him Brain-damaged and unable to control his limbs.

"He'll be a vegetable the rest of his life;'' Dick says doctors told him And his wife, Judy, when Rick was nine months old. ``Put him in an Institution.''

But the Hoyts weren't buying it. They noticed the way Rick's eyes Followed them around the room. When Rick was 11 they took him to the Engineering department at Tufts University and asked if there was Anything to help the boy communicate. ``No way,'' Dick says he was told. ``There's nothing going on in his brain.''

"Tell him a joke,'' Dick countered. They did. Rick laughed. Turns out a Lot was going on in his brain. Rigged up with a computer that allowed Him to control the cursor by touching a switch with the side of his Head, Rick was finally able to communicate. First words? ``Go Bruins!'' And after a high school classmate was paralyzed in an accident and the School organized a charity run for him, Rick pecked out, ``Dad, I want To do that.''

Yeah, right. How was Dick, a self-described ``porker'' who never ran More than a mile at a time, going to push his son five miles? Still, he Tried. ``Then it was me who was handicapped,'' Dick says. ``I was sore For two weeks.''

That day changed Rick's life. ``Dad,'' he typed, ``when we were running, It felt like I wasn't disabled anymore!''

And that sentence changed Dick's life. He became obsessed with giving Rick that feeling as often as he could. He got into such hard-belly Shape that he and Rick were ready to try the 1979 Boston Marathon.

``No way,'' Dick was told by a race official. The Hoyts weren't quite a Single runner, and they weren't quite a wheelchair competitor. For a few Years Dick and Rick just joined the massive field and ran anyway, then They found a way to get into the race Officially: In 1983 they ran another marathon so fast they made the Qualifying time for Boston the following year.

Then somebody said, ``Hey, Dick, why not a triathlon?''

How's a guy who never learned to swim and hadn't ridden a bike since he Was six going to haul his 110-pound kid through a triathlon? Still, Dick Tried.

Now they've done 212 triathlons, including four grueling 15-hour Ironmans in Hawaii . It must be a buzzkill to be a 25-year-old stud Getting passed by an old guy towing a grown man in a dinghy, don't you Think?

Hey, Dick, why not see how you'd do on your own? ``No way,'' he says. Dick does it purely for ``the awesome feeling'' he gets seeing Rick with A cantaloupe smile as they run, swim and ride together.

This year, at ages 65 and 43, Dick and Rick finished their 24th Boston Marathon, in 5,083rd place out of more than 20,000 starters. Their best Time? Two hours, 40 minutes in 1992--only 35 minutes off the world Record, which, in case you don't keep track of these things, happens to Be held by a guy who was not pushing another man in a wheelchair at the Time.

``No question about it,'' Rick types. ``My dad is the Father of the Century.''

And Dick got something else out of all this too. Two years ago he had a Mild heart attack during a race. Doctors found that one of his arteries Was 95% clogged. ``If you hadn't been in such great shape,'' One doctor told him, ``you probably would've died 15 years ago.'' So, in a way, Dick and Rick saved each other's life.

Rick, who has his own apartment (he gets home care) and works in Boston, and Dick, retired from the military and living in Holland, Mass. , always find ways to be together. They give speeches around the country and compete in some backbreaking race every weekend, including this Father's Day.

That night, Rick will buy his dad dinner, but the thing he really wants to give him is a gift he can never buy.

``The thing I'd most like,'' Rick types, ``is that my dad sit in the chair and I push him once.''

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

A gift of love!

Jessica, made this cute bear in school. She wrote that she wants to give it to her new little sister Sarah (we are adopting a 3 year old girl from china). She is hoping that Sarah can come soon, and that the gift will help Sarah like her.She wants Sarah to like her. She also wrote that she hopes that Sarah feels good in her new family!

Thursday, November 02, 2006

A Poem from Jessica for Mother's Day 2005

All that I like about you: comfort giver, patience, joy-maker, good words, understanding,
contentment with self and us, gifted for friend-love, crazy about flowers, garden fanatic,
colorfull women's meetings, sleeping too long, understanding of sad hearts, deep friendship
for special people, too good for thankless brothers, valueable knowledge of autism, faith in God
and thoughts of peace.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Invitation to the Play "The Very Strong Willibald"

May 2001

Dear perents,

today the class 3K is performing the unnerving good play "The very strong Willibald". Briskly the students diligently practiced the play. Tragic play digs up calamitous thoughts. First the garden door opens. Lillimaus is brutally accused by the terrible Josef. Resistent against troubles she finds useful friends. She then is banished into the library. Stupid chief is agitating everyone. All follow him except Georg and Frederike. Based on the Third Reich patterns follows propaganda. Lillimaus saves the pack while Willibald traumatically loses his tail. Questionable is (thank God) the value of useful respect by a descructive society.

Einladung zur Vorführung von "Der überaus starke Willibald"

May 2001

Liebe perents,

heute führt die Klasse 3k das nervige gute Stück vor: Der überaus starke Willibald.

Hurtig gaben sich die Schüler Mühe braf zu üben. Tragisches Stück gräbt unheilvolles Gedankengut aus. Zuerst geht die Gartentür auf. Brutal wird Lillimaus beschuldigt von graesslichem Josef. Resistent gegen Anfechtungen findet sie brauchbare Freunde. Sie wird in die Bücherei verbannt. Daemlicher Anführer hetzt alle auf. Alle folgen ihm ausser Georg und Frederike. Basierend zum Dritten Reich erfolgt Propaganda. Lillimaus rettet das Rudel während Willibald traumatisch seinen Schwanz verliert. Fragwürdig ist Gott sei Dank der Zustand der brauchbaren Achtungserweisung einer destruktiven Gesellschaft.