Thursday, November 06, 2008

I'm Melting! Melting!

I had only read the headline of the article published this week in the Oregonian when there was a little ping in my brain: these kids need to get out more. And when I say "out", I don't mean to the mall or a video arcade. I mean outside--playing.

The article suggests some connection between rainy days, TV and autism. This spring I read Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children From Nature-Deficit Disorder, which certainly crystallized some thoughts I'd had about the most inexpensive mental health treatment I can imagine--getting outside, especially if it involves some physical activity. The book focuses on kids, but I have seen (and experienced) the effects on adults as well.
Wouldn't it be great if we could reduce autism by getting kids outside playing--even on rainy days? Nobody's saying that of course, but a person can dream.....

On the positive side, next spring will bring the city of Hillsboro's TREKS program, an outdoor adventure club for middle schoolers. REI provided equipment and cash to get things rolling. And kids in the city of Tigard can get a free bicycle for writing an essay. Now if only kids (and parents) would realize that the danger to witches in Oz does not imperil kids in Oregon.

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