Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Help me score for autism

april 30 2008

This month was autism awareness month.

The earnings of this month will go to a good cause: autism.

Please rate my topentries of this month today, so I'll be able to donate the money to this marvelous cause.

Following are my best scoring entries, the best one at the top.
Click the link and rate at the widget. (which is now gone after an update in 2009)

Please, please help me gain for autism.


workshop: Going to the Heart of Autism


friday's feast

exhibition at school

autism - school - and an invitation of the law

I'm collecting magnifiers now

autism in libraries

inspection of the waterplayground

a cure for autism

saturday 9

three word wednesday - coma

manic monday

heads or tails - gardeningtip

publicising research results

autism awareness and a smile

The oldest and education

I feel caught in the middle between the law and my child.

Scrumptious Sunday - soup

Scrumptious Sunday - Chili

saturday special

Scrumptious Sunday - potatoes

looking for dad serving in the RAF during WW2

He traded

april 30 2008

One of the boys had a great time today.

Yesterday evening he went with friends to the queensnight.
It's the night before queensday.
People prepare their stalls for the freemarket of queensday, some try out the beer (LOL!) and others go to concerts and parties.

He went to a concert and after that for a short time to a party.
He didn't like the party, so he came home early.

This morning he went to his friends early, but the concert they planned was deleted from their agendas as large clouds and a bit of rain seemed to announce bad weather.

In the afternoon we even had a bit of sun, and he disappeared to the market with only a few euros.

When he was 8 he took 5 slices of cake with him to the market and he came home with the distance driven car, a little policecar and a little ambulance. He even gave me one of the most ugly paintings we've ever seen in our lives. LOL! (He agrees now. I kept it all those years. In the attic, that is.)

Today he came home with two little dollshouses which are lamps.
One he bought, the other he couldn't afford.
He asked the woman to keep it aside for him and she promised not to sell it within the hour.

He bought some cheap toys, traded them for earrings and sold those so he had the money to buy the second house.

Isn't it amazing what he can do?

I don't have a camera available to show you the houses, but when I see them on internet, I'll show you.

The houses have a triangle base.
The back is for the light,
The two other sides have 3 little windows with shutters at the top.
One side has two large windows downstairs. With shutters too.
And one side has a door downstairs.
Around it grass with flowers.

The houses look like tudorhouses.

They're marvellous.

And so is he!!

it's Queensday!!!

april 30 2008

copyright RVC

It's Queenday!!!

Our former Queen, Juliana, celebrated her birthday on this day.
In honor of her and for some other reasons we kept Queensday on april 30.

Each year Queen Beatrix visits two towns to take part in the celebrations.

This year it's Makkum/Wunseradiel and Franeker in Friensland, the north of the country.

In case you want to enjoy the way we celebrate such a special day, you can visit some sites and enjoy the life broadcasts.


website: Queensday at Wunseradiel
website: queensday at Makkum


website Queensday at Franeker
website local broadcasting cooperation

TV life:

Site of the Dutch Royal Family

I'll update this entry with the url to the summery of the day.

You can find the summary video at the following page.

At the right you'll see: mediatheek. The last link is the summary.

click here

And some photos from people in the country:


Tuesday, April 29, 2008

heads or tails - memory

april 29 2008

TAILS - Share a special memory

It's almost queensday here.

Which makes it easy to find a memory.

When I was young queensday was celebrated with lots of old fashioned games.

Ofcourse I didn't like them all.
But two of them special to me.

"Koekhappen" and rolerskating.

For "Koekhappen" children were lined up in a large row. They were blindfolded.
Then, on a line hanging above their heads, peperkoek, a kind of gingerbread, was hung and the children were supposed to reach for it with their mouths.

No problem for me.
I had a strong inner sense for where the koek would be and I always won, untill I was too old to take part.

I can't remember winning any of the other games, but I guess I've won one or twice at the other games, as they tried to let every child have an exprience of success.

It's interesting that my breakfast now still is a slice of koek.
My diabetes can't handle bread or anything else, just peperkoek.

When the years of koekhappen had to be left in the past I was old enough for rolerskating.
I was a bit too fragile for the heavy rolerskates we had them, so I didn't even come close to the top ten of my age.
Untill we got new neighbours.
They had two boys and one of them took it upon him to train me for queensday.
He had me skate as fast as I could on the street in front of the houses.
It must have been fun for other people to see me try so hard, with him yelling on the pavement.

Because he didn't want people to know I'd been the koekhappen queen so many years, he decided we would take part in the races in another part of town.
It was near where my gram and her sister lived.

They came to look and cheer.
My neighbourboy won everything, I got a fifth place.

I can remember him being very proud and happy.

My gram was over the rainbow and treated us all.
I still feel the cold of the icecream, and the warmth of the sun.
I hear the larger boys compete, and people cheering, when we headed to my grams home with the prizes.

I dressed as a girl again, with a white blouse and an orange skirt.
Orange is the color of our royal house.

My gram and her sister took an orange drink and we got orange lemonade with a straw.

Want to take part in the meme?
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the same psychiatrist, oh my dear!

april 29 2008

Talking to other parents with an autistic child is very worthwhile.
With 4 boys with Autism Spectrum Disorder I'm always able to recognise something in the stories of others.

Now I'm being more active in my town people start asking questions or spontaneously start to share their experiences.
Sometimes I know I can help.

Last week I met a woman who told about her autistic son and the psychiatrist they were having troubles with.
I recognised her story and asked carefully if she wanted to tell me the name.
Yep, like I thought, she was complaining about the same person.

Because she had some questions that couldn't be answered at the schoolgate, I was invited over to her home.

I expected to be away from home for a bit over an hour, but I should have taken my pyamas with me.

Her son showed the same behaviour as my autistic son, had exactly the same problems with medication, etc etc.
And, like the psychiatrist reacted to our difficulties, she listened while looking at het watch with intervals of 10 seconds, mumbled about institionalisation and precribed the same meds before opening the door and smiling.

I've sworn to myself that I would jump in whenever I heard the same story about this psychiatrist as ours, and so I did.

When I asked her if she wanted to have her child in an institution, she said she was afraid it would end that way.
Her son even told the psychiatrist the last time that he thought she didn't care about him at all and that he had the idea she wanted to put him in a nuthouse.

That is not what autistic children should deal with!!

So we made a plan to get him better help,
I told her where to go for special assistance at school and how things are organised around the paperwork, and I was strengthened in my feeling that more moms in our town should meet and talk together.

So I'm going to organise a meeting soon.

More entries in autism awareness month:



Monday, April 28, 2008

looking for dad serving in the RAF during WW2

april 28 2008

I don't know why, but I've spend quite some time trying to find out in which squadron my father was serving in WW2.

I still haven't found out.

It's good I have been to England. I've met the people he stayed with, so no one can tell me he hasn't served in the RAF.
But that's long ago and the people there who knew have died.

I know some of his stories.
Just a few.
The rest he kept to himself.

I also know some things from his chaplain. Not much. But enough to follow some lines.
They didn't lead to my dad, yet.

Maybe they didn't serve in the same squardron at the time, but met later, earlier, or on a base where their squadrons were together.

He was trained as a radio operator and became a flying engineer.

Because he was young he had to stay overbight at a family near the base.
As far as I know he stayed in High Wycombe with an elderly lady somewhere between 1941 and 1943. She was very kind and caring.
Her daughter, Lillian, went to Rhodesia with her husband.

He also stayed in Wolverhampton, where I've met the family.
It's a pity my mother managed to loose the address.
Those people were very kind, and I would have loved to have stayed in contact.

Once my father mentioned he'd been in Nova Scotia, but as soon as I started to ask questions he stopped talking. he never wanted to talk about it again.

His photos were kept in an old shoebox.
I remember him sitting in a Lancaster.
He often told about airplanes like the spitfires, mosquitos and the flying fortress.

One of the most amazing experiences was being with him in France.
He'd always said he'd never been there, but he knew his way there quite well.
No surprise, considering many Dutch young men went through France to go to England.

On the other hand, our family was in the resistance and he might have helped pilots escape.

The last days I've spend hours with a magnifying glass looking at old pictures online.

But why, why can't I find him?
And why can't I find his name, nor that of the chaplain?

Requesting information from the army archives is impossible.
My mom is next of kin and she was so traumatized in the war that she doesn't want to have anything to do with it.
She won't give her consent, so I have to wait untill she dies.

I hope that one day, I'll find out more.


Sunday, April 27, 2008

Scrumptious Sunday - potatoes

april 27 2008

Theme for Scrumptious Sunday
Ninth Edition


We're a country of potatoe-eaters.
Van Gogh painted them.

The use of potatoes for food stems from the second century BC. That is to say, there's proof they were grown then, but maybe they were used even earlier.

In the 16th century the Spanish conquerers took them with them to Europe.
At first people didn't value them.
The leaves are poisonous and people thought the potatoes were develish.

But soon they found out how to cook them and they started to value the nurishment.
As the potatoeplants is able to adopt to the climate it didn't take long before potatoes were a main part of the daily diet.

In 1680 the french fries/frites were invented. They were not french at all, but Belgian.
In those days the famers of Namen, Ardenne and Dinant ate lots of little fried fish.
Because the water was frozen and they couldn't catch the fishes, they took potatoes, slices them in the same size and fried them.

The most famous potatoe is "het bintje".
It's created by a teacher living in the Northern part of The Netherlands, called Friesland.
He loved to create new varieties and he called them after his children.
The tenth variety was called after a girl in one of his groups: Bintje Jansma.
The taste is weet and soft, and the potatoe cookes nicely.

Ofcourse the American readers now start to beg to tell the tale about the invention of the chips.
So here we go:
Mr. Vanderbilt (sounds terribly terribly Dutch, doesn't it?), the rich Ships and railwayguy, was in Seratoga in 1853.
He ordered meat and frites.
But when his mail was served he considered the frites too large and sent them back to the kitchen.
The owner of the restaurant was a bit irritated and he wanted to teach Mr. Vanderbilt a lesson.
He sliced the potatoes very thin and fried them in boiling oil.
When he served them he called them "potato chips".
The story tells that Mr. Vanderbilt loved them.

Ofcourse the Scottish should be mentioned here too.
They managed to make the largest potatoe in 1992.
It was 2015 grams and had a length of 25 cm.

Here at home we have several ways of preparing a meal with potatoes.
Ofcourse we like them
- peeled, cooked with salt, and served with meat and vegetables.
- peeled, cold, sliced into a salad with lettuce and other fresh vegetables,
- peeled, sliced and baked
- peeled, sliced into frites and fried
- peeled, cooked and mashed

and the kids love to "steal" them out of the fridge when they think I can't see them. LOL!

Sometimes we slice a potatoe, carf it and use it as a stamp.

And did you know you can clean your silver by putting it in warm potatoewater and then rub it clean afterwards?

Well, I guess that 's enough for today.

I'm sure the other participants in Scrumptious Sunday will present you some great recipes.

Want to read more?
Want to take part too?
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Logo made by me from tubes of Outlaw by Design

unconscious mutterings

april 27 2008

  1. Thug :: outgrown the getto

  2. Slurp :: noise of a sip

  3. Alley :: little backstreet

  4. Sweater vest :: old fashioned, oh I mean: sophisticated. LOL!

  5. Targeted :: aimed at

  6. Snazzy :: flashy

  7. Oy! :: oh

  8. Jury duty :: we do have three judges, no jury

  9. Low fat :: haha!

  10. Responsibility :: not all people take it

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Saturday, April 26, 2008

saturday 9

april 26 2008


1. Who called you most recently?

The therapist of one of my sons.

2. What was the most recent sports game you watched?

The world cup iceskating.

3. Who is your most recent friend?

Most recent? I don't know. Most of my friends are from long ago, and I haven't had the chance to make new friends recently.

4. What was the most recent TV show you watched?

Holby blue, when it can be considered a show. It isn't isn't it?
I haven't watched a real show for a long time. So I'll guess it's one of the new years shows.

5. What was the most recent music that you purchased?

None. I never purchase music.

6. What were the most recent clothes that you purchased?

Tie and die, yesterday at .bay. I couldn't leave it there.

7. Who most recently did you say “I love you” to?

My twins.

8. Who did you most recently text?

I can't text. LOL!
I most recently mailed my oldest.

9. Who did you most recently kiss?

My twins.
So no juicy stories here. LOL!

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saturday special

april 26 2008

~I Say..You Answer...~

1. Early answer?:

I love spring and summer, because I can walk into the garden whenever I want, without the fuzz of coats and special shoes.

It's so nice to smell the early morning air and to hear the birds sing.
At a very early time they're not disturned yet by people going to work and school.
The world is theirs, and I'm allowed to be there.

It so nice to see the flowers, still closed, with a bit of moisture catching the first rays of sun.
During the day they'll open and seeing that change make me feel happy.

2. Foggy answer?:

As an asthmatic I'm in conflict here.
Mist makes me feel short of breath.

But I love to see the mist above and around the lake.
So I'll take my inhaler and use it very well, and then go for a walk.

The mysterious silence is what I'm looking for.
The large willowtrees alsmost drawn against a grey canvas.

3. Full answer?:

The full moon draws me outside.
Sometimes I even wake up the girls to have a look, and when it's vacation and they want to go with me on a walk in the moonlight they're allowed to.
Educating children about the old tales is so much fun when walking in the moonlight and understanding that people long before us had the same feeling of mystery and awe.

A few years ago I was bycicling home and the moon was very large.
It was good I can bycicle home on automatic pilot, because my mind was more high in the sky than fixed on the road before me.
Suddenly I saw a shooting star.....
I'll never forget that amazing evening.

4. Starry answer?:

A starry night is what I look for on my evening walks.
It's amazing that each night the sky is different.
Sometimes I can only see a few bright ones, and at other times I can see almost straight to the end of the feels.

I don't think they want me as an astronaut, but I wouldn't mind being one.
I wonder how it would be high up there.

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friday's feast

april 26 2008


Name something you would categorize as weird.

Oh dear, that's a difficult question.
I won't say I've seen it all, or that I accept everything, but I don't think things are weird easily.
So I guess it will be some strange sculptured art, or maybe even the reaction of people on art.
We have here some flat pieces of iron, stuck vertically in the ground. In fact they are used untreated plates sheets of iron.
People say they're oh so beautiful!!
That's weird, because when I would stuck them the same way in my garden, or they would be stuck in the ground the same way at a building place none would say that they're "oh so beautiful!"

It's also weird that people enter memes and when I visit them and want to comment I have to log in at sites I don't want to be a member of.


What color was the last piece of food you ate?

Brown. It was my breakfast: peperkoek.


On a scale of 1-10 with 10 being highest, how much do you enjoy being alone?

The only times I don't enjoy it is when I feel depressed and there's a lot of mess lying around when everyone has left.

But I'm never completely alone. My autistic son is at home.

Main Course

Fill in the blank: I will _________ vote for ___________ in _______.

Well, I'm not american. We're an allied country and as such we have relations with america and a view on them.
For international relationships I would vote for Obama.
Clinton wants to force too much rules and regulations on the already weakened relationships. She makes the impression she doesn't want to listen well enough.
Maybe americans value her for the idea they have that she pushes forward and follows what she wants.
But I'm sure Obama does the same.
But dealing with him has to do less with dealing with a bulldozer.
he makes the impression he's able to listen, value matters on their own merits, and make the decision that's best for all partners on the long run.

In other words: I feel Clinton is there for the glory and the ego.
Obama for the cause.

Voting in my own country, The Netherlands, is much different.
We don't vote for people as much as in america, but we vote for party programmes.
We've got many parties, and it's important to get the parties with the best programs in the government.
One can vote for a person in a party.
Whenever that person gets enough votes to surpass others he'll get a better chance of taking a seat in parliament.

Right now I sure wouldn't vote for the tiny party of Wilders.
I sure wouldn't vote for Verdonk. People adore her because she creates the image of their aunt, sweeping the house, eh the country, clean from unwanted people. I think the woman is dangerous in her views, and when ever she gets prime minister we'll leave the country.
For the rest my vote will depend on the issues at hand when it's voting time.


Describe your sleeping habits.

I go to bed late, I rise early.
Most of the time one foot sticks out from under the blanket.
Most of the time I try to read a bit before sleeping, then put the radio on and fall asleep while others talk about economic problems.
It's informative and utterly boring, but it works, because it takes my mind of all the troubles.


Friday, April 25, 2008

three word wednesday - reflection

april 24 2008

I have't been around much,
so I have to make up a lot.
3 weeks of:

Prompts are:






I saw my picture
reflected in the shopping window
and stopped

it was clearly visible
my life was touching
a next stage

so sad

when the sun mirrored
in my eyes
and I headed towards
my inner self again

I thought: "it's funny
that I remember
my theatre years
than yesterday"


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Wednesday, April 23, 2008

I feel caught in the middle between the law and my child.

april 23 2008

Tomorrow we're going to have a meeting with a representative of the council.
She wants to "hear" is (like in "interrogation") about the fact that my autistic son is not going to school.

He promised to go last monday, but ofcourse he didn't.
The school offered him an emtpy room, and that was it.
No-one waiting for him, telling him what to do.

I'm not even sure someone realised he wasn't there at all.

Well, I've begged him to go, threatened him, gave him a book to read there, etc etc.
I can't pull him on his hair to school.

After the school with the auti-classes didn't admit him against all promisses and after 4 months of waiting, school is a no-go to him.

He can't deal with the social situations, the lack of routine, the different facial expressions, the noises, etc etc.

Homeschooling isn't allowed here.
All children should go to school.
But there's a lack of auticlasses.

I feel caught in the middle between the law and my child.

Tomorrow someone who doesn't know my child will decide if we get a fine or if we're brought to court.

Ofcourse we've made a plan.
First we want to know if the files she has are complete and if she knows he has autism.
The man she took over from intimidated me in my own home. Not much later I found out he didn't even know he was talking about a child with classic autism!

Second: it should be clear that the school did nothing at all to help him.
So they should fine the school, not us.
We complained and did everything else to get the school in motion, so they would provide him what he needs.

Third: the system falls short. He would have gone to school when the auti-class application was granted.
But there aren't enough auticlasses.

Fourth: other help is involved. I have asked the schooladvisor to help us out, and I've even asked for a meeting with the council...and that's granted!

When she fines us or sends us to court, I'll involve the media.

The last days I've felt sad, depressed, angry and a lot more.

Now I'm just very tired, but I hope tomorrow morning I'm ready to make clear that I've done all I could.

Keep your fingers crossed for me, pleasssseee!


Monday, April 21, 2008

Cheerleading. Do you want your daughter to perform in a circus?

april 21 2008

I was shocked to hear a cheerleader, Lauren Chang, died last week after a performance. She had collapsed lungs after a kick to the chest.

But when I wanted to research the subject I found even more deaths.
Ashley Burns, for instance, who died one and a half hour after she was rushed to hospital in august 2005. She was thrown in the air and didn't make the full moves she should have made.
And Shauna Stuewe who died after a similar stunt in 2006. She suffered a cardiac arrest.

Cheerleading had become from what the name says, leading the cheering crowds, to a highly athletic sport.
Young girls and women are pushed to perform circusacts in highly competitive situations.

A couple of years ago parents were warned for the dangers of cheerleading.
The article of Yvette J. Brown is cited often at the moment.
Yvette Brown wrote it after an interview with Dr. Sally Harris, a sports medicine and pediatric specialist.

In 2006 Brenda Shields studied high school cheerleaders and warned for the dangers.

Often reactions to articles about the risks get comments like: "We're aware of the risks, it's part of the game." and "We know what we are doing. There is always a qualified person available."

The glamour of cheerleading is considered more important than the risks.
That's not only the option of 14 year olds, but also of their parents.
One way or another the dangers of cheerleading are considered acceptable risks.

Jag Davies had a quick look at statistics and compared these "acceptable" risks with the risks of something all parents warn their children for: ecstacy.
It turned out that ecstacy requiers far less medical costs (that means: less ER visits, less care needed).
Or put to a less economical level: in 2001, one out of every 152 organized cheerleading participants needed ER treatment, while only one of out of every 585 past-year ecstasy users needed ER treatment.

Ofcourse his little investigation can't be considered scientific at all, but he has a point.

People balance the dangers with other elements, like prestige and glamour.

It's interesting that many people hide behind arguments like:
- the figures should be compaired to figures of other sports,
- cheerleading is a year round acitivity, so you can't compare figures with sports that are seasonal,
- the figures only show attendance of the ER, not the amount of treatments,
- the figures used are going back to 1982 and cover a period when cheerleading was the only sport for females. (Get a life! The americans participated in female sports at the olympics, or not?),
- you can't understand because you're not a cheerleader,
- etc.

The facts are that cheerleading needs a lot of practice, under pressure.
And even very experienced cheerleaders suffer injuries like:
- broken bones
- cuts
- sprains & strains
- spinal injuries
- head injuries
and even dehydration, because not all practicehalls are equiped well enough to meet requirements.

Whenever a sport carries a substantial risk for spinal and head injuries an alarmbell goes in my mind.

Not all girls who become paralysed or get damaged for life in another way reach out to the media.
Maybe they should.

The acts these young people perform are circusacts.
In my country we have serious rules and regulations to prevent injuries.
These precautions are not used in cheerleading.
Yet, a circusact is perceived as more dangerous.

See how the mind plays games with you?

As a parent I have only one question for all the mothers of cheerleaders:
Do you want your girl to perform in a circus?


manic monday

april 21 2008

Who is the black sheep in your family/group?

I am. I'm the black sheep of the family.
Whenever I did something I got comments. No matter what. My actions, looks, Whatever.
How often I have been told that I am a very friendly and caring person and that that makes up for my looks. Oh my dear! I wasn't a monkey... just a grey mouse.

Well, nature took revenge.
My skin is very well preserved. Hardly a wrinkle!

When I graduated from university none attended. I did what they couldn't.

I always tried to live up to expectations, but it wasn't enough.

I tried to surpass my feelings. My grandmother died.
Then the inheritance needed to be divided. I said nothing.
At the moment they realised almost everything of my grandmother had left the house.
I love clocks, so I got the old clock. It was broken.

Then even over a broken clock of about 39 dollars they had a fight.
Well, the clock can't help it. I still have it hanging on the wall, because my grandmother loved it.

When I tried to tell that one of the boys had ADHD, I was told I had to bring them up better and that ADHD was complete nonsense.
That was it!

It was the so maniest time my children weren't accepted.
And the so maniest time I was told I wasn't good enough for this world.

I've never seen my mother since, and the rest of the family stayed away. I guess they believe what she says.

Well, at least I know I'm a good mother.
My autistic son would be in a home when I didn't fight for his happiness.
Life would be easier, but at least I let my feelings speak.

If you were a character from a book, what character would you be?

The traveller.
The winner of the first Nobel Prize for childcare.

What's your favorite accent?

Scottish, and according to my scottish friends I'm good at it. LOL!


laundry outside

april 21 2008

I'm not used to clothes on the line in the garden anymore.

Today was the first day with a good temperature and a lot of wind, so I got all the laundry out and on the lines.

Most of it was almost dry when I took it inside again.
So it was well worth the effort.

Just one blac, rather thick, cardigan with a cap wasn't dry at all and I left it on the line.

The started cooking.

When looking outside I thought there was someone in the garden...


publicising research results

april 21 2008

I've been surfing around a bit and I've found quite a lot of blogs which have no real original content.
Some are just copies of the news in a different layout or summaries of scientific articles they have found somewhere.
Or second hand schientific results.

Just getting statistics doesn't say much.
Especially not when they're taken from the news.
There are so many fairytales around, which aren't backed up with proper research or are based on bad research.

It takes some basic knowledge to judge a scientific article, and it takes the whole article.

It's not enough to see the results.

One should be able to see why a certain research method has been choosen, and if it fits the subject, the hypothesis and the researched group(s).

One should be able to judge the statistical method. Some methods are choosen to draw conclusions from the data which shouldn't be used at all!

And one should be able to criticise the way the researchers have reached their conclusion.
Sometimes the data available grant more conclusions than one.
It's important to see them.

I know that many scientists need to publicise on a regular basis, otherwise their researchgroup looses grants and/or is not accepted in the researchinstitute anymore.
Many scientists need to publicise a certain amount of articles a year, to keep their job and/or be promoted.

The pressure to write articles and seek the media is sometimes too much.
A bit of inside information about that sometimes prevents misunderstandings and false joy.

For instance:
In the past the scientific community ignored certain cancerresearch.
We knew where it came from, so we didn't spread any false hope, and quietly tried to make the scientists aware of our doubt about the conclusions.

Then the media got hold of the results and spread false hope among people.
It took ages before it all died down, and so many patients were hurt, because there was no cure.

Another important hype was created about vaccinations and autism.
The article was withdrawn and excuses were made to the scientific community.
But even today many parents think they have given their children autism because they had them vaccinated.
They are not open anymore to scientific results that show there is no correlation.
To the contrary, they jump on everyone who says there is a connection and use it to show they are right.

Selective perception, see what you have in your frame of mind, is even more dangerous than pure phantasy.

More and more scientists are aware of the people who need the results of their reserach.
It leads to more ethical behaviour.
But even when clear statements are made that certain results are just the first step in a long chain of researchprojects, people just take one part out of what they hear: the part they think they can use.

Being aware that writing about research results might cause reactions on the side of the readers which can't be controlled is not often a characteristic of the media.

I hope more bloggers however take a close look to why they re-publisice what they find in the media.


Sunday, April 20, 2008

unconscious mutterings

april 20 2008

  1. Questioning :: interrogating

  2. Immunity :: political immunity

  3. Online dating :: never done

  4. Calcium :: schoolcrayons

  5. Dressing :: dressing up

  6. Bucket :: full of wet laundry

  7. Stain :: spot

  8. Advanced :: developed

  9. Dramatic :: theatrical

  10. Self-medication :: heal thyself

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Scrumptious Sunday - Chili

april 20 2008

Theme for Scrumptious Sunday
Eighth Edition


It's kind of a tradition I won't give a recipe, but dish up one of my memories.
So here's one.

As Chili is very cheap, easy to make and can be made in verrrry large quantities, we often made it during our university years.

No party or we would invite people to come
at 18.00 hours to eat with us,
at 19.00 hours to do the dishes,
at 20.00 hours to tidy up and decorate the space
at 21.00 hours to start the part and
at 22.00 hours with a bottle of something, because there was no free netrance at that time anymore.

Ofcourse most of us would be in the kitchen early in the afternoon to start preparations.

We always had so much fun deciding who would get the groceries, who would cook and who would do all the other chores.

Often it was up to me to slice the unions, start the cooking and then slip away with the grocery group.

It was in spring, I remember, it might even be in april, when we had a party because we finished another round of exams.

It was at a huge student flat, with a huge kitchen and a flamboyant array of students living there.

One of them was quite boring. He was about to enter the medical research, and at the time he was developing a very old fashioned way of sleepresearch.
A collegue of him from Surinam, very social and certainly not boring, was having a talk with one of the girls. A suicidal type, who could be fun to have around, but only after she had the proper amount of attention and a good moodboost.
Another friend was still at university and not expected untill four. And he probably would have a lousy mood as his exam was very difficult.

I was over the hill from joy that I managed to pass my exams that morning, and I even dared to call someone with a car to help us with the groceries.

Such a good day!

All the large pans came on the table, the unions too.
One of my best friends took them one by one to the fire to melt some butter, and I sliced the unions singing heartbreaking laments with the speakers out loud.
Even when the countrysongs came on and the tears dripped on the ground I went on, and soon all the pans were filled and the unions were slowly melting in the butter.

The car and driver came, we went for groceries, and when we came back we could see the beans and carrots which were still available from another shopping trip slowly heating in the pans.

We added the best ingredients, while people walked in, sang songs with us, and just relaxed.

I added a bit of chilipowder, some peppers and other spices and mixed it well.
Then I was called away, I don't know why, and when I entered the kitchen someone was happily stirring the mixtures, telling everyone the smell was good and the food was almost ready.

Suddenly we were called outside to see airballoons passing over the studenthouses.
We all waved and had fun, untill one of us remembered the chili.
"Hope it's not burned".

No problem...our man from surinam was stirring the chili, whistling a song and told all to count the heads, get enough plates and prepare the tables.

So we did.

We even called in our sleeping doctor-wannabee and he was the first to get a plate with chili.
He was brought up well in a roch family, but at the studenthouse he'd forgotten all manners, so he started to eat.

Immediately he went red and tried to say that the chili was HOT, HOT HOT!!!

None believed him, so we gave him a spoonfull of sugar, and ignored him after telling him to stop the joke.

We all waited for each other and like a good choir we started at the same time.

When I think about the taste I get still hot flushes, an urge to drink cold water, and yell: HOT HOT HOT!!!

Turned out that I spiced the lot, the surinam guy too, and one of the others when I was away to get the groceries.

Luckily we had plenty of bread, and none objected to mashed potatoes going with the chili, so we were able to have a nice dinner when the potatoes were cooked.

A few weeks later I had breakfast with salt in my coffee, at the same place, but that's another story.

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Logo made by me from tubes of Outlaw by Design

I'm collecting magnifiers now

april 20 2008

A couple of years ago I helped a friend built her collection of magnifiers.
She's living in another country now.
She's not forgotten, but her collection was.

Untill I had a short talk with the doctor's wife last week and the subject popped up.
And since then it hasn't left my mind.

I have a magnifier beside the computer. Nothing special, just a very large one.

"But I can do with a little one", I thought yesterday.
That way I can leave my reading glasses at home.

Ofcourse I can buy those glasses with normal and reading options in one. But I don't like them at all. I need a wide field of vision without a disturbance.

A long time ago I'd seen a magnifier with a chain, so I thought it to be a good idea to look for one at one of those second hand sites.

Lucky me found a fancy one, with strass stones at the outer rim... for almost nothing.
I mailed the woman, and she didn't want to wait for higher bidders, so it's send to me.

I feel so very lucky!!

I know there are many special magnifiers
I'm sure I'll be needing one of those table items in the future.

But right now I'm looking around for little pieces of art.

This collection fits in nicely with my fountainpen collection.
So when you have something at the attick and you're ready to throw it away. DON'T!
Give it another life.


saturday 9

april 19 2008

A Movie, TV, Music, Actors & Idol

1. What is the most recent movie you’ve watched with someone?

Stargate, with my autistic son.
We hoped it was the start of a new stargate season. It wasn't.

2. What is currently your favorite TV show?

It's a trie between: As the World Turns, Casualty, and Holby.

3. What CD by a new artist that is worth a listen?

By a new artist?
Put me in the time machine and sent me back 30 years and I can tell you a lot about new artists.

4. Have you bought a CD recently by an “old favorite” artist, is yes what?


5. Who is your current favorite female actor?

Lucinda Walsh: Elizabeth Hubbard

6.Who is your current favorite male actor?

Pooh... I don't know.

7. Do you pay attention to “actors born on your birthday”?

No, not at all.

8. Who is your favorite artist left on American Idol?

We don't have american Idol. I don't live in america.
(Just skipped another meme, because it was only targetted to americans this time.)

I'm watching I'd do anything from the BBC.
Jessy is my favorite.

9. Who will when win American Idol?

Is there a typo here? LOL!

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Saturday, April 19, 2008

saturday special

april 19 2008

1. How many hours a day do you watch TV?:

I listen to As The World Turns and a few days a week I watch one hour in the evening.

2. How many days in a week do you cook at home?:

All days. Here in The Netherlands people don't eat out as often as in other countries.

3. How many times a month do you go to the movies?:

Never. We don't have the money for that kind of activities.

4. How many vacations do you take a year?:

Painful question.
I haven't been on a vacation for 23 years.
And I haven't had something resembling a vacation at home either.

I'm always looking around for contests, but I've never won a vacation.

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autism in libraries

april 19 2008

Have you ever considered looking through the autism-books at your library?

At the beginning of spring many libraries have a spring cleaning and -filling.

That means that books that are never read and/or are considered old are sold for a low price, and new books are registered and put on the shelves.

The library where I live take suggestions from members, so each year I order a few books.
In the beginning they were hesitant to do so, because they thought it would only cost mony and the books would never been read.
So I urged friends and teachers to ask for the books.

Now I'm asked each year if I have suggestions.

Sure I have!! LOL!

This year I asked him to display a couple of books and information about autism on the special table near the entrance.

Because it's autism awareness month they did.

Maybe you want to take the same action.
It's very worthwhile.


inspection of the waterplayground

april 19 2008

A while ago I told you about the changes in the park near the lake.

Now they have built a kind of waterplayground.

It looks nice. I can't say anything else.

Al sorts of low bridges go across the water, like rope bridges, a swinning bridge, and one where you have to take huge steps.

The fun is ofcourse to step in the water and get wet.

With a few moms we had a look, because we're not glad with this new feature in the neighbourhood.
It's meant well.
And it looks nice.
But who takes care of matters when something happens?

Within five minutes we found spots where children might hurt themselves.
Pointy nails sticking out, uneven wood.

We pointed out these matters to one of the workman.
He agreed these spots were overlooked and walked away, telling us to wait.
When he came back he had a large hammer and one of the DeWalt tools, a kind of electrical saw.
He took care of the uneven wood and slammed the pointy nails flat.

Well, that's one.

Now we have to get the council interested in employing a supervisor.

Someone suggested the parents could take turns, but I don't think it's wise.
Children from other neighbourhoods visit there too, including the worst bullies.
I'm rather firm and strict, but I'm sure they take it against my children and the children of my friends when I send them away.

So it should be someone independent from the neighbourhood.


workshop: Going to the Heart of Autism

april 19 2008

East Lansing, MI
Going to the Heart of Autism (workshop)
June 13-14, 2008 (9:00 am to 4:30 pm)
Instructor: Dr. Steven Gutstein
for: teachers, parents, and everyone else.

Dr. Steven Gutstein, a psychologist, created the RDI (Relationship Development Intervention) program.
He reviewed the scientific literature about autism and he defined 6 core deficits each autistic person shows. These deficits show no improvement with age.

  1. Emotional Referencing.
    That is the ability to learn from the exsperiences of others.
  2. Social Coordination.
    That is the ability to control one's behaviour in such a way that one can engage in spontaneous relationships.
  3. Declarative Language.
    That is the ability to use verbal and non-verbal language to express emotions, share them and coordinate actions with others.
  4. Flexible thinking.
    The ability to adapt to changing circumstances by changing plans, opinions, etc.
  5. Relational Information Processing.
    The ability to extract meaning from a larger context. Like solving problems that have no clearcut solution.
  6. Foresight and Hindsight.
    The ability to use past experiences in a creative way to anticipate on (slightly different) future situations.
All these core deficits have one thing in common: the lack of use of creative/dynamic intelligence.

Most people with autism are very able to use static intelligence. They're good in memorising facts.
But they lack flexibility and the creativity to respond properly to new situations.

RDI makes people more aware of the natural pathways.
It enables people to put normal processes into words and slow them down.
By creating simple settings and well defined behaviourtargets, one creates more succes-experiences and enables to get insight in what a child needs to develop further.

The program uses parents as a means to teach the child.

In the workshop the following areas will be duscussed.

*-Research results on the quality of life for people on the autism spectrum

*-The developmental path unique to people on the spectrum: including the concepts of absolute vs. relative thinking, imperative vs. declarative communications, and more...

*-The basic principles of RDI: Guiding and Pacing, creating an Experience-Sharing communication environment, capturing episodic memories, teaching Functions before Skills, determining developmental readiness, and developing competence

*-The essential elements of a RDI lifestyle

*-Video clips of 'RDI in action' with parents and children and clips from the first two years in the life of a child with autism

*-The importance of frameworks and of the concepts of evolving and modifying frameworks

*-The advantages and the processes of forming dyads and small groups

*-Research on the effectiveness of RDI

*-RDI with teenagers

*-RDI implementation in school settings

I have a problem with the theory of Mr. Gutstein.
He overlooks the fact that autistic children are able to share feelings and emotions.
And not all autistic people have a complete deficit on the 6 areas.

He surpasses this problem in RDI, because it's a highly individualised program.

I like RDI because it's a positive approach.
It makes people aware of the potentials a child has.

Many parents realise that RDI is a more explicit approach of what they do already.

Teaching a child to tie the laces of the shoes works best when the complete action is broken down in parts.
An autistic child not only needs to learn the individual actions.
It also had to learn to synthesise these individual parts, an autistic child also needs to learn that he can tie his laces at school, on the pavement, and can also tie the laces when they are wet.

I think it's a relief for parents to experience the success of the individual steps.
Dealing with an autistic child without having attention for the details is a very distressing experience.

For more information:
Brad Andreessen
Phone: (713) 838.1362 x130



    april 19 2008

    Capitol Steps
    11.00 AM - 2.00 PM

    Rally to motivate politicians to pass autism insurance legislation in Michigan.

    I've seen at:
    that there are a lot of interesting speakers who support this event.

    More information:
    and: (there's a forum)


    exhibition at school

    april 19 2008

    The school of the girls had an exhibition last week.
    All groups had changed their classroom into a museum with pieces of a special country.

    One of the girls had a classroom with a lot of interesting information about the inuit.
    My girl carved a whale from soft stone and it was exhibited in an ocean with an icemountain.

    The other girl made huts of the toeareg. They even made some recipes. And ofcourse I had to taste some...
    So the rest of the evening I was smelling of fish. LOL!

    Funny things was that I didn't cook fish for dinner because of the smell...
    Well, we do a lot for our children, don't we?

    After a fashionshow of 5 minutes in the main hall I went to another classroom with teak furniture representing the tropics.

    It was nice to see how much effort everyone had taken to make this evening a huge succes.

    Another memory to add for the girls.


    Friday, April 18, 2008

    You can congratulate us!! Yoohaa!

    april 16 2008

    Last week one of the twins was admitted to the school of their choice, the other was rejected.
    It was such a blow!

    Monday morning I wrote a letter asking the school to reconsider.

    They might have made a mistake, because the letter stated the outcome of some tests, and not the advice the teachers from school gave and the national test indicated.

    I clearly stated why these tests were unacceptable for us. (Mom here has lectured research methods and statistics, so it was no problem to make them clear that tests are not perfect, and why in this case they are not to be used.)

    I know she's very dyslectic. But she brings with her the grants for support.

    And the present school says she needs some extra attention, but we feel that's because they're not completely used to dyslexia. And the new school is.

    Ofcourse today was bussy...
    I even had to go to the doc with my autistic son...pfff...

    Her teacher told us this morning that today the new school would have a meeting about my girl.
    I expected it to be late afternoon.

    But just when I came home with my son, the phone rang.

    SHE'S ACCEPTED!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


    Freezing internet with Avast

    april 18 2008

    After my son installed Shampoo and Avast, (firewall and virusscanner) I've had troubles staying on internet for longer than a few minutes each time.

    It made me feel sooo irritated!

    I tried changing the settings, reinstall and all the other means of trying to solve the problems. Nothing helped.

    Then I stopped the whole Avast Scanner and now I'm slowly reintroducing the features one by one.

    Surfing internet and blogging is for me a way to relax. Life is exciting enough, so having a virusscanner as another problemchild is not my way of having fun.

    Right now it's like I've put a child on an elimination diet to see which food triggers an allergic reaction.

    Many people say Avast is the best...
    Well, tell that me when I have normal internetaccess again with the scanner properly running.

    I know Avast pings the service a great lot.
    I wonder if that might have to do with internet freezing under my hands each and every time.

    A few years ago our internetprovider used to ping a lot, and we all stood up against us being watched.
    They stopped.
    So maybe the pingingservice of Avast runs into some sort of protection at the provider level.

    Is that possible?


    friday's feast

    april 18 2008


    Name a color you find soothing.

    Hmmm, soothing...dark blue, ruby red...


    Using 20 or less words, describe your first driving experience.

    Zero words. Because I never had one driving lesson.


    What material is your favorite item of clothing made out of?

    Depends on the time of year and what the clothes are needed for.

    In spring and summer I like cotton at the top, and thin cotton trousers or skirt.
    For dancing I love lycra.

    Main Course

    Who is a great singer or musician who, if they were to come to your town for a concert, you would spend the night outside waiting for tickets to see?

    Kiri te Kanawa.
    She's not coming to my town, but she's coming to my country june the 15th.

    Ofcourse there are other groups and singers. But spending a night outside? For Ramses Shaffy I would.


    What is the most frequent letter of the alphabet in your whole name (first, middle, maiden, last, etc.)?


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    And here's some more info:

    Kiri Te Kanawa was the adopted daughter of an Irish mother and Maori father.
    She was born in 1944, at march 6, at Gisborne , on the eastern coast of North Island, New Zealand.

    She has a clear and well controlled voice that she can handle with emotion and theatre.

    When she was young she won the John Court Aria Prize and the Mobil Song Quest and everyone loved her voice.
    Without needing an audition she was accepted as a student at the London Opera Centre in 1965.

    She performed in a few operas and when she appeared as Idamantes in Mozart's Idomeneo it was clear she was ready for the bigger roles. She received a three-year contract as a junior principal at Covent Garden.

    her international break through came when she played Xenia in Boris Godunov and the Countess in Le Nozze di Figaro.

    She received many prices and honors and became an Officer of the Civil Division of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire.

    She has been singing all over the world.
    One of her most wellknown performances was in 1981. She sang "Let the Bright Seraphim" at St. Paul's cathedral at the marriage of HRH the Prince of Wales to the Lady Diana Spencer.

    The following year she was created a Dame of the British Empire by HM Queen Elizabeth II.

    I have been following Kiri Te Kanawa witj pleasure. Especially when someone at an audition told me I had a voice like her.
    Ofcourse I'm not as good at all, but I still feel it as an honor.

    It has always been one of my wishes to see her perform on stage.

    Never ever did I realise that she would stop travelling and performing, so when I read about her last performance it came as a tremendous shock.

    Her farewell in The Netherlands is at the other side of the country... but I wish I can go there!!!


    Wednesday, April 16, 2008

    works for me - telephone hours

    april 16 2008

    Ever been in the situation that you needed to call someone and couldn't get hold of the person, and when he or she called back you were not available?

    Ofcourse email works wonders, but some people simply refuse to use email.

    The past years I've found out that limiting the time I'm available works great.
    It makes people aware of the time my family needs me, and it also makes them aware of the fact that they need to know why they call me. So I get better formulated calls from teachers and other people from schools.

    I limit the time to three times a week an hour between 8 and 10 in the evening.

    These hours are mentioned in my emails to school, and I hand out a card when the semester begins to remind people.

    Stating it in a positive way makes that people really remind it.

    "My family is a very bussy one, so my time is very precious.
    When I receive a call I want to be able to listen well, and to take the time to anwer properly.
    So you can call me....."

    During summertime I have only two hours a week available.
    One early in the evening, after dinner, and one rather late.

    Ofcourse people can always make an appointment to call at another time.
    (But not during dinner!!!)

    Works great for me.


    Disney pioneer Ollie Johnston has died

    April 16 2008

    In Washington Oliver Martin Johnston jr. has died at the age of 95.

    In the thirties Ollie Johnston was one of the pioneers of animationmovies, and he became one of the 9 best artists of the Walt Disneystudios.

    He contributed to Snow White, Fantasia, Bambi, Pinokkio, Alice in Wonderland, and many others untill 1977.

    In 2005 he was decorated with the National Medal of Arts, the best acknowledgement an artist can revceive in the USA.

    The man who brought Bambi to life has died from natural causes.

    Anorexia law in France

    april 16 2008

    France has enabled taking legal action against all who stimulate anorexia.
    Motivating people to slim too far will lead to imprisonment for 2 years or a fine of
    30.000 euro/47,328.24 USD.

    France is the first country with a law like this.
    Minister of Health Roselyne Bachelot has told the media she will fight to get this law accepted by the European Union.

    The anorexia-law is a consequence of the death of a Brasilian model who died of anorexia in 2006.
    It's aimed mainly against the pro-anorexia websites and sites giving advice to loose too much weight, thus endangering the health of young girls and women.

    Many don't know that unhealthy eating habits not only lead to a thin body, but also harm the organs.
    Reproduction, brainfunction and bonedensity for example, will be adversely influenced with consequences on the short and long run, even after someone has abandoned anorexia.

    The French fashion industry is taking steps to use models that have a healthier look.


    Tuesday, April 15, 2008

    autism awareness and a smile

    april 15 2008

    I haven't been blogging a lot this last week.

    I had too much on my mind, with the application for a school rejected for one of the girls. And some other issues.

    I just needed to divert my energy in another direction and created two dutch blogs.
    (I'm using the name Holly, to give my children the privacy they deserve. So be careful when you comment.)

    One to improve the situation for autistic children in my hometown.

    And one: "Action for Autism", to enhance awareness, comment on all sorts of situations that aren't right, vent ideas all over the place, motivate other people to take action, etc etc.
    There are two other Action for Autism sites, one in England and one in India.
    Wouldn't it be great to connect international and national initiatives?

    The number of people with an autism spectrum disorder is growing.

    I'm not at all sure we're dealing with disorders here. Not in all cases.
    Many of these people have strong and weak characteristics, like us all.

    Their weakness is defined in the areas of communication and socialisation.
    They have a different way of perceiving and processing information, so they have difficulty dealing with the way information is handled at schools.
    But a growing number mean we are getting more children with a disorder, or does it mean it's time we change the way our society works and the way schools are aimed at the average student.

    Maybe we should even start to reconsider our way of thinking about other human beings.

    I've found many people tell me autistic people are not contributing to society.
    They sure have made me feel more accepting about people who want to be or are unique(including myself).
    Do we give people who are different enough opportunities to be themselves?

    Does a higher level of education really mean that the person is better, more contributing, more valuable?

    I was at the school of the girls yesterday.
    All the pupils crowded the halls and classrooms.
    Some were talking about the latest fashion, showing off their shoes.
    Others were talking about the traffic exam taking place this week, and some boasted about the school they were admitted at.

    Slowly it got more silent.
    Doors closed and the corridors were empty.

    Then a teacher stepped out of the classroom and shouted a name.
    "I'm coming", I heard.

    A boy walked my way.
    "I hope she didn't shout too hard for you.
    I'm autistic and I'm always late.
    People say I'm too slow for this world."

    He gave me a bright smile.
    "You're the mom of the twins, aren't you?
    Your boys are autistic too, so you know what people say."

    "Yea, I sure do.
    But I also know something else.
    You're doing the best you can.
    Last year you didn't dare to look at me, let alone speak with me.
    Boy, you have the brightest smile I've ever seen,
    and you've warmed my heart.

    No one did that today.
    No teacher, no child.

    You just cherish that gift of making people happy,
    and keep your smile ready for people who want to see it.

    Many people forget to smile.
    Tell you teacher and your mom you took the time to make someone happy with your smile."

    He went to the classroom and I went with him. Told his teacher we had a very important chat and that he wasn't late at all.
    He just took the time for something that was very important.

    I don't care what that teacher thought.
    But on my way home I was singing on my bicycle.


    Nevado del Huila erupts

    april 15 2008

    The Nevado del Huila in Colombia, about 150 miles southwest of Bogota, has erupted a short while ago.
    It's spitting hot ashes.

    About 13,000 to 15,000 people have been evacuated at the moment.

    There are no data available yet.
    No reports about injuries are issued.

    The Nevado del Huila is the highest active vulcano in Columbia. It's a Stratovolcano as high as 5364 m that's 17,598 feet.
    Right now it has 6 volcanic cones.
    In 2007 damaging mudflows occured.

    The last month more seismic activity was observed and occasional small ash plumes and a smell of sulphur.


    The oldest and education

    April 15 2008

    The oldest finally got the letter of admittance to a special school which fits his educational needs.

    He's got asperger syndrome and ADD and we feel this is really a new start.

    When he was young he was considered shy and clumsy.
    He walked in a strange way, but apart from telling us he needed fysio, no one thought a bit more about it.

    When he went to school he didn't socialise much and seemed to be in his own phantasy world.
    At times teachers made a remark, but immediately told us it was not allarming.

    When we went for check-ups we were told not to worry so much.

    It's almost the classical story.

    At college he was told to work more and more organised.
    He was called lazy.
    Far too often.

    Even when we went to see a childneurologist (now a professor) we were told not to worry.
    He scanned him, had a psychologist have a look and told us all was fine.
    He wouldn't be very social, but the world florished with scientists, and he sure had all the intelligence to become one.
    Maybe one in the computer area, as he had a large interest in laptop computers.

    Well, he became a computerfreak, but school didn't went well, and he was never able to finish a year, because he simply wasn't able to live up to the expectations.

    Then he dropped out of school, and became even more of a computerfreak.

    But where to skip all the normal schoolrequirements and get a specialised education?

    It took more than a year to get him diagnosed and years to find someone who knew the ins and outs of the whole world of disability income and education.

    He's now moved to a trainingshouse, and can start at a special school within two weeks.

    Some people don't understand why it took so long.
    Well, when you told professionals 23 years ago that you thought your child had asperger syndrome, you were told you were nuts yourself.
    Not in so many words, but they all said I was wrong.
    The consequence was that he got all the support he needed from home. But a mom can interfere with school and others areas of life only so much.
    So he didn't get all the support he needed untill the knowledge and awareness about asperger syndrome and ADD was more widespread.


    heads or tails - gardeningtip

    april 1 2008

    HEADS - Tip
    TAILS - Anything that rhymes with Tip.

    I've flipped the coin: heads!

    A good tip for this time of year.

    When you are planting your borders in the garden, or a pot for the windowsill, first buy some bulbs you can plant for flowers in the late summer and autumn.

    Then buy bulbs for flowers for early summer.

    And ofcourse buy your annuals.

    Plant these three groups on top of each other.

    You'll be surprised by flowers all season!

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    Monday, April 14, 2008

    manic monday

    april 14 2008

    Is there anything for which you would willingly give your life?

    Hmm...anything, not anyone?
    Well, if I could create everlasting worldpeace with my death...shoot me.

    Right now I'm giving up a real life for the care of my children, so in a way one could say I'm giving up my life for autism.

    How would you communicate with someone if you didn't share a common language?

    Hands, feet, gestures and trying to learn the language of the other.
    Maybe drawing in the sand, pointing things out, and otherwise I would try to find out which language that person is speaking and search on internet for a translation. LOL!

    Where is your ideal place/location to have a wedding?

    I'm going to marry again?

    Woopie!! I hope it's someone who really cares for me this time.

    I'm OK with the beach, on the highest hill in the Lakedistrict England, or somewhere in Scotland.

    want to take part too?
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    Sunday, April 13, 2008

    saturday six

    march 13 2008

    Saturday Six

    1. In terms of motivation, what gets you out of bed in the morning?

    The children need to be at school in time.

    2. If you could sleep without having to get up at your normal time, how much later than that would you sleep on your own?

    Well, this morning I woke up one hour later. So that's answers it, doesn't it?

    3. How often do you take a nap? If your office made napping a legitimate option, would you take advantage of it?

    because I sleep about 4 hours a night I take a nap..once. For 15 minutes.

    4. Take the quiz: Are you lazy?

    Busy Bee

    "You are a total busy bee! Your life is filled with too much to do, and you feel like you have to do ALL of it! Gotta make the bed, mow the lawn, run these errands, cook dinner! When will the madness stop! You need to take a serious relaxation day and don't worry about ANYTHING! That's right, leave that bed unmade, go to a nice restaurant for dinner. You deserve and need this. And I promise, it won't hurt!"

    that advice is for people who don't have full responsibility.

    5. Other than your bed, where in your home are you most likely to take a comfortable nap?

    The couch.

    6. When was the last time you took a workday off so that you could lie around the house doing absolutely nothing for the whole day? Would you be likely to schedule such a day in the next three months?

    Doing nothing a whole day?

    And you come to cook?

    DIY with two left hands

    april 13 2008

    He should have taken the date into consideration before he decided to do some DIY.

    Really, he needs it, and we all know it since he drilled straight through a wall in the girls' room....

    We finally bought some lights for the livingroom last week.
    After more than 20 years the Ikea ones can be considered ikea-antiques.

    So he got the drill and some other equipment, and got tremendously stressed.
    The children found their way to the farthest corners of the house.
    "Dad is going to hang the lamps... He has to drill!!"

    When taking the lamps out of the box it was clear: not one hole, but two needed to be drilled.
    Oh my dear!!

    Some tactfull moves showed that one of the old holes could be used.

    So only one hole a lamp... that's three holes.

    The first lamp is ready.
    Don't look if it hangs straight. It doesn't.
    Tomorrow I'll put a little glue on the screw, which will cover up his mistake.
    The lamp is little, so I'm sure it'll work.

    It took me 20 minutes to clean up...

    The other one is above the couch.
    This time I could convice him to put a sheet between the couch and the drilldust.
    His stress is almost visible in the room, the next round of drilling might reveal it, so a call goes through the house: "He's going to drill again."

    Need we inform the neighbours that their painting might come off the wall when he drills a bit too far, like that time in the girls' room?
    I'd better put my best anti wrinkle cream ready, because we still have one lamp to go.

    He's born with two left hands, as they say it here.
    None argues with that!!!


    april 23 2008

    I took a few days away from this blog, because I needed some time for other things.

    The twingirls got the decision about their application for the new school.

    One of them is admitted, the other rejected!

    That was an unexpected situation after their teacher told them they both were admitted.

    One of the mothers of the children of their group even said she was phoned by the new school. They wanted to know whether her son wanted to be in the same group as the twins.
    "Oh yes!", he had answered.

    The letter of rejection stated a different schooladvice than we had got.
    Are we dealing with a mistake at the side of the new school?
    Or did the present school adjust the advice without letting us know?

    We were all so very disappointed that we nearly forgot one of the girls should be happy to be admitted.

    Luckily we got unexpected visitors, so we all got a little distance.

    I have no words for the whole situation.

    More than a month ago we had contact with the school about the application.
    The woman involved told us she would call when there were any problems.

    I guess she forgot....

    Thursday, April 10, 2008

    A 7.5 earthquake hits Loyalty Islands

    april 10 2008

    A 7.5 magnitude earthquake rocked the Loyalty Islands region of the South Pacific on Wednesday.

    The Loyalty Islands is the name for an archipelago comprising the islands of Lifou, Mare, Ouvea and Tiga -- are part of the French territory of New Caledonia, lying about 100 kilometers east of the mainland of Australia.

    The quake, centred 85 kilometres southwest of Vanuatu and 175 kilometres north-east of the Loyalty Islands in the French territory of New Caledonia, struck at 12.46GMT and 88 kilometres deep

    The Pacific Tsunami Warning Centre issued no tsunami warning, but stated that earthquakes of such size "sometimes generate local tsunamis that can be destructive along coasts" within a hundred kilometres of the epicentre.

    There were no immediate reports of damage.

    Before the 7.5 magnitude earthquake hit, there were two quakes of a magnitude of 6.4 and 6.3 on the scale of Richter.

    After the large earthquake 6 quakes were reported between 5.0 and 6.0, all, except the last two on exactly the same depth (35 km) and at about the same place.
    The last two quakes were at a depth of 38,4 and 26.4.


    Arrival of the papers for funds for special support at school

    april 10 2008

    After months of gathering the necessary statements, signatures, and forms, after waiting for weeks, we've received the official papers that state that my autistic son isn't able to participate at normal schools without special help.

    These papers are needed.
    Not only for the auti-classes that have no space for him, but also when he wants to attend a normal school.
    These papers are worth regular assistance and they grant me the supervision of treatment plans and also of all the agreements with people who have to support my son.

    To me it's gold!

    Now we have to find a school.

    Interesting is that the educationadvisor now told me it would be wise to ask special support for a teacher at home.
    He's forgetting that it takes another load of paperwork and almost the same procedure to get funds for a special teacher.
    By the time we'll receive those papers the year is over.

    Well... one of the hurdles is taken.... lots of others have to follow.

    works for me - shoebags

    april 9 2008

    We don't have a large house, but we do have a large family.

    With 3 women and 5 men there are a lot of shoes.

    The shoes of the men are kept near the door.

    But the shoes of us ladies are kept at a special place.

    I've made shoebags.

    One bag for each pair of shoes, with a tag that says which shoes are in it, and for each lady her own color for the ribbons.

    The bags are hanging beside the stairs to the attick.
    A place where they can hang in peace untill they're needed.
    I've used the arms of blouses, the legs of trousers (for heavy shoes) and some nice fabrics, so we can recognise the kind of shoes from a distance.

    It works for me and my family.


    Wednesday, April 9, 2008

    ASD, melatonin and sleep

    april 9 2008

    Many children with autism spectrum disorder and ADHD have problems sleeping.
    Most of them can't find enough relaxation to fall asleep.

    Traditional sleeping assistants, like hot milk, a lavender pillow and such, don't help.
    Interesting is that also the firm sleeping medication a doctor can prescribe often is of no use at all.

    When I first was told melatonin would do the trick, I smiled politely, started reading and then tried it.

    It works!!

    We give melatonin about one hour before we want the child to fall asleep.

    All it does is tell the brain it's time to sleep. It gives a certain relaxation, so when a child lies down and relaxes it falls asleep.
    It's not a sleepingbomb.
    When a child stays behind the computer, or is bussy watching a stressfull movie it doesn't do anything.

    Melatonin can be bought at the pharmacy, but the pills can also be bought on internet and many other shops.

    Be careful!
    You want to pay for the melatonin, not for chalk or any other carrier stuff. So get the melatonin as pure as possible.

    Other articles about autism spectrum disorder:

    a cure for autism
    Who diagnoses autism and how

    Tuesday, April 8, 2008

    manic monday

    april 8 2008

    Is there any question you can't look up the answer to on the internet?

    Oh yes, emailadresses, mobile phones.
    Sometimes I need to find an identity behind a phonenumber and I can't find it.

    And I have an old friend who moved or is moving from the USA to Europe and I can't find him.

    Invent a new word that you feel would improve the language and define it.

    I have to think about an answer to this question.

    What is your favorite texture?


    I like wood.

    Monday, April 7, 2008

    she's got her swimming diploma

    april 7 2008

    She did it!!

    She's got her swimming diploma.

    It was fun to see her bussy with the little kids in the swimmingpool, but she was more impressive swimming like she's never done something else in her life.

    Years ago she was a bit afraid. And she wasn't motivated to learn to swim.

    Some parents took their children to swimming lessons for over a year, following the few lessons from school.
    I couldn't, and I didn't.

    I guess I'm too much of a Maria Montessori mom to force a child into an area of development it isn't ready for.
    Even though many people in this watery country consider swimming of utmost importance, I always remember the words of my teacher and collegue (yep, I've been a swimmigntutot for a couple of years).
    She said that when children think they can swim and fall in the cold water, they will realise they're in cold water and before they realise they can swim their muscles spasm.

    So I told my children to stay away from the lake, and told them to come to me when they were ready to have swimminglessons.

    This little lady though managed to convince her teacher that she was just the person (with her twinsis) to fill the empty spaces in the schoolbus and swimmingpool.

    Within two months she's got her diploma.

    She was proud, soooo proud!!!

    And so was mom!!!!

    Sunday, April 6, 2008

    Who diagnoses autism and how.

    april 6 2008

    A diagnosis of autism has a lot of implications for a child and its parents.

    Some people claim to be able to "see" if a child is autistic.

    Autism though can be easily mixed up with other developmental or communication problems, so an expert needs always to be involved.

    So it's not up to a schoolteacher, nor to the family physician to make the diagnosis.

    Because autism is a neurobiological disorder defined in the DSM, the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, a psychiatrist is the expert one needs.
    Not all psychiatrists however are trained to deal with children, so one should look for a child and developmental psychiatrist. If possible one who is wellknown for accurate diagnoses of autism spectrum disorders.

    Some people think it's not very important that a well defined diagnosis is made for a young child.
    They say young children change a lot and maybe these children even outgrow their diagnosis.
    As I wrote before: autism is a disorder for life.

    A carefull diagnosis is important, because the treatment of a child depends on it, and which means that the development of the child depends on it.

    In some states children with PDD-NOS won't get proper treatment, because PDD-NOS is considered of less influence on the child's life than for instance classical autism.
    So even experts are inclined to diagnose a child with classical autism, to get help for the family.
    It's a disgrace that policy-makers don't know enough to make proper decisions about the help children should get. Or that they won't trust experts.

    I've had some questions from parents about the time the diagnosic process costs.

    Each diagnostic process should include:

    • an anamnesis, that's a family history. It's important to know which illnesses and disorders are in the family, because some might point in a certain direction, or might be overlooked at a young age.
    • the history of the child. Some disorders lead to the same symptoms as autism, but are not autism at all.
    • the experiences of the parents. Parents see their child develop from day to day. They know their child as no one else.
    • the observations of teachers and others. Sometimes familymembers or friends see things the parents are not able to see.
    • questionnaires. They're very helpfull to discuss each and every subject that's needed to pick up signals. People can remember active, but also by recognition. These list are great for that.
    • observation. Expert observation of the child is always important. It's up to the expert where he likes to see a child. Some are OK with a classroom, others prefer playtherapy or videos at the family home.

    Some experts also want a physical exam, bloodwork and even scans.
    That's because they want to exclude other issues (vitamin deficiency, gluten intolerance, brain damage, etc ) before making a clear statement about autism.

    I'll write about the symptoms of autism at another time.


    Scrumptious Sunday - soup

    april 6 2008

    Theme for Scrumptious Sunday


    There are so many souprecipes on internet, that I won't bore you with mine.

    But I'll share the precious memories I have.

    The best taste of soup I have is of the soup my grandmother made.

    I loved to watch her.

    When I was a bit older often we went to buy the ingredients at the shops nearby at saturday morning after my training for the swimmingcompetitions.
    She carefully placed the vegetables in the basket and when we came home she took a large apron, got a large kitchenknife and a large souppan.

    She was used to making large quantities, like I now. She had 7 children.

    First we put the meat in the water, and then we went to the livingroom to have tea and bread.
    My uncle would walk in and have a talk. Or we would listen to the radio, or talk about school, a book, or something else.

    After returning to the kitchen we sliced the vegetables. Often she taught me songs, and we used to sing them for all to hear.

    With only a small light under the pan the smell of soup would slowly fill the kitchen and drift in waves through the house.

    It was always such a pity to leave for home, where my mother just threw in the meat and sliced vegetables like in a trashcan, put on the heat high untill everything boiled.
    Even when the ingredients were the same the soup tasted different.

    Every sunday morning when I was at highschool, my dad and I went to mass at school.
    Afterwards we went to gram to have coffee and enjoy the quiet before aunts and uncles dropped in.
    Sometimes we all sang songs accompanied by my uncle on the guitar.

    Once in a while one of the neighbours came asking to open the gardendoors, so they could hear us.
    It was all so relaxed.
    My grandmother was able to make every person to feel at home, except for my mother.
    She was always commenting and criticising, and finally stayed away.

    It made the house of my gram even feel more as my home.

    I knew that when she slipped away it was almost time, so I followed her to the kitchen and put all the soupplates at a row, all the spoons ready, and the bottle with spices.
    Again she would put on the apron and tell me to take one too.

    Damp swirled in the air, the smell was awesome, and the colours intense.
    Aunts came in the kitchen, bringing the plates in the room.
    And we all enjoyed the soup.

    Even when I grew up I loved to come on sundaymorning and I wouldn't leave before I had soup.
    The mornings were more quiet then, with only dad and me to tell gram we still loved her cooking.

    The soupplates became special mugs, and gram became wrinkled and little.
    But the soup stayed.

    And each time my soup smells like hers I know it's her soul passing by and smiling, because she made the best soup a human being can ever make.

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