Skin Care – Why Bother?

Skin care is much more than just buying expensive skin care products and hoping they’ll keep the skin looking healthy and young. The skin is a living, breathing organ that reflects the body’s general state of health, irrespective of what skin care products you choose to use.In the following article we will look at the type of skin care that should be used at different stages in our lives and other factors you need to include in your ‘health plan’ to maximize the long term health of your skin.TeenagersWhy should a teenager, male or female, bother with skin care? After all their skin is young, supple, has no wrinkles, and has all the elasticity it requires.This is a stage at which skin is undergoing considerable change. Hormones are going ‘crazy’ and the whole body of a teenager is developing into its adult form and functions – even the skin.Acne is a probability during the teenage years and this is a very good reason to pay particular attention to your skin. Acne affects almost every teenager to some degree. In some cases acne can be so bad that it is necessary to seek professional medical advice and resort to having it specifically treated. However, in most cases, acne is more of a nuisance then a medical problem and by adopting a daily skin care regime using natural and organic skin care products, the effects of the acne can be reduced if not entirely eliminated.Young men have an additional issue with their skin – shaving. Not only do they get acne, but they start growing facial hair and begin shaving. Razor blades and acne pimples do not mix and cuts can lead to infections and spreading of acne.This should be avoided at all costs. Using natural shaving products which contain antiseptic herbs and essential oils will help to minimize infection and spreading of acne pimples.AdultsFollowing the tumultuous years of being a teenager, putting up with acne and if you’re a male starting to shave, now is the time for giving your skin all that you can to maintain its health, youthful looks and build its resistance to prevent premature aging. By now, your skin will have developed its basic skin types and your choice of natural skin care system(s) should reflect your skin types. Yes, there are usually more then one skin type.Often there is an oily T-zone while the cheeks, neck and eye regions are either normal or have a tendency to be dry. If this is the case, you literally need to treat the different areas with different products. That is, you need to use skin care products for oily skin on your oily T-zone and products suitable for normal or dry skin on the remaining area of your facial skin and neck.Again you need to take care of your skin on a daily basis and should include an exfoliant and/or facial clay mask at least once every week.As the body ages, skin cell renewal slows and elastin and collagen production also take a nose dive. This is when fine lines and wrinkles start to appear. The precise age at which this starts to happen depends on your genes and to a large extent on how well you’ve been caring for your skin; how much sun exposure your skin has been subjected to and how much exposure it has had to the elements and other environmental factors. Changing hormones also become a factor again during the 40′s and 50′s in most women.Some people’s skin looks 30 in their 70′s and they did very little to make this happen – they are the very lucky and isolated ones. Most people find that as they get older the skin reflects this by showing its age too. This is where the effort of the past few decades will start to pay off, if you’ve been using a good quality, daily skin care regime, stayed out of the sun as much as possible, eat a healthy diet rich in fruits and vegetables, and generally looked after your body’s health, your skin will reflect this also – you are what you eat and this truth starts to show itself in later years.Bothering to take care of your skin is not just for preserving a youthful, healthy skin, but your skin’s health will have a marked effect on your body’s health. The skin is a major organ that has many important functions to perform and if we do not look after the health of our skin, this can result in other, more serious health problems.Similarly, if you have health problems, these will be reflected on your skin. For example, liver problems can cause skin discolorations, as can kidney problems. The skin around the eyes is often tinged brown or black if there is liver or kidney disease. Jaundice is a well-known symptom of liver disease, for example hepatitis.Chronic dehydration will lead to dry wrinkly skin; chronic inflammation or infection can cause hypersensitivity of the skin. Skin problems can result from a deficiency of vitamin A, niacin, vitamin C and many other nutrients including several amino acids, a deficiency in dietary minerals, and so on.All the skin care products in the world will not make your skin look healthier or younger, if you do not look after and treat your internal health problems.

Making Sure Your Special Needs Child Gets the Education They Need

To the uninitiated, the world of special education may seem like a maze or like learning a foreign language. As a parent you see your child struggling academically, behaviorally, or socially and you just want to make sure s/he receives the educational services needed in order to succeed in school and in life. When it comes to providing services for special needs children, not every school district is the same. Some are more likely to provide services while others are stingier about providing services or even recognizing that services are needed. Special education identification and service delivery are guided by federal and state laws; sometimes these laws can be misinterpreted by districts, schools, or individual educators. It is important to keep in mind that all school systems have a law firm on their side when it comes to interpretation of the laws. As your child’s primary advocate this may seem daunting; however, if you remain calm, do a little research, and document your concerns and communications with the school your child will receive the services s/he needs.Prior to services being delivered a referral to determine whether an evaluation needs to take place needs to be made by a parent/guardian, teacher, or pediatrician. An initial individual education plan (IEP) meeting takes place that documents the reason for the referral and it should specifically outline what questions the IEP team wants answered. It is important for you to voice and outline your concerns during this initial meeting because your input is important to what happens next. Evaluations need to be conducted by various members of the team depending upon the area(s) of concern in order to assess you child and determine what type of services s/he needs. With recent changes to how learning disabilities are legally identified in public schools, sometimes IEP teams will use data from Response to Intervention (RTI). This data usually provides information on how well your child progressed on interventions received (if any) prior to the referral. It is okay and legal for schools to use this type of data as it is very informative about how the child responds to more intensive or more frequent instruction. As a parent, you want to leave this meeting secure in the knowledge that your child will receive an appropriate evaluation that answers your concerns and that will provide specific recommendations as to what services your child needs in school.A second IEP meeting will occur after the evaluation process is completed in order to review the results of the evaluations, determine eligibility for special education services, and determine what services, if any, your child requires to progress in school. In order to prepare for this meeting you should:
Insist that you receive written copies of the evaluation reports five days prior to the meeting.
Read through the reports, highlight or underline anything that stands out or concerns you, and jot down questions about anything you don’t understand. Reports are sometimes full of unnecessary professional jargon and you should ask for explanations about anything you need clarification on. Every profession has its own terminology and no one expects you to get a degree in education in order to advocate for your child.
Ask that the professionals who conducted the evaluations to call you to review and explain the results after you receive the reports.
Write down any questions that you have that haven’t been answered and bring them with you to the IEP meeting.
At the second IEP meeting, the team will review the evaluation results and determine eligibility for special education services. An individualized education program will be developed if your child qualifies for services. Remember, this program should be individualized to your child and his/her unique learning, social, or emotional needs. Some questions to ask include:
How is that different than the regular curriculum?
What is going to be done to ensure that my child catches up/is ready for the next grade?
What individual modifications and accommodations are going to be implemented?
How is success/progress going to be measured and who measures it?
How often will I be informed of my child’s progress?
Who is going to be in charge of managing the plan?
How will other teachers be informed of my child’s needs?
When the team is able to answer these questions to your satisfaction you can be reasonably assured that they will provide services to meet your child’s needs. It is important that you take notes during the meeting because five days after the meeting you will receive your child’s Individualized Education Plan. This is a legal document that outlines the services that the district has agreed to provide to your child. The services in this document should correspond to your understanding of what took place during the IEP meeting. That’s why it is always good to take meticulous notes at these meetings. You should call the school and speak with your child’s case manager (this will be documented in the IEP, usually on the first page) and ask for clarification of anything that doesn’t match what you wrote or heard during the meeting.If your child does not qualify for services and you are still very concerned that they need services in order to succeed, you can ask that the school provide RTI services, often this is already in place, will continue, and may be the reason why your child didn’t qualify for services, or you can ask for an independent evaluation. This independent evaluation is conducted by a professional who is unaffiliated with the school district and who is usually mutually agreed upon by you and the district.What do I do if the school refuses to listen or just doesn’t seem to get my concerns?In this case you have a few options. The first thing you should do is bring a digital recorder to IEP meetings and record them. The team is usually more careful about what they say and how they say it when they know they are being recorded. Keep a copy of these recordings. Secondly, you can call your state department of education and speak with an educational consultant. Most are eager to help parents and answer questions. Many states have a helpline that you can call that provides answers and gives directions on how to contact specific state and local agencies that will help you. You can call an advocate or educational lawyer who will review your concerns and child’s records, provide you with information and direction, meet with you, and attend IEP meetings with you. This last option will cost you money but is often very helpful in extreme cases.Remember: as a parent you know your child best and you are her/his best advocate. S/he is counting on you to be her/his voice when s/he struggles and ensure s/he receives the appropriate services in order to succeed.

SPDN: An Inexpensive Way To Profit When The S&P 500 Falls

Summary
SPDN is not the largest or oldest way to short the S&P 500, but it’s a solid choice.
This ETF uses a variety of financial instruments to target a return opposite that of the S&P 500 Index.
SPDN’s 0.49% Expense Ratio is nearly half that of the larger, longer-tenured -1x Inverse S&P 500 ETF.
Details aside, the potential continuation of the equity bear market makes single-inverse ETFs an investment segment investor should be familiar with.
We rate SPDN a Strong Buy because we believe the risks of a continued bear market greatly outweigh the possibility of a quick return to a bull market.
Put a gear stick into R position, (Reverse).
Birdlkportfolio

By Rob Isbitts

Summary
The S&P 500 is in a bear market, and we don’t see a quick-fix. Many investors assume the only way to navigate a potentially long-term bear market is to hide in cash, day-trade or “just hang in there” while the bear takes their retirement nest egg.

The Direxion Daily S&P 500® Bear 1X ETF (NYSEARCA:SPDN) is one of a class of single-inverse ETFs that allow investors to profit from down moves in the stock market.

SPDN is an unleveraged, liquid, low-cost way to either try to hedge an equity portfolio, profit from a decline in the S&P 500, or both. We rate it a Strong Buy, given our concern about the intermediate-term outlook for the global equity market.

Strategy
SPDN keeps it simple. If the S&P 500 goes up by X%, it should go down by X%. The opposite is also expected.

Proprietary ETF Grades
Offense/Defense: Defense

Segment: Inverse Equity

Sub-Segment: Inverse S&P 500

Correlation (vs. S&P 500): Very High (inverse)

Expected Volatility (vs. S&P 500): Similar (but opposite)

Holding Analysis
SPDN does not rely on shorting individual stocks in the S&P 500. Instead, the managers typically use a combination of futures, swaps and other derivative instruments to create a portfolio that consistently aims to deliver the opposite of what the S&P 500 does.

Strengths
SPDN is a fairly “no-frills” way to do what many investors probably wished they could do during the first 9 months of 2022 and in past bear markets: find something that goes up when the “market” goes down. After all, bonds are not the answer they used to be, commodities like gold have, shall we say, lost their luster. And moving to cash creates the issue of making two correct timing decisions, when to get in and when to get out. SPDN and its single-inverse ETF brethren offer a liquid tool to use in a variety of ways, depending on what a particular investor wants to achieve.

Weaknesses
The weakness of any inverse ETF is that it does the opposite of what the market does, when the market goes up. So, even in bear markets when the broader market trend is down, sharp bear market rallies (or any rallies for that matter) in the S&P 500 will cause SPDN to drop as much as the market goes up.

Opportunities
While inverse ETFs have a reputation in some circles as nothing more than day-trading vehicles, our own experience with them is, pardon the pun, exactly the opposite! We encourage investors to try to better-understand single inverse ETFs like SPDN. While traders tend to gravitate to leveraged inverse ETFs (which actually are day-trading tools), we believe that in an extended bear market, SPDN and its ilk could be a game-saver for many portfolios.

Threats
SPDN and most other single inverse ETFs are vulnerable to a sustained rise in the price of the index it aims to deliver the inverse of. But that threat of loss in a rising market means that when an investor considers SPDN, they should also have a game plan for how and when they will deploy this unique portfolio weapon.

Proprietary Technical Ratings
Short-Term Rating (next 3 months): Strong Buy

Long-Term Rating (next 12 months): Buy

Conclusions
ETF Quality Opinion
SPDN does what it aims to do, and has done so for over 6 years now. For a while, it was largely-ignored, given the existence of a similar ETF that has been around much longer. But the more tenured SPDN has become, the more attractive it looks as an alternative.

ETF Investment Opinion

SPDN is rated Strong Buy because the S&P 500 continues to look as vulnerable to further decline. And, while the market bottomed in mid-June, rallied, then waffled since that time, our proprietary macro market indicators all point to much greater risk of a major decline from this level than a fast return to bull market glory. Thus, SPDN is at best a way to exploit and attack the bear, and at worst a hedge on an otherwise equity-laden portfolio.