On Coming Out of the Oven Too Soon Sep 17, 2017

By Rick Rader, MD
In the 1920's, babies like Lucille faced almost certain demise. Lucille did not escape the inevitable
and she passed away... but not until she celebrated her 96th birthday. Lucille died earlier this
year after living a very meaningful life.  Read this article online

The Case of the 125-Pound, Drooling, Snorting, Gassy, Loud and Silly Girl ** Aug 17, 2017

By Rick Rader, MD
Most journal case presentations provide building blocks of information.  After the initial description, they proceed with the results of diagnostic test that were ordered.  Read this article online

Honoris Causa Jul 11, 2017

By Rick Rader, MD
If my work in the disability arena over the last 20 odd years is deserving of an honorary doctorate from this respected medical-dental university, the honor belongs to the disability community.  Read this article online

In and Out of the Lines Jun 1, 2017

By Rick Rader, MD
People, like crayons, come in a vast array of colors; but each one contributes to our collective palette. READ MORE

Word Count May 1, 2017

By Rick Rader, MD
I think readers of this magazine would nominate two words that would give “cellar door,” and “tremulous,” a run for their money. They certainly convey “comfort and the deepness of human relationships.” They are “exceptional” and “parent.” READ MORE

"MEOW" Apr 1, 2015

By Rick Rader, MD
Patti Wade knew we needed to understand dementia and how it manifests itself in our already vulnerable population. How we have to modify and address our own behaviors, the environment, stressors, accommodations and the way we communicate and react.
Pablo Picasso, who knew a thing or two about being an artist, mused, "God is really only another artist. He invented the giraffe, the elephant and the cat. He has no real style. He just goes on trying other things."

Through the Looking Glass Mar 3, 2015

By Rick Rader, MD
"There comes a time in a man's life when to get where he has to go – if there are no doors or windows he walks through a wall." -- Bernard Malamud
Some things sometimes get the limelight that others deserve.

The Cards Are Stacked Feb 2, 2015

This morning I led some guests on a tour of the Orange Grove Center where I have been lucky enough to call home for the last 20 years. One of the highlights of the tour is our "Snoezelen Room," or our Multi-Sensory Environment (MSE) center which was gifted to us by Flaghouse to explore treatments for individuals with multi-sensory processing disorders. READ MORE

The Case for Hairy Arms Jan 5, 2015

After being on vacation for a week, Susan comes back all aglow. Aglow and exhausted. Susan is the Administrative Assistant at the Habilitation Center at Orange Grove and she was on a pilgrimage to Disneyworld with her family and granddaughter Presley. Aglow and exhausted best describes the human condition of spending a week at the Orlando mecca for what is billed (along with Disneyland) as the "happiest place on earth". After all, what's there not to love; it's fantasyland personified, where everything is perfect, everything works right and the staff is falling over each other to insure you come back (and pass the strategically placed souvenir displays leading from everywhere to everyplace). READ MORE

On Thanking the Swiss for More than Their Chocolate Dec 3, 2014

"Man is a tool-using animal. Without tools he is nothing, with tools he is all." -- Thomas Carlyle READ MORE

A Most Exclusive Club Nov 4, 2014

I was cleaning out my wallet the other day, a bi-annual ritual to purge the detritus of business cards offered to me at the numerous conferences, meetings and presentations I attend (or at least show up at). As I was triaging the findings (invoices, credit card chits, movie ticket stubs, scribbled notes, and yes some losing door prize tickets) I found the biggest stack was a mound of official membership cards from "clubs" I belong to. READ MORE

Warning Signs Oct 2, 2014

So what came first, our inherent stupidity or the lawyers who insisted that we be protected from ourselves?
Ancient Roman and Medieval cartographers (mapmakers) knew enough about the potential danger of explorers encountering fire breathing dragons to indicate on maps of unchartered territories, "Here be dragons." That was enough to serve as a warning. There was no need to elaborate by stating that, "Dragons may eat you and your vessel; causing delays and even death." READ MORE

Blue Hens, Kitchen Tables and the Grooming of Future Leaders Sep 3, 2014

Sixty plus years ago, when the disability rights movement started to get traction, there was a common landmark for most of the pioneering advocacy organizations. READ MORE

Too Cute Aug 5, 2014

Most of the "cute things" are in emails that friends and colleagues send my way in the ongoing belief that most of us need a daily "cute fix" to ground us. Recently (it's the life cycle) the "cute things" are paraded past me by colleagues showing me cell phone photos of their "cute" grandbabies. As they are scrolling to find the "cutest" of the 400 photos they took the day before, they almost universally announce, "Is this not the cutest kid you ever saw?" I nod. I'm polite. I'm trained. I'm human. READ MORE

No Shirts, No Shoes, No Behavior, No Service Jul 2, 2014

Being a college student in the tumultuous Sixties, I had the requisite long hair and a beard (since I only half matured, I still have the beard). READ MORE

As Tolerated Jun 8, 2014

Medical advice is a tricky thing.
For the most part physicians will provide very specific, well defined directions. "Take two pills (200 mg each pill), three times a day, with food, and stop immediately if you begin to break out in a rash and call the office." Pretty precise (okay the concept of a "rash" might be up for interpretation). READ MORE

Can I Quote You On That? May 2, 2014

I'm not sure if it's appropriate to start an editorial on quotes with a quote, but I quote, "A quotation is a handy thing to have about, saving one the trouble of thinking for oneself, always a laborious business." A.A. Milne, the author of this quote (about quotes) was an English author, best known for his books about the teddy bear Winnie-the-Pooh and for various children's poems. READ MORE

Spell Bound Apr 2, 2014

If it's words they needed, they could have contacted and consulted with any one of a number of "exceptional parents." They encounter hundreds of them in the course of a therapy visit, an IEP meeting, appeal for denied services, hearing for compassionate use of an unapproved medication.
My earliest recollection of the power potential of spelling came from my parents who would spell words in front on me so I wouldn't fully understand what they were talking about. "What time are you taking Ricky to the d-e-n-t-i-s-t tomorrow?" Ernie would ask Sylvia. READ MORE

Happy Birthday, Joe! Mar 1, 2014

If they really wanted to give young boys the excitement, challenges and thrills of a real life adventure hero, they should have reinvented him as "G.I. Joe the Group Home Action Hero."
"War is hell!" declared Union Army General William Tecumseh Sherman; and I have no doubt it is. READ MORE

The "Queerest People" Feb 12, 2014

The Munchkins represented the little people who worked for a living, the backbone of the community and the productive engines of society.
As a self-professed medical historian I particularly enjoy reading the first descriptions of syndromes. READ MORE

The Name Game Jan 11, 2014

The third year of medical school is the time when the student gets to play doctor. He or she wears a white coat, dons a stethoscope around their neck and has (or had, before the electronic hand-held universe) a stack of index cards (patient notes, tips and check lists) occupying every available pocket. It's also the time when they are expected to know things beyond "always, sometimes, never," or "a & b," "a, b & c," "a & d," or "all of the above". The day of reckoning comes when the professor poses the question, "And what do you think it is?" READ MORE

Animal Crackers Dec 6, 2013

Researchers in veterinary medicine and epidemiology have long demonstrated key connections between animals and humans in the areas of emerging infections. "Zoobiguity" looks at connections that are closer to home, including cardiology, gastroenterology, pediatrics, oncology and also psychiatry. READ MORE

A Point Well Taken Nov 5, 2013

The struggles and challenges of parenting a child with special needs have been met by parents "pointing" out their rights, their needs and their obligations to many deaf ears; ears that couldn't or wouldn't hear. Seems like "pointing" comes in handy when you want to make a point and you need something beyond mundane words. READ MORE

Take As Directed Oct 3, 2013

It's a scenario as old as medicine itself. Patient presents his or her pains, complaints, concerns and fears. The physician questions, pokes, prods and probes. The physician scribbles on a slate, parchment, paper or touch screen and offers, "Take this, it will help." READ MORE

The Weight of Numbers Sep 14, 2013

This past January first put me in a league with half of all Americans when we made a New Year's resolution. The league I was in was characterized by our rounding the bases with less speed, less grace and less ease. Our league was literally the "big league," and our resolution was to lose weight. READ MORE

Copy That Aug 3, 2013

One of the most intriguing, novel and exciting applications of 3D printers is in biotech, namely human tissue replacement.
One of the attributes of aging (okay getting geezer-like) is the opportunity to experience the evolution and transition of ideas, technology and innovation. Take copying.

On Being Too Short to Get On the Ride Jul 8, 2013

By Rick Rader, MD

Sarah has cystic fibrosis, which requires a lung transplant to save her life. But the top of 10-year-old Sarah Murnaghan's head is apparently below the bold line that entitles her to get on the "ride to live." READ MORE

A Kink in His Armor Jun 3, 2013

Our take home message about Hephaestus is the same message we glean from hearing stories about others with disabilities. That hard work, diligence and support will prevail.
by Rick Rader, M.D.
Working in the field of disabilities, one quickly becomes sensitive to the prevailing "myths." READ MORE

A Token of Appreciation May 6, 2013

When exceptional parents find themselves on the board game of "Special Needs" and are trying to "win at all costs," they are employing the same principles of "game theory."
By Rick Rader, MD
When I was in college and fumbling through "connecting," I remember the first time I heard the words, "I hope you're not into playing games." This amused me since everyone referred to it as "the dating game." The expressions "He's a loser," or "I hope I score," all referred to "games." So it begged the question, how can you find yourself in a "game," (granted a large scale game) and not be "playing?" READ MORE

Boredom Apr 2, 2013

By Rick Rader, MD
The hope is that with an enlightened appreciation of the dynamics of boredom, psychologists will be able to devise strategies to prevent, overcome or reduce the impact of being bored.
"Bowwww-ring" READ MORE

High Fives Mar 1, 2013

The pearl behind the high five is the fact that someone did what "seemed like the thing to do."
by Rick Rader, MD
Darn this flu.
The thing about the flu that makes it a high priority is its potential potency.
Potency, yeah, that's the right word. It can get you a day out of work or school, could end up giving a tag on your toe. It can give you the blahs, the aches and the shivers, or it can infect 500 million and kill off 50 million as it did in 1918. READ MORE

Getting to the End Feb 7, 2013

The idea of "another story can be written" is the thread to the exceptional parent movement and for the commitment of this magazine to continue to help readers construct their stories; the beginning, the middle and the end.
By Rick Rader, MD
Storytelling is easy. You need a beginning, middle and an end. READ MORE

The Difference Between Completed and Finished Jan 16, 2013

Work on the Annual Resource Guide begins the day after the last guide is put to bed. Providing the most reliable and trusted compendium of resources for the special needs community begins with the realization that we will never "finish" or never "complete" the work.
By Rick Rader, MD
I don't know where these internet ditties originate from, but their spread rivals that of Sudden Acute Respiratory Syndrome. Thinking it was some intense metaphysical treatise someone sent me (and it was after lunch, so I was primed for such an intellectual excursion), I actually opened it and read it. After all, the subject field said, "The Difference Between Complete and Finished." READ MORE

The Role of the Direct Support Professional in Attending Healthcare Appointments Dec 4, 2012

by Rick Rader, MD
The Direct Support Professional (DSP) serves as the lynchpin in the delivery of community based healthcare for individuals residing in group homes. They are instrumental in relating key healthcare information to and from the healthcare provider team. EP has long celebrated their service and dedication. This editorial can be copied and distributed to community agencies in the hope that they will continue to support the legions of DSPs as they continue to represent, advocate and protect the individuals who count on them. READ MORE

400 Hours Nov 6, 2012

by Rick Rader, MD
"According to a study done by the Gartner Group and reported in the Wall Street Journal, the average American spends 400 hours a year searching through piles for things that they have 'somewhere.' Four hundred hours....that translates into 10 forty-hour work weeks or over an hour every single day of the year." READ MORE

Symbolic Evolution Oct 4, 2012

by Rick Rader, MD
I knew one of my colleagues was having a rough day putting the finishing touches on a grant with a looming deadline. I can't remember exactly what I emailed him, but it was designed to give him about 30 seconds of some light humor. I knew immediately that it served its purpose when he simply emailed me, :) READ MORE

The Order of Things Sep 4, 2012

by Rick Rader, MD
We often overlook the obvious.
Take for instance the summary of an article in an international chemistry journal: READ MORE

Blade Runner Aug 1, 2012

by Rick Rader, MD
Most games come with instructions. This one is no different. READ MORE

On the Nobility of Incontinence Jul 2, 2012

When I grew up, guys' names had a ring about them. "Duke" still conjures up someone you want behind you in a schoolyard brawl, while "Spike" makes a decent back-up if Duke wimps out. You'd likely agree that "Rock" would be the one to call if you had to get your bike back from the kid who stole it; the delinquent thief's name would probably be something like "Biff" or "Mack." READ MORE

On Wanting to be Where the Wild Things Are Jun 4, 2012

by Rick Rader, MD
Recently I was attending a conference for a national medical organization and, during one of the breaks, I was delighted to find a chair at an empty table in one of the break areas. Sitting with a latte courtesy of The Intergalactic Pharmaceutical Company, I was looking forward to some much needed solitude. It didn't last long (the solitude that is). READ MORE

Time to Bone Up May 9, 2012

by Rick Rader, MD
While Shakespeare knew a thing or two about human nature, I recently caught him in a goof (while not necessarily an Elizabethan term I'm more comfortable with "goof" than "guffaw."). In his "Measure for Measure" (about mercy, justice and truth and their relationship to pride and humility) he offers that "Thy bones are hollow." Had he used that on a bone physiology exam he would have received his paper back with "See me after class" in bold red pen. READ MORE

The Only Sure Thing About Luck Is That It Will Change Apr 2, 2012

by Rick Rader, MD
Walk into the lobby of any mega medical center of excellence.
Looking at the hospital department directory you will find the following signs accompanied by multi-directional arrows: Surgery...Pathology...Imaging...Neurology...Research...Cardiology
.Interventional Diagnostics...all hard core science. READ MORE

A "Special" Suggestion Mar 9, 2012

A "Special" Suggestion By Stuart Thorn
OK, please, please, go easy on me here. I am about to tell all you emperors that you are butt naked. I will do so with good intention, just as I expect you will resist my advice with equally well-considered intent. But, please hear me out – because as an innocent bystander, maybe, just maybe, I have a different perspective that's worth contemplating. READ MORE

Your Move Feb 1, 2012

by Rick Rader, MD
The Irish playwright George Bernard Shaw was an avid chess player who obviously got his clock cleaned (frequently) by many superior opponents. In fact, he mused, "Chess is a foolish expedient for making idle people believe they are doing something very clever when they are only wasting their time." Idle people indeed. Idle people like Isaac Asimov, Napoleon Bonaparte, Sir Francis Bacon, Catherine the Great, Albert Einstein and Benjamin Franklin.All avid chess players. Idle indeed. READ MORE

I Hate It When I Miss This Stuff Jan 1, 2012

by Rick Rader, MD
While I can fully appreciate the impossibility of not being able to know everything that has an impact in a particular field, I Hate it when I miss stuff. The amount of medical knowledge "doubles" every 10 years so you can forget about knowing it all. You can forget about not knowing what you will never know; but you shouldn't forget about what you don't know that you should know. I'm dealing with that now. READ MORE

A Desk with My Stuff on It Dec 6, 2011

by Rick Rader, MD
I like to collect things.
Stuff is probably a better description of things I collect. On my desk I have a piston from an old race car, an Albert Einstein bobble head, a “Slinky,” a Zuni carving and an empty box of malaria pills. There’s no rhyme or reason for the ensemble. I accumulate stuff. Like most museums, my stuff gets rotated as I stumble on new stuff. The thing about my stuff is that it seems to send out messages to my colleagues. READ MORE

The Sniffles Nov 20, 2011

by Rick Rader, MD
I woke up this morning with the sniffles.
Okay I agree, for the editor-in-chief of the nation's most respected publication addressing the spectrum of complex disabilities to get on a soapbox and discuss "the sniffles" is pretty lame. Beyond lame, I should be embarrassed, banished and whipped within a quarter inch of my life. The sniffles don't even rate a footnote in the annals of the disorders, conditions, syndromes and disabilities that are common to readers of Exceptional Parent.

"Look, Ma, No Hands!" Oct 13, 2011

by Rick Rader, MD
While I do a lot of writing in airplanes, I'm glad I'm doing this one on terra firma.
Technology has had a revolutionary impact on how we do our jobs. We are more productive, more efficient and more accurate. But not in all areas, safer.

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