Wednesday, April 27, 2011
Black children are disproportionately represented as having a special health care need with 16.2% “screening in” compared to non-CSHCN where Black children represent 13.6% of this population.
Again, we see that minority children are particularly high number of kids with a special need. As a compassionate Christian I want to do everything possible to support the parents of these children.
Sunday, April 24, 2011
Friday, April 22, 2011
Today is the day Christians remember the crucifixion of Jesus Christ, who 78% of all Americans believe to be the son of God who came to Earth to die for our sins.
A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey of American Adults shows that only 13% of Adults do not share that belief.
Seventy-four percent (74%) believe Christ was resurrected from the dead, while 14% disagree. Another 11% are not sure.
Eighty-three percent (83%) also believe that the person known to history as Jesus Christ did actually walk the Earth roughly 2,000 years ago. Eight percent (8%) do not believe this to be true.
All of these findings are generally in line with surveys stretching back to Easter 2006.
Women tend to believe more strongly than men in all cases.
As in past years, Evangelical Christians believe more strongly in the divinity and resurrection of Christ than other Christians do. Among Evangelicals, 100% believe Christ was the son of God, and 98% believe he was resurrected from the dead.
Eighty-six percent (86%) of other Protestants and 87% of Catholics believe Jesus is the son of God who came to Earth to die for our sins. Eighty-four percent (84%) of Catholics believe Jesus rose from the dead, as do 82% of non-Evangelical Protestant adults.
Those who attend religious services more regularly feel stronger about the divinity of Christ and His resurrection than those who attend less often.
Last December, 70% of Americans who celebrate Christmas said they recognize it as a religious holiday celebrating the birth of Christ rather than a secular one.
Please sign up for the Rasmussen Reports daily e-mail update (it's free). let us keep you up to date with the latest public opinion news.
Saturday, April 23, 2011
The administrators of the Seattle school must have incredible faith in the resurrected Christ. Read what they decided then read my post script. (Gary Sweeten)
Writer Matt Gurney at the National Post, April 15, commenting on the Seattle school that required Easter eggs to be called "Spring spheres":
The argument against calling them Easter eggs, of course, is that that might lead kids to ask what Easter is, which could lead—gasp!—to having to reference the Christian belief in the resurrection of Jesus Christ after the crucifixion. . . .
It's reasonable to keep religious preaching out of schools. It's silly to try and pretend that Christianity doesn't exist in the hope of not offending someone who's not content to simply raise their children in a non-Christian faith (or no faith at all), but must actually try and pretend that there is no faith. . . .
We're not doing kids any favors by bringing them up abjectly ignorant of religion. Sooner or later, they're going to have to come to the shocking realization that some people out there still believe in God, and celebrate events relating to that faith. One suspects that the world will not be forever ruined for these kids when they discover this harsh truth.
What's even worse than the reflexive political correctness demonstrated by this desire to wash the Easter out of the springtime is that the symbol being targeted—Easter eggs—is itself already absurdly removed from the original meaning of Easter still marked by the devout Christians. There is simply no way that a child, presented with a chocolatey oval, would possibly conclude that only those who seek forgiveness for their sins through Christ's love may attain salvation. This is an attempt to water down an already watery offering.
For this crime of extreme political correctness, let us all hope the school officials responsible receive a lump of carbon-based fuel in the cloth tube-sack they hang next to their December Light-Festooned Interior Coniferous Vegetation this Winter Holiday.
Postscript: Just imagine how much faith it takes to believe that by only using g the term "Easter egg" children and their parents might be overc9ome with the power of the Holy Spirit and fall to their knees and worship the risen Jesus. That requires an enormous amount of faith in God. Much more faith than almost any Christian preacher I know.
Back in 2008 I was in Moscow and wrote a blog entry from a coffee house and internet cafe. The story I told about Christ the King Cathedral is a great testimony to the resurrection power of the Holy Spirit in the world today.
The Russian people suffered untold horrors under Socialists. Despite their loving rhetoric the political system was filled with hatred of anyone with whom they disagreed and they particularly hated Christians and the Orthodox Church.
God, however, never forgot His children or His church and showed Himself strong to shame the haters with love and grace. The miraculous rebuilding of the Cathedral is but one of many times God's interventions have proved He is Lord of all.
Pray for the Christians who are continuing to carry out God's plan and purpose in the former USSR. The individuals and families who were crushed in body and spirit are slowly recovering from 70 years of demonic locusts. They need our constant prayers.
Friday, April 22, 2011
By Eddie Ogan
I'll never forget Easter 1946. I was 14, my little sister Ocy was 12,and my older sister Darlene 16. We lived at home with our mother, and the four of us knew what it was to do without many things. My dad had died five years before, leaving Mom with seven school kids to raise and no money.
By 1946 my older sisters were married and my brothers had left home. A month before Easter the pastor of our church announced that a special Easter offering would be taken to help a poor family. He asked everyone to save and give sacrificially.
When we got home, we talked about what we could do. We decided to buy 50 pounds of potatoes and live on them for a month. This would allow us to save $20 of our grocery money for the offering. When we thought that if we kept our electric lights turned out as much as possible and didn't listen to the radio, we'd save money on that month's electric bill. Darlene got as many house and yard cleaning jobs as possible, and both of us babysat for everyone we could. For 15 cents we could buy enough cotton loops to make three pot holders to sell for $1.
We made $20 on pot holders. That month was one of the best of our lives.
Every day we counted the money to see how much we had saved. At night we'd sit in the dark and talk about how the poor family was going to enjoy having the money the church would give them. We had about 80 people in church, so figured that whatever amount of money we had to give, the offering would surely be 20 times that much. After all, every Sunday the pastor had reminded everyone to save for the sacrificial offering.
The day before Easter, Ocy and I walked to the grocery store and got the manager to give us three crisp $20 bills and one $10 bill for all our change.
We ran all the way home to show Mom and Darlene. We had never had so much money before.
That night we were so excited we could hardly sleep. We didn't care that we wouldn't have new clothes for Easter; we had $70 for the sacrificial offering.
We could hardly wait to get to church! On Sunday morning, rain was pouring. We didn't own an umbrella, and the church was over a mile from our home, but it didn't seem to matter how wet we got. Darlene had cardboard in her shoes to fill the holes. The cardboard came apart, and her feet got wet.
But we sat in church proudly. I heard some teenagers talking about the Smith girls having on their old dresses. I looked at them in their new clothes, and I felt rich.
When the sacrificial offering was taken, we were sitting on the second row from the front. Mom put in the $10 bill, and each of us kids put in a $20.
As we walked home after church, we sang all the way. At lunch Mom had a surprise for us. She had bought a dozen eggs, and we had boiled Easter eggs with our fried potatoes! Late that afternoon the minister drove up in his car. Mom went to the door, talked with him for a moment, and then came back with an envelope in her hand. We asked what it was, but she didn't say a word. She opened the envelope and out fell a bunch of money. There were three crisp $20 bills, one $10 and seventeen $1 bills.
Mom put the money back in the envelope. We didn't talk, just sat and stared at the floor. We had gone from feeling like millionaires to feeling like poor white trash. We kids had such a happy life that we felt sorry for anyone who didn't have our Mom and Dad for parents and a house full of brothers and sisters and other kids visiting constantly. We thought it was fun to share silverware and see whether we got the spoon or the fork that night.
We had two knifes that we passed around to whoever needed them. I knew we didn't have a lot of things that other people had, but I'd never thought we were poor.
That Easter day I found out we were. The minister had brought us the money for the poor family, so we must be poor. I didn't like being poor. I looked at my dress and worn-out shoes and felt so ashamed--I didn't even want to go back to church. Everyone there probably already knew we were poor!
I thought about school. I was in the ninth grade and at the top of my class of over 100 students. I wondered if the kids at school knew that we were poor. I decided that I could quit school since I had finished the eighth grade. That was all the law required at that time. We sat in silence for a long time. Then it got dark, and we went to bed. All that week, we girls went to school and came home, and no one talked much. Finally on Saturday, Mom asked us what we wanted to do with the money. What did poor people do with money? We didn't know. We'd never known we were poor. We didn't want to go to church on Sunday, but Mom said we had to. Although it was a sunny day, we didn't talk on the way.
Mom started to sing, but no one joined in and she only sang one verse. At church we had a missionary speaker. He talked about how churches in Africa made buildings out of sun dried bricks, but they needed money to buy roofs. He said $100 would put a roof on a church. The minister said, "Can't we all sacrifice to help these poor people?" We looked at each other and smiled for the first time in a week.
Mom reached into her purse and pulled out the envelope. She passed it to Darlene. Darlene gave it to me, and I handed it to Ocy. Ocy put it in the offering.
When the offering was counted, the minister announced that it was a little over $100. The missionary was excited. He hadn't expected such a large offering from our small church. He said, "You must have some rich people in this church."
Suddenly it struck us! We had given $87 of that "little over $100."
We were the rich family in the church! Hadn't the missionary said so? From that day on I've never been poor again. I've always remembered how rich I am because I have Jesus!
[forwarded by Willard Caddell, who was a very rich man]
David T. Smith, Ph.D.
Child Clinical Psychologist
Senior Director of Psychology
LifeWay Counseling Centers
It is more blessed to give than receive. Jesus
Thursday, April 21, 2011
"Hi papa dan,
pls call the brethren to pray for us here up north,the moslem have plan to carry out great slauther and destruction of property on the christians this easter celebration, they have already started in a nearby city near the town where excel and i are staying.
we are traped we cant travel to the south bcs the roads are blocked, i traveled to spend the easter with her.
pls pray for adequate security to be supplied."
Let's say you have a child of four that has been diagnosed with a severe behavioral issue such as Autism. (It is now known as the Autism Spectrum or AS.) If you seek out treatment for your child, you may find that the persons doing the assessment or treatment will rarely if ever ask for your insights, ideas or suggestions. Nor will they include you in the treatment meetings.
That is insane but it follows a traditional Medical Model that sees the problem as lying completely within the body of the Identified Patient (IP). Despite the fact that the parents are with the child many hours each day and know his/her behavior quite well, they will rarely be asked for input on the treatment.
The Medical Model is based on the notion that the Doctor or Occupational Therapist, Counselor or Nurse is treating the disease and only the person with the disease is to be included in the treatment. That means that the parents, siblings, grand parents or peer supporters are ignored and no one can be paid for including them in the process.
In our research with families with a child who has a disability we heard over and over again how no one ever asked for their input, opinion or wisdom. This included their hospital, school and church. (Let me add that this is not the case at the Life Way Counseling Centers where we always include the parents when possible.)
Why are parents ignored when both common sense and forty years of research shows how important the are to the successful outcomes? It is a simple answer. Follow the money! Insurance companies and government agencies have rules that forbid it. Rules in Medicare and Medicaid are often senseless, cumbersome and anti healing. yet, whatever the Federal Government requires all insurance companies will follow.
We at Sweeten Life Systems are fully committed to including parents, relatives and friends in the caring process whenever possible and reasonable. We have just launched a program to do that called, The Village Initiative w Parents or VIP. It could stand for Very Important Parents or Very Important People. This initiative values parents and relative and friends as critically important to the health and welfare of persons with a disability.
No one. I repeat NO ONE is more important to the care and health of a sick person than their family. If the family is dysfunctional the child will not get his or her needs met.
I have a Masters and Doctoral Degrees in Counseling. I have forty years of experience but No medical or psychological expert knows more about how to care for a child than the parents. Together we can be a great care and healing team.
If we leave the parents out of the diagnosis and treatment of children costs will rise and outcomes be reduced in effectiveness.
PS. If you are interested in taking part in the VIP process, contact me at email@example.com and go to Sweeten Life web for more information.
Wednesday, April 20, 2011
Dealing with insurance companies is difficult. They can also be callous, inefficient and greedy. In fact, every organization is greedy to maximize its own financial health and welfare no matter what their mission. However, insurance agencies cannot be compared with government agencies in terms of bureaucratic behavior. Not that the people in government agencies themselves are uncaring but governmental agencies are bureaucratic.
I like the Wall Street Journal a lot. I especially enjoy a daily column called, The Best of the Web. The author, James Taranto, recently included a couple of letters from parents of children with disabilities. They spoke to the issue of government provided care for their children.
Taranto writes: "Friday's email from reader Gordon Calkins, who discussed his frustration with the government bureaucracy he has to endure in exchange for a little taxpayer money to help care for his autistic son, brought more stories from readers with similar experiences. Here is Nikki Stuart:"
Our eldest daughter, now 26, is legally blind and developmentally disabled. She gets Supplementary Security Income, Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security disability.
The SSI and disability come up to about $620 a month. Medicare and Medicaid are a good thing, since she has no other income and is uninsurable anyway.
We homeschooled her K-12 (along with her four siblings), which I figure saved the state somewhere around $900,000, so the government is way ahead in terms of outlay.
Anyway, I agree with the writer with the autistic son. Our daughter would be much better off if the government would get its (left) foot off our necks, leave us alone, and free us up to make and keep some money to take care of her ourselves. The litany of the complexities of starting a small business and scratching up a couple bucks is surely too well-known to you to require a recitation here.
And this is from Bob Ellison:
I have a son with Down syndrome. He receives amazingly generous support via Medicaid from Pennsylvania: physical therapy, occupational therapy and speech training. All four of my sons are covered by my own health insurance, and I have to pay occasional copayment fees and other things for all but one: the one with Down syndrome. My insurance plan never pays a dime on him; Pennsylvania pays.
Twice I have investigated hiring therapists on my own nickel for my son: once for continuity, because he had an excellent therapist, and it takes time to to develop a useful relationship between therapist and subject; and once for extra support, because we wanted more help than Medicaid, generous though it was, could provide. I am wealthy and ready to pay for these things, but that does not help, because my son's therapists work for companies that contract exclusively with the state, and I cannot find alternatives, because the laws and regulations that govern such services make those industries beholden to government-paid systems. The government has created a monopoly; there are almost no workers outside the system.
In a nutshell, then:
1. I am wealthy, but I receive welfare.
2. My one son gets free health care from the state; I have to pay for the other three sons.
3. The government has frozen out other options.
Everything about this is wrong: I do not need and should not receive welfare, but I have no choice but to take it, because the workers cannot take my own money. My son with Down syndrome should not be treated as more worthy than my other three sons. And businesses should be free to provide goods and services as they see fit.
Is it fair for the Federal Government to force parents to accept only treatment provided by their therapists? Is it fiscally wise for the Federal Government to pay for the treatment of children with rich parents?
Middle Class Parents need financial support. Wealthy parents do not. More than finances, however, all parents need to be able to CHOOSE the best treatment for their children. No one knows these children and their needs as well as the parents. Why does the government forbid parents from getting additional treatment from good therapists?
More money is not the answer to every problem. We need parent informed answers not just more legislation and more bureaucracy.
What do you think is best for the children and families? Am I on track? Am I off base? Let me know your experience?
What will lower costs, increase flexibility and improve care? These are very important issues that impact some 20% of our children and their parents but 100% of all tax payers. (By the way, 45% of Americans pay NO Federal Income Taxes. Do you pay Federal Income Taxes?)
Tuesday, April 19, 2011
I noted that 21% of the children in Ohio ages birth to 18 have some sort of diagnosis. Just think of it. One in every five of your neighbors, friends, fellow church members and colleagues have a child with a serious medical, emotional, mental or physical challenge.
The government at every level spends billions of dollars to provide services and support systems for these children. Every school must hire special teachers, buy special buses and build special buildings for these precious children.
Thankfully, we live in the richest nation in the history of the world. Not even Solomon in all his glory lived like us. We are caring for these folks as children and as adults when they grow up. We have a wonderful record of showing compassion to people in need. Unfortunately, we are running out of money.
Taxes are high already. How can we offer great care at lower costs? That is a question I have addressed for several decades. What do you think we can do?
Sunday, April 17, 2011
IMO, one of the greatest causes of the huge rise in costs of caring has been the professionalizing of care for family members with a chronic need. This has come about because of several factors.
1. Historically, only one member of a couple worked outside the home. This allowed the one that did not work outside the home care for elderly adults and kids with a special need. The fact that in today's families almost everyone works outside the home has dramatically altered the ability of a family to provide all the care dependent relatives need.
2. People are living longer and their condition often demands more professional care.
3. Kids with severe birth defects are more likely to survive today than in the past and those who live require more professional services.
4. Various governmental acts have provided guidelines that require more intensive and extensive care. We must respond appropriately and completely to these regulations.
5. Some professionals and their professional organizations have campaigned hard to spread the false notion that Peer Helpers are inept or dangerous to the health and welfare of people who need special care.
The only one of these points that we can impact is the last. research clearly shows that Peer support and Peer Care can be as effective as most Professionals. We need to get the facts out to the public and to the government agencies that make important decisions about how to best care for people with chronic needs.
Friday, April 08, 2011
By this time I assume that most people know that Ohio is overextended financially. This fact has brought about the election of John Kasich as Governor and other Conservatives to the state congress. Can they solve the state's budget problems?
There has been a lot of discussion, conflict and debate over how to reduce the state budget and how to reduce taxes. The biggest costs are very hard to reduce. We need creative, innovative thinking to save big money.
One of the biggest problems facing Ohio and the entire USA is health costs especially Medicaid. Take a look at the high cost of caring for Ohio children with a serious medical condition.
Based on analysis of the 2008 Ohio Family Health Survey (OFHS) an estimated 570,000 children have special health care needs, representing 20.9% of all children aged 0-17 in Ohio.
Based on a national sample of children aged 0-17 years from the 2000 Medical Expenditure Panel Survey (MEPS) CSHCN accounted for 42.1% of the total health care expenditures in this age category (not including dental costs).
So, approximately 21% of children and youth suffer from a serious medical problem and they account for over twice that percentage of medical costs.
You can bet your band aid that the state is going to look for ways to reduce its portion of that cost. The usual way of cutting costs is to make medical care harder to access and to pay Doctors less. That is not a good solution.
If I were in office I would be asking all citizens to help me figure out ways we can give great care for sick children while eliminating waste and inefficiency.
This is where you and I come into the picture. Our research is unique because we actually went into the homes of the families with chronically disabled children and asked them what they needed to help them as an entire family. I am convinced that if we can enlist the parents, grand parents, friends and neighbors into thinking and acting on this problem we will discover many great ways to improve the quality of life of the children and lower costs.
What ideas do you have? As we continue our discussion about these issues I will make some suggestions and see what you all come up with. This approach is called, "Crowd Sourcing" and is being used by P&G as well as several other creative companies. By seeking the knowledge and wisdom of all citizens we can arrive at solutions that are creative and out of the box.
If we do nothing to change the current medical system, costs will continue to rise and overwhelm the state, the nation and the families with children. Join with Sweeten Life Systems and give us your innovative ideas.
We are launching a new ministry focus to facilitate innovative thinking about ways we can support the The Village Initiative with Parents. It takes a whole village to raise a child and it takes a whole village to bring new, less costly ways to care for sick kids.
The VIP Program will stir the pot along with concerned Parents to come up with out of the box solutions. Our approach is not to do everything FOR the parents and families but to encourage them to take the Initiative to discover better ways for themselves.
We hope that all concerned people will join us and the parents to be entrepreneurs in this area. Write your ideas in the comments section or send me an email at gary@sweeten life.com
Wednesday, April 06, 2011
Now that you have seen the raw numbers, I have a question: "what can we do about having so many neighbors facing a lifetime of medical. emotional, relational and spiritual barriers? Is there anything we can do to show compassion?
What would it take to really make a difference in the lives of these families? Do we need to have special training? Will I have to return to college and get another degree? If we get involved is there a danger the child could get sick or even die when I am caring for him or her? Do we have to sign a confidentiality statement or be in violation of the HIPPA Laws?
Well, it is easy to answer some of these questions. For example. HIPPA does not apply to caring for a person. Some of you do not even know what HIPPA is, but I have gotten this question several times already and I need to calm people's fears.
Second, our focus is on supporting the parents. Here is what we know about the challenges of rearing children. Parenting is not for cowards. It is stressful, wearying and full of overwhelming challenges that call for wisdom and experience. Oh, an by the way, it can be expensive. For parents and siblings and extended family members of children with a serious medical problem, the stresses, costs and demands seven days each week 24 hours per day are much higher.
Think and pray about what you as a young parent would need from friends, neighbors and caring Christians. Go through your own days with a small child or two and think what it costs you to always be on call. I will share later with you specifically what the parents in our yearlong study told us they needed, but I want you to think it over on your own.
One story comes to mind from a young mother with a son who was finding self discipline a hard thing to master. She went to a festival alone with two children and the eldest started taking his clothes off. As he ran before his mom she was carrying her baby and trying to catch the speeding kid who was rapidly moving ahead and re-moving his clothes.
Mom had such amazing resiliency. Despite originally feeling embarrassed, she decided that day to stop trying to become a super mom and be a regular mom with two hyper energetic sons. No more Wonder Woman, just be herself and enjoy those kids as much as possible.
Blessings and go to our web page and read some of it. You may also want to watch one or two of our videos. They are produced especially for parents and care givers but the principles will apply to anyone who is alive and kicking through life.
We will train folks with our Special Life Skills so they can tend to the parents, listen to them and help with practical things. We have a simple plan to positively support the families in need and help them achieve a place of joy, resilience and family love.
Thanks for reading...I would love to hear your feedback and questions. I am awfully bored just writing to myself.
By the way, we are putting up our display at the Xavier University sponsored Symposium Friday called Remarkable Parents. It will honor parents of children with a special need who have shown love, caring, innovation and resiliency.
Monday, April 04, 2011
All the children and youth mentioned my recent posts have a diagnosis. Many were undiagnosed until they went to school and the teachers saw something wrong and asked a School Psychologist or another person to do a thorough interview and testing and the professional came up with what we call "A Differential Diagnosis".
May I add, such a diagnosis is not easy to do. It takes a well trained person who knows how to interview and knows all the possible categories into which a child might fall. This diagnosis is not fool proof or infallible. Unlike some diseases, many of the childhood areas of issues are not diagnosed with an X Ray, Blood Test or Biopsy. That means that there can be disagreements about the accuracy of what ails a child.
But skilled therapists can usually get pretty close and hopefully come up with a course of counseling and treatment that will assist the child and his parents. That means that the interviewer actually interviews the parents of the child and gets their input. As we found in our research, parents are rarely consulted by Doctors, Psychologists, Occupational Therapists, or Ministers. That is a shame and a real problem that Sweeten Life Systems will soon tackle in a very big way. (We are launching a new brand called, The Village Initiative with Parents or VIP to focus on Parents and other people who love children with a medical diagnosis.
Just consider this: If there are over 570,000 children and youth from birth to age 18 in our state, there must be two parents for each child, four grandparents and several siblings. Although the 570,000 kids represents a huge number of people to treat directly, double that number for parents, double it for the siblings and quadruple it for the grandparents. Wow, that is a lot of folks who are personally affected by the children in their family who have a serious medical problem.
Just count all the persons affected because there are so many children in Ohio who have to deal with a serious disability. Look at the following numbers:
Children + 570,000 + Two Parents 1,001,400.00 + Four Grand Parents 2,280,000 + Two siblings 2,280.000
This is a grand total of 6,270,000.00 people affected by all the children diagnosed with a medical issue in Ohio. That is roughly 50% of all the people who live here.
Does anyone care how the parents, grand parents and grandparents and siblings feel? Does anyone ever ask them or support them or care for them? Has anyone ever developed any Special Life Skills to improve their lives?
Would it make a difference is churches and community groups actually asked the extended family members what they needed?
We can tell you because we asked them who was helping them.
Saturday, April 02, 2011
I offered you all some bait last time but nobody bit on it. I hope some of you read it and pondered the question. It is an important issue. Not just disability but knowing our neighbors who have a disability, especially children, and caring about them.
there has been a lot of information put out by various governmental and volunteer organizations about the numbers of seniors who require a care taker. However, the number of children and youth that need intensive care is not that well known. So, here goes again.
I mentioned these data today to some friends who are well educated. One is a Physician and two are nurses. I asked them to guess the percentage of kids from birth to 18 with a serious disability and all of them asked, "What kind of disability?"
That is a reasonable question. If we are speaking of mental disabilities then we would suppose a rather small percentage of the population. However, even after i said, "All kinds of mental, emotional and physical disabilities" they started to guess a pretty high percentage. However, not one of them guessed anywhere near the real number.
Nor did I come close when I was first queried about it. The number of kids ages birth to 18 in Ohio with a serious health need is 570,000! That is a lot of children and young people. How many of these young people do you know? How many of their parents do you know? Do you ever ask how the child is doing? Do you ever ask them how you could help?
Sweeten Life Systems is launching a new ministry to the parents, grand parents and care takers of these children and youth. We are going to call it The VIP Project for Village Initiative with Parents .Check out out web at www.sweetenlife.com to learn more.