LD3 – Dyspraxia

15 04 2007

spilled mikDyspraxia is again a very common learning disorder.

One can think of dyspraxia as being in a disordered state of mind. Disorganisation can become the hallmark of a child’s life. Common tasks cause confusion. There is no plan put into action to complete a job. Indeed, dyspraxia is more than a learning disorder, it is a life disorder!

For students, the common signs are messy workplaces, things going ‘missing’ very often and when a series of actions are called for an inability to repeat a sequence of actions in the same way. Simple everyday activities like brushing one’s teeth can prove problematic. If you think about it, what many of us do almost without a second thought actually involves a number of separate steps. We find and pick up a toothbrush, then find and open a tube of toothpaste, then put just the right amount of paste onto the bristles of the brush, cap the paste and put it back in its proper place. We then brush our teeth and usually that too in some sort of ordered sequence to ensure that each tooth has been cleaned, front and back. Then wash the paste out of our mouth, find a towel and dry up. The brush has to be washed and brush and towel returned to where they should be.

The student with dyspraxia will often have forgotten books, pen, diary etc. Typically the disorganisation will be visible on the work surface. Things will be scattered around. Something once used will not be put back from where it was taken. Activities like searching or finding will often end in failure.

I think you can see the devastating effects that dyspraxia can have on a chid’s life, self-esteem and personality development.  Typically, such children will be thought of as  ‘unable to do the simplest thing properly’. Without intending to, they will be considered naughty, stubborn, lazy, messy, unreliable, careless, forgetful and a lot of other unfavourable things.

Dyspraxia can be very frustrating for parents to deal with for it is not limited to school or study but will affect every area of a child’s life.messy desk toon

Dyspraxia again is a developmental disorder and one that can occur alone or along with dyslexia, dysgraphia and/or ADHD. Dyspraxia can and should be treated!

Most chidren will show improvement with therapy. For a few kids, some degree of difficulty will be with them throughout their lives. Many will be able to compensate for their disorder to such an extent that it may become unnoticeable.


Golden Beetles

16 01 2007

Some of the most attractive insects are also the most destructive to man’s activities. Grouped under the common name of “gold beetle” in South India we have a number of beautiful pests as well as some very “good’ insects like the gold scarab (a dung recycler-observe the highly specialized shovel head) illustrated in our title, and the asian ladybird, famous for feeding on a number of economically dangerous pests.

Hardy and helpful, these creatures symbolise what we at the Ponnvandu Foundation would like to achieve. The name in Tamil translates as ‘golden beetle’. To us these wonderful insects exemplify quietness with constant focussed effort – that’s the PonnVandu way –


15 08 2006

!!! INDIA !!!


10 06 2006

Oxford Health Plans told hundreds of doctors and thousands of its subscribers that it would no longer pay for medical care at Jamaica Hospital Medical Center, and gave them a month to make new arrangements.

© Peter Kuper

In 2004 Oxford agreed to a new contract that increased the rates it paid the hospital, then continued to pay the old rates for more than a year after MediSys and Oxford negotiated new contracts to set the rates the insurer would pay to two MediSys hospitals, Flushing Hospital Medical Center and Jamaica.
Oxford drafted the contracts, and MediSys signed them and returned them to Oxford. But after a few months, MediSys realized that Oxford was still paying the old, lower rates, and it complained to the insurer.
At that point, Oxford raised a new and unexpected subject: the anesthesiologists at Flushing Hospital. The anesthesiology group does not have an agreement with Oxford to be part of its network of doctors. When Oxford members have surgery at Flushing, the anesthesiologists bill the insurance company for their full fees, not the lower rates Oxford would negotiate with in-network doctorsOxford responded by asking the hospitals to pressure the Flushing anesthesiologists to join Oxford’s network. MediSys rebuffed that request, saying it was up to the anesthesia group to make its own insurance arrangements.
When repeated protests produced nothing, Jamaica officials raised the possibility this year of canceling the contract, but Oxford talked them out of it.
Then, doctors and patients received letters from Oxford informing them that as of May 2, Jamaica would no longer be an Oxford provider. Doctors who had admitting privileges at other hospitals were told that they would have to take their patients elsewhere. Doctors who had privileges only at Jamaica were told that they would no longer be paid to treat Oxford members, and their patients were told to find new doctors.
“These are mostly elderly people who have heart disease and diabetes and arthritis, people who see a lot of different specialists, and they were panicked,” “And all of a sudden, they’re told they can’t go to all those docs at Jamaica”. They scrambled to make arrangements at other hospitals. Doctors said they were inundated by calls from patients requesting their medical records so they could change doctors.
Many were like the woman in her 60’s with chronic hepatitis C, “She came in one day hysterically crying, completely distraught, saying she got this letter from Oxford that I could no longer be her doctor,” Dr. Basello said. “Later, she missed appointments because she didn’t think she could keep coming to me”.
Jamaica and the state say, Oxford has not made any retroactive payments and because of the lag in billing, they do not know yet whether Oxford is paying the new rates.
Calls to Oxford were referred to its parent company, UnitedHealth Group, which bought Oxford in 2004. Jamaica officials noted that the Oxford moves they object to happened after the July 2004 takeover by UnitedHealth, one of the nation’s largest and most profitable health insurers.
Excerpts; read the whole artcle at : http://www.nytimes.com/2006/05/30/nyregion/30jamaica.html and special thanks to Peter Kuper for the artwork

I Wonder

1 06 2006

I wonder whether man has fundamentally changed over the last couple of decades? Recent incidents like the abandonment of a living fellow climber near the peak of Mt. Everest, the emerging story on the Haditha tragedy, not to mention the shooting of a pregnant Iraqi woman really make me wonder.

Is it humankind, that is becoming less kind or is it nurture – a change in culture – that is making us more selfish and harder of heart?

Tragedy, war, stress, none of these are new to human experience. Or, could it be that the past was just as bad but that I tend to romanticize it?

I don’t know.
I just don’t know.

But, I do wonder…

Do Poetry

14 05 2006

Does it have to rhyme? No, all it has to do is to connect – and hopefuly, let the reader feel and think something of what the poet was experiencing. That was the gist of what I learned about poetry while wading thru a few courses in literature that I took more out of curiosity than anything else.

That was all of 30 years ago! The lifelong love of poetry that resulted started largely because of the enthusiasm and commitment of my teachers, and has never left…

Writing poetry is another kettle of fish altogether. I have, on occasion, attempted the impossible and fortunately have not foisted my productions on any other than those nearest and dearest – who will (have to?) put up with anything!

Still, for those so tempted, please don’t get taken in by flattery. Follow the link embedded in the title and do have a good laugh. All of David Taub’s early submissions (on this theme) can be found at : http://windpub.com/literary.scams/wergle.htm and they will really crack you up.

I was pleased to discover that one of my mentors was still teaching literature / poetry and what was even more surprising was that he still remembers me – I think I took all of two full courses from this remarkable teacher and I was not an English major in the first place and certainly not one of those “memorably brilliant” students – now that is dedication!

A very big Thank You, Dr. Jon Kamholtz.

AND Health for ALL ?

25 03 2006

“Er, where are we, exactly?” – Don’t you see, that will be our cue to set up a government body to direct clinical practice. Initially, of course, with relatively few guidelines. Most doctors probably wouldn’t even notice that they were no longer autonomous. At first. Sir Bartholomew had stood and was preparing to leave. As he pulled on his gloves he continued, “The important thing is, doctors would have to practise according to government instructions. Then it would simply be a case of changing the guidelines so that by degrees they become less orientated towards simplistic notions of what patients need and more orientated towards what government can afford.” Doctors’ autonomy – satire on the UK’s National Health Service – British Medical Journal, Dec 19, 1998 by David Orchard The world famous British NHS – National Health Service seems to be on the rocks.

In a not-so-surprising development, America’s closest equivalent – the VA (Veterans Administration) health network is also heading North.

In both cases, these outstandingly effective health initiatives are being systematically torpedoed by their respective governments.

If you value your health and the health of future generations, don’t let the pharma – insurance – neocon lobby win!

*** The patient refused autopsy.

Troubles Unheard of

19 03 2006

Having been born and brought up in Africa, the fact that the wolrld’s worst and least reported human disasters are all African was a rude shock. I fondly remember peace and humanism as the face of the Africa that I love. It brings to mind the title of a famous African tale “Cry, the Beloved Country”.

1) War in Democratic Republic of Congo that has claimed at least 10 times as many lives as the December tsunami.”It’s the worst humanitarian tragedy since the Holocaust,” said John O’Shea, chief executive of Irish relief agency GOAL. “The greatest example on the planet of man’s inhumanity to man.” Almost half of those polled–including leftwing intellectual Noam Chomsky–nominated Congo, citing the brutality of an ugly, tangled war that has killed nearly 4 million people since 1998.”The human suffering is mind-boggling,” said Lindsey Hilsum, international editor for Britain’s Channel 4 News. “The wickedness and cruelty of the armed men who kill and maim and rape defies belief.” The images that emerge are too horrible to print.

2) The details of northern Uganda’s 18-year war, ranked second in the AlertNet poll, are just as shocking. More than 20,000 children have been abducted by a cult-like rebel group and forced to serve as soldiers and sex slaves, while most of the population in the conflict zone have been forced from their homes into squalid camps. “Like many people, I didn’t have any idea of the scale of this conflict” says Hollywod star Helen Mirren.

3) Sudan, where Africa’s longest-running civil war has raged for two decades in the south and almost two years of atrocities in the western Darfur region have raised the spectre of genocide. “Darfur has slipped from the front pages, but the situation there is again going from terrible to being absolutely horrendous,” U.N. relief coordinator Jan Egeland said. In addition the situation in Western Africa and in Zimbabwe are threatening to wreak even more havoc from statrvation and threatened civil wars.

Save them SNAKES

17 02 2006

Walking in ‘the bush’ with my dog Duke and we were going through a patch of elephant grass (about chest high) and couldn’t see much. Suddenly, about 5 feet in front of me, a black oblong head appeared over the grass. The tableau froze. It may have been an Egyptian (but there was no white on its throat) or more probably a black spitter (Naja nigricollis nigricollis). I had a hard time getting Duke not to investigate this phenomenon and during that brief struggle, the curious cobra quietly slipped out of sight.

I have too often seen the fear that a snake can generate and the mindless killing rage that accompanies this fear. But snakes do not deserve this at all, they are a precious part of God’s creation and play an invaluable part in the world’s ecology. Let’s face our fear and look beyond to the beauty and absolute uniqueness of our snakes.
the next time you see a snake victim, save that snake and get it back out to the wilds where it belongs…


13 02 2006

Just imagine – in this day and age – science discovers a lost world, full of never before seen species and untouched by humans? Quite incredible yet true!

Wallace independently came to his theory of evolution after studying indonesia’s wildlife and in particular the amazing birds of paradise…

The ‘rediscovered’ six wired bird of paradise

“It’s beautiful, untouched, unpopulated forest; there’s no evidence of human impact or presence up in these mountains,” Dr Beehler told the BBC News website.

Let’s hope it stays that way.