Special needs teacher Mr Chris changes the world

Mr Chris 4Remember the viral video from last year, in which a special needs teacher was giving his students compliments and praise, and does so every day for 10 minutes? That is Mr Chris from Special Books by Special Kids, and actually, students is the wrong word to name the kids he is teaching in his special needs class. They’re his friends. ‘I often refer to my students as friends. I constantly model friendship for my class so they are able to learn to treat one another with kindness and empathy.’

The special needs teacher in Florida posts videos on his Facebook page and shows how his friends love, play, enjoy themselves. He lets them be their best selves. He let situations play out and sees what happens, rather than correcting the students. One kid jumped up in the middle of his class and instead of telling him to get back to his seat, Mr Chris waited and saw that his friend just wanted write on the white board. Mr Chris“I <heart> Mr Chris”, he wrote. The initial sense of frustration in Mr Chris, faded into joy very quickly.

He got one of his friends to teach the other kids about the planets, and got him invited by NASA and  a Space Center. ‘My friend is a brilliant young boy diagnosed with autism. Last week he whispered “I wish I could teach the world about the solar system.” Mr Chris replied spontaneously: ‘That day is today, get in front of the class.’ The lesson was filmed, and within four days his solar system lesson had 1.19 million views. He is currently the most famous astronomer in the world.

Mr Chris: ‘I am often asked how I developed my teaching style. The answer is from life experience. The following is another story that played a pivotal role in developing my mindset as an educator. During my early 20’s I loved to run marathons. I decided to take a break from training and hit the slopes. While snowboarding I tore my meniscus and had a large percentage of it removed. The doctor warned that I would not be able to run a marathon without intense pain. Instead of focusing on this news I dedicated my energy to strengthening the supporting muscles to take strain off of the meniscus. After a few weeks of strength training I went for a run. Ten miles later I realized there was no pain. Seven months later I finished a 50 mile ultra-marathon. There was no pain; well besides the typical pain associated with running a 50 mile race.
Special education is no different. Instead of obsessing over a diagnosis or preconceived limitation, I shift my focus to strengthening each student. I find no value in worrying about a student’s current limitations. It is more beneficial to focus on strengthening these skills sets.’

He shows how to react and communicate with those who are non-verbal or autistic. He never forces a connection, but just shows love, respect and appreciation. He let his intuition guide him. Most of all, he shows how to show love to everybody, no matter what the diagnosis or situation might be. Watch some of his videos, and I’m sure you’ll click Like for Special Books by Special Kids on Facebook to see it everyday. It’ll bring a smile and a tear to your face.

Mr Chris 5Mr Chris lives in Florida with his lovely girlfriend Alyssa and their rescue doggie Noodle. ‘For all of those people asking to donate money: We realized that all of this money would be fed back into spreading the SBSK movement anyway. So as of now, we do not require any money. If you would like to do something for us: share our page, spread it far. The most useful thing you can do to help, is click the three dots on our cover photo (at the top of the page). After that click ‘Invite friends’ and invite each of your friends to like the page. This isn’t about money, it’s about creating a better world. Thanks!’

So go ahead, and Like Special Books by Special Kids – Facebook, you won’t regret it!

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2016 – Happy New Year!

Some nice quotes from the movie New Year’s Eve:

And as you all can see, the ball has stopped half way to its perch. It’s suspended there to remind us before we pop the champagne and celebrate the New Year, to stop, and reflect on the year that has gone by, to remember both our triumphs and our missteps, our promises made and broken, the times we opened ourselves up to great adventures or closed ourselves down for fear of getting hurt, because that’s what New Year’s is all about, getting another chance, a chance to forgive. To do better, to do more, to give more, to love more, and to stop worrying about what if… and start embracing what will be. So when that ball drops at midnight, and it will drop, let’s remember to be nice to each other, kind to each other, and not just tonight but all year long. (Claire – New Year’s Eve movie)

Sometimes it feels like there are so many things in this world we can’t control. Earthquakes, floods, reality shows… But it’s important to remember the things that we can. Like forgiveness, second chances, fresh starts. Because the one thing that turns the world from the longing place to a beautiful place is love. Love and any of its forms. Love gives us hope… Hope for the New Year. That’s what New Year’s Eve is to me. Hope and a great party! (Sam – New Year’s Eve movie)

The Curious Butterfly wishes you all a Happy New Year with lots of love, happiness and joy!Butterfly 2016—————————————————–

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Diary of a Tourguide – 2015

IMG_3512As I work as a tourguide around Neuschwanstein Castle, I always have some anecdotes to share. So just like last year (click here for last year’s posts) and the year before (for the 2013 posts click here), I kept a little “Diary of a Tourguide”.

Diary of a Tourguide, May 25th:
Dear Diary, today we had good weather and a lovely, but huge group of people (58 in total). Lots of friendly and smiling people, including a family with a 5 year old girl. I made a few jokes with her throughout the day. When we were at the castle, the family walked towards me after hiking up the mountain, and the little girl came to stand real close to me. Then she started to give me a hug. Awww, so sweet I thought… Then I heard her mom say: “No, she is also not going to pick you up…. nice try though!” Hahaha!

Diary of a Tourguide, June 1st:
Dear Diary, sometimes you just have one of those days. Where the whole group of tourists is just enjoying themselves, loving every bit of the day and having a great time. My mouth got dry from all the chatting with the various people (the lip getting stuck to teeth kind of dry) and never laughed so much in a work day. These days are just a pleasure and give me so much energy! Okay-okay, I still feel knackered right now from all the biking and hiking, but somewhere deep inside there is plenty of energy! 😉

Diary of a Tourguide, July 4th:
Dear Diary, this morning started pretty rough. Knowing we do a bike tour, it is pretty annoying to see that on the ground in front of the garage where the bikes are stored, about 3 or 4 glass bottles had been smashed (I blame the drinks supplier that puts drinks in a fridge next door). So instead of being able to take bikes out of the garage for the bike tour, I spent about 20 minutes picking up glass pieces, sweeping and all, in the blazing sun. I was tired before even starting the tour today… But then everything was put into perspective. There was a man on our tour, about 70 years old, who survived a hand grenade thrown at him in the Vietnam War. He was missing one eye, has had 30 surgeries to restore his face, still has a metal plate in his head, and on top of that survived cancer 3 times. He and his wife travel a lot right now, they have visited all 58 National Parks of the U.S. (one of his bucket list items) and are living life to the best of their abilities… He also told me his wife is his best friend, she stood by him through all the surgeries and never gave up on him. Just such an amazing story, I had to share with you all. Happy 4th of July!!

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Diary of a Tourguide, August 8th:
Dear Diary, today, right at the end of the day, someone in our group found a 5 euro note on the ground. He wanted to give it to a girl who was on our tour. She and her family went to see both castles, so we had barely seen her all day. He said that he saw she was wearing a Make a Wish-button on her shirt and thought she took donations for the charity. She and her family sat in the front half of the bus, so I saw the guy giving her the 5 euro, commenting on the button. “No,” she said, “I am here on a wish” …… I teared up the second she said it…. It was great to hear she had a great day here.

Diary of a Tourguide, August 13th:
Dear Diary, at the end of a workday, there is no better feeling than when we say goodbye to a group and see a customer mouthing at the same time ‘Thanks so much, it was wonderful!

Diary of a Tourguide, August 14th:
Dear Diary, today was a lovely birthday for me. My wish when I blew out my candle this morning, was to have a great workday. It started with having 50 tourists jumping of the bus wishing me immediately a Happy Birthday, and it was such a great group. So many lovely and friendly people who were kind enough to tell me how much they enjoyed their day and how much they appreciated me and my work (I never got so many compliments in one day on my personality and doing my job that I love). And at the end of the day, before the bus left, the whole group sang Happy Birthday for me. Seriously, so grateful for such a great workday on my birthday!

Happy-DayDiary of a Tourguide, October 5th:
Dear Diary, today was our last workday of this work season, and just 2 days ago I got a lovely compliment from one of our guests. She told me: “You look genuinely happy doing your job. Plenty of people who deal with customer service put on a fake smile, because their boss told them to smile. But your caring is real, your smile is real and the happiness shines through.” Yes, I love doing this job!

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A true Wonder Woman, at 103 years

When you turn 103, you most likely have already gained plenty of confidence to be able to pull off any outfit you like. Also outfits that your friends pick out for you. On her 103rd birthday, Mary Cotter got given a Wonder Woman costume from her friends, for her to wear on her special day. And not only is she dressed as a super hero, she really is a Wonder Woman! Because for the last 25 years, Mary has been volunteering in the local nursing home in California. So amazing, she is my Spirit Animal of today! I want to be like her when I grow older!

Happy Birthday, Mary! And happy to see your secret identity shines through!

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Breast Cancer Awareness: Alexandra’s story

breast-cancer-ribbon-badge-ribbon-heart-116743876Since it is October, also known as Breast Cancer Awareness Month, I would like to share the story of my friend Alexandra from Sweden:

~ I started feeling something lumpy in my left breast around the time I stopped breastfeeding, so I guess I did not seriously believe it was cancer, but my mind was not at ease. I was 27 at the time and googling online, I looked at the statistics which did a lot to calm me down. The average age of women with breast cancer is 64, less than 5% are under 40 and about 1% are under 30. Phew…! I had pain in my breast too, and read lots that said ‘pain is not a sign of cancer’ which also calmed me down. However, all this made me wait over 6 months to get it checked. By then the lumps had not disappeared and I was so sure I could feel something. I felt I had to go and get it checked out.

Finally in July last year I went to the doctor. At the GP’s office I met a young doctor who told me ‘it’s most likely nothing’, but he could also feel the two lumps I felt and referred me to have a mammogram. He was very reassuring, telling me ‘it’s so unlikely that this is cancer, so don’t worry.’

A few weeks later I had a mammogram. Right after that they wanted to complement it with an ultrasound and a fine-needle biopsy, as they saw something slightly suspicious. The doctor told me ‘it’s just to be really really sure.’ ‘It looks fine.’ ‘Probably nothing.’ ‘Everything looks normal.’Alexandra Uusimaki

A week later I found out that they found malignant cells, so it was something. The news was given by the young GP I had met first at the health clinic. I could tell he was shaken and very surprised. I was in shock and all I could think of was: my daughter will become an orphan. What will happen to her when I die? [Alexandra is a single mom – red.] When he offered to prescribe pills to help me calm down and also sleeping tablets, I happily took them.

Next visit was at the surgical department at the hospital, the surgeon there told me still, that it was quite possibly “nothing” once they’ve removed the “something”. Breast cancer is staged from stage 0-4 where 0 is pre-cancer and 4 is metastatic, incurable cancer. He said it is probably just stage 0, “in-situ”, which means it could develop into cancer if untreated. But once removed I would not need chemo/radiotherapy and my life-expectancy was actually better than women who had never had it. When I asked him how that could be, he said it was because I was attentive to my body and clearly someone who seeks medical attention when something felt wrong, therefor I was more likely to live longer than the average women. Alright, fair enough, I thought.

But my gut-feeling told me they were missing something.

He told me that there was a new kind of operation where they remove the entire breast and straight after put an implant in, a direct-reconstruction. He said the hospital had been given criticism for not doing this new procedure as often as their colleagues in Stockholm, but they were going to perform it on me. No risks were told, I was recommended that this was my best medical option. However they would book me in for a core-biopsy where they take a larger sample, to be sure of the diagnose before surgery. He was excited about the operation, and said it was because of my age that they would give me this as an “extra” procedure. Had I been an older lady they would have not bothered, but just given me a “standard” mastectomy.

Breast-Cancer-Word-Cloud-T-ShirtsI felt very sad for older women meeting this surgeon, and also quite offended as a young woman. I never once said that the esthetic result was what mattered, I did not specifically ask for a much more complicated and risky operation, which a direct-reconstruction is.

Take it from me who has had a direct-reconstruction done, but also later had a “standard” mastectomy on my right side: There is no comparison and women must be told that it is a huge difference in the two procedures. Not everyone is prepared to go through an immense amount of pain in order to have breasts. No woman wants her breasts removed, but the alternative is not always better. It’s not like we would all do “anything” to have nice looking boobs, especially not when you are fearing for your life as you are battling cancer.

I went in for the core-biopsy a few weeks before my operation. The doctor did not take samples from my lumps. I thought this was weird, why did he puncture the other side of my breast…? But I trusted them still, thought they knew what they were doing. Results came back: “in-situ” and stage 0 breast cancer.

I still did not feel at ease, as I was so sure they had not punctured the actual lumps, the needle was nowhere near! I told this to my doctor, another doctor, the nurse, anyone that would listen really, but nobody took any notion.

3 weeks after my first operation where they did the mastectomy+ direct-reconstruction I was given the pathology-report where they had assessed the removed tissue. The two lumps I had felt had been missed during the biopsies, they were aggressive invasive cancer. Around them I had a large area of “in-situ” tumor. I had an area of 6 by 9 cm “in-situ” plus 2 invasive (real cancer) tumors of 1 and 2,5 cm, along with 5 lymph nodes that were infected.

A blind person could have punctured my breast and got “in-situ”. All of it was covered by it, however the 2 specific lumps I searched for in the first place, were missed.

Stage 3 breast cancer, not stage 0. Vast difference.

I was now recommended to have the implant removed. It had not healed properly and since I needed to start chemo soon and was also going to receive radiotherapy, it was not safe to keep it in.e3e02f72927a17c2f4da8520ed831f30

So I went through an incredible amount of extra pain for 4 weeks, for absolutely nothing, before removing the implant because they misdiagnosed me. Had they managed to puncture my lumps before surgery, they should have not recommended a direct-reconstruction. As my cancer was locally advanced, that would not be a safe option.

I started chemo and was then told that they needed me to have a third operation. The pathologist was not sure about the margins, they always want a few millimeter of healthy tissue in order to call the tumor “radically operated”. But I would have to wait until after chemo, as whilst under treatment it is not safe to operate, due to risk of infection and lower immune system.

By this stage I had just about had it with the surgeons at my hospital. I had no trust in them and started searching for other hospitals. I found one that had great reviews and a surgeon that seemed fantastic. I finished my 15 rounds of chemo and went to the other hospital, 3 hours by train away, and had my third and final operation there. I also asked them to remove my healthy breast.

The reason for that was not fear of new cancer, I knew there was no real health risk if I were to keep it. Developing breast cancer in the other breast could happen, but the risk is not that much higher than having breast cancer in the first place. And I don’t believe all healthy women should go removing their breasts just to be sure. We can’t go and remove all organs that could develop cancer.

The reason I wanted to have it removed was because of my experience from the first operation where I had to stay hospitalized for a week and I could barely move without morphine for 4 weeks. I would never put myself through anything similar again, so I knew I would never want a reconstruction for that reason. And what is the point of one breast? I’d rather just be flat, for esthetic and practical reasons.

breast cancer butterflyI had this operation in April 2015, followed by 5 weeks of radiotherapy and now I will continue anti-hormonal treatment for another 10 years. I am happy with my decision and it is not as bad as I thought it would be, to not have any breasts. That is probably the least difficult thing in comparison to everything else. I wish the doctors at the beginning could have thought of that as a possibility, it would have saved me a lot of pain and operations. They were so eager to perform a direct-reconstruction, because they wanted to be like their colleagues in Stockholm. They did this at the expense of diagnosing me right, at the expense of listening to what I actually wanted myself, causing me physical and emotional pain that could have been avoided.

After all, it is my body, right? ~

Alexandra has filed several formal complaints, and the government is now investigating the hospital and we are waiting for their final decision. Her hope is that some changes are made to help other patients and ensuring we all receive proper, respectful and clinically correct care.

Alexandra is not asking for donations to charities. ‘My specific cause is to be involved in your own care. Do your research and don’t blindly trust doctors. We should not have to, but reality is we have to. Mistakes are made at all levels and it’s important to stay on top of your own health, as it could be a matter of life or death…’

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3 minutes in the mind of a toddler

toddler_bananaAs many of you may know, toddlers can be a bit exhausting. It makes you wonder what goes on in their minds. I think the comedian Jason Good hits the nail on the head with this list of thoughts a toddler may have, all in the space of three minutes.

I wanna play with Daddy’s phone.
I wanna put on Mommy’s shoes.
GET MOMMY’S SHOES OFF MY FEET NOW!
I wanna open and close the thermostat.
I wanna turn on and off the light on the microwave.
Is there anyone here with a phone I haven’t played with yet?
I NEED TO PUSH SOME GODDAMN BUTTONS.
I wanna pick up the cat by its head.
I wanna throw all the toothbrushes in the sink.
HOLY SHIT, I’M STARVING!
CHEDDAR BUNNIES.
I HATE FRUIT.
I want out of my chair.
I wanna play with the iPad.
I wanna go outside.
No, I wanna turn the heat on.
I wanna take my pants off.
I don’t like the shirt I’m wearing.
I wanna play with Mommy’s phone.
I NEED TO PUSH MORE BUTTONS NOW.
I’m thirsty.
No, not for that.
Yes, perfect, juicebox. I’m gonna squeeze this damn thing all over myself.
Where’s Daddy?
Where’s the cat?
Where’s Mommy?
SERIOUSLY, WHERE’S MOMMY!?
Oh my God I think Mommy left forever.
Ok, there’s mommy. I want to play with her phone.
Hungry again. Never mind.
I just remembered not liking these pants. Get them off.
STOP TAKING OFF MY PANTS!
Wow, I’m starving. I want peas but I don’t know how to tell anyone.
Finally, peas. I like throwing these.
WHY DO I STILL HAVE THESE PANTS ON?
Oh look, a new person. I wonder if they have a phone.
I’m tired.
I’M NOT TIRED!
I wanna go for a walk but I don’t wanna go outside.
No, not inside either!
I need to push some buttons right now.
I hate this diaper.
My eyes itch.
Wow! Is this my toe?
STOP TRYING TO TAKE MY PANTS OFF!
I hate these pants.
This shirt itches.
I’m tired.
Stop asking me if I’m tired.
Where’s that toy that goes beep?
I wanna take a bath in my clothes.
Put on my favorite song.
What is UP with my shirt?
Did I just hear a dog bark?
YOU DID NOT JUST TRY TO TAKE OFF MY SHIRT AGAIN!
I wanna see a dog.
No, not OUTSIDE! I wanna see a dog inside.
Is my penis still there? Good.
I peed.
I’m bored.
Repeat.

Source and more funny stories: Jason Good’s website.

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