Brad Cohen, ‘Front of the Class’ Author, Educates About Tourette Syndrome

With all of the news stories about kids being bullied, we often forget that there are some kids that are labeled “different” who have no control over why they are different. Brad Cohen, author of “Front of the Class: How Tourette Syndrome Made Me the Teacher I Never Had,” shared his experience of growing up as a child who exhibited several neurological tics because of TS. Brad writes:
In fourth grade I developed the strange new habit of clearing my throat every few seconds, all day long. … Like “Lord of the Flies” the kids in my school turned on the one child who was different from all the rest. … At that time, the social resources for conditions like mine were so few and far between that as my symptoms grew deeper, my mother and brother found themselves alone in the house with a virtual stranger.

Wise Words to the Pre-Tattooed Teen

Our 21 year old took a summer job in a tattoo shop. It seemed perfect at the time because he was an alternative, artistic kind of a guy. That was until the night when “Oh hell, he came home with a ring of black and red bats tattooed around his neck.”
Guess what tattoo artists do when they’re bored and out of customers? Try new designs out on each other. After the open-mouthed shock wore off, my second thought was, “He’ll never land a job again.” Fortunately that last thought didn’t come true and he’s gainfully employed in an art design shop, working behind a computer and not up at the front desk waiting on customers, but what do people my age r-e-a-l-l-y think about kids with tattoos?

Raising Boys with Manners

Living with eight men can have the flavor of living in a fraternity house – literally. There’s often an overabundance of socks left in the living room, garbage flowing from the can to the floor and dishes overwhelming the countertops in the kitchen. Even more shocking have been the occasional outbursts of Cro-Magnon manners among our young people. I’ve also noticed an increased level of boorishness in the population as a whole. It’s now considered OK to confront publically and embarrass people (let’s hear it for Shock Jock Howard Stern).

The United States of Autism?

For 10 years the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has been tracking the increase in diagnoses of autism in kids. Last month, the CDC released data showing that one in 88 children in the United States is being diagnosed with a cluster of symptoms associated with autism, which include:

• rigidity, or opposition to change

• difficulty interacting with others

• trouble making eye contact

• attachment to objects

• issues with language and self-expression. The results are skewed towards boys, with one in 54 being diagnosed, as compared to one in 252 girls. This is a 23 percent increase in cases since the CDC’s last report in 2009. But more shockingly is the 78 percent increase since 2007.

CASA Volunteers Give Children a Voice

During the Texas girl’s checkup at the local clinic, the doctor was surprised by what he found. Brittany* had a sexually transmitted disease. She was three. Quickly after that, into Brittany’s life came a host of police officers, some child abuse investigators, a judge, and a public defender. Luckily someone else came along at the same time.

The Many Strengths That Come From Failure

Failure is a part of life, especially if you’ve messed up on something. Forget to study for that spelling test, and it’s not surprising that you don’t get a good grade. What happens, though, when you DO study for spelling and the result is still failure? Many children spend most of the school year failing tests, failing classes, and flunking out, but it’s not for lack of trying. Our twins have struggled with this from the very first day of school.

Second Chances through Community Service

One summery Friday night stands out in my memory. I had a house full of boys, as was typical and my strategy was to read a book until the wee hours of the morning when everyone quieted down. My oldest was 16, the next 14 and my youngest was 9. Finally about midnight, the house settled in and I turned out the light and went to sleep. I was awakened at 2:30 a.m. by a pounding on the door.

Parenting Advice Video: When a Daughter’s Laptop Meets .45-Caliber Pistol

This week a “parenting advice” video went viral and is currently running at 13 million page views. It involves a father from North Carolina who reads a disrespectful Facebook post from his 15-year-old daughter complaining about having to do chores. After reading her post, he decides to plug her laptop with eight hollow-point bullets from his .45-caliber pistol. Scary. There are two camps in the comments on this video.

Why They Don’t Drink the Water, Kids Jazzed on Energy Drinks

When I was a young girl it was an exciting time when I could add chocolate or Ovaltine  to my milk. That was a pretty simple time. Today, the number of sugary drink options my children have is absolutely astounding. According to a recent study by Yale’s Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity, there are now 600 products to choose from. They range from full-calorie sodas, sports drinks, vitamin water drinks, flavored waters, fruit drinks to the fairly new option of “energy” drinks.

Miss America Shares a Story With Children of Incarcerated Parents

I’m so very proud of the new Miss America, Laura Kaeppeler. First, because she is from my hometown of Kenosha, Wis., and second, because she’s used her own experience to help a lot of hurting kids. If you don’t know Ms. Kaeppeler’s story, it begins when her father, Jeff, was arrested when she was a 14-year-old high-schooler. He went to trial and was sent to serve 18 months in federal prison for mail fraud when she was at Carthage College studying music. This impacted Laura’s life, much like the other estimated 10 million children who will experience having a parent imprisoned.