Saturday, November 27, 2010

ABA (Applied Behavioral Analysis) - Alex's Godsend

For those parents out there who have a choice for in home 
ABA therapy (35-40 hrs. a week)... 
I will give you one very good reason to initiate it....
It works....It worked wonders for Alex.

ABA, in summary... 
is the use of valid Psychological and Educational Techniques to
measure and alter behavior...
teach skills...
and evaluate the progress...
to tailor fit it to the child.

It was first developed in the 1960s by
Psychologist Ivar Lovaas PhD.  UCLA

It does not consist of Negative Reinforcement.
It is designed to make the sessions enjoyable, and so, productive.


For those without...the basic application is as easy as
Positive Reinforcement for desirable behavior
and the redirection, gentle correction
(with great praise at the newly accomplished positive behavior)...
or the ignoring, of bad ones.


Easy, of course, in theory...much more difficult in application.

It takes dedication and consistent application.

We were so very fortunate in having had a full time...
 dedicated, very professional and caring
staff that helped guide our son...
Alex, to love learning...people (particularly adults)...
and life.

Although he had finished the program years ago
(because it was such a success)...
we have consistently applied all of the techniques we had learned
by direct observation of his therapy to become
far better parents than we otherwise could have been.


The man on the right was the director of therapies
for special needs children in the County.
He periodically came over to discuss the progress
and to note any problems with
the contracted actual therapy provider.

He was very proficient and professional.
He listened carefully and made our whole experience smooth.

The ladies on the left were supervisors...
and part time teachers of Alex.

There were very few problems.
Any small problems were handled immediately and professionally.

I cannot say enough positive things
about our experience with them, and with the process as a whole.

There was also a staff member that met with the school for our IEP
(Individualized Educational Program).

The school (when Alex attended school - he is now home schooled)
was very accommodating.

Alex loved all of his teachers, both at school, and especially...
 his in home therapy teachers.

Alex was diagnosed with Autism at age 2.5 yrs.
We, as parents, were mortified...
 and living in fear for our son's future.

He first started his in home ABA when he was 3 yrs. old.  
He had various obsessive behaviors and was non verbal.

Through their consistent and loving application of ABA...
Alex conquered his negative behavior and greatly flourished. 

Early intervention plays such a significant role...
however...it is not too late to apply for any child.
The same principles apply regardless of age.
It is, however, most effective the earlier it is used.


The note book was to record therapy done...
response to it...and progress.

This was done to ensure a continuity of therapy
from teacher to teacher.




Great praise was used to great effect.  
Alex loved doing well...that positive attribute carries on to this day.



A teacher accompanied him to preschool
(and later - part time at his regular school)
to ensure he was making progress socially and behaviorally.
The teachers took him out to various outside locations
to have him reach out to others and to handle new situations.


Alex loves all of his teachers.  
They were so warm and caring toward him.

Most of all...
they were so extremely effective.


To the State of California...
To the administrators...

Most of all...
to all of Alex's teachers...

we owe such a great debt...
one that we can only repay by...
never hindering the great growth that Alex is experiencing...
by...
consistently applying all we had learned from you...
our great teachers.

From all of us...most of all from Alex...
we thank you through constant upwards growth....
but mostly with...
a deep and cherished love.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Home Schooling - Alex's Refuge And Literary Temple - His Library


This is Alex's Library.

His place of comfort and freedom.  His mother keeps his library stocked with books ranging from fun to advanced reading.  This is his refuge whenever he is not directly studying or busy with some other activity.  He is always free to pick any book that strikes his fancy at the time. 

Alex loves reading.  We have consciously given him Positive Reinforcement in all good actions, especially when it came to reading, as this is the key to his accumulation of all future knowledge.

Although he sometimes chooses to read downstairs on the sofa...
this is his special getaway to really explore a book in peace.




We sometimes hear him laughing while reading a particularly funny passage from one of his leisure books.  He will sometimes spend hours in his library just reading to his heart's delight.  

As this is his refuge...when he goes into it...we allow him his peace.  He is doing so well in his studies...he has earned the right to a special place just for him...besides his bedroom.  

We chose the room with the best natural lighting and the best views as we wished to carefully associate reading with comfortable and serene surroundings, to not only ensure a positive experience for him, but to create a place to let his imagination run as free as the wind. 


When a child is allowed distant views...he realizes larger horizons...direct evidence of a larger world all around him...a world to explore...discover...experience.

As free as the clouds are to form and float...
his mind is allowed the same freedom in his refuge.  

This is his temple, as it is his sacred place.  

A place of free exploration, at will, through any book he chooses...
and at any time that is free for him.  


Reading...
from the beginning...a sacred activity.

Reading...
the key to your child's accumulated knowledge and imagination.

Reading...
the key to your child's future, and so, his ultimate happiness.


Something so important as to be sacred...deserves a sacred place.


If at all possible, give your child a place he can call his refuge...
away from all distractions...
 a place he can call his own...
at least for a set period of time of the day.  

 A place where all the cares of the world can be put on hold...
 so he may develop his imagination unhindered.


Imagination is more important
than knowledge.

Knowledge is limited.
Imagination encircles the world

Albert Einstein

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Home Schooling - Health - The Corner Stone Of Life - Diet

HEALTH...
without which...everything else in life loses so much of its luster, absolute beauty and potential.

  In this article, I will cover an extremely important topic...the direct ramifications of which, shall reverberate throughout your child's life.  It directly affects your child's health and vigor, lifespan, physical and intellectual potential...and so...his ultimate happiness.

As an added note...
I ask that you not merely believe in what I say...I am merely a guide...and so, I point you in the direction of actual research.  

I do a lot of reading from this particular web site: 


This has the latest scientific research from top Universities and research facilities from around the world.  Many of the articles show the methodology...which is also important in your decision making process.

Science Daily incorporates the latest research in all of the major disciplines of Science.

HEALTH

It starts out with Mother.  What you put into your body during pregnancy has an effect on your child.  
Alcohol, Nicotine, Caffeine, as well as other unnecessary drugs, can and do, affect the child to a negative degree... the severity of which depends upon the dosage and timing (which stage of gestation the child is in).  

You are the guardian of your child...his future can be radically altered by what you send coursing through his system.  Small amounts, even if not directly injurious, can set his growing system...his brain, to crave them in the future...this includes high sugars...fats...etc.

This is not meant to insult the aware mother to be...but to educate the unaware.  

Everything you do has an effect on the fetus...this includes undue stress.  Your cortisol (as well as the other various stress hormones) levels can alter the child's ability to handle stress in his future...one of many examples.

However, enough of the wrong things to do. 

 HEALTH
The essential building blocks to which all else is built upon.
Just as in setting good study habits early...
good eating habits are the same.
  
He will acquire a craving for what he is initially fed.  
Set him out early in life with healthful foods...he shall crave them.

With a steady diet of nutritious food...he shall be able to reach his full Physical and Intellectual potential.
This means, of course, that without...he shall be hampered.
 
Two of the most healthful and long lived peoples in the world are directly linked to their diets (Natives to these regions, when removed from them and placed into another country and acquire the new country's diet - acquire the life span and maladies associated with it).

The Asians and the people of the Mediterranean live especially long and healthful lives - Although there are other notables...their diets...in general...follow the same concepts.

Learn from the learned...that which is demonstrated to be true
Incorporate it...Live it...Know the concepts behind it
Then, and only then, alter to improve upon

I give you two examples...Alex's diet is actually a hybrid of the two...



Alex never drinks soda...usually water...soy or rice milk...fruit drinks (real)

As I am half Japanese (Mother's side) and my wife is Japanese...we were raised on a Japanese diet as a mainstay. We also enjoy many of the foods of the Mediterranean region.  My wife always prepares the best food for Alex.  His diet is rich in Fruits, Nuts, Vegetables, Fish, Poultry and Eggs, Grains, and Dairy...usually in the form of Yogurt or Cheese (NOT processed Cheese).   

  Give him junk food in the beginning...
 he will crave them for a lifetime.

A lifetime of junk food...
is one which is short and filled with sluggishness and illness.

We have consciously given only healthful foods to Alex from the beginning.  
His taste favors healthful foods...he especially loves seafood.  
His mother prepares his meals well...nutritious as well as delicious.  
For his snacks...it is usually fruits and nuts. 


This is a picture of Alex in Japan...eating a typical Japanese meal while visiting his Grand Parents.

My wife, from the beginning, has been supplementing his diet with Omega 3s - the essential fatty acids found in nuts and fish.  There are different brands...they actually taste good...Alex loves getting his daily.

Some information on them from the University of Maryland:


Absent a physical condition demanding a strict diet...
DO NOT place your child on one of the incredibly STUPID fad diets.

Always remember...a diet that cannot be followed for a lifetime...
is worthless.  

Your child needs...and will flourish on...a diet filled with Wholesome Grains, Fruits, Nuts and Vegetables, Fish, Poultry, Eggs and Dairy...and limited amounts of Red Meats.  

Give these foods in healthful amounts from as early as you can...
you will have built a habit of health that will last a lifetime.

For you to maximize your child's potential academically...
everything starts here.  

Friday, November 19, 2010

Home Schooling - The Great Courses


The Great Courses

The greatest realizations in thought

Presented by some of America's greatest Professors

Educated in some of the greatest Universities

Professors to some of the brightest students in the U.S.

Lecture format with accompanying visuals where appropriate

DVD - 24-36 half hour lectures...
 full explanation of important concepts

The education of the Ivy League Universities...
 at a fraction of the cost

Courses in the various disciplines of Academia
Just some of the courses available - a total of 199 in all.

Great Thinkers, Great Theorems
Taught by Professor William Dunham
Ph.D. Ohio State University
Muhlenberg College


Art of Critical Decision Making
Taught by Professor Michael A. Roberto
D.B.A Harvard Business School
Bryant University


Chaos
Taught by Professor Steven Strogatz
Ph.D. Harvard University
Cornell University


Big History: The Big Bang, Life on Earth, and the Rise of Humanity
Taught by Professor David Christian
D. Phil Oxford University
Macquarie University


Great Ideas of Classical Physics
Taught by Professor Steven Pollok
Ph.D. Stanford University
University of Colorado at Boulder



Understanding Linguistics: The Science of Language
Taught by Professor John McWhorter
Ph.D. Stanford University
Manhatten Institute


Business Law: Contracts
Taught by Professor Frank B. Cross
J.D. Harvard Law School
The University of Texas at Austin


Great Ideas of Philosophy, 2nd Edition
Taught by Professor Daniel N. Robinson
Ph.D. City University of New York
Philosophy Faculty Oxford University
Distinguished Professor, Emeritus, Georgetown University


Understanding the Human Body: An Introduction to Anatomy and Physiology
Taught by Professor Anthony A. Goodman
M.D. Cornell Medical College
Montana State University


There are also High School Subjects


Understanding Calculus: Problems, Solutions, and Tips
Taught by Professor Bruce H. Edwards
Ph.D. Dartmouth College
University of Florida

Understanding Calculus: Problems, Solutions, and Tips immerses you in the unrivaled learning adventure of this mathematical field in 36 half-hour lectures that cover all the major topics of a full-year calculus course in high school at the College Board Advanced Placement AB level or a first-semester course in college. With crystal-clear explanations of the beautiful ideas of calculus, frequent study tips, pitfalls to avoid, and—best of all—hundreds of examples and practice problems that are specifically designed to explain and reinforce major concepts, this course will be your sure and steady guide to conquering calculus (From their web site).

The High School subjects are far fewer in number...
 however, it has some of the ones that frequently confound students.

I purposely left out any links to these products...
 and to The Great Courses.

I had to assure you of my clear motive.

I get no money from this blog or from any products listed within.

I show it to help parents and their children.

The Great Courses have helped Alex in his studies.  
They are highly motivating as well as very instructional.

Alex endorses The Great Courses...
his improved performance in his studies is...
 more than enough of an endorsement for me.


A great learning tool for your children...
 not only in content...but in delivery.

The lecture format is what is used in Schools and in Universities.

It gets the student used to listening...
really listening to the Instructor...
all without the distractions of other students...
and with the capability of reversing the DVD
to re-listen to a missed point.

The child may proceed at his pace.
This ensures thorough understanding and low frustration.  

The key to your child's future is
in his demonstrated performance in school.

Many children lose their way early in life
because of embarrassment, frustration, and shame
at their perceived inability to learn concepts at school.

They give up, rather than try, as it becomes too painful to go on.  

They, often, are not entirely at fault.  

The children who do very well at school
are often the ones whose parents value education.
Their parents had usually established good study habits early on...
a set time and place for just studying...as a strict priority...
nothing comes before it...a sacred time...
as a child's future is just that...sacred.

Their parents are there to explain concepts
and to ensure their thorough understanding of them...and beyond.

The goal is not only their homework...
but the understanding of the concepts governing their subject.

After their homework...have them work forward and beyond.
In a short period, they will be at least one year ahead of their grade.
They will have a firm grasp on the subject's concepts
 before ever entering their next grade.

School will then become a place of great joy and pride.  

Learning, without frustration, becomes a passion.
  
An object of passion is sought after.

A passion sought after...is practiced often.

That which is practiced often...is eventually mastered.

A child who has mastered...shall eventually achieve.

A child who achieves out of love for his discipline...loves life.

Great Health (more on this later)
 Wealth (richness of life as well as financially well off)
 and Wisdom awaits your child.

It all begins with you...the Parent.


THE PARENTAL CREED

I give you, my sweet child...

Love, Affection, and Positive Reinforcement
so you may love learning...
 and so, life...and all that it may bring.

You fear nothing...as you know I am always here for you.


I am your guardian...

I shall make your world safe from negative influences...
whatever they may be...
so you may see the world through the eyes of a child...
full of love, hope, and wonder.


I am your guide...

I shall find the most efficient, and so, effective path up the mountain...
so you may avoid the pitfalls...and so...enjoy the journey.


I am your Teacher...

I shall give you the tools necessary to excel in any endeavor...
so that all the doors of opportunity are open for your choosing.


I am your Parent...

I lead by example...
so you may also learn to be a good parent to your children.

Shiroi Tora


We, the parents, are part of The Great Generation...

We have the power to alter the course of humanity
through the correct teachings of our children.

By teaching... 
we alter the next generation.

By teaching how to teach the teachings...
to all our children...
and they, to all their children...
ad infinitum...

We alter all those who follow...through eternity.

This is how progress is to be made...
How good conquers evil...
exponentially.


Thursday, November 18, 2010

Home Schooling - Alex Turns Ten - Chooses A Great Course DVD


Alex turned 10.   
He doesn't like parties as they get too loud for him.  He likes quiet birthdays at home with just family. He got his birthday cake a little after midnight as this was the start of his birthday.

In the morning, he just wanted to go for a ride around the neighborhood on his Ez Rider.  His mother took him outside so he could enjoy the fresh air and sun.


His mother had asked him what he most wanted for his birthday.  He said he wanted a Great Course.  My wife showed him the ordering book and let him choose.


Alex had chosen one of the Great Course DVDs:  

Joy of Thinking: The Beauty and Power of Classical Mathematical Ideas

Alex gets so excited when he gets new study material.  The Great Courses is a conglomerate of multi-source and multi-academic lecture format DVDs from actual University Professors throughout the United States and from many of the top Ivy League Universities.

The lecture series is usually 24 or so individual lectures (30 min per lecture) and thoroughly covers the particular topic.  He learns so much from them.  It is part of his bedtime ritual.  One DVD lecture or Science show...and then off to bed to read, and get read to...until sleep overtakes him.

He looks forward to bed every night as he loves learning something new...as well as receiving the comfort of his mother's voice reading to him as he drifts off to sleep.

In my next article, I shall go more into depth on these great courses.

Classic knowledge...presented by top Professors in top Universities...giving him the knowledge of the ages...one concept at a time...and in the comfort of home.

We are carefully adding to his tree of knowledge...branch by branch...and always ensuring he receives the full light and warmth of our Positive Reinforcement, Affection, and Love.

With these three given in abundance...your child's roots shall run deep.

With deep roots...your child shall be able to weather any storm.

With deep roots...he shall be able to sustain the tremendous growth necessary to achieve great heights.





Thursday, November 11, 2010

Home Schooling - Music Appreciation

   

     I received quite a surprise a few days ago.  My wife took Alex to a friend's house for a Japanese Mother's Classical Music Recital.  Some played the Piano, another played the Harp, one played the Flute.  All played beautifully...many were music teachers...all were classically trained.  The recital lasted several hours and it was Alex's first real exposure to a live performance.  He has always enjoyed Classical and New Age Music.







Alex was very well behaved.  My wife said that he was very interested in the music.  He said that he really liked it....he also said that he wishes to play the Piano....we will get him an electronic keyboard soon.




We are pleased at his appreciation of fine music.  He doesn't really like the modern types of music, other than New Age.

The thrust of this blog goes deeper, however.  Although he has always shown a love for Classical Music...he had never expressed interest in actually playing it on an instrument.  It was only when directly exposed to someone playing beautiful music that his interest was stirred.  I am sure he also picked up how the players of their chosen instruments were deeply happy as they played.

Direct exposure to accomplished persons of their field serves as great role models to emulate...at least for that particular endeavor.  
The experience can be a life changing one. 

  Positive role models are incredibly important...not just the parents...but in as many areas as one can muster.  To see something demonstrated live is a very real experience...one in which all the senses are stimulated and are coalesced into a powerful event that, if sufficiently presented to the child, serves as a drive for him to become like his role model in the loved memory.  
He will wish to emulate...and hopefully, to eventually surpass, all the coming role models in his life.   

This is one of the many important tasks of a parent.

While we still can, while they are intensely interested in everything around them, we must pick out the best role models for our children to learn from....

This, of course, means....that we must filter out the negative influences where possible.  
This is one of the chief positive benefits of home schooling.  
The environment is controlled by the parent.  
His experiences in life, which are very powerful influencers of future thoughts and behavior, can be prioritized and optimized, in both, placement and nature of.


Home Schooling...

allows for optimal course matter...
at an optimal rate (as determined by mastery of the subject matter)...
and under optimal conditions. 



Sunday, November 7, 2010

Home Schooling - Alex's Favorite Advanced Supplemental Reading

Alex loves to read about new and exciting concepts.  Many parents fear having their children read what they think is beyond their comprehension.  Remember, every new lesson was previously beyond their level.  So long as the basics of the material was covered, each new concept lays groundwork for the larger picture.  

With just rudimentary Physics and Chemistry
(Elements / Atomic and Molecular Structure / Basic Laws and Forces / Differing Forms of Energy / States of Matter / Scientific Method), larger concepts start to make sense and, so, become exciting. 

The child sees the world, and all its components, in the perspective that reflects all we now know.  This will encourage his love of the Scientific Method, Logic and Critical Reasoning, and, the sense of wonder at all that there is to know and to explore.  This will strengthen his resolve to learn, as he will wish to discover all there is to know. 

This is a direct feeding of your child's curiosity...it is this drive...
to satisfy an intense curiosity of what was, what is, and so...
 what is to be, that drives many a scientist.  

With intensely interesting reading material to digest and ponder upon...
 your child will develop an intense desire to discover and to learn. 
A passion shall be set aflame...and so, a drive shall be born. 


This particular book - A Brief History of Time is
the same material which initially came out in paperback...
only with many illustrations and photos. 
This is especially appealing for young minds.


It is important to point out that extensive knowledge of Math, Physics or Chemistry is not needed to understand the major principles.  Just Elementary School level...just the basics.  The book does such a good job of explaining the concepts, your child will find Physics fun.  He will not be put off by complicated mathematical formulas.  As with true knowledge, simplicity is the rule... it is broken down to its simplest components and concepts.

Your child may not understand many of the concepts...but with the fire of curiosity lit...it will give him the thirst and hunger for the hunt for knowledge.  He will then wish to understand all of the stepping stones to acquire the necessary fundamentals.  This gives him the reason to learn the basics that his mind has been searching for.  Show him the end game...something to shoot for...he will then have a goal to achieve.  

Reading advanced subjects opens his mind and gives a basic shape of the tree of knowledge.  He will then be able to see where he is, where he was, his rate of travel, where he wishes to be, which direction to travel...in short...perspective.  

With perspective, he never need ask the ever present question in every child's mind...
How much longer?  

With his knowledge of the basic out lay of knowledge...
as acquired through advanced reading...
 he will know what to expect.  

The journey will then become his. 
He will no longer be an unwilling passenger.

 He will become the captain of his own vessel. 

His passion for knowledge will propel him...
the passion that you will have engendered
through advanced reading...
the framework of his knowledge...
for him to build upon...
concept by concept.


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