Education: On Being “Behind” by Carlynn McCormick

Susie is six and can’t count to thirty without missing a few numbers.  Johnny has almost finished eighth grade but hasn’t started pre-algebra. “Oh dear, oh dear, my child is falling behind.”

Just as one child can be given the label “Attention Deficit Disorder” because some adults cannot tolerate his activity level, so can another child be given the label “behind” because he does not match up with some adults’ scholastic expectations.

The definition of “behind” that applies from the unabridged Random House Dictionary is: In the state of making less progress than. The question parents and teachers must ask themselves is, “making less progress than whom?”  When we think this through, we see it is no different than asking “being more active than whom?”

The adults in a child’s life should be careful not to put their own expectations or worries about academic progress on their child.  The truth is a child is uniquely himself; activity level, scholastic aptitude, cleverness, imagination and every other attribute must be gauged against the individual.  When this is understood, labeling a child is no longer appropriate.

Perhaps you understand this concept perfectly and prohibit anyone from labeling your child – but your child labels himself?  What can you do?

When a child considers that he is behind, it is because he is comparing himself against someone else or others, rather than against his own potential.  This situation must be addressed: you don’t want your child feeling unhappy or embarrassed or to lose self-respect because he thinks he’s “behind.”

Talk with him.  Let him know that we all have strengths and weaknesses.   Don’t evaluate for him.  Listen and find out what he considers his strengths and weaknesses to be.   You may, of course, guide him to ensure he does not dwell only on weak points.

Then let him know that he need not compare himself to anyone else.  Discuss that when one is “behind” in something, it is because he considers that he could have done more than he did, or he planned to do more and didn’t get it all done.  What is important here is his consideration about himself and his actions.

Give him the example that if one considers he is behind in his chores it is because he didn’t get them all done.  In the case of chores, he can simply complete them right away or devise a step-by-step plan to complete them in the near future.

The same is true of learning.  If one wishes to know the capital of California, he can simply look it up in an atlas right now; if he wishes to know the capital city of each state in the union, he can devise a plan to research them over a period of time.  Have your child give you examples of setting goals and working toward them until they are accomplished.  Have him give you examples of how he can apply this to his education.  Help him to see that although others can guide him, he is ultimately responsible for being “ahead” or “behind” where he wants to be.

The bottom line – a student should only be in competition with himself.  Your child will probably be relieved to know education is not a competitive sport and that he need not judge himself by the accomplishments of others.

At this point, you can show your child how easy it is to use one’s strengths to overcome areas of difficulty.  He simply needs to find a strong purpose (a good reason) to conquer the difficulty, a decision (intention) to actually conquer it, and the willingness to work at it (practice or drill) until he succeeds.  Discuss this with your child and listen to his ideas.  Such discussions should increase your child’s confidence and help him to be more at home with himself.

Courtesy of Carlynn McCormick, Copyright 2010, All Rights Reserved.

Tina Turbin

www.DannyTheDragon.com

k.m.

Advice, Children's Health, Education, family, Helpful Tips, Research
15 Comments

Autism-Vaccine Author Defends His Research


Dr. Andrew Wakefield, who published a study in 1998 about the possible link between autism and vaccines which was subsequently questioned and discredited by the medical community, has defended his work in an interview on CNN.

Dr. Wakefield’s work has been discredited over the past several years, and ten of the eleven doctors who were involved in the study have removed their names from it. The Sunday Times reports that Dr. Wakefield “changed and misreported results” in his research, according to “confidential” medical documents and interviews with witnesses.

Dr. Wakefield’s study was published in February 1998 in The Lancet medical journal, causing widespread concern among parents that the MMR vaccine—for measles, mumps, and rubella—was linked to autism. According to The Sunday Times, the impact of the article was “extraordinary,” with vaccination rates decreasing from 92% to less than 80%, while “herd immunity” from measles occurs when 95% of the population has been vaccinated.

After a British journalist, Brian Deer, published the results of his investigation calling Wakefield’s study an “elaborate fraud,” Wakefield denied these allegations as false in an interview on CNN with Anderson Cooper. Wakefield continues to stand by his findings, saying that the results have been replicated in studies in five other countries and that Deer has received financial support from a pharmaceutical company. Check out the link below to see the interview yourself.

CNN Video Clip

Tina Turbin

www.DannyTheDragon.com

b.a.

gluten-free, healthy eating, Interviews, Media, moms, parenting, Research
20 Comments

School Library Journal Praises Danny the Dragon

It is with great pleasure that I read the encouraging review of Danny the Dragon Meets Jimmy in School Library Journal. I am fortunate to have been recognized by many awards programs for this first book in the Danny the Dragon series, but what an honor it was to receive SLJ’s stamp of approval!

School Library Journal is “the world’s largest reviewer of books, multimedia, and technology for children and teens,” according to its website. The monthly magazine was founded in 1954, and its reviews on kids books are a valuable resource to librarians, teachers, and others who work with children and teens. A good review from School Library Journal shows readers that a product is recommended for young people.

The magazine not only recommends my book, but the DVD, which contains a signed reading of the book and is also available as an iPad app for deaf children, created by iStoryTime, the iPhone App Developer for DreamWorks Animation’s How to Train Your Dragon. Profits for the DVD and app are being donated to my favorite causes.

The review can be found in the June 2010 print issue, and an excerpt can be found at the link below:

http://www.dannythedragon.com/reading/school-library-journal-is-raving-about-danny-the-dragon/

Tina Turbin

www.DannyTheDragon.com

b.a.

Apple, Apps, Books, Children's Author, Children's Book, Childrens' Literature, Education, family, Family Time, homeschooling, iPad, iPhone, libraries, Library Visits, reading, writing
24 Comments

Stevie Wonder Works toward Pro-Visually Impaired Global Copyright Laws

Children’s literacy is one of the most important issues facing us today. Fortunately, many groups, organizations, and individuals are dedicated to reversing the staggering statistics. However, as hard as people are working to get kids reading, there are some kids—such as the visually- impaired ones—who get left out.  Thanks to Stevie Wonder, though, visually-impaired literacy is getting some of the attention it deserves.

Stevie Wonder recently appeared before the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) of the United Nations urging for global copyright laws to be changed to the benefit of the 300 million print-reading-disabled global citizens, to whom millions of books are inaccessible to them as audiobooks due to the current copyright system.

According to the Huffington Post, the way the system is currently set up requires that many audiobook versions of the same work be produced, which carries a higher cost, the burden of which falls on the visually-impaired public. What’s more, some poor countries can’t even afford to make their own versions of works, so that they’re not available at all to their blind citizens.

Here is part of Wonder’s address, courtesy of The New Yorker:

“While I know that it is critical not to act to the detriment of the authors who labor to create the great works that enlighten and nourish our minds, hearts and souls, we must develop a protocol that allows the easy import and export of copyright materials so that people with print disabilities can join the mainstream of the literate world.”

“According to the AFP,” reports The New Yorker, “aides to Wonder said that just ‘five percent of printed materials and books are available in a readable form for the blind or visually impaired in industrialized nations, and just one percent in developing countries.’”   You may wonder, as I certainly did, how come such a small amount of books get translated into formats accessible to the visually-impaired, such as Braille and audiobooks. Ian Crouch of The New Yorker interviewed Paul Schroeder, the Vice President of Programs and Policy at the American Foundation for the Blind to find out more about this issue.

According to Shroeder, while several developed countries have different copyright laws allowing books to be reproduced in Braille, audio, and electronic or large print, the materials must fulfill two limitations, first that the books only go to those who are unable to read print books due to a disability, and secondly that the books are made by “specialized format producers who work with people with print-reading disabilities.”

In the U.S. the copyright provisions, also known as the Chafee provisions after former Senator Lincoln Chafee, allow these specialized producers to reproduce books in formats that are accessible to people with print-reading disabilities. A problem arises, however, with the fact that the provisions don’t allow for export outside the U.S., a law that other counties have in common with us.

According to Shroeder, “We definitely want to see a treaty or other mechanism that allows books to be shared across borders for use by people with print disabilities.” Stevie Wonder’s advocacy work is in alignment with this goal.

It’s an inspiration to see other artists working on behalf of children who aren’t typically represented in the children’s literacy issue.  After visiting with the bright children of Blossom Montessori School for the Deaf on my East Coast book tour, I released Danny the Dragon Meets Jimmy, the first book of my children’s book series, on DVD with a sign interpretation, and the profits are going to the causes of literacy and education. Now the DVD has been released by iStorytime, of Dreamworks and Shrek Forever After, as an app for the iPhone, iTouch, and iPad. I hope to see other artists and individuals follow in Stevie Wonder’s example by championing causes that are special to them, and I look forward to seeing progress in developing a global system whereby the millions of visually-impaired are able to enjoy the books we ourselves are lucky to have access to.

Tina Turbin

www.DannyTheDragon.com

b.a.

Apple, Apps, Books, Children's Author, Children's Book, Childrens' Literature, iPad, iPhone, literacy, reading, Sign Interpretation Available
20 Comments

Read My Interview on BFKBooks.com

I’m honored to have been interviewed by Vicky of BFKbooks (http://bfkbooks.com), formally The Bookfiend’s Kingdom. BFKbooks features book reviews, exclusive interviews with authors, and the opportunity to buy books.

Vicky asked me all about my Danny the Dragon children’s book series, my background, and my passion for raising awareness for celiac disease, an autoimmune reaction to gluten, a protein found in wheat, barley, and rye.

Read the interview by clicking on the link below:

http://bfkbooks.com/interviews/tina-turbin-on-danny-the-dragon-et-al

Tina Turbin

www.DannyTheDragon.com

b.a.



Books, Children's Author, Children's Book, Childrens' Literature, Interviews, Media, Press, reading, writing
10 Comments

Autism-Vaccine Author Defends Work

 

Dr. Andrew Wakefield, who published a study in 1998 about the possible link between autism and vaccines which was subsequently questioned and discredited by the medical community, has defended his work in an interview on CNN.

 

Dr. Wakefield’s work has been discredited over the past several years, and ten of the eleven doctors who were involved in the study have removed their names from it. The Sunday Times reports that Dr. Wakefield “changed and misreported results” in his research, according to “confidential” medical documents and interviews with witnesses.

 

Dr. Wakefield’s study was published in February 1998 in The Lancet medical journal, causing widespread concern among parents that the MMR vaccine—for measles, mumps, and rubella—was linked to autism. According to The Sunday Times, the impact of the article was “extraordinary,” with vaccination rates decreasing from 92% to less than 80%, while “herd immunity” from measles occurs when 95% of the population has been vaccinated.

 

After a British journalist, Brian Deer, published the results of his investigation calling Wakefield’s study an “elaborate fraud,” Wakefield denied these allegations as false in an interview on CNN with Anderson Cooper. Wakefield continues to stand by his findings, saying that the results have been replicated in studies in five other countries and that Deer has received financial support from a pharmaceutical company. Check out the link below to see the interview yourself.

 

CNN Video Clip

 

Tina Turbin

www.DannyTheDragon.com

 

Resources:

 

CNN: Autism-Vaccine Study Author Defends Work http://www.cnn.com/video/#/video/health/2011/01/05/ac.autism.wakefield.intv.cnn

 

MSNBC: Doctor defends research tying vaccine to racism http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/40930256/ns/health-mental_health/

 

Sarros, Connie. FREE Gluten-free Newsletterette. (Feb. 2011.) www.gfbooks.homestead.com

 

The Sunday Times: MMR doctor Andrew Wakefield fixed data on autism http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/life_and_style/health/article5683671.ece

Children's Health, humanitarian, moms, parenting, Research
6 Comments

Tina Sends a THANK YOU to All of You


Dear Friends,

I’m sending this out to say THANK YOU to all of you for your continued support – it’s a tremendous help and been quite an avenue to meet such nice people. I love reading all of your communications too.

A special thanks to many of you for calling and sending in the many questions for the past near two years of radio shows, your suggestions, your invaluable feedback, your questions and for listening in on the various shows. I have been on a 4-month break from the radio shows and interviews I was accepting, enabling me to focus on some exciting projects as a children’s author, a fully grain-free (and of course gluten-free) cook, my work in the celiac arena and of course my studying which is very important to me.

I am being very selective ( or picky as you may say) and will do just a few shows this year, keeping you informed. Some very exciting and very wonderful projects are moving forward. Things have really expanded beautifully.

Wishing you all an amazing 2011 and wishing you all success and accomplishment in your goals.

Tina Turbin

www.DannyTheDragon.com

r.n.

Acts of Kindness, Children's Author, Friends
8 Comments

Take a Sneak Peek at the iPad Danny the Dragon App

 

Danny fans can now see a preview of the iPad Danny the Dragon Meets Jimmy app, which stands out as a groundbreaking innovation for being the first children’s book app with a sign language interpretation mode. iStoryTime, the app developer for DreamWorks Animation’s How to Train Your Dragon, has posted a sample of the signed reading of the book on You Tube.

 

I’m very pleased with the wonderful job iStorytime has done with the app. iStoryTime co-founder, Woody Sears, has said of the project, “We are extremely proud to release the first-ever children’s book app for the deaf community.”

 

Check out the link below!

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bijyi6sO20k&feature=fvw

 

The full app is available for purchase from the iTunes app store.

 

Tina Turbin

www.DannyTheDragon.com

Apple, Apps, Children's Book, Education, iPad, iPhone, moms, parenting, Sign Interpretation Available
13 Comments

Danny the Dragon is Recognized by the Purple Dragonfly Book Awards

 

I’m happy to report that Danny the Dragon Meets Jimmy, the first book in my Danny the Dragon children’s book series, has been recognized by the Purple Dragonfly Book Awards. The Annual Purple Dragonfly Awards is a contest that seeks to award authors of books that appeal to children in all age groups. On their website, they say that they search for books that “inspire, inform, teach or entertain.” I’m honored that they have found those qualities in the story of Danny the Dragon and Jimmy.

 

This award comes after a series of awards, for which I am truly honored, in contests including the Mom’s Choice Awards, iParenting Book Awards, and the International Book Awards.  Danny the Dragon has been recognized for imparting messages about family togetherness and kindness, values which I strive to instill in others.  Clearly, people are listening to these messages and appreciating their value.

 

I actually began writing as a teenager and at a young age developed a lifelong passion for helping others. Having raised three bright and thriving children of my own, I hope to inspire parents and families to ensure their children are healthy, educated, and happy. As busy I am with my writing and book tours, it is important to me to work on behalf of my favorite causes, which include celiac disease, gluten-free living, and children’s literacy. For the gluten-free community, I founded GlutenFreeHelp.info, a non-profit website dedicated to offering information and tips and serving as a place for experts on the topic to share their research and views.

 

In addition to this, I have also developed a passion for improving children’s literacy with the release of a signed reading of Danny the Dragon Meets Jimmy on DVD and as an app for deaf children by iStoryTime, the iPhone App Developer for DreamWorks Animation’s How to Train Your Dragon. I am donating the profits from these products to support children’s literacy and other causes that I cherish.

 

I’m gratified that Danny the Dragon has resonated so deeply among the young and the young at heart. I am also grateful to have the opportunity to write books for young children as I continue the Danny the Dragon series. With this recognition from the prestigious Purple Dragonfly Book Awards, I can take pride in my work and I’m inspired to continue it.

 

Tina Turbin

www.DannyTheDragon.com

Apple, Apps, Awards, Books, Children's Book, Education, Family Time, gluten-free, iPad, iPhone, moms, Sign Interpretation Available
14 Comments

Gluten Free Sugar Cookie Cut-Outs – Valentine’s Day Recipe

 

Below is a little teaser of a recipe from a soon to be released book, Gluten Free Cookies by Luane Kohnke. As many of you know, in addition to my work as a children’s author, I also conduct taste-testing and reviews of gluten-free companies and authors. You will have an opportunity to read the review of many tested recipes we will be doing out of Luane’s book over the next two months. So check back soon at the above mentioned link!

Enjoy and Happy Valentines Day, Tina

 

Gluten Free Sugar Cookie Cut-Outs

Ingredients:

1 cup brown rice flour
1/3 cup potato starch
2 1/2 tablespoons tapioca flour
1/2 teaspoon xanthan gum
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons almond flour
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
3/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 large egg

Makes 48 to 60 cookies

I developed this recipe for my friend Gail.  She was diagnosed with celiac disease late in life, and really missed her sweets. She told me that these cookies reminded her of the sugar cookies her grandmother made.

Directions:

1. In a medium bowl, sift together brown rice flour, potato starch, tapioca flour, xanthan gum, baking soda,  cream of tartar, and salt. Whisk in almond flour. Set aside.

2. In the large bowl of an electric mixer, combine butter and sugar. Set mixer speed to medium and beat until light and fluffy. Add vanilla extract and egg. Beat until well combined, about 1 to 2 minutes. Reduce mixer speed to low. Add flour mixture and mix until just incorporated. Divide dough into quarters, and wrap each quarter in plastic wrap or wax paper. Chill for 1 to 2 hours, or overnight.

3. Preheat oven to 350°F. Line cookie sheets with parchment.

4. Roll dough, one quarter at a time, between sheets of wax paper, to 1/4-inch thickness. Cut with heart-shaped cookie cutter, dipping cookie cutter in brown rice flour or all-purpose gluten-free flour to aid cutting.

5. Place cookies on prepared cookie sheets, spacing them about 2 inches apart. If dough becomes too soft to reroll easily, return it to the refrigerator or place it in the freezer for 5 to 10 minutes, until it is firm enough to reroll. Sprinkle cookies with granulated sugar, demerara sugar, or gluten-free sanding sugar.

6. Bake until edges are pale golden brown, about 10 to 12 minutes. Cool on cookie sheets for 5 minutes.

7. Transfer cookies, still on parchment, to wire racks to cool completely. Store cookies in an airtight container for up to 1 week.

Recipe taken from Gluten-Free Cookies by Luane Kohnke
(978-1-4162-0623-1; $18.95; Pub date: March 2011; Sellers Publishing; 50+ full-color photos, Hardcover)

Author Bio:

Luane Kohnke has been an accomplished gourmet cookie baker for more than 20 years. Her love for cookie baking began when she was nine years old, living on her family’s farm in Wisconsin, and she developed an interest in gluten-free baking about 15 years ago. Luane lives in New York City. For more information, visit www.luanekohnke.com.

Tina Turbin
www.TinaTurbin.com

Books, Books-suggested by Tina, Cook Book, Cooking, family, gluten-free, healthy eating, moms
19 Comments