Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Google Sightseeing

Google now provides satellite images for most of the world. Sites like Google Sightseeing have popped up to display some of these images. Take a look at the few I found and if you find any other intertesting sites, post them in the comments.

Mt. Kilimanjaro!Mt. Kilimanjaro - the tallest mountain in Africa. As the mountain rises out out of a savannah, the cooler temperatures create a forested landscape. The top of the mountain is covered with snow.
Wave to Al!Alcatraz - The former prison located in San Francisco Bay was the home of many notorious criminals including Al Capone.
GWB is just up a bitThe Washington Monument, Washington D.C. - Scroll around and you can see the Lincoln and Jefferson Memorials as well as the Smithsonian.
alt=Empire State Building, NY - Towering over the center of Manhattan... look closely and maybe you can see King Kong.

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Road trip

We went to Baltimore yesterday to see Dr. George T. Capone at the Kennedy Krieger Institute. We have been seeing Dr. Capone for several years but it had been awhile since the last trip down because of Michel's illness. The trip should be between four and five hours but we got caught in traffic on the way down. Every cop in Queens was racing to investigate the shooting of a cop right off the Belt Parkway and they had a couple of lanes blocked off right in the middle of rush hour. We thought we had left with plenty of time to spare but we ended up getting there 15 minutes before the appointment. That is cutting it close!

Dr. Capone thought that Mikey may be experiencing anxiety. This could explain his hostility to environmental changes and his desire to do things like shake a sock for long periods of time. His obsessive behaviors may have a calming influence on his anxiety. Dr. Capone suggested some alternate medications to try and he also wants the school district to bring ABA into the house. Friday, Michael will get some blood tests and then we can start the new medication. Should be an interesting weekend.

Monday, June 13, 2005

Party like crazy!

My beautiful girl!It was a party weekend for Beth. Two of her friends had Bat Mizvah's this weekend. Her and her friends danced all day Saturday and Sunday. Beth complained that the boy's were all boring because none of them would dance. The musical high point was Saturday when the DJ played the Ramones, "I want to be Sedated". All in all, Beth has a much more active social life than her dull parents.

Compare this picture to the picture taken two weeks ago during the school trip. We have gone from a freezing spring to a broiling spring. Today was in the 90's and it is expected to stay that way at least until Friday. Summer is still eight days away.

Mikey Graduates!

I'm so proud!Mikey's graduation was Thursday. Here he is at the graduation party with his teachers. Two graduation ceremony funny moments... The kids put on a little musical number. Mikey was the only one who was really into it. He was dancing like crazy and really shook it up on stage. When they called Mikey up for his diploma, he got a big ovation. I think Mikey is very well known at the school. Anyway, when the applause started up, Mikey gave a huge smile, turned and tossed his diploma into the crowd.

Mikey is still attending the school and will be attending through the summer. We are still trying to work out where he will be in the fall.

Sunday, June 05, 2005

15 minutes and counting

My blog got a mention in the NY Daily News today (page 36). Dawn Eden, who wites their "Blog On!" column in the Sunday paper and is a friend of cousin Kevin, had written me on Thursday with a few questions. She didn't use any of my answers but that is OK. Sometimes you just don't know where an article will go until you start writing it. Also, I don't think I gave her the pro-blogging kind of answers she was looking for. I told her that I have had more response from my website than I have ever had from my blog. The one thing that bugged me about the article was the expression, "Down syndrome kids." Arghhhh, I hate that! It's "kids with Down syndrome,"... people first! Oh well, we can't expect everyone to get it right.

Friday, June 03, 2005

The Headbanger's Ball

Mikey has recently developed a new behavior. When he gets frustrated or angry, he bangs his head on the floor. He has been walking around with a big knot on his forehead for the last month. Behavioral intervention with ABA has all sorts of methods to use to stop bad bahaviors and increase the occurence of good behaviors. In fact, ABA can be used on any child as a way to improve behavior. Most of the methods for stopping bad bahaviors involve ignoring the child and not responding to the behavior. However, you can't ignore a behavior that could cause injury. Some might think that the child wouldn't really injure himself, but that doesn't take into account that children with autism often feel pain differently than other children. Our ABA book has exactly one paragraph on the subject, suggesting that responding to the behavior may increase the liklihood of it re-occurring. Thanks a lot for the wonderful advice. At this point we are a bit perplexed as how to stop the behavior.