Thursday, May 31, 2007

Table Talk!
This ebayer, the person selling this table, is a man. How can you tell? Look closely. Leave a comment if you figure it out. Hint: It ain't the candlesticks.....
Thanks to CL for practically blinding me by sending me this photo....

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

I Love The Smell of Autism in the Morning

OK - so I woke up today (a good start, yes?) and headed into my bathroom. I clean my bathrooms every week. More often if the girls do something, something, something, icky. I had cleaned my bathroom last Thursday. Should still be fairly clean as I rarely do icky things in my bathroom - I am quite neat and tidy in my toileting habits. Don't laugh, when you have kids with autism you don't take these things lightly.

So - I'm in my bathroom, wondering (as usual) if the folks in the 55+ condos next door can hear me peeing through my window (I'm weird that way.) Let me rephrase that. I do not actually pee into or through my window. I sit on the toilet in a relaxed fashion - no need for the mall squat in your own house, right? Oh, the mall squat? My Mom taught me to never sit on a public toilet. Dirty. So I use my quadriceps and hover over the toilet in public restrooms - which I only used when forced to by Venti Starbucks coffee or a gallon of Dasani. And only to pee. I rarely if ever do anything other than pee in a public restroom. My husband says that's a girl thing. Guess what? I'm a girl. Well, now I've embarrassed myself, so onto my story.

I'm sitting this morning and I sniff sniff sniff something yucky. I look around. Bathroom looks clean. I sniff again. I scratch my... head, you dum dum. Only men scratch their naughty bits. Nothing to be seen. Plenty to smell. I washed my hands and headed downstairs to make breakfasts and lunches for the girls.

I went back into my bathroom. Sniff. Ick. I took out the Scrubbing Bubbles and sprayed the toilet, the floor around the toilet, the sink and the tub, leaving the bubble men to work their magic. Got the kids off to school. Went up to shower. Cleaned bathroom fully. I clean my shower while I shower. That way I reach everywhere. I get out. Sniff. I smell clean. My bathroom smells like ick. I am puzzled. I dress and go out.

I get a call from John Robison who says he'd like to stop in my town for lunch on his way to Random House and BEA in New York. I am right off the Merritt. John has a great memory. And he's a fantastic listener. He remembers I live right on his way to New York. We meet for lunch. We have a lovely time. I come home. I have had the Venti Starbucks and two giant Club Soda's with John. I have to use the bathroom. I go into my bathroom. Sniff. Ick. Yet I know I just cleaned it.

I sit down. I happen to glance over to my scale. My scale is a fancy glass German scale from a company my husband used to work for. The people at the company treated my husband like shit. Which is a fine coincidence, because, there, under the glass scale are two little lumps of shit. Yup. Two marbles. Two pops of poop. The ick. The smell of autism. You see, one of my darling girls sometimes has a small problem (or two) getting to the toilet on time. And if she has a problem, she fixes it by going into the bathroom and tidying up herself. Looks like two tidies got away....... Like the meatballs in that old kids' song. I think it's great she fixes her problem. I'm really proud of her progress. I'm glad I found the ick. And now I don't have to clean my bathroom again until next week.

Monday, May 28, 2007


I can't wait to meet my friend and American Title III contest winner and soon to be published author Jenny Gardiner at BEA on Saturday! Check out Jenny's fabulous book called "SLEEPING WITH WARD CLEAVER" at her site!

John Robison and I plan to meet on Saturday too. Geez, John, one more meeting and I think we're officially dating! Let's not tell our "mates" OK? (You'll have to read John's book, Look Me In The Eye, to get that joke.) You'd better pre-order it now before it sells out. I think a lot of trees are going down for this book! No kidding.

Also, I'm speaking at an event in NYC on Thursday, June 7th in the Empire State Building. John is also speaking at the event. We will not be announcing our engagement. But do pencil us into your calendar! Details to follow.

Are you attending BEA? Tell me! When, where, what booth. I'll drop by.

Saturday, May 26, 2007


My Dad, Dr. Richard G. Rossi, is a WWII vet. US Navy. How about you? Got anyone you want to thank in addition to the brave men and women currently deployed around the world? About two weeks ago I met a man named George who was a WWII vet selling poppies outside the Stop & Shop. He had lost most of his fingers in the battle of Normandy. He was 93 years old, stood straight and tall and had the glint of a proud soldier in his eye when he told me his story.

Friday, May 25, 2007

File under "DUH!"

Even low exposure to chemicals can harm fetuses

By Elizabeth Weise, USA TODAY

An international group of scientists sounded a warning Thursday that exposure to even extremely low doses of some chemicals while a fetus is developing can cause major changes in its future growth, health and ability to reproduce.been linked to increased susceptibility to allergies.

The message is not a new one, but scientists have tended to quietly suggest more research was needed, rather than shouting there's a problem that needs to be dealt with."What's important is that they're saying it," said Andrea Gore,professor of pharmacology and toxicology at the University of Texas, whohas helped organize previous meetings on the topic.

"This says 'Wake up!' " said Brenda Eskenazi, a professor ofepidemiology at the University of California, Berkeley who attended theconference. "This is not about us any more, this is about futuregenerations."

Why aren't they shouting? Autism, Peanut Allergies, Asthma, Food Allergies, Infertility, ADHD, mental illness are through the roof and the scientists are "quietly suggesting" we look into it??? Some Autism Moms SCREAM it every day! Where's my Reeeecola????
Healthbeat: Autistic Man Speaks For First Time In Over 50 Years (KSDK) -

In case you ever want to ask me why I work so hard for my girls? In case you ever question my love and devotion for my girls? In case you think I don't accept my girls for who they are? In case you think for one minute I will ever stop fighting for the best treatments for my girls? Read on my friends. My girls, like Danny Will, are locked inside their autism. I will search for the key until I take my last breath. Don't agree? Ask Danny what he wishes his family had been able to do so many years ago before we had the knowledge we have today.

Also, I'd love to know if Danny Will took a med before his surgery that opened up his ability to speak? Was it fear that brought out the words?

I remember the day that Mia said something similar. She was a toddler, said very little. No sentences. We were at the Ralph Lauren Outlet in The Laurel Mountains of PA. Mia was standing up in her stroller and I said, "MIA! SIT DOWN!" to which she responded "I CAN'T SIT DOWN!" It was the first spontaneous sentence she'd ever uttered. Mia is in there. Gianna is in there. Bella is in there. Mama's coming, girls. Hang on.

Here's the article.

Imagine not speaking for more than 50 years.By Kay QuinnHealthbeat ReporterThat was the case for Danny Will, a local man with autism. Will will turn 60 in August and hadn't spoken for nearly 55 years.Will functioned normally during his first few years of life. Around the age of five he was diagnosed with autism. His father died when he was seven. By the time he was 13 and his mother had to institutionalize him atFulton State Hospital. "He didn't speak the entire time he was in that institution," saidMary Vanderklok, a training specialist at the Judevine Center forAutism.In 1993, at the age of 43, Will came to live at Calverton House, a home for people with autism run by the Judevine Center.

Like many people with autism, he works and does chores, but also gestures andengages in repetitive behavior."Receptively, he understands directives," said Vanderklok. "He understands what you're saying to him, what's expected of him but a deficit for most people with autism spectrum disorder is that expressive language.

"In all of his time at Calverton House, Will still wouldn't speak --until last summer. He was taken to a local hospital for a test on his heart and he spoke his first words in more than 50 years." And that was, 'I don't want that -- get away,' which was amazing,"said Vanderklok.Will still only speaks occasionally and only to those caregivers heknows well.

"That's a remarkable man. There's just no other way to put it," saysDeVona Miner, a caregiver at Calverton House.In spite of his silence, those who know him said Will is happy. Theyalso said he is living proof that we should all keep highexpectations for people with autism."We really didn't think Danny would ever speak. He surprised us in that, so I think our motto is never give up," said Vanderklok.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Note to self.
People, even people I don't always care for, are people. People, even people with whom I disagree adamantly, are people. People have familes. People are more than what the public sees. People want to be liked and loved. Even people I think Iwould have a hard time liking, let alone loving. This photo is nice. A healthy child. Happy grandparents. People. I hope I refer back to this post from time to time. Remind me if I don't, please, won't you?
By the way, I chose this photo because it made me stop and think, not because of any love for this second family. Here's this innocent child, the son of two women and the grandson of a man who will go down in history as..... well, I won't go too far into politics here. Just take note of the color of this ink and you'll know my perspective. Maybe I'll post one day about what a neighbor in Ohio said to me after Mark and I put up a presidential candidate's sign in our yard in 2004 - suffice it to say the sign did not include the man in the photograph's name. And the neighbor let me have an earful, here in the land of free speech.
Everything I need to know about medicine I learned from a margarine advertisement.

There's talk of a new pill that will allow women to "turn off" their period. It's a pill made from hormones that you take every day, no break. No break? No annoying period.

Remember oh, about twenty years ago when docs started telling women they'd figured out how to hit the "pause" button on menopause? "Shucks, we'll just turn it off with hormone replacement!" Then about three years ago, the studies said "Oops! Maybe that wasn't such a good idea." and the very same docs back pedalled faster than Dick Cheney getting caught at a Greenpeace rally.

Have we become a society obsessed with convenience and dedicated to avoiding anything unpleasant, at least in the short term, with no regard to long term ramifications? Would you men trust Toyota if they said, "Trust us! You never have to change the oil in the new Camry!"

Oh, I can see turning off your period for convenience in many instances. Your wedding day. (That's the serious one, yes?) Or, you're skating in the Olympics and don't think your lumpy pad will razzle dazzle the judges. Maybe the boys at The Bada Bing got a glimpse of your tampon string peeking out of your G-string and you feel embarrassed? Perhaps you want to go for a swim and haven't figured out how to use a tampon..... I'm teasing, here. You get that, right?

I really do realize there are times when you might want to not have your period. But for years at a time? Don't we need the monthly blood loss? Don't our watoozies (see previous post comment trail on the definition of a douche) need the monthly flush?

I have three girls with special needs. One of whom has crossed into puberty. With two to follow. Believe me, I'd LOVE to get rid of her period. It's messy, a lot of work for the week for me, for her Dad (who has learned how to change a pad like a pro, bless his heart) and her teachers who care for her at school. But at what cost to her longterm health? I couldn't do it to her.

Remember that old Imperial Margarine commercial, "It's not NICE to fool with mother nature!" Duck! There's a lightning bolt coming.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Titles... UGH!

I wrote a book. The book has had three titles. It may yet get a fourth title. I'm told editors sometimes say things like, "We'll buy it, but you have to change the title." I will say, "You got it, Mr./Ms. Editor." I'm not wedded to my title.

Titles are HARD to create. You want to say so much in so few words. Titles are a writer's nemesis. Well, not all writers. Some people just NAIL it and you can not imagine any other title. Here's a new deal I just read on Publisher's Weekly. How's this for a title?

Jay Louis's HOT CHICKS WITH DOUCHEBAGS: Deconstructing the Unholy Wrongness of Hottie/Douchey Coupling and How to Recover from the Douchebag Plague, based on the website, to Jeremie Ruby-Strauss at Simon Spotlight Entertainment, by Michael Harriot at Vigliano Associates (world).

That reminds me, I gotta go turn on Channel 100 on my Sirius.....

Saturday, May 19, 2007

She's retiring the clue gun. :(
Thanks, Miss Snark.

Friday, May 18, 2007

A lovely lady named Natalie sent me the most wonderful gift this week. Thank you, Natalie! These two handmade pins, shaped with a puzzle (for autism) with three children, to represent my own sweet girls. The red one has Mom and Dad. The pink one is to wear when I'm pissed off at Mark and pretending he doesn't exist.... (Just kidding, hon!)
These pins are from a company called You can order them in all shapes, sizes, colors for fundraisers or for your own use.
Here's their "EUREKA MOMENT."
"Knowing there was something she could do to help herself overcome poverty and homelessness, Lucinda Yates used her creativity and drive to launch a successful line of fashion jewelry. One day Lucinda designed a simple pin in the shape of a house. That was the moment Lucinda knew she could help others. The House Pin she created that day became the perfect fundraiser for a local shelter. It gave the shelter greater visibility. And financial support. It started a business dedicated to helping non-profits succeed."
How cool is that?? Please do check out her site and buy 50, 100, 1000 pins....

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Botox* benefit to raise money for autism research .

How's this for a fundraiser premise? "Let's inject a known poison into our faces so we look 37 instead of 42 (yeah, cuz that'll atttract that hottie mechanic at the Hummer dealership where you get "Big Hummin' Hank" serviced.) under the guise of raising money for a national epidemic that may be caused by injecting a known poison into babies."

Someone hold me up under my arms! I am falling down laughing! Put on your best Manolos! Grab your favorite Lily dress! "Why, yes! I am a philanthropist! I am raising money for autism! Look, my forehead is SO smooth you can know longer see the terror, worry and concern I feel every day for my girls! Success!"

Gosh, maybe next month I can get breast implants to raise money for breast cancer! Or a tummy tuck for colon cancer! Sweet Jesus, I'm going to look great and sleep well at night too knowing I've done my part for society. Assuming the doc can write me a scrip for Ambien..... Wait! Ambien? Lunesta! We can raise money for narcolepsy too! Oh, the possibilities! There's just one wrinkle......

Here's the article from Flint Michigan. Don't they have car companies to save out there in the Motor City???


By Shantell M. • 810.766.6366

Smooth for summer

An annual Botox Benefit begins at 9 a.m. Saturday at Silverton Skin Institute, 8245 N. Holly Road, Grand Blanc Township. The cost for the injected wrinkle smoother is $275, about a 40 percent discount. Appointments: (810) 606-7500.

GRAND BLANC TWP. - It's been five years, $60,000 and some progress since Dr. Kimball Silverton and his wife, Jennifer, began an unusual benefit to help autistic children like their son, Aidan, 9.

Silverton's annual Botox Benefit is Saturday, and using the popular wrinkle eraser donated by Allergan, manufacturers of Botox, he's helping smooth the way for research and a cure for a little-known genetic disorder.

"Beauty does not have to be selfish," Silverton said of the benefit.

Proceeds go to three organizations helping families and researching Fragile X Syndrome, which son Aidan was diagnosed with at age 2 1/2.

Aidan's diagnosis led the Silvertons to become advocates for research of Fragile X, a genetic disorder that's the only known cause of autism.

Interest in autism - how to recognize it early and what treatments are available - has skyrocketed, as have numbers of children diagnosed with it.

New federal studies show one in 150 children is autistic. But Aidan, a second-grader, is among those for whom doctors can at least pinpoint a reason it developed, even if there's no cure.
"Knowing the cause of his autism puts us in the direction of diagnosis and a cure," said Jennifer Levine Silverton.

Researchers funded by one of the organizations the Silvertons support - Fragile X Research Foundation, or FRAXA - have gained federal approval to accelerate testing of drug that can reverse the impaired cognition, anxiety and autistic behaviors of those with Fragile X.

"Although it's not a cure, it is a treatment for the cognitive impairment and may help children learn in more normal ways," said Kimball Silverton, a board-certified dermatologist.
Fragile X results from lack of a protein, and as a result of the deficiency brain cells don't communicate properly.

FRAXA has put its hope in a drug called Fenobam to block the signaling errors in Fragile X brains, a mechanism underlying other autistic disorders.

"We are very hopeful that this drug could get normal brain development back on track in people with Fragile X - and possibly autism as well," Dr. Michael Tranfaglia, co-founder of FRAXA, said when testing was approved in February.

Jennifer Silverton advocates newborn screening and more awareness among women to determine if they carry the Fragile X gene. The gene can be passed to their children, usually boys.

The Silvertons' daughter, Camryn, 7, does not have Fragile X.

Researchers are making progress, and so is Aidan.

* By the way, I understand that Botox may show promise as a treatment for certain debilitating diseases. I have no problem with the use of Botox. I just get a real guffaw out of the whole "If I look 5 years younger I will be a happier person" drama of cosmetic surgery. It's so shallow compared to the life we autism Moms live. Don't like my opinion? (Shrug.)

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Good Vibrations

It's a beautiful Saturday afternoon in Connecticut. I have a beer in my hand. My kids are happily playing. Mark is on the deck with a better quality beer than the light dreck I am drinking. And a song just came on Sirius satellite radio that launched me back many years.

In 1988, I worked in sales promotions. I had a number of clients in the record industry. I created promotional item campaigns to help launch new releases. So this song, that is playing on my Bose radio, was about to hit and MCA records called on me. There was nothing I couldn't dream up, source and produce. I was quite good at my job.

The song? Sylvester, You Make Me Feel Mighty Real. Usually I came up with the promo item ideas for the client. Not this time. MCA knew just what they wanted. Vibrators (the real deal, not this personal neck massager bullcrap) also known as dildos - with the logo printed on the side no less. I found the "product" (no telling you how easy THAT was) and the screen printer who could work on plastic. The hang up? Couldn't find FDA approved inks that would adhere to plastic. I kid you not. No one wanted to risk using a plastisol peepee.

Well, You Make Me Feel Might Real is over. Listen! It's Blondie's RAPTURE playing! Reminds me of drinking creamsicles in Faneuil Hall in some upstairs bar/dance club with a boyfriend and a boy friend.

Music takes me all over my life. Good times. (Like a Prayer by Madonna in the little red Jetta with Gen and Sharona in Newport.) Sad times. (How Great Thou Art at Dave Palmers funeral, a 44 year old friend who left 3 kids behind.) Love times (Love Cat by the Cure, Mark's and my wedding song.) Pissed off times. (I'm Gonna Run To You, by Bryan Adams that always made me grit my teeth over a cheating boyfriend.)

How about you - got a song that takes you somewhere??

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Lunch with John Robison

Pinch me! Two lunches out in one week!

Today I had the great pleasure of meeting John Robison, author of Look Me In The Eye due out in September from Crown. LMITE is his memoir about his life growing up with brother Augusten Burroughs as a child with Asperger's syndrome. (Don't tell anyone - he gave me a galley copy to read!) You can find his blog at the link below.

How's this for crazy? Remember how I had lunch with Pat Wood, whose debut novel LOTTERY is also taking the publishing world by storm, like John's book? Their books are cross promoted on Amazon! Pats' blog is . John's is at Someday I'll learn how to do those linky things on blogger. Drop by and tell them Kim sent you.

John is 6' 4" tall and quite handsome, as you can see. Very Christopher Reeve. I'm 5' 5" on my tiptoes so I wore heels - he still dwarfs me! We talked of autism, Asperger's, publishing, aspirations, goals, ups, downs. A glorious two hours. I think the best description of him is "Renaissance man." He's worked in Rock n Roll, Is a photographer, writes, works on cars, so much!

I noticed something at lunch and I have to comment on it. In my book, I have a scene where a tip is left at a restaurant. My character says something like, "You can learn a lot about someone by how they tip. Do they take off a few pennies for service or piss and moan about not tipping on tax or do they just leave a good tip?' John left our server a VERY good tip. He's a generous spirit. I love that.

So, John is reading my book as I'm reading his. Mind you, my book is fiction, funny, has my voice and an autistic nine year old who is telepathic. What on EARTH will John think of it! LOL! I'll let you know.

Tomorrow I'll snap a photo with yet another tall, good looking man, David Kirby, author of Evidence of Harm and one of my beta readers.

Geez, I LIKE being a writer! :)

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Lunch! Out of the house! Whoohoo! I'm there.

The Connecticut Chiropractic Association is pleased to announce that Author David Kirby will be the luncheon speaker at their annual 2007 Spring Conference on Thursday, May 10 at the Doubletree Hotel in Norwalk Connecticut.

David wrote Evidence of Harm. . He was a beta reader for me and the second "real" writer (after Susan Senator, to tell me my book was indeed sellable. Susan read the book as I wrote it and encouraged me at every step.

I don't care if the event serves rubber chicken and cold pea soup. Someone else will be putting a plate of food in front of me! I hope the gal next to me doesn't mind if I wipe her mouth for her!

Sunday, May 06, 2007

What's Cookin'?

Sunday morning fun. Pot of Sunday gravy bubbling? Check. Chicken cutlets fried? Check. Batch of treats baked? Checked. Everything is gluten/casein free? Check. My parents are on their way from Massachusetts for a visit. Here's a little trick to knowing Kim. If I cook good food for you, I like you, probably love you. If I order take out? I like you but not enough to cook for you. :) Food is love, yes?

Notice that I said all the foods are GFCF. That means no wheat, no oats, no dairy in any of the food. It's a diet common in the autism world. GFCF. For my girls the diet has made a HUGE difference in behavior, GI functioning and overall health. I often meet autism parents who say "Oh, I could never do that diet. My child only eats.... the list is usually the same: chicken nuggets, grilled cheese sandwiches and cereal. And all of these are almost exclusively gluten and casein. The body seems to crave the food to which it is intolerant. Another of God's little jokes. Pull the foods (easier said than done) and suddenly the child is eating fruits and veggies and proteins and a far better overall diet.

Before I pulled dairy from Miss G. she was nutty. Ran around, screamed, had red cheeks, runny nose. Bella? Give her wheat then watch her bit her little fingers bloody and wake up several times a night screaming. Mia? Either makes her completely stoned and zoned out. I've seen it and lived it for years and I know what happens. That there's no double blind study for doctors to concur with me matters not a fig to me. Who the hell is going to pay for and conduct a study about REMOVING FOOD from the diet for health? Ain't no money to be made there. So parents take charge and do their own "study." Oh, the docs who pooh pooh the GFCF diet are the same ones likely to tell a parent to try the ketogenic diet for seizures - to alter brain functioning. But they refuse to acknowledge that GFCF can alter brain functioning. Look Alice! There's the Caterpillar smoking a hookah! (Can I have a hit?)

The GFCF diet takes work, time, home cookin' and is expensive. It's a pain in the ass, frankly, and I hate that we're on the diet. But I'd hate if my girls felt and acted like crap because of what I was feeding them even more. For us? The diet is a must.

Saturday, May 05, 2007

Kim 2.0? I BEG YOUR PARDON?????

OK, without getting into too much detail here (my Mom visits my blog you know) I had an interesting Friday night. (Hi, Mom!) Last night my husband Mark got home from a week-long business trip. Kids went to bed by 8:15 pm. ALL THREE! You following me?

Husband pays me a lovely, lovely compliment. "Kim, you look beautiful. Really. Just beautiful." Appropriate talk between married adults, yes? I am pleased. Then he adds, "You've really upgraded yourself." Can you hear the marital bed train wheels screeeeeeching to a halt?

Now I realize he in no way meant to imply that I was skankasaurus rex in the past. He has always found me attractive. He married me for God's sake!

And if I really think about his comment, he's right! Don't sic the feminists on me!

For many years in my 30's I was having babies, learning that my babies had autism, fighting tooth and nail to figure out how to help them, living far, far from family and friends (I realize now that I am back in New England how much that really affected me) dealing with four long years of a seizure disorder in one of kids, had a husband for thought that golf was the most important thing in the world (he has since come around on that one) had the same husband who was out of work for many long months (bye bye golf), had to sell a beautiful house and most of our belongings to stay afloat, moved in with my parents like an unreal reality show, enrolled the kids in two new school districts, managing 1,2, 3 IEPS, wrote a novel, launched a private Yahoo group for parents of kids with autism, tried to earn a few bucks as a marketing consultant and managed to NOT go insane.

Did I look my prettiest during these times? Perhaps not. Did I gain 13 pounds? Yes. I ballooned up to 132 pounds - a number I hadn't seen since 4 months pregnant with any of my girls. I was a bit tired and didn't have a lot of money for personal care extravagances. And my head just didn't give a shit. I was in survival mode. And we survived!!!

Now that we are settled into our little house, the kids are in good schools, my career is moving along, I'm more involved with helping people with kids with autism and my baby making days are fini - I feel more at ease. Oh, I've lots to do still. Plenty. But he has point. I do look better because I am HAPPIER. And that Mark and I have survived and still want to talk across the pillow is nothing short of a miracle. But miracles take a lot of work. They don't just happen. Not to me, anyway.

Signed, Kim "2.0"

Thursday, May 03, 2007

I have a raging case of pink eye and must take the day off!
Naw, just kidding. This is me on Easter Sunday. I have my ways of amusing the girls. The alien eyes make Gianna laugh. G has a great laugh. It was well worth the red rings that dug into my eyes to hear her laugh.
I also make Mickey Mouse ears from the dinner dishes every chance I get. I dance around the house with them and for them. I sing and make up crazy songs because the girls love music and can't really tell me if my songs stink or not. Small favors.
Oh, I did take off the pink eggs before Mass. We attract enough attention as we sit in the front pew. Trust me.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

How about you? I've written my own question (and answer) in a hopeless effort to fill the void.
Dear Miss Snark:
My fiction novel is 194,354 words and every third sentence rhymes. I'm not sure if I should print it in Wingdings or Verdana to make my query stand out to agents. And do you think agents prefer metallic glitter or paper confetti in the envelope?This matters because my book takes place at Mardi Gras in 1973 and the glitter (or confetti, I defer to your choice) will immediately connote the party atmosphere of my book. Well, until they get to the second chapter where my heroine falls down in the parking lot of the Piggly Wiggly and scrapes her knees so badly that her control top L'Eggs get all ripped up forcing her to hurredly drive home to change, thus missing a chance encounter with a local TV personality who is at the Pig-Wig (shorthand for the store) to promote a new deep fried pie on a stick made by the heroines arch-rival and the bane of the PTA on which the spring fling committee the heroine sits. So, glitter or paper? Thank you. Sincerely yours, Adeline.
Dear Addled:
I suggest your heroine sits on the pie on a stick.
OK - your turn.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

The Padded Room. We laugh about it, right?
Maybe I'll reconsider my glib use of the phrase "Oh, just lock me in a padded room." At least this week. Come on, we've all said it. As we complain about some petty annoyance. "Oh that line at the Stop & Shop was so long and the woman ahead of me had a stack a coupons and she actually wrote out a paper check! -- Just lock me in a padded room! I was late for my (insert your favorite diversion here.)"
Well, this photo is of a padded room used in a ELEMENTARY SCHOOL for children who become out of control. This elicits a thousand questions from me. The first being what have we done to our children that they are so out of control that they require restraints, padded rooms and heavy-duty psych meds?
Many of us in the autism world have our theories. Whatever you may think - we'd be naive not to realize that something(s) has changed our kids drastically, and not for the better.
Here's the article about this padded room. In one of the wealthiest counties in America. In one of the most acclaimed towns in the county.
I'm not casting judgement on the use of the room. I don't walk in that Mom's shoes. I'm guessing the room is a safer alternative to some of the physical take-down restraints schools use. And it sure as hell beats the electric shock devices used elsewhere on children. (Yes, you read that correctly.) I just wonder why a school would need this room to begin with. It might treat the "symptom" of out of control behavior - but I'd sure like to get down to the CAUSE.
(04/30/07) NORWALK - A week after hearing a 7-year-old autistic boy was put in a padded room at Ox Ridge Elementary School in Darien, a mother whose son had a similar experience is working with a state lawmaker on a bill to require strict rules for the use of such rooms.

Maryann Lombardi, of Wilton, whose son was placed in a padded room when he was 9 years old, has teamed with state Sen. Judith Freedman, of Westport, to pass the bill, which would look to ensure that schools “don’t isolate children in what we call these isolation rooms or padded rooms unnecessarily because it really is detrimental, especially to a special-needs child.”
Added Freedman: “The parent has to be contacted and the parent has to be part of the process.”

The issue of seclusion rooms has some parents with mixed feelings. Some are appalled the rooms exist in southwestern Connecticut schools. Other parents feel that, if used correctly, the rooms can be used as safe places. That includes Lombardi.