December 2003 Issue

Our parent support group will commence to have monthly meetings the first Friday of each month at St. Paul's Lutheran Church in Troy, IL from 6:30 p.m. - 9:00 p.m. Our next meeting will be held on Friday, December 5. We will have time to talk about whatever is happening in your child's life plus Sue Brown, Pediatric COTA, will share some information on sensory integration dysfunction activities for children.
The meeting held at the Mitchell's in November was very informative and helpful. Come and share your challenges and successes — or just come to listen! The Senior High Youth group will be providing child care services for a donation. They are raising funds for a youth gathering in Orlando, Florida next summer. This group of kids is very excited about doing this for us. Older kids/young adults are also welcome; we will provide a separate space for them to watch a movie and socialize.
The address is 106 N. Border St., Troy, IL 62294. From 55/70, take the Troy/162 exit (#18). Go east on 162 towards Troy. Go 1.3 miles. Turn left on West Clay Street. Parking lot will be on your left. Please telephone Tamara Rampold for directions and a "kid count", but if you haven't called, please still feel free to attend.
In this issue we reprint articles by two mothers who lost their daughters at an early age: an essay on abortion by Nancy Valko and excerpts from a recently published book on Down syndrome, a memoir on an endearing girl named Jade.
NDSS 2003 Conference Report by Sue Brown, Pediatric COTA, E-mail:
This year's NDSS conference, held in St. Louis, MO, was the first national conference I have attended. My excitement level was so high. The thought that I would be hearing firsthand such icons as Dr. George Capone, Joan Medlen, and Dr. Libby Kumin had me filled with anticipation. Also, many of my friends from an on-line support group were attending and I had hoped to meet up with them face-to-face. Unfortunately, I didn't meet any of them!
blank.gif  I was most excited to hear Dr. George Capone's workshop on Down Syndrome and Neuro-behavioral Disorders. I had been extremely worried about my 7-year-old daughter who has Down syndrome. Her behavior had been deteriorating at an alarming rate. My happy-go-lucky little girl was dissolving before my eyes. I had great hopes that Dr. Capone's workshop could shed some light on what issues Karrie was experiencing.
Joan Medlen, author of the book on Down Syndrome Nutrition, was present at a booth for her newsletter, Disability Solutions. I introduced myself to Joan. She, in turn, introduced me personally to Dr. Capone, who was gracious enough to answer many of my questions regarding Karrie's behavior.
Through the information I gleaned from this conference, I gained enough information to doubt the autism diagnosis given Karrie by doctors in St. Louis. I called Dr. Capone's office for a referral in the St. Louis area. After discovering there are no neurologists he could refer us to, Dr. Capone offered to see Karrie at the Kennedy Krieger Institute in Baltimore, MD. Karrie underwent extensive testing by Dr. Capone himself. Her actual diagnosis is a mood disorder, with several other issues aggravating her behavior. It seems 12-40% of people with Down syndrome under the age of 20 also have some sort of disruptive disorder. The medication ordered for Karrie by the doctor in St. Louis was actually accelerating her aggressiveness.
If I had not attended the conference in St. Louis in July, Karrie might have continued her downward spiral. These conferences are not only a great source of networking with other parents, but also provide some very crucial, cutting edge information. I highly recommend other parents to attend.

Regional Events

Sunday, December 7, 1:00 p.m. - 4:00 p.m. Mark your calendars to attend the Down Syndrome Association of Greater St. Louis Holiday Party. High Ridge Elks Club, 2808 Old Hunning Road, High Ridge, MO 63049.
DJ and lots of food: pizza, hot dogs, salad and chips. We ask that each family bring one dozen cookies. Santa Claus will be making a guest appearance.

moonlight is the newsletter of the Riverbend Down Syndrome Association.

Editor: Victor Bishop
Web Site:

StarNET Region IV

December 3, 8:30 a.m. - 3:00 p.m. Collaboration: Schools & Families Working Together. Location: Holiday Inn, 222 Potomac Blvd., Mount Vernon, IL. Presenter: Chris Wasik, of Peru, IL is currently a Parent Consultant for Project CHOICES, a least restrictive initiative funded by the Illinois State Board of Education. Chris also provides parent training presentations for Family Matters located in Effingham, Illinois. Contact: Denise Henry: (618) 833-5371.

Down Syndrome Articles

Research Frontiers: Trials of the Mind. Kennedy Krieger researchers hope that advancements in Alzheimer's disease will address early memory loss and other symptoms of individuals with Down syndrome by Holly Lewis Maddux. Touch, Summer 2003, Volume: 5 Number: 2. A publication from Kennedy Krieger Institute and its Atlanta affiliate, Marcus Institute. Reprinted with the permission of Heather A. Kammann, E-mail:, Research Coordinator, Kennedy Krieger Institute.

Researchers at Kennedy Krieger Institute are investigating two experimental treatments that it is hoped will slow or stop the progress of Alzheimer's disease in people with Down syndrome.
Individuals with Down syndrome develop the clinical symptoms of Alzheimer's disease much earlier in life than people without the syndrome. By age 35, all people with Down syndrome have experienced biological changes in the brain that set the stage for Alzheimer's disease, and by age 55 or 60, many of those individuals have significant memory deterioration, loss of alertness and other symptoms.
Recent studies on prevention and treatments for Alzheimer's disease in the general population have resulted in new therapies that have shown very promising results. Researchers at Kennedy Krieger are now applying these findings to studies involving individuals with Down syndrome.
The first study, a large, US-based, clinical trial sponsored by a major pharmaceutical company, is designed to determine whether an investigational drug can compensate for the effects of a decrease in the production of an important neurotransmitter, acethycoline, which occurs in all people with Down syndrome between the ages of 18 and 35. A decrease in acethycoline, which facilitates memory and related cognitive functions in the brain, sets the stage for the eventual onset of clinical symptoms of Alzheimer's disease. When the investigational drug was tested on persons in the general population who have Alzheimer's, but do not have Down syndrome, it was found to be helpful in delaying the progression of symptoms in the early stages of the disease.
Nineteen-year-old Daniel Harmon of Frederick, MD., recently joined the Kennedy Krieger study. He and his mother, Anne Harmon, make the hour-long trip from their home in Western Maryland to Kennedy Krieger's downtown Baltimore location every few weeks. "My step-father suffered from Alzheimer's, and his decline was very difficult on the family. I was interested in seeing that Daniel participate, because we want to do anything we can to help find a treatment to slow or stop Alzheimer's in people who have Down's syndrome."
Participants in the study are required to take the investigational drug (or a placebo) daily over a 12 -week period, and during that time, to visit the clinic four times for evaluation. A number of tests are administered during these visits to evaluate memory, thinking skills, behavior, daily functioning and speech/language. Periodically, participants are given physical and neurological examinations, as well.
The second study that is underway at Kennedy Krieger's Down Syndrome Clinic focuses on older persons with Down syndrome. In this study, individuals over the age of 50 are administered high doses of Vitamin E to determine whether it can help stop or slow the decline in memory, thinking, speech, and self-help skills that are associated with Alzheimer's, by protecting brain cells from damage produced through a naturally occurring process known as oxidative stress.
Oxidative stress is a bi-product of the process by which cells make energy, and its effects over time are an inevitable part of the aging process. "Because the aging process is accelerated in persons with Down syndrome, the deleterious effects of oxidative stress emerge earlier in the lifetime than they do in the general population. Therefore this treatment, if it proves effective, could have particularly far-reaching consequences for persons with Down syndrome," says Dr. Capone.
The Vitamin E trial is funded by the National Institutes of Health and is being conducted at research centers in the United States and in Europe.
For more information about the Down Syndrome Clinic, contact Heather Kammann at (443) 923-9132.

Who Wants a "Defective" Baby? by Nancy Valko, R.N. Voices Vol. XV: No. 2; Summer 2000 (Jubilee Year). Reprinted with the permission of the author. Voices Copyright © 2003 Women for Faith & Family. All rights reserved. May not be copied or reproduced without permission, except that permission is granted to download articles for personal use only.

"Of course, no one wants to adopt a defective baby." This was said with much emotion (and not much charm) by an older gentleman in a class at a local university where I was speaking this past April. I had been invited to discuss the legalities and effects of Roe v. Wade from a pro-life point of view to a class of senior citizens studying the Constitution and the Supreme Court.
While several of these senior citizen students defended abortion as a matter of complete privacy for the mother, their arguments centered around the "need" for legalized abortion as a solution for social problems.
Since I had told the story of my daughter Karen, born in 1982 with Down syndrome and a severe heart defect, the pro-abortion students were extremely vocal about the personal and societal justifications for aborting a baby like Karen. Hence the statement about no one wanting to adopt a "defective" baby.
"Happily, sir," I told the senior student, "You are wrong. Even back when I had Karen, I found out from the National Down Syndrome Association that there was a list of people waiting to adopt a baby with Down syndrome. Just the night before, I added, I had found a new website for matching prospective parents with children who had chromosomal and physical defects."
The student refused to believe that this could be true.

The effects of Roe v. Wade
Life of the mother, incest, rape and fetal defect are the four hard cases usually cited to justify what has now become abortion on demand. All of these are uncommon reasons given in the estimated 1.3 million abortions every year; but the possibility of having a child with a birth defect is a common fear nearly all expectant mothers experience and, not surprisingly, polls show that the majority of the public support abortion in this circumstance.
Although I have always been pro-life, I could understand the fear underlying these poll results — until my own daughter was born.
Just two weeks before the birth of my daughter Karen, I saw a mother trying to pry her young son with Down syndrome away from a display case at the supermarket. She looked exhausted.
"Please, Lord," I silently prayed, "Let this baby be ok. I can handle anything but Downs."
When Karen was born with Down syndrome, I was stunned. But I was quickly put in touch with mothers from the Down syndrome Association who replaced my fears with information and realistic hope.
Then a doctor told me the truly bad news. Karen had a heart defect, one so severe that it seemed inoperable and she was not expected to live more than 2 months. That certainly put things in the proper perspective.

What "pro-choice" really means
It turned out later that Karen's heart defect was not quite as bad as originally thought and could be corrected with one open-heart surgery, but I was shocked when the cardiologist told me he would support me 100% if I decided not to agree to the surgery and allow her to die. This was especially hard to hear because, as a nurse, I knew that the doctor would have been otherwise enthusiastic about an operation offering a 90% chance of success — if my child didn't also have Down syndrome. Apparently, even though Karen was now a legal person according to Roe v. Wade by the fact of her birth, this non-treatment option could act as a kind of 4th trimester abortion.
It was then that I realized what pro-choice really meant: Choice says it doesn't really matter if a particular child lives or dies. Choice says the only thing that really matters is how I feel about this child and my circumstances. I may be "Woman Hear Me Roar" in other areas according to the militant feminists, but I was not necessarily strong enough for a child like this.
I also finally figured out that Roe v. Wade's effects went far beyond the proverbial desperate woman determined to end her pregnancy either legally or illegally. The abortion mentality had so corrupted society that it even endangered children like my Karen after birth. Too many people, like the student in Supreme Court class, unfortunately viewed Karen as a tragedy to be prevented.

Medical progress or search and destroy?
In the late 1950s, a picture of the unborn baby using sound waves became the first technique developed to provide a window to the womb. Ultrasound in recent years has been used to save countless lives by showing women that they were carrying a living human being rather than the clump of cells often referred to in abortion clinics.
But while expectant parents now routinely and proudly show ultrasound pictures of their developing baby, there is a darker side to prenatal testing. Besides ultrasound, which can show some birth defects, blood tests like AFP testing and the Triple Screen to test for neural tube defects or Down syndrome are now becoming a routine part of prenatal care. Amniocentesis and chorionic villus sampling are also widely available tests to detect problems in the developing baby. It seems that every year, new testing techniques are tried and older ones refined in the quest to find birth defects prenatally.
97% of the time, women receive the good news that their baby seems fine; but the tests are not foolproof, and they can only test for hundreds of the thousands of known birth defects. Relatively few such birth defects can be treated in the womb at the present time. Some women want testing so that they can prepare for a child who has a birth defect, but when the tests do show a possible problem like Down syndrome, up to 90% of women will abort.
While some hail prenatal testing as a way to prevent birth defects, the effects of such testing has led to what author Barbara Katz Rothman calls the "tentative pregnancy" in her 1993 book of the same name. Although Rothman calls herself pro-choice, her studies of women considering amniocentesis led to her conclude that such testing has changed the normal maternal-child bonding in pregnancy and the experience of motherhood, usually for the worse.

"I might not be pregnant"
I observed this firsthand several years ago when I ran into an acquaintance and congratulated her on her obvious pregnancy. I was stunned when she replied, "Don't congratulate me yet. I might not be pregnant."
Diane, the mother of a 5-year-old boy, went on to explain that she was awaiting the results of an amniocentesis and said, "I know what you went through with your daughter but I can't give up my life like that. If this (the baby) is Downs, it's gone."
I reassured her that the test would almost surely show that her baby was ok, but I added that if the results were not what she expected I would like her to call me. I promised that I would give her any help she needed throughout the pregnancy and that my husband and I or even another couple would be willing to adopt her baby. She was surprised, as I later found out, both by my reaction and the information about adoption.
Diane gave birth to a healthy baby girl a few months later and apologized for her comments, saying that she probably would not have had an abortion anyway. But I understood her terrible anxiety. Society itself seems to have a rather schizophrenic attitude towards children with disabilities.
On one hand, people are inspired by the stories of people who have disabilities and support organizations like the Special Olympics; but, on the other hand, many people consider it almost irresponsible to bring a child with disabilities into the world to suffer when prenatal testing and abortion are so available.
But as the vast majority of parents who are either natural or adoptive parents of children with disabilities will attest, all children are born with both special gifts and special limitations. No child should be denied birth because of a disability or even a limited life expectancy.
Women who do abort after a diagnosis of a birth defect are also hurt. Besides depriving themselves of the special joys - which occur along with the difficulties - of loving and caring for such a child, these women often experience unresolved grief, guilt and second-guessing instead of the relief and peace they expect.
A few years ago, a local hospital which performs late-term abortions for birth defects asked a miscarriage and stillbirth counseling group to help with their distressed patients. The group declined, citing the fact that the most reassuring message they give grieving mothers is that there is nothing they did or didn't do that caused the death of their babies. Obviously, that was not a statement they could make to mothers who abort. There is a very real difference between losing and terminating a child.
How many of these mothers knew before their abortions that, in practical terms, there has never been a better array of services and support for children with disabilities and their parents? Or that their children were dearly wanted by prospective adoptive parents? Such information might have been just the support they needed to choose life for their children.

Final thoughts
Despite the best medical care, my Karen died at the age of 5 and ½ months, but the impact of her life has lived on. At her funeral Mass, the priest talked about how this child who never walked or talked had transformed the lives of those who met her.
Especially mine.
After Karen died, I sat down and tried to put into words what Karen and all children with disabilities have to teach the rest of us. The following reflection was published in the National Down Syndrome Association newsletter in May, 1984.

Things No Teacher Ever Taught
In 1982 my daughter, Karen, was born with Down syndrome and a severe heart defect. Less than six months later she died of complications of pneumonia. Karen may have been retarded but she taught me things no teacher ever did.
Karen taught me:
That life isn't fair - to anyone. That self-pity can be an incapacitating disease. That God is better at directing my life than I am. That there are more caring people in the world than I knew. That Down syndrome is an inadequate description of a person. That I am not "perfect" either, just human. That asking for help and support is not a sign of weakness. That every child is truly a gift from God. That joy and pain can be equally deep. That you can never lose when you love. That every crisis contains opportunity for growth. That sometimes the victory is in trying rather than succeeding. That every person has a special purpose in life.
That I needed to worry less and celebrate more.

  1. "Prenatal Testing", by Nancy Guilfoy Valko, R.N. and T. Murphy Goodwin, M.D., pamphlet, Easton Publishing Co.
  2. "Doctors have prenatal test for 450 genetic diseases" by Kim Painter. USA Today, 8/15/97.
  3. Rothman, Barbara Katz. The Tentative Pregnancy. Revised, 1993. WW Norton and Co.
  4. "Advances, and Angst, in a New Era of Ultrasound", by Randi Hutter Epstein. New York Times. May 9, 2000.
Nancy Valko, R.N., a contributing editor for Voices, is a former president of Missouri Nurses for Life who has practiced in St. Louis for more than thirty years. An expert on life issues, Mrs. Valko writes a regular column on the subject for Voices.

Natural Harmony: Jade's Story by Gail Albrechtson. Book excerpts reprinted with the permission of the author. © Copyright 2003 Gail Albrechtson. All rights reserved. Published by Trafford:

Prologue: i-iii:
It was a beautiful sunny morning, around eleven thirty, when I met Jade at the schoolyard. I was so happy to be picking up my daughter from kindergarten—thrilled with the whole concept that she was even attending school, let alone a regular school with regular kids.
   I scanned the large groups of children leaving the building. Anticipating Jade's happy face, I looked around but couldn't see Jade in any group. Then I spotted her by the chain-link fence. Looking quite dejected, she just stood there. There was no cheerful greeting, no smile, no kisses, no hugs—nothing.
   My God, I thought, maybe the special education teachers were right. Maybe the social workers, along with all the other professionals, were right. Maybe Jade doesn't fit in with normal children. Maybe she's been ridiculed, rejected, and left to cry in some corner of the classroom, just like they said she would. Maybe all of my efforts toward her successful integration into a normal school have indeed proven to be a failure, just as the experts had predicted.
   Wanting to walk home with her and talk about her morning's experience, I took Jade's hand, but she pulled hers away and held onto the metal fence. Finally she looked up, and her eyes met mine.
   "No papo," she said in a quivering voice, "Miss Kine gimme no papo." Accusingly, Jade looked over toward the teacher, who was speaking with another parent. "I wan one," she said, "I wanna papo!"
   I had a private chat with Miss Klein. She explained that the children who knew their address and telephone number were awarded a sheet of paper, on which was a picture of a house and a written acknowledgement that the child had indeed learned his or her own contact information.
   "I can't believe how hurt Jade is over this," she said, "but I can't very well give an award sheet to her when half the class couldn't give their address either. For safety reasons, it's important that the children know this information. Each child has been reassured that once he or she has learned it, they will then receive an award sheet."
   As we walked home, I tried to explain to my deeply disappointed little girl that many of the students didn't receive a paper—it wasn't just her. Jade hadn't said a word all the while. We no sooner got through the front door, when she let it all out. I picked her up and she clung to me, her arms tight around my neck and her legs wrapped around my waist. She sobbed into my neck. I was so annoyed with myself for not having taught Jade this vital information. That piece of paper meant so much to her, and it hurt me to think how disappointed she felt because she "hadn't got it."
   That afternoon, I was determined to teach Jade what she needed to know. We went out for a walk, observing and pointing out all the little number signs that indicated an address. We walked to the corner, and I pointed out the street sign. We made up songs: "Where do you live? I live at 319A Westminster Avenue." By the end of that afternoon, Jade knew her address, but as for her phone number—that was a tough one and would probably require an additional day's practice.
   Two days later, while I prepared lunch, a friend of mine met Jade at school. She later mentioned that Jade hadn't said a word all the way home, yet had a mischievous grin on her face. When Jade walked in the front door, she headed straight for the kitchen to see me. With a beaming smile on her face, she plunked her backpack onto the table, then pulled something out.
   "I got it!" She waved it in the air. "I gotta papo!"
   It was moments like this that made me want to scream out with joy.

p. 97:
   Jade followed me into the kitchen and sat down at the table to keep me company while I prepared supper. "How was your day at school, Jade?"
   "Fine," she replied. She started to peel a banana, then added, "Wanna fammy."
   "You want a fammy? I don't understand, Jade, what's a fammy?"
    "Budders, sissers, daddy," she answered.
   Taken aback, I said, "Oh, you want a family! Jade, we are a family. You and me."
   "Jade daddy?" she inquired.
   "Oh, sweetheart," I replied, "your father lives someplace else and there's nothing I can do about it. But Jim is like a father to you, and you love him, don't you? And Andrew is good to you and he loves you. And guess what? You do have a big family. You have a grandmother, a grandfather, four uncles, three aunts, and two cousins. So, you see, we do have a big family."
   I didn't know what else to say. Seeing the disappointment in her eyes and listening to the sadness in her voice, I just wished that I could have snapped my fingers and had an instant family, the kind of family that Jade was now asking for-one that included a daddy and a brother and a sister.
   Without saying a word, Jade wandered off into the living room and turned on the television while I went downstairs to get the laundry out of the basement. A few minutes later, she was back in the kitchen with a big, black cat dangling from her arms.
   "Where did you get that?" I asked. She shrugged her shoulders, then pointed to the back door.
   "Oh, he was waiting at the door?"
   Jade shook her head, then sat on the floor to pet the cat. "Ah, cat's cute, eh, Mommy. I keep it, kay?"
   "No, Jade. I know this will be hard for you to understand, but I'm allergic to cats. They make me itchy, and they make me sneeze a lot. Besides, that cat already has a home. He must live somewhere around here."
   Jade ignored me. She started rubbing her chin against the cat's fur, saying, "Aah, you my sisser, kay?"
   "Your sister? Oh, Jade, please don't do this to me."
   The words "Mother" and "Guilt" were so closely entwined that I sometimes wondered what it would be like to go a whole week without denying Jade anything she wanted.

p. 128:
   When I awoke the following morning, Jade was already dressed for school. I made her some breakfast, but she refused to eat. I didn't push the issue—it was the first day jitters, I presumed.
   Jade returned to her bedroom to observe herself in the full-length mirror. With a big grin, she turned to me: "I wook nice, eh, Mommy?"
    "Absolutely, Jade." I said. "You look beautiful. Such nice new clothes."
    "New shoes, too," she was quick to point out.
    "Oh yes, your new shoes look great too."
    "I go scoo now, kay?"
    "It's still too early yet, Jade. We've got another hour before we have to leave. You have lots of time, so why don't you go into the bathroom, wash up, brush your teeth, and brush your hair."
    "Did it weddy, Gayo."
   Jade went into the kitchen and sat on the small bench, staring at the digital clock. She asked, "What nummers?"
    "Eight-three-zero," I replied.
   At eight-thirty sharp, Jade leaped up from the bench.
    "Time fer scoo," she shouted. "Wet's go!"
   We were no sooner out the front door, when I snapped a photo of Jade and she tripped on the sidewalk, scraping her knee. She quickly got up from the pavement and was about to cry, when she must have realized that it was too important a day for tears. With a crack in her voice, she said, "Wet's go, Mommy. No be wate."

p. 149:
   One night I was awakened by loud screams. I ran into Jade's room and saw her sitting up in bed, her arms folded around her stomach. She started to scream again. I massaged her stomach, trying to comfort her as she cried, "Tummy hutts!" She refused to lie down.
   I was trying to understand what was happening, and for one terrifying moment, I thought: maybe this is it. Maybe this is the tragic end. I cried and the miseries took over. Suddenly there was a hand on my face and a voice saying, "Mommy, why cying?"
   "Oh, Jade, I'm sorry," I said. "It's just that my stomach hurts, too." As I reached for a Kleenex from the night-stand, I added, "But I'm okay now. I feel better. Are you okay?"
   "Yeah, Mommy. Touch my face."

p. 153:
   That afternoon, Dr. Gibbons came to see me. I was lying beside Jade in her bed, expecting some hopeful, good news. He began, "After studying the results of Jade's latest tests, what I have to tell you isn't good." My whole body tensed up, and I tried to say something to stop him from continuing, but nothing came.
   He went on, "There has been serious deterioration of Jade's heart, and as you know, there is nothing we can do about it. We can't cure Jade's heart defect, but we've tried everything to help cure her from this virus in order to prevent further deterioration. Jade hasn't been able to beat this virus, and at this point, I don't expect she'll get any better. Her condition will likely worsen as time goes on. All we can do now is to continue with the medication to help relieve the pain and try to make her as comfortable as possible. I think you should prepare yourself..."
   At this excruciating moment, I was no longer able to see the doctor for the tears that were clouding my vision; nor was I able to hear whatever else he had to say. I was numb. He left the room, and I found myself cradling Jade in my arms, wanting to be cradled myself.
   Jade saw the hurt in my eyes. Touching my face, she started to cry. "Aah, no sad, Mommy, kay?

p. 156:
...but something itched deep inside me. I wanted somehow for Jade to be prepared for the day that we would no longer be together. I didn't quite know what to say or how to explain it, but it was so important to me that Jade receive some sort of honest explanation. More than anything I didn't want her to be frightened. Death. The word in itself frightened me, yet I didn't want Jade to be afraid.
   I explained to her that Jesus loved her just as much as I did and, because He loved her so much, He would someday want her to come to live with Him. Sitting beside me on her bed, Jade was silent. She listened intently, absorbing every word.
    "Jesus thinks you are very special and He would love to take care of you someday. Would you like to live with Jesus someday?"
   Jade thought about my question but didn't answer.
   "Jesus," I continued, "lives in Heaven—a beautiful world with lots of warm sunshine all the time. There are lots of beautiful trees and flowers. There are small animals that you can feed and take care of. There are lots of other children to play with and lots of toys. You can play all your favourite games."
   "Duck-duck-goose?" she asked. "And tisket-tasket?"
   "Oh yes, Jade. And baseball, too. Wouldn't that be great?"
   Jade smiled a little but still never answered my question.
   "So someday, Jade, would you like to live in Heaven with Jesus?"
   "You too, Mommy? You coming, too?"
   "Yes, Jade, I'll come too, but maybe not right away. Maybe Jesus will want to spend some time with you alone first. But as soon as He wants me, I'll come right away, and we'll both live together in Heaven..."

Web Wanderings

Cops: Teacher went too far by Michele McPhee and Joe Williams, New York Daily News Staff Writers, Thursday, November 27th, 2003. URL: [No longer available]
A Brooklyn elementary schoolteacher was removed from class and arrested on assault charges yesterday after a 10-year-old student with Down syndrome complained she doused him with air freshener when he passed gas.
Jane Fasone, 58, a veteran teacher at Public School 72 in East New York, is accused of spraying the boy's buttocks and mouth and making him stand against a wall, sources said.
"It's hard to believe she would do something like that," said Phyllis Esposito, 55, Fasone's neighbor in Marine Park.
Esposito said Fasone, the married mother of two adult sons, has taught disabled children for years.
"She's a nice woman who goes to church every Sunday," Esposito said. Fasone refused to comment last night as detectives led her out of the Child Advocacy Center in downtown Brooklyn in handcuffs.
She was charged with third-degree assault and endangering the welfare of a child, police said. She was being held last night pending an arraignment.
Esposito said Fasone had been looking forward to making dessert for a Thanksgiving meal at the home of one of her sons. Now she may be spending the holiday in jail.
She was removed from the Shepherd Ave. school at 1 p.m. yesterday and reassigned to a regional school office pending the outcome of an investigation and hearing, Department of Education officials said.

Father's Journal

Pictures at an Exhibition
My son learns with flash cards and identifies the whole orchestra: two harps, bass, the violins in the string section, French horn, etc., and then recognizes the glorious opening Promenade fanfare of his favorite composer, Mussorgsky, from his balcony seat.
Witnesses told police and school investigators that the boy passed gas inside the teacher's fourth-grade classroom on Nov. 19 about 1:30 p.m. The teacher allegedly pulled back the boy's pants and sprayed aerosol air freshener at his buttocks, school officials said.
She also allegedly sprayed the chemicals at his mouth before pushing him against a wall and making him stand up for 1½ hours - until the end of the school day, school officials said.
The boy told his parents of the incident on Friday, and his father went to speak to the school's principal Monday, sources said.
Brooklyn child abuse cops took over the investigation and interviewed Fasone and several other witnesses, sources said.