Cathedral Building

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Puberty blockers help make trans teens into happier young adults, study finds

gaywrites:

Transgender youth who take puberty-delaying hormone treatments are more likely to be happier when they fully transition, according to a new study.

The study found that starting on hormone replacements around age 14 resulted in better mental health for trans youth, and that they had an easier time transitioning into their lived and true gender identity later on.

“The first thing this study shows is that transgender young people, with appropriate treatment, can function at the same psychological level as the rest of the population,” Jenifer McGuire, co-author of the study, told BuzzFeed News. “They have the same distribution as everyone else when they’re treated properly.”

The Dutch study, which involved 22 transgender men and 33 transgender women, found that because of the early hormone treatment, the participants ultimately had no more emotional distress, anxiety, or issues with body image than their peers in the general population after they had transitioned. They also required less gender reassignment surgery, as physical characteristics that develop during puberty were suppressed.

Studies like this are so, so important because they add another layer of credibility to the work we already know is important. We know one of the ways to help trans youth become their true selves as happily and healthily as possible, and the research clearly shows that we should keep doing it. 

For those who insist that one cannot allow youth to make such “big decisions” about themselves so young — validation that these decisions are valid, healthy, important, and necessary to support.

When a youth tells you they are trans and you tell them that they’re too young to make that decision, that they should wait, what you are telling them is, “you should wait until your body continues to develop to a point that you are so truly miserable in what may feel like a prison that no one will then be able to deny that you knew yourself best.” Many, many people seem to feel this way — the youth can’t possibly know themselves well enough to make such a big decision. Adults know better — even when it’s not the adult’s body and mind.

So to see a study backing the proactive decisions that help give power to young peoples’ voices and knowledge about themselves is something great.

(via nouveauqueer)

Filed under education trans youth lgbtq

8 notes

NYC #education meetup!

msleahqueenhbic:

itsssnix:

Hey, if you’re planning on coming, msleahqueenhbic and I need to know so we can make reservations for brunch [in HARLEM] on October 11th.

Message one of us [or email me - itssnix{a.t}gmail.com] to confirm you can come and we’ll give you details!

Edit: Brunch is in Harlem. In my head I was alliterating too much. ;)

Yoooo, come hang out with me y’all.

…you know what? I’m in. I’m realizing I don’t have work that Monday, so why not make the trip. I owe MsLeah brunch anyway.

Is it where I think it is?

Filed under shapefutures posts something personal what? Strangeness

309 notes

neurosciencestuff:

Improving Babies’ Language Skills Before They’re Even Old Enough to Speak
In the first months of life, when babies begin to distinguish sounds that make up language from all the other sounds in the world, they can be trained to more effectively recognize which sounds “might” be language, accelerating the development of the brain maps which are critical to language acquisition and processing, according to new Rutgers research.
The study by April Benasich and colleagues of Rutgers University-Newark is published in the October 1 issue of the Journal of Neuroscience. 
The researchers found that when 4-month-old babies learned to pay attention to increasingly complex non-language audio patterns and were rewarded for correctly shifting their eyes to a video reward when the sound changed slightly, their brain scans at 7 months old showed they were faster and more accurate at detecting other sounds important to language than babies who had not been exposed to the sound patterns. 
“Young babies are constantly scanning the environment to identify sounds that might be language,” says Benasich, who directs the Infancy Studies Laboratory at the University’s Center for Molecular and Behavioral Neuroscience. “This is one of their key jobs – as between 4 and 7 months of age they are setting up their pre-linguistic acoustic maps. We gently guided the babies’ brains to focus on the sensory inputs which are most meaningful to the formation of these maps.” 
Acoustic maps are pools of interconnected brain cells that an infant brain constructs to allow it to decode language both quickly and automatically – and well-formed maps allow faster and more accurate processing of language, a function that is critical to optimal cognitive functioning. Benasich says babies of this particular age may be ideal for this kind of training.
“If you shape something while the baby is actually building it,” she says, “it allows each infant to build the best possible auditory network for his or her particular brain. This provides a stronger foundation for any language (or languages) the infant will be learning. Compare the baby’s reactions to language cues to an adult driving a car. You don’t think about specifics like stepping on the gas or using the turn signal. You just perform them. We want the babies’ recognition of any language-specific sounds they hear to be just that automatic.”
Benasich says she was able to accelerate and optimize the construction of babies’ acoustic maps, as compared to those of infants who either passively listened or received no training, by rewarding the babies with a brief colorful video when they responded to changes in the rapidly varying sound patterns. The sound changes could take just tens of milliseconds, and became more complex as the training progressed.
Looking for lasting improvement in language skills
“While playing this fun game we can convey to the baby, ‘Pay attention to this. This is important. Now pay attention to this. This is important,’” says Benasich, “This process helps the baby to focus tightly on sounds in the environment that ‘may’ have critical information about the language they are learning. Previous research has shown that accurate processing of these tens-of-milliseconds differences in infancy is highly predictive of the child’s language skills at 3, 4 and 5 years.”  
The experiment has the potential to provide lasting benefits. The EEG (electroencephalogram) scans showed the babies’ brains processed sound patterns with increasing efficiency at 7 months of age after six weekly training sessions. The research team will follow these infants through 18 months of age to see whether they retain and build upon these abilities with no further training. That outcome would suggest to Benasich that once the child’s earliest acoustic maps are formed in the most optimal way, the benefits will endure.  
Benasich says this training has the potential to advance the development of typically developing babies as well as children at higher risk for developmental language difficulties. For parents who think this might turn their babies into geniuses, the answer is – not necessarily.  Benasich compares the process of enhancing acoustic maps to some people’s wishes to be taller. “There’s a genetic range to how tall you become – perhaps you have the capacity to be 5’6” to 5’9”,” she explains. “If you get the right amounts and types of food, the right environment, the right exercise, you might get to 5’9” but you wouldn’t be 6 feet. The same principle applies here.”
Benasich says it’s very likely that one day parents at home will be able to use an interactive toy-like device – now under development – to mirror what she accomplished in the baby lab and maximize their babies’ potential. For the 8 to 15 percent of infants at highest risk for poor acoustic processing and subsequent delayed language, this baby-friendly behavioral intervention could have far-reaching implications and may offer the promise of improving or perhaps preventing language difficulties.

Language acquisition is SO. FASCINATING.

neurosciencestuff:

Improving Babies’ Language Skills Before They’re Even Old Enough to Speak

In the first months of life, when babies begin to distinguish sounds that make up language from all the other sounds in the world, they can be trained to more effectively recognize which sounds “might” be language, accelerating the development of the brain maps which are critical to language acquisition and processing, according to new Rutgers research.

The study by April Benasich and colleagues of Rutgers University-Newark is published in the October 1 issue of the Journal of Neuroscience.

The researchers found that when 4-month-old babies learned to pay attention to increasingly complex non-language audio patterns and were rewarded for correctly shifting their eyes to a video reward when the sound changed slightly, their brain scans at 7 months old showed they were faster and more accurate at detecting other sounds important to language than babies who had not been exposed to the sound patterns. 

“Young babies are constantly scanning the environment to identify sounds that might be language,” says Benasich, who directs the Infancy Studies Laboratory at the University’s Center for Molecular and Behavioral Neuroscience. “This is one of their key jobs – as between 4 and 7 months of age they are setting up their pre-linguistic acoustic maps. We gently guided the babies’ brains to focus on the sensory inputs which are most meaningful to the formation of these maps.” 

Acoustic maps are pools of interconnected brain cells that an infant brain constructs to allow it to decode language both quickly and automatically – and well-formed maps allow faster and more accurate processing of language, a function that is critical to optimal cognitive functioning. Benasich says babies of this particular age may be ideal for this kind of training.

“If you shape something while the baby is actually building it,” she says, “it allows each infant to build the best possible auditory network for his or her particular brain. This provides a stronger foundation for any language (or languages) the infant will be learning. Compare the baby’s reactions to language cues to an adult driving a car. You don’t think about specifics like stepping on the gas or using the turn signal. You just perform them. We want the babies’ recognition of any language-specific sounds they hear to be just that automatic.”

Benasich says she was able to accelerate and optimize the construction of babies’ acoustic maps, as compared to those of infants who either passively listened or received no training, by rewarding the babies with a brief colorful video when they responded to changes in the rapidly varying sound patterns. The sound changes could take just tens of milliseconds, and became more complex as the training progressed.

Looking for lasting improvement in language skills

“While playing this fun game we can convey to the baby, ‘Pay attention to this. This is important. Now pay attention to this. This is important,’” says Benasich, “This process helps the baby to focus tightly on sounds in the environment that ‘may’ have critical information about the language they are learning. Previous research has shown that accurate processing of these tens-of-milliseconds differences in infancy is highly predictive of the child’s language skills at 3, 4 and 5 years.”  

The experiment has the potential to provide lasting benefits. The EEG (electroencephalogram) scans showed the babies’ brains processed sound patterns with increasing efficiency at 7 months of age after six weekly training sessions. The research team will follow these infants through 18 months of age to see whether they retain and build upon these abilities with no further training. That outcome would suggest to Benasich that once the child’s earliest acoustic maps are formed in the most optimal way, the benefits will endure.  

Benasich says this training has the potential to advance the development of typically developing babies as well as children at higher risk for developmental language difficulties. For parents who think this might turn their babies into geniuses, the answer is – not necessarily.  Benasich compares the process of enhancing acoustic maps to some people’s wishes to be taller. “There’s a genetic range to how tall you become – perhaps you have the capacity to be 5’6” to 5’9”,” she explains. “If you get the right amounts and types of food, the right environment, the right exercise, you might get to 5’9” but you wouldn’t be 6 feet. The same principle applies here.”

Benasich says it’s very likely that one day parents at home will be able to use an interactive toy-like device – now under development – to mirror what she accomplished in the baby lab and maximize their babies’ potential. For the 8 to 15 percent of infants at highest risk for poor acoustic processing and subsequent delayed language, this baby-friendly behavioral intervention could have far-reaching implications and may offer the promise of improving or perhaps preventing language difficulties.

Language acquisition is SO. FASCINATING.

12 notes

Shh. The money is sleeping.

Today when a toddler was playing with fake money and I asked what they would buy, they told me an elephant.

When I came back over later in the session they had put all the coins away and told me we had to be quiet because the money was sleeping.

I can’t tell if I love my job or just want a toddler or a little of both.

711 notes

It’s very comforting to think we’ll be able to solve America’s nutrition crisis by building more grocery stores in low-income neighborhoods and educating low-income families on how to cook healthy, nutritious meals.

But the unfortunate truth is that more grocery stores and nutrition education (while helpful to some people) doesn’t address the larger problem — which is that eating is expensive.

According to the Population Reference Bureau, the number of low-income families is increasing. The report defines low-income working families as “those earning less than twice the federal poverty line.”

In 2011, the low-income threshold for a family of four with two children was $45,622. If you estimate rent at $1000/month, which is quite low for a family of four, that leaves about $33,000 for health care, transportation costs, clothing, and groceries for four people. That’s $687.50 per person per month for every single expense except rent.

Let’s do some more math.

Gala apples are among the cheapest fruit nationally. The USDA lists them at $1.16 a pound at the time I’m writing this article. There are about three apples to a pound, so if you wanted to buy your two kids an apple for each day of the week, you would spend $5.80 just on an afternoon snack for your kids. And let’s keep in mind that apples are relatively low-calorie, which means they aren’t very filling.

Six bucks doesn’t seem like much to someone with a middle class salary, but when you’re working with a weekly budget of under $700 per week for everything you need, including car repairs, gas money, winter clothing for constantly growing children, toilet paper, laundry detergent, electric bills… $5.80 starts to look pretty hefty for a snack that won’t even satisfy.

“I look at this list and can’t help but wonder how she’s supposed to do it. If $11 of apples equals two snacks, but $3 in Ramen will feed her entire family for dinner, how can she possibly pick apples with her limited food stamp budget?”McClay wonders.“And how will she ever afford to fill half of every mealtime plate with fruits and veggies, the amount recommended by the same government that issued her food stamps?”

It’s a good question.

The US government heavily subsidizes some foods, such as corn and soybeans. The result is that processed foods that are heavy in these ingredients end up being cheaper than fresh produce, which is not as heavily subsidized, if it is at all.

There is a serious disconnect between what we should be eating to stay healthy, and what the economic reality is.

Why Judging People for Buying Unhealthy Food Is Classist by 

(via navigatethestream)

(via kicksandgiggles)

34 notes

Because I know I’m not the only one who’s been here:

an awkward and necessary honesty moment:

Going from an old position to a new one can be hard, even if it’s for all the right reasons.

It means coming from a place, even if you didn’t realize it, where you were knowledgeable about the work you’d been doing — and ending in a place where even if it’s a familiar field, things may be confusing.

You may feel less capable.

You may feel overwhelmed.

You may feel like less of a whatever-your-job-may-be.

You may be going from feeling competent, maybe even feeling like one of the experts in even one particular thing, to feeling like you just aren’t very good at your job at all.

It’s okay.

You’re learning.  You’re new.  You may be in a new place with new people, and even if you’re doing the same sort of job you may have a whole new crop of kids and families (and even coworkers) who have a whole new set of needs and strengths.

If you’re moving from one position to the next and you’re feeling down on yourself, remember: this is a change.  You’re good at what you do.  You may have felt really good about your work at your last position, but did you go in that way?  You felt good about your work because of all the time you had there, even if it was just a semester for some of you student teachers out there, to get better at it.  And by the time you’ve been at the place you are now that same amount of time, you’ll feel capable with what you’re doing now, too.

You’re learning.  Nobody starts out an expect.  Most people don’t start out spectacular.  In fact, I’d even hazard a guess that for many of us starting something new, we start by feeling like we’re fumbling through and tripping on our own two feet.

But you’ll get there.  Give yourself time.

Filed under education positivity I don't know if you needed this but I needed this learning change self-care mental health

31 notes

Potty-talk superhero reigns as king of the 2014 banned book list

Is anyone else raising en eyebrow at the fact that the book that in part addresses race and racism is banned in part for racism?

(Source: gjmueller)