Fragile X Fragile Hope (Parenting a Special Needs Child)

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I learned a lot from reading “Fragile X Fragile Hope” by Elizabeth Griffin and also found it to be inspirational.  Her son, Zach, is intellectually disabled and displays autistic features, which was caused by Fragile X syndrome.

Elizabeth Griffin talks about the medical ramifications that cause her son to struggle in daily life.  For example, Zach’s stress hormones are heightened whenever he experiences a stressor.  Also, those chemicals will remain active in the brain much longer than normal.  As a result, he struggles to remain calm during normal daily events.

Elizabeth Griffin also discusses her feelings of desperation, guilt, and grief.  She gives an honest portrayal of those emotions and how they affected her life.  Support groups became essential, so she could work through those feelings and thoughts without fear of judgement.

There is section about navigating the maze of available services.  She discovered some treatments were a waste of time and money, but others were extremely beneficial.  Therefore, it is important to fully investigate your options and the services offered.

I recommend this book to anyone with a special needs child.  It is also beneficial to people who want to gain a better understand of the struggles faced by parents with disabled children.

Three Dimensional Dog

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I enjoy working with and training my dogs.  I’ve read a ton of books on dog training and attended several different training schools with my dogs.  However, the book “Three Dimensional Dog” by Aaron McDonald is different from anything I have encountered up to this point.

It was eye opening and changed my entire approach to dog training.  While I was reading the book, I was wondering why didn’t I think about these issues.  It seems so obvious now.

The first part of the book explains the differences between trick training and cognitive behavior training.

Most dogs are trained to perform an action for a treat.  The training is focused only on the outer behavior of the dog.  This is known as trick training.

Cognitive behavior training looks at the whole dog.  It addresses the inner mind and emotions of the dog and uses that information to teach the dog how to live peacefully within the family unit.  The three dimensional approach to dog training is based on cognitive behaviorism.

The first dimension that needs to be addressed is the dog’s emotional needs.  Does the dog feel safe and have appropriate boundaries?  Are the dog’s physical needs being addressed?

The second dimension is concerned with what the dog is thinking.  Before a dog does anything they will develop an intellectual plan.  Paying attention to the dog’s body language will tell you how the dog is feeling and give you insight into what the dog is thinking.

The third dimension involves action.  It is everything the dog does with their body.  This is where traditional training methods actually start.

Addressing the dogs physical, emotional, and intellectual needs will allow the dog to reach a state of actualization.  Also, focusing on the three dimensions help the dog achieve a balanced emotional state.  This allows the dog to reach their fullest potential and be a functioning member of the family unit.