Random Thought #1 -- The technical volunteers at the Southern Maryland GiveCamp (SoMDGC) are wonderful people. Can you imagine committing yourself from 4 p.m. Friday through 4 p.m. Sunday, plus travel time, to working under pressure? Granted, they looked like they thought it was fun under pressure, but still... They gave up being with their families in order to help organizations that help people. I am just in awe of them, the founder of the SoMDGC, the non-technical volunteers, and all the families. I hope they know how much their work and sacrifices are appreciated by the organizations.
Random Thought #2 -- Executive Functioning (EF) deficits can be significantly impairing. Skills must be taught or our children will not be able to get and keep a job, or to advance in it if they get one. They impact so much, from time management to emotional regulation, from the ability to "shift" to safety awareness. I used to think that my son's issues were so very Asperger's (the social component, in particular), but the more I learn about EF for my daughter, the more I see that many of his needs stem from EF. He can be taught these skills; he has the capability. It's just not a "superior" one.
Random Thought #3 -- We took a "sunset walk" at SoMDGC. I'm hoping that one of the developers -- a part-time professional photographer -- will post his pictures soon. SoMDGC was held at St. Mary's College of Maryland, which has one of the most beautiful campuses I've ever seen. Remember that I went to the University of Pittsburgh, which, while not in downtown Pgh., is still in an urban setting. I remember my first few weeks there as a freshman having a lot of trouble getting to sleep and staying that way just because of the noise of the buses and the ambulances outside my dormitory. But this campus is gorgeous. What a pleasure to walk down to the river to watch the sun go down! And I got to "visit" with a few people along the way. That was nice. As usual, though, I lament my lack of artistic abilities. I would so love to be able to draw or paint or photograph the panoramic vistas of the campus and the river or the tiny details of tree bark and lichen on the bricks. ~Sigh~
Random Thought #4 -- I recently got the chance to see a high school-aged boy with, in my opinion, undiagnosed Asperger's. (Arrogant of me, perhaps, to make that "judgment," but there you have it.) I didn't get to see his strengths, only his weaknesses, and I don't know if his strengths, whatever they are, were visible through the weaknesses. But it makes me all the more determined to fight for addressing all the needs of twice exceptional students.
Random Thought #5 -- I'm making myself sick over the county's lack of funding of the school system's budget. Yesterday, my friend's husband talked to the wife of one of the commissioners. She maintains that there is no more money to give the school system. I don't know how to reconcile this to the independent auditor's report which says that the county is currently sitting on over $12 million in undesignated funds with that amount expected to reach $23 million by the end of the fiscal year in July. The other thing that the commissioner's wife maintains is that the funding problem isn't with the county but rather is with the state and federal governments: All the base housing in our area means that many families aren't paying taxes but use our resources. I don't know how to find out if the increase in base housing (and the number of children who live in base housing who attend our schools) has increased over the past decade in the same amount that the percentage of the county's budget that goes to the school system has decreased in the last decade. How can a county give 52% of its budget to the school system 10 years ago but steadily decrease that percentage to its current low of 38% today? How can they do that and say that it's OK?
Random Thought #6 -- Currently in the background the 1930s version of Frankenstein is playing on the TV. It's the angry mob scene with the pitchforks and torches. Makes me think about Random Thought #5 and the public hearing on the budget coming up in a few weeks. People are really hot about this. I'm getting more and more concerned that people are going to behave badly at the public hearing. If people behave badly, the commissioners are going to stop listening, and since my general feeling is that they've already closed their minds and their hearts to the idea of using the fund balance to increase the school system's budget, we haven't got a chance.
Random Thought #7 -- Great Wolf Lodge is a great place to go. My GS troop decided at the beginning of the year that a trip to Great Wolf Lodge was how they wanted to spend their cookie money, so bless them, they worked hard, sold the cookies, and made enough money to pay for the trip. The troop can cover the water park, accommodations, and dinner for everyone. Maybe next year we need to budget cookie sales to cover the cost of gas!