I had to place my mother in an Alzheimer’s unit last year. It has been difficult to watch her slowly disappear as the disease progresses. I have however, had great success communicating with my mom this year. In fact, much more success than my siblings. A doctor friend, who accompanied me to visit my mom, pointed out that the reason I had such success was because I never argue or correct her when she makes an inaccurate comment or request (for example: “Let’s go to my house and I’ll make you a sandwich before you go home.”). Dr. Butler pointed out that I just redirect her to something else and at all times maintain full respect (“Let’s go see the pictures in your room instead.”). He says that this keeps her from the embarrassment of memory loss or of being wrong. We came to the conclusion that it was my early childhood teaching strategies that helped me communicate with my mother at the end of her life. Maybe with both of our specialties we should write a book called, “Using Early Childhood Strategies with Alzheimer’s Patients.” Is the beginning and the end of life so similar? I wonder…
Manager of Educational Programs, Excelligence Learning Corporation
University Clinical Instructor
Credentials and Accolades:
M.Ed., Early Childhood Education
1996 Utah Teacher of the Year
1998-1999 President, Utah AEYC
2011 Outstanding Teaching Award, University of Utah
John Funk has worked in early childhood since 1979. He taught preschool, 1st and 2nd grades and kindergarten. He worked as an early childhood specialist for a large school district and managed early childhood services for Salt Lake CAP Head Start. He is past president of the Utah AEYC. As an early childhood, reading, and literacy consultant for the last decade, he has written on early childhood subjects and products for McGraw Hill and Leap Frog. He served on the editorial panel for Young Children magazine published by NAEYC.
Currently, John is the Manager of Educational Programs for Excelligence Learning Corporation, and he teaches courses in early childhood, children’s literature, classroom management, reading methods and supervises student teachers at the University of Utah.