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In honor of Moishe…and all those kids on the spectrum..

 

Hey My Loves∼

I hope April is going well for you guys and that you are taking care of yourselves in preparation for Summer!

I’ve been super busy, but have had this blog percolating in my mind for some time – in honor of Autism month. autism4

For those of you that don’t know, I started my career in education working at a preschool for children with autism and/or on the spectrum.

I worked as the office manager but as my interest in education grew my boss at the time started giving me the opportunity to work as an aide in the class.

It was here that I met Moishe*.  All the kids stand out, but for some reason when I think of that place it is Moishe who always stands out in my mind.

Moishe’s family was Orthodox Jewish and he was the youngest of 5.  Three of his siblings had diagnosed learning disabilities.  When Moishe came to us at about 4 (I think) he was non-verbal, made NO eye contact whatsoever, and was literally just living in his own world.  His mom was his primary caretaker.

As an Orthodox Jewish family they adhered to strict religious doctrines —-> to the max!  The biggest one impacting Moishe at school was eating routines – kosher meals, food stored separately from the other children’s food and he had a special mat on which he ate.

His mother was very adamant about arts and crafts that involved food and most of her questions to us were related to anything that might go against any of their religious doctrines. Which hey I get, but I often wondered what her role was as advocate for Moishe as a child with autism.

Anyway, I’m getting to my point.  Like I said Moishe was-non verbal and made little to no eye contact and one of the things his mom expressed when he started with us was that he had no interaction whatsoever with her.  He did with his sibling and dad – interactions to the best of his abilities.

Thankfully her reaction or non-reaction didn’t set Moishe back.  He began to flourish and as time went on, Moishe  began looking at us and the other children when greeted or spoken to, he was okay with being touched or if we sat next to him. Eventually he started smiling at me and others.  This made my heart well!

He was making so much progress under the care of the loving staff that sometimes I wondered if his diagnosis was correct or if Moishe was just somehow lost in the shuffle of so many kids at home.  Or if his mother’s attention was so directed to the religious upbringing that she just didn’t SEE Moishe.

Anyway, one day Moishe and the other kids created an arts and craft activity I believe using food, like cereal.  Apparently, when Moishe jumped of the school bus at home, he ran to his mother and said “Look” and smiled at her.  His mother’s first reaction was to call the school to ask if the necklace had been made under kosher conditions.  ?!?!?  She didn’t hug him, or say “wow” or even notice that Moishe had spoken to her for the first time EVERRRRRR!!!  I said as much to her. autism5

I was so annoyed, dumbfounded, and sad.  I mean I get that certain people in whatever religion are very devout to their beliefs, but I am thinking if my son who hasn’t spoken to me ever in his life, jumped off a bus and spoke and smiled, I would probably wouldn’t have cared if he was showing me a necklace made out of pork!!  Seriously.

All this brings me to say that all children need their parents love, support and most importantly advocacy.

This whole experience and my time working there taught me so much about what things I should do as a parent, what things all parents should do for their children – especially when dealing with the school system and a special needs diagnosis (whatever that diagnosis is).

Parents need to be educated and parents need to constantly be researching any and every available resource to support their kids.  Children unfortunately get lost in the bureaucracy that is public education.

I don’t know what happened to Moishe, I am thinking he is about 23 now.  But Deepak 1997233-Deepak-Chopra-Quote-Know-that-people-are-doing-the-best-they-canChopra says that people do the best they can from their level of awareness.  My hope is that his mother’s level of awareness has increased since then and that perhaps her focus shifted – even if just a little – from religious doctrines to Moishe and his world. That she became his biggest advocate.

Moishe was one of the many kids who inspired me to teach.

Happy National Autism month to the amazing kids on the spectrum and kudos to those parents and friends who have advocate relentlessly for their kids!!!

Thanks for stopping by!

LolaUncorked♥

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We are raising (insert 8 letter word – starts with A and has two Ss)…

Hi, My Loves∼

Disclaimer: As you will be able to tell this blog was written on Friday.  Due to my daughter’s baby shower it just sat waiting to be revised. Hence, the Happy F-ing Friday! LOL

This week I was completely enchanted (good word) when:

  1. I walked into a bar and someone who follows my blog came up to me and was like “What the hell?!?! You haven’t posted a blog since May 10!!” It was May 15th.  She continued on to say that she went onto the blog at work looking forward to a new post and was totally disappointed not to find one. (Insert tear here).

   MY blog guys!  She looked forward to MY blog.  I feel like this officially makes me a     blogger!!!!blogger

2. I was speaking with a co-worker who I invited to read my blog back when I started.  She never mentioned it.  After a seriously rough day at work (I recognize I am blessed, but still it was rough) she said, “OMG, Ms. Formentin!” She still calls me that making me feel all old and shit.

Anyway, she was like “I have been reading and following your blog and I love it!

“I especially like the one about the guy with the socks.” LOL.  She said it is so relatable and “I love how you express yourself.”  (insert second tear here)

Both of these made my day and it reminded me that I need to be more consistent with my blog.  And so here I am!  Because it really is all about connecting with people.  The images, the followers, the comments – THOSE are all secondary, maybe even third on the list of why and how I want to grow this thing.

Anyway, so here I am!  Happy FUCKIN Friday!  Yes, HAPPY FUCKIN Friday! What a week!!

I need to talk to you guys about our kids! Kids growing up now. Little boys and girls. The little monsters that we are creating!

As you all know I am educator.  I am in my 13th year of teaching.  Three years longer than I originally anticipated.

I’ve taught 1st, 3rd, 4th and 5th grades.

I’ve taught in urban and suburban schools.

Over the span of my thirteen years in teaching, I have witnessed what I describe as an epidemic decline in the integrity of our children.  This is manifesting itself as a severe lack of empathy for others. I know I sound dramatic, but that’s because this current situation is serious.

Every year, educators all over the world, face behavioral challenges in their classroom.  Author included.  However, I have never experienced some of the issues like the ones this year.  Challenges is definitely an understatement.

These kids are downright rude, disrespectful, inconsiderate and mean.  BULLIES!!! (Another disclaimer: Not all of them.  A select few.) .

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There’s actually a book about it!

They have no fear of authority.  They talk back.  The mock.  They mimic.  They hit.  They gossip.  They walk out of classrooms.  Talk about teachers to their face.   They want to have the last word.

OMG! I am a grown ass woman and let me tell you I still fear my mom.  These kids do not care.  And they will tell you.

  • I don’t care about my grades.
  • I do it because I want to.
  • I do it because I can.
  • She’s so annoying and ugly. (Talking about a sub)
  • You’re a ________________ (insert N word here). (Yes, the “N” word!!! At the 4th grade level.)
  • This is boring.
  • I just want to go home.

The responses run the gamut.  I’ll tell you what, had I ever responded this way to any adult and it got back to my mom, you best believe I would not be here today.  Back then it was a community affair – that saying, “It takes a village to raise a child.” village.jpeg

My brothers grew up in the Dominican Republic.  I remember one time they were acting up on the way home – I don’t know what.  But I do remember that by the time they got home, my uncle had heard about it and he took a branch right to them in the alleyway.  Yup.  Community affair.

The crazy thing is I can’t even blame the kids today because as we all know this is LEARNED behavior.  Kids are born with a clean slate.  Yes, some traits are inherited but we also know most traits are learned.

Who are the real culprits here? Parents!  Parents in combination with technology are single- handedly ruining this generation of children.  And I believe it is going to get worse before it gets better.

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Put the technology down and TALK to your kid!

As parents we are so wrapped up in whatever it is we wrap ourselves up in – careers, fitness, homes, making money, travel, socializing – that we forget that our single most important job is – OUR KIDS!  If you’ve been blessed to have them.  Raising them, loving them, protecting them.

Clothing and putting a roof over their heads does not make us parents.  Loving alone  does not make us parents.  Making sure our kids go to school does not make us parents.

Parenting involves talking to our kids and engaging in conversation.  Listening attentively without the phone in our hand.  Being present.  Listening to both the spoken and unspoken words.   Modeling behavior like speaking properly, helping the elderly, volunteering, kindness, dressing age appropriately. The list is endless.

We think that because kids are absorbed in their technology that they are not paying attention to us, when in reality, I feel like they are way more aware.  It’s like the brain is soaking up the conversations around them and being filed for later use.

Have you ever had a conversation with let’s say your best friends while your child is playing on an iPad or smart phone nearby?  You think your kid is completely absorbed paying you no mind.

A few weeks later your kid will ask something like, “Who got arrested?” or “Oh, like daddy’s friend who went to jail?” You’re like mouth-wide-open because you swore at the time he wasn’t paying attention.

THIS IS TRUE STORY.  My grandson Max did this.  He will bring things up a week or two later that he subconsciously listened to and stored.

It’s the same thing with behavior.  You may think that when you are cursing out the salesperson because they were rude or disrespectful or just having a bad day, that you’re teaching your kid to defend himself, when what you’re actually modeling is to be rude and disrespectful.  If you’re not explaining why you are doing what you’re doing, and this is your pattern, it becomes their pattern.  kidadults

What do you think happens when you call that kid’s teacher and lie that the child was sick and that’s why he didn’t finish his work?  But in reality he was fine.  The child learns to lie, to make excuses, to not take responsibility for anything because his parents got his back.

Your children spend a good portion of their day in the classroom with teachers, other adults and other kids.

There is nothing uglier to me than that kid that E V E R Y O N E knows because of his shitty behavior.  Parents THIS is NOT cute.  Start modeling the behavior that you want to see.  You want an honest child, don’t lie.  You want chivalrous young men, open doors.  You want a classy daughter, don’t be twerking and then posting that shyt on social media. PARENTS BE WHAT YOU WANT THEM TO BE

Look I am not and haven’t been a perfect parent.  We all make mistakes. But as we grow older and we see this overwhelming inundation of technology and the effects it is having on our children, we need to be more mindful of the things we say and do in front of our children.

Because once that foundation is rooted, it becomes twice as difficult to undo.

Just don’t be the parent with the a*@hole kid!

This is one of my favorite quotes about kids! We have no idea how we damage our kids…

“All parents damage their children. It cannot be helped. Youth, like pristine glass, absorbs the prints of its handlers. Some parents smudge, others crack, a few shatter childhoods completely into jagged little pieces, beyond repair.”
― Mitch AlbomThe Five People You Meet in Heaven  

LolaUncorked♥