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In light of the shootings at Newtown Elementary in Connecticut, there is still much more to consider. Recently, New York Governor, Andrew Cuomo proposed even more stringent checks and legislation on firearms. His angered emphasis was made clear by his picture of popping veins in his neck and forehead on the front page of the New York Daily News this past week. That's great! Bravo! Yet, there was no discussion on mental issues; no mention of how our society could reach out to the mentally ill, to provide some support to their immediate circle, which is often heavily-burdened and over-worked. Severe mental spiralling, like that which led a lonely, isolated soul (from what I've read---poor parental guidance from a mother who needed much support, herself, and from a father and older brother who found it more comfortable to get away, live with others, and not see a young son and younger sibling for over two years) to take out his issues on elementary school children like a monster, does... read more

In a recent "New York Times" science article, journalist Benedict Carey writes that the psychiatric community is updating its influential diagnostic manual, hoping to clarify psychiatric diagnoses and to better integrate them into clinical practice. This will obviously improve treatment of personality disorders and clarify further the often subtle differences among mood, personality, and psychotic disorders. From what I understand this is a difficult task, at best. Having a long-term student, S., who is preparing to pass the rest of his subject tests for his GED early next year (S. has already passed the history and science sections of the test this past August, but needed some extra time to further review writing, language skills, and math) and who has been battling with these often misdiagnosed psychiatric issues, I've been following these developments as closely as possible. I'm learning that more and more is being done to better understand these disorders. Young adults... read more

In working with my most recent student on GED prep for the last six months, many obstacles were faced and much was, and continues to be, learned. It's interesting that all of this has been going on as I've been delving into Lisa Bloom's most recent bestseller "Swagger" and comparing it to Dr. Leonard Sax's long-time winner "Boys Adrift". Both Bloom and Dr. Sax make good cases for many of our young boys' and young male adults' slacking and loss of competitiveness---all the way from environmental factors affecting the male brain to the economy's loss of manufacturing jobs (normally held by men) to high school and college curricula overburdening our young men with "unmanly" approaches to achievement. Both Bloom and Sax seem to conclude that the young male often drops out of formal education and into unmotivated indifference---that our society is losing relevance for them, and they just drop-out. While this may be the case with many of our young men, I can't... read more

It has been almost four years that we've been working together. His many special needs were a big concern for a small school district in Nassau County, New York. Having worked with many other students in New York City and in Nassau County for years, both as a classroom teacher and as a street counselor, and having attended seminars, and even conducted some, for the troubled child, I was asked to help a young 13 year old boy, C., who had been in and out of various special programs and special schools. "Any thing you can do after school to help supplement his class activities, would be a big help" was the request from his mom and school guidance counselors. Whatever it be, spelling, math, grammar, reading, history, science, C. could benefit from all of it. I found out he could benefit from other things, as well. Along the way, I think I've become a big brother, confidant, strict disciplinarian, easy going uncle figure, part-time dad, spiritual advisor, teacher-tutor, and... read more

I'd like to say thank you to the WyzAnt family for allowing it to happen, and, at the same time, introduce you to a great student, very much interested in the Italian language and culture. Her name is Faye of New York City, New York. She was particularly interested in the "intricacies of the Italian language", as she put it, for an eventual sojourn in Italy. In fact, Faye is on her way to Italy as I blog. She made it perfectly clear that she had a fascination with Italy ever since childhood and that she would one day live there for an extended period of time---in this case it may be close to a year. She promised she'll keep in touch during it all. Other than short trips and brief stays on her way to other European countries, Faye had never attempted to live in Italy. She was ready now, after many, many years. When we first started working together---over two months ago---she put it bluntly that I was to help her grow the little Italian she already knew and to add... read more

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