The Boy in the Window by Barbara Coppo – Book Review

Morgan-James Publishing (2007)

ISBN 9781600372650

One of the things we mothers have is an incredible sense of things going wrong with our children. Barbara Coppo was no different. She and her husband Ken already had a beautiful healthy girl, when she found out she was pregnant again. She wasn’t sure how she felt about being pregnant again now that she had a great career and her daughter was a teenager, but as time went on she was very excited and hoped that this pregnancy would bring her husband and her closer together. On February 1, 1978 she delivered a healthy boy whom they named Kenny. Kenny was the center of attention for his first year of life–adored by everyone. When it came time for Kenny to have his eighteen-month shots, Barbara got a “feeling,” and wasn’t sure what was causing the apprehension. After several lengthy discussions with her pediatrician, her husband and family members, she finally decided to get him his boosters.

On September 6th, 1979, Kenny got his last series of the d.p.t. booster – his life would change forever. After a few days, Kenny wasn’t able to talk, walk or respond in his normal happy way. Even the doctor’s were stumped as to what had happened– they continued to explain that vaccines for children were very safe. And again the next day Kenny began to have convulsions — still no reason why.

This was Kenny’s life to this day– seizures, mobility problems, no friends and he has characteristics of autism. Doctor’s even had the gall to tell his mother that he was retarded. With numerous evaluations, behavioral schools, special classes and countless hours of care and research by his mother, it was realized Kenny would never be a normal child again.

Even through the years, pediatricians kept telling Kenny’s parents that vaccines were safe. Yet one doctor finally told Barbara that through research it was indicated, after the d.p.t. vaccines, that some children became autistic, mentally-challenged and some even died. This is a parent’s worse nightmare – all of us today think about the effect of vaccines on our children. Yet never once did Kenny’s parents, friends, therapists give up on him. They continued to push him to the point that he was finally able to talk through the use of facilitative communication. No one even imagined he had all those thoughts and intelligence in him. He was very aware of his challenges and knew he was different. He was also very mathematically inclined.

To this day, Kenny is a loner, but has many friends and supporters. He loves to watch people through his upstairs window. He has a set routine that no one can upset or his violent behavior will come out. But he has made great strides even though he came across many obstacles with very little support from the school systems.

How does a mother do this? You do what you have to do to save your child, never take no for an answer. Many parents of children with special needs have been through this high and low road.

Having worked with family members who have children or adult children with special challenges for over 25 years, Barbara Coppo’s story is the same for many of them. The frustration, anger and trying to figure out what they did to cause this. My personal and professional opinion is that everyone involved with children; teachers, coaches, school boards and therapists should read “The Boy in the Window” to get a first-hand knowledge of what families go through.

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Health and Your Inner Teacher

When you travel the halls of your memory, who do you remember as your most influential teachers? How did these teachers influence your life and change it for the better? Great teachers spark more than math, literature, or science in your life. They spark something else as well, something deeper and long-lasting that stays with you. As an individual living your life, you have another teacher you may not have touched on in your memory. That teacher is you! When you’re trying to get healthy and support your body and mind better, your inner teacher is key toward achieving what you want.

Health involves learning. You learn about your body and which lifestyle habits foster balanced health, versus which habits derail health. But you also learn something else. You learn about yourself as a person, how you face challenges, and which obstacles are blocking your road to health. The journey toward health involves more than regimens for diet, exercise, and sleep. The journey is unique to who you are and where you’re at in life too.

Bringing out your inner teacher to learn about your health isn’t always easy. Everyone wants to believe they are perfectly healthy, and sometimes facing the reality that your health needs more support can be challenging. It means admitting that you’re not perfect and that you still have more to learn. It takes knowing that supplements, medications, or doctor’s visits alone can’t keep you healthy. You as a person are an essential part of your health, and acknowledging this fact takes honesty and courage.

When you call forth your inner teacher in an open and honest way, you can explore your physical and mental-emotional health through a unique lens. You can ask yourself if there are societal and personal expectations that are burdening you and blocking your health. You can explore whether some part of your past unfairly has a hold on your health and who you are today. You can explore your relationships with yourself and other people to see whether they are supporting or hindering health. You can also notice how you manage stress and emotions and whether your current approach could use some adjustment for better health.

Good teachers both challenge you out of your comfort zone and patiently support you through the discomfort that can result. Getting healthier can feel strange and uncomfortable at times. The body and mind are used to doing what they always do—in other words, homeostasis or equilibrium. They will maintain states of health, but they also maintain states of unbalanced health. To get healthy, your inner teacher has to push you beyond comfortably unhealthy habits. On the other hand, your inner teacher also has to patiently help you through these potentially awkward transition periods and regularly remind you: “I can do this!”

What steps have you taken lately to bring out your inner teacher on the road to better health? If you feel that it’s been a while since you’ve listened to your inner teacher, that’s okay. He or she is always there and you can turn to that side of yourself when your health feels neglected or stuck. Remember to give your inner teacher the same respect that you would any other great teacher in your life.

As you head into the autumn season, a period of time that is infused with transition in the air around you, encourage your inner teacher by asking yourself the following questions:

1) What are current strengths in my health?

2) What are some weaker points of my health that require more attention and learning?

3) Without focusing too much on the past or the future, what steps can I take today toward better health?

4) What are my obstacles to health in the present moment?

5) How can I create space in my life for my inner teacher to express itself and help me with health?

As you ask yourself these questions, you’ll find that your body and mind naturally know which direction to go in—if you listen to them. By paying attention to your inner teacher, you’ll learn new things about your health and how better to support it. And you’ll enter your own hall of fame of great teachers.

Competitive Bodybuilder Inspires Self-Improvement

Josh Wade’s new book “Becoming a Stronger Person” is destined to be a hit with male and female readers alike. Besides telling his personal story of how he became an accomplished competitive and professional bodybuilder, Wade provides practical and inspirational advice on how to live life to your fullest potential, increasing your physical, mental, and emotional strength. He provides numerous examples of exercise routines and nutritious meals to help both men and women build muscle, lose weight, or simply stay in shape. Most of all, he inspires dedication to achieve the goal to be healthier and happier.

“Becoming a Stronger Person” is divided into four sections-Change, Passion, Nutrition, and Exercise. The first two sections tell the story of Wade’s life, from troublemaker and delinquent teenager to devoted husband and professional bodybuilder. Wade explains why he had a bad attitude as a teenager, how he was given a second chance to turn his life around, and how he took advantage of it. By focusing on his goals and dreams as well as becoming the best person possible, he has found a wonderful wife, become an impressive competitive bodybuilder, and inspired many to improve their own physiques. While his life is not always perfect-while writing his book, Wade and his wife lost their unborn son-he has learned to be strong and move forward, never giving up on achieving his goals.

The third section of “Becoming a Stronger Person” takes the reader through an explanation of nutrition, how to build muscle and to lose weight, and the proper nutrients, serving sizes, and calories people need in their diets. Wade offers practical advice here, explaining why fad diets do not work and how people can lose weight without starving or hurting their bodies. “I always tell people who are interested in losing weight and improving their physical appearance, ‘That’s great, but your number one goal is to improve your health.'” He wisely notes, “I always want to achieve the best look possible, but I will never sacrifice health to get there.” Wade uses practical analogies throughout to illustrate his common sense approach to health and nutrition, as in the following passage:

Smaller frequent meals can also have a positive effect on your metabolism by keeping it elevated to burn more body fat while resting. For example, when you have a fire in the fireplace that starts burning more slowly, you add wood, but if you add too much wood at once, it will smolder it and put it out. If you only add a little wood at a time, you keep an even burning hot fire, which resembles what your body’s metabolism does with smaller frequent feedings as opposed to large ones.

For weight and muscle gain, Wade provides lists of specific foods and portion sizes for a person’s diet. He even provides the best times to eat in relation to workouts.

The book’s fourth section “Exercise” offers various exercises for training all parts of the body from chest, to biceps, to legs. Separate exercises are included for women who want to be lean but not increase muscle mass like men. Wade includes photographs of himself in the different positions so the exercises are visually easy to follow. The photographs also show off Wade’s impressive physique-a clear sign that the reader is getting advice from an expert. In fact, very few athletes, much less professional bodybuilders have written such detailed exercise instructions for readers or shared their secrets-Wade makes it clear that achieving a better body is less about secrets than hard work, dedication, and a belief in oneself.

Perhaps most importantly, Wade offers practical and common sense advice to his exercise regime. For example:

The bench press is thought of as an overall chest builder, a power movement, and a great mass builder. All of those things are true as long as you leave your ego out of it by not focusing on the weight you are pushing and concentrate more on the contraction of the exercise.

Wade enforces the importance of not lifting too much weight, lifting weight with proper form rather than sloppy movements, and learning how to max out your workout.

Wade is a positive role model who has been through difficult times but turned his life around, not just 360 but 540 degrees. After years of developing his physique, Wade decided to reach out to help others achieve their goals, change their physiques, and build their self-confidence through nutrition and exercise. He is already a personal trainer, and now he is carrying his practical advice and techniques to a wider audience.

The mission of “Becoming a Stronger Person” is to show people how to change their lives, their lifestyle, their quality of life, as well as their overall outlook of themselves, their physiques, and their futures. If Josh Wade lived near me, I’d hire him in a minute to be my personal trainer. In the few weeks since I’ve read his book, I have been encouraged to exercise more and eat better; he has definitely inspired me to be a healthier, stronger, and better person. This book is a perfect gift especially for the teenage boy or young man interested in bodybuilding and fitness. Wade is sure to influence the next generation of better, stronger young men and women.