Saturday, May 29, 2010

Toxic Assault On Our Children - Call to Action


Introducing:

A Chemical Reaction

SafeLawns.org - A Chemical Reaction
http://www.safelawns.org/chemical-reaction/

A Chemical Reaction, an award-winning documentary film, while being a heart-warming, inspirational, human-interest story about the origin of the natural lawn care movement in Canada and the U.S., is also a powerful tool for individuals and organizations interested in reducing and/or eliminating pesticides from the environment, especially around homes and schools.

Twelve years ago when I first became aware of the abuses of pesticides, I did not want to believe that there would be programs put into place that would allow these toxic chemicals to be applied to lawns, golf courses, playgrounds, sports fields and school grounds. The story put forward by Rachel Carson, in "Silent Spring" is not yet a closed chapter. Those of us who have personally lived the ravages and devastation of toxic chemicals know that was is put forth in the documented text, "Poisoned Profits" is an unfortunate reality that requires our attention and action.

Focused and persistent action with right intention does reap benefit: Rockland Co. NY Legislature Passes Non-Toxic Landscape Act - June, 2008 http://www.beyondpesticides.org/dailynewsblog/?p=374 - This indeed an example - think globally - act locally - and on May 19, 2010, Governor Paterson signed into law, the New York State Child Safe Playing Fields Act, which bans the use of chemical pesticides on school playing fields and playgrounds. APOGEE Learning: YES! YES! Our Voices Heard: http://apogeelearning.blogspot.com/2010/05/yes-yes-our-voices-heard.html These changes because WE the PEOPLE educated the policy makers and decision makers. We cannot assume that all those in government making decisions are "all knowing."

"Why does the toxic assault on our children´s environmental health continue?: because the evidence is routinely obscured by controversy deliberately generated by the companies that profit, abetted by government collusion, scientists-for-hire, lobbyists, lawyers and cynical public relations. " In, "Poisoned Profits," journalists Alice Shabecoff and Philip Shabecoff directly and definitively link industrial toxins to the current rise in childhood disease and death. In the tradition of Silent Spring, POISONED PROFITS: the Toxic Assault on Our Children is a landmark investigation, an eye-opening account of a country that prizes money over children's health.

With indisputable data, the Shabecoffs reveal that the children of baby boomers—the first to be raised in a truly “toxified world”—have higher rates of birth defects, asthma, cancer, autism and a frightening range of other neurological illnesses from ADHD to mental retardation, and other serious chronic illnesses compared to previous generations.

They reveal that one out of two pregnancies fails to come to term or results in a less than healthy child, that premature births and infertility are on the rise as this generation matures, while the ratio of male babies dwindles.

These children are victims of a (perhaps unwitting) crime; the perpetrators are the companies who manufacture and use poisonous products. Environmental exposures from conception to early life can set a person´s cellular code for life and can cause illness at any time from childhood until old age. "

FOR MORE Information: http://www.poisonedprofits.com/
Hipsqueak » » Poisoned for Profit: An interview with Alice Shabecoff: http://kids.blogs.chicago.timeout.com/2010/05/26/poisoned-for-profit-an-interview-with-alice-shabecoff/


APOGEE Learning


Provides a clean, toxic free, pesticide-free, supportive and comfortable learning environment.

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Thursday, May 27, 2010

Tune in Parents


The Issue of "Prime Time"

"Do toddlers and TV go together? A new study from Canada's Universite de Montreal says no. The recent study linked the amount of time toddlers spend in front of the television with a host of problems later in childhood."The study found that television viewing at age 2 was associated with less classroom engagement, less exercise on the weekend, higher body mass, increased soda consumption, and greater odds of being bullied at age 10. The more the TV was on, the study says, the more severe these outcomes were. The findings held true even after researchers accounted for other possible influences like gender, sleep, temperament, parental situations, and later TV habits.

Researchers think the problem is that age 2 is a key developmental moment for the brain. Lifestyle habits and personal preferences are cementing into place, and TV can be an intellectually and physically passive environment, leading the mind into trouble down the road.

The American Academy of Pediatrics has famously advised that children under age 2 watch zero television, and children over age 2 watch no more than two hours a day. The new study suggests that this recommendation is in need of revision. It may be that kids shouldn't watch any TV until much later in life. The brain, after all, is a wholly mysterious organ whose fundamental operation we simply do not understand, and TV is a hugely powerful force.

We should think about tuning into a new program of turning off the TV for toddlers."

Not Prime Time for TV
Posted By
the Inkslinger
7 Gen Blog
May 11, 2010


And now for more details...
http://www.livescience.com/health/childhood-televison-watching-academic-social-problems-100503.html

"Watching TV at Age 2 Linked to a Host of Problems at 10

By Rachael Rettner, LiveScience Staff Writer
posted: 03 May 2010 02:27 pm ET

Too much TV in childhood might have negative ramifications later in life, a new study finds.

The results show the amount of time spent in front of the tube at 2 years of age is linked with academic, social and health problems at age 10. For instance, too much TV is associated with less engagement in classroom activities, less exercise on weekends, and a higher chance of being picked on by classmates in the fourth grade.

The findings held true even after the researchers accounted for many factors that could have influenced the results, including: the child's gender, sleep schedule, temperament problems, mother's education, number of parents in the household, and even how much TV the children watched when they were in fourth grade.om

Why?

Early TV-viewing might have long-term influences, because it happens at a time when both the brain and lifestyle habits are still developing, according to study researcher Linda S. Pagani, a researcher at Université de Montréal in Canada.

"Television is a passive intellectual activity, television is a passive physical activity," Pagani told LiveScience, "And when it occurs early on, during the time that brain expansion is going on, during the time when lifestyle habits and preferences are talking place — they're kind of crystallizing — it can have extremely negative long-term effects."

However, it is important to note the study only showed an association, and not a direct causal link. Also, the findings are based on self-reports from parents and teachers, which might have affected the results.

The results are published in the May issue of the Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine, a journal of the American Medical Association.

While previous research has looked at the effects of TV-viewing on children, few have examined the implications for viewing at ages as young as 2.

The study involved about 1,300 children born in Quebec, Canada, between 1997 and 1998, who were followed up at various points in their lives. Parents were asked to report how much TV their kids watched when they were 2 years old (29 months), and again at 4 years old (53 months).

When the children were in fourth grade (about 10 years old), their teachers were asked to rate their math and reading performance as well as other aspects of classroom activity, such as how well they pay attention and cooperate with others. The teachers also assessed social interactions, including whether or not the kids were aggressive or bullies themselves.

Lots of TV time

The average time spent watching TV at 29 months was 8.82 hours per week, or about 1.2 hours per day. (The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends children under 2 watch no TV, and children over age 2 watch no more than 2 hours per day).

Every extra hour beyond average was associated with:

A 7-percent decrease in classroom engagement
A 10-percent increase in likelihood of being picked on by classmates
A 13-percent decrease in physical activity on weekends
A 9-percent increase in soft drink consumption
A 5-percent increase in body mass index (a ratio of a person's height and weight that is considered to be an indicator of body fat percentage).

While TV-watching might have benefits in terms of providing children and adults with information, parents need to be aware of the possible consequences, both social and academic, for such habits, Pagani said.

"The time that their kids watch television is the time that their kids are not doing other intellectual pursuits," Pagani said. "You have to be learning your social skills; you have to be learning how to operate."

The study was funded by Canada's Social Science and Humanities Research Council Intentional Collaborations Fund."


And an added word... APOGEE Learning...

If we look forward to our children being socially, physically and cognitively well developed, then we must appreciate the value of participatory experiences and learning environments. Creativity, self motivation, attention and focus are developed through participatory rather than passive experiences, Learning to ~ BE ~ Do ~ Have ~ is what defines the APOGEE Achiever.

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Friday, May 21, 2010

If you build...


There is ever delight to see a child fully absorbed in block building. Each block piece becomes endowed with possibilities. Each group of blocks begins to define worlds imbued with imagination, purpose, action, and ongoing creativity. To build is indeed motivating, giving a sense of industry and satisfaction with an intent fulfilled. Joyful and enterprising are apt descriptions.

A bit of history certainly speaks to the long established field of alphabet and building blocks. Here is a noted time line from 1693 to 2003.

1693: Alphabet Nursery Blocks were originally developed in 17th century England. The philosopher John Locke, in 1693, made the statement that "dice and playthings, with letters on them to teach children the alphabet by playing" would make learning to read a more enjoyable experience.[1]

1798: Witold Rybczynski has found that the earliest mention of building bricks for children appears in Maria and R.L. Edgeworth's Practical Education (1798). Called "rational toys," blocks were intended to teach children about gravity and physics, as well as spatial relationships that allow them to see how many different parts become a whole.[2]

1820: The first large-scale production of blocks was in the Williamsburg area of Brooklyn by S. L. Hill, who patented "ornamenting wood" a patent related to painting or coloring a block surface prior to the embossing process and then adding another color after the embossing to have multi-colored blocks. [3]

1850: During the mid-nineteenth century, Henry Cole (under the pseudonym of Felix Summerly) wrote a series of children’s books. Cole's A book of stories from The Home Treasury included a box of terracotta toy blocks and, in the accompanying pamphlet "Architectural Pastime," actual blueprints.

2003: National Toy Hall of Fame at the Strong Museum, inducted ABC blocks into their collection, granting it the title of one of America's toys of national significance.[4]

History Source: Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia


Lots of Learning Going On

One must appreciate that a child learns best with 'hands on' activities that allow for exploration and discovery. A child is a growing, developing, unfolding, questing, being. Activities and experiences that offer physical, social, cognitive and creative benefits, most certainly are to be provided and encouraged. Block building provides for each of these named benefits.

Physical: Blocks build strength in a child’s fingers and hands. Manipulation improves judgment and dexterity and supports the development of eye-hand coordination.

Social: Block play encourages children to cooperate with their play mate(s). Interaction, imagination and creativity are encouraged and readily forthcoming.

Cognitive: The child is given an opportunity to 'live' the different shapes in a three dimensional context. Vocabulary is enhanced and developed as the child learns how to describe sizes, shapes, and positions. Math skills are developed as the child participates in counting, grouping and pairing of blocks. Principles of gravity and balance are learned as the child experiments with a building plan. Building towers provide a first hand experience on 'limits' and balancing.

Creative: The child gains a sense of power in the doing. Depending on the variety within the particular set(s) of blocks, a child needs only his/her imagination to create a myriad of arrangements.

Although there is a general association of such block building activity being suitable for a young student, I have found that teens enjoy block building and see it as an architect's first internship. Block sets are available for all ages. The possibilities of block building for learning and enjoyment are indeed real. Ready for a play date?

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Thursday, May 20, 2010

Flower of the Sun


On an Explore Table available to my students, there is a collection of spirals from the sea, shells of such distinct beauty, and from plants and trees, pine cones, seed pods, branches, twigs, flower buds, all artifacts of nature's spiraling beauty and harmony. In its own special way each spiraling pattern is awe inspiring, as is this sunflower. Without exception the most frequently drawn, painted, colored, flower of choice for all my young students is the sunflower. And indeed each student is very much a flower of the sun, manifesting spiraling patterns of ever evolving beauty and quest.

As the child explores the texture, feel, coolness, warmth, weight, mass, of each artifact, the object becomes known and appreciated for its particular shape, feel and structure. Descriptive words are associated, attention is given to the details of form, imagination flows as the child creates an adventure for a chosen artifact. Within each explored artifact lies an entire curriculum, the lessons of language, writing, art, mathematics, science, nature, the environment, and the unmitigated pleasure of discovery.

Guidance is provided to parents on how to use everyday experiences, objects of nature and draw from them lessons of language, reading, writing, mathematics, and science. Readiness for any subject area is enhanced by providing meaningful 'hands on' opportunities for exploration and discovery. A sunflower offers a joyful venture into nature, beauty, harmony, and the wonders of creation. If in doubt ask a child.

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Within The Child


Mind ~ Cosmos
Intention ~ Creation
Purpose ~ Plan
Fulfillment ~ LIFE



Within the child's exploration, within the child's discoveries, within each question asked, within each answer sought, within each feeling expressed, within each fear yet concealed, rests the potential of each child to be known. Heed well the call.


For more information on services
provided for all learning needs:
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Registration being accepted for:

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~Soar To Success This Summer~

•Individualized Subject Tutoring•
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~Reading~
~Mathematics~
~Writing~
~Organization~
~Assignment Management~
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~All Ages ~ All Grades ~ All Subjects~
~PSAT~ SAT ~ All Test Preparation~

• Inquiries welcomed
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In answer ~ What is an APOGEE Achiever?

An APOGEE Achiever is one who makes the choice to appreciate potential and chooses to live a vision fulfilled. It is the student warrior, the warrior of spirit, belief, vision, and right intention, it is the one who heeds the inner calls to freedom, to creativity, to artistry, to exploration, to the knowing of SELF in all dimensions, in all realities, in all possibilities, in all change, in all BEING.

The mission of
APOGEE Learning™
A paradigm to embrace


Aspiration Potential Opportunity Growth Empowerment Exploration

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

YES! YES! Our Voices Heard

YES! YES! OUR Voices Heard... SafeLawns - your choice ~ lawn by lawn ~ community by community ~ school by school ~
business by business...
NEW YORK
has chosen to protect
OUR CHILDREN!!
http://www.safelawns.org/blog/index.php/2010/05/new-york-school-pesticide-bill-becomes-law/

New York School Pesticide Bill Becomes Law!

CHEERS!! So very pleased to say the least. I have been on this bandwagon for over 3 decades. Be a difference maker - join the dialogue: Your Voice - Our Children!!

New York School Pesticide Bill Becomes Law!
Wed, May 19, 2010

As expected, New York Governor David Paterson signed the historic New York school pesticide bill into law on Tuesday afternoon. SafeLawns plans to distribute this press release nationwide today:


Natural Lawncare Advocates Applaud
New York's Anti-Pesticide Bill

Natural lawncare advocates are celebrating the signing of a tough anti-pesticide bill by New York Governor David Paterson. The Child Safe Playing Fields Act, which bans the use of chemical pesticides on school playing fields and playgrounds, is being called “historic” by the founder of SafeLawns.org, North America’s leading natural lawncare advocacy group.

“We need to protect children from the toxic effects of pesticides such as weed killers, insecticides and fungicides,” said Paul Tukey, the founder of SafeLawns.org and author of The Organic Lawn Care Manual (Storey, 2007). “Numerous studies indicate these chemical substances are not safe for children, pets or the planet. I believe that the New York state legislature, Senate and governor have ‘fired a shot’ that will be heard around the entire country.”

The Child Safe Playing Fields Act bans the use of chemical pesticides on school playing fields and day care playgrounds, although chemicals can still be used on surrounding green areas and inside schools to combat pests. Chemical companies lobbied heavily against the bill.

Tukey, who consults with municipalities and lawn care professionals across the U.S. and Canada, said achieving adequate turfgrass playing fields with natural, organic methods is easily attainable. In the long run, he said, the organic process is less expensive and safer.

“Numerous examples of natural lawns exist across North America, and studies indicate that the playing surfaces look great,” said Tukey. “Plus, natural lawncare helps the bottom line due to a reduced need for mowing, watering and pesticide applications.”

In fact, a new feature-length documentary called A Chemical Reaction, traces the story of how the small town of Hudson, Quebec, became the first municipality in North America to completely ban lawn chemicals. That law was upheld by the Canadian Supreme Court in 2001. Nearly two decades of organic lawn care later, the lawns in Hudson are looking quite green and healthy. “You don’t need synthetic chemicals to have a nice lawn,” said Tukey.

Today, lawn chemicals are now banned in more than half of Canada and are not sold in Home Depot and other major retail chains in that country. The same lawn chemicals are still sold in the U.S., however. Tukey sees the New York bill that prevents chemical pesticides on school playing fields as a major step toward other restrictions on lawncare chemicals throughout the United States.

“As Americans, we have to ask ourselves why we are subjecting our kids and pets to toxic chemicals when our friends north of the border began outlawing these poisons nearly two decades ago,” said Tukey.

NOTE: DVD copies of the movie, A Chemical Reaction, are available at http://www.safelawns.org/chemical-reaction/.



For more information on services
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~Soar To Success This Summer~

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Monday, May 17, 2010

Keeping Natural Natural - Our Children Deserve No Less


Study: ADHD linked to pesticide exposure. This is why food/nutritional guidance, chemical/pesticide exposure, need be part of understanding behavior and development of children across the age span. Before "medicating" a child for attention, learning and behavior problems, become aware of contributing factors. Our children deserve no less.

APOGEE Learning™ has long recognized the need and significance of assessing a child's exposure to toxins, allergens, pesticides, that may be present in a home, a playground, a school, a park, a community. We cannot continue to compromise the health, well being, and learning potential of our children. Let us couple awareness with action for protection.

Study: ADHD linked to pesticide exposure

By Sarah Klein, Health.com
May 17, 2010 7:10 a.m. EDT

Is enough being done to protect us from chemicals that could harm us? Watch "Toxic America," a special two-night investigative report with Sanjay Gupta M.D., June 2 & 3 at 8 p.m. ET on CNN.

(Health.com) -- Children exposed to higher levels of a type of pesticide found in trace amounts on commercially grown fruit and vegetables are more likely to have attention deficit hyperactivity disorder than children with less exposure, a nationwide study suggests.

Researchers measured the levels of pesticide byproducts in the urine of 1,139 children from across the United States. Children with above-average levels of one common byproduct had roughly twice the odds of getting a diagnosis of ADHD, according to the study, which appears in the journal Pediatrics.

Exposure to the pesticides, known as organophosphates, has been linked to behavioral and cognitive problems in children in the past, but previous studies have focused on communities of farm workers and other high-risk populations. This study is the first to examine the effects of exposure in the population at large.

Organophosphates are "designed" to have toxic effects on the nervous system, says the lead author of the study, Maryse Bouchard, Ph.D., a researcher in the department of environmental and occupational health at the University of Montreal. "That's how they kill pests."

The pesticides act on a set of brain chemicals closely related to those involved in ADHD, Bouchard explains, "so it seems plausible that exposure to organophosphates could be associated with ADHD-like symptoms."

Environmental Protection Agency regulations have eliminated most residential uses for the pesticides (including lawn care and termite extermination), so the largest source of exposure for children is believed to be food, especially commercially grown produce. Adults are exposed to the pesticides as well, but young children appear to be especially sensitive to them, the researchers say.

Detectable levels of pesticides are present in a large number of fruits and vegetables sold in the U.S., according to a 2008 report from the U.S. Department of Agriculture cited in the study. In a representative sample of produce tested by the agency, 28 percent of frozen blueberries, 20 percent of celery, and 25 percent of strawberries contained traces of one type of organophosphate. Other types of organophosphates were found in 27 percent of green beans, 17 percent of peaches, and 8 percent of broccoli.

Although kids should not stop eating fruits and vegetables, buying organic or local produce whenever possible is a good idea, says Bouchard.

"Organic fruits and vegetables contain much less pesticides, so I would certainly advise getting those for children," she says. "National surveys have also shown that fruits and vegetables from farmers' markets contain less pesticides even if they're not organic. If you can buy local and from farmers' markets, that's a good way to go."

A direct cause-and-effect link between pesticides and ADHD "is really hard to establish," says Dana Boyd Barr, Ph.D., a professor of environmental and occupational health at Emory University. However, she says, "There appears to be some relation between organophosphate pesticide exposure and the development of ADHD."

This is the largest study of its kind to date, according to Barr, who researched pesticides for more than 20 years in her previous job with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention but was not involved in the study.

Bouchard and her colleagues analyzed urine samples from children ages 8 to 15. The samples were collected during an annual, nationwide survey conducted by the CDC, known as the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey.

The researchers tested the samples for six chemical byproducts (known as metabolites) that result when the body breaks down more than 28 different pesticides. Nearly 95 percent of the children had at least one byproduct detected in their urine.

Just over 10 percent of the children in the study were diagnosed with ADHD. The kids were judged to have ADHD if their symptoms (as reported by parents) met established criteria for the disorder, or if they had taken ADHD medication regularly in the previous year.

One group of pesticide byproducts was associated with a substantially increased risk of ADHD. Compared with kids who had the lowest levels, the kids whose levels were 10 times higher were 55 percent more likely to have ADHD. (Another group of byproducts did not appear to be linked to the disorder.)

In addition, children with higher-than-average levels of the most commonly detected byproduct -- found in roughly 6 in 10 kids -- were nearly twice as likely to have ADHD.

"It's not a small effect," says Bouchard. "This is 100 percent more risk."

To isolate the effect of the pesticide exposure on ADHD symptoms, the researchers controlled for a variety of health and demographic factors that could have skewed the results.

Still, the study had some limitations and is not definitive, Bouchard says. Most notably, she and her colleagues measured only one urine sample for each child, and therefore weren't able to track whether the levels of pesticide byproducts were constant, or whether the association between exposure and ADHD changed over time.

Long-term studies including multiple urine samples from the same children are needed, Bouchard says. She suspects such studies would show an even stronger link between pesticide byproducts and ADHD.

EPA spokesman Dale Kemery said in a statement that the agency routinely reviews the safety of all pesticides, including organophosphates. "We are currently developing a framework to incorporate data from studies similar to this one into our risk assessment," Kemery said. "We will look at this study and use the framework to decide how it fits into our overall risk assessment."

Kemery recommended that parents try other pest-control tactics before resorting to pesticide use in the home or garden. Washing and peeling fruits and vegetables and eating "a varied diet" will also help reduce potential exposure to pesticides, he said.

"I would hope that this study raises awareness as to the risk associated with pesticide exposure," Bouchard says. "There's really only a handful of studies on this subject out there, so there's room for more awareness."


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Friday, May 14, 2010

The ARTFUL Parent


When what is not yet seen be known...

“In every block of marble I see a statue as plain as though it stood before me, shaped and perfect in attitude and action. I have only to hew away the rough walls that imprison the lovely apparition to reveal it to the other eyes as mine see it.”

Michelangelo di Lodovico Buonarroti Simoni[1] (6 March 1475 – 18 February 1564), commonly known as Michelangelo, was an Italian Renaissance painter, sculptor, architect, poet, and engineer.
David, Scupture, Michaelangelo, http://www.ibiblio.org/wm/paint/auth/michelangelo/michelangelo.david.jpg


Setting free the figures that were sleeping inside the stone is a guiding metaphor for us as parents to set free the potential that is within the core of our child's BEING.



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Wednesday, May 12, 2010

A Child's Right To SELF

APOGEE Learning ~ A Child's Right To Self ~.

If indeed each emotion is an expression of the context, circumstances, relationships, needs, that define the moment, are we not to heed well the learning, growing child's expressed and experienced emotions? The child's emotions are the sensibilities, understandings, and responsiveness to the reality perceived. Perception defines each child's call. Heed well their call...TRUTH be their plea.

"What Makes Us Individuals?" ~ a shared perspective...

"When we consider our physical bodies, we discover that we are, really, a collection of recycled molecules. Cells of our body are created, die, and are replaced many times throughout our lives. We are constantly remaking ourselves. In order to regenerate, our bodies convert the food we eat into basic building blocks of life.

The earth itself provides the nutrients we need to renew ourselves, and when we shed cells, they are returned to the earth. We might say, then, that we are constantly transforming our physical bodies by recycling earth.

Next, consider our emotions. Emotions are just recycled energy. Emotions do not originate with us. They come and go depending on situations, circumstances, relationships, and events.

Emotions are never created in isolation; they always come about because of some interaction with the environment. In the absence of circumstances or relationships, there is no emotion. So even though I may fly into a rage, it is not actually my anger. It is anger that has settled on me for the moment. Each emotion is dependent on the context, circumstances, and relationships that define your reality at that moment.

And what about our thoughts? Well, our thoughts are recycled information. Every thought we have is actually part of a collective database. All but the most original thoughts are actually quantum leaps of creativity that occur from that same collective, recycled bed of imagination.

So if our bodies are recycled earth, our emotions are recycled energy, and our thoughts are recycled information, what is it that makes you an individual? According to many of the great spiritual traditions, one of the great truths is that “I am the other.” Without the other, we would not exist."

Adapted from The Spontaneous Fulfillment of Desire, by Deepak Chopra (Three Rivers Press).

Children are to be understood for their needs, their desires and their ever present quest for understanding, support and acceptance. Responding, respecting, defining, and supporting need and individual differences to develop and enhance competencies, define the very purposes of APOGEE Learning.


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A Post Script:
A call from a parent whose child was 'not qualified' for kindergarten, has stirred up a host of emotions and the need to address those issues that persist to hurt, confuse and stress children and families. Today the words of the 'WALL." are clearly heard... YouTube - Pink Floyd - Another Brick in the Wall - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M_bvT-DGcWw

I will not be heavy of heart for what is "NOT", but will as I meet with the "disqualified" kindergarten applicant, see the potential to be developed, the love that is within, the knowing that has yet to be expressed, and look to the power to be defined.

This song, "The Wall," was used as an introduction to a workshop that I put together for teachers. It was in the 80's, to remind those in attendance that our mission as teachers was to bring out, not suppress, the best of potentialities in each of our students. I have not abandoned such a focus. In 1983, APOGEE Learning™ was founded to offer viable educational opportunities to the divergent and creative learner. My students are NOT destined to be another brick in the Wall!!

We can change the script. Our willingness to be engaged, to become fully aware, our willingness to constructively confront, our willingness to respect our intuitive and heartfelt feelings, as parents, as grandparents, as educators, free of institutional constraints and circumscribed thinking, all this by our knowing that within each problem defined, rests a resolution beckoning for attention.



Tuesday, May 11, 2010

APOGEE ~ An Educational Therapy Model

An Educational Therapy Model

Learning vs. Teaching
Process vs. Content
Framing vs. Correcting
Clinical vs. Pedagogical
Humanistic vs. Behavioristic
Evoking vs. Imparting


Two Major Disciplines

Two major disciplines emerge as having significant influence on the practice and development of educational therapy:

1. The Psychoeducational Model which emphasizes the diagnosis and remediation of learning, emotional or attentional difficulties

2. The Mental Health Model which seeks to ameliorate learning, emotional and attentional difficulties by intervening therapeutically in the individual's intrapsychic, interpersonal and social world.

APOGEE™ and the third domain

APOGEE™, founded in 1983 by Rose Marie Raccioppi, is a system of learning and educational therapy that considers the visual, auditory, motor, psychological, attitudinal, kinesthetic, cognitive, biochemical, nutritional, neurological, educational, environmental, vibrational and reciprocal factors that relate to learning and creativity. It addresses the Academics and the Arts.

APOGEE™ A Holistic Paradigm

APOGEE™ creates an educational milieu that:

1. Permits the learner to explore freely
2. Integrates the academics, the arts and sport or recreational activities
3. Assists the learner to understand the consequences of his/her actions or choices.
4. Paces learning experiences within the environment at a rate and style determined by the learner
5. Makes full use of the individual's capacity for discovering and making interconnections with his/her physical, emotional, social and cultural world.

Areas for Educational Therapeutic Intervention

1. Difficulty in content or process knowledge
2. Difficulty in perception, cognition or psycholinguistic skills
3. Difficulty in personal relationships that adversely affects learning

Points of Focus

1. The specific nature of the academic or creative work (music, art, dance, sport)
2. The relationship between the student and the academic or creative work
3. The relationship between the therapist and the student
4. The reciprocal relationship of the therapist, the student and the academic or creative work.

The first point of focus is appropriate when the student identifies with the need to address the task or project at hand, is cooperative, willing and interested in the particular assignment.

The motivation is with the student, passed to the therapist, so that the relationship is one of facilitation and support.

The role of the therapist becomes one of tutor and support giver. That support offers the resources and approaches most appropriate to the specific nature of the academic or creative work and the learning style of the student.

The second point of focus is indicated when the student expresses thought, affect or actions that are incongruent with the role of learner. Expressions of boredom, frustration, withdrawal, manipulative behavior, avoidance, fear, anger, that move the focus away from, rather than in support of the academic or creative work, are to be considered by the therapist. The therapist is to provide the support that will help the student understand his/her feelings and actions and guide the student to learning activities appropriate to the requirements of the academic or creative work.

The third point of focus becomes important when the difficulty experienced by he student interferes with his/her involvement with his/her academic or creative work. Lack of motivation, intense affect, destructive self-judgments, learning disabilities, attentional difficulties, conflict with teachers or others (parents, peers, family, coaches, etc.) require particular attention. Here we see the need to resolve intrapsychic and/or interpersonal conflicts that interfere with academic learning and creative expression.

The fourth point of focus is inherent in each of the other three. The reciprocal relationship creates, re-creates, modifies, enhances and expands the experience of learning. The student is to be brought closer to understanding how his/her own body, mind and spirit have a reciprocal relationship to each other, to attraction, to creativity and to learning. The student is provided with experiences that respect his/her Natural Intelligence, a paradigm put forth by Rose Marie Raccioppi, MS, FABI. APOGEE™ offers a holistic approach where the relationship between therapist and student is one of learning-teaching-learning.

For more information on services provided:
http://www.apogeelearning.com
Inquiries Welcomed
Call for your FREE Introductory Consultation.
845-359-9056
toll free: 1-866-228-8663
1-866-ACU-TONE


Sunday, May 9, 2010

Learning and the Allergy Connections

A running nose. Sneezing. A headache. A listless feeling. Fatigue. Body aches. Certainly not a conducive set of symptoms and feelings to set the stage for academic activity and new learning. Readiness for learning is related to a multiplicity of factors, allergy and its effect on energy and attention being among them.

When a mother sees and learns what adversely effects her child, that inner call to action is a resounding call for change. And so this story and Robyn O'Brien's research alerts us all. What she has put forth, mirrors my own findings over the many years I have worked with children who have experienced a myriad of learning and behavior difficulties. The child is deemed 'problematic' when indeed it is not the child engaging in willful, inattentive, obstructive behavior, but a reaction to the chemical and environmental insults being experienced.

I have highlighted in bold what relates specifically to the adverse effects our children are experiencing from chemically laced and compromised food. We as parents, as educators, must appreciate the ill effects our compromised foods are having on our children's growth, development, behavior and learning.

APOGEE Learning Enhancement Training Systems™ has long considered the need to address the source of allergy and its relationship to behavior and learning. Nutitional guidance is one of the many supportive services offered.

For more information on services provided:
http://www.apogeelearning.com
Inquiries Welcomed
Call for your FREE Introductory Consultation.
845-359-9056
toll free: 1-866-228-8663
1-866-ACU-TONE




"Fighting for Allergy Children
From Mom to Crusader

A major achiever, Robyn O'Brien graduated from business school with an MBA, the top woman in her class. She received a Fulbright grant to study in France. With all that behind her, she went to work as a Wall Street analyst on a team that managed billions in assets during the dot-com craze.

Living what would seem to most a charmed life, Robyn and her husband decided to relocate to Colorado after the birth of their first child, when her husband accepted a position with a tech firm there. “We settled into parenthood with kind of the same energy that I’d always thrown at life,” Robyn related. “We had four kids in five years.”

Then came the morning that was to be the catalyst that changed the rest of her life. “We had kids who liked peanut butter and jelly, and I didn’t really want anyone telling me what to feed my kids,” Robyn said. “Then one morning over breakfast, my fourth child had an allergic reaction. I was so flat-footed, I had no idea what was going on; I honestly thought maybe the older three had put something in her face. I raced her to the pediatrician and she asked what I had served my daughter for breakfast. I told her, but she said, ‘The allergens are eggs, dairy, wheat, soy, peanuts and nuts, so she could have been allergic to any of those things. We don’t know what she’s allergic to.’”

Robyn jumped in and began studying the subject of allergies in earnest. She hadn’t known any children herself who had food allergies, so she began examining statistics. She learned that from 1997 to 2002 there had been a doubling of the peanut allergy, that one out of seventeen children under the age of three now had a food allergy, and that according to the Centers for Disease Control there had been a 265 percent increase in the rate of hospitalizations related to food allergies. “Those are just jaw-dropping statistics,” said Robyn. “With a background in finance and statistics, I couldn’t understand what was going on.”

She began reaching out to various organizations to help create awareness on these issues. She didn’t get much response, so she talked her husband into taking some of their kids’ college money and investing it into an organization that could help identify and protect these children. On Mother’s Day 2006 AllergyKids was launched, and it was met with great initial reception and press coverage. A month after launch, Robyn appeared on CNN. It looked like things were going well—but almost immediately following the broadcast she started getting negative reactions from organizations that should have been her allies.

“As I started to get national recognition, some of the larger food allergy non-profits sort of had an allergic reaction to me,” Robyn recounted. “I thought that perhaps I wasn’t conveying the mission right; that they just needed to understand that I was trying to support, fund and advance their research. But they got pretty aggressive in their dismissiveness of me, and one of them actually ended up sending me a cease-and-desist letter. I took it to my attorney, and he said that it was an intimidation tactic and told me I should do certain things. I told him no, that I needed him to back off because I first wanted to know why they were trying to intimidate or push out a mother of four who’s trying to protect children.

“With that, I decided to pull their financial statements. I learned that this food allergy non-profit based in Washington, DC, was actually funded by Kraft and Monsanto.

Researching the Truth

At the time, Robyn had never heard of Monsanto, and Kraft was the company that made the macaroni and cheese her children were so fond of. So, she continued her research into allergies and their explosive growth.

“I learned that a food allergy is when your body sees food as a foreign protein,” Robyn explained. “Your body launches an inflammatory response to drive out that foreign invader. I went down the list of allergens and found that milk allergy, according to CNN and the Wall Street Journal, is the top allergy in the United States. I wondered if there was something foreign in the milk that hadn’t been there years earlier. And I was absolutely stunned when I learned that in 1994, in order to enhance profitability for the dairy industry, they began to inject cows with a growth hormone called rBGH to make the cows produce more milk.

“As an analyst, I understood that such a move would drive profit and enhance revenue. But, at the same time, I was learning that governments around the world were pointing out that rBGH had never been proven safe. Canada, the European Union, Japan, Australia and New Zealand had decided not to allow it into their cheese or into their milk because of concerns of how it made animals sick, resulting in increased use of antibiotics in the animals. Additionally, a 1996 medical journal article reported that milk with rBGH has up to ten times the amount of a hormone known as IGF-1 that regular milk has (more recent studies put the figure even higher). Relatively small increases of this hormone were reported in a 1998 article in the prestigious British medical journal the Lancet to make breast cancer seven times more likely in premenopausal women. Despite the mounting controversy, the US still allows rBGH to be injected into cows. I then wondered if the US had higher rates of cancer than other developed countries. I went to the American Cancer Society and learned that the US has the highest rate of cancer of any country in the world, and that migration studies showed that if you were to move here from somewhere like Japan, your likelihood of developing cancer would increase fourfold.

“At that point there were nights when I was putting my kids to bed and I thought, ‘How many sippy cups have I filled with this stuff? And how many bowls of cereal have I poured?’ And I wasn’t told what moms around the world, in countries other than the US, had already been told.

“I then continued on down the list of allergies and came to soy: had we done something to soy? I discovered that in the 1990s, again in order to drive profitability for the livestock industry (soy is one of the feeds used to fatten cattle), it was engineered to have a high sugar content.”

Next on the list: allergy to corn, which Robyn had also seen many concerns about. She learned that, due to growing concern on the spraying of insecticide in cornfields, scientists had genetically engineered an insecticidal protein into the DNA of a corn seed so that as the plant grew it could release its own insecticide. As a result it was no longer regulated under the FDA but, as an insecticide, was now under the EPA. Robyn found that other countries had either not allowed genetically modified corn into the food supply or, at the very least, insisted on it being labeled so that consumers could make an informed choice.

Building a Team

While her research continued, Robyn went looking for friends, allies and team members other than her own family, as she knew she’d need them. When she checked into who had publicly expressed serious concern regarding genetically modified crops, the first person Robyn came upon was Nell Newman, daughter of Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward and founder of Newman’s Own Organics. She reached out to Nell, who responded and eventually became an advisor, friend and member of Robyn’s “Inspiration Team.”

As she had already been compared to Erin Brockovich, it was recommended that she also reach out to Ms. Brockovich. “I don’t know if I expected to really hear back from Erin, but like Nell she replied, and it was so inspiring. This is such an enormous story—the scope of the problem, the lack of transparency, the lack of full disclosure, and the fact that we simply hadn’t been told what many eaters around the world had already been told. We weren’t given the opportunity to make an informed choice. So to then have people like Nell and Erin get in my corner was just amazing.”

It didn’t stop there. She received the support of Bobby Kennedy, Jr., plus several other notable names. And she now has an executive director in Seleyn DeYarus, former Development Director for The Organic Center, a non-profit organization dedicated to furthering scientific research on the health benefits of reducing our exposure to the chemicals and synthetic ingredients in our food supply.

AllergyKids also has a highly qualified medical advisory team, which includes Dr. Bob Sears, noted author and one of the most trusted names in pediatrics; pediatric neurotoxicologist Dr. Kenneth Bock, who has conducted critical and highly recognized research into asthma, ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder), autism and allergies; Dr. Joel Fuhrman, whose research on diet and health is relied upon by corporations around the country; and Dr. Roy Steinbock, a family pediatrician who focuses on the root cause of problems and aims to support his patients’ natural ability to heal.

AllergyKids Today

Today, AllergyKids Foundation is moving full steam ahead and much of their plentiful research can be found on their excellent website. There, parents can learn the latest news on allergies, vaccinations and much more. Last year Robyn published a book entitled The Unhealthy Truth, in which she details the alarming relationship between the manipulation of our food and the increase in dangerous allergies in our children and cancers in our families, and offers a straightforward road map to healthy living.

Through her book and her research Robyn continues to document the startling rise in allergies, which parallels toxins introduced into our food and environment. But it goes beyond allergies—she has discovered that one in three children has either allergies, asthma, autism or symptoms of ADHD.

“There is too much evidence in support of the coincidence of these factors,” Robyn said. “We’re surrounded by these environmental insults that weren’t part of the environment 30 years ago, and the debate’s still out. Is it the vaccines? Is it the food? Is it the environment? There are so many theories, I feel to dismiss any of them is irresponsible—particularly to not address the toxins that are in the food supply here in the US, given that the World Cancer Report recently stated that 85 percent of cancers are environmentally triggered.”

One interesting factor that has turned up in her research deals with ADHD—the subject of much controversy and questionable drug treatments. “There’s a study out of the UK called the Southampton Study, first conducted about eight years ago,” Robyn explained. “It was very conclusive. It was a double-blind study showing how synthetic ingredients—artificial colors like yellow number 5, sodium benzoate and some other ingredients—contribute to hyperactivity in kids. They did a follow-on study seven years later that was so compelling that Kraft, Walmart and Coca-Cola decided to voluntarily remove the ingredients that were cited in that study from the products that they sold overseas. Kraft and Coca-Cola made different products for eaters overseas, and in my own research I highlight how the Kraft spokesman in the UK said that Kraft UK does not have a lunchable product line that contains any of these ingredients.

“What’s stunning to me is to see these corporations move voluntarily ahead of any legislation on the overwhelming strength of these studies and the response that consumers had to them. It’s kind of depressing that our American corporations are reformulating their products overseas and not here. But at the same time, it’s really an education campaign so that they can know that we know.

“We deregulated our financial system and we ended up with toxic assets,” Robyn concluded. “We deregulated the food system and we’ve ended up with toxic assets. It’s time to set it straight. If governments around the world are actually doing a better job, using this precautionary approach to try to prevent illness, to try to prevent onset of diseases in their countries, we don’t have to wait to implement that here in the US; we can do the same thing. Unfortunately, it’s going to have to start with the public themselves getting educated. You can learn about the hazardous elements, wean your kids off them, and before you know it you’ll have really started to clear a lot of these chemicals out of your family’s diet.”

To tap into Robyn’s research and learn more, visit the AllergyKids website at www.allergykids.com.

Read more: Robyn O’Brien: Fighting for Allergy Children | Organic Connections Magazine http://organicconnectmag.com/wp/2010/05/robyn-obrien-fighting-for-allergy-children/#ixzz0nU6EquKB

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Soar With Success This Summer ~ APOGEE Program Offerings


Registration being accepted for:

The APOGEE Achiever Program


•Individualized Subject Tutoring•
•Study Skills and Mastery Strategies•
~Reading~
~Mathematics~
~Writing~
~Organization~
~Assignment Management~
~Stress Management~
~Relaxation, Attention and Focusing Exercises~
~Achievement Goals~

• Inquiries welcomed
• Call or post
• All Questions Answered •


Friday, May 7, 2010

Child Safe Playing Fields

Child Safe Playing Fields Act Passes Assembly & Senate:
Urgent Action Needed to Ensure Governor Paterson Signs the Bill!

Join in asking Governor Paterson to sign the Child Safe Playing Fields Act (S.4983c/A.7937c)

MEMORANDUM IN SUPPORT
The Child Safe Playing Fields Act
A.7937c- Englebright S.4983c- Foley

An act to amend the environmental conservation law and the education law, to ban the use of aesthetic pesticide application on school and day care grounds.

JUSTIFICATION
Pesticides are used outside at most schools in New York State, even with no evidence of need. A study by a previous NYS Attorney General indicated that 87% of schools use dangerous pesticides. The growing body of peer-reviewed scientific evidence indicates that pesticide exposure can adversely affect a child’s neurological, respiratory, immune, and endocrine system, even at low levels. Long-term exposure to pesticides has also been linked to cancer. Short-term exposure can lead to headaches, dizziness, nausea, seizures, respiratory problems, and asthma attacks. Despite this evidence, pesticides remain in widespread use in school buildings and on school grounds throughout NYS. To help protect our kids, NYS should ban the use of pesticides on outdoor school grounds for grades K-12, as well as day care centers.

Pesticides disproportionately hurt our children. Children are uniquely vulnerable to pesticide exposures due to their physiology and rapid growth, and also because of their closer proximity to these pesticides during normal play. Children are also more susceptible to exposure due to their common hand to mouth activities. Leading medical experts continue to urge us to reduce pesticide use as much as possible, especially on lawns and playing fields.

Effective and affordable alternatives exist. There is clear science showing that pests and weeds can be successfully managed with readily available and affordable nontoxic alternatives, while meeting people’s aesthetic expectations. Numerous municipalities, school districts, individual schools, and some states have chosen to adopt policies that require a school to prohibit the use of toxic pesticides. Time and time again, schools that have eliminated toxic pesticide use are reporting effective pest management and significant long- term financial savings.

CITIZENS CAMPAIGN FOR THE ENVIRONMENT (CCE)
STRONGLY SUPPORTS THE ADOPTION OF THE
CHILD SAFE PLAYING FIELDS ACT
(A.7937c-ENGLEBRIGHT / S.4983c-FOLEY)

TAKE ACTION NOW!
Email or call (518-474-8390) Governor Paterson. Tell him to sign the Child Safe Playing Fields Act (S. 4983c/A. 7937c).
http://www.citizenscampaign.org/campaigns/pesticide-free-schools.asp

On behalf of every child made safer you are held in gratitude.
Rose Marie Raccioppi
http://www.apogeelearning.com

Making the Link Between Chemicals and Learning Disabilities

A lone voice now joined in a chorus. A resounding echo now heard. Pesticides, herbicides, chemical insult and onslaught have compromised the growth and development of children. As an Educational Therapist in private practice since 1983, I have seen the devastating effects upon physical well being and upon auto immune system compromise in children, youth and adults across the age span. What is now making headlines is a perspective I held when I started my campaign in 1972, in regard to "learning disabilities." What was obvious then, but blatantly ignored, discounted, minimized, is now touted for our attention. No longer are there but a "few" counted with adverse reactions to chemical and pesticide insult. The ill effects are pervasive, documented and consequential. OUR CHILDREN deserve our enlightened awareness and action for change!! Rose Marie Raccioppi: http://www.apogeelearning.com

PANNA: Making the Link Between Chemicals and Learning Disabilities ~ Pesticide Action Network North America: http://www.panna.org/legacy/gpc/gpc_200308.13.2.09.dv.html

The Collaborative on Health and the Environment (CHE) a new and important U.S. network working on environmental health issues, recently launched a nationwide Learning and Developmental Disabilities Initiative to raise awareness about the role of neuro-toxicants in the sharp increase in learning and developmental disabilities (LDDs) in children in the U.S. An estimated 12 million U.S. children (17% of youth under 18) are now affected by deafness, blindness, epilepsy, speech deficits, cerebral palsy, delays in growth and development, emotional or behavioral problems, or learning disabilities.(1)

Learning disabilities alone affect 5-10% of children in public schools.(1) Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) conservatively affects 3-6% of all U.S. school children.(2) Within the state of California, the number of children entered into the autism registry increased by 210% between 1987 and 1998. A few studies have suggested that the increase in autism over the past 10-12 years may be as much as tenfold.(3)

Some argue these increases reflect improved diagnostic techniques for conditions which scientists are still attempting to understand. For example, Asperger's Syndrome, one of the conditions considered an "autism spectrum disorder," was added to the Diagnostic Statistical Manual as recently as the early 1990s. In addition, LDDs and autism often manifest as complex sets of behaviors and symptoms, adding to difficulty of their diagnoses and the clinical response.

Research has shown that exposures to certain neurotoxicants such as pesticides (particularly organophosphates and pyrethroids), lead, mercury, polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) and solvents can disrupt neurological development and can lead to learning disabilities. Even a relatively small exposure to a toxic chemical during a window of vulnerability can have a permanent impact, one that might not occur if the same exposure happened at another time.(4)

The vast majority of chemicals in use today have never been examined for their impacts on the developing brain. Given the vulnerability of the developing brain to chemical exposures, scientists have raised concerns that this lack of information may be affecting many children and preventing us from recognizing the true magnitude of the public health threat.(5)

For example, despite the fact that organophosphate and pyrethoid pesticides are common and 90% of U.S. children have detectable residues of at least one organophosphate pesticide in their bodies,(6) little is known about their effects on the developing brain. In the laboratory, a single low-level exposure to an organophosphate pesticide or a pyrethroid at day 10 of life causes permanent changes in the brain and hyperactivity of rodents.(7) The effects of combined multiple and cumulative exposures experienced by children in the course of their daily lives remains virtually unstudied.

Neuro-developmental toxicants that have been studied, including lead, mercury, polychlorinated biphenyls, alcohol, and nicotine, have demonstrated the vulnerability of the developing brain to environmental agents at exposure levels much lower than those having a similar affect on an adult. Scientific understanding of the effects of these toxicants has emerged slowly, and the regulatory response has lagged even further. Meanwhile generations of children have been exposed to these chemicals at levels that may have caused irreversible damage. Evidence of this is the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recent consideration of lowering even further the screening threshold of lead, from 10 microgm/dl blood to 5 microgm/dl blood, since impacts have now been documented at these lower levels.(8)

Most support groups for learning and developmental disabilities focus on filling the need for diagnosis and services. The Learning and Developmental Disabilities Initiative (LDDI ) bring a coordinated focus on preventing exposure to neurotoxicants to the ongoing work of national learning and disabilities groups. Together with scientists and health groups, LDDI works to raise public awareness, inform lawmakers and support specific legislation to eliminate dangerous neurotoxicants from our environment.

The American Association of Mental Retardation, the Arc of the United States, the Autism Society, Developmental Delay Resources, the National Institute for Literacy, the Epilepsy Foundation, the Asperger Syndrome Coaltion, Pesticide Action Network North America (PANNA), and U.S. Public Interest Research Groups (PIRGs), along with almost forty other groups and individuals have already joined LDDI.

LDDI has also formed a small group to focus on Criminal Justice, and will examine the role of environmental contaminants-recognized as risk factors for learning and developmental disabilities-found in disproportionate number in those in the juvenile and criminal justice system. This subgroup has been joined by Communities Against Violence Network, the National Association of Women Judges, and others.

Individuals and groups can sign on to the LDDI Resolution on Environmental Contributors to LDDs and read a summary of the neurotoxicants highlighted in the recent biomonitoring reports released by the CDC and the Environmental Working Group, on the CHE website, http://www.cheforhealth.org.

For more information, please contact Elise Miller at the Institute for Children's Environmental Health, 1646 Dow Road, Freeland, WA 98249, email emiller@iceh.org, phone (360) 331 77904, fax (360) 331-7908, or Frieda Nixdorf at the Collaborative on Health and the Environment, CHE, c/o Commonweal, PO Box 316, Bolinas, CA 94924, website http://www.cheforhealth.org, email info@cheforhealth.org.

Notes

Parrill M. 1996. Research implications for health and human services. In: Learning Disabilities, Lifelong Issues (Cramer S, Ellis W, eds). Baltimore, MD: Paul W. Brookes Publishing.
Goldman L, Genel M, Bezman R, Slanetz P. 1998. Diagnosis and treatment of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder in children and adolescents. J Am Med Assoc 279(14):1100-1107.
Schettler, T, J Stein, F Reich, and M Valenti. 2000. In Harm--s Way: Toxic threats to child development, Greater Boston Physicians for Social Responsibility.
Ibid.
CHE Partnership Call Notes, Autism, April 23, 2003, http://www.cheforhealth.org/update/Apr2303Notes.html.
Schettler, Ted, Developmental disabilities--impairment of children--s brain development and function: the role of environmental factors, on CHE science website http://www.protectingourhealth.org/newscience/learning/2003-02peerreviewlearningbehavior.htm, adapted from Schettler T. Toxic threats to neurologic development of children. Environ Health Perspectives, 2001 Dec; 109 Suppl 6:813-6.
Ahlbom J, Fredriksson A, Eriksson P. 1995. Exposure to an organophosphate (DFP) during a defined period in neonatal life indusces permanent changes in brain muscarinic receptors and behaviour in adult mice. Brain Res 677:13-19.
Lanphear BP, Dietrich K, Auinger P, Cox C. 2000. Cognitive deficits associated with blood lead concentrations <10 microg/dL in U.S. children and adolescents. Public Health Reports 115(6):521-9.
Herbicides Implicated in Birth Defects

A study published in July 2003 in Environmental Health Perspectives connects herbicides with a variety of birth defects and corroborates earlier findings that the chlorophenoxy herbicides widely used in grain farming are a significant health risk.

The July study found that babies born in high wheat-producing counties were twice as likely to have circulatory/respiratory and musculoskeletal birth defects than babies born to parents in farming counties where little wheat was produced. Even more significant, baby boys born in high-wheat counties and conceived during April or June -- when herbicide applications peak -- were nearly five times as likely to have birth defects than boys conceived during other times of the year in counties with low wheat production.

The epidemiologic study, performed by Dr. Dina Schreinemachers, a researcher with the Environmental Protection Agency in North Carolina, examined records of more than 43,000 births from 1995 to 1997 in 147 rural counties in Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota and Minnesota. Researchers compared rural counties in these states where most U.S. spring and durum wheat is produced, with farming areas in the same states that did not produce wheat. In the four wheat-producing states, more than 85% of the wheat acreage was treated with chlorophenoxy herbicides such as 2,4-D and 4-chloro-2-methylphenoxyacetic acid, or MCPA. Other crops in the area were treated with herbicides other than chlorophenoxy compounds.

In 1996, an earlier study also found birth defects higher in western Minnesota, where chlorophenoxy herbicides are applied to wheat. That study, however, also implicated certain fungicides as a possible cause. A number of studies have connected chlorophenoxy herbicides and cancer, including one done in 2002 by Dr. Schreinemachers that observed increasing cancer mortality from several types of cancers in areas with increased in wheat acreage. Just last year in 2002, a study by Dr. Warren Porter connected chlorophenoxy herbicides with reduced fertility and miscarriages in laboratory mice. In that widely publicized study, researchers spiked the drinking water of laboratory mice with a common household lawn and garden weed killer, and discovered a 20% increase in failed pregnancies in mice, at doses seven times lower than the maximum allowable rate for U.S. drinking water.

The National Cancer Institute, National Institute of Environmental Health and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency have funded an ongoing study to track 90,000 herbicide applicators and their spouses to look for possible health effects of pesticides.

Sources: Dina M. Schreinemachers, Birth Malformations and Other Adverse Perinatal Outcomes in Four U.S. Wheat-Producing States, Environmental Health Perspectives Volume 111 Number 9, July, 2003 abstract on line: http://ehpnet1.niehs.nih.gov/docs/2003/5830/abstract.html; Garry, V.F., D. Schreinemachers, M.E. Harkins and J. Griffith, 1996, "Pesticide Appliers, Biocides, and Birth Defects in Rural Minnesota," Environmental Health Perspectives, 104: 394-399; Maria Fernanda Cavieres, James Jaeger and Warren Porter, "Development Toxicity of a Commercial Herbicide Mixture in Mice: I. Effects on Embryo Implantation and Litter Size," Environmental Health Perspectives, Volume 110, Number 11, page 1081, November 2002; Pesticides and Birth Defects: A Minnesota Study, Global Pesticide Campaigner, Volume 6, Number 2, June 1996, Low Doses of Common Weedkiller Damage Fertility, PANNA, October 11, 2002, http://www.panna.org/resources/panups/panup_20021011.dv.html.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Are You Ready?

Are you Ready to be and make the difference for OUR CHILDREN - They deserve no less. Join the movement...

Its Not Just MY Food Revolution

Guest Blogger
ShareThis

Healthy Child is proud to support Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution. Eating more whole foods and less processed is not only nutritionally superior, but also reduces exposure to synthetic food additives and contaminants that can leach from food packaging. Thank you to Jamie Oliver and MomsRising for working to protect our children and for sharing this important message.

Jamie Oliver: By now I hope you’ve seen the first two episodes of my new show on ABC, Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution. If you’ve seen it, I hope you’ve realized that this revolution isn’t about me. It’s about you—moms (parents, really) who care about their children—who care about giving them the best opportunities life has to offer them. As a parent and a chef, I want to tell you it starts with fresh food.

I am writing this blog because I know the followers of MomsRising get it. And I also know that I will only succeed by joining together with women such as yourselves. I need your help.

I started my work in one of Huntington’s elementary schools. Funnily enough, West Virginia has pretty high standards as compared to the rest of the country. Luckily for me, the local government and school district still welcomed me and my television crew. I wanted see if I could make the school food even better. I wanted to change the kinds of food coming into the school and get fresh food into the system.

To earn reimbursement from the federal government (critical to funding the school lunch program) every lunch must include four basic components – milk, protein, grains and a vegetable. But behind that is a massively distorted system. As long as a school can check off those four boxes, then they don’t bother even looking at the food that’s on the plate. Check out these two pictures:

Both of these lunches meet the federal nutrition standards. Which one would you rather your child was eating?

We must get rid of the junk. The federal nutritional regulations allow pizza made from processed ingredients to be served for breakfast. French fries count as a vegetable. And portable food is served every day without any need for cutlery or dishes—or any table manners whatsoever. Sloppy Joes and burgers are made from the lowest quality beef. Hot dogs and corn dogs come from meat that comes from who knows where and chicken nuggets are made from more ingredients than I can even count. The list goes on.

Take sugar. I can’t find any regulations that control the amount of sugar in the meal, so milk is ripe for the ruining. Why serve regular milk when you can dye it pink or brown and add so much sugar that it contains nearly as much as a can of soda?

There’s sugar in the cereal, there’s sugar in the bread, there’s sugar here, there and everywhere! Why? Because it’s cheap and the fast food industry has gotten us addicted to it.

Ask a pediatrician (or a teacher for that matter) to identify the biggest enemy of child’s health and they will answer,” sugar”. You put beautiful little kids in school, 180 days of the year, from four to 18 and nearly every choice offered to them is some version of junk food.

I know that I’m not alone in being worried about school lunches and childhood obesity. Everyone knows what the problem is. Everyone is sick of hearing the bad statistics. In America, there are loads of people who have been working hard for change, trying to get heard and make school nutrition reform into the most important issue of our generation.

There are some real improvements being made right now to the child nutrition program and the bill on it is going through Congress right now. But if more money isn’t allocated then no one will be able to implement the new standards. About $1 is spent on an average school lunch. Industry is saying another 35 cents is needed to make improvements, but just six cents is being offered as an incentive payment for the new requirements. It’s simply not enough.

And we need to let your politicians know we care. If you want improve school food, sign my petition!


Read more: http://healthychild.org/blog/comments/its_not_just_my_food_revolution/#ixzz0nApf9Qj8

Another word from Rose Marie...

I have long recognized the importance of sound nutrition and healthy growth and development and the relationship each has to learning and cognition. Concepts of sound nutrition have been integrated in the services of APOGEE Learning Enhancement Training Systems™ since its founding in 1983. Our children have been compromised by an experiment - NO MORE - back to the gifts of Mother Nature as intended - no GMOs - Let our children know and enjoy Organic Food - pure, wholesome and alive with taste !!