Archives for October 2014

Put On Your Tutu and Walk With Ballet For All Kids

Elise Luna, 6, loves to dance. With her ballet DVD in hand, she twirls around her living room every chance she gets. One of the biggest treats of the week is her ballet class. While verbal communication is a challenge for Elise, who has autism, dance frees her to fully express herself. Elise takes classes at Ballet for All Kids in Encino. The studio, founded by Bonnie Schlachte, offers classical ballet lessons for boys and girls ages 2 and up with all abilities. Classes are also available in Westlake Village. “Elise has gained so much confidence since starting this class,”...

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Win a Mobile Karaoke System!

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Thanking Your Family’s Special-Needs Angels

Taking time to recognize and express our gratitude to others for the impact they have had in our lives is good for everyone, especially for families of individuals with special needs. Whether you employ direct service providers, or are a client of one, there are several ways to show your gratitude for their work. These special professionals sit knee-to-knee with children and teach them in circumstances that are sometimes challenging. They help children and their families better navigate the labyrinthine streets of autism. However, before you select a gift or special something for the “angels” in your life, be sure...

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See A Holiday Family Favorite

Win a family four-pack of tickets to see A Christmas Carol on December 5 at 8pm at A Noise Within Theatre!

TriMathlon Raises Cash For Local Schools While Making Math Fun

Conejo Valley students put their math skills on display Oct. 18 and 19, earning money for local schools and winning prizes for themselves in the Mathnasium of Oak Park 2014 TriMathlon contest. In the U.S. and Canada, Mathnasium TriMathlon participants raised about $40,000 for local schools. “Our Mathnasium of Oak Park TriMathlon contest was a big success with students and parents alike this year, demonstrating clearly that math can be fun,” says Rangu Mandyam, owner of the Mathnasium of Oak Park franchise. “The fact that the children raised money for local schools just for participating added a level of community...

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Face Value Comics Introduces a New Kind of Hero

The first comic book specifically written and drawn to appeal to readers with autism, Face Value Comics creates a colorful world of aliens, robots and adventure, all set against the backdrop of a future Earth at war. But beyond its intended audience, Face Value makes history in another way. Its hero, Michael, is a young boy who himself has autism. As the story makes clear, Michael wants the same things everyone his age wants: to feel safe, loved and successful. Face Value gives him ample opportunities to do this, as he’s dropped into the middle of a special school populated...

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More than 3,000 Kids Read For the Record

Every year, the folks at national early education organization Jumpstart encourage parents and kids to read together – and maybe set a record for the largest shared reading experience – through their Read for the Record celebration. This year’s local celebration took place Oct. 18 at the Lakeshore Learning Store ( in West L.A. – and at 59 other Lakeshore Learning Stores across the U.S. The official book for 2014 was “Bunny Cakes,” by Rosemary Wells, the story of two young bunnies who want to bake cakes for their grandmother’s birthday. Actress Christie Lynn Smith was on hand to read...

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Flu Season Is Here – Time For Your Shots

While all the talk in the media seems to be about Ebola (including work on a vaccine), here in the U.S. people are at much greater risk of harm from a virus for which we already have a vaccine – the flu. As the annual flu season begins, the L.A. County department of public health announced that influenza vaccinations are now available at no cost to residents at public health centers and more than 100 community vaccination events throughout L.A. County. Other places to get the flu vaccine include your regular healthcare provider, community clinics, and pharmacies. Health experts recommend...

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Family Stress and The Big Pause

Recently, someone commented that because I’m a psychotherapist who has practiced yoga for more than 20 years, I must float around in a sort of bliss-filled bubble of equanimity and peace. Eh, not so much! I’d say my life is filled with an above-average amount of minor to major life stressors. It doesn’t look like that is going to ease up in the immediate future. But that is why I practice. Daily yoga and meditation isn’t some magic bullet that will automatically make my life’s path smoother, but it definitely affects how I deal with stressors on a day-to-day basis....

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Archer School for Girls Opens Saban IDEALab

Leslie Castenada, a seventh grader at the Archer School for Girls in Brentwood, is excited to explain the video game she created for school fitness classes using the SCRATCH computer programming tool. At the official ribbon-cutting ceremony for the school’s new Saban IDEALab, Castenada shares her enthusiasm with visitors, including Amy Wakeland, wife of L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti. The Saban IDEALab, the physical hub housing Archer’s Integrated Design and Engineering Arts program, opened Oct. 8, expanding the private school’s commitment to early STEM proficiency. The goal is to boost the number of women pursuing careers in engineering and computer science....

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