We have all heard the tales... how once upon a time, children ran free, exploring, climbing, discovering the woods in solitude. They used to listen to the sounds of the morning forest, pick at dry sap on the trees, eat apples from a tree branch, rest on mossy ground when they were tired. But are they still out there? Let's visit the Netherlands, where one fortunate soul … [Read more...] about The Importance of Nature Play
Children need time and space to play, to discover—to simply be. This generation has fewer children and more resources than any previous generation, making us intensely focused on our children. From her observations of South America's Stone Age Indians, Jean Liedloff, author of The Continuum Concept, feels that parenting that is too "child-centered" deprives a child of his a … [Read more...] about Leave Them Alone
At the end of WWI the German and Austro-Hungarian economies were on the verge of collapse and children in these countries were starving. Moved by their suffering, Eglantyne Jebb was arrested for handing out leaflets about their plight in Trafalgar Square. Jebb was from a wealthy, socially conscious family and she spearheaded a fundraising drive to bring relief to these British a … [Read more...] about End Corporal Punishment
Did Whitney have a disease that would need a cure? Or did he have symptom clusters that would respond to symptom training, so that he could become symptom-free? That was the question I asked myself when, after 15 years of clinical work and research in the brain science of language and communication disorders, my third child was diagnosed with severe autism, retardation and … [Read more...] about Autism or Maverick Mind?
Yesterday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) published the surveillance survey report, "Prevalence of Autism Spectrum Disorder Among Children Aged 8 Years." A shocking 1 in 68 US children are diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder, according to the new report. A previous report, "Trends in the Prevalence of Developmental Disabilities in US Children, … [Read more...] about Alarming Autism Increase
My daughter Lucy resembles me in many ways. She is tall for her age, as I always was. She has big, blue eyes, long limbs and a penchant for sweets. She loves to draw and ride bikes and swim. She loves me dearly, I know, and looks up to me, as any five-year-old does her mother, but it has become clear to me lately that she pines for another. THE OTHER MOTHER This other … [Read more...] about Is There a Pink Gene?
Many of the parents of autistic children that I have worked with over the years have expressed an urgency they feel in seeing their child develop within a certain time frame—trying to ‘beat the clock’ before they lose the ideal 'window of development.' This can result in an anxiety-filled experience in the background, or foreground, of their everyday life. Like a ticking clock— … [Read more...] about Helping Your Autistic Child
Jey had been living as an out gay woman for ten years prior to her second “big announcement.” She came out to me as a lesbian in her sophomore year of high school. It was Mother’s Day and she said, “I want to take you out for breakfast. I thought we could talk.” Ninety-nine percent of me knew what this conversation was going to be about and I was kind of relieved that the issue … [Read more...] about My Daughter is My Son
A few years ago, I was in an eye exam for my son Noah. The doctor wanted to get drops in Noah’s eyes and he was frustrated that Noah did not want to sit still. So he commanded me to hold Noah down while he put the drops in. Noah was crying wildly. I was taken off guard by the doc’s order, so I did it. I held Noah down forcibly, against his will, while the doctor put the drops in … [Read more...] about Being Authentic with Kids
Someone once told me that mammals learn through play. When children run and play they are also learning. They are using their creativity, developing their self-confidence, building resiliency, increasing physical prowess; learning how to work in groups, to share, negotiate, and resolve conflicts; and honing self-advocacy skills. Play is the work of children and it is through … [Read more...] about Give Them Free-Range Play