Archives for May 2015

When Parenting is Not What You Expected

Los Angeles-based psychologist and neuropsychologist Rita Eichenstein, Ph.D., has worked with what she calls “atypical” children for more than 25 years. Eichenstein coined the term “atypical” to help describe kids who have combinations of developmental, behavioral and learning differences that make it difficult to fit them into neat categories of clinical diagnosis. “But what I have come to realize is that focusing on the child’s needs is not sufficient,” she says. “We need to widen our professional lens to include the parents.” In Eichenstein’s new book, “Not What I Expected: Parenting an Atypical Child – From Diagnosis to Acceptance and...

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Waterworks Swim School Opens in Woodland Hills

In addition to 17 new locations, Waterworks Swim School, a premier indoor swim school, has opened up a location at Woodland Hills’ L.A. Fitness located at 6401 Canoga Ave. California is one of 10 states in which drowning is the leading cause of death for children under 15 years of age. In an effort to reduce this statistic while promoting water safety, Waterworks’ mission is to educate and motivate people of all ages to be safer and learn correct swimming technique. Operating out of L.A. Fitness, Waterworks provides swim lessons in an indoor 25-yard lap pool, which is heated to...

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Making the Skies – And Airport – Friendlier For People With Special Needs

Larry Rollon thinks a lot about helping people of various abilities through the airport. As coordinator for disability services at Los Angeles World Airports (which includes LAX and Ontario International Airport), he oversees programs to assist passengers in wheelchairs, the hearing and visually impaired, and others who need help navigating the airport and getting to their flight. But he hadn’t thought much about passengers with autism until about two years ago, when he started hearing from families asking about autism services at the airports. “We didn’t have any such programs,” says Rollon, who quickly started asking questions and looking for...

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Montebello Shops Award Scholarships to Students

The Shops at Montebello awarded scholarships to five Montebello Unified School District students who completed a three-week We Care For Youth. The program is designed to prepare students to enter the workforce by offering job skills. The Shops at Montebello held an Achievement Ceremony at the center, recognizing 32 local high school students who completed the special program. Of the students in attendance, Hugo Zavaleta Rojas, Alexis Serna and Francisco Ortega Lopez from Schurr High School; Erika Garfias from Montebello High School and Katherine Romero from Applied Technology Center were chosen to receive scholarships. “Connecting with youth and preparing them...

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Angel City Games Bring Adaptive Sport To L.A.

Ezra Frech, a Sports Illustrated SportsKid of the Year nominee in 2014, was born with no left knee or shin bone and only one finger on his left hand. And though he had his leg amputated below the knee at age 2 ½, nothing has slowed him down. When his leg was amputated, doctors were able to attach one of his toes to his left hand, giving him two opposing fingers on that hand and allowing him to play a variety of sports, especially basketball. He is on the basketball and football teams at his school in Brentwood. He also...

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Young Voices Wanted!

The West Valley’s MUSYCA (pronounced MUSIC-ah), which stands for Musical Youth of California, is holding auditions for the 2015-2016 season. Children ages 5 to 18 who love to sing are encouraged to audition. No previous choir experience is necessary. MUSYCA members most recently performed at the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books with the cast of "Matilda the Musical" and at Disneyland performing Fauré's "Requiem" with the Burbank Chorale. They have also performed at the Nickelodeon Kids’ Choice Awards, Carnegie Hall and in Austria and the Czech Republic. This summer they’re headed to France to perform at Notre-Dame de Paris and Chartres...

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Three Keys to Teaching Kids Gratitude

It can be difficult as parents to maintain our sense of gratitude. Our days are often full of activity, stress and fatigue. Sometimes the idea of writing in a gratitude journal can feel like the last thing we want to tack on to the end of our day. And yet we know that the more we set an intention to practice gratitude in our daily lives, the easier it becomes. Our gratitude practice starts to feel more natural and less effortful ... something to look forward to, rather than one more item on the to-do list. What if we could...

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Five Reasons Your Child Should Learn Chinese

It’s no secret that getting into college is harder than ever. More students are applying, and many are applying to multiple schools to ensure they are accepted to multiple schools and have options. According to The Washington Post, admission rates at top colleges are dropping. Ivy League schools such as Harvard and Stanford only admit 5 to 5.3 percent of candidates. Even state schools are becoming more difficult to get into. UCLA has an acceptance rate of 17.3 percent, while UC Berkeley only accepts 18.2 percent of applicants. With admission rates continuing to decline, it is becoming more crucial for...

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Three Must-Have Tools For High School Students

High school students and parents are barraged with college and career-planning information via the Internet and social media starting on their first day of high school (if not earlier). It can be a challenge for families in Los Angeles schools to sort through these resources, and not all information is equal. I recommend three must-have tools that will help guide students through their high school careers and plan for their futures. Campus Steps: This L.A.-based tech platform (available via the web and mobile devices at is interactive, engaging and helps high school students think about how their choices affect...

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NVISION Clubs Expand Learning

When Ana Lorena Hernandez enrolled her 4th grade daughter JV Ruvalcaba in the Woodcraft Rangers NVISION after-school program at Huntington Park Elementary, it didn’t ever occur to her that her daughter would be programming robots. “She came home one day excited about how she can make a robot move,” says Hernandez. With the help of NVISION, Hernandez was able to see her daughter program robots and how she made them move. “I can control a robot now,” says JV. “We make the robot move straight or to the right.” JV has participated in many of the NVISION clubs, including dance...

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