Friday, May 29, 2009

Superintendent Apparently Harrassed Over H1N1 Scare. Poor Guy.

When you live in an upscale suburb, you get to know how the parents can be. Let's just say, I wouldn't want to be a teacher in my town. The "catch more flies with honey" strategy isn't a popular one. The "I'll sue your ass!" strategy definitely has more takers around here.

So...I can't say I was surprised when I got this email last night from the Superintendent of Schools. You'll recall he sent out an initial email yesterday announcing a single case of swine flu.  Another email, confirming that yes, in fact, it was just ONE case followed shortly. And then, God bless him, he sent this out last night: 

Dear Parents/Guardians:

Many parents/guardians have contacted my office and the schools seeking additional information regarding the student who has been diagnosed with H1N1 influenza and the risk to students throughout the district. More specifically, an e-mail is being circulated amongst the parent community claiming many more H1N1 influenza cases and I feel it is critical that I address the concerns contained within that e-mail.

As stated before, and confirmed by the <> Health Department, only one child within all of our schools has been diagnosed and confirmed with the H1N1 influenza virus. This student, along with other students in our secondary schools, attended a religious retreat over the Memorial Day weekend. It was learned Thursday evening, from parents of other students who attended the same religious retreat, that other students have subsequently experienced flu-like symptoms. As of this e-mail, we have heard from one other parent whose children are being tested for H1N1 influenza after one of their children tested positive for Type A influenza. The results of that test, for H1N1, are not available.

H1N1 influenza is a Type A strain of influenza and it is estimated that there is a 75% chance Type A influenza will test positive as H1N1 influenza. Flu-like symptoms include fever, headache, exhaustion, dry cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, muscle aches, and stomach ailments such as nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea.

To date, neither the Health Department, the Department of Health and Senior Services, or the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend school closures. It is important to remember that unless we all remain in our homes, there is no sure way to prevent transmission. We are all susceptible by going to the mall, a restaurant, a movie theatre, a youth retreat or other public place. There is no definitive information that school closure prevents the spread of H1N1 influenza.

Health professionals are learning more about H1N1 influenza every day, and most believe that the longest survival rate of the virus on any surface is eight hours or less. This means that H1N1 influenza virus cannot survive overnight in any building or in any of our schools.

If your child develops flu-like symptoms you should contact your primary care physician and your school nurse. If your child is symptomatic, you should keep them and their siblings home from school. I encourage all of us to exercise proper hygiene and most importantly washing our hands. It is important that this is reiterated to your children at home. It will help reinforce what they are learning in school.

It is has not been recommended, by local and State health officials, that we close our schools. Public Schools remains vigilant in ensuring the safety of our students. We will continue to monitor and assess any abnormal absentee rates and keep you apprised of any important information. We will continue to evaluate and be diligent with regard to possible cases of H1N1 influenza. Rumors regarding students exhibiting flu-like symptoms must be confirmed and I encourage you to contact your child's school nurse if you feel you have information about a student/family that is not being reported.

Rather than frequent e-mails regarding this issue, we will be updating our website,, with any other information regarding our schools and H1N1 influenza.


Superintendent of Schools

Think the guy was harrassed much yesterday? Sheesh!

Thursday, May 28, 2009

H1N1 in our school. Should I be worried?

I just got an email from the superintendent of our school district. 

Dear Parents/Guardians:

 We have just received word that the test results from the student who attended the religious retreat last weekend were positive for the H1N1 influenza.  As my email stated last evening, the ill student did not attend school this week.  We are happy to report that the student is feeling much better and is resting at home.  

Some students from the trip, who were not exhibiting any symptoms, did come to school on Tuesday morning, however they were sent home as soon as we were alerted of the possible exposure.  The rest of the students who were on the trip, along with their siblings, were kept out of school for 72 hours;  24 hours longer than the advised incubation period of 48 hours.  No other students from this trip have exhibited any symptoms and the incubation period was over on Tuesday.

 We are working in conjunction with the (local)Health Department and are following all of the tracking and precautionary measures advised by them and the State Health Department.  The number one advisory from both health departments is strict hand washing.  However, we do encourage parents/guardians to educate themselves about the H1N1 influenza and the best resource is the Center for Disease Control and Prevention website,

(Our local) Public Schools (have) taken and will continue to take every step necessary to ensure the health and safety of its students and staff.  As always, a parent/guardian has the choice to keep their child home from school;  however, please be advised that regular attendance procedures apply.

 If you have any questions please feel free to contact your school nurse.




Superintendent of Schools

 I should probably, as the mother of an asthmatic child in the district, be more concerned...but I'm not. It's the flu. Its a weird summery flu that comes from pigs, but it's the flu. B's allergic to eggs and can't be vaccinated anyway, so it's really no greater risk than any other flu.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Semantic Pragmatic Disorder

Holy S**t! This is it - this is my Ig!  Check it out:

Spring Asthma Update

Hey, all - just checking in. It's been quiet on the blog, I know, but believe me...not so much at home!

While we've kept the asthma at bay well enough, sons #1 and #3 have had horrible allergies this season (ironic, since #2 is the only one with diagnosed allergies).  I really need to get them both to the peds - runny noses, wet coughs, all kinds of icky booger nastiness. #1 is 7 now and really uncomfortable. He's getting a little relief with Zyrtec, but not nearly enough.

More time consuming and concerning has been the story of #3, our little Ig, now 3.5 years old. As my longtime readers know, #1 son has Aspergers Syndrome, a mild form of autism. (He's 100% mainstreamed at school, doing beautifully and has absolutely no disciplinary issues.  He's a gift and a blessing in every way.) So we have some experience with developmental concerns. And we think Ig has some kind of developmental delay. We're not sure what, but we're trying to get answers.

The last few months of my life have been spent (apart from changing jobs and restarting my singing career at night - another story!) trying to get help for Ig. This has involved a long process with the school district's Child Study Team, several unreturned calls to the nearest Child Development Center (finally got an appointment - in August) and a visit with a family therapist...along with many tears and a lot of shouting.

Ig is a beautiful little soul, but so difficult that he's thrown off the balance we had as a family. He obstinate, combative, and prone to tantrums. He has no impulse control whatsoever, which concerns me every single waking moment (he WILL run out the door of the daycare center and into the driveway. He WILL leave the house while I shower) and he is immune to discipline. What concerns me most though are his communication skills.  He's not capable of any kind of meaningful conversation - only  brief, immediate chats about what we're doing in that moment. And I'm concerned that a lot of what he does say is echolalia.

Because I can't modify his behavior, I've modified mine. When I shower, I put on his favorite TV  show and bolt the doors.  (I plan to put a latch up high on the door, as well.) I park at the back of the daycare center, so the car can butt up to the sidewalk, instead of having to cross the parking lot and driveway to get to the door. I choose weekend activities for which he doesn't necessarily have to stay put or stay quiet - like going to our local zoo. (We went twice this weekend!)  He needs to have his own story at bed time, so I have to read twice as much (one story for B and Oz, one for Ig) so I can keep the routine we've had for him since infancy.  

And I've given up on getting him to sit and eat at dinner time. We try to eat as a family as much as possible, but Ig won't sit  (or eat) for more than a few minutes, so I just have a safe activity lined up for him when he leaves the table.

It's exhausting. And it's not fair to B and Oz. Ig requires so much of my time and attention that I worry that the two older boys are missing out - or worse, feeling like I love Ig more than them. I'm desperate to find out what's going on with him so he can get the help he needs - and so I can pull my family back together. least the asthma's been under control, right?