Category Archives PSA

Autism Cover for Let it Go

Some days you see something in your social media stream that catches your eye. Yesterday afternoon, just a few hours after my son’s IEP meeting, this happened. Someone shared a video of a young woman named Sarah-Jill Rush. This talented individual person wrote a cover of Let It Go from Frozen for people with autism. As I sat there watching the video, I had tears in my eyes.

 Knowledge is power with autism awareness

Happy tears because…

  • I am hopeful for next year after our meeting and all of the supports that are in place for a major move into middle school.
  • I am thankful that our team tries to listen to feedback and are working with us to help my son.
  • I am grateful for brave people like Sarah for sharing the inner story of autism with others.
  • This song really hit a nerve with me and I can see my son doing something beautiful like this one day.
  • Social media is helping to get the word out about autism awareness.

Please take a moment and watch this video of Sarah, AKA ZebraGal, singing her version of the song.

The words of her song are powerful. A few of the lines that I really adore are:

My meltdowns illustrate this swirling storm inside
Couldn’t keep it in, heaven knows I’ve tried

Let it go, let it go, can’t hold it back anymore
Let it go, let it go, stand up straight and tell them more
I don’t care what they’re going to say
Let this girl stim on
The stares never bothered me anyway

It’s funny how support makes ignorance seem small
And the fears that once controlled me can’t get to me at all

When you listen to the video, read the words. See what Sarah is saying. She not only has accepted her autism, but she wants others to be proud of who they are and being on the autism spectrum. Sarah tells us that letting it go a la stimming and meltdowns is just part of who you are and no reason to be ashamed.

Once again, knowledge is power and so is the need to educate others about those individuals living on the autism spectrum.

It's Me

Some of my other posts about autism:

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Kicking Cancer in the Rear

Cancer is the C-word that too many of us have heard for family, friends, and even individually. The first time I remember hearing the word was when I was in fourth grade and my Papa J was diagnosed. I have to admit that I was really young and naïve. I do not recall a lot of what happened at the time except that those near and far rallied for him. Since that time, countless family and friends have been diagnosed with different types of cancer. Of course, breast cancer is part of my world. My great grandmother passed away from cancer years before technology and science were able to help diagnose her. Thank goodness these days people like my Aunt S are cancer survivors. Almost eleven years ago, she was diagnosed with breast cancer just before my oldest son was born.

Mammogram Machine

Thanks to my family history, I had my first mammogram two years ago. I wrote about it at the time because so many people are afraid of the machine above. The reality, this machine along with others tests are able to save lives.

Over the last few months, the C word has been on my mind a lot. This week, a special woman that I met for the first time on the monorail at Disney for a conference with her beautiful family told all of us that she was waiting on news about a lump that she had found in her breast. I have met Amanda several times since that visit to Disney, the last time at the Type A Parent Conference in Atlanta. I kept her in my thoughts and prayers as she waited for news on her biopsy. On Monday, Amanda found out that she has stage 3 invasive ductal carcinoma. Amanda is a fighter and Nikki wrote about it beautifully on her post A war to be waged against the big C.

Amanda Henson - photo by Sherry Aikens

Now those of us in the blogging community are working together to support Amanda and her family during this time. We all know she is going to kick cancer’s butt.

Save the Hooters  #AmandasArmy

Right now, there is an #AmandasArmy store on Café Press (affiliate link to the store that goes right to Amanda as well) where images like the owl above can be purchased on various items. All proceeds from the store will be going right to Amanda. In addition to this, a YouCaring page has been set up as a direct fundraiser. More items are in the works because this is just what bloggers do for each other.

Amanda, know that my family and I are cheering you on from New York. We will set a date when you have made the cancer run from your body to meet up on that magical monorail once again. This is a promise, not a threat and I will buy you a special slushy at Epcot and a Dole Whip to celebrate.

It's Me

Thank you to Sherry Aikens, SuperExhausted, for the amazing photo of Amanda via the Type-A Philly photos.

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Capital Region CANstruction 2014

Last year, we took the boys to the Capital Region Canstruction display at the New York State Museum and they loved it. The event raises awareness of hunger in cities across the United States. The event in Albany is sponsored by companies in the area that “compete” with their structures around a theme. This year, the theme is Story Land and once the display period is over (April 24) all of the food items that made the works of art will be donated to feed people via the Food Pantries for the Capital District.

Capital Region Canstruction 2014

Like last year, we brought cans of food with us to vote. People that visit the 4th Floor Terrace Gallery will see all of the entries for this year and be able to vote with a can donation for their favorites. The boys take this very seriously and went around several times before they selected the one that was their favorite.

Once we entered the gallery, we were greeted with two familiar Disney friends.

Capital Region Canstruction - Toy Story

Yes, Buzz Lightyear and Woody were ready to go on an adventure in dining to help those in need. I have to say, I was in love with this one and just wanted to stay and explore more of this design. Of course, the boys caught some other canstructures and we were off to catch a train.

Capital Region Canstruction - I Think I Can

I Think I Can really captured the spirit of this Story Land favorite. The colors in the food items really made the Little Engine that Could come alive. From here we were off for some Pure Imagination.

Capital Region Canstruction - Pure Imagination

You could almost feel Willy Wonka’s presence and imagine Augustus Gloop reaching into the chocolate river of cans. Of course, we did not stay here long because Sam-I-Am was right across the way.

This display of Green Eggs and Spam made the first grader in the group fall in love. He adored seeing something familiar.

Capital Region Canstruction - Green Eggs and Spam

From here, we walked back to the other side of the Toy Story canstructure. This is where NHL and TechyDad fell head over heels (pun kind of intended) for the following creation.

Capital Region Canstruction - Alice in Wonderland

This beautiful piece of art really used a lot of items to make the three dimensions pop. I mean check out the bags of marshmallows for the petticoat on Alice’s dress. Yes, I am giving you permission to look up her skirt.

Next up was another familiar Dr. Seuss character. I do believe he shall not only be hearing the Who’s, but helping the hungry.

Capital Region Canstruction - Horton Helps the Hungry

The poem of sorts on this one really stole the show for creativity and using social media in the mix.

While continuing through Story Land, we bumped into more literary classics. Check out how James is climbing the Giant Peach with the caterpillar.

Capital Region Canstruction - James and the Giant Peach

Even a picture book favorite came swimming into town to say hello.

Capital Region Canstruction - The Rainbow Fish

The Rainbow Fish helped us along to the last stop. I do believe you may recognize this funny little fellow with his feet stuck in a jar of honey.

Capital Region Canstruction - Winnie the Pooh

Poor Winnie the Pooh got a bit caught up here, but it was for a very good cause. When we finished our first tour around, the boys went back to look at everything before they placed their cans into their vote for favorite canstruction design.

Which is your favorite from glancing at the photos? I would love to know if you have been to the Capital Region Canstruction event or one in another city. If you live in the Albany area, Capital Region Canstruction will be at the New York State Museum until April 24.

It's Me

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Reminder to Refuse the Tests

It is no secret that I am passionate about education advocacy. I am a teacher and I am not too shy to admit that for the second year in a row I will be refusing the tests for my oldest son.

Public School Parent Advocacy

My fifth grader will not be taking the New York State ELA and Math exams that begin on April 1. While the date is humorous, it really is no joke that the kids of NYS and across the country are being used as guinea pigs. This generation of students are taking high stakes testing that is tied to the new bungled Common Core Standards. Please understand that this is not about making education more rigorous for our children, and improving public education like the education reformers claim. Follow the money trail and check the facts. This is simply about the privatization of public schools and companies like Pearson, Gates, and others making BILLIONS off our our children and their data. Yes, most of this is just about data and companies hungry to make money off of it.

The Innocent Victims of Common Core

Please take a moment and view this powerful video from Change the Stakes. When you finish watching, remember this is the reality that all of the children in grades 3-8 in New York are going through all year long.

Do not forget, as parents and guardians, you have the right to refuse the tests for our children. There are no consequences for children, schools, teachers, or districts. Scare tactics are being sent out via the New York State Department of Education. Commissioner John King is spreading his propaganda about how the tests will help students, but it is not true. Our children are more than a number. My kids and yours deserve to be learning in a way that does not focus on tests that give us no feedback. Teachers are professionals that know how to use authentic assessment tools to let us know how our kids are doing. High stakes testing needs to end and we must move away from the theory that Common Core is a mess simply because of the implementation. That is a myth, but only made matters much much worse for the kids that are stuck dealing with this on a daily basis.

It is time to stand up tall and join the education revolution and REFUSE the tests because it is the right thing to do for your children. For more information about refusing the tests (it is NOT too late) please head over to NYS Allies for Public Education to learn more.

It's Me

Previous posts about education advocacy:

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Choose to Refuse in New York

High Stakes testing is nothing new to the world of education, but the pressure on children has shifted greatly in recent years. Tears, anxiety, and lack of passion for learning is the new norm thanks to hours spent getting ready for these tests. As an educator, I never thought I would go against the powers that be, but I did last year. That’s right, last year I was one of the many parents across New York that decided to refuse the NYS Language Arts, Math, and Science test for my then fourth grade son.

Choose to Refuse

It was a personal decision for us at the time to go against the grain and be one of very few in our area to do this. While the Opt-Out Movement was huge in Long Island and Buffalo region, the Capital District has been slow to grab hold. The reality is that high stakes testing is just part of the horror that is happening in our schools thanks to the shift to Common Core. TechyDad and I knew that the tests were not going to be a good experience for our son. He would likely do very well, but the stress from practice testing was causing uncalled for levels of anxiety. I was questioned by administration. I was told it would hurt the school (funding), his teacher (APPR), and beyond. Thank goodness I knew what to expect. I was ready to combat the propaganda that was tossed at districts from the New York State Department of Education.

On Friday, I sent my letter in to refuse the NYS Math and ELA exam and all field testing for my son. This was just about a month before the exams are to be given to children in grades 3-8. Once again, I am confident in our decision. The tests do not help teachers or parents to know academic growth or problem areas of children. Why? The answer is simple, we are not allowed to see the tests or analyze them to see spots that apparently caused the kids problems. Basically, they are secretive and made by a company that makes an obscene amount of money off of the world of education.

NYS Testing

This year, many more families are expected to refuse the tests not only in New York, but throughout the United States. Thanks to the NYS Allies for Public Education the word is getting out that parents have the right to “Choose to Refuse” in New York. This video made by NYSAPE is a fantastic resource and must watch so you know the rights for your children.

For too many years, we have been taught to blindly trust those in charge of the world of education. Right now, families across the nation and New York are standing up and saying that enough is enough. We are not going to sit back and let this testing madness continue. Our children deserve a proper public school education like past generations. If we don’t stand up and fight, the victims will be our kids who have already suffered enough in recent years.

It's Me

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