May 23, 2014 in Quotes
In our latest “Daily Lifestyle Tip” we have decided to focus on the growing concern over the use of antibacterial agents within the home. To the average person, the use of antibacterial products in the home would seem like the perfect solution to avoiding dirt and disease.
However, according to the Centre for Disease Control, these products do not demonstrate any added health benefits compared to similar products without antibacterial properties. In fact, there is growing scientific concern that the use of these products in healthy households is creating bacteria that is more resistant to these products. This can lead to a weakened immune system as well as an increase in the likelihood of allergic conditions in children.
Antibacterial products were originally used in hospitals because sick patients required a sterile environment in order to get better. However, when already healthy people rely on antibacterial products, the results can do more harm than good.
Centre for Disease Control – Antibacterial Household Products: Cause for Concern
Although what we eat plays a major role in our quality of life, there are many other lifestyle choices unrelated to food that can have a remarkable impact on our health. In our new series on “How to avoid Carcinogens in your daily life,” we have come up with some helpful tips that will help you to live a healthier life.
One of the most ubiquitous products in many homes is aerosols. From deodorant and hairspray, to paint and air fresheners – aerosols have become a staple in the average family home. However, what many people do not realize is that aerosol products actually have the potential to negatively affect the health of you and your loved ones.
In an independent testing of fourteen common household air fresheners, the Natural Resources and Defence Council (NRDC) found that most of the aerosol products contained chemicals which had the potential to aggravate asthma and negatively affect reproductive development. These hormone-disrupting chemicals were not listed on the label and some of these products were even falsely labelled “all natural.” In another study by UC Berkeley, these products were found to be especially harmful when used indoors. This is because the pollutants they emit reach toxic levels within enclosed spaces and may pose a risk to the health of you and your family.
Instead of relying on aerosols for your daily household needs, try seeking out natural alternatives. Make sure to always read the label and do your own research on the products you choose to purchase because everything is not always listed on the label.
NRDC – Protect Your Family from the Hidden Hazards in Air Fresheners
UC Berkeley – Indoor Air Chemistry
The Importance of Inclusion in the Classroom for Children with Special Needs
In June 1965, President Lyndon B. Johnson said, “Education is the key to opportunity in our society, and the equality of educational opportunity must be the birthright of every citizen.” While Johnson was not referring specifically to children with special needs, he very well could have been.
In the decades before Johnson’s statement, care for special needs children did not focus on education. In most cases, these children were taught in separate classrooms if not separate institutions. In the decades since, it has become difficult to ignore the importance and benefits of inclusion–the integration of special needs students in traditional classrooms.
No (Special Needs) Child Left Behind
A fair playing field for all students has long been a legislative and educational goal. The Education for All Handicapped Children Act (EAHCA), which was enacted in 1975 and which expanded on the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, required that states provide a “free appropriate public education in the least restrictive environment.”
In 1990, EAHCA became the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). IDEA emphasized the latter part of the previous quote: “least restrictive environment.” In conjunction with the No Child Left Behind Act of 2002, inclusion became an increasingly viable practice in special education.
A Benefit to All
Beyond the legal rhetoric, inclusion is an important and, some say, necessary practice. Benefits can be realized as much by students with special needs as those without.
Inclusive classrooms help special needs children develop stronger social skills, confidence in learning and self-esteem. This mode of learning can better prepare them for life beyond the classroom, helping them build communication skills and fostering a sense of belonging that might not have been possible in a non-inclusive setting. For those without special needs, inclusion can help them to:
- Understand diversity
- Develop patience
- Respect the needs of others
- Accept one’s differences
Like their special needs peers, students without disabilities who learn in an inclusive classroom can also better prepare for adult life. It is highly likely that at some point in their lives, they will interact with a disabled individual or individuals: in college, in the workplace or other environments. In these instances, those who learned in an inclusive classroom could be better prepared to accept, communicate with and support their disabled classmate or co-worker.
Further, research has shown that inclusion can even improve the academic performance and outcomes of students without special needs. That in itself adds an exclamation point to the importance of inclusive classrooms.
All for One
By its very name, inclusion denotes positivity. All children, regardless of race, social status or disability, have a fear of exclusion. No child wants to be that one who is not chosen to participate in recess games or who is not invited to someone’s birthday party.
Or who is singled out in a class picture, as was the case with 7-year-old Canadian student Miles Ambridge. Ambridge has muscular dystrophy and is confined to a wheelchair; a class picture taken in June 2013 shows Ambridge far off to one side of the frame, leaning almost desperately toward the other children as if by doing so he will be that much closer, that much more a part of the class.
That much more included.
No child wants to stand out in a negative way. To be excluded or, as Miles’s mother put it when referencing her son’s placement in the class picture, “ostracized”.
These are among the reasons that inclusion in the classroom started. Removing these words when it comes to children with special needs could be the chief reason that inclusion in the classroom is most important.
Shannon Lochwood is a writer who lives in California. She contributes to California Special Needs Law Group’s Blog and enjoys writing about health and education. In her free time she loves to help people and animals any way she can. She just started volunteering at her local animal shelter on the weekends.
Don’t you feel like your child always needs to be entertained? Maybe it tires you out each day because your kid wants to play all the time, and I mean, ALL THE TIME. Parents are always on the lookout for new games and activities that are both educational, safe and fun for their special needs children, so we have compiled a list of ideas that you can take to keep your child happy and healthy:
1. Write a letter.
This is a foolproof way to get your child engaged and expressing his/her thoughts. Nowadays, all you need to do is put up a blank Word document on your laptop or a new note on your iPad, set the font to a larger size, and let your child type away. Through writing a letter, you can teach your child vocabulary, expressive phrases, punctuation and other language-related skills.
2. Dance party!
Turn up the Songza kids’ playlists, liked ‘Classic Children’s Songs’,‘Preschool on TV’, or ‘Superheroes and Dinosaurs!’ and let your kid dance away. Bring out the costumes and props, make paper flowers or necklaces, put on a dance party in your own living room! Your children will squeal with delight and be excited to show you their moves. Plus, this will be a good way for expending their energy and excitement for the day.
3. The Quiet Game.
If you are really in need of rest and some silence around the house, play the quiet game with your children. The first one to talk while not whispering loses; whoever wins takes a prize! This will allow you about half an hour of silence, so you can rest, read a book or just finish your chores in quietude.
4.‘Red Light, Green Light!’
When you want to just lie on the couch and direct your kids while they run around, simply play ‘Red Light, Green Light’ up and down a hallway or a room. When you say “Red Light!”, your children have to stop and stay completely still; when you say “Green Light!”, they could run towards the end of the hallway: the first one to get to the end wins.
5.Write on my back.
Another lazy parent activity is to ask your child to write on your back and have you guess what she wrote. This way, you can test her spelling and writing skills. Moreover, you can add a feature of ‘erasing the message’, and guess what, you get a free back massage!
This game is great for children who need to train their gross motor functions. Getting your child to imitate certain ways that animals walk gets them to control their larger muscles for walking, running, sitting, crawling, and eventually running. Animals like slithering snakes, bobbling penguins, hopping bunnies, jumping kangaroos or galloping horses are fun ones to imitate and have your children occupied.
Therapy can happen at home with special games and activities! Hope you enjoyed these exercises, let us know how it went with your child in the COMMENTS section below! LIKE and SHARE so other parents can use these tips!