Clear masks for caregivers mean young children can keep learning from adults’ faces : The Conversation

With caregivers’ faces covered, infants and young children will miss out on all the visual cues they’d normally get during stages of rapid developmental growth.

Source: Clear masks for caregivers mean young children can keep learning from adults’ faces : The Conversation

Signs of Autism in Infants and Children – Autism Parenting Magazine

Early signs of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) can be detected in infants, yet many children with autism do not receive a diagnosis until the ages of two or three. While not every autistic baby is able to be diagnosed as an infant, there are many benefits to receiving a diagnosis before reaching preschool age. According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC) an autism diagnosis can be appropriately given at the age of 18 months or even sooner for some babies. Doctors will typically do a screening for autism spectrum disorders at the 9 month, 18 month, 2-year, and 3-year wellness checkups. The earlier an infant is diagnosed with autism, the sooner interventions can begin and the best resources can be identified.

Many children with autism, however, do not receive an official diagnosis until they reach the age of two or three years old, usually after the child has already begun preschool and social interactions have become more obviously strained. It is never too late to be diagnosed and begin identifying resources to help make life with autism easier. The earlier a child is diagnosed (especially in his/her formative years of development) the sooner the child can begin to benefit from selected


Source: Signs of Autism in Infants and Children – Autism Parenting Magazine

Utah hospital now screens all new moms for depression : Deseret News Utah


Kristin Murphy, Deseret News
Penny, Finn and Harper Ellis pretend to operate on their mother Kelby Ellis at home in Lehi on Friday, Nov. 10, 2017. Utah Valley Hospital now screens all new moms for postpartum depression, which Ellis experienced after her children were born, before leaving the hospital.

PROVO — New moms are often given a checklist of things to know before leaving the hospital with their inherently needy little ones.

And, until recently, the focus was mostly on the baby.

“We don’t want the moms to suffer,” said Kerri Abney, a licensed clinical social worker who works in the mother/baby unit at Utah Valley Hospital. She said a lot of moms go home with a new baby not knowing that feeling overwhelmed and weak is common, but can lead to bigger problems.

“A lot of women just feel like that’s the way it is because they’re a mom, but that isn’t true,” Abney said. “We want them to enjoy their time with their children.”

Utah Valley Hospital now screens all new moms for depression, anxiety and other mental health illnesses before leaving the hospital. The aim is to catch potential problems earlier and direct women who need it to treatment sooner.

“Aren’t you supposed to come home from the hospital and love your baby and want to spend all day with them, snuggle with them and be happy all the time? Isn’t that what you’re supposed to do?” said Kelby Ellis, of Lehi, who experienced pretty serious postpartum depression with the births of all five of her children.

“I felt like I wanted to get in my car and drive away,” she said, recalling the first bout that hit hard and fast after bringing her oldest son home. She remembers thinking she couldn’t possibly go through it all again. “It was almost like an out-of-body experience for me.”

“I had been a fully functional, rational human being before I had this baby and now, I can’t do anything for myself,” Ellis recalls feeling. “I wasn’t eating. I wasn’t sleeping. I wasn’t enjoying things I used to enjoy.”

She didn’t want to feel that way ever again.

That was 2009, and doctors didn’t know as much about postpartum depression as they know now — she was directed to the emergency room for IV fluids and eventually ended up in therapy and taking medication, which began to work after about six weeks. She pretty much felt she had to find her own way through it all.

After having her second child, Ellis didn’t know if the depression and anxiety would hit again, but she was more prepared.

“It kind of became apparent this was what I did after I had a baby,” she said. She endured it twice more and said Wednesday that she would not put herself and her family through it again.

“It’s too scary and disruptive, and there’s always this worry and this fear that you’re going to stay like that forever and live in this dark place forever,” Ellis said, adding that depression and anxiety affected everyone around her.

Perhaps one of the most challenging things about postpartum depression is that symptoms and treatment are different for everyone.

Abney said certain women are at higher risk of experiencing depression upon delivering a baby — those who’ve had a traumatic birth or other trauma event in their lives, single moms and others living with a lot of stress, and mothers whose babies end up needing extra care in the neonatal intensive care unit.

The trained social worker said medication can help, but more beneficial is therapy or talking with trained counselors.

“They need a safe place to process and learn different coping mechanisms,” Abney said.

The hospital uses the Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale to determine whether moms need additional help working through it all. Best-case scenario, women are screened before delivery, at discharge, at their two-week appointment with the pediatrician and again at six weeks with the obstetrician. A score of 10 or above indicates potential risk for depression and anxiety, and women are at risk for up to a year after delivery.

“Most moms either have trouble sleeping or are feeling incredibly overwhelmed,” Abney said. “You can kind of see it on them.”

She hopes women won’t be afraid to talk about it, as they’re the only ones who know how they really feel.

After going through it four times (her last time after delivering twins), Ellis said she’s met plenty of moms with similar experiences to hers.

And while it’s still not openly talked about, she hopes women who experience mood changes after delivery don’t feel inferior.

“It is nothing you have done or created for yourself,” Ellis said. “It just happens, and it is unfortunate that it does happen, but in no way are you at fault for this. It’s not a choice people make. It’s something that happens with neurotransmitters in your brain and the hormones in your body that cause you to feel this way.”

“Give yourself a break and know that you’re not alone,” she said, adding that women need to be encouraged to ask for help when they need it.

It remains unknown why some mothers experience postpartum depression and others don’t, though Abney said research points to balancing hormones after delivery and how that impacts the chemicals in the brain.

“If the hormones don’t balance out after delivery … depression, anxiety and mental illness can happen,” she said. “This isn’t any different than if you were a diabetic and needed insulin.”

Issuing the survey to all moms, Abney said, will hopefully help to “normalize” the condition, get rid of the stigma surrounding postpartum depression and help women realize “they can’t just will it away.”

“There’s nothing wrong with them,” she said. “Sometimes we just need a little help.”

Being more accepting of help that is offered is one of the best things that has come from Ellis’ repeated diagnoses, as she said life has become a “wild ride” with five kids under age 8.

“It’s the hardest thing I’ve ever done, that’s for sure,” she said. “But I wouldn’t change it for anything.”

In the thick of her darkest days, Ellis said she couldn’t even contemplate feeling like herself again, feeling like she would be miserable “forever.”

“I had to keep reminding myself, ‘It’s not a forever thing,'” she said. “‘It will get easier. You will feel like yourself again.'”


Source: Utah hospital now screens all new moms for depression : Deseret News Utah

Hundreds of babies could be saved after Down’s Syndrome blood test is approved for NHS | DisabledGo News and Blog

Hundreds of babies could be saved each year after the National Screening Committee approved a simple blood test for Down’s Syndrome which will prevent needless

Source: Hundreds of babies could be saved after Down’s Syndrome blood test is approved for NHS | DisabledGo News and Blog

So…My Girlfriend Had an Abortion

This is an emotive subject and while there is a right to life, there is also a right to have your own opinions and these should be respected by others. No one should be judgemental or cause harassment to others.

Kindness Blog

abortion protestA few weeks/month ago, my girlfriend and I went to a clinic and had an abortion. It was her decision more than anything, and I agreed with her and supported her through every moment of it. That wasn’t the problem, we are both pro choice and agreed we weren’t ready.

The problem was, well, the protesters. I respect every human, and their opinions. If you think every fetus has a right to life, I will not argue with you, only state that my opinion is different, but that I respect yours, as it has nothing to do with me. But these people badgered and shamed every woman that walked into the clinic.

The procedure only takes 5-10 minutes, but the overall visit takes 2-4 hours, so I spent a long while in the waiting room. I tried to remain as non threatening and friendly as possible, because a good percentage…

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Good Romans and Bad Romans

Madamsabi's Blog

Rabbi Judah was a great sage, a wealthy man, and the leader of the Jewish People in the Land of Israel. He was admired and respected by everyone. But when Rabbi Judah was a little baby he had come very close to being killed. This is how it happened.


Rabbi Judah was born not long after Rabbi Akiba was put to death for teaching the Torah. The Romans were angry with the Jews because they had revolted against Roman rule, so the government decreed that it be forbidden to teach the Torah or to circumcise newborns.

When Rabbi Judah was born his mother and father decided to defy the Roman decree and circumcise him as the Torah commands. When the mayor of the city heard what had happened he summoned Rabban Simeon ben Gamaliel and asked him why he had violated the Emperor’s decree by circumcising his son.

Rabban Simeon…

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Kindness and compassion – why they matter.

Original post from Loving Baby



One dictionary defines Kindness as going out of your way to be nice to someone or to show a person you care. Other definitions say kindness embodies generosity, selflessness and love. Compassion one dictionary states is, caring more about the thoughts and feelings of others than your own,  another definition says compassion is, a feeling of deep sympathy and sorrow for another who is stricken by misfortune. The question is for those of us that work in healthcare are kindness and compassion just words banded about at the many conferences and meetings we attend, or do they reflect the care we give and the services we provide? The truth is kindness and compassion are just as important as the medical care we provide, the equipment we use, the policies we are guided by and the safety of our patients.

When I gave birth to my first daughter medically the care we received was life saving for us both. However the poor aftercare, devoid of kindness and compassion, confounded my traumatic birth and left me coping with PTSD. The effects for me and my family have been long lasting and life changing.

While of course it matters the medical care we give, without it being enveloped with kindness and compassion we can unknowingly cause harm and heartache to those we are seeking to care for. Simple acts of kindness and showing compassion in our dealing with patients and as staff, each other, can go along way in making very difficult and sometimes traumatic situations such as the death of a loved one, the diagnosis of a terminal illness or caring for a desperately ill child just that little bit easier to bear.

So as people who work in a healthcare setting how can we keep kindness and compassion at the centre of care? What can we do as individuals and teams to keep kindness and compassion firmly in focus?

Patients put their trust in us to help them when they are at their most vulnerable, sometimes even placing their very lives in our hands. They rely on us to not only to give good accurate evidence based information, medical care that will help them enjoy a better, healthier, life, but also that we protect them from harm not only physically, but emotionally. But with the pressures of the modern healthcare system we can lose sight of the simple things, the language we use and the things that make a hospital visit or stay easier. We forget sometimes the kind words and the ‘feeling of deep sympathy and sorrow for someone who is stricken by misfortune’. Hospital in particular can be a scary place. Away from home, without loved ones around, often in pain or worried about what will happen all patients can do is look to those there to care for them for reassurance and comfort.

Do patients come first?

Two things are important to help us keep kindness and compassion in all we do. These are, the culture of our workplace and also our own personal, inner, values. Both culture and inner values are linked, they feed each other. How?

Does the culture we work in allow for kindness and compassion, does it help them nurture and grow? Are we working as a team, supporting each other, trusting each other?  Are individual talents and gifts allowed to flourish? Does our culture show that patients come first, that patients are viewed not as a label or a diagnosis but a mother, a father, a daughter or a son. Do we reflect in our language that we care, that we have time for, but also want to listen to patients and that their thoughts, needs and opinions matter?

What about patient needs? Does the culture allow for patients to feedback their needs and thoughts, are these valued and appreciated or just token listened to? Is the culture flexible to meet the needs of more complex needs, if the patient is blind or disabled, does the patient need family to communicate due to language needs or maybe learning difficulties. Or maybe mental health issues mean a patient needs extra support and understanding.

Or, is the culture based on policy, data, paperwork and procedures. Is the culture target driven and what’s best for staff not patients? Does the culture dictate the care given, unyielding to the needs of those it serves? Are patients made to feel like they are a burden, bothering staff or too afraid to ask for help?  This can be hard with so many demands and lack of resources, it can feel overwhelming maybe impossible to give care that is not only medically good but shows genuine kindness and compassion too. So what can help?

Firstly staff need support. Good communication, praise and kindness to each other are vital. Good management is also important. Allowing staff to grow, treating them with respect and making them feel appreciated will help keep a culture healthy. Its important too that staff are listened to. Winning minds and hearts of staff starts with an approachable management. Feeling that issues can be raised, ideas can be shared and they have an active role to play in improving services builds up staff and makes hearts swell with pride. Often if managers listen to their staff they will know what the service needs, what patients need and how care can be given in a productive but kind and compassionate way.

The second important link for showing kindness and compassion is our own inner values. We can ask ourselves?

  • Do we see labels or people?
  • Do we take responsibility for our own actions or do we blame the culture?
  • Are we showing kindness with each other and patients?
  • Do our actions show that compassion is our focus?
  • How do we view patients, are they a privilege or a burden?
  • Does the way we manage or treat work colleagues set an example in kindness.
  • Are we critical and indifferent to the needs of others?

These can be hard questions to face. But why must we look at our inner self and values? Because if all of us maintain our inner values, if we remember we are accountable for our actions, if we stay true to ourself and not let others dull our shine. If we keep patients as our focus and do everything to make care given right, if we speak up when we see something is wrong and do all we can to be an example of kindness and compassion then we affect the culture. Often thinking about how we would feel in that persons shoes, or thinking about what we would want for our family member needing care can help us keep our inner values on track. Our inner values and a healthy culture go together, with everyone displaying values that are patient focused there is no poor culture.

If we are struggling with our inner values then reflect on our motivation. Why we are in our job, how did we feel when we first started. No doubt we were full of enthusiasm and excitement. Maybe we wanted to help people, relieve suffering, make a difference or find our inner joy and happiness. Whatever it was that drove us on, that ignited our passion, make sure it is still burning strong. If the flames have some what died, then find ways to rekindle the embers till the passion for caring for others once again burns bright.

Inner values and a healthy culture so together.

Why does it matter? Because what we do and the way we do it can profoundly affect someones life.  We may not be able to bring back someones loved one that has died, or prevent someones child being sick or cure someone of an incurable disease, but we can make sure we give them kindness and compassion. It may only be small things, the way we say “Hello” on a reception desk, holding an older persons hand while they under go a test, sitting talking about the weather with a mother sat by her babies incubator, fetching a cup of tea for a son waiting for his father to come out or surgery or sometimes just saying ‘sorry’ that your appointment is late. But these small acts can mean so much to a person, to a family that is suffering, that are worried, that are looking to us to help. We may never know the effect of out kindness and how we have helped others but we will in our hearts know that we are doing our best.

Thankfully there are many working hard to show real kindness and compassion everyday, both in small ways and in making large scale changes. By working closely with patients and listening and sharing ideas they are improving services to reflect not only good evidence based care, but kindness to others and compassion especially to those in society that are most vulnerable. Medically we give our best, some saving lives everyday, however we cannot forget to show kindness and compassion. When we do it improves the culture, improves care, it helps staff feel appreciated and valued and patients feel cared for and safe. It means feedback for our services that builds a good reputation and gives staff praise for all their hard work but more than that it will bring us inner joy and happiness knowing we made a difference and we helped those who depended on us in times of distress to have a journey a little more bearable. Yes, kindness and compassion matters to us all.




Black mothers wonder if their lost babies are still alive

Original post from Deseret News

‘…………By Jim Salter

In this April 29, 2015 photo, Zella Jackson Price poses for a photo at her attorney’s office in Clayton, Mo. Eighteen black women who were told decades ago that their babies had died soon after birth at a St. Louis hospital now wonder if the infants were taken away by hospital officials to be raised by other families. The suspicions arose from the story of Price, who was 26 in 1965 when she gave birth at Homer G. Phillips Hospital and was told hours later that her daughter had died. Jeff Roberson, Associated Pres
In this April 29, 2015 photo, Zella Jackson Price poses for a photo at her attorney’s office in Clayton, Mo. Eighteen black women who were told decades ago that their babies had died soon after birth at a St. Louis hospital now wonder if the infants were taken away by hospital officials to be raised by other families. The suspicions arose from the story of Price, who was 26 in 1965 when she gave birth at Homer G. Phillips Hospital and was told hours later that her daughter had died.
Jeff Roberson, Associated Pres

ST. LOUIS — Eighteen black women who were told decades ago that their babies had died soon after birth at a St. Louis hospital now wonder if the infants were taken away by hospital officials to be raised by other families.

The suspicions arose from the story of Zella Jackson Price, who was 26 in 1965 when she gave birth at Homer G. Phillips Hospital in St. Louis. Hours later, she was told that her daughter had died, but she never saw a body or a death certificate.

No one is sure who was responsible, but Price’s daughter ended up in foster care, only to resurface almost 50 years later. Melanie Gilmore, who now lives in Eugene, Oregon, has said that her foster parents always told her she was given up by her birth mother.

Price’s attorney, Albert Watkins, is asking city and state officials to investigate. In a letter to Gov. Jay Nixon and St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay, Watkins said he suspects the hospital coordinated a scheme “to steal newborns of color for marketing in private adoption transactions.”

The women’s story spread in recent weeks after Gilmore’s children tracked down her birth mother as part of a plan to mark their mother’s 50th birthday. The search led them to the now 76-year-old Price, who lives in suburban St. Louis.

In March, an online video caused a sensation when it showed the moment that Gilmore, who is deaf, learned through lip reading and sign language that her birth mother had been found.

The two women reunited in April. DNA confirmed that they are mother and daughter.

“She looked like me,” said Price, a gospel singer who has five other children. “She was so excited and full of joy. It was just beautiful. I’ll never forget that,” she said of the reunion.

After the reunion, Watkins started getting calls from other women who wondered if their babies, whom they were told had died, might have instead been taken from them.

Their stories, he said, are strikingly similar: Most of the births were in the mid-1950s to mid-1960s at Homer G. Phillips. All of the mothers were black and poor, mostly ages 15 to 20.

In each case, a nurse — not a doctor — told the mother that her child had died, a breach of normal protocol. No death certificates were issued, and none of the mothers were allowed to see their deceased infants.

“These are moms,” Watkins said. “They are mothers at the end of their lives seeking answers to a lifelong hole in their heart.”

He plans to file a lawsuit seeking birth and death records. None of the women are seeking money, he said.

Watkins has no idea who, or how many people, may have been responsible if babies were being taken, though he believes they were stolen and put up for adoption in an era when there were few adoption agencies catering to black couples.

Homer G. Phillips Hospital opened in 1937 as a blacks-only hospital at a time when St. Louis was segregated. Even after desegregation in the mid-1950s, the hospital served predominantly African-American patients.

The hospital closed in 1979. Messages seeking comment from officials at the St. Louis Health Department were not returned.

Price gave birth to a baby girl born two months’ premature on Nov. 25, 1965. The baby weighed just over 2 pounds but Price was able to hold the crying child after birth.

A nurse took the baby away and came back an hour later. The little girl was struggling to live, Price was told. She might not make it.

Shortly thereafter, the nurse came back. The baby, she said, was dead.

Price recovered in the hospital for two more days, in a ward surrounded by happy mothers.

“It was depressing to see when they rolled the babies in and they were taking them to their mothers, but I didn’t have my baby,” she recalled.

Gussie Parker, 82, of St. Louis, heard Price’s story and was shocked by the similarities with her own life. Parker gave birth to a premature girl on Nov. 5, 1953.

Initially, she said, the child seemed fine. A short time later, a nurse told her that her daughter had died.

“I never did see the baby or get a death certificate,” said Parker, whose daughter, Diane, works for The Associated Press in New York. “When you’re young and someone comes and tells you that your baby’s dead, in those days you accepted it.”

Otha Mae Brand, 63, of St. Louis, was 15 when she gave birth to a girl in the spring of 1967. The child was two months’ premature and was hospitalized for 10 days while Brand was sent home.

She got a call from a nurse who informed her of her daughter’s death.

“I had no reason not to believe them,” Brand said. “I got that phone call and that was the last I heard.”

Now, she wonders.

“I told my children, ‘It’s a possibility your sister may be living,'” she said.

Retired physician Mary Tillman was an intern and did a residency at Homer G. Phillips in the 1960s. Calls to her home on Friday were unanswered, but she told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch that the hospital had protocols and record-keeping to track mothers and daughters. She never had any suspicions of wrongdoing, but said it should have been doctors, not nurses, who broke the news of death to mothers.

Price, who has five other children, said she’s saddened by the lost years that she could have spent with her daughter.

“For me not to be able to love on this child like I did with the others, I’m going through a lot of emotions,” said Price. “But I’m so blessed to know that she is alive.”…………..’


How Air Pollution Affects Babies in the Womb

Reblogged post from Will the real reality please stand up!

Originally posted on TIME:

It makes sense that an expectant mom’s exposure to pollutants in the air can affect her still-growing baby’s lungs and respiratory system. But there’s increasing evidence that such compounds can also harm brain development and contribute to behavioral and cognitive problems later in childhood.

In the latest study on the subject, published in JAMA Psychiatry, researchers for the first time pinpointed exactly which areas of the brain are affected if a baby is exposed to car exhaust and the byproducts of burning home heating oil. These polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) have previously been linked todevelopmental delays, lower verbal IQ. signs of anxiety depression and problems with attention. But researchers haven’t been able to identify which areas of the brain are most vulnerable.

MORE:Children Exposed to More Brain-Harming Chemicals Than Ever Before

In this study, they recruited 40 mothers and their children living in the inner city…

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