Do It Myself Blog – Glenda Watson Hyatt

Motivational Speaker

Readers’ Café Officially Opens Its Doors

Filed under: Readers Cafe — by Glenda at 4:00 pm on Wednesday, July 18, 2007

A sidewalk café in Carouge, near the French border
(Photo credit: Janet Burgess)

Hello and welcome to the Readers’ Café – a place to gather and to share. Given the beautiful summer weather, the patio is also open to enjoy.

Thank you for coming. I invite you to help yourself to a beverage of choice, get comfy and join in the conversation by posting comments below. All that I ask is that you respect others and keep it relatively family-friendly.

Since tonight is opening night, I’m not sure what to expect or where the conversation will lead us! But, taking risks add to the adventure of life!

The person who risks nothing, does nothing, has nothing, is nothing, and becomes nothing. He may avoid suffering and sorrow, but he simply cannot learn and feel and change and grow and love and live.
~ Leo F. Buscaglia

And that is great place to begin the conversation. Share a time when you took a risk. What happened? Was it as risky as you thought initially?

If you enjoyed this post, consider buying me a chai tea latte. Thanks kindly.

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87 Comments »

Comment by Darrell

July 18, 2007 @ 4:08 pm

I hope this works well for you. When are you going to start your next book, and what will the topic be?

Comment by Glenda

July 18, 2007 @ 4:15 pm

Welcome Darrell! You HAD to ask that question, didn’t you? ;) Well, I’m hoping these Readers’ Cafe will provide some feedback and insight into what people would like to see in a second book.

Comment by Lori-ann

July 18, 2007 @ 4:28 pm

Hi Glenda and Darryl

One thing that I am finding as a parent of a child with special needs is that 1) there is always a long wait list for any type of service and 2) it is so hard to find a service provider that is going to be effective with helping my child.

We have been through Early Intervention and some people have a lot of knowledge and experience and others are just there to collect the paycheck. Very frustrating when you know you are wasting all the formative years with ineffective service.

Comment by Darrell

July 18, 2007 @ 4:38 pm

Hi Lori-Ann

That can be frustrating, all you can do is keep trying. We are here to help any way we can.

Comment by Glenda

July 18, 2007 @ 4:42 pm

Welcome Lori-Ann! I hear your frustration; some service providers are very passionate about what they do, and others don’t seem to care. Perhaps someone else here will have some tips on finding those passionate ones quickly.

Comment by Rick Cockrum

July 18, 2007 @ 4:42 pm

Hi Glenda. Lovely cafe you have. :-)

Hello Darrell, Lori-Ann. I’m a service coordinator in a public housing authority in the US. I have no familial experience with disabilities, but have worked on the other side of the system for 20 years, hopefully doing more good than harm.

Comment by Glenda

July 18, 2007 @ 4:46 pm

Hi Rick, great to see you here! As a service provider, do you have any suggestions for Lori-Ann for finding the good ones?

Comment by Rick Cockrum

July 18, 2007 @ 5:03 pm

I wish I did. In my previous job I worked in group homes. Most were adults, though some were children. All had been diagnosed with some type of developmental disability. In many cases, misdiagnosed. This was especially the case with several individuals with severe cerebral palsy who were not able to communicate verbally at all, but were able to do so through the use of boards. Still, since they had been raised in state hospitals or left to the system in one way or another, their choices and options had been limited. To the best of my knowledge they had never had access to typewriters. At the time computers as communications devices were just becoming available. Shortly after I left the agency.

Now I work mostly with seniors, and some individuals with disabilities. Those are adults, past the developmental stage.

The system sucks, and is hard to work with. It’s basically a giant committee, and you know what they say about elephants being mice designed by committee. You and Darrell are more qualified to advise Lori-Ann on what to do to obtain better services within the system than I could ever be.

Comment by Lori-ann

July 18, 2007 @ 5:08 pm

Well, on to the topic of risks.

I think taking risks is always a scary thing to experience but what I have found most often is that it is the “fear of the unknown” factor that makes the risk seem a lot bigger. When I watch my kids go through the process of assessing the risk and outcome, it never seems as big on the other side of the experience as it did going into the initial experience.

Comment by Glenda

July 18, 2007 @ 5:14 pm

Thanks Rick. The system definitely “disables” us more. Last week we met parents from the UK and they’ve faced the same barriers in accessing services for their daughter. As he pointed out, so much time and energy is spent on getting the basics, which are controlled by those who don’t “live it”. It is such a waste of human potential, really. The bottom line is to keep asking questions and making noise until you get what you need.

Comment by Lori-ann

July 18, 2007 @ 5:15 pm

Thanks for that input Rick. We have actually just attended a meeting for Augmentative Communication for our son. This is really exciting stuff and I can’t wait for the day when he will be able to have a conversation with me. The long term goal is to have a laptop with voice output for him (he is 5 years old)(he is deaf so this is going to be a tough battle to fight as the service providers tend to think there will be no benefit to our son to have a voice output device) In the meantime, we need to work hard to improve his literacy skills. He is doing very well and is able at this point to create sentences with word cards to express his wants. I think this is the most rewarding part of our journey with our son so far. The progress is so tangible.

Comment by Glenda

July 18, 2007 @ 5:22 pm

Lori-Ann, so glad to hear you are seeing progress with your son. That makes the fight all the more important. Keep going after that laptop with voice output. That will open up communcation for him, which is crucial. Feel free to ask Darrell for ideas.

Comment by Rick Cockrum

July 18, 2007 @ 5:25 pm

Facing the unknown is a scary place to be. But as you say, it’s often smaller in hindsight and helps us face the next unknown. Keep encouraging your children, Lori-Ann.

Why don’t they think your son should have a voice-output device? Do they think it will prevent him from learning to speak? Is there someone to help him learn to verbalize?

Comment by Ellen

July 18, 2007 @ 5:26 pm

Hi Glenda,

Hi everyone else.
I can only stay for a quick coffee tonight but wanted to be at the first Cafe night.
That said i truly have no clue how this works?
I like the topic a lot though. In the last to weeks I have been vacationing in Vancouver and have been thinking about risk and safety issues.

Comment by Glenda

July 18, 2007 @ 5:26 pm

As for taking risks, the fear of the unknown seems to be a big barrier at times. It stops some people from even trying, I think, which is sad.

Comment by Darrell

July 18, 2007 @ 5:29 pm

Lori-Ann

This sounds great, communication will open many doors,no matter what the experts say. Some doors will be a surprise and be great fun for all

Comment by Lori-ann

July 18, 2007 @ 5:30 pm

We have actually made some real progress this year. Our son attends the provincial school for the deaf and up to this point SET-BC (special education technology for British Columbia) has not accepted children from the School for the Deaf into the program. They have recently passed a ruling saying they will accept 2 students per year from the Provincial School for the Deaf and our son will be first to recieve an augmentative communication device and service from them. Hip hip hooray! The first device will be a magic touch or touch screen for computer access then later the voice output device. We have a meeting set for September to meet with the SET-BC rep to go over the options available.

Comment by Glenda

July 18, 2007 @ 5:32 pm

Hi Ellen, thanks for stopping by for a quick coffee. Just keep hitting your refresh button to see the latest comments.

So, what have been your thoughts on risk and safety issues?

Comment by Glenda

July 18, 2007 @ 5:36 pm

Lori-Ann, what is the reasoning for SET-BC not working with deaf children (until now)???

Comment by Rick Cockrum

July 18, 2007 @ 5:37 pm

That’s great, Lori-Ann!

Hi Ellen!

I have to be off now. I need to start getting things together for tomorrow’s podcast.

Glenda, thank you. Things are off to a great start. I’ll be back again.

Darrell, Lori-Ann, Ellen. It’s good to meet you. Keep risking!

Comment by Ellen

July 18, 2007 @ 5:40 pm

Thanks Glenda,
I am laughing because I am playing with a new laptop and can’t even find the refresh button. So I keep hitting the track back up above.
OOPs, I’ll be back in a minute my son just came in – but i’ll be back shortly.

Comment by Glenda

July 18, 2007 @ 5:40 pm

>Rick, thank you so much for coming by. Good luck with your podcast.

Comment by Lori-ann

July 18, 2007 @ 5:43 pm

Rick,

They don’t think he will benefit from a voice output device because he is deaf and can’t “hear” the device. My perspective is that having a voice output device will enhance the number of people he can communicate with. It is through my experience of “knowing” Glenda that I feel so strongly that this is the way we need to go in order to enable Kurtis to become the best that he is able and open up so many of the communication barriers.

As for teaching him to voice. He has a very limited vocabulary and at this point the SLP and OT through the school system have recommended we use the resources available to us wisely. That being, developing understanding and use of sign language. I do tend to agree with that. That being said, we did experience ST through Early Intervention and made no headway in over 2 years. Bubble Blowing 101 (which was never achieved) was the focus for the whole time. I don’t know what could have been done differently but it seemed to not be very effective service considering the amount of education that is required to become an Speech Therapist.

Comment by Glenda

July 18, 2007 @ 5:44 pm

>Ellen, hit your REFRESH button in your internet browser. If you’re Internet Explorer, its the button near the top of your screen with the two green arrows.

Comment by Meike

July 18, 2007 @ 5:45 pm

Hello Glenda and Daryll,
I just stopped by the cafe to say hello.

Comment by Glenda

July 18, 2007 @ 5:48 pm

Hey Meike, welcome!

Comment by Lori-ann

July 18, 2007 @ 5:48 pm

Glenda,

I’m not certain for the reason other than the fact that the kids attending the Provincial School for the Deaf are already receiving an education with an alternative form of communication. That would be sign language. The number of kids with multiple disabilities that are being enrolled in the program is what is making things change and the “people in high places” needed to look at what the impact of other disabilities is having on the kids ability to communicate. Sign language will be our son’s “through the air” communication and voice output will be his augmentative communication.

Comment by Ellen

July 18, 2007 @ 5:51 pm

Bye Rick.

Hi again everyone else. And thanks I found my refresh button.

Accessing services is an uphill battle and it is a full time job! It does sound you are moving right along Lori-Ann. Keep at it.

Hi Meike – and all

Comment by Glenda

July 18, 2007 @ 5:52 pm

Lori-ann, glad to hear people in high places are finally getting it. Some policies make no sense!

Comment by Meike

July 18, 2007 @ 5:52 pm

Hey Glenda I have something interesting to share. As you know the kids are with their dad for the summer and I was speaking to Lucas who out of the blue said…Mom can I be boosted.
Well I wasn’t too sure what he was referring to and asked him to explain.
Lucas was held back in Kindergarden and that makes him a year older than the other kids in his class. Socially they are behind him. Academically he is on target in the grade he is attending. It is evident that the age difference really affects him. Since BC is a proponant of Age Appropriateness in the classroom there are no other kids his age in his class. After discussing my conversation with Lucas to a friend she suggested I contact the principal and insist that he is ‘boosted’. Any thoughts? Anyone?

Comment by Lori-ann

July 18, 2007 @ 5:53 pm

Hi Ellen

I hope you are enjoying this beautiful Vancouver weather! It is the “risk” you take when you vacation in a rain forest:)

The air sure smells nice tonight though!

Comment by Darrell

July 18, 2007 @ 5:56 pm

Hi Meike

How are you?

Comment by Meike

July 18, 2007 @ 5:58 pm

I know the topic is taking a Risk…and I take a risk…by doing nothing and I take a risk by having him moved forward. Is the risk worth it? What am I risking by not doing it?
Hmmmmmmmmm

Comment by Meike

July 18, 2007 @ 5:59 pm

Hey Darrell!
Doing great thanks.
How are things with you?
What’s new and exciting in YOUR life?

Comment by Lori-ann

July 18, 2007 @ 5:59 pm

Hi Mieke,

I think, especially since your son has brought the subject up, it is important to let him know that he has been heard and make the contacts to find out what can be done. This is one of the situations where a split grade classroom would have some nice advantages in enabling him to socialize with kids in his social development range but educationally he would still get the appropriate material.

Comment by Ellen

July 18, 2007 @ 6:00 pm

Yes the rain forest.
I does smell wonderful tonight.
Meike – I think your son shoould be in the class where he will be comfortable and if that means being boosted then yes indeed insist!

Comment by Glenda

July 18, 2007 @ 6:01 pm

Ellen, glad you found your refresh button.

Meike, uh, um, definitely talk to the principal and see what is involved. Perhaps he could be “boosted” for some subjects??? Interesting how age matters when you’re young. But I can appreciate how he feels. That second year of grade twelve was tough on me too.

Comment by Darrell

July 18, 2007 @ 6:02 pm

Hi Meike

I am hard at work on several courses, and am still a trouble maker as usual

Comment by Glenda

July 18, 2007 @ 6:03 pm

A split classroom, great idea Lori-ann!

Comment by Meike

July 18, 2007 @ 6:08 pm

The split classroom is actually something I thought of as well. Glad that other’s share the same idea.
The challenge that I have with that is how that grade/age thing really bothers him. He will still KNOW that he is not in the higher grade.
For a child to bring this up in the middle of summer…in the middle of the day…he must really be thinking about it pretty hard. It is something he has brought numerous times and this time in particular I heard the desperation in his voice. I truely believe this is affecting his self confidence.

Comment by Meike

July 18, 2007 @ 6:09 pm

Heh heh heh….Darell you Troublemaker you! I can see that smirk on your face! *grin*

Comment by Lori-ann

July 18, 2007 @ 6:10 pm

I think the risk involved has a lot to do with the child’s self-esteem. Why was Lucas held back in Kindergarten? Was that a choice you as his parent made or a recommendation from the school? If it was your choice to keep him back then it is easy to explain that from the parent perspective of just wanting to do what is best for the child because you love him and want him to be as successful as he can be. If it was a school recommendation that is a bit more difficult. The last thing you want is for the child to feel as though they “failed” kindergarten. Especially as kids get closer to pre-teen and teen years it gets more difficult to find ways to boost the self-esteem and it takes very little to knock it down a notch or two.

Comment by Darrell

July 18, 2007 @ 6:11 pm

Meike

Sounds like it is a important issue for him. This could be hard for him no matter how it ends.

Comment by Ellen

July 18, 2007 @ 6:14 pm

Meike – you are right for a kid to bring it up mid summer. I don’t know any details here but if he is a year older than his classmates and if that is concerning him then he should be boosted to his age kids and the system will just have to make it work. Otherwise again you are right it affects his self esteem

Comment by Meike

July 18, 2007 @ 6:16 pm

Lori-Ann you hit the nail right on the head!
I think the risk involved has a lot to do with the child’s self-esteem.
The teacher has mentioned her concerns about his self esteem.
He does feel as though he ‘failed’ right out of the gate…Kindergarden.

Comment by Meike

July 18, 2007 @ 6:17 pm

Darrell…that’s where the dilemma is for me. This could turn out to be hard on him either way.

Comment by Mary McD

July 18, 2007 @ 6:18 pm

Just back from Houston (I now work there two days a week and my ‘commuter bus’ is a Boeing!)

Have read all the comments and am trying to come up to speed.

Mary

Comment by Meike

July 18, 2007 @ 6:19 pm

Lori-Ann the recommendation came first from the pre-school teacher who didn’t think he was ready, but the Kindergarden teacher said send him anyway, and then the Kindergarden teacher saying he wasn’t ready to move on.

Comment by Glenda

July 18, 2007 @ 6:20 pm

Oh wow, hi Mary, welcome!

Comment by Mary McD

July 18, 2007 @ 6:20 pm

On subject of boosting:

I was one of the oldest kids in my class. As a child it wasn’t much fun at times, but as I hit puberty, driving age, drinking age, etc. I was VERY glad to be among the oldest and therefore one of the first “legal” kids. Also, having both a boy and a girl, I notice that my son (who I held back for social reasons, not academic) is handling middle school a bit better than some of the younger kids in his same class.

By all means, if boosting will help with his self-esteem, then ask for it. However, there ARE some benefits to being the oldest, also. Maybe you can stress these to him?

Mary McD

Comment by Meike

July 18, 2007 @ 6:21 pm

Hey Mary…way to build up the ‘air miles’!!!

Welcome.

Comment by Darrell

July 18, 2007 @ 6:23 pm

Meike

I was held back twice, grade 1 and two. It did affect my self esteem and I felt lost and it made me uncertain if it would happen again.

I did get through it but it was hard to swollow.

Comment by Meike

July 18, 2007 @ 6:26 pm

Good Points Mary…All things to consider for sure!

Comment by Darrell

July 18, 2007 @ 6:27 pm

Hi Mary

Nice to meet you.

Comment by Karen Putz

July 18, 2007 @ 6:28 pm

Hi all!

Just popping in during a commercial (I’m watching Last Comic Standing).

Lori-Ann– visit http://www.handsandvoices.org — lots of articles on there. You are your child’s best advocate, don’t be afraid to advocate hard for his needs. I met a mom who was able to get a school to change an entire playground for her son with a cochlear implant (could not use plastic equipment) and also got the school to build an acoustically sound classroom.

Comment by Glenda

July 18, 2007 @ 6:28 pm

Thanks dear for sharing. It may help Meike to hear from someone who has been there, done that.

Comment by Lori-ann

July 18, 2007 @ 6:29 pm

I’d like to say that, at this point last year, I was really feeling that I wanted to hold my son back from Kindergarten for another year. Having survived this past year, I have to say I am so happy with his progress and am very glad that I did take the “risk” and send him on into the school system. I know that he is on a modified program but that won’t change who he is in class with. Does Lucas have an IEP? Is he on a modified program? If he is then it shouldn’t matter which grade he spends time in as the modified program takes into consideration what he is capable of academically.

Comment by Darrell

July 18, 2007 @ 6:32 pm

the goal is to do the best we can for as many people as we can. I will do what I can to help

Comment by Meike

July 18, 2007 @ 6:32 pm

My friend suggested the ‘boost’ with an IEP.
He has no IEP at present. He has no need for it currently and is performing at grade level.

Comment by Lori-ann

July 18, 2007 @ 6:33 pm

Thanks Karen,

I have been to the handsandvoices website many times. I used to use the dictionary there all the time but can’t access it now without a membership. (no credit cards to pay with)

Comment by Glenda

July 18, 2007 @ 6:34 pm

Hi Karen, thanks for popping in! Yes, you could probably really help Lori-ann with this stuff. Thanks.

Comment by Karen Putz

July 18, 2007 @ 6:36 pm

Lori-Ann, I’m not familiar with a dictionary on the site that requires payment. Have you got a link?
We give away free memberships to anyone who cannot pay. Simply fill out a form and ask for one. :)

Comment by Lori-ann

July 18, 2007 @ 6:36 pm

Oops, sorry, I should have followed the link before I jumped in there. That is not the same site I have been to previously.

Comment by Meike

July 18, 2007 @ 6:38 pm

Thank you all for your comments.
I appreciate them and you all.
I need to leave the cafe…but will check back for any additional comments.
Cheers!

Comment by Darrell

July 18, 2007 @ 6:41 pm

Meike

Have a good night

Comment by Karen Putz

July 18, 2007 @ 6:41 pm

Have fun reading all the articles on the site! :)

Comment by Glenda

July 18, 2007 @ 6:42 pm

Thanks Meike. Hope you can come back in two weeks for the next Readers’ Cafe. Good luck with getting what Lucas needs so that he may reach his full potential.

Comment by Lori-ann

July 18, 2007 @ 6:43 pm

We are not at all afraid to advocate for his needs. Getting response from those being advocated to is the frustrating part. There is always someone that the buck is passed to. And the bottom line always seems to be that we don’t qualify for service because of where we live. Right now, the issue is getting someone to come into the home to help me with toilet training. The therapist that works with him at school cannot come to the home because we live out of district. The therapist in the district that we live in can’t come to the home because he is not on her case load, he is on the case load of the therapist that works with him at school…..so, now, we have a seating therapist from the hospital that is going to come and bring me some equipment to trial but of course she doesn’t help with the training at all (only that he fits it)….EVERYTHING is so complicated!

Comment by Darrell

July 18, 2007 @ 6:49 pm

Lori-Ann

I can understand how it feels, to know what is needed but cant get the help you need. what you need always seems simple but getting the help feels like more work than the problem.

Hang in there and let me know if I can help you.

Comment by Ellen

July 18, 2007 @ 6:51 pm

hi all,

sorry i have away on the phone and now need to go.

nice meeting you all.

i’ll come back to the next one

bye

Comment by Glenda

July 18, 2007 @ 6:51 pm

Definitely not easy, Lori-ann. There is always some king of catch. I don’t know why it needs to be so complicated either.

Comment by Glenda H

July 18, 2007 @ 6:51 pm

Hi Glenda, from your Virtual Twin! Just stopped by to visit your Readers’ Cafe. Looks like you’ve had a few visitors already.

I see there’s been some comments about “boosting” in school. I’m just the opposite of Mary…I was the youngest in my class. I started kindergarten at the age of school (had to go thru some special testing…maybe I was driving my mom nuts…I don’t know) and graduated high school at age 17. There is a difference between genders–socially, physically, emotionally–and I think that has a big difference as to whether to hold them back or go ahead and send them. In my case, I can’t imagine being in the class behind mine!

Good luck with the cafe, Glenda. I’ll stop back later.

P.S. Hi, Daryl!

Comment by Glenda

July 18, 2007 @ 6:53 pm

Night Ellen, thanks for coming. See you Monday!

Comment by Karen Putz

July 18, 2007 @ 6:53 pm

Oh gosh! Sounds like your family is caught up in a bureaucratic shuffle!

I just finished a fight with our district to get a different placement for my son for high school, it sure wasn’t fun.

Comment by Glenda H

July 18, 2007 @ 6:53 pm

In my post above, I meant, “I started kindergarten at the age of four…” Sorry about that!

Comment by Mary McD

July 18, 2007 @ 6:53 pm

HI Darrell,

Nice to virtually meet you — it’s nice to see you here and hear your unique voice…

Mary McD
[Glenda's biggest US fan...]

[toggling over to vote for the blog - as I do daily]

Comment by Darrell

July 18, 2007 @ 6:56 pm

Thanks Mary

Comment by Glenda

July 18, 2007 @ 6:58 pm

Hi Glenda H, thanks for coming by!

Mary, thanks for voting!

Comment by Lori-ann

July 18, 2007 @ 7:11 pm

Well, I’m off to put my wee boy to bed! (finally)

Talk to you all later!

Take care, everyone.

Comment by Glenda

July 18, 2007 @ 7:13 pm

Thank you everyone for coming to the opening of Readers’ Cafe. I didn’t know what to expect when I opened the doors. I told five people, excluding us two, would be a success in my mind. We’ve had seven! But, more importantly, we’ve had a good conversation. Thank you.

Feel free to continue chatting for as long as you like and please come back in two weeks for another Readers’ Cafe.

Meanwhile, please vote daily at http://www.blogforayear.com/profiles/glenda-watson-hyatt. And for Karen at http://www.blogforayear.com/profiles/deaf-mom. Yes, you can for more than one person each day.

Thanks again.

Comment by Karen Putz

July 18, 2007 @ 7:14 pm

Thank you, Glenda. Congrats on a wonderful conversation tonight!

Comment by Glenda

July 18, 2007 @ 7:18 pm

Thanks Karen.

Comment by Loree

July 18, 2007 @ 8:09 pm

Hi Glenda,
Good turnout for opening night!

Comment by AnneShirley Manion

July 18, 2007 @ 8:15 pm

Hi! Just dropped by to say hello and good luck. I actually can to relate to the topics on your chat. My now grown son had learning dissabilities and I faced the same problems with him. Keep trying for help and change.
Shirley

Comment by Glenda

July 18, 2007 @ 8:32 pm

Thanks Loree and Anneshirley for stopping by. Yes, despite all the advances, some things haven’t changed. And, you know, it all boils down to attitude and a lack of awareness.

Comment by Barbara_Whelan

July 21, 2007 @ 8:31 pm

Hello, Glenda, Not sure how I stumbled or should I say blogged here. But, wanted to say a few words of encouragement. If I had such words that would be better. But, anyone way. Here I am and here’s my note to you. Glad to see you are not letting life’s struggles no matter how BIG get in your way. I say good for you. Makes the rest of us with no physical challanges look pretty little when we complain. You are an inspiration. Hey, I just saw a video clip on “The Fan” of a 5 year old they believe is the next Tiger Woods. He’s been swinging a golf club since the ripe old age of 3. His doctor has his autograph sure he is going to be the worlds best. If you get a chance look him up. Sorry, I didn’t remember his name. I did remember his story. He had a cancer and is playing gold against adults at age 5 (I had to repeat that) because he is doing this with one eye. His eye was removed due to the cancer. The doctor was explaining the complexity of his perception to even be able to hit the ball.

My website is about being debt free. A web based program to pay off debt quickly and reduce interest payments-focused on mortgages but will work well with high priced credit card debt, too.

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