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Lilo review right on the mark

I just had to e-mail you and tell you how much I agreed and appreciated Jennifer Mangan’s editorial on the Lilo and Stitch movie. I took my 7-year-old son to see the movie and was utterly appalled.

My son asked me in the middle of the movie if a DCFS “officer” could come to our home and take him away. What type of subject matter is this? I was so outraged that I wrote Disney. Not surprisingly, no one responded.

I wish there was some way Disney could be held more accountable to produce morally acceptable films. Thank you for asking Jennifer to review this movie. Thank you, Jennifer.

JACKIE GORDEN-PLATEK Wildwood

SOFT offers support

I read with great interest the article in your October 2002 issue titled “Meet Maeve’s Mother.” My son also has Trisomy 13 and is 6. Parents who receive this diagnosis for their child are still being told, as we were, that it is “incompatible with life.” Although it is true that many children do not survive the first year, many do. A national support group SOFT (Support Organization for Families of Trisomy 18, 13 and Related Disorders) had its annual conference in Chicago this summer. More than 250 people attended. It was co-sponsored by Hope Children’s Hospital in Oak Lawn. My husband and I were the chairs. For more information, call (800) 716-SOFT or visit the Web site www.Trisomy.org.

CINDY COOK Shorewood

Support midwifery education

Thank you so much for your coverage of the state of direct-entry midwifery in Illinois (November 2002). As President of Illinois Families For Midwifery (IFFM), a statewide consumer organization, I would like to share with you and your readers more information about the Certified Professional Midwife (CPM) credential.

This credential is administered by the North American Registry of Midwives (NARM). In 1997, Ohio State University studied the process of becoming a CPM and found that it assures competency to practice as a midwife. NARM is accredited by the National Commission for Certifying Agencies, which is the accrediting body of the National Organization for Competency Assurance.

Schools that train Certified Professional Midwives are accredited by the Midwifery Education Accreditation Council (MEAC). Because MEAC is recognized by the U.S. Department of Education, students are eligible to receive federal educational financial assistance. The Veterans Administration also offers financial assistance to veterans who take the CPM exam.

The American Public Health Association supports greater access to out-of-hospital birth and direct-entry midwives. IFFM and other midwifery advocates encourage the Illinois House of Representatives to follow the recommendations of the American Public Health Association and pass a direct-entry midwifery licensing bill, which will recognize nationally certified midwives who have completed a course of study at a federally approved midwifery school.

We encourage members of the public who wish to learn more about midwifery or the current progress in Illinois to contact Illinois Families for Midwifery at (309) 722-3345 or by e-mail at iffm2000@yahoo.com. Chicago-area residents can call (773) 278-8625.

PAT COLE, president, Illinois Families for Midwifery

Music lessons require parents input

As a piano teacher of 13 years, I wanted to comment on the (Smart Love, January 2003) answer to the mother in regard to her son’s piano practicing. While they are correct that we should not force our children to participate in optional activities and that daily battles over practicing are counter productive, I think we need to separate issues of practicing the piano and playing the piano. The Piepers suggest that if the child does not like practicing the piano, perhaps he would like a different instrument. My guess is that at 6 years, he is not going to like practicing any instrument. It is very difficult for a 6-year-old to be self-disciplined enough to spend 20 minutes by himself practicing. If parents are going to place a young child in lessons that require daily practicing, they must realize that they need to sit with the child to help.

There are several solutions to this problem. First, discuss the issue with the teacher and elicit his or her help. Is 20 minutes really necessary, or simply working on each piece a prescribed number of times enough? If the teacher is committed to 20 minutes per day, does it have to be all in one sitting, or can it be broken into more manageable pieces? Perhaps her son simply isn’t ready for formal lessons. More age appropriate musical activities could be found. Kindermusik and Orff classes are just two possibilities of music classes that are developmentally appropriate and also give a sound musical foundation. Formal lessons could be pursued again when the child is better able to be self-directed.

A parent needs to work in partnership with the child’s music teacher. Clear communication is vital to a child’s musical success. It is important to remember that it is the ability to play for one’s enjoyment that is the goal of music lessons and that practicing is just the means of getting there.

ELIZABETH CURRY Evanston

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