All Ellis Amdur’s commentary on books relevant to crisis intervention and psychology has been moved to
FIGHTING BULLYING WITH BABIES
Human beings’ experience their heart soften in the presence of a baby. Even damaged human beings. A wonderful program in schools that introduces kids to the care of tiny babies – with the result that violence and bullying decreases radically. We sometimes spend so much time creating special new therapies when the disorder can be that our children are growing up in a way that is biologically unsound. Through most of human history, children spent time with tiny ones. It is a fair assumption that the care of the vulnerable elicits empathy – and this program seems to prove it.
THE TWO YEAR WINDOW:THE NEW SCIENCE OF BABIES AND BRAINS – AND HOW IT COULD REVOLUTIONIZE THE FIGHT AGAINST POVERTY
A summary of the Bucharest study, which establishes that severely neglected babies suffer profound damage to their ability to learn, to manage their emotions and to attach (love) anyone. And that if they are taken out of such circumstances before the age of two and placed in a loving, caring and skilled home of caregivers, their brain may largely, if not completely recover. If after the age of two, it is very likely that all the love and care in the world may not be sufficient to repair damage that is present on a neurological level.
Donovan, John & Zucker, Karen
AUTISM’S FIRST CHILD
An account of Donald Gray Triplett, 77, of Forest, Mississippi, the first person ever diagnosed with autism. And his long, happy, surprising life.
ADDERAL DOESN’T HELP KIDS GET BETTER GRADES
A strong study establishes that children medicated for ADHD do not get better grades, and tend to drop out of school more than unmedicated kids with the same diagnosis. Apparently, making kids manageable does not improve school performance. The article theorizes that such children, less active (disruptive), get less attention, and their real struggles with learning therefore get less attention.
THE OVERPROTECTED KID
A preoccupation with safety has stripped childhood of independence, risk-taking and discovery–without making it safer. A new kind of playground is a better solution. With far more opportunities to get hurt, the children don’t.. . . with adults out of the picture, they regulate themselves.
HE’S JUST NOT INTO THAT ANYMORE
Article on the effect of internet porn on the libido of young men, and how it’s affecting relationships between men and women (badly). In essence, we are rewiring our sexuality from a sensual, bodily experience, to one primarily linked to visual stimuli, rapid-fire changing images, and “sexual performance” far divorced from that of living, breathing human beings.
UMAR FAROUK ABDULMUTALLAB AND THE CHRISTMAS DAY ATTACK:
WHY AREN’T LESSONS LEARNED?
An excellent article on why we, in the West, keep making the same mistakes in regards to flight security, comparing our procedures to the exemplary security methods of the Israelis, who rely, far more heavily on behavioral (not racial!) profiling rather than easily neutralized technological fixes.
HIghlighting the positive traits that can accompany an illness is estimable, and there are many books that do that well. One ca, however, not grasp how terrible a disorder autism can be, and how utterly helpless anyone can be to make things even the slightest degree better. Autism has become a “diagnosis de jour,” with people being described or even claiming to have a “touch of Aspergers.” It is also not surprising that most of the books on autism describe remarkable people, either those with “splinter talents,” such as a remarkable ability to remember, calculate or draw, or people who may have social deficits, but are, nonetheless, productive members of society. There is a start reality, however, that is not written about so often: it is at once too horrible and too mundane. Stories about severe autism, quite simply, provide no reading pleasure and they describe lives that pathology dictates end up much the same. This small essay, by a father of a severely autistic daughter, expresses empathy for another father who killed his autistic son and then himself. After reading about his own life, you will be humbled by the love and caring that he and his wife are able to express, while wondering if you could offer even a fraction of that, were you in the same situation.
THE BOOK WHOSE BRAIN COULD UNLOCK AUTISM
An excellent article concerning research that suggests that autism is not merely a social deficit (lack of empathy) coupled with developmental disability. Rather, it is the response to an overwhelming flood of too much sensory input. The malfunction of the brain is one of over-sensitivity. Autistic people do not lack ‘affective empathy,’ otherwise known as sympathy. They do have a deficit in taking another’s perspective. But when they grasp that perspective, they care–often profoundly so. Too much stimulation from all senses leads to an experience of a terrifying, fearful world.
Films & Videos
HOLLYWOOD VS REALITY: OFFICER INVOLVED SHOOTINGS
An excellent video prepared by the Eugene Police Department that should be disseminated as widely as possible to help explain to the public the realities of officer-involved shootings. Due to a number of myths, the general public has a terribly skewed idea on what officers should or even can do. This film does a lot to counter these misunderstandings.
The commentary on this video is less than stellar. The fact is this: a correctional officer was attacked by an inmate who, as you see, attempted to kill him. The officer was saved by five other inmates. Although not discussed in the clip, the inmates were actually all in jail on very serious charges. A newspaper article follow-up went in more depth. When asked why they helped the officer, they said that ‘he was a good man and treated everyone with respect.’