Kristi Yamaguchi, Olympic Champion
“Having achieved my own dreams, I want to give to kids who are less fortunate, who struggle with everyday obstacles. I want to give them something positive in their lives: support.”
After winning the gold in women’s singles figure skating in the 1992 Olympics and having an amazing amateur and pro career. Kristi Yamaguchi had lived her dreams.
She decided it was time to give back to the world by starting the Always Dream foundation.
From the Always Dream website:
Our Mission: To inspire underserved children to reach for their dreams through innovative reading programs and by advancing the cause of early childhood literacy. Our Always Reading literacy program combines technology with books to raise literacy skills, increase overall academic success and life potential. We also inspire children to “dream big” through engaging families with community events and serving as an advocate, highlighting the importance of early childhood literacy.
I have spoken before of the need for early literacy as a vehicle to success. Instilling a love of reading before the 4th grade is absolutely essential. The skills acquired are used for their entire lifetime and become second nature. After a while they don’t even have to think about it. Looking at something means that it automatically reads for them.
Arriving at this level of competence requires some early help from parents and teachers, and also organizations like Always Dream.
It is crucial that our next generation learns the skills they need to survive and thrive when they are old enough to be the next leaders. The future, ours and theirs, totally depends on it. We can’t afford to drop the ball on this one. Check out the links to Kristi Yamaguchi and her great organization. They will be included in the show notes for this episode at Daggers Of The Mind.com.
St. Francis of Assisi
“For it is in giving that we receive.”
Actor John Travolta
“Autism and seizures are the least known areas of illnesses.”
I will be the first to confess I knew little about Autism until I began talking to a friend at work about his son. The tenderness in his eyes when he talked definitely showed the love he had, and the desire to help and protect his child. There was also a sense of helplessness at facing Autism, and not being able to just make it go away.
Parents want to protect and save their offspring, and would give their lives to do so. Physical threats you can see coming are one thing, disorders from within create an anguish that is impossible to describe.
From the National Institutes of Health:
Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a range of complex neurodevelopment disorders, characterized by social impairments, communication difficulties, and restricted, repetitive, and stereotyped patterns of behavior.
The hallmark feature of ASD is impaired social interaction. As early as infancy, a baby with ASD may be unresponsive to people or focus intently on one item to the exclusion of others for long periods of time. A child with ASD may appear to develop normally and then withdraw and become indifferent to social engagement.
Children with an ASD may fail to respond to their names and often avoid eye contact with other people. They have difficulty interpreting what others are thinking or feeling because they can’t understand social cues, such as tone of voice or facial expressions, and don’t watch other people’s faces for clues about appropriate behavior. They may lack empathy.
Many children with an ASD engage in repetitive movements such as rocking and twirling, or in self-abusive behavior such as biting or head-banging. They also tend to start speaking later than other children and may refer to themselves by name instead of “I” or “me.” Children with an ASD don’t know how to play interactively with other children. Some speak in a sing-song voice about a narrow range of favorite topics, with little regard for the interests of the person to whom they are speaking. About 20 to 30 percent of children with an ASD develop epilepsy by the time they reach adulthood.
There is no cure for ASDs. Therapies and behavioral interventions are designed to remedy specific symptoms and can bring about substantial improvement. The ideal treatment plan coordinates therapies and interventions that meet the specific needs of individual children. Most health care professionals agree that the earlier the intervention, the better.
From the Autism Speaks Website:
Autism statistics from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) identify around 1 in 68 American children as on the autism spectrum–a ten-fold increase in prevalence in 40 years. Careful research shows that this increase is only partly explained by improved diagnosis and awareness. Studies also show that autism is four to five times more common among boys than girls. An estimated 1 out of 42 boys and 1 in 189 girls are diagnosed with autism in the United States.
With statistics like these, we all stand an incredible chance of being touched by Autism and its related disorders. Just like me, many will not give it any thought. But then the statistics catch up, and someone you know, even a family member is stricken. Don’t wait until it touches you. Help now.
There is a great site called Paracord By Design that sells paracord bracelets, key chains, and lanyards at great prices. This is really nice, but the really cool thing is the Autism Keychain they offer that gives all the proceeds to Autism Research.
The notes for this show will include a link to Paracord By Design, and also some great autism resources.