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Friday, April 24, 2015

Ever Wanted to Be in a Research Study?: Autism Related

      Just a few days ago, I was approached with an unique opportunity. A Psy.D. graduate student is doing a research study on autism and needs some adoptive and biological mothers of children with autism to participate.
       I, for one, am fascinated (and concerned) by the drastic rise in autism in recent years and I definitely think research like this is needed. So while I am not the mother of a child with autism (not yet, anyway), I told Ms. Godone-Maresca that I'd ask you, my awesome readers, if any of you were eligible and interested in participating. Please feel free to pass this information on too if you have a friend who might be interested.

Here's Catherine Godone-Maresca's letter to YOU.



Hello, my name is Catherine Godone-Maresca, M.A., and I am a graduate student at Alliant International University. I am conducting my dissertation study on the experiences of adoptive and biological mothers of a child on the autism spectrum. Mothers of children previously diagnosed as having Asperger’s Syndrome are welcome to participate as well. My interest in this topic has been sparked by personal experiences with adopted family members with special needs and also by my recent work with children diagnosed with autism.

The purpose of this study is to increase social and professional understanding and awareness of mothers’ experiences in parenting their child diagnosed on the autism spectrum. If you are or know of a mother of a child diagnosed with autism, please feel free to contact me and also to share this information with others. Participation will take approximately 1 hour and 45 minutes, although some participants might need to take more time (up to 3 hours and 30 minutes), to respond to survey questions and speak with me about thoughts and experiences. I am willing to be flexible in arranging participation during a time that works with your schedule. Please contact me if you are interested in taking part in this study and for additional information.

Minimum qualifications for participation include being an adoptive or biological mother of a child between 2 and 6 years of age who has been diagnosed with autism. In appreciation of completed participation in this study, compensation for participants will include a Target $25.00 gift card and entry into an Opportunity Drawing to win an additional Target $100.00 gift card. Your estimated chance of winning is between 1 in 12 to 1 in 20, depending on the total number of participants in the study.

Your participation in this doctoral research project would be greatly appreciated!
For more information, please contact me via phone, at (760) 473-0248 or email at cgm_dissertation@yahoo.com.

Thank you very much,

Catherine Godone-Maresca, M.A.


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Thursday, April 23, 2015

2 Surefire Ways to Prevent Sexual Assault

         Did you know that April is Sexual Assault Awareness month? And today, April 23rd, the Army (or at least our base) has decided to honor that fact. Much of the base was ordered to wear jeans and a red shirt instead of a uniform.
        It was so weird seeing soldiers walk by out of uniform.
        Here's our family "prevent sexual assault" dress-up picture.


         (Yes, I couldn't find a red shirt so borrowed my husband's. And yes, Joe-Joe still has his blankie.)


           Though victims of sexual assault can be female or male, almost 99% of sexual assault perpetrators (i.e. rapists) are male. I'm the mom of a boy. How do we teach our sons not to rape people?
          There have been tongue in cheek lists made: https://slutwalkphoenix.wordpress.com/how-to-prevent-rape/

         But in the end, I think preventing sexual assault really boils down to two key issues.

1. Men (and the 1% of female perpetrators) must be taught to respect women. (And humanity in general, if we're talking about male victims.)

2. Men (and the 1% of female perpetrators) must be taught to respect the sexual act.


         In countries governed by laws based upon the Islamic sharia code, the sexual act is greatly respected. Girls can face incredibly severe penalties if they are found to not be virgins on their wedding night. But there is no respect for females. Women can't even drive. They aren't allowed outside the house without a male's permission. And forget marrying who you wish or pressing domestic violence charges against your husband. Unsurprisingly, Saudia Arabia has one of the highest percentage of rape cases per capita in the world.
        The United States has a lot more respect for women. Women are CEOs, serve in high political offices, and compete as equals with men in most public and private spheres. But American citizens are fast losing any respect they had for the sexual act. Everyone has their "one-night-stand" story and movies glorify hooking up with a stranger at the bar as a way of "getting over" being dumped. Far from the 1950s morals of waiting until your wedding night, women are considered prudes if they make their boyfriend wait as "long" as six weeks for sex.
          Advertising consensual sex as "no big deal," also lowers the value people place on non-consensual sex i.e. rape. When I counseled kids in the juvenile jail, I was assigned to the sex offenders unit. I worked with thirteen through nineteen year old males who were primarily in there for statutory rape. Statutory rape means the rapist didn't actually drug someone or physically force someone, but because of the age difference the victim's consent did not count.
         In Colorado, my state, the law says there can be no more than a 48 month age difference between children having sex. So if an almost 17-year-old has sex with his 13-year-old girlfriend, that's great. That's "healthy sexual exploration" and counselors applaud it. If, however, that 13-year-old girl is one month younger and now instead of a 3 years 11 months age difference, there's a 4 year and 1 month age difference, that boyfriend is guilty of a felony. According to the law, he's raped this 12 1/2-year-old girl.
         See why the kids I counseled got confused? Either sex is a big deal and that almost 17-year-old is in BIG trouble for sleeping with the 13-year-old (he sure would be if I was his mom!), or sex isn't a big deal and who cares about statutory rape when the girl's one more month younger.
          I support Sexual Assault Awareness month (hey, I wore red when the Army told me too; and I NEVER do what the Army tells me too. ;) But rape culture is never going to be eliminated in a country until both women and the sexual act are respected and taken seriously. Treat either of those casually, and you're going to end up with Roofies slipped in drinks on your average night at the bar, or teens gang-raped at the side of the road on your average day in Saudia Arabia.

Like what you're reading? Why not join my thunderclap for foster kids https://www.thunderclap.it/projects/22968-do-you-worry-about-orphans and help the over 100,000 waiting U.S. kids find their forever families through a social media shout-out.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Desperate Times . . .

       Call for desperate measures. And what times were more desperate than the Wild, Wild West?

     This weekend we took Joe-Joe for a taste of the Wild West at a local tourist town. Gunfights, stage  coaches, 19th century dresses, this town had it all.





Joe-Joe was a little afraid of the ponies.


For good reason!



Here's Joe-Joe posing with the littlest cowboy. Look very closely at the cowboy's six shooter.


And now look what Joe-Joe does in this second picture.


Me, when reviewing photos: "Were you going for that gun, Joe-Joe?"
Joe-Joe: "But it was stuck!"

Probably a good thing . . . :)



     The town was a lot of fun. People were drawing six-shooters on main street and re-enacting historic shoot-outs in the local theater.


         I wonder what it would have been like to vent your angst with gunsmoke rather than social media rants.
         They compare the pen to the sword, but has it ever been deemed as potent as a gun?



         Not that I'm considering a display of gunsmoke or anything. ;) I just desperately need 200 more people to join my thunderclap for foster kids. (Thunderclap is a spam-free technology where you donate one Facebook status or tweet to a cause or book release. All the pre-written statuses are posted on the same day, Apr 28th, for a thunderclap of support.)
     And social media appeals haven't been very effective. If I don't get 200 more people in the next 13 days my thunderclap dies and no Facebook statuses or tweets go out. And since I've put about 60 hours into this campaign, I think that would be really tragic. :(
       Anyone want to help out an author armed only with a pen not a six-shooter and check out my thunderclap by clicking the link below?
https://www.thunderclap.it/projects/22968-do-you-worry-about-orphans

     Because it's kind of illegal in my town to try the Wild, Wild West method of getting peoples' attention. :)