As the days get darker and the Halloween decorations come out, I wanted to republish this piece from last year. I still think about my conversation with haunted house creator and medical mama Chrissa Paradis and how cathartic a good scream and a giggle can be.
Here’s an excerpt. Follow the link below for the real deal:
[…] As parents to kids with medical emergencies — or the isolating subset of folks who have to deal with the real possibility of child death — visceral terror is not funny or theoretical: It’s some of the most real moments of our lives.
But perhaps, even for us, recreational fear can be healthy.
“As someone with a heavy amount of stored trauma — screaming, the act of literally screaming and releasing — you feel it free some of that,” says medical mama Paradis, producer and director of guest services at ScareGrounds PDX. “It really does have a restorative nature.”
Paradis says it has also been interesting to see how her staff have benefited from creating scares. She says about half of the cast members are LGBTQ and have experienced a lot of struggle in their lives — either coming to terms with themselves or with their family and friends’ reactions.
“They all find that creating the scares and taking that control is very healthy for them,” Paradis says. “So we kind of see it on both sides of how this environment provides some very primal healing.”[…]
Medical Motherhood’s news round up
Snippets of news and opinion from outlets around the world. Click the links for the full story.
• From The Texas Tribune: “Disability advocates argue against school vouchers in Texas Senate hearing”
Questions about how a voucher program would — or wouldn’t — serve children with disabilities took center stage at a Texas Senate education committee hearing Tuesday to discuss the main school voucher bill on the table during the Legislature’s latest special session.
Senate Bill 1, authored by Sen. Brandon Creighton, R-Conroe, would use taxpayer dollars to create education savings accounts, a voucher-like program that would give families access to $8,000 a year to pay for private school tuition and other educational expenses.
Voucher proponents argue that education savings accounts would allow students with disabilities access to specialized schools if public schools are not meeting their needs. Opponents, however, have pointed out that private schools, unlike public schools, are not required by law to provide special education services.
Some disability advocates have raised concerns about funneling public dollars into private schools when the state’s public school system, which serves most special needs students in Texas, remains underfunded. The number of students with disabilities in Texas has increased by 200,000 in the last five years, according to Steven Aleman, policy specialist at Disability Rights Texas.
“Our public school enrollment is growing. Our special education population is growing,” Aleman testified Tuesday. “We need to focus on supporting that system first and foremost, and [education savings accounts], quite frankly, are just a luxury we cannot afford.”
[…]Mandy Drogin, campaign director of an education initiative for the conservative think tank Texas Public Policy Foundation, argued the opposite. Drogin said she recently heard from a mother whose son with Asperger’s syndrome tried to take his life after repeated bullying in public school for his disability.
“I have heard thousands of parents begging for the opportunity to speak for their child and unchain them from a school that is not serving them,” Drogin said.
[The Senate bill’s author acknowledged the potential for discrimination in private school entry but said that should be worked out as a separate bill.
[…]“Although I understand your concerns that private schools have the ability to approve or deny based on that framework within that private school, moms and dads will be much smarter than us, as senators, in choosing the school that’s best for their child,” Creighton added.[…]
• From CalMatters: “Newsom’s veto lets California counties continue taking foster kids’ money”
Gov. Gavin Newsom has vetoed a bill preventing California counties from taking benefits, such as Social Security checks, from orphaned or disabled children in their custody, to pay for their foster care.
The veto disappointed children’s advocates who have pushed for California to instead save those benefits for children to access when they’re adults.
It also defies a nationwide trend. Increasingly, states led by Republicans and Democrats are stopping their child welfare agencies from the decades-old practice of essentially reimbursing themselves for providing foster care by cashing in certain children’s Social Security checks.
Recently Arizona, New Mexico and Oregon have halted the practice, which came under increased scrutiny in 2021 after NPR and The Marshall Project published an investigation. This summer the federal government encouraged states to help children save their benefits instead, or find loved ones who could receive the payments on their behalf.
[…]But in a veto letter issued Sunday, Newsom wrote that the measure to stop the practice, AB 1512, would have cost too much, in a year he and lawmakers have to close a more than $30 billion budget shortfall.
[…]“Governor Newsom let down thousands of hopeful, disabled and orphaned foster youth by vetoing AB 1512,” [Amy Harfeld, national policy director of the Children’s Advocacy Institute at the University of San Diego,] wrote. “Budget challenges or not, picking the pockets of California’s most vulnerable foster youth to fund their care is morally and fiscally indefensible.”
[…]The state contends child welfare agencies are spending the benefits appropriately — on the children’s care — just as if they were the children’s parents.
[…State Assembly leader and bill author Isaac] Bryan, a former foster child, described the potential costs to the state as negligible. The entire state’s overall child welfare system costs nearly $5 billion a year.
He said he will push for state money to be included in next year’s budget to halt the practice.[…]
• From Disability Scoop: “Feds Aim To Ease Shortage Of Special Educators”
[…]The U.S. Department of Education said it is awarding over $35 million to bolster the workforce of special education teachers and administrators, related services providers, those at early intervention programs and university faculty preparing these specialists.
A significant portion of the grants will be used for scholarships and other efforts to help students cover the cost of completing programs to prepare them for jobs serving children with disabilities, officials said.
[…]“Investing in the preparation and professional development of a strong, diverse workforce to serve children with disabilities is critical, not only to the well-being of individuals with disabilities, but to improve outcomes for all children,” said Glenna Wright-Gallo, assistant secretary for the Education Department’s Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services.
[…A]s of the start of this school year, data shows that 42 states and Washington, D.C. had a shortage of special educators.
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