A New School Year: Getting Started
BY JAYNE WESLER
At the start of a new school year, it is helpful for parents of children with special needs to get clear on what can be expected for their youngsters during the upcoming months. The first order of business is ensuring that the IEP is fully implemented. In turn, that should deliver FAPE to your child over the course of the year.
The law requires school districts to provide FAPE to children who have been determined to be eligible for special education and related services. “FAPE” stands for “free, appropriate public education.” Case law has helped to define the meaning of FAPE. One of the measures of FAPE is whether the child has derived “meaningful educational benefit” and “significant learning.”
The new year is now well under way. The change from the long lazy days of summer to the structured school day has been made. For children with special needs and their parents, the start of the school year can be a dreaded and difficult period: class and related service schedules have to be arranged; materials, books, and routines have to be organized; fears and anxieties have to be soothed. To make this transition even more difficult, communication with busy teachers and case managers may have been virtually non-existent.
If your youngster:
- s not receiving the appropriate amount of related services;
- still cannot organize his or her school materials;
- is still having difficulty adjusting to the new schedule;
- is having significant fears and anxieties; or
- is actively avoiding school,
then you need immediate assistance from your case manager or the child study team. Take ten minutes to make a list of your specific concerns and what you think can be done to address them. Email or otherwise deliver them to your case manager in writing. Allow a few days for the case manager to respond. If you do not get a response, call the case manager on the phone. Record your attempts to reach the case manager. If that does not get a response, send written notice of your concerns and the original written message (copy of the email) to the director of special services with a copy to the case manager. That should get you a response pretty quickly. If not, it may be time to seek further assistance.
The Magic Bullet: Daily Meditation
BY JAYNE WESLER
The Magic Bullet: Daily Meditation
How many times have you heard someone say, There’s no magic bullet? It’s virtually always true. True, that is, until you read about the effects of daily meditation practice on the mind and body.
If meditation were available in a pill, almost everyone in the United States of America would be taking it. The evidence for its efficacy is overwhelming and, what’s more, overjoying.
Meditation is effective at:
· Reducing high blood pressure
· Reducing stress
· Reducing pre-diabetes
· Reducing cortisol levels in the body
· Reducing pain
· Improving functional limitation
· Reducing back pain
· Relieving psychological distress
· Reducing anxiety
· Reducing depression
· Reducing anger and hostility
· Increasing coping ability
· Reducing the severity of irritable bowel syndrome
· Reducing insomnia
· Reducing the craving to smoke cigarettes
· Reducing smoking significantly
· Increasing better mental health
· Increasing quality of life
· Enhancing mood and self-esteem
· Reducing fatigue
Are you convinced yet? No? Well, there’s more:
· Reducing common menopausal symptoms, including the frequency and intensity of hot flashes, sleep and mood disturbances, stress, and muscle and joint pain.
· Reducing the risk of acute respiratory infections.
· Reduces sexual distress and increases sexual desire.
· Controlling weight and reducing the triggers which cause poor eating habits.
· Cultivates and promotes alertness of the mind.
· Improving cognitive functions
· Reducing psychological stress responses.
· Reducing forgetfulness, improving memory
· Helping manage chronic fatigue syndrome.
One particular meditation has been recognized as an effective prevention or inhibitor of Alzheimer’s disease. The Sa Ta Na Ma Meditation has been proven to increase all aspects of cognitive functioning, including perception, thinking, reasoning, and remembering, and reducing stress levels while simultaneously improving short-term memory. To review the studies and learn the meditation, go to https://agelessartsyoga.com/instructor-group-yoga/.
There is some evidence that meditation may have positive effects on the following condition, but more studies are needed:
· Reducing inflammation
· Regulation of the immune system
· Relieving the symptoms of attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder
Upon review of this list, it’s easy to accept that meditation is indeed the magic health bullet. Although I did not cite to all the sources, they are easily found, including www.nccih.nih.gov/health/meditation-in-depth, https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/12-benefits-of-meditation, and www.organicfacts.net.
Do you want your fair share of this magic bullet? I don’t blame you! Get a piece of paper and mark twenty-one consecutive circles. Date them beginning today for the next three weeks. Then learn the Sa Ta Na Ma meditation or find another meditation to do. There are a number of popular apps you can use. Try and do the mediation at the same time every day for three weeks. It will become a free and effective health habit for your mind and body.
Better Than A Pill: Emotional Freedom Technique
BY JAYNE WESLER
Better Than A Pill: Emotional Freedom Technique
Modern society is plagued by stress and anxiety. Dealing with life’s challenges has become ever more complicated, and more people are being diagnosed with anxiety and placed on psychotropic medication than ever before. Your feet are running as you hit the ground in the morning, maybe even before you are fully awake. Driven by fear and anxiety, your stress and cortisol levels are high, you don’t sleep well, and you develop fears and physical symptoms.
Sound familiar? We are all asked to do so much every day, and it can become overwhelming in a society in which you lack connection and community.
What can you do to protect your mental, emotional, and physical health? Get a prescription for Xanax, Klonopin, Valium, or Buspiron? You could do that, and deal with any potential side effects, including drowsiness, memory problems, confusion, vision problems, dizziness, headaches, or nausea. Not to mention the cost.
Before rushing to the psychiatrist, however, I suggest you try a different intervention. It won’t cost you a penny. You won’t have to go to the doctor for a prescription. You can do it anywhere, anytime, and it is completely within your control.
What is this amazing solution? It’s called Emotional Freedom Technique, EFT or Tapping, for short. Initially met with skepticism, Tapping has earned its place amongst evidence-based interventions for a long list of maladies, including the reduction of anxiety and stress. It has also been effective in the reduction of depression, pain, fear, specific phobias, posttraumatic stress disorder, and weight loss. If you’d like to read the science yourself, go to pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov and review “The effect of emotional freedom techniques on stress biochemistry: a randomized controlled trial<” by Dawson Church, Garret Young, and Audrey J Brooks. The Abstract lists similar articles demonstrating EFT’s efficacy.
A 2019 study “adds to the evidence base for EFT as an effective mental health intervention…It also suggests that EFT simultaneously improves a broad range of health markers across multiple physiological systems.” The study, dubbed “Clinical EFT (Emotional Freedom Techniques) Improves Multiple Physiological Markers of Health,” was performed by Donna Bach, ND, Gary Groesbeck, BCIA, Peta Stapleton, PhD, Rebecca Sims, MCP, Katharina Blickheuser, PhD, and Dawson Church, PhD.
The Bach et al findings indicate that EFT has far-reaching health consequences. EFT decreased cortisol levels, which in turn had “a wide spectrum of positive health effects, including increased muscle mass, increased bone density, improved skin elasticity, enhancement of cognitive function especially learning and attention, and enhanced cell signaling.”
The study also showed a 74% reduction in food cravings and improved Heart Rate Variability (HRV), which could lead to “possible improvements in cardiovascular health and ANS (autonomic nervous system) function.”
EFT also improved resting heart rate and blood pressure in a clinically and statistically significant manner. The study touts the potential reduction in medical services and reduction of the financial cost and human suffering if EFT were used by hospital patients.
Isn’t it about time you availed yourself of this free, incredibly effective tool? It takes less than ten minutes to do. Watch my video and learn how. You’ll be glad you tried it.
BY JAYNE WESLER
The release of our emotions is important for our health. Crying emotional tears is one very effective way to release emotions and to return the body—and mind—to homeostasis.
The famous British physician, Sir Henry Maudsley, went so far as to declare, “Sorrows which find no vent in tears, may soon make other organs weep.”
One of my clients is a great example of how the failure to release emotions effects the body. My client, I’ll call her Liz, had ignored her body for years, had lived above her neck, and had stuffed her emotional tears without even noticing.
After an impromptu doctor’s visit to discuss her DEXA scan, her doctor advised Liz to cut back on the long days, short nights, and harsh working conditions, and find a psychotherapist. Luckily for Liz, she took her physician’s advice. That’s how she met me and began to explore what was going on in her emotional and psychological life. She gradually realized that her response to working in the legal profession was to hide any sign of weakness, including tears. Not only did she present this strong, unemotional demeanor at work, she brought it into every other arena of her life. During our sessions, Liz learned to meditate, learned Emotional Freedom Tapping (EFT), and got re-connected with her emotions. She hired an associate and cut back on her hours. After six months, her A1C went back into the normal range, and her thyroid and bone turnover levels went back to normal.
In order to restore her health, Liz Myler had opened up the wellspring in her heart. Not only did she find increased good health, but she found that sharing her tears with loved ones helped her reduce her stress, find a safe emotional place she could visit as needed, and helped her to trust and to bond with those loved ones. Liz did it, and so can you. Read on to learn how.
Crying is a natural, built-in system of a healing body, explained Judith Orloff, MD, assistant professor of psychiatry at UCLA. It releases stress and tension. Suppressing emotions may lead to physical stress on the body, which can impact blood pressure, memory, and self-esteem. At least one study has demonstrated significant associations with the inability to shed, or the suppression of, emotional tears and negative effects on mental health, including somatic consequences and frustration. When humans suppress their emotions, they suffer negative consequences in their emotional and physical well-being. Some researchers and scientists believe that suppressing emotional tears endangers physical health and causes headaches, ulcers, hypertension, and insomnia.
Have You Been Diagnosed with Osteopenia or Osteoporosis?
BY JAYNE WESLER
Join the club. It’s a large one, comprised of mostly women in countries which consume the most amounts of dairy. Does that come as a surprise to you? It should, since we are bombarded incessantly from the time we are youngsters that “Milk does a body good.” Cow’s milk, that is.
Humans are the only species which continues to drink milk past the time we can eat solid food. Further, we are the only species to consume milk of other animals. If you’ve never thought about this before, it may be because we have been conditioned that this is normal. But is that really true? And does milk really do us good? Is consuming dairy products beneficial to us, or is it harmful?
There is a body of evidence which seems to demonstrate that this has all been propaganda and that cow’s milk and other dairy products actually create an acidic environment in our bodies and cause our bodies to draw calcium from our bones in order to neutralize that acidity. Does this seem foreign to you? Do you doubt this?
I don’t blame you. So read for yourself, and then decide:
The China Study by T. Colin Campbell, PhD and Thomas M. Campbell II, MD. (“The debate over osteoporosis, or bone disease, is complicated by the influence of the dairy industry. Adding to the confusion, low bone mineral density [BMD] is often used to diagnose osteoporosis, but it is a quesionable biomarker.)
Building Bone Vitality: a Revolutionary Diet Plan to Prevent Bone Loss and Reverse Osteoporosis–Without Dairy Foods, Calcium, Estrogen, or Drugs by (Professor) Amy J. Lanou and Michael Castleman. (“The authors have tackled an almost intractable myth: that calcium is the one and only key to bone vitality. It isn’t. Everyone who cares about preventing osteoporosis should read this book.”)
The Myth of Osteoporosis by Gill Sanson. (“With her well-researched work, Gill Sanson has done both the physician and the layperson a great service. She has provided clear insight into the myths of osteoporosis. These myths motivate both patient and physician into a life of unnecessary testing and drug therapy–therapy that can in fact be life-threatening.”)
Osteoporosis is positively correlated with cardiovascular disease. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2781192/
Calcium Supplements: Helpful or Harmful?
BY JAYNE WESLER
The more I read, the more I have become convinced that taking calcium supplements is harmful to my health. A meta-analysis of 12,000 people in 11 randomized controlled trial concluded that taking 500 mg or more of daily calcium supplements was associated with a 30% increase in the risk of cardiovascular events. Most studies show that calcium supplementation has little effect on bone density of the spine and no effect on the bone density of the hip, two places where the most serious fractures occur. https://academic.oup.com/ajcn/article/53/1/132/4691202… and https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/2053573/
Multiple studies on calcium supplementation showed little to no benefit for prevention of hip fractures. Recent studies link calcium supplementation to increased risk of a variety of ills, including colon polyps, kidney stones, and cardiovascular events like blood clots and calcium deposits on arterial walls. https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/…/calcium-supplements…
Further, eating animal products increases our need for calcium and causes the body to leach calcium from the bones. Eating a plant-based, whole food diet will require less calcium. Some doctors still recommend taking D3 because it’s hard to get enough if you are relying on natural sunlight to do the job. If you are going meatless, doctors also recommend taking a B12 supplement. You can get your calcium from foods like broccoli, leafy greens like kale and collard greens, oranges, and beans.
I’m curious how many of you out there have thought about doing this or have actually done it for these or other reasons. Think I’m crazy? Or does this sound like something you’ve been thinking about? Please visit my Facebook group https://www.facebook.com/groups/447909969863945 and post your thoughts and experience.
COPAA Virtual Hill Day a Big Success! Join the Action!
BY JAYNE WESLER
It’s federal appropriations season and COPAA led a group of members to meet with their elected officials to ask for critical resources that will put the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) onto a glide path to full funding. If you missed the virtual Hill Days – no worries, all members can and should communicate with your Senators and Representative about the need for critical resources that will put the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) onto a glide path to full funding. Read the alert and email Congress today! Tell them IDEA must be funded at $15.5 billion in the Fiscal Year 2022 appropriations bill so that schools have adequate funds available to support the academic, social, emotional, and behavioral needs of students. Read here for more about COPAA’s overall recommendations to the 117th Congress:
OsteoStrong: Cure or Quack?
BY JAYNE WESLER
How many of you have heard of OsteoStrong, aka BioDensity? What is OsteoStrong anyway?
The OsteoStrong website claims it is “the ultimate BioHack” and says it is “A Unique System for Developing Your Skeletal Strength.”
The OsteoStrong website explains that “OsteoStrong® is not a gym, diet, supplement, pharmaceutical, or a medical treatment. OsteoStrong® is a unique place where you can go to improve your overall health by focusing on the one thing we all have in common: a skeletal system. The skeletal system is the foundation for your body and provides more than just strength and protection. It is arguably one of the most critical systems of the human body, and by implementing a strategy to care for and strengthen it, many experience the following results:
• Improved Bone Density
• Improved Posture
• Improved Balance
• Improved Athletic Performance
• Less Joint and Back Pain
OsteoStrong® works for people at all ages and levels of activity to promote skeletal strength which impacts the entire body in many ways using a process known as Osteogenic Loading. Sessions are quick, painless, and results are measurable and happen quickly. “
There is a body of literature written about OsteoStrong. Here is one article:
However, I have yet to find a true peer-reviewed study demonstrating OsteoStrong’s efficacy. Here is what the National Osteoporosis Foundation (nof.org) had to say about OsteoStrong:
“It has long been known that high-intensity resistance exercise and impact increases osteogenic loading and facilitates bone mineral density acquisition. Several of the manuscripts and abstracts shared by OsteoStrong™ describe the effects of high-intensity resistance exercise using the BioDensity equipment on force production, leg muscle strength, HA1C diabetes marker and bone mineral density (BMD) outcomes in small uncontrolled studies of adults … None of the studies were adequately powered randomized controlled trials investigating the effects of the OsteoStrong™ exercise program on BMD outcome, and none compared the effectiveness of the BioDensity program to a more generic, high-intensity resistance exercise program. The studies to date do provide preliminary data for this type of large effectiveness trails which are needed in order to change guidelines or make recommendations. … In summary, the scientific community has long known the benefits of high-intensity resistance and impact exercise on BMD. While the high-intensity BioDensity exercise program may be beneficial for increasing BMD in adults, the evidence presented does not demonstrate efficacy of the OsteoStrong™ program on BMD outcomes. Furthermore, we do not know how it compares to the benefits of the current NOF recommendations for weight bearing and resistance exercise. Further research is warranted before the benefits of the OsteoStrong™ program can be determined.”
Despite the seeming lack of good evidence, people have benefited from OsteoStrong in a number of ways, including an increase in bone density as measured by DEXA scan. I think it’s worth a try and have just completed my seventh session. I will do it for at least a year and then measure. I’d like to know your thoughts and experiences, so please join my Facebook group and let us know what you’re doing:
Osteopenia or Osteoporosis? Increase Your Bone Density Without Medication.
Dx: Osteoporosis or Osteopenia? Need Help? Read on …
BY JAYNE WESLER
After my doctor told me that my bones were “thinning at an alarming rate” on June 1, 2015, I went straight home and started reviewing the literature on how to increase bone density. The first thing I came across was a study by a man in Florida which proved that dried plums—formerly known as prunes—increased bone density. Another study showed red grapefruit would do it. Yet another study said that any caffeine would have a negative impact on bones. I quit drinking tea. I ate 15 prunes every day, mimicking the study. I ate grapefruit. I started drinking forty-eight ounces of green tea every day after seeing another study on its efficacious effect on the skeleton. I read more studies. I bought a couple of books on the subject that looked promising. One was by an American assistant professor of nutrition and wellness who advanced a theory that we must maintain the alkalinity of our bloodstream or our bodies would increase that level by leaching the calcium from—you guessed it—our bones. The author had done a meta-review of thousands of research studies from all over the world on exactly who gets osteoporosis and who does not. The results were surprising and convincing. The evidence presented in the book appeared unassailable. As a lawyer, hard data and evidence are important to me. In my desperate state, I grabbed onto her theory like a life jacket. Over a period of about three weeks, I changed over to a mostly vegan diet, drank no caffeine whatsoever (except for the green tea), and walked like a drum majorette on speed. Although I had always been a gym rat and had done extensive cardio exercise, I had avoided high-impact running for years—since pre-menopause—due to its effect on my back and feet. For cardio exercise, I rode an elliptical machine instead. That was a great loss for me, since the strength and freedom I had felt while running had always made my heart sing. I recall sharing with my university classmates how I had been out running in the rain. When they all looked at me cross-eyed and asked why, I burst out with, “Because that’s what life and living is all about!!” That was how much freedom and joy it gave me.
One thing that became obvious to me after June 1, 2015, was that elliptical training was not preventing my bone loss because it lacks the necessary impact on the heel and up the spine. Unfortunately, even after my doctors discovered I had osteopenia and osteoporosis at the age of 50, they did not share this news with me. Perhaps they did not know. But I learned it from my own experience, and started walking instead. And walk I did. Like a mad woman. Walking, walking, walking. Fast. And far. Every day for an hour. Which is hard to do when your life is already overtaxed by a demanding career and a long commute. Meanwhile, I continued to eat prunes and grapefruit, drink green tea, and eat a low-acid diet. And pray.
For the next year, I continued to read and take all of the interventions I could. I also found an excellent new general physician in May 2016. After I had a DEXA scan done at the end of that month, I discovered that all of my hard work had paid off: I had stabilized the bone density in my hips and had increased the bone density in my left femoral neck by an astounding 11.3%.
But that work is never done. Bone-building continues, as does bone breakdown and bone resorption. It’s up to us to work at keeping our bones strong. If you’re interested in avoiding medication like I was and am, read my book:
https://www.amazon.com/NO-BONES-ABOUT…/dp/1735540528 If you do, you’ll see that everyone is different; everyone has different risk factors. For those reasons, we may all need different lifestyle hacks. That’s why I advocate for building an Individual Bone-Building Plan (“IBP”). If you are interested in help formulating such a plan, book a session on my coaching page.