Archive for November, 2010

Torrey Smith’s four touchdowns pace Terps in 38-31 win over Wolfpack

November 28, 2010

Maryland's Torrey Smith, seen here vs. Boston College in 2009, scored four TDs Saturday in the Terps' 38-31 win over N.C. State. Photo: Keith Lovett via Flickr.

Torrey Smith caught four touchdown passes from Danny O’Brien as the Maryland Terrapins defeated the N.C. State Wolfpack, 38-31 Saturday in College Park, Maryland.  The Terps will likely play in the Military Bowl in RFK Stadium in Washington, D.C. Dec. 29. Maryland will play in its seventh bowl in coach Ralph Friedgen’s 10 seasons as coach.

To see the rest of my article on Examiner.com, click here.

Michael Vick getting the credit he deserves, proving critics wrong

November 27, 2010

Former Virginia Tech star Michael Vick has received widespread praise for his play quarterbacking the Philadelphia Eagles, and rightfully so.  After Vick accounted for six touchdowns in a 59-28 road win against the Redskins two weeks ago, many NFL experts called Vick a possible MVP candidate, and some even called him the best player in the NFL.

But many members of the media who have nothing but good things to say about Vick, especially the talking heads on ESPN, are the same people who insisted that Vick would play a different position once he returned to the NFL.

Virtually every analyst at ESPN either said that Vick would not only come back playing a different position, but that he was never a good quarterback in the first place. Chris Mortensen of ESPN was one of many who said Vick might play receiver, defensive back, and return kicks, and do it in the UFL, whatever that is.  It’s funny how none of those “experts” admits he was wrong.  At least one blogger predicted before the 2009 season that Vick would be successful again as a quarterback, though, and gave Vick credit for winning 10 more games than he lost.

The trade last spring that brought former Eagles quarterback Donovan McNabb to the Redskins made Washington better, but who would have thought that not only would the Eagles stay playoff bound, but the Vick would be their starter? Vick has become a better player since he has become the starter for Philadelphia, and he has also been helped by Eagles coach Andy Reid and good receivers. But there was a reason Vick was the highest played player in the game before he got busted for dogfighting.  Vick’s ability to throw, run, and throw on the run struck fear into the hearts of defenses.

Ask defenders who they fear more, a quarterback who can hurt them in multiple ways, or an interception machine like Jay Cutler or Brett Favre?  Quarterbacks like Cutler and Favre get overrated, while quarterbacks like Vick have traditionally been underrated (Jemele Hill of ESPN.com has an idea why).

Vick has paid his price and made a great comeback.  But back to the original point: when it comes to football, Vick deserves all the credit he gets.  It’s just staggering, though, how so many so-called experts said that a quarterback who was 10 games over .500 for his career not only couldn’t play anymore, but was never any good in the first place.  It was also strange that these carnival barkers, many of them former players and writers, also said Vick wouldn’t return as a quarterback.

But if you said that Vick couldn’t play quarterback, and even tried to tell everybody that he was never any good in the first place, at least admit you were wrong about his ability two years ago when you talk about how great he is now.

To see my entire article on Examiner.com, click here.

Cleaning and organizing in Washington, D.C. and Maryland

November 27, 2010

I thought I would post this about a company that uses mostly people with disabilities in cleaning and organizing.  I’ve used them before and they’re good.  This is cut and pasted from an email:

“My name is Janet Carter and I am the owner of ABC Cleaning Services.  This is a new company that employs individuals with disabilities. I am interested in obtaining residential and/or commercial contracts. If you have any questions or are in need of our services, please feel free to contact me. We will be happy to accommodate you in your home or office environment.”

ABC Cleaning Services, LLC
Janet Carter
abccleaningservices1@gmail.com
202-526-8028

Mason Alert Take Me Home program will help prevent autism wandering, save lives

November 25, 2010

Mason Allen Medlam

Last July, 5-year old Mason Medlam drowned in a pond after wandering from his home.  He had autism.  Wandering and drowning are leading causes of death for children with autism, who are often unaware of danger, fascinated by water, and unable to communicate.

Mason’s family has proposed the Mason Alert, a national registry of people with autism and other disabilities that would help authorities find them if they go missing.

Plans are underway for the Mason Alert questions to be integrated with an existing police program for autism wandering safety, the Take Me Home program, which contains photos and contact information for approximately 500 children and adults with autism and other disabilities in Pensacola, Florida.  Approximately 250 police departments across the U.S., Canada, and England are using the Take Me Home program, which is free to any police departments that want to use it.

The information in the Mason Alert includes not only photos of children and adults with autism along with contact information, but it also lists their fascinations and interests, whether they are verbal or nonverbal, if they have any serious health concerns such as seizures, how they react under stress, how to approach them, and other information specific to the person.

The Medlam family has been raising awareness of autism wandering in the months since Mason’s death.

“Losing Mason was like losing the other half of my soul,” said Sheila Medlam, the mother of Mason.  “From the very beginning we shared his story with everybody because we didn’t ever want it to happen to anybody else and we wanted to give some meaning to something so horrible.”

The Mason family also hopes to establish an alert similar to the national AMBER Alert system for missing children, or to include criteria for autism wandering into the AMBER Alert, which currently only covers abducted children.

But for now, Medlam hopes that lives will be saved because of the story of her son, the awareness that has been raised about autism wandering, and the expansion of the Take Me Home program to include the questions in the Mason Alert.

“I think every child that is saved because this is in place is a piece of my son alive,” Medlam said.  “When I look in their eyes I see the same thing I saw in my son’s eyes.  The same inner sense of beauty and joy and mischief, I see it in their eyes and they’re very, very, very special children and they should be protected by everybody, and with everything we have to protect them.”

For the complete article on Examiner.com, please click here.

Caps 4, Buffalo Sabres 2

November 18, 2010

Matt Bradley of the Caps scores past Buffalo goalie Ryan Miller to give Washington a 2-0 lead during Wednesday's 4-2 win over the Sabres at Verizon Center. Photo by Mike Frandsen.

The Washington Capitals rushed out to a 3-0 lead, gave up two goals in 48 seconds, and then held on for a 4-2 win over the Buffalo Sabres Wednesday in Washington.  The win avenged a 3-2 loss to the Sabres last Saturday, Washington’s only loss in its last nine games.

For the rest of the article on Examiner.com, click here.

John Wall, Yi Jianlian lead Wizards to 98-91 win over Rockets, Yao Ming leaves with injury

November 11, 2010

Yi Jianlian of the Washington Wizards. Photo by Mike Frandsen

Chinese basketball stars Yao Ming and Yi Jianlian faced off Wednesday night in Washington, D.C., but it was rookie John Wall who stole the show with a triple-double as the Wizards (2-4) defeated the Houston Rockets 98-91.

The 7-6 Yao, who helped make basketball the most popular sport in China, had to leave the game after six minutes because of a strained tendon in his left foot.  Meanwhile, his protégé, the 7-foot Yi, had his best game in a Wizards uniform, scoring 13 points, grabbing seven rebounds, and blocking four shots in front of 16,665 on Asian American night at Verizon Center in a game that more than 400,000 people in China were expected to watch early in the morning.

Wall and Yi hooked up for one of the plays of the game in the third quarter, when Wall passed to Yi for one of his 13 assists. Yi drove past Luis Scola of the Rockets (1-6) on the baseline and threw down a dunk to give Washington a 68-63 lead late in the third quarter.

Yi grabs one of his seven rebounds against Houston Wednesday. Photo by Mike Frandsen.

Wall, the number one pick in the 2010 NBA draft, also had 19 points, 10 rebounds, six steals and only one turnover.

Wall became the sixth player in the history of the NBA to have a triple-double in the first six games of his career. One of those players was Magic Johnson, who was in attendance, sitting to the left of the Wizards’ bench next to owner Ted Leonsis.

For the rest of the article on Examiner.com, click here.

 

Wretches and Jabberers: Best movie of 2011?

November 6, 2010

I just got back from a screening of Wretches and Jabberers at the ICDL conference in Tysons Corner, Virginia and the movie was excellent.   It follows Tracy Thresher and Larry Bissonnette, two men with autism who communicate by typing, as they travel to visit their peers in Sri Lanka, Japan, and Finland. (Full disclosure – I’ve known Chammi Rajapatirana, one of the people with autism who Larry and Tracy visit in the movie, for a long time).

The movie shows that non-verbal or minimally verbal people with autism are extremely intelligent, funny, and full of emotion. Tracy, Larry, and Chammi didn’t learn to type until they were adults.  Tracy and Larry can read some of the words as they type them.  It makes you wonder how many people are overlooked, underestimated and living in isolation because of their lack of verbal ability.

The movie passed the bathroom test.  That’s when you have to go but you wait until the movie is over because you don’t want to miss even a minute of it.

Filmmaker Gerardine Wurzburg, who was nominated for an Academy Award for Autism is a World, may just win one for this movie.

The documentary comes out in the spring of 2011 and the soundtrack will be released in January.  The incredible list of musical talent includes Norah Jones, Carly Simon, Ben Harper, Stephen Stills, and Bob Weir.  My favorite song was by Stills, with solid rhythm and bass guitars behind his distinctive voice, which was played when Tracy and Larry were in Vermont in between globetrotting trips.

First ICDL Conference to be held without Dr. Stanley Greenspan Nov. 5-7

November 4, 2010

Today through Sunday, the annual Interdisciplinary Council on Developmental and Learning Disorders Conference will be held in Tysons Corner, Virginia, the first conference without Dr. Stanley Greenspan, who died at 68 last spring.  Greenspan’s philosophy on bringing out engagement and interaction in children with autism through Floortime and the Developmental, Individual Differences, Relationship-Based model has had an unmistakable influence on the way children with autism are now taught.

Kids today are more likely to be taught in meaningful, real life ways based on their interests, with a greater emphasis placed on emotions and play/social skills, and that’s partly due to the work of Dr. Greenspan.

Greenspan’s attitude toward children with autism can be seen in his book “Engaging Autism,” when he wrote, “The child may have a disorder or a set of problems, but he is not the disorder. He is a human being with real feelings, real desires, and real wishes.”

I wrote an article about Greenspan for Examiner.com after he died. Another site stole the article and cut and pasted it on a blog. Please see the original article, Dr. Stanley Greenspan dies, founded Floortime and developmental approaches to autism therapy here.


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