Showing posts from June, 2010

The importance of public participation and policy development

Many states are struggling to develop budgets and are under severe pressures from seemingly endless mandates from many different sources. Some mandates come from federal laws and others come from contractual obligations and still others come from the constituents themselves. Locally, the end result of this is seen in a NY state budget process that has gone from the original inanity of 'three men in a room' backroom dealing to 'one man making dictatorial emergency extensions.' At this point the populace has been so effectively removed from the budgetary process that I am not even sure they realize yet that lobbying in all of its forms (direct and proxy) is functionally dead. I find it amusing that at least the New York 'three men in a room' process could be lobbied - who would have thought that system could be degraded into something worse?? Inappropriate and ineffective decisions are more likely to be made when the populace is removed from the process of par

A parent questions an auditory intervention program

Dear Dr. Alterio: I read your article on Tomatis and other auditory integration programs. My son has autism, and we are midway through a program that uses a form of Tomatis. Their company is called {REDACTED}. My gut is telling me that this may be a scam, but as a concerned parent with a child with Autism I'll admit that I am easy prey. During one visit the instructor (I now question whether she was an OT) told me that my son fell asleep during the session. I asked how long he was asleep, and she said about 45 minutes (the session was only 80 minutes long). She then proceeded to tell me that that was ok, because he had the head phones on during that time. Anyway, before I sink another $4k into this program, I would be interesting in knowing if you've heard anything about this facility, as well as you opinions on this form of therapy. If you think I'm being sold snake oil, please let me know. As I said, my gut is telling me to use the money to further his

The importance of listening to mom

One of the interesting things about my time spent working in a pediatric hospital was learning that mom's advice to kids on 'what not to do' really did turn out to be good advice. Of course when you are a kid no one thinks that if they run with something in their mouth something bad can happen. The truth is that bad things happen all the time but you might not notice unless you happen to be in a place where all those bad things end up being treated. It is a tragic reality - and the hospital workers have to deal with the stress of seeing these horrible accidents on a daily basis. Sometimes the only way to mitigate the horror was with a dry humor. I remember doing rounds with the neurosurgeon early on a Wednesday morning and marveling at the x-ray showing the point of an umbrella impaled through the roof of a child's mouth and resting squarely behind the child's eyes. It was a miracle that the child survived and after the surgery to extract the umbrella there was