Friday, August 21, 2015

Child Development Quote

"It takes bad days to have good ones"-Tracy Little

I think this quote really sums up being with kids. Children develop at many different rates, sometimes they excel and sometimes they're behind. And if we're honest sometimes they are amazing and sometimes they get on our nerves. 

But to be able to have good days, we have to have the bad ones. We have to know the difference. We have to be able to look straight through the bad days and see the good ones coming. This happens in our own lives, it happens in children's lives, and if we have our own children (or work with them) this happens a lot.

Saturday, August 8, 2015

Standardized Testing

Standardized testing in schools can be such a hot button topic. Some schools get it right and other's don't. I personally think that the nation's government has put so much pressure on our teachers to get our children to perform in ways that maybe they just aren't able to.

When we look at standardized testing my heart goes out to the kids who have test anxiety or a test taking disability, and honestly can't test well. It's not that they don't want to, they just aren't made that way. My heart also goes out to the ones who have dyslexia and can't read the best. We're throwing these kids into a timed environment where they have to rush and try to comprehend what they need to do on the test. Yes for some there are modifications made and assistance given but they are still in a pressurized environment.

In some schools and homes the kids who test well are celebrated and the kids who test poorly are left feeling deflated. However those same kids who received low test scores, may be exceptional in art, music, or sports. They may not be able to read well but that does not mean they aren't intelligent.

In Ireland they have standardized testing as well, but it's done a little differently. It is limited to only English reading and math, they do not compare it to intelligence tests, and it is done only twice. The first test is done either at the end of 1st grade or the beginning of 2nd grade and again either at the end of 4th grade or the beginning of 5th grade. Not all children have to take the standardized test, if the child has a learning disability or English is not their first language, they are opted out of the test. School's funding does not seem to be tied to their standardized testing scores, instead the teachers use it to formulate their teaching plan for their students and use it as a bench mark for where they are.

I personally like Ireland's idea on excluding those that have a learning disability or do not speak English as their first language. I also like how Ireland uses the results for their teacher's planning, instead of a flag to wave for the school's performance level.

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Stressors in a Child's Life

There are many different stressors that could impact a child in his or her lifetime. War, famine, racism, natural disasters, hunger, isolation, disease, abuse, and unfortunately others. I've thought back through my childhood and I was so lucky and fortunate to not have to deal with any major childhood stressors. I had moments that impacted my life or might have caused a little stress or change: my sister moved out when she got married, one of my uncles passed away, my dog was put to sleep, we moved twice, had an alcoholic family member, and my cat had to leave us for a few months when we moved. But really, in the grand scheme of life, those are not major stressors. I always went to bed full; filled with food, water, and love and I never doubted that tomorrow would be any different.

However as I scroll through my Facebook newsfeed I know several people who are foster parents. These people see children all the time come through their doors who have seen and experienced the ugly, horrible side of life. They have gone through moments/weeks/months where they were not full; they were hungry, thirsty, and unloved. Some of these children thought you only loved them if you hurt them. Some of these children did not know what it meant to spend time together as a family. Some of these children only had a garbage bag to put their few possessions in. Some foster parents try their hardest to put these kids back together, to give them stability, to teach them about love, to give them hope for their future. Some of these foster parents give and pour out so much love only to have the court slam the door shut on their love. Some of these foster parents get to welcome these children into their family and change this child's life. We need more people in the foster care system to truly change a child's life for the better. And we need more people in our society to be advocates for the children in their own lives.

Across the ocean, in the middle east, I think one of the biggest stressors is war. When war hits a country or when terrorists attack a community, children are the most affected. Last summer when Isis started attacking Christians, it was children, who were impacted tremendously. They had to flee and run for their lives, they starved to death, and unfortunately some where even killed.

Another large stressor for children overseas is the lack of education, especially for young girls. In Liberia, Katie Meyler and More Than Me is trying to change that by starting a school for girls in Liberia. Since 2006 they have helped 105 girls, in Liberia, get off the streets and get in school. When we educate the next generation, we are changing the world and that's exactly what More Than Me is doing.

Saturday, July 11, 2015

Importance of Immunizations in Children

This week in my class we had to pick a topic of health importance in a child's life. So I picked immunizations, not to be controversial (although I know immunizations are a touchy subject) but because they have meant something to me.

We vaccinate our kids, yes we're Christians and we vaccinate our kids. I grew up in a medical home, my mom and sister are both RN's in hospitals (my mom is retired now). Because of seeing their work and the way doctor's have helped my kids, I believe in both God's divine healing & protection and doctor's wisdom.

In 2010 Abbey, then 3 years old, got really sick. She was throwing up and her temperature kept climbing. We gave her rest and tylenol but nothing was working. By 11pm her temperature was creeping towards ugly numbers so after our 3rd call to the on-call doctor they sent us to the emergency room. Abbey went through so many tests-spinal tap, mri's, blood tests, it just kept going because they didn't know what was going on. There were IV drips of medicine, just trying to help her. On the morning of day 4 in the hospital they finally knew what it was: Pneumococcal strep infection in her blood. By the end of the 5th day we were able to take Abbey home. It still took awhile for her to fully recover, but she did.

Abbey had been vaccinated with the pneumococcal vaccine, but not everyone is. Because not everyone is they believe someone had it and passed it along to her, which affected her very badly. But she was lucky. 3 months before there was a little girl 25 min. away who contracted the same infection, they didn't catch it early, and unfortunately it ended in her needing both of her arms and both of her legs amputated.

According to the World Health Organization the pneumococcal vaccine is only in 103 countries, and in those countries only 25% of those people have had this vaccine. Vaccines are a controversial topic in this country, not everyone believes they are necessary or worth it. But there are still countries in our world where they don't get to have strong opinions about vaccines at all. According to the World Health Organization: "In 2013, an estimated 21.8 million infants worldwide were not reached with routine immunization services, of whom nearly half live in 3 countries: India, Nigeria and Pakistan."

There are certain vaccines I don't agree with and yes there are some people whose bodies can't handle vaccines due to allergies or other complications. But in the larger spectrum I think vaccines are beneficial and can protect so many kids from getting sick and can protect parents from having to go through the unknown like we went through with Abbey. 

Saturday, July 4, 2015

Childbirth Around the World: Chad

This week we were asked to choose a country and see how births happen there.

I chose the country of Chad, located in Africa. According to Kathleen Berger in our text this week, Chad has the lowest percentage of deliveries by c-section, less then half of 1%. This almost seemed celebrated in our text, especially when it was compared to the United States' 34% or Brazil's 45%. Because I delivered via c-section, I thought this would be a good country to explore.

In 2005 BBC Panorama films put out a documentary "Dead Mothers Don't Cry" about the country of Chad and their mortality rates in maternity wards. This documentary has spurred on the creation of several non-profits to come in and help Chad. As of 2013, Chad's infant mortality rate was 91.94 (meaning 91.94 infants our of 1,000 infants die every year) where the United State's infant mortality rate was 5.4. In 2010 Chad's IMR was 131.17, ranking them at 186 of 188 in the world with the best IMR. So thankfully there has been some improvement in their IMR rating, partially in thanks to the documentary. How can their low percentage of c-section rates be celebrated in light of their extremely high IMR?

In Chad, there are not enough skilled personal in attendance for labor and deliveries. This is one reason why there are not very many c-sections performed in Chad, there are not enough medical professionals in Chad that can perform them. In Chad, according to the World Health Organization in 2013 only 23.7% of births had a skilled professional in attendance for the birth. Also very few pregnancies in Chad are monitored throughout the length of their pregnancy. According to UNICEF in 2010 only 18% of pregnancies were monitored. Less monitoring means that particular health needs that arise in death during labor or birth could have been prevented if they had been known.

For me, I've always thought wow I'm so glad I live in this day and age where when I needed a c-section for my own personal health I was able to have one. I did not factor in that other countries in this same day and age are still not able to have c-sections if they needed one. This has really put into perspective for me that developing nations are still not in the same category as we are in the health department, especially in labor and delivery. I think the biggest impact this makes on child development is that in Chad from 2013 for every 1,000 families there are 91.9 that are missing a family member. That many families are going on without their child, sister or brother, or without their mom or wife. Those children were not given the ability to develop and some of those families of other children now have to develop without their mother's influence, which has a huge impact on the development of those children.

My First Birthing Experience

This past week my oldest daughter Abbey turned 8. These past 8 years went by so fast! But I still remember the days she was born vividly.

My husband, Keven, was in the Navy when I was pregnant with Abbey. My OB suggested that we were induced so we could plan with the Red Cross to get Keven home in time for her birth. My induction was scheduled for the morning of Friday June 29th, 2007. They started the Petosin IV and put me in a shared room. Keven and I were on the left side but behind the curtain was an Amish husband and wife. This picture was humorous to us, them on one side very quiet, just one small bag, and just the two of them. Where on our side, we both had our phones, a personal dvd player, laughing and talking and I had several friends and family come to visit.

The Amish family went back first and had their son that evening. The Petosin wasn't working for me so at 8pm they progressed by putting in a bulb to break my water. We spent the night just waiting. By 8am Saturday June 30th my water had finally broke. Then began the real fun! I spent the morning being miserable. They offered an epideral and I gladly accepted. My mom was an RN at an affiliated hospital so they allowed her to stay with me while they gave me the epideral. After their 4th attempt of trying to stick it in my back, my mom needed to step into the bathroom, and she passed out. At this point they cleared the room and after me begging for just a c-section, they were finally able to get it in. Unfortunately, an hour later, it came out and after 2 more attempts it was finally in! I was good to go.

The evening of June 30th was rough. My temperature and blood pressure spiked, I bit my husband during a contraction, and was mumbling complete non-sense to my sister (which we still make fun of today). As we went through the night I was not progressing at all as we approached the 24 hour of my water being broken. By 4am on Saturday July 1st my OB made the call that we were going to have an emergency c-section. I was relieved, I was not doing well and just wanted my baby.

By 8am, Keven and I were back in the operating room, and I was snoring (at least that's what Keven and the Dr. told me). A few minutes later Keven was holding our daughter and I was doing much better. It took a bit for me to come to but when Keven handed me our new little bundle I knew immediately that it had all been worth it.

8 years later, it was still so worth it. Our Abigail is such a wonderful amazing little girl, who completed our family 8 years ago and still adds so much vibrance and life to it today.

Some women say you're not a true mother if you've had a c-section. For me, I am so thankful we have the ability to have those procedures today, otherwise I may not be here, 8 years later, to enjoy every moment being Abbey's mother. Abbey was loved and nurtured from the first moment, regardless that she was born via a c-section. I don't think her birth had any effect on her development, except for the fact that she was here via that way. I chose this example because she was my first of three children and her birth set the stage for the other two to follow.

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Code of ethics in Early Childhood

DEC's code of ethics:

-We shall use individually appropriate assessment strategies including multiple sources of information such as observations, interviews with significant caregivers, formal and informal assessments to determine children’s learning styles, strengths, and challenges.

-We shall build relationships with individual children and families while individualizing the curricula and learning environments to facilitate young children’s development and learning. 

-We shall respect, value, promote, and encourage the active participation of ALL families by engaging families in meaningful ways in the assessment and intervention processes. 

I thought all 3 of these ethics were really important because they crossed the barriers between special needs children and all children. We should be asking parent's input on how their child learns, regardless of their child's learning ability. We should also be a bridge between the families and the center/school for all families and their kids.

NAEYC's code of ethics:

-Recognize that children are best understood and supported in the context of family, culture, community, and society.

-To help family members enhance their understanding of their children and support the continuing development of their skills as parents.

-We shall be familiar with and appropriately refer families to community resources and professional support services. After a referral has been made, we shall follow up to ensure that services have been appropriately provided. 

I agreed with all 3 of these ethics from NAEYC. I think it's important to remember that children are not stand alone people but are integrated with their families. But it's also important to remember that not all parents understand kids or have gone through classes about kids, they may have rarely interacted with kids and it's our job as the teacher to educate the kids but to be a resource of education to the parents too. We need to be an available resource to them and follow-up with them to let them know that we are there and do care.