My Life in Institutions and My Way Out

FriesenPress
3
Free sample

This is the story of Michael Kennedy's life. Born in 1960 with significant disabilities, he describes his early experiences living in three different institutions for the mentally retarded and how he had to become his own advocate if he was going to survive. He soon realized that, unlike most of the others in institutions, he could make his voice heard. He had to speak up to help himself and other individuals with developmental disabilities to learn about their rights, and how to prevent themselves from becoming trapped forever within complicated state bureaucracies.

After moving out of the last institution into various types of supported living settings, Michael describes how he found new friendships, went to school, got a "real" job, and began to aspire to having full control of his own life.

"I want to let people know how the state system used to be and that institutions must never be reopened." This is a book about hard work, resilience, and hope. It is an extraordinary life story, but told by an ordinary man with a clear mission to help others like himself. 

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About the author

Michael Kennedy has worked as a Field Assistant for the Self-Advocacy Association of New York State since 1996. He spent over twenty years living in state run institutions where he learned the importance of self-advocacy, despite some gruesome consequences. Today, he lives with his wife of over twenty years, and their two cats, in a fully accessible house which they own.

Sue Lehr is a retired teacher and disability activist who loves reading, writing, sewing and being with her family. She and Michael have been friends for more than thirty years.

Janet Duncan works at the State University of New York College at Cortland where she teaches future teachers. She met Michael while in graduate school at Syracuse University.

Sherry Foehr lives in Germany where she runs the Writing Center at the University of Heidelberg. She has known Michael since childhood.

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Additional Information

Publisher
FriesenPress
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Published on
Jun 19, 2014
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Pages
128
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ISBN
9781460225813
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Best For
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Language
English
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Genres
Education / Home Schooling
Family & Relationships / Children with Special Needs
Social Science / People with Disabilities
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Content Protection
This content is DRM free.
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Eligible for Family Library

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A groundbreaking approach to understanding and parenting children who frequently exhibit severe fits of temper and other intractable behaviors, from a distinguished clinician and pioneer in this field.

What’s an explosive child? A child who responds to routine problems with extreme frustration—crying, screaming, swearing, kicking, hitting, biting, spitting, destroying property, and worse. A child whose frequent, severe outbursts leave his or her parents feeling frustrated, scared, worried, and desperate for help. Most of these parents have tried everything-reasoning, explaining, punishing, sticker charts, therapy, medication—but to no avail. They can’t figure out why their child acts the way he or she does; they wonder why the strategies that work for other kids don’t work for theirs; and they don’t know what to do instead.

Dr. Ross Greene, a distinguished clinician and pioneer in the treatment of kids with social, emotional, and behavioral challenges, has worked with thousands of explosive children, and he has good news: these kids aren’t attention-seeking, manipulative, or unmotivated, and their parents aren’t passive, permissive pushovers. Rather, explosive kids are lacking some crucial skills in the domains of flexibility/adaptability, frustration tolerance, and problem solving, and they require a different approach to parenting.

Throughout this compassionate, insightful, and practical book, Dr. Greene provides a new conceptual framework for understanding their difficulties, based on research in the neurosciences. He explains why traditional parenting and treatment often don’t work with these children, and he describes what to do instead. Instead of relying on rewarding and punishing, Dr. Greene’s Collaborative Problem Solving model promotes working with explosive children to solve the problems that precipitate explosive episodes, and teaching these kids the skills they lack.

Michael Schofield’s daughter January is at the mercy of her imaginary friends, except they aren’t the imaginary friends that most young children have; they are hallucinations. And January is caught in the conflict between our world and their world, a place she calls Calalini.  Some of these hallucinations, like “24 Hours,” are friendly and some, like “400 the Cat” and “Wednesday the Rat,” bite and scratch her until she does what they want.  They often tell her to scream at strangers, jump out of buildings, and attack her baby brother. 
 
At six years old, January Schofield, “Janni,” to her family, was diagnosed with schizophrenia, one of the worst mental illnesses known to man.  What’s more, schizophrenia is 20 to 30 times more severe in children than in adults and in January’s case, doctors say, she is hallucinating 95 percent of the time that she is awake. Potent psychiatric drugs that would level most adults barely faze her. 

A New York Times bestseller, January First captures Michael and his family's remarkable story in a narrative that forges new territory within books about mental illness. In the beginning, readers see Janni’s incredible early potential: her brilliance, and savant-like ability to learn extremely abstract concepts. Next, they witnesses early warning signs that something is not right, Michael’s attempts to rationalize what’s happening, and his descent alongside his daughter into the abyss of schizophrenia.  Their battle has included a two-year search for answers, countless medications and hospitalizations, allegations of abuse, despair that almost broke their family apart and, finally, victories against the illness and a new faith that they can create a life for Janni filled with moments of happiness. 
 
A compelling, unsparing and passionate account, January First vividly details Schofield’s commitment to bring his daughter back from the edge of insanity.  It is a father’s soul-baring memoir of the daily struggles and challenges he and his wife face as they do everything they can to help Janni while trying to keep their family together. 
The groundbreaking book that explains Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD)--and presents a drug-free approach that offers hope for parents--now revised and updated.

Does your child exhibit...

Over-responsivity--or under-responsivity--to touch or movement? A child with SPD may be a "sensory avoider," withdrawing from touch, refusing to wear certain clothing, avoiding active games--or he may be a "sensory disregarder," needing a jump start to get moving.

Over-responsivity--or under-responsivity--to sounds, sights taste, or smell? She may cover her ears or eyes, be a picky eater, or seem oblivious to sensory cues.

Cravings for sensation? The "sensory craver" never gets enough of certain sensations, e.g., messy play, spicy food, noisy action, and perpetual movement.

Poor sensory discrimination? She may not sense the difference between objects or experiences--unaware of what she's holding unless she looks, and unable to sense when she's falling or how to catch herself.

Unusually high or low activity level? The child may be constantly on the go--wearing out everyone around him--or move slowly and tire easily, showing little interest in the world.

Problems with posture or motor coordination? He may slouch, move awkwardly, seem careless or accident-prone.

These are often the first clues to Sensory Processing Disorder--a common but frequently misdiagnosed problem in which the central nervous system misinterprets messages from the senses. The Out-of-Sync Child offers comprehensive, clear information for parents and professionals--and a drug-free treatment approach for children.

This revised edition includes new sections on vision and hearing, picky eaters, and coexisting disorders such as autism and Asperger's syndrome, among other topics.


From the Trade Paperback edition.
From the National Book Award–winning author of The Noonday Demon: An Atlas of Depression comes a monumental new work, a decade in the writing, about family. In Far from the Tree, Andrew Solomon tells the stories of parents who not only learn to deal with their exceptional children but also find profound meaning in doing so.

Solomon’s startling proposition is that diversity is what unites us all. He writes about families coping with deafness, dwarfism, Down syndrome, autism, schizophrenia, multiple severe disabilities, with children who are prodigies, who are conceived in rape, who become criminals, who are transgender. While each of these characteristics is potentially isolating, the experience of difference within families is universal, as are the triumphs of love Solomon documents in every chapter.

All parenting turns on a crucial question: to what extent parents should accept their children for who they are, and to what extent they should help them become their best selves. Drawing on forty thousand pages of interview transcripts with more than three hundred families, Solomon mines the eloquence of ordinary people facing extreme challenges. Whether considering prenatal screening for genetic disorders, cochlear implants for the deaf, or gender reassignment surgery for transgender people, Solomon narrates a universal struggle toward compassion. Many families grow closer through caring for a challenging child; most discover supportive communities of others similarly affected; some are inspired to become advocates and activists, celebrating the very conditions they once feared. Woven into their courageous and affirming stories is Solomon’s journey to accepting his own identity, which culminated in his midlife decision, influenced by this research, to become a parent.

Elegantly reported by a spectacularly original thinker, Far from the Tree explores themes of generosity, acceptance, and tolerance—all rooted in the insight that love can transcend every prejudice. This crucial and revelatory book expands our definition of what it is to be human.
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