July 31, 2009

ADD, ADHD, and dyspraxia resources in Seattle and North King County

This is a review in only the loosest possible way, but I had some bits and pieces I wanted to assemble in one spot and this seems like a good place. A few times a month -- and that's not an exaggeration -- I have a conversation with a parent who's just found out their kid has special needs of one type or another. A few days ago I met a woman at a playground whose son had just been semi-diagnosed with ADHD, and she ended up using a golf pencil to scrawl phone numbers on the label of her water bottle.

So, for that woman at the playground and for anyone else who can use it, here are some helpful people in the Seattle / Shoreline / North King County area.

Rosemary White PT/ OT
. She has a waiting list for new clients; get on it. The other therapists in her office are good, too. Occupational and physical therapy can help with all sorts of issues, including dyspraxia. I think most of her clients are on the autistic spectrum, but not all of them are. Her summer camp is great -- expensive, and medical insurance doesn't cover it, but great. Any age.

The Parenting Clinic, a.k.a. Dinosaur School. A wonderful program at UW for young children who need to learn how to control their aggressive and impulsive aspects, and for parents to learn how to help them with it. I can't recommend it highly enough. My family was very lucky and got into the summer camp and Saturday morning parenting program. It was life changing, in a good way. Ages 4 - 8, roughly.

Child Find. This is the first step in getting your kid into special ed in Seattle, and here's Child Find for the Shoreline school district. Free preschool, and they get to ride the bus! Yeah! Score! (No, but really, it's bizarre how many friends were envious that my three-year-old got into special ed while they had to pay for their neurotypical child to go to preschool. People are strange.) Age 3 and up.

ABCD, Inc.
Child psychologists. If you want an official diagnosis -- which can be useful for getting your son or daughter the resources they need -- this is a good place to go. Any age.

Wonderland. In Shoreline. All kinds of support for all kinds of special needs. I don't know them personally, but I've heard only good things about them. Newborn to age 3.

Kindering Center. Like Wonderland, but in Bellevue. They have parent support groups with childcare (although the babysitters were a bit out of their depth, I found). Newborn to age 3.

Shoreline Co-op Preschool. Not specifically for kids with special needs, but the teacher there is great about working with all kinds of children. Ages 2 - 5, roughly.

The Center for Children with Special Needs. At Children's Hospital. I haven't found much of use here, but maybe you will. Any age.

Washington State's ombudsman for special education. This is where you take your complaints with the school district, if you have any. And maybe you won't! Let's stay optimistic, shall we?

...but just in case: Dussault Law Group. A legal firm specializing in helping people with disabilities.

Dale Turner YMCA in Shoreline has "special skills" baseball and soccer teams, and they're going to do more. Each player has a "buddy" who helps them stay on target, throw a ball, or whatever it is they need assistance with. The teams aren't listed on the website, so give the Y a call. Ages 5 to 21, I think, but they might start younger.

Outdoors for All has day camps and other activities for people with all sorts of disabilities. Well-intentioned and friendly, but they didn't know what to do with an impulsive kid who kept running away. Who can blame them? I don't know what to do, either.

More as I think of it. Good luck! Courage! Look after yourself!

July 27, 2009

BlogHer '09

The only conferences I've been to before have involved either Spock ears or learning Dynix shortcuts, so I may have had some misconceptions about what BlogHer '09 would be like. Here are a few quick thoughts I wanted to get down before I went and read everyone else's blog entries on this last weekend.

The BlogHer conference is great for some people. I'm not one of them. I wasn't interested in growing my search engine optimization market social media network, and I don't write about my kids. That didn't leave a whole heck of a lot. If those are your interests, though, I bet you would've had a good time.

The conference was too big. I had hoped that any random woman I introduced myself to would be doing a project I wanted to hear about. Although every single person I met was friendly, a whole hell of a lot of them were doing things that were uninteresting to me. A lot of PR people. A lot. Marketing this, marketing that. I'm sure the SEO people were all charming, but that's not who I was hoping to have cocktails with.

If I go to another convention for bloggers, I'll make sure that the participants are working in fields I'd actually like to hear about.

#blogherhumor. I've asked BlogHer before to have a "humor" category for blogs. I think my blog gets filed under "entertainment," possibly "DIY," but whatever it is it really doesn't have much to do with the content of my writing. It turns out I'm not the only person to have requested this; several people mentioned it at the Humor panel. Are they afraid of offending advertisers? Shouldn't the sheer number of people who are interested in reading and writing humor blogs be an indication that it's a market?

That panel discussion, by the way, was in a teeeeny room:

That's it about ten minutes before it started, when it got even more crowded. We like humor!

...or maybe we don't. This was me at the "Birds of a Feather" lunch, waiting for other humor bloggers to show up. And waiting. And waiting.

(The sign says "HUMOR." Eventually the table filled up.)

I liked the Geek Lab sessions I went to; they were helpful and interesting. And popular; people were sitting on the floor at most of them, just like at the humor and pop culture panels.

The marketing was alienating. I understand that ticket sales don't cover the cost of the convention, and that corporate sponsors are necessary. But man, I felt condescended to.

Chicago is a beautiful city. When I realized the convention wasn't the right place for me, I went out and had a good time being a tourist.

Things I would've liked: more tech talks. Bloggers and Fair Use. Marketing that was relevant to me (e.g. the Shutter Sisters's Lensbaby walkabout, which I loved -- and look, it worked, I'm linking to their product).

This all makes it sound like I was miserable, and I wasn't. I was disappointed, though. I had hoped I would find my people. I would've been interested in more discussions that were relevant to my bloggerly interests. And that one waiter at the BoF lunch was wicked rude. But the women (and few men) I talked to were all pleasant, I saw a friend I hadn't seen for years, I met up with my sister and her wife for the first time in ages, and I got to see a teeny bit of a new (to me) city.

Finally: the memory of a Ms. Potatohead and a giant lizard dancing together to a karaoked "We Belong" is one that will stay with me for a long time.

Enough! Off to see what everyone else thought.

*** ADDENDUM ***

Some more thoughts, which I just put up at the very interesting discussion at the main BlogHer page:

My problems with the marketing

I was surprised by how much advertising there was there. Not just the swag (some of which my kids liked), but all over the place. HP outside one conference room, the orange juice booth in the main lobby, Strawberry Shortcake outside another conference room, Pepsi being praised from the main stage, Ragu all over the first lunch, someone dressed as Ronald McDonald posing for photos during the same lunch, the junk food 'n' soft drinks corner downstairs, the dryer sheets sinisterly appearing in my hotel room... there was no avoiding it.

I understand the need for corporate sponsors, I really do. But the irrelvance of their products makes me think that BlogHer conferences aren't for me. I felt like I was walking through an issue of Women's Day.

I would've like to have more emphasis on my interests as a blogger. Yes, I'm a woman; yes, I have kids. But I didn't go to Chicago because I'm a mother, I went because I have a website.

November 21, 2008

Linden Street

JCPenney and BlogHer gave me $500 to go blow on whatever my little heart desired, so long as it was from JCPenney's "Linden Street" (warning: soothing music) line. Trying to keep JCPenney away from the snark on my regular blog, I'm doing the review over here in a safe space. Onwards!

I went in planning on getting a chair. The Linden Street Friday Slipcovered Chaise is one of the most comfortable chairs I've ever sat in, and the green is attractive. I highly, highly recommend it. But it would've cost me $300 in addition to the gift card, so... instead I went for a lot of little things. Here's what I ended up with, after a shopping with a hyperactive child and a very helpful manager.


Oh my lord these are the softest towels ever. I think I can hear them purring, they're so soft. Maybe they're not as absorbent as the cheap-o towels they're replacing, but they're so gloriously soft that I don't care I might start sleeping on a pile of them. They're that soft.


I used to spend a lot of time driving around thrift stores in Tacoma, looking for Homer Laughlin non-Fiesta restaurant dishware. We don't have dishes that match, and I think I like that... but it does look sloppy, I guess, and we don't have enough to go around on Thanksgiving. Here are some of my favorites:

And here's the new batch, "Heritage Park," which doesn't show up on their website:

I got two 16-piece sets, one yellowish and one off-white. The bowls are enormous, which is great. They're supposed to look rough-hewn (that can't possibly be the right word for dishes) and hand made but they're pumped out by a factory in China, so that's a bit odd.

The dinner plates are so huge they don't fit in my dishwasher, so they're just sitting in the box. Why would a store sell everyday dinner plates that are too big for a normal dishwasher? So I need to keep my old Buffalo china to use as dinner plates, and we're still mismatched.


I bought the back-tab panel curtains for my bedroom closet and window, in pine green. The colors on their website aren't accurate -- the green is darker. The curtains are thick, and that's a good price for thermals.

A lamp

My desk, before:

My desk, after:

It's still ugly and messy. But it's much better lit, and that's really all I care about for now. The lamp is adjustable in all sorts of ways, can take a three-way bulb, and is sturdy. Recommended. But looking at these photos makes me wonder if I should've spent the $500 on a new desk.

(Yes, I write a blog making fun of other people's decorating and photography skills. Those who cannot do, mock.)

Candles and Candle Holder

My shopping companion was going nuts with boredom, I had $100 left to blow, argh what to get what to get and then said shopping companion picked up a candle holder and said "We could put this in the fireplace!"

So we did.

I like it. It's my favorite purchase of the expedition. They don't have it on the website. Here's another photo, so you can choose between "too dark" and "blurry":

The candles are also from there, and are blessedly non-scented. They look kinda classy. Perhaps even pretty. The iron (at least I think it's iron) candleholder looks good in our 1960s rambler without being self-consciously retro. Recommended!

Want your own candleholder, or a stack of the fluffiest towels in the history of... ah... towels? Head on over to BlogHer, where they -- and JCPenney -- giving away gift cards! $100 gift cards! Five of 'em! Go! Scoot! What are you still reading this for?

But if you're desperate for entertainment, here's this:

October 16, 2008

Coming soon...