Friday, May 27, 2011

Blue Man Group - The Setting of A New Stimuli Threshold


Video Clip: Rods And Cones

Blue Man Group 


We had taken Alex to his first show.



It is a percussive based show... 
filled with unique instruments...
a deep chest felt driving beat...
a hypnotic display of fluorescent dyes...
strobing lights...video displays...
highly coordinated actions of the cast...
along with a great use of physical props
that were used on the audience.

While this video is of their show in the Venetian in Las Vegas...
we went to their opening show in San Francisco.


My wife and I had first seen them when they were still starting out
over 16 years ago...as an off Broadway show in New York City.

We were so impressed with the show...
when my wife saw that they were playing nearby...
we knew we had to go.

While Alex, just a few years ago, would not have been able to 
handle such an onrush of simultaneous extreme multi level stimuli...
to have him experience this would be a great way
to reset his tolerance levels up a notch.

The sounds from the stage were amplified to such an extent that I felt 
 them in my chest.

We bought earplugs to lessen the experience auditorily.

Still, we weren't sure if the amount of the combined stimuli
would have been tolerated well by him.

We have been getting him used to new and more extreme
stimuli in order to heighten his tolerance levels.

We knew... should he successfully pass this new level...
he would be able to handle almost all
everyday type stimuli...
and more importantly...
he would know it.





We started the day of with some shopping and then eating out
at the Japan Town in San Francisco.





After eating...
it was but a short drive to the 
Golden Gate Theatre 
for the show.


We are inside awaiting seating.



Before the show...
my wife had bought 
a souvenir for Alex.

It was a pen that projects the 
Blue Man Group
onto...even distant objects...

like the theater ceiling.

Perfect for 
making them dance to the looped music
they were playing while people were being seated...
before the show.

No...

it was I... who had embarrassed my wife
with my impromptu dance show on the ceiling...
not Alex...

Yes...

my wife took the pen away from me...
just after one dance number.  :)


After the show...
the main characters of the 
Blue Man Group
came out to take pictures with 
anyone desiring to do so.

I thought this was a very nice thing for 
the cast members to do.

They had put on a tremendous show....
Alex was thoroughly enjoying the 
new types of sights and sounds...
all at levels I thought would bother him some.

I had been...happily...proven wrong.

I was watching Alex for his reaction
throughout the show...
especially when the percussive instruments
played in concert with the band
at levels that had...literally...
made my shirt shake.

I looked over to Alex...
unsure how he would react to the combination
of deep sounds, strobing lights, crowd reaction...

Alex...
 who had been watching everything
with rapt attention...
started imitating the percussive motions of 
the cast...
yes...
he was...
 air drumming.  :)

We, as parents, only enjoyed
the night out...
because Alex had.

Alex enjoyed the new sights and sounds...
the surreal effect of the show...
the new possibilities of seeing sound...
as well as feeling it...
the ingenuity of humans in the creation 
of such a presentation...

I enjoyed the look of...
 wonderment and pure joy...
in my son's eyes...
the excitement of his adventure
in his body language...
of his words to us
on the way home...
about how he had really enjoyed
himself at the show.


This is what makes it all worth while...

seeing growth in our son...
while making the lesson...
a night of ...

Pure Magic.



Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Life In Profile - Russell Lehmann: Autistic Poet


Song:   Sweet Relaxation

Artists:   Steven Halpern / David Darling



This will be the first of many...

 - Life in Profile - 

articles I shall write on.


They shall cover a brief description
 of the person being profiled...
who they are...
as defined by their works...

and perhaps...most importantly...

who they truly are...
from the inside...
through their words.



For those who know someone 
on the Autistic Spectrum...

these articles are meant to inspire...

not only...they...

the children on the Autistic Spectrum...

 it is to give their parents great hope...
by giving them the knowledge...
that while their child may not express
their emotions in ways readily discernible to others...
they do, in fact, feel them...
 very deeply.

It was by fortuitous circumstance
that I had come across Russell Lehmann
on Twitter.

What had inspired me to initiate these articles...
was the great attitude and courage 
of this young man...

as demonstrated by his perseverance 
in the face of great fear...
in pursuit of his dreams...

his determination to overcome adversity
while retaining his great humanity...

to master himself...
so he may 
master his world...

this is what it means 
to be an...

Internal Warrior.


It is this person...

who gave not in... to despair
who gave not in... to fear
who gave not in... to anger

but who...
through the chronicling of his life...
and of his journey
into the depths of his soul...
chose to be a pathfinder
to those on the spectrum
whom are in need of a direction in life
and of a path to walk
(inward journey to self mastery).

It is to...

Russell Lehmann...

who through the selfless sharing
of his soul to help others...

I dedicate this...
my first article...
in what is to become...
a frequent series of inspirational articles
on people on the Autistic Spectrum 
who, through their courage and efforts...
are true...

Warriors of the Soul

As Russell has his own web site...
and, as he can best describe
his motives and best demonstrate
his soul through his poetry...

I present to you...

Russell Lehmann:  Autistic Poet



You may also follow him on Twitter:



In case you missed it...

His biography from his web site:



If you get nothing more than this...
from these articles...

It is not so much...
the state of one's
Aptitude
that leads one to success in life...
but of one's...
Attitude



Monday, May 23, 2011

Home Schooling - Body Image Obsession



Song:  Theme From The Valley Of The Dolls

Artist:  Dionne Warwick


My son, Alex, sometimes says that he is concerned
with his body weight
(which is nonsense...his body weight is 
good for his build..no excess fat).


While this is an issue that afflicts women more...
in general...than men...
the way to get them correctly thinking on the subject...
is the same for both.


The underlying fear for body image obsession...
is one of peer acceptance.


The very real concern, however...
should be one of Health.

A healthy body and mind...
is what is inherently attractive.



In general...

You shouldn't be happy with anything unhealthful.

This should be the number one concern.


Should the perceived deficit be an unchangeable one...
such as height...or basic bone structure...
then you must learn to adapt and compensate...
by increasing the positive aspects of your body
that you can change.


If it is because of unhealthful amounts of fat...
as high amounts are...
that is something that can be changed.

In the case of women...
they are supposed to have higher amounts
of evenly distributed subcutaneous fat
than men.

Excess fat meaning
unhealthful amounts accumulated
as measured by fat calipers or other 
means of total fat accumulation...
not by height weight charts
and scales.

Larger bone structure...
more muscle (muscle is heaver than fat)
or the density of either or both...
muscle and bone...
will make you weigh more.

It is also desirable to have dense bones
and muscles.

Dense bones protect against Osteoporosis...
a particular concern for women...
but a valid concern for all.

Dense muscles 
(ones having thicker muscle fibers
as can be gotten through lifting heavy)
continuously burn more calories.


It is through eating, exercising and resting 
in healthful amounts that 
true beauty emerges.


To have a positive addiction to one's health
is a desirable mental state to be in.


True handsomeness or beauty
is a manifestation of Health...

Body/Mind/Soul

The keys to all lie in:


Personal Hygiene


Daily showering...
brushing and flossing
of teeth after every meal or snack...
clean neat clothes...
neatly combed hair.

These are the basics that never change with trends.

To not have these is justifiably unattractive...
and easy to change...
they MUST be done...
no excuses.


Healthful Body and Attitude


Through a healthful diet, exercise and deep rest...
the body loses excess fat...
gains muscle...
hormones and neuro chemicals
are kept in balance and in plentiful amounts.

This gives you bountiful amounts of energy...
physically and intellectually...
and greatly improves your mood and general outlook 
in life.



This article is aimed at those who
have an aversion to a healthful
lifestyle because they think
that to do otherwise
is somehow painful
or unpleasant.

I shall lay out a very simple...
easy to follow...
ultra abbreviated...
method of fat reduction...
muscle strengthening...
grace inducing...
and so...
A Handsomeness / Beauty Enhancing
method for those
who hate the words...

Diet and Exercise.

Why easy?

I've pared down the routine to the 
bare minimum to allow for 
maximum effect 
with minimal effort...

so even the most averse to exercise
will do it.

Once they see the greatly positive effects...
their enthusiasm will lead them to 
love a healthful lifestyle.

I highly recommend...
for the weight training...
getting your own set for home use.

Anything that is convenient...
is easier to comply with.


First...

For those having not read the article on basic diet:


In general...
one shouldn't eat anything a good 5-8 hours before bed.

Also...once a week fasting from waking to waking teaches the body 
to burn fat as a desired source of energy (no exercising this day).



Although fasting is not necessary...
as children need to concentrate on growing...
this is especially good for parents or older people
as their metabolism has shifted.

However...for older teens who are obese...
this will dramatically increase their weight loss.


Now on to the fun part...

ONE WEIGHT EXERCISE...

ONCE A WEEK...

to greatly increase the major muscles
of the body...
and so... 
lead to greater muscle and bone density.

The Squat (only in a Power Rack)...
or
The Deadlift...
or
The Trap Bar Deadlift.

Just 5 sets of 3 repetitions...
or 3 sets of 5 repetitions for more mass

following the percentage increases as in this article:



With rests after each set of 5 minutes...
there is no burn...
just a feeling of solidity...
of raw power building.

Remember...
this is not for athletes...
this is for those who hate to exercise.

This will give them major effects
in fat reduction and health
(when combined with diet and the aerobic portion)

This will not bulk up females...
but rather give them the basis for 
solid fat reduction as well as 
for the foundation of posture and grace.

The aerobic portion ideally is something that
incorporates skill (and so interest)
as well as a great aerobic workout.

One way to greatly increase
aerobic capacity...
skill in motion
(economy of motion)
and to GREATLY increase
mood...

TAI CHI

(Tai Chi is easily done by excessively heavy people...
it also greatly coordinates the uncoordinated...
you may also ease yourself into it by INITIALLY not standing so low)

Not through video...
but going to a location where they practice
(if possible)
practicing with others greatly enhances the workout.

Just 2-3 times a week will give you such a thorough
workout...
you will feel euphoric for days.

Now...
the key is to move...
 LOW and SLOW.

Many adherents to Tai Chi
don't practice correctly.

Many just go through the motions.

It is not the mere motions while standing up high
in the stances that give you a magical effect.

It is through the constant movement in a low 
position that greatly exercises the largest 
muscles of the body.

Before long...
you should be sweating profusely...
your heart will be pounding like a jackhammer
in your chest...
and when you complete your set...
your breathing will be akin to the 
deep huffing of a freight train.

If the experience is too intense...
you may just raise up in your stance
until it is tolerable...
however...it is the goal to achieve the above 
effects eventually.

As you get into shape...
besides losing great amounts of body fat...
the experience is an invigorating one...
the high that runners experience...
is even less than the one experienced here.

I know...I've done both.


Again...

Handsomeness / Beauty

is a reflection of Health...
and beyond that...
a reflection of self...
through economy of...
thought...
movement...
emotion...
in short..
Grace.

With the above basics...

Personal Hygiene
(always)

Basic Strength
(once a week)

Basic skill/stamina/endurance training
(2-3 times a week)

The Obsession of body image
would be shifted to one of 

Health Consciousness

and that of...

True Handsomeness / Beauty.


Given just a few months...
even without herculean efforts...
GREAT Positive Changes
will work synergistically 
to literally...

Transform your child in...

Body...
Mind...
Soul.
















Thursday, May 19, 2011

Home Schooling - Drive - The Most Important Attribute




Song:  Locomotive Breath

Group:  Jethro Tull


As this is my 100th article...
I thought it most fitting to mark this milestone
with something that is...and always shall be...

THE MOST IMPORTANT ATTRIBUTE...

DRIVE


By far...
the attribute most responsible for...
and most indicative of
 future success...

Drive.


Just as the relentless driving of the beat in the above song...
it is the relentless and passionate beat of Drive
pounding in his soul as he makes his way through life...

hungering for challenges...
thirsting for knowledge and experience...
stopping for nothing that does not further his goals...
that drives him relentlessly... and ever... forward.


Your child's unrestrained positive passions...
shall lead him on a magical journey
of self actualization...
the fulfillment of his self created...
destiny of excellence.


So long as the focus of his drive...
 is not practiced to the detriment of 
all other basic life and academic skills...
it is a positive addiction...
a positive spiral...
that which shall lead him to 
ultimate happiness in life.


It is to be encouraged with all your parenting skills.

He will learn so much about life through 
his mastery of that which are his passions...
as the same dedication may be applied
to every other aspect of life.

The true secret to living your life well
is to live every moment with passion...
to be pulled upwards and forwards
by the ever present foundational beats
of the orchestra of the soul...
that is...

Drive.



The thunderingly powerful beats of the drums...
mirrored by his heart and mind...
the steady and ever present thrumming of the bass...
mirrored by the urging of his soul...
not to be denied...
not to be quenched until...
satiation is achieved through
accomplishment of his goal...
whereupon it is once again renewed 
with his renewed goals.


To constantly live in the future...
viewing the movies of the mind...
plotting viable paths for one to follow to
best reach one's destination...
to constantly update
and refine...

to live between a constant state of excitement...
each new experience adding to the great adventure...
and adding that one more step toward
goal fulfillment...

and that of calm reflection...
satisfied in the heart that one has earned
the right to one's passions...
as one will have not squandered
them on frivolous
short term diversions...


this is to set the stage to live life to its fullest.




However,...
as powerful a force that is Drive...

a veritable 8,000 hp twin supercharged Dragster...

it will still go nowhere fast...
merely spinning its wheels...
in all its flaming and smoking glory...
without the traction of realism
(as seen by Reverse Planning the goal)

Reverse Planning

and the solid steering toward his goal
(Commitment).

Commitment



While it is true that drive must come from within...

parents can prepare the child's field of life by...

Plowing and Furrowing...

breaking up the ground
to allow growth of the desired plants
(giving your child a healthful start...
physically...emotionally...
through diet, exercise...and rest)...

Healthful Diet

Exercise I

Exercise II

Exercise III

Exercise IV

Exercise V

Exercise VI

Solitude


getting rid of the weeds and rocks
so growth is not hampered
(not giving in to protestations to the contrary...
for junk food...lack of desire to exercise...
only play video games)

The Battle of Wills


Planting of the seeds...

ensuring no seeds of...

 Doubt...
 Discontent...
Pessimism...
deep seated Fears
are allowed in the mixture.

Conquering Fears

You wish only...
 grade A...
premium seeds of...

Optimism...
Deferred Gratification...
Objective Reasoning...
Morals and Values...
 Aspirations and Dreams...
Empathy...
Love.

Optimism

Deferred Gratification

Objective Reasoning

Morals and Values

Concepts of Good and Right / Duty / Honor / Courage / Love

Aspiration

To Dream

Empathy

Love



With frequent...
 watering...
fertilizing...
and the warmth of the sun...
as evidenced through your
unrelenting love... affection...
and encouragement...
he will forever be on a Positive Spiral in life.

Positive Spiral

With these in place... actively encouraged
and demonstrated daily...
he cannot fail to develop...

DRIVE.


Post note:  At the risk of dating myself...
I cannot help but commenting once more
on the song used in this article...

Man...dig that crazy beat!  :)





Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Home Schooling - Life Skills - Conquering Fears


Song:  Intermeco

Artist:  Robert Miles



Of course...
the most efficient way to teach...
is to illustrate the concept...
show them how to do it...
have them do it.

A problem arises when fear blocks the child...
from learning...
no matter how relatively easy the activity is.

If his mind is more occupied with fear
than with the task at hand...
he will fail.

I won't go into the two basic ways of fear management
that operate on extremes of...
Positive Reinforcement and Punishment...
they, because of the situation or the self, self regulate.

Positive Reinforcement...
 whether by Passion or other great incentive...
generally overrides the fear...

and so, necessitates no further action.


Punishment...
by having a more fearful...or otherwise painful
stimuli applied...forcing the choice of performance
of the lesser feared.

Obviously not the choice of tactics...
and so...


There are four basic ways to effectively deal with 
fear...

Disinhibition

Coping Skills

Fear Nullification

Skill Mastery



Fear Disinhibition

is simply getting the child used to 
the fearful aspect through repeated 
dosing of the fearful stimuli in fractional...
ever increasing increments.

This is used most often on irrational
fears...where there is nothing to really fear.

It is also often used in conjunction with 
coping skills to get the person past the 
paralyzing aspect of the fear.

Often an ancillary benefit of other techniques...
as with all others...
accumulated successful cycles leads to 
a positive experience through repetition.

It operates on the age old physiological adaptation
process of Super Compensation.

Stimuli applied hard and long enough forces the body
to rebuild stronger...
effectively raising the threshold of tolerance.

Done in small enough steps allows adaptation
(starting just above comfort level...not going above tolerance level).

Done repetitiously enough allows the tolerance levels
to be raised enough to allow task performance.


Example of application

Irrational fear of clowns.


Starting with talking of clowns...
progressing to pictures of clowns...
having them draw pictures of clowns...
on to having them look at someone dressed
in a clown suit from afar...
on to watching at closer distances...
having them eventually touch the clown...
to having them wear a clown outfit...
finishing up with them performing as a clown.



Coping Skills

Often used in conjunction with fear disinhibition...
as many won't tolerate any stimuli from that which 
is greatly feared without mind distraction.

One way is concentrating on...
or even the monitoring of a physiological process...
such as breathing and relaxation.


Example of application


Having them take a deep breath and 
letting it out in long intervals by saying...
almost inaudibly...
ahhh...
while keeping their hands open.

This diverts their mind and forces relaxation.

When their concentration fails...
as evidenced by the clenching of their hands...
or the holding of their breath...
you will know their tolerance level has been reached.

A way of combining the two processes...
as has been used by martial artists of old...
is using the same relaxation techniques
while experiencing physiological stressors.

Besides being consciously used during their rigorous
training...they would train in a deep stance...
concentrating on keeping their breath flowing smoothly
and their hands open and relaxed while standing underneath
a cold waterfall.

This teaches the body to relax under stress...
as the same physiological reactions occur
when experiencing fear.

This toughens the mind, body, and spirit
to the onrush of the fight or flight chemical 
releases in the body...the ones which cause
the negative and extremely uncomfortable
symptoms

There exists a way of doing the same thing...
in controlled measures... and right at home...
the shower.

Just by adjusting the temperature at successively 
colder temperatures over time...
they can condition their body to not react to 
the physiological responses...
this actually lessens the amount
of stress related chemical output.

Yoga is essentially the same thing..
just using stretching and postural stressors 
while forcing relaxation and breath control
under the said stressors.



Fear Nullification

This attacks the basis of the fear head on.


Much of fear is based upon a perceived lack of control
over a negative scenario which may happen.

By teaching them how to successfully deal 
with the worst cast scenario...
it takes away the fearful aspects.

With the fear taken away...
they are then ready to learn.


Example of application

Learning how to ride a bicycle.


Alex was initially taught how to ride a bike
a few years ago.

While he could barely ride in a straight line...
 he had no confidence in turning, braking and maneuvering.

I chose to attack his problem of fear head on.

He feared falling....
and so...
I taught him what to do in the 
event of a fall...
and then...

I pushed him off the bike.

Of course...
it was done in a controlled and safe fashion.

I had him sit on the bike (on the lawn)...
(I had previously taught him to jump clear of the bike
and land on his feet and roll if necessary)
as I held it.

I had him jump off the bike to one side
and land on his feet.

I also had him shoulder roll to protect his head
and arms...in the event of him being overcome by
his rate of travel.

We practiced over and over until he was comfortable
with falling...

before the end of the day...
he was doing figure eights
and stopping from speed...
all with confidence.

He now rides with relative ease...
even though he rarely rides.









Skill Mastery

While closely related to Fear Nullification...
it chiefly differs in teaching what to do
in a positive scenario...
how to not lose control of the situation
to begin with...how to stay out of 
a negative scenario.

While both are taught eventually...
Fear Nullification must sometimes 
be used first if the fear of the negative scenario
overrides the learning process of Skill Mastery.


Example of application


Boxing


A good boxing gym teaches not only how to hit...
but how not to get hit...
by bobbing and weaving...
controlling distance...
slipping and parrying...etc.

(Fear nullification...besides damage control...
comes in rolling with the punch)

Having the basic skills mastered
before ever stepping into the ring to spar is essential...
as it not only keeps the fighter
from becoming gun shy...
it prevents unnecessary injury...
and is a far more efficient way of learning.


Another example of both used in teaching a new skill...
 swimming.

One of the first things taught...besides
having them get used to having their faces 
underwater while holding their breath...
 is learning how to survival float...
then comes wading...
dog paddling...
and on to successively more complicated strokes...
and underwater swimming.

It would neither be smart, nor efficient, teaching
by throwing them into the deep end without
giving them the basics of swimming.

The same principles apply 
to all new skills...
be it...
public speaking...
tests of all sorts...
any new skill.

You teach them the concepts
of the skill until they have mastered them.

To have them operate from the beginning
with a sense of mastery...
gives them true confidence...
it reinforces their lust for adventure
as they feel fully prepared...
and may operate on a level of 
excitement instead of fear.

Once they are taught how to conquer fear
through the application of concepts...
they will be able to master future challenges.

When the future is no longer looked upon 
with fear...and the associated dread...
it becomes nothing but positive...
and so...
seen as wondrous and beautiful.


Instilling a lust for life...
is putting your child in a Positive Spiral.

Having him able to learn how to master his fears...
allows him to stay on the Positive Spiral.

Article On A Positive Spiral


Monday, May 16, 2011

Home Schooling - Eating Healthfully - Introducing Variety


Song:  Sundown In Madagaskar

Group:  African Tribal Orchestra


One of the great keys to living a happy life...
is living a healthful...
energetic and invigorating one.

One of the chief ways is through a healthful diet.

I had covered having a good foundation...
 in healthful eating in the linked article below...
should you have not already read this article...
please read it first...


as I build upon the article above, with this one. 


When Alex was still very young...
all he wanted to eat was Cheerios.

My wife gradually introduced a variety of healthful foods...
slowly...
and at times...
surreptitiously.

She would put in a new vegetable into one of his dishes...
without his knowledge...
and once he ate it...
she would praise him
for having tried something new.

We would reinforce the idea of how healthful
the vegetable was and how it would
help make him grow stronger and smarter.

Of course, all parents do this.

However...he, of course...
started to inspect his food before eating
to ensure there were no new colors or shapes
that would indicate deception on our part.

My wife had to experiment with different ways
of preparation to be especially pleasing to 
his very finicky palate.

We were fortunate in that my wife
normally prepares and eats Japanese food.

The Japanese eat a large variety of
healthful vegetables and fish...
using a variety of flavorful sauces in their 
preparation.

Alex grew to love Japanese food...
(there is evidence to suggest that what is eaten 
by the mother while pregnant...greatly
influences the child's affinity for certain types
of food later in life).

He was introduced to a wide variety of vegetables...
fruit...and nuts...
through his snacks.

His mother would always have a plateful of many vegetables
and fruits, as well as nuts, for his snacks.

No junk food...no sodas
(it should be every parent's mantra).

The key is to make the food as appetizing as possible...
by the exploration of how other cultures
prepare theirs.

We often experiment with cultural cuisine...
by eating out once a week.

Doing so is not only a way of giving 
my wife a break from cooking...
it is a great way we have used to introduce
Alex to new ways, and tastes, of food preparation.



Although we have our favorite restaurants...
we are always eager to try new ones.


Fun themes and new tastes greatly enhance
the dining experience.


We like eating out late in the evening on a weekday
as there is a more serene setting to be had.



Although we have tried "fun" restaurants...
we have found them to be far too loud
to really enjoy ourselves...
this one fits us nicely.



Alex loves using one of his video game units while awaiting his meal.


Although he has gotten used to a wide variety
of tastes...he was wondering about this new shape...
fried rice noodles on top of his Orange Chicken.


My wife ate this barely cooked Tuna
with Ponzu sauce.

She often makes a variety of fish dishes for Alex...
including this one...
however...his is fully cooked.


We are still trying to get him to try these delicious 
Spring Rolls.


We have no trouble getting him to try 
new desserts.

In general, we don't give him sweets at home...
other than fresh or dried fruit.

We usually limit his vegetable/fruit juice combination
to one large glass a day. 

The rest of the time it is rice milk or water...
oh...and have I already mentioned...
NO SODAS.

We want dessert to be special for him...
and not an unhealthful daily expectation.

By making your child's core diet healthful...
you may then look forward to a little splurging
once a week.

Through our culinary exploration...
although Japanese is still his favorite...
we have introduced him to...

Indian...
Mexican...
Italian...
Thai...
Vietnamese...
Chinese...
Polynesian...
Mongolian...
Korean...
Cajun...

And we shall be exploring many other types soon.

Our area doesn't have the plethora of ethnic restaurants
that larger cities have.

We shall soon be moving...
on to an area...
 of much greater dietary diversity.

The variety will open new taste horizons...
for him to...
 explore...
enjoy...
look forward to.


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