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Sunday, 30 November 2008

My Web Wanderings (weekly)

  • tags: pro-life

    • The husband of the teenage girl who has become Britain's youngest mother of Siamese twins said she and the babies were doing well.
    • The husband of the teenage girl who has become Britain's youngest mother of Siamese twins said she and the babies were doing well.

      Laura Williams, 18, gave birth to conjoined girls, named Faith and Hope, by Caesarean section.

    • The couple, from Shrewsbury, had defied advice from doctors to abort the girls early in the pregnancy, which they described as the 'hardest decision of our lives.'

      Only about 5 per cent of conjoined twins survive the first 24 hours. But the girls' chances are thought to be good as they are joined at the front from navel to breastbone and do not share a heart.

  • tags: Reading

    • The optimal time to learn to read is when a child is one to three years old,
      because this is the time when their brains naturally do the most closely-
      related task: learning to under-stand speech and to talk themselves.
    • Nearly all children naturally learn to understand speech, and to speak themselves, between the ages of one and three years (although the foundations do indeed start from early infancy). This is an enormously complex task, yet you don’t really teach a child to talk. Instead, children learn to talk essentially on their own, so long as they are raised in an environment rich with speech and with social interaction. And children generally learn to talk with obvious delight, seemingly without effort and, often, with amazing speed. They don’t learn to talk through regimented lessons, instead they learn by listening to and interacting with their family and friends, by singing songs, and by playing games. Nearly every child does this successfully, in every culture around the world, and children have learned to talk like this throughout recorded history and, surely, before recorded history, too.
    • I believe that the reason some children read easily and early is because reading early makes learning to read easier.
      I know this sounds strange at first. Most people consider learning to read a fairly difficult task. Look at how many six-year-olds struggle with it! And since it is difficult for many six-year- olds, they assume that learning to read must be much more difficult, if not downright impossible, for a four-year-old—to say nothing of a two-year-old! But this superficially compelling logic is not valid for all tasks.
    • For example, nearly everyone now knows that learning a foreign language is much easier when you learn it at an earlier age. In fact, in general, the earlier the better. It is better to learn a foreign language early for the simple reason that early childhood is when our brains naturally are most receptive to language acquisition. It is a window of opportunity that, if missed, makes learning harder. You can learn a second language later, of course, but it is much more difficult to attain the fluency and accent that young children pick up with no trouble at all. Because of this, schools in this country have finally started to move foreign language instruction from the last few years of high school to much earlier in the curriculum, preferably all the way to kindergarten and even to preschool. Many people resisted this because, although everyone knows that children learn their own first language spontaneously and with ease in early childhood, they assumed that learning a second language would be somehow too confusing. The reality is, while there are occasional moments of confusion— moments when a child speaks a bit of Franglais or Spanglish—children generally deal with the additional complexity of a second language better when they are younger. Preschoolers, compared to older children and adults, are truly geniuses at learning languages.
    • The core insight of native reading is that this natural genius young children have for learning spoken languages can, if given the right environment, be easily extended to written language, too. If children learn in this more natural way, they not only read years earlier, they also gain an ease and familiarity with the written word that is achieved by older children, if at all, only after a much greater struggle. Native readers learn to read as a natural, effortless extension of learning to talk. And the best time to learn to read this way is the best time to learn to talk: before the age of three. Better yet, when children learn to read in this more natural way, not only do they learn easily, joyfully, and at an early age, but they then become truly native readers. They become deeply and effortlessly literate in a way that has lifelong benefits, just as native speakers of a language have an ease and fluency that can generally only be marveled at by those who learned too late.
    • Many people have heard of a case or two of a child who could fluently read by three. Indeed, throughout history there is ample evidence that children are certainly capable of reading that young. For example, by the age of three the great mathematician Gauss could not only read, he also knew enough mathematics to correct an error in his father’s payroll accounts! More recently, it has been reported that not only was the entertainment mogul Oprah Winfrey reading by the age of three, but that she was actually so fluent a reader that she started her career in public speaking at this same age, reading for her church congregation, to much applause and amazement.
    • fundamentally, speech and writing are just two different forms of the same language. The critical factor is to create the right environment where the natural miracle of language acquisition extends to the written word.
  • tags: Unit conversion

  • tags: Education, Montessori

  • tags: pro-life

  • tags: pro-life

  • tags: pro-life

    • Laura Williams, 18, from Shrewsbury, Shropshire, defied medical advice to abort the girls early in her pregnancy, and will now give birth to Faith and Hope by caesarean section this week.
    • When Aled and Laura Williams arrived at the Royal Shrewsbury Hospital they were understandably excited. About to have the first scan, 12 weeks into the pregnancy, they paid the requisite £10 for three photographs and duly waited for their appointment with the nurse.

      Two hours later, the couple sat in the hospital car park, Aled's face a ghastly shade of grey and Laura, beside him, still in shock and unable to stop crying.

      It was only then that they realised they didn't even have a picture . . . and why the doctors, in their supposed wisdom, had thought it better that way. For Aled and Laura had just been told they were expecting conjoined, or Siamese, twins.

    • The couple felt the doctor was blunt to the point of callousness.

      Laura recalls: 'He said I'd be better to get rid of them, that I would probably lose them by 14 weeks and if they lasted any longer it could cause all sorts of complications and I could end up having to have a hysterectomy.'

      He then told the couple to go home and think about it while the nurse returned the money for their scan pictures.

    • Aled says: 'We're just hoping for the best. If God wants the babies to be in this world it will happen. If not, that's what it's got to be.
    • 'Most people of her age want to go out drinking and having fun but Laura's always said she wanted children. And at the end of the day they're still our children no matter what the outcome.'
    • Laura says: 'No one can say we haven't tried. I'm just glad we have proved that first doctor wrong.

      'I bet there are a lot of people out there who have been in our position and have felt they had no choice. Whatever happens to us, we've proved that's not the case.'

    • The couple do not have the first, 12-week scan as the doctor advised an abortion and thought it would be upsetting to have a picture to remember their babies by.
  • tags: pro-life

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.


Buffy said...

I too have heard about the conjoined babies. I didn't realise the parents had been advised to abort though. That doctor sounds a little bit lacking in sensitivity!

I heard yesterday that following surgery Hope had died and Faith has a 50% chance of survival. I can't begin to imagine the anguish the parents are going through.

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