Richmond, Martha — Lead in the Blood: Dangers and How to Protect

The level of lead in the blood of children is the topic of this edition of Radio Curious.  Our guest is Dr. Martha E. Richmond, Professor of Chemistry and Biochemistry and Director of Environmental Science, at Suffolk University, Boston, Massachusetts. 

Dr. Richmond’s current work centers on lead poisoning in children and involves  assessment of environmental regulation to effectively protect public health, including the effectiveness of regulations for air pollutants, and protection of children against lead toxicity.

Approximately 500,000 children in the United States between the ages of 1 and 5 suffer from lead poisoning as a result of lead in their blood above the level for which public health action is recommended. 

No safe blood lead level in children has been identified and lead exposure can affect nearly every system in the body. Because lead exposure often occurs with no obvious symptoms, it frequently goes unrecognized.   This results in short and long term adverse consequences in the exposed children and to society in general.

When Dr. Richmond visited by phone from her home near Boston, Massachusetts, on October 19, 2014, she began with a description of the issues surrounding lead poisoning.

The book Dr. Martha Richmond recommends is “Lead Wars: The Politics of Science and the Fate of America’s Children,” by Gerald Markowitz and David Rosner.

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Bishop, Becky — Reading Dogs

This radio program is about reading. Learning to read is often confusing and frustrating. Parents and teachers sometimes create stress that flows from their personal angst to the frustration of the child trying to read. Reading to a nonjudgemental creature, who never comments and always appears to pay attention, often helps to create reading fluency.

In this edition of Radio Curious we visit with Becky Bishop, founder of Reading With Rover, a program to help children learn to read. Becky Bishop also operates Puppy Manners, a dog training school located in Woodenville, Washington, about thirty miles from Seattle. Becky Bishop relies on the close bond between children and dogs that creates calm moments and encourages a learning environment. Her organization, “Reading With Rover” couples children who have difficulty reading with a dog who has no trouble listening. 

When Becky Bishop and I visited by phone from her home in Washington on February 22, 2010, we discussed why dogs are better listeners than teachers or parents, and we began with Becky explaining how dogs help children to read.

The books Becky Bishop recommends are “Living Life As A Thank You: The Transformative Power Of Daily Gratitude,” by Nina Lesowitz and Mary Beth Sammon, and “Walter the Farting Dog,” by William Kotzwinkle, Glenn Murray, Elizabeth Gundy, and Audrey Coleman. 

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Arkin, Ron & Kirchiro, John — Lack of Trust: Youth and Substance Abuse Part Two

Lack of trust is the topic of this edition of Radio Curious, the second of a two part series with Ron Arkin and John Kirchiro. 

Ron Arkin is a Family Empowerment Facilitator with Mendocino County, California, Child Protective Services.  John Kirchiro spent 13 years working as a Crisis Counselor, Intervention Specialist and Substance Abuse Counselor in multiple school districts throughout Mendocino County before becoming the Director and Principal of the Willits, California, Charter School, Grades 6 to 12. 

Their counseling work focuses on youth from families where abuse of drugs and alcohol is common, often among both the parents and children.  This abuse frequently results in serious family dysfunction and lack of trust, making school and home life more than difficult.

In part one, recorded on March 21, 2014, we began with John Kirchiro’s description of the substance abuse problem in rural northern Mendocino County. 

In part two, we begin with John Kirchiro’s description of his counseling work, known as the “Laytonville model.”

The book Ron Arkin recommends is “YOU: The Owner’s Manual: An Insider’s Guide to the Body That Will Make You Healthier and Younger,” by Michael F. Roizen and Mehmet C. Oz.

The book John Kirchiro recommends is “The Reinvention of Work: A New Vision of Livelihood for Our Time,” by Matthew Fox. 

Click here or on the media player below to listen to part two.

Arkin, Ron & Kirchiro, John — Lack of Trust:  Youth and Substance Abuse Part One

Lack of trust is the topic of this edition of Radio Curious, the first of a two part series with Ron Arkin and John Kirchiro. 

Ron Arkin is a Family Empowerment Facilitator with Mendocino County, California, Child Protective Services.  John Kirchiro spent 13 years working as a Crisis Counselor, Intervention Specialist and Substance Abuse Counselor in multiple school districts throughout Mendocino County before becoming the Director and Principal of the Willits, California, Charter School, Grades 6 to 12. 

Their counseling work focuses on youth from families where abuse of drugs and alcohol is common, often among both the parents and children.  This abuse frequently results in serious family dysfunction and lack of trust, making school and home life more than difficult.

We begin part one, recorded on March 21, 2014, with John Kirchiro’s description of the substance abuse problem in rural northern Mendocino County. 

In part two, John Kirchiro and Ron Arkin discuss the counseling work they do, known as the “Laytonville model.”

The book John Kirchiro recommends is the “The Warrior’s Journey Home:  Healing Men, Healing the Planet,” by Jed Diamond. 

The book Ron Arkin recommends is “The Soul’s Code:  In Search of Character and Calling,” by John Hillman. 

Click here or on the media player below to listen to part one.

Fogg, Laura — Traveling Blind

The ways different creatures, especially us humans, use our senses to guide ourselves through life has long attracted my curiosity.   I’ve often wondered how blind people seem able to orient themselves, and also wondered about their dreams. 

From time to time, over the years, I would see an attentive woman walk past my office window next to a young person of student age.  They would walk together talk, and the young person almost always carried a white cane with a red tip. 

Laura Fogg is this woman, the author of “Traveling Blind:  Life Lessons from Unlikely Teachers,” and our guest in this archive edition of Radio Curious.  

Laura Fogg worked as a Mobility and Orientation Instructor for the Blind in Mendocino County for over 35 years beginning 1971.  She pioneered the use of the red tipped white cane with very young blind students some of whom had multiple impairments.  She traveled long distances over the rather spectacular back roads of Mendocino County to work with each student his or her home.

When she visited the studios of Radio Curious on December 1, 2008, I asked her about the lessons that she learned that have changed her life. 

The book Laura Fogg recommends is “My Year of Meats,” by Ruth Ozeki. Published in 1999.

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Smith, Janna Malamud — Why Mothers Worry About Their Children

Is the concept of  “mother blame” a method to control women?  Is motherhood really a fearsome job?  Will a mother’s mistake or inattention damage a child?  Radio Curious discusses these questions and more with Janna Malamud Smith, clinical psychotherapist and author of “A Potent Spell:  Mother Love and the Power of Fear.”

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Cantu, Robert Ph.D. — Concussions: The Impact of Sports on Our Kids’ Brains

Concussion injuries to our children is the topic of this edition of Radio Curious as we visit with Dr. Robert Cantu, the author of “Concussions and Our Kids.”  Dr. Cantu’s medical career centers on neurosurgery and sports medicine and is dedicated to addressing the concussion crisis through research, treatment, education and prevention.

Dr. Robert Cantu and I visited by phone from his office near Boston, Massachusetts on September 24, 2012.

Dr. Cantu writes that the genetic inheritance of child begins to control his or her athletic skills at about age 14.  This is similar to the evolutionary influence that compels young teenagers to set a mark and establish status and belonging within their band or tribe, often through athletic prowess.  In the evolutionary history of our species this was necessary for basic survival.  Now in the 21st century many of our children do the same thing, frequently with strong family support, yet at the same time subjecting themselves to radical injury.  Dr. Cantu and I visited by phone from his office near Boston, Massachusetts, on September 24, 2012, and began when I asked him to comment on that analysis.

The book Dr. Robert Cantu recommends, which was also made into a movie is “Head Games,” by Chris Nowinski.

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Schwawrtz, Maya — One Holocaust Survivor’s Wonderful Thrill of Life

There are two kinds of Holocaust survivors:  Those who didn’t die yet could no longer experience pleasure and those who yearned to feel alive and were able to create anew.

In this edition of Radio Curious we visit with Maya Finkel Schwartz, born in France in 1932 to Jewish parents from Poland.  After being separated from her father at the beginning of World War Two, her mother had the foresight to introduce then seven year old Maya to as many social workers and nuns as her mother could locate.  It was these people who Maya credits with saving her life as they sheltered her in barns and convents.  She never saw her parents after the war.  As an older teen-ager she arrived in Los Angeles, California where she still lives after a decades long career teaching high-school, and later as a singer, as we shall hear.

The story of Maya Finkel Schwartz is one of 52 childhood accounts of the horrors perpetrated by Nazi Germany documented in the book “How We Survived:  52 Personal Stories by Child Survivors of the Holocaust.”  More information about this book is available at childsurvivorsla.org.

Maya Schwartz visited the studios of Radio Curious on April 20, 2012.  Maya shared her story and a song, accompanied by her son Michael Charnas.

Her theme is the “joy of life,” which is where we began our conversation.

The story of Maya Finkel Schwartz is found in the book she recommends.  She wrote one of 52 childhood accounts of the horrors perpetrated by Nazi Germany documented in the book “How We Survived:  52 Personal Stories by Child Survivors of the Holocaust.”

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Arlyck, Ralph — The Film Maker’s film: Following Sean… Technique and Life’s Stories

Sean, a four year old child living with his parents in the Haight-Ashbury neighborhood of San Francisco in 1969 was the star of a short film about his life. He spoke openly his free-spirited parents, his crash pad home, watching cops bust head, and smoking pot.  Ralph Arlyck made the film while a student at San Francisco State University.

Thirty years later he located Sean and his family, and created the film Following Sean. Ralph Arlyck, our guest on this edition of Radio Curious has produced and directed more than a dozen prizewinning films.  Following Sean, is a film as much about Ralph Arlyck’s life as it is about Sean’s.  It will be shown at the Mendocino Film Festival, held in Mendocino, California, the first weekend of June, 2012, where Arlyck will receive the Albert Maysles Award for Excellence in Documentary Film Filmmaking.

Ralph Arlyck and I visited by phone from his home in Poughkeepsie, New York, on May 14, 2012, and began when I asked him how Following Sean also became a story of Arlyck’s own life.

The film Ralph Arlyck recommends isPatience (After Sebald,)” a British Film by Grant Gee.

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Chidekel, Dana Ph.D. — Who’s in Charge? Your Young Child or You?

Are you or do you know someone who is tired of endlessly negotiating with a 5 year old? How about taking a 3 year old to a restaurant? Children are too often seen and treated as small adults, dressed as adults, and sometimes have their lives planned out for them to be as busy as adults. Treating children as people older than they are — overlooks the child’s cognitive abilities. This can be a lead to unsatisfying and sometimes traumatic relationships between the child and the parents.

“Parents in Charge: Setting Healthy, Loving Boundaries for You and Your Child” was written by Dr. Dana Chidekel in 2002, She’s a child psychologist near Los Angeles, California. Dr. Chidekel argues that the developing brain of toddlers does not give them the capacity to respond to being placed on equal ground with their parents. She encourages parents to assume their rightful role of authority.

I spoke with Dr. Dana Chidekel in the winter of 2002 from her office in Southern California. We began our conversation by talking about the developing brain of young children. I asked her what the brain of a young child is able to assess and not able to assess.

The books that Dr. Chidekel recommends for young children are the Bernstein Bears series.  The book she recommends for older people is “Seabiscuit.”

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