Monday, June 25, 2012

Autism; Screaming for Hope

I am currently working with a teenage boy who is autistic, nonverbal, and not potty-trained. I've been his respite worker for the past 7 years, but never had a consistent or frequent schedule. My desire has been to teach him to talk, because he has spoken, though quite infrequently - but that requires consistency. This summer, I have the opportunity to try because I'm working with him for 30hrs/week. I have no training, so I'm reading, and feeling quite unqualified, but I am the best he has. That is not a self-compliment; it's an assessment of the level of desperation that his situation should evoke in anyone who is concerned for others.

I've been speaking to his parents about what they want for him, and what he receives. He doesn't receive much.

Not quite sure what they do... except that only 3hrs per week is said to be dedicated to speech- that isn't enough for a nonverbal autistic child, and whether it's happening- he can't tell his parents. BUT we do know that the school keeps asking to reduce his hours because they've given up..... because of THREE hours! THREE stinking hours that can't possibly do the job.
During the remainder of his time there, well according to a witness, one day he was strapped in a chair in front of the TV for several hours so that the teachers could focus on other students. We're not sure about the rest.

Someone comes to his house for 4 hours per week, to teach him things such as putting on shoes, washing hands, staying out of the street, etc.

My job is to keep him safe while his parents get a break. The rest of what I do (taking him hiking, bowling, swimming, and trying to teach him to talk, etc)- that's just perks- none of this is officially recognized as services he's receiving, and if I leave, it goes too.

All I know is, this boy is overwhelmed when he tries to communicate, and can't. He resorts to biting and hitting, but you see the frustration in his eyes. He wants out. Yet he's trapped, and the more time goes by, the more trapped he becomes.

It frustrates me to no end. He deserves so much more. He's a person, and he's trapped, unable to communicate even in alternative ways (yes, I want to give speech a shot, but if that doesn't work, then there are other options to try too)- not because he can't learn, but because the services he has received are not enough.

So I'm trying to figure out how to advocate and create a successful and viable alternative educational program. By viable, I mean largely, fund-able. His parents aren't rich though they both work, so the question is, how much would it cost, and then, what would the school system fund, and what would regional center fund, and could we raise the rest?

I need to help him- someone needs to help him. Anyone can help him; I don't care. For now, it's me. Maybe come fall, we could have actual trained staff in place- but the question is, "How?" How do we design it? How do we push/fight for it? How do we finance it? I'm coming up with ideas; I'm not as clueless as I was 3 weeks ago, but I would sincerely love and welcome any advise or assistance with any area of this effort.

Friday, October 8, 2010

False Testimony

The Bible says that we should not give false testimony about others (Exodus 20:16). It may be a strange concept (sarcasm), but this applies even when talking about political leaders and famous people. It seems there are thousands of inaccurate messages spreading around-online and verbally- largely about Obama. Claims that he allied with governmental enemies. Photos of him committing various faux-paus (left hand over his heart). Spoof videos to prove his stupidity or his immorality. Obama's the big target for now, but it happens with the other leaders- local, state, and federal.

We have an obligation to ensure that to the best of our ability, the information we spread is true (as well as relevant; an actors private life is none of our business anyway, but a leader's is, because their behavior represents their ethics, which play out in their leadership). So many people assume that because someone they trust posted something, it's true. But often, it's not, if only because they received it from someone they trusted, on down the line. Going back to my last post, even the political discussions on the Christian Radio station have been factually incorrect at times(ie: about a Muslim "Mosque" that is really a community center with a religious component). So why do we assume that what we see on a social network must be true?

Sometimes, the person doing the posting knows that the information they share is fake, and assumes that everyone else will know as well. But then someone who wants to believe it, pays less attention to the inconsistencies, and so the information spreads, and is used to back beliefs. It may weaken the shock-factor to say ahead of time, that something has been doctored, or is a spoof, a joke, etc, but on the internet, where information flies faster and farther than you can say, "sike!", people must, if following biblical principles, clarify themselves. Otherwise, it amounts to false testimony.

Many times, people believe they are passing on true information. Well, if you didn't know the risk before, you know now. The information you receive still needs to be verified. It is easy to create fake photos and videos now. But it is also easy to look-up claims on, which investigates rumors, and can quite-often tell you whether they're true, and how they know. Or look it up by typing "urban legends" into google, checking governmental sites, or checking the sites that belong to the quoted source (ie: if the video looks a lot like a CNN newscast, check the CNN site). Don't just assume that what you are passing along is true. Otherwise, you become a part of the problem.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Christian Radio

Sometimes, I turn to the Christian talk station to listen to the sermons and discussions, or the advice shows. They are thought-provoking even when I don't quite agree with everything they have to say.
BUT quite often, I turn to the station at the wrong time... apparently... because what I hear has little to nothing to do with the Christianity that Christ preached.
POINT 1: Certain political conversations. I have heard them say that if we are really Christians, we will stand up against the socialist health care system because our government is trying to take control of our lives. I'm sorry, but my take on it was, "we could benefit from some system that offers services to people who otherwise can't obtain or afford it. Whether this particular system needs to be dramatically altered or not is a fair argument, but..." then I realized what I heard: "if I'm really a Christian? So you're saying..." I started shouting at the radio, "HOW DARE YOU SAY I'M NOT A CHRISTIAN!"... so anyway,
POINT 2: The way advertising is done. According to some, as a woman, I need to worry that one day, I will have unsightly wrinkles, and my esteem will be low unless I use this cream. I need to do something about my teeth because, obviously, they aren't up to par. I need to.... Apparently, God messed up when he made me, but if I do x, y, and z, I can fix it and feel okay going out in public once again. God may have clothed the birds, but we must take care of ourselves. Well, I understand that a message of, "God made you beautiful just the way you are" isn't going to sell much, but don't bring down our esteem. We are God's children, they should know better. If they want to sell and fit into the identity of Christian, the message needs to be, "if you want to look even better."- well that could be playing on vanity, but at least it's not bullying.
POINT 3: The degree to which certain talk shows emphasize the importance of money and financial security. Of investing it appropriately. Of saving it.... all for the benefit, as I said, of financial security. Sometimes, they seem to forget that spending it to help others, or taking a low-paying job because that's where you're called to be are also valuable. I like Stuff, but what is the value of Stuff? Such talk-shows have a way of coming across as promoting materialism. They say we need to be financially secure. I like security. But what about trusting God? Is it really a need- or just something we would like; Something to make us a little less dependant on God to get us through the month?

Sunday, August 29, 2010

One Fail for Medi-cal

I'm really frustrated right now. Actually, that doesn't come close to how I feel. I'm sad, disappointed in my country, and angry. A woman whom I know needs hip surgery- so that she can take care of her children and have a job. She receives Medi-cal. She's been waiting for months to get permission for the surgery. Until then, she's supposed to be on her feet as little as possible, but as a widow with young children, this isn't feasible. She was recently informed that her consultation has finally been set... for November, 2011. It is currently August, 2010, so she only has to wait 15 months. The consultation will plan out the actual surgery, which, she has been told, she will have some time in 2012.
What kind of world do we live in? Isn't there anything we can do? If I were the one needing hip surgery, I'd be going in to ER regularly, just to make it as inconvenient for the hospital and for Medi-cal as possible with the hopes that they'd schedule it sooner. But she still has kids to take care of, so that would be rather hard... And even if she gets the help she needs, the system is still putting others through this same horrendous situation. How do we change this system?

Friday, March 6, 2009


For anyone who's been following my blogs, I know that I come across as very left wing, and in many if not most ways, I am. But I am pro-life in every sense of the term. I am against the death penalty, I am anti-war (though there have been some that were necessary), anti-suicide,and anti-abortion. I am even glad my dog died before my parents had him put to sleep. I value life, and don't believe that humans should control it.
For anyone who does not believe in God, I don't have a moral argument. But for those of us who believe the Bible, God says he is the one who created us. I remember a time when I was about 15, when I was reading the book of Isaiah...
That was probably the worst year of my life. I felt like no-one knew me for who I was. I would get in trouble for fighting, when I was just trying to get away. I was accused many times of lying, or faking sick, or things that were in some way against my sense of integrity, and that caused me to feel absolutely invisible. I got to thinking that I might as well be dead, and that "If I weren't a Christian, maybe I'd kill myself." I don't think I ever would have; I knew my Mom would be devastated, plus the line between thinking about it, and carrying it out is pretty thick. But it was still in my mind on a regular basis.
Also at that time, I turned to reading the Bible. I felt like God was my only real friend, so I made it a point to focus on that. When I got to the book of Isaiah, I read, "I knitted you in the womb." For years afterwards, I remembered "I knitted you in the womb; do not do anything to change that." I quoted this a million times, but it's not said like that. I looked for it a few months ago. It's not there. I believe it was God speaking to me, that caused me to be so certain of that statement.
In that sense, it was relating to suicide, and it was meant for me. But I believe it applies to everyone, and outside of that box. Life is sacred. The Bible does say, "I knitted you in the womb," and by that part alone, it follows, that we should not disregard it. If God made us, he can unmake us. If God made us, then we should not take over, deciding when to destroy his creation. Whether it involves a fetus, an elderly person, or any other person, we should not try to take control of the existence of any human being- ourselves, or anyone else.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Separating the Bible from God's Commands

I am officially going crazy! I was in Bible Study tonight, and afterwards, someone decided to read off something they saw online. Some sort of "divorce agreement" regarding divorcing the politically left. In it, the person wrote something to the effect of, "you can keep the homeless, and the hippies and illegal aliens..." "we'll keep walmart.." "we'll keep the Bibles, you can have NBC..."

I forgot to be open-minded like I normally am (or try to be), and left the room. I couldn't take it! What?!!!! you want to pawn homeless people off on us, and think you are keeping the Bible? Jesus admonished those who looked down on the poor. What happened to the Beattitudes? What happened to the Widow's mite? What happened to the Good Samaritan? What happened to God's command to be kind to the aliens among you, for you were once aliens in Egypt? What happened to everything that Christ preaches?!!!! You have already pushed away the Bible!

But DO NOT! imply that it is an unChristian thing to value helping others above personal wealth!

1) So I guess we're also keeping the developmentally disabled, and kids who are traumatized by abuse. But what happens when a wealthy republican beats his children? Or how do you handle a 25 year old who grew up in your society, but starts to show signs of schizophrenia? Do you send them over to us now because you don't have the social structure to handle it? In mass, we have the ability to make a difference, but when you say, (paraphrase) "you keep the problems," that makes the ratios of problems (issues, not people) go up, and no one is helped. If there is no public assistance, you ignore the problem, and the result is: you'll have more people wandering around, peeing on your sidewalks because you don't provide any assistance. I don't believe that handouts are anything more than a bandaid on a broken leg, but I do believe in a hand up.

2) I don't know about taking too high a percentage of taxes from anyone without their consent. Personally, I consent to taxes if it will help our fellow human beings... and as long as my own needs are met... and as long as you aren't giving them more (with my money) than I can afford for myself. Because I consent, I naturally expect others to as well.

3) Yes, you can keep Walmart, which has a goal of 30% of marketshare worldwide, and only stops at that to prevent problems with monopoly laws (but your society will abolish that law, and then it will change it's goals to a higher percentage). Walmart, the company that avoids full-time positions and medical coverage. And Walmart, the company that fires people who try to start unions, which whether you like unions or not, is illegal [and the Bible does say to obey the laws of your land (except when it goes against God, like in Daniel)].... But may I ask, which of your people will chose to work there?

4) Yes I know that not all politically "right" people are indifferent to helping others, but this writer apparently is, if he/she can make these comments.

5) Now that I found your blog online: So you're an American law student. And I'm an American MBA student. We both apparently value education, but you think yours is enough to back your value-system over ours. From my perspective, half of what you want to keep... you're right; we are so different that there won't be much of a legal battle. I cannot imagine wanting it. But do you really suppose that we don't want police? What school teaches that?

6) But all-in-all, if you didn't bring God into it, I would have chalked it up to politics, and left it alone. You, however, imply that we would not want the Bible! How dare you make such an asinine assumption about an entire political spectrum of people!

7) Okay, I still don't feel better. I need to climb to the top of Razor's Edge (my favorite hiking spot), and scream!

Friday, March 9, 2007


How come people treat people who are homosexual as worse than anyone else? Why are we so afraid of it? The Bible says that a man should not lie with another man, as with a woman. And it adds, "For the Lord detests these things." But I ernestly believe that the latter statement was referring to the entire section, which was about a variety of sexual behaviors. We all know people, are friends with people, and may even be people who have sinned sexually, one way or another, and yet we treat homosexuality as the worst crime. Most people lust- usually after the opposite sex, and the Bible says that this itself is a sin. But we treat this as normal humaness, while we treat homosexuals, who lust after the same sex, as evil. And gross, disgusting, etc.

We are hypocrites. I don't see a difference. Sexual sin is sexual sin. We all sin; even if we don't lust, we sin some other way. But it's easy to attack the sin that's far from ourselves.

We do a diservice when we separate them from us so completely. Who's going to listen to us preach, "You are evil!?" Their response is that we are hateful, afraid, judgemental. There's no room left to listen because we force them into the defensive.

The truth is, the Bible says that it is wrong to live a homosexual lifestyle. If you believe the Bible, it's fair to agree that the action is wrong. But in the same breath, you must agree that it is wrong to sleep with someone's spouse. It is wrong to sleep around. It is wrong to sleep with people you aren't married to in general. And it is even wrong to fantacize about it.

That said, how many of us can accuse without being accused?

But many of us treat homosexuals with hate and disgust - even those who choose not to live a homosexual lifestyle. We use "gay" as a derogatory phrase, attacking our own friends who are afraid to say that they feel this way themselves- especially now that they see how we feel about it.

And we treat people who are gay as "gays." That becomes their identity. But my identity is not my sexuality, so why should they be defined by their sexuality. I doubt that gay people think more about sex than the average heterosexual. What about the rest of who they are?

My friend, Brian... supposedly, he's gay. I've never asked him. But everyone else "knows" it. I've never talked about sexual issues with him, however, so I wouldn't know. And that is because gay or not, he also has hobbies, political ideas, etc, that are more relevant to our friendship.

Those of us who believe the Bible need to stop attacking these people. This does not mean that you should ignore behavior that you believe is wrong. If you know someone is doing something wrong, and you care about them, you should find a way to confront it. But if you care about them, you can find a caring way to confront it. And ultimately, if the individual does not accept your source of reasoning (ie: the Bible says so), then using the source holds no value. First, you must prove the source, before you use it in reference. And anyone that you would chose to confront in their actions must be welcome to confront you in your faults, because we all certainly have them.